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conscience, using them as means to self-ends : yet the subjects of these, glory therein and applaud themfelves against the rule of conscience, bear up against all account of good and evil ; and those things that are according either to the nature or mind of God. Now this is wholly a corrupt and a depraved thing, and depends upon the abuse of our discerning and governing faculties. Now this is every where decried in scripture, and is called the wisdom of the world, the wisdom of the flesh, the wifdom of the serpent. Wit divided from right, it denotes a principle in the utmost abuse of itself : now to glory in this, were to glory in that which is a man's shame. This is that which we call carnal policy, a pretence to wit and skill, an ability that is separated from honefty, that doth over-rule reason and conscience, hath no true regard to God, but pursues its own ends, interests, humours, lusts and pleasures, and subordinates God, reason, religion and conscience to it : this we condemn, this we wholly reprobate, as that which doth practise upon God, and makes God himself a medium to a man's self, to his lusts, to his ends ; for this fpirit takes no cognisance either of the rules of reason or the law of God or the nature of God, or the difa ference of things : but if it do at all own them, it is but in pretence, to deceive more effectually, and to compass its own ends.
II. Worldly wisdom, the wisdom of this life ; by this we mean fkill, knowledge and dexterity in the mystery of arts and sciences ; either mental or intellectual, or manual and mechanical ; the skill of tongues and languages, and prudence in the
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administration of the affairs of this life. Now all these are truths and realities ; for they are the gifts of God. And these men are well accomplished, and are all profitable instruments in the common-wealth, and fit to do fervice. God doth own these perfections in men, for God gives them, Ifa. xxviii. 26. God doth instruct the husbandman, teaches him to plow and to discern the seasons, to fit his foil with his grain ; and Solomon faith, the prudent man foresees the evil, and so provides against it ; and Pfal. cxii. 5. The good man doth guide his affairs with difcretion. Now though these be not things that have immediate reference to the state of eternity, yet they are a high accomplishment, and do render men commendable and ufeful, and fit for the service of the common-wealth. It is true, they are fhort, and infufficient to raise a man to his ultimate end ; for they are disproportionate to that ; but yet they are requifite and accommodate to this state, and they are fit for a man ; they are requisite accomplishments for us, as we are the present inhabitants of the earth. The skill of several mysteries and employments, feveral arts and sciences, several tongues and languages, prudence in managing of affairs, and in forming and disposing of things. These persons thus endowed, thus furnished and accomplished, are God's instruments for good service in the present state. Therefore parents and governors, fuch as are trusted, do admirable service, when they take care to educate those that are subject to their government, when they breed them up in fome of these ways of wisdom, so that their faculties may be improved and they em
ployed for the good of the community; fome one way and some another. This is an account and juftification of schools of learning, places of ingenious education ; for they do naturam pronovere, for the promoting of that good beginning, when God laid the foundation of reason in human nature. These do sow God's seed in God's foil ; and they draw forth the several virtues that God hath implanted, in subordination to the divine dispensation, and God's government of the world ; that the community may be furnished from a joint service of the several parts. Now there is so great reason for this, that every one should set himself to be serviceable, to be useful for some purposes, for some business and employment of life ; that the apostle says, if a man will not labour, let him not eat ; elle a man is an unprofitable burden upon the earth; he is like Solomon's field, sown with thistles : men whose parts are not improved, are not fitted for any employment; they are good for no pur pose of human life, they are fools, wanting in this wisdom.--Now while this dexterity and skill is cried down in confusion and without distinction from carnality and worldliness in a corrupt fenfe ; of which I spoke before : disservice is done, and persons are discouraged in their commendable employments ; for this being a true end, and a real and commendable perfection, and the gift of God, and a true improvement of our faculties, it is not to be spoken prejudicially or undervaluingly of ; for we should not, to advance a thing of a higher nature, caft disparagement upon a lower : but say, rather these things ought to be taken care of, and things of higher na
ture by no means neglected. A particular calling and employment doth well consist with the general calling of a christian. Are not all these things the very workmanship of God? But this is all that can be said in this case. These perfections, tho' they recommend, and are valuable, and qualify us for good service, though they tend to the usefulness and security of life, yet they are not matter of our glorying or of our boasting, for a man to pride himself in them, to applaud himself because of them ; because they do not extend to accomplish a man, or put him in poffeffion of his ultimate happiness ; for he may acquire things of a higher order, and he may be brought to higher accomplishments and perfections than these things can advance him to. But this I say, they do really recommend and qualify a man for good service, and they tend to the security of a man's life, and are of great use in the world ; for if we do not fully employ ourfelves, we shall less live, and we shall be exposed to temptations, to temptation of being arrogant, proud and conceited ; as if we were too good for any labour or particular employment ; or else of sinking down into a mal-content frowardness : for this you may be assured of; mens faculties will not lie idle, a man's wits and parts will turn upon himself, if they be not drawn out into exercise ; if a man do not employ and exercise himself in some commendable and lawful employment. Useful business is necessary for our own preservation and security, as well as it is due upon a publick account and for the service of the universe. But though these be true accom
plishments plishments and real perfections, and the gifts of God, and recommend a man, yet they are not things that a man can acquiesce in ; he cannot think himself accomplished by them, he cannot pride or applaud himself in them, and that for these three reasons. 1. Because all these accomplishments are inadequate and not proportionable to our capacities. For intellectual nature is capable of being more highly raised and of nobler endowments, of higher perfections. Intellectual nature hath a secret defire and thirst after God; and therefore it cannot be accomplished, neither can it be satisfied, unless it find out and pitch upon that object which is most proper and peculiar. If any man will grant me that one principle, which is certain and we know it by experience, I shall sufficiently secure religion by it ; for intelletus quærit Deum, it is the nature of our mind and understanding to seek after God : therefore though a man be ne, ver so well accomplished, if he be devoid of sense and apprehension of God, he must be unfurnished ; for he is unsatisfied, he hath not enough to satisfy the connatural desires of his immortal foul. 2. All these accomplishments, they are but momentary and temporary, they are but for use while we are here. Prudence in mens affairs, dexterities in several mysteries of trades, and professions, of languages and tongues, all manual arts, they are but of use for this state. 3. Man being intentionally born to eternity, though he run through time first; he needs higher and greater accomplishments than the accomplishments of this nature are of: for though he be born in time, it is but as a passage, and he was intentionally born to eterni