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man concerning any noble actions. 11. They do certainly augment a man's charge, they do enlarge his account ; for he is in respect of God, but a steward. 12. They are matter of temptation, danger and difficulty. For wist you not what our Saviour hath said ? It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven, Mat. xix. 24. 13. Where a vast estate is gotten, there is some fear left fome have been illgotten; and if so, there is matter for repentance, not matter for triumph. Jer. xvii. 11. He that geteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end mall be a fool. And know you not what the apostle admonisheth? 1 Tim. vi. 9. 10. They that will be rich, fall into temptation and a fnare, and into many foolish and hurtful lufts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil ; which while some have coveted after, they have erred from the truth, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. And twice Solomon hath observed, Pro. xxviii. 20, 22. He that hafteth to be rich, shall not be innocent. Now this is a great point.
To what purpose is it for a man to accumulate, to get that by cunning, and fraud, and power, which he cannot enjoy, which he cannot call his own when he hath it? The fin is not forgiven to any man till he hath made recompence and compensation. Yea our casuists go fo far as to require of an heir to whom an estate descends, that if it be made apparent to him that he that was before him, did retain in his hands that which was not his own, contrary to right, though the heir be not under S 3
the guilt, yet they wish him to look to hímfelf that he be not under obligation to make restitution. We are wont to say, happy is the son whose father gave av way his soul; the sense is, it is better for him in a worldiy respect ; but it is better, if acquired by fraud or cunning, that he make restitution. This is a fad confideration, I leave it to your meditation. 14. They do not lengthen any man's life. For the rich hath neither longer life than the poor, nor more health. 15. They do not cure any disease, neither do they ease a man under any pain. 16. Again : what they do procure us, is rather fear than love, envy than pity. 17. Once more ; they do not satisfy nature's defires; for Seneca hath well observed, that in case of appetite we must not add fin to fin to satisfy defire, but you must abate of the luft or the inordinate affection. For, as the poet faith, “the conqueror “ of the world was pent up in the world, and want" ed 'room to breath in.” So that luft is unsatisfied with things. Therefore you must reduce it to moderate desires. 18. Once more ; these things do not make
any man happy ; for a man may be as unsatisfied, as unquiet, as thoughtful, as much in fear, as much in danger, if he be surrounded with wealth, as if he were poor. 19. Lastly; they do not so much as improve our natural faculties. We have not our faculties enlarged by them ; but wealth doth rather narrow and contract our spirits than amplify and enlarge our powers. Do but weigh these things, and I believe you will conclude, that there is no solid foundation of glorying in might or wealtha
Men have nothing to glory of, but reli
JE R. ix. 23, 24.
either of the other two, as being nearer to us. The wise man to glory in his wisdom. I can alledge many things, as I have said, why a man should applaud himself in wisdom; for ift. Wisdom is the excellency of a spirit, which is the choice part of man, every man's foul is himself. 2dly. It is in itself a real truth, for wisdom is a reality, as much as folly is a privation and madness. 3dly. It is a thing that is permanent, and will be carried on to perfection ; for nothing of this nature begun here will be lost: it may be swallowed up as a candle by the light of the sun, but it will not be extinct, it will not be vanquish'd, but will be carried on to perfection. 4thly. It doth certainly recommend a man ; for without any terms of diminution, a wise man is commended for his wifdom. 5thly and lastly. It is the proper improvement of our natural faculties. But yet we must not glory in our wisdom, for so faith the wise man, Pro. xxiii. 4. Labour not to be rich, cease from thine own
wisdom, wisdom. For two reasons we cannot glory in our wisdom ; i. Because a man must not center in himfelf. 2. Man is to be sensible, that as his being is precarious and dependent, fo also his whole furniture, all his endowments, all his acquisitions and superstructure. Here I say three things. (1.) It is not competible to a creature to terminate himself in himself ; for if fo, God is excluded, and there will be no place left for God in the world. (2.) There can be no pretence for it, as our case is, because we are fallen, we are in an apostate state, we are degenerate, we have marred our spirits, we have spoiled our principles, by unnatural use ; so that it is worse with us than it was, or than it should be.
We are only valuable as we are recovered, and thanks to the grace of God for that capacity. (3.) And then there is the reason in the thing itself, why it should not be : for we are but in measure and degree, we have but in part, we understand but in part, we were never better than finite and fallible, therefore there is no felf-sufficiency, no foundation to glory.
Now to speak distinctly to this head we must distinguish wisdom. Ift. Under this name and notion we understand worldly skill, dexterity, sagacity, the knowledge of arts and sciences; of tongues and languages. 2dly. We understand by this, carnal policy, that is a principle that rules much in this monfrous degenerate world ; and this doth absolve itself from the bounds of reafon and religion, and considers only particular interest. I will shew you there is no reason to glory in this, because it is our shame, as being a deviation from that which is good. 3dly.
There is divine knowledge, and this is true wisdom, and this the prophet doth reserve that we may glory in it; because this leads us to a conjunction with the ultimate end ; this brings us to God who is the center of our souls, and is to be final to us as much as he is original.
1. Worldly skill, dexterity and sagacity in the affairs of this life, is a thing good in its kind ; for the third, the knowledge of God and of things celestial, that is throughout good : and for the second, carnal policy, it is totally naught, it is the counterfeit of a thing ; it is a thing degenerate, adulterate, and nothing is more branded in holy scripture than that which we call carnal policy : it is the wisdom St. James speaks of, James iii. 15. that doth not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual and devilish. It is the wisdom St. Paul speaks of, 1 Cor. i. 21. The world by wisdom knew not God. For thus ; it doth either subordinate all to worldly ends, gain and profit, and savours not the things that are of God, gives God no real consideration nor place ; either there goes along with it ftupid fenflessness of the honour of God, of the difference of good and evil, of the rule and law of conscience; or gross neglect of these ; or else hypocritical diffimulation, pretence to honesty and conscience, but not out of any regard or respect to God, or love to righteousness and truth, but the more effectually to deceive and to promote arbitrary selfish-ends, such as are wholly excentrical and unnatural to religion ; and this is profaneness and irreligion in the height. Yea it is the grossest profaneness, because it doth unduly practise upon and serve itself of religion and