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I desire to know now wherein consists the Sin or Baseness of this Care.
OTHERS live to no other Purpose than to breed Dogs, and attend the Sports of the Field.
OTHERS think all their Time dull and heavy, which is not spent in the Pleasures and Diversions of the Town.
MEN of sober Business, who seem to act the grave Part of Life, generally condemn these Ways of Life.
Now I desire to know upon what Account they are to be condemn'd. For produce but the true Reason why any of these Ways of Life are vain and sinful, and the fame Reason will conclude with the same Strength against every State of Life, but that which is entirely devoted to God.
LET the ambitious Man but shew the Folly and Irregularity of Covetousness, and the same Reasons will shew the Folly and Irregularity of Ambition.
Let the Man who is deep in worldly Business, but shew the Vanity and Shame of a Life that is devoted to Pleasures, and the same Reasons will as fully set forth the Vanity and Shame of worldly Cares. So that whoever can condemn Sensuality, Ambition, or any Way of Life, upon the Principles of Reason and Religion, carries his own Condemnation within his owii Breast, and is that very Person which he despises, unlets his Life be entirely devoted to God.
For worldly Cares are no more holy or virtuous, than worldly Pleasures, they are as great a Mistake in Life, and when they equally divide or poffess the Heart, are equally vain and shameful, as any sensual Gratifications.
It is granted that some Cares are made necessary by the Necessities of Nature; and the fame also may be observ'd of some Pleasures; the Pleasures of Eating, Drinking, and Reft, are equally necessary; but yet if Reason and Religion do not limit these Pleasures by the Necessities of Nature, we fall from rational Creatures, into Drones, Sots, Gluttons, and Epicures.
In like Manner our Care after some worldly Things is necessary, but if this Care is not bounded by the just Wants of Nature, if it wanders into unnecessary Pursuits, and fills the Mind with false Desires and Cravings, if it wants to add an imaginary Splendor to the plain Demands of Nature, it is vain and irregular, it is the Care of che Epicure, a longing for Sawces and Ragous; and corrupts the Soul like any other sensual Indulgence.
For this Reason our Lord points his Doctrines at the most common and allowed Employments of Life, to teach us that they may employ our Minds as falsely, and distract us as far from our true Good, as any Trifles and Vanity.
He calls us from such Cares, to conyince us, that even the Neceflities of Life must be sought with a kind of Indifference, that so our Souls may be truly sensible of greater Wants, and dispos'd to hunger and thirst after Enjoyments that will niake us happy for ever.
But how unlike are Christians to Chriftianity! It commands us to take no Thought, saying what mall we eat, or what shall we drink, yet Christians are restless and laborious till they can eat in Plate.
IT commands us to be indifferent about Raiment, but Christians are full of Care and Concern to be cloathed in Purple and fine Linnen; it enjoins us to take no Thought for the Morrow, yet Christians think they have lived in vain, if they don't leave Estates at their Death. Yet these are the Disciples of that Lord, who faith, Whosoever he be of you, that firsaketh not all that he hath, be cannot be my Disciple.
It must not be said that there is some Defect in these Do&rines, or that they are not plainly enough taught in Scripture, because the Lives and Behaviour of Christians is so contrary to them; for if the Spirit of the World, and the Temper of Christians, might be alledg’d against the Doctrines of Scripture, none of them would have lasted to this Day.
It is one of the Ten Commandments, Thou shalt not take the Name of the Lord thy God in vain; our Saviour has in the most solemn Manner forbid Swearing; yet where more Swearing than amongst Christians, and amongst such Christians as would think it hard to be reckon'd a Reproach to the Christian Name?
THE Scripture says of Christians, that they are born of God, and have overcome the World; can they be reckon'd of that Number, who have not so much as overcome this fiagrant Sin, and to which they have no Temptation in Nature ?
WELL therefore may the Doctrines of Humility, Heavenly-mindedness, and Contempt of the World, be disregarded, since they have all the Corruptions of Flesh and Blood, all the innate and acquir’d Pride and Vanity of our Nature to conquer, fore they can be admitted.
I XNow it is pretended by some, that these Doctrines of our Saviour, concerning forsaking all, and the like, related only to
his first Followers, who could be his Disciples upon no other Terms, and who were to suffer with him for the Propagation of the Gospel.
It is readily own'd that there are different States of the Church, and that such different States may call Christians to some particular Duties, not common to every Age.
IT is own'd also, that this was the Case of the first Christians, they differed from us in many Respects.
THEY were personally call’d to follow Christ; they receiv'd particular Commisfions from his Mouth, they were empowered to work Miracles, and called to a certain Expectation of Hatred and Sufferings from almost all the World.
THESE are Particulars in which the State of the first Church differed from the present.
But then it is carefully to be obferv'd, that this Difference in the State of the Church; is a Difference in the external State of the Church, and not in the internal inward State of Christians. It is a Difference that relates to the Affairs and Condition of the World, and not to the personal Holiness and Purity of Christians.
The World may sometimes favour Christianity, at other Times it may op