True contentment in the gaine of godlines, with its self-sufficiencie A meditation on 1. Timoth. 6. 6. By Thomas Gataker B. of D. and pastor of Rotherhith.

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True contentment in the gaine of godlines, with its self-sufficiencie A meditation on 1. Timoth. 6. 6. By Thomas Gataker B. of D. and pastor of Rotherhith.
Gataker, Thomas, 1574-1654.
London :: Printed by Edward Griffin for William Bladen, and are to be sold at his shop at the signe of the Bible, neere the great north dore of Paules,

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"True contentment in the gaine of godlines, with its self-sufficiencie A meditation on 1. Timoth. 6. 6. By Thomas Gataker B. of D. and pastor of Rotherhith." In the digital collection Early English Books Online. University of Michigan Library Digital Collections. Accessed May 19, 2024.


THE FORMER PART. The Gaine of Godlinesse.

THe Stoick Philosophie, which a Luke the Euangelist maketh mention of, b was famous for Paradoxes, strange Opinions, improbable, and besides common conceit, c admired much for them by some, d controlled and taxed for them by others. Howbeit not Stoicisme onely, but euery art and profession, euery course of life and learning hath some Paradoxes or other; the

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world not a few, and▪ e Christianitie many more, as strange, yea stranger, than any that the Stoicks euer held, and yet f no lesse true than strange.

A worldly Paradox the Apostle had mentioned in the verse next before going, to wit, that some men should hold Gaine to be Godlinesse: vnto which he opposeth a contrary Christian Paradox in the words of my Text, to wit, that Godlinesse is the one∣ly true Gaine.

For the former: It is a very absurd conceit in∣deed, and though too too rife in the world, yet such as few or none will be acknowne of, and either o∣penly father, or seeme outwardly to fauor. But as God at the last day, when the wicked shall go about to excuse and defend themselues, he will not onely take hold of their words, b By thine owne mouth will I iudge thee, thou thriftles seruant; and aduantage of their actions, c I was naked and yee clad me not, hun∣gry and yee fed me not, &c. and theresore had neither Faith nor Loue; but he will conuince them by their owne Consciences too, d Their secret thoughts shall either excuse or accuse them in that day: In like manner must we deale with those that will seeme to abhorre and detest this Opinion, and yet do those things that maintaine and vphold it.

e he oole saith i 〈◊〉〈◊〉 heart, There is no God; and that is sufficient to proue him an Athe•••• though he neuer openly maintaine any Position of Atheisme. And there be some that f professe they know God, but denie him in their deeds: and g that is enough to proue them irreligious, though they neuer vtter that their impietie in speech. So in this case, the Coue∣tous

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mans heart saith it, and his practise proclai∣meth it, that h his Gold is his God, and that his Gaine is his Godlinesse; and that is sufficient to proue him an Idolater, though he neuer outwardly bow his knee to an Idoll. In regard whereof, the Apostle expresly pronounceth i Couetousnes to be Idolatry, and the k Couetous man an Idolater.

To reason then in this point, as our Sauiour him∣selfe doth: l Where a mans Treasure is, theire is his Heart; and where a mans heart is, there is his happinesse; and where his happinesse is, that is his God. Since the couetous man therefore m setteth his heart on his riches; n putteth his trust in his trea∣sure: and whereas o the faithfull make the name of God their strong towre, wherevnto they resort in time of trouble for safetie, p the worldly rich man maketh his wealth his bulwark & fence, wherevpon he reposeth himselfe and wholy relyeth: It must of necessitie follow herevpon, that as the Apostle saith of the fleshly-minded man, that q his belly is his God; so of the worldly-minded man, that r his money, or

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his penny is his God: And if his Money be his God; his Gaine must needs be his Godlinesse.

But the Apostle here telleth vs a quite contrary tale, and learneth vs here a flat opposite lesson; that, howsoeuer worldly men may thinke that Gaine is Godlinesse; yet in deed and truth it is not so; but Godlinesse rather is Gaine, and great Gaine.

So that the Apostle doth 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, propositionem invertere; he turneth the proposition cleane back∣ward, and bringeth it about, as it were. Gaine is Godlinesse, saith the worldly man. Nay, Godlinesse is Gaine, and great Gaine, saith the Apostle, and the Spirit of God by him.

But this peraduenture will seeme a Paradox as strange as the former. As very few that will out∣wardly avow the former; so as few are there that are inwardly perswaded of the latter. It seemeth a Paradox with the most.

For, Godlinesse great Gaine? may some man say. The contrary rather seemeth vndoubted and vnde∣niable, to wit, that r Godlinesse is a great enemie to Gaine. Balaam lost great wealth and honor, because he would not disobey the word of God: s I had thought, saith Balak, to haue aduanced thee, and made thee a great man; but thy God hath kept thee from honour. Michah might haue bin a great man in A∣habs bookes, and very richly and royally rewardd by him, if he would haue spoken but two words onely, as some other did; if he would but haue said, t Goe vp in peace. But his Godlinesse hindred his Gaine; and not so onely, but was a meane to bring him into much trouble. So that it may seeme,

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that Godlinesse is altogither gainelesse, and Vngodli∣nesse the more gainefull of the two.

For the u Merchants of Tyre and Zidon for lucre and gaine straine courtesie with Gods commande∣ment, to vtter their fish and wares on the Sabbath. And no doubt of it, Gods children, if they would not be so strict and strait laced; if they would not stand vpon nice points and termes; if they would not sticke to lye and dissemble with x Ananias and Sapphira; to belye and beguile, as Ziba, Mephibo∣sheths man did his Master; to sweare and forsweare, with z prophane Antiochus; to steale and purloine with yong a Micah of Mount Ephraim; to oppresse and murther, when they haue ius in manibus, the law in their owne hands, with b wicked Ahab, and cursed Iezabel; they might as well come to wealth, as many worldly men do, that scrape and gather much goods togither by these meanes. But they may well say, as the Psalmist saith, c For thy sake, O Lord, are we counted fooles; because we stand so much vpon matter of conscience.

d Holy Paul saith he might haue done this and that, but he would not, because he would not make the Gospell euill spoken of. And the keeping of a mans word turneth oft-times to his losse. The e godly man sweareth and faileth not, though it be to to his owne hindrance: that which a worldly man will not willingly do. So that it may seeme then that Godlinesse is rather a great enemie to Gaine, and Vngodlinesse a great deale the more gainfull.

But those that define Losse and Gaine on this wise, do not try them by the right touch-stone, do

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not weigh them out in the Ballance of the Sanctua∣rie, at the Beame of Gods word: and therefore no maruaile, if they take the f false Riches for the true Treasure.

For g man indeed had auctoritie giuen him to name the Creatures, and he hath named worldly Wealth, Gaine: But God that is aboue man, and that gaue man this auctoritie, he hath named Godlinesse, Gaine, and not Wealth. As the Apostle therefore saith, h God is not slacke, as men count slacknes: so Godlinesse is not Gaine as men count Gaine, but as God counteth Gaine. For i man seeth not as God seeth; k nor thinketh as God thinketh. But as l those things that are pretious in mans eyes, are abominable in Gods sight: so m those things that are contemptible in the eyes of man, are n of high account many times in the sight of God. And euery thing is, not as man valueth it, but as God esteemeth it; not as man reckneth it, who is o vanitie it selfe, and there∣fore may easily be deceiued, yea p oft-times decei∣ueth himselfe; but as God rateth it, q who neither doth deceiue any, r nor can by any be deceiued, be∣ing s Veritie and truth it selfe.

Either then we must say as God saith, or we must say as the World saith. Either we must say, that Godlinesse is no Gaine, or else we must say, that Gaine is no Gaine, when Godlinesse and Gaine shall stand forth togither, either in way of comparison the one with the other, or in way of opposition the one vn∣to the other.

Now, when Godlinesse and Gaine shall in this manner contend, that Godlinesse ought to haue

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the day of it, will euidently appeare, if it may be shewed vnto vs:

First, that Godlines is Gaine rather than Gaine: and

Secondly, wherein this Gaine of Godlinesse doth consist.

For the former, to wit, that Godlinesse is rather to be accounted Gaine, than Gaine, may be proued to vs by these three Arguments.

First, Godlinesse may doe a man good without gaine, but worldly gaine can do a man no good without godli∣nesse. As the Heathen Orator saith of bodily might, that t strength of bodie ioyned with discretion and wis∣dome, may do a man much good; but without it, it is but u as a sword in a child, or in a mad mans hand, rather a meanes to mischiefe a mans selfe than otherwise: as we see an example in Milo Crotoniates, the strong∣est man of his time, x who vnwarily assaying, on trust of his strength, to riue a peece of timber with his hands, which some others with wedge and bee∣tle could not cleaue, was caught fast by the fists, and so deuoured by Wolues. So Riches ioyned with godlinesse and good Conscience, are the y good blessings of God, a meanes z of good to our selues, and of doing good vnto others: but being seuered from godlinesse and the true feare of God, are rather a occasion of euill than otherwise, rather b an in∣strument of vice, than any furtherance to virtue, a meane to make as our sinnes the greater here, so

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our condemnation accordingly the more grieuous hereafter.

So that as the Heathen man saith, that c Gaine gotten by losse or hazard of a mans good name, is no gaine but losse; because a man looseth therein more then all his gettings can counteruaile: since that d A good name is (as Salomon saith) aboue riches and treasure; of greater worth than any wealth. So Gaine gotten with the breach or hazard of a good Conscience, when it is e mammona iniquitatis, the Mammon of iniquitie, or f merces iniquitatis, the wa∣ges of wickednesse, it is no Gaine, but losse indeede: It is, as the Greekes say of g a Bow, Life in name, but Death indeede; so Gaine in name, but Losse in deede: (h Heathen themselues so esteemed it; not i Chri∣stian men onely:) Since that a man doth in these cases but, as that Romane Emperor had wont to say, k fish with a golden hooke, and that for a googeon: l he hazardeth more than his whole prey, though he catch it, and m he may misse of his purpose there∣in too, can make amends for it, if it miscarry, be

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that he get and gaine neuer so much. And for a man to get and gaine neuer so much one way, if by the compassing of it he loose far more an other way, it is in truth no Gaine at all.

For this cause as the Apostle asketh the Question; n Quid profuit? What profit had yee then of those things, whereof you are now ashamed? nay, o for which now you should be damned, if you had your desert; for the end of such things is death: And the damned Spirits demand of themselues; p Quid prodest? What profit haue we now of all our profits and pleasures, that we enioyed in the world, when we are hurled headlong into hell? So our Sauiour him∣selfe asketh, q Quid proderit? What will it profit a man to winne the whole world, r and destroy himselfe, s or loose his owne t soule? u to get all the world be∣side himselfe; but by gaining it to loose himselfe: for x euery mans soule is euery mans selfe: to doe as y Ionas, z that suffred himselfe to be cast ouer∣bord into the sea, that the ship with her lading, when he is lost, may come safe to the shore.

On the other side, as another saith, a For a man handsomely to refuse money, and forgo gaine, it is no small gaine sometime. So for a man in some case to forgo his gaine, to refuse gold, to neglect his owne

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good, though b so to do may seeme olly, when Game and Godlinesse will not agree togither, when c lucrum in arca facit damnum in conscientia, and d lu∣crum pecuniae dispendium it animae; when profit in a mans purse would procure a broach in his Conscience, and the gaine of gold proue the break-neck of his soule; such refusall of gaine is the greatest Gaine that can be. For saith an ancient Father well, e To let goe, though neuer so great a matter, for the compassing of a greater, is no loosing bargaine, but a gainefull negotia∣tion. To which purpose the Apostle Paul hauing related, what a great man he might haue bin among his owne People, had he held on in Iudaisme as he began; he concludeth at length, that he deemed allf that, and all else, but as g losse, and as h drosse and donge; as some Grammarians expound the word there vsed, as i Dogs-meat, or as others rather, as Dogs-donge, in regard of the assurance of Gods sa∣uour toward him in Christ, the hold he had of him, his conformitie with him, and his interest in him.

Secondly, Worldly 〈◊〉〈◊〉 may be a occasion of euill to vs from others; God••••esse ••••••••r but of good. Riches, I say, proue ot their owners owne bane, his vtter 〈…〉〈…〉 and o••••••••••row. l I haue seene riches, saith Salomen, reserued to the hurt of him that hath them. m They make their owners life oft-time to

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be laid for. It was the Heathen mans obseruation, that Tyrannies deale with their subiects and seruants, as men are wont to do n with bottles, which they let stand vnder the tap till they be filled, and hang them vp so soone as they be full: or as o with Spunges, which they suffer to lye soaking, till they haue suck∣ed in some good store of water, and then squize them out againe. p Naboth might well haue liued longer, had it not bin for his vineyard: but that was it that shortned his dayes, and brought him to an vntimely death. And q This, saith Salomon, is the course of euery one that is greedy of gaine, to come by it, he would take the life away of those that are possessed of it. r It is not empty barks, or poore fisher-boats, but ships returning with treasure, that Pyrates seeke to surprize. s It is the fat Grasier, or the rich Clo∣thier, not the poore pedler, or the bare passenger, that is in danger of loosing lim and life in his owne defence against theeues.

But Godlinesse is neuer an occasion of any euill, but of all good to him that hath it. It is t the surest fort and fence, it is u the firmest armour of proofe against all euils that may be. For, Who will harme

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you, saith the Apostle, if you follow that that is good? Who will harme you? Nay, Who can harme you? For some would it may be, if they could; so per∣uersely and malitiously-minded, that they hate the godly, euen for this cause because they be godly, and y because they follow that that is good. But z if God be with them, who can be against them? who can hurt them? who can harme them? a Men may attempt to wrong them, and wrong themselues while they thinke to wrong them; but them they cannot wrong. Though others may seeme to wrong them, yet b are they not wronged, c no not when they are murthred, because they are nouer a whit the worse for their wrongs. No hurt therefore, d not an haires harme can be fall a man for being good, or by being godly; 4 no euill can accrew vnto any by it.

No euill can; but much good may; yea all good shall. For e All things worke togither, and conspire in one, for the good of the godly, of these that loue God, and f whom he loueth. g Omnia? What? all things? saith an ancient Father, as if he could hardly be∣leeue it, or made some doubt of it: Etiam mala what? euen euills and afflictions too? Mala 〈◊〉〈◊〉. Yea (saith he) euen euills and afflictions; 5 bonis bona, malis mala: though euill to the wicked, yet good they

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are, yea exceeding good to the godly. For, Audi Apostolum, audi vas electionis; Heare what the Apo∣stle saith, heare what the elect vessell of God saith: h This light and momentanie affliction, that is but for an instant; procureth vnto vs, i an exceeding excessiue eternall weight of glory. He moueth the question the second time, as not fully resolued: Omnia? what? all things? etiam peccatum? euen spirituall euils? euen sinne it selfe too? And he maketh an∣swer againe: Etiam peccatum ipsum, tametsi non bonū, tamen in bonum. Yea, euen sinne it selfe, though it be not of it selfe good, yet it tendeth to their good, k to the good of all Gods elect. For heare what the Apostle saith of himselfe: l There was a m splint left in my flesh to humble me, that I might not be puft vp with pride. n His infirmities were a meane to make him the more humble; and o as the more lowly in his owne eyes, so the more gracious with God. He asketh yet a third question, as the vpshot of all: Omnia? etiam mors ipsa? What? all things? euen death it selfe, p the vtmost enemie of all? And he an∣swereth himselfe as before, or rather further than before; Etiam mors vel maxime: Yea, death as much as any thing, nay most of all. For so saith the same Apostle againe; q Christus mihi vita, & mors lucrum; as he readeth the words; Christ is my life, and Death is my gaine. That r which is the greatest losse that can be to the worldly man; is s the greatest matter of gaine that can be to the godly.

Thirdly, Wordly wealth abideth with vs but for a short time: whereas Godlinesse and

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t the Gaine of it will sticke by vs, & stay with vs for e∣uer. This worlds wealth, I say, can last but a while with vs, & must needs therfore leaue vs after a while. u Either it will leaue vs, r we must leaue it: x either it will haue an end of vs, r we an end of it. y Riches are vncertaine: z there is no hold of them: they are slippry ware; a the faster we gripe them, the sooner they slip oft out of our hands; b they are fugitiue seruants, ready to runne away from their master, whom they leaue many times, by their meanes, de∣priued, not of liuing onely, but of life too: c they take them wings, saith Salomon, like an Eagle that fli∣eth vp into the ayre, & get them a way from vs far out of our reach, and beyond all hope oreoueri.

But though they haue al as aquilinas, great Eagles wings to flie from vs withall while we are here; yet haue they ne passerin as quidem, not so much as litle s••••rwes wings to flie after vs, and follow 〈◊〉〈◊〉 when we go hence. d As when we came into the world▪ we brought them not with vs; so when we goe out of the world againe, we cannot beare them away, but e must leaue them behind vs. f Admire not the

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man that is risen sodninely to great riches and honour, saith the Psalmist. No? why, who would not ad∣mire one that liueth in such state and pomp as g such are vsually wont to do? Yea but, when he dieth, he shall carrie none of that his wealth away with him; nor shall his pompe and state descend with his corps. h As he came naked, so shall he go naked againe, and leaue all that by his care and indusirie he had raked togi∣ther and heaped vp, behind him; and in all respects goe euen as he came.

It is with vs in this world, as it was in the Iewish fields and vineyards; i plucke and eat they might what they would, while they were there, but they might not pocket or put vp ought to carry away with them: Or k as with boyes, that hauing gotten by stealth into an Orchard, stuffe their sleeues and their pockets full with apples and peares, well ho∣ping to get out with them, but when they come to the dore, they finde one there that searcheth them, and taketh all their fruit away from them, and so sendeth them away with no more than they brought in: Or l as poore men, that invited to a rich mans bord, haue the vse of his plate to drink in, and siluer spoones to eat with while they are there; but if any of them presume to put vp a peece of plate or a spoone, there is search made by the Porter, ere they are let out, for what is missng a∣mong them, and so are they turned out againe as they came in: In like manner is it with vs in regard of these temporall blessings; we haue free libertie to vse them as we will while we are here; but when we are to goe hence, m there is one waiting on vs,

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that will be sure to strip vs, and suffer nothing to passe with vs, vnlesse it be some sory sheete, or a seare rag to rot with vs, n that which yet we shall haue no sense of, nor be any whit at all the better for, than if we were wholy without it.

But Godlinesse, and the gaine of it, will abide by vs for euer. o It is a grace that we cannot loose or fall from; p a benefit that we cannot be abridged or bereaued of by any. As q God will neuer forsake thee; so Godlinesse will neuer leaue thee, if thou beest once soundly and sincerely religious. r It will goe vp with thee to the wheele, it will goe downe with thee to the rack: it will keepe with thee while thou liuest; s it will away with thee when thou diest. For t when the worldly man dieth, his hope dieth with him; u but the godly hath hope euen in death. And the Feare of God, that is Godlinesse, and y the righteous∣nesse of it, in z the reward of it, that is the gaine that commeth by it, endureth for euer, and exten∣deth it selfe to all eternitie, lasting not onely past this liues end, but past the whole worlds end, with which all worldly wealth and gaine; must needes haue an end.

This world is compared to a Fishing; the a end of it, to the drawing vp of the nets: while the nets are downe, there is nothing said to be caught; for

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the nets may breake, and the Fish escape. But at the end of the world, when the nets are drawne vp, it will then euidently appeare what each man hath caught. And then those that haue fished here for riches and gaine, may say with Peter, b Domine, tota hac nocte laboravimus, & nihil cepimus: Lord, all this night haue we laboured, and caught nothing at all. For c the worldly rich, when they awake out of their present sleepe, wherein they dreame of gold and gaine, shall finde nothing in their hands. But those that haue here fished for Godlinesse, may say, as d he might after∣ward haue said; Domine, in verbo tuo retia demisim{us}, & cepimus: Lord, at thy word, haue we let downe our nets, and haue caught, yea we haue caught abundant∣ly: we haue fished for Godlinesse, and haue gotten Life eternall. For e Vnto those that by patience and perseuerance in well doing haue sought for glory and honour and immortalitie, will the Lord giue eternall life in that day.

But let vs sift out, and see somewhat more parti∣cularly, wherein this spirituall Gaine consisteth.

First then, the speciall Wealth in this World, is that which commeth by Inheritance. f Riches and possessions, land and liuing, saith Salomon, come from a mans auncestors. And among those things that may make a man happy, the Heathen man putteth this in the first place, as the chiefe, g Wealth and goods, not earned with ones hands, but left a man by his friends.

But as h Virtue, so Pietie is not haereditarie. The one commeth not by kinde; neither is the other left by will: It is a greater legacie, than the migh∣tiest Monarch that is, can bequeath to his heire.

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For i God himselfe is the inheritance of those that haue it.

k God (saith the Psalmist) hath giuen a portion to them that feare him. If a Rich man giue one a Childes part, it is like to be a matter of some worth: Much more then if God giue a man a Childes part. But more then that, l he himselfe is the portion that he giueth vnto his. m Portio mea ipse es, Domine; saith Dauid; O Lord, thou art my portion. And, n He that bestowed my selfe vpon me, hath bestowed himself also vpon me, saith Bernard. And if o the Levites neede haue no inheritance among their brethren, because God is their portion; (it is sufficient, they haue him, that is, p El shaddai, God all sufficient;) and yet that was but in a temporall manner: Much more then is the godly man wealthy enough, though he haue nothing in the world, though he haue no part among worldly men; seeing God is his portion in a spirituall manner, in a much better sort. He whose portion God is, cannot be poore.

We vse to say, that, He cannot lightly want money, that is Master of the Mint: and he can neuer be poore, q that hath a well-spring of wealth. r Much lesse then can that man want ought that is good, who is pos∣sessed of God himselfe, s the fountaine of all good. In regard whereof, Dauid hauing prayed for many temporall blessings in the behalfe of his people, t that their Sonnes might be all and hardie like goodly yong Cedars; and their Daughters faire and comely, like the curious caruings about the Temple; their Oxen strong to labour, and their sheepe fertile and fruitfull; that there might 〈…〉〈…〉 nor foraine in∣vasion:

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at length he windeth vp all indeed with this Epiphonema or Conclusion, u Blessed be the people that are in such a case: but on the neck of it he commeth as with an Epanorthoma, or a Correction of his former speech, Yea rather blessed are the people that haue Iehova for their God; that haue the Lord for their portion: This one blessing alone is better worth than all those. So that as when the woman in the Gospell cryed out to Christ, x Blessed is the wombe that bare thee, and the paps that gaue thee suck: Our Sauiour, as correcting her speech, (and yet y true also that was) saith, z Blessed are those rather that heare Gods word and keep it. So the Psalmist ha∣ning pronounced them blessed that be in such a case, as eating in and revoking his words againe, as if he had spoken otherwise than well, Yea blessed (saith he) are they rather whose God is the Lord: As if he had said, That is indeed an happinesse in some kinde, in some case: but yet that happinesse is nothing to this blessednesse: for that is but externall, this is inter∣nall; that is but temporall, this is eternall.

Secondly, the greatest wealth in this world is of a Kingdome: and therefore said he sometime in the prophane Tragedie, that a If a man might breake his word for ought, it should be to atchieue a Crowne, to compasse a Kingdome. Yea not to be a King onely, but to belong to a King in some place neere about him, is esteemed a matter of great worth and digni∣tie, and such as may proue a meane of much wealth and commoditie to one that can wisely make vse of it. c They were held happy men that could get into Salomons seruice. And it is the greatest matter that

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d Slmon could promise the man that is diligent and industrious in the managing of his affaires, that he shall stand before, e that is, attend vpon Princes, and not serue or waite vpon any meane man.

If it be held such a matter then to retaine and be∣long to some one of the Princes of this world: What is it to appertaine and belong to GOD, f the King of Kings, and g the Prince of Princes, h the highest Soueraigne i Lord of Heauen and Earth; k that depo∣seth Kings and disposeth of their Kingdoms at his plea∣sure; that assignth euery earthly King the lists and limits both of his regiment and of his reigne? That which the Apostle Paul therefore prefixeth as no small credit before sundry of his Epistles; and King Dauid as a great grace before some of his Psalmes: l Paul a seruant of Iesus Christ: and, m A Psalme of Dauid the seruant of God: as if it were n a greater dignitie to him, that he was Gods seruant, then that he was ruler and gouernor of Gods people.

But because o the Seruant is oft-times turned out at dores, whereas the Sonne abideth in the house for euer: And therefore the Father telleth his Sonne in the Gospell; p Sonne, thou art euer with me: and all that I haue is reserued for thee. The godly man is not onely Seruant to a King, but he is q Sonne to such a King, and r borne, or rather s new-borne, to a Kingdome.

And whereas earthly Kings, if they haue many Sonnes, can leaue the Crowne but to one. t Iehosa∣phat (faith the Holy Historie) gaue great gifts to his other Sonnes, but the Kingdome gaue he to oram; be∣cause he was the eldest God 〈◊〉〈◊〉 u all his Sonnes

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Kings and x Heires alike. For y if we be Sonnes, saith the Apostle, we are Heires too; euen coheires with Christ, z who is Heire of all.

But how can the Godly be so rich may some say, when he hath, as it may fall out, not a penny in his purse?

Thirdly therefore: A man may truly be said to be Rich in writing; the monied man, though he haue neuer a penny in the house, but a all ou at interest; and the landed-man, though he hold not his lands in his owne hands, but haue all let out and in the occupation of others, so long as he hath good se∣curitie for the one, and good euidence, if neede be, to shew, for the other. And as in Writing, so in Re∣uersion. Great summes of money do many giue for the reversions of offices, of lands and leases; and as much may they make them againe away for, if they will.

And in like manner may the Godly man be said to be rich both in Writing, and in Reuersion: yea in either kinde he is b the richest man in the world. For he hath all in the world, yea c all this world, and the next world confirmed and assured vnto him by the word and promise of God, yea by his deede and bond vnder his owne hand and seale, who cannot goe from his word, or disclaime his hand d to lye, or e to denie himselfe; though it be much of it in other mens hands yet for a while. For f Pietie or Godli∣nesse hath the promises both of this life, and of the life to come, saith our Apostle. And againe; g Be it Paul or Apollos, or things present, or future, or this

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world; h all is yours, and you Christs, and Christ Gods. All the wealth both of this world, and of the world to come is theirs, (as i hauing nothing, saith the Apo∣stle, and yet possessing all things) though it be k for their good also, with-held from them for a while.

l The wicked in right haue iust nothing, hauing made forfeiture of all, m though it please God n not to take euer the aduantage of it instantly, & o where he doth not, man may not. They are but p intruders vpon and vsurpers of Gods goods, and shall one day answer for their vsurpation and abuse of them: or q entercommoners by sufferance with Gods chil∣dren and seruants, whom he principally intendeth

Page 23

them vnto: or r Stewards and Treasurers, as oft∣times, for the good of the Godly.

And for Reversion; to omit what he hath in pre∣sent possession, besides 1 spirituall riches, of world∣ly wealth, as much 2 as he hath neede of, & as much 3 as it is good for him to haue: Euery Godly man, as he is 4 Rich in faith, so he is far richer by Faith. For 5 by it he holdeth and hath right to the reversion of such 6 an euerlasting inheritance, reserued for him in the Heauens, as cannot be purchased with all the wealth of this world; and as goeth in worth farther beyond all the wealth of this world, than the purest gold doth the drossiest durt.

And thus haue we seene, both that Godlinesse is gainefull; and wherein the Gaine thereof doth consistst.

Now the Vse hereof is two-fold, for Exhorta∣tion, for Examination.

For Exhortation first; to stirre vp all men to la∣bour and take paines to get Godlinesse. s All men gape after Gaine. It is almost euery ones song, that the Psalmist hath; t Quis ostendet nobis boni aliquid? Who will tell vs of any matter of gaine and commoditie? u Hearken, saith one well, yee sonnes of Adam, a co∣uetous race, an ambitious brood: Here is Honor, and true Honor; here is Gaine, and true Gaine: such as

Page 24

the x world cannot shew the like; y Gaine without any losse to, or hindrance of any: here is good Gaine, and great Gaine; here is infinite gettings. Labour for Godlinesse; labour to get and keepe a good Conscience: It is the gainfull'st Trade in the world. Who so followeth this Trade, shall not ven∣ture vpon vncertainties, he shall be sure to thriue, and to get infinite Gaine. For, z He that followeth after righteousnesse, as a man followeth a trade, shall finde Honour, and Life, true Honour, and eternall Life.

And here come there two sorts of men to be admonished.

First, the Rich, that they content not themselues with their worldly wealth, but that they seeke with∣all to get the true spirituall Riches, that a themselues may be rich, and not their purse or their chest only; that they may not be b rich to the world onely, but rich also to God. Else their earthly Gaine will proue their losse; their worldly wealth will be but a meanes to hinder their happines by keeping them out of Heauen, where alone is true and entire hap∣pinesse to be had. It is that which our Sauiour him∣selfe saith of the worldly. Rich man, that hath no∣thing to trust vnto but his riches: (for so to his Apostles c he expoundeth it himselfe:) that d It is easier for e a Camell; or, as some read the word, f a cable rope, to passe through the eye of a Needle, than for such a rich man to enter into the kingdome of Heaven. As if our Sauiour should haue said; It is as easie a matter, nay an easier, to thred a small Spanish Needle with a thicke Cable, or a great Cart-rope, then to

Page 25

get such a Rich man in at heauen gate: g That great bunched beast, a Camell, may as soone, yea sooner be dri∣uen through an needles narrow eye, than such a rich man be drawne vnto God, and be brought into the state of Grace. For so the most and the best reade it; and it is an ordinarie by word both with Syrians & Greeks, when they speake of a thing that they thinke alto∣gither impossible, to say, h An Elephant, or a Camell may as soone creepe through an Needles eye, as this or that come to passe. But not so soone, saith our Saui∣our, but i sooner may that be done, which k with man is altogither impossible, than such worldly rich men attaine to true happinesse. l Christ (saith the Apostle) became poore, to make vs Rich. m How be∣came he poore? saith one of the Ancients: •••• how maketh he vs rich? The same Apostle (saith 〈◊〉〈◊〉 shew∣eth vs, and expoundeth himselfe, where he saith; n He that knew no sinne, for our sake became sinne, by ta∣king vpon him the guilt of our sinne, that we might become the o Righteousnes of God in him. And indeed, to speake properly and precisely, as the truth is, not as the world, but as God reckneth, p the onely pouertie is Sinfulnesse, and q Righteousnesse the right Riches. And the rich man therefore that hath

Page 26

not a religious heart, is but like r proud Laodicea, s a poore beggarly wretch in Gods sight, and in the sight of those that see so as he seeth, howsoeuer he may seeme rich and glorious in worldly mens eyes.

Yea to him that hath it too, that is both rich and religious, may we well say, as our Sauiour did to his Disciples, when they vaunted at their returne from preaching the Gospell, that euen the Diuels were subdued vnto them; t Reioyce yee not herein, that the Diuels are subdued vnder you: so were they vn∣der Iudas too; but herein reioyce, that you haue your names entred in heauen. So reioyce not herein that thou art rich to the world, or that thou art great in the world, and hast others vnder thee, and at thy command; that thou art clad gorgeously, and fa∣rest deliciously; (for u so did that reprobate Rich man in the Gospell:) but herein reioyce that thou art rich vnto God, and x in his sight, that thou fea∣rest and seruest God, and y labourest to keepe a good conscience, that thou art a z carefull dispenser and faithfull disposer of that treasure that God hath entrusted thee withall. Then thou art 5 truely Rich, when thou art sincerely religious, when thou art truly righteous.

Secondly, the poore, they are likewise to be ad∣monished, to labour for Godlinesse: that though they be not a rich to the world, they may be rich yet to God; and their worldly pouertie shall be no hindrance to their spirituall preferment. For

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b God (saith the Apostle) hath chosen the poore of this world to be rich in grace, and heires of his king∣dome.

And here is great comfort for the poore man, that liueth a godly life, and maketh Conscience of his courses, hath a care to please God and to doe his will in all things, and to approue himselfe and his wayes to him, walking faithfully and painfully in the works of his calling, be it neuer so meane; that though he be neuer so poore and bare, though he liue but from hand to mouth, as we say; yea though he haue not one good rag to hang on his backe, or one good morsell of meat in a twelue-month to put in his mouth, though he haue not the least patch of land in the world to sustaine him, or the least hole that may be to hide his head in; c yet is he a rich man for all that, richer than Crassus or Croesus, or the wealthiest worldly man again in the world. For they haue but d the false Riches, he the true treasure; they haue but the counterfait e glassie pearle; he hath that precious orient pearle, which f the wise Merchant, when he hath found, is content to sell all that euer he hath to purchase it, to forgo all that euer he is worth for the compassing of it; and yet is he no looser by the bargaine neither. For as he is a Merchant, so is he also a wise Merchant; and there∣fore knoweth well what he doth in so doing: he knoweth that in buying it, he buyeth himselfe and his owne safetie, his own eternall saluation, togither with it.

Againe, this serueth to ouerthrow the opinion of such persons as thinke that there is litle or no Gaine

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to be gotten vnder God, litle or no good at all to be gathered in Gods seruice. So the worldly men in Iobs day; g Who is the All-sufficient, say they, that we should serue him? or what profit should we haue by praying vnto him? And the wicked in Malachies time; h It is but in vaine to serue God: there is no∣thing to be gotten by keeping his commandements, and walking humbly before him.

Yea but, may some say, sure there be none such now a-dayes, especially among vs that make pro∣fession of Christianitie; and therefore this vse of the point might well be spared.

If it be so with vs, i let our Actions answer for vs; let our practise proue it: And so we will turne the Vse from Reprehension to Examination, from Confutation to Conviction.

Let euery one by these Notes then examine him∣self, whither he be of this Opinion or no.

First, did men deeme Godlinesse to be a matter of Gaine, they would neuer thinke they had enough of it. For k Riches are stintlesse; there is no end of them. We neuer thinke that we haue wealth enough; we are still labouring for more. l Many men haue too much, and yet no man enough. There is no stint of wealth; but as m some write, though n fabulously, of the Crocodile, that he groweth so long as euer he li∣ueth: so it is too too true of this mysticall Croco∣dile, the desire of gaine and wealth, and of aduan∣cing or enlarging mens worldly estates, hath no

Page 29

acme, nō pitch, but groweth still more and more with men as long as they liue, o rifer oft with them then euer, when they are euen going out of the world, and haue one foot, as we vse to say, already in the graue.

But with Godlinesse men are soone satisfied; they haue soone enough of it. If they haue attained to but a litle superficiall sprinkling of common Grace, or ciuill honestie, that commeth as far short of sound sanctification and sinceritie, as the shadow doth of the substance; they begin presently to sup∣pose, with selfe-conceited p Laodicea, that they are rich enough and neede nothing; that q they haue no neede to labour for any further matter, they are euen as well as well may be, as neede be, at least.

No man is afraid of being too wealthy: but ma∣ny are afraid of being too godly, r Ne sis nimium iu∣stus; Be not too iust, sticketh shrewdly on many a mans stomacke: though spoken s not of true God∣linesse or Righteousnes indeede; but of nourishing in vs an ouer-weaning conceit of our selues; or of t being ouer-rigorous in censuring of others; like u the Pharisee in the Gospell, who, saith an ancient Writer very pithily and wittily, x exulting arrogant∣ly in himselfe insulteth insolently ouer others, and decei∣ueth himselfe alone, whom alone he excepteth, while he

Page 30

contemneth and condemneth all besides himselfe.

Secondly, Men would striue one to go beyond an other in Godlinesse, if they counted Godlinesse a matter of Gaine. For as the Heathen Writer well obserueth, y there is a kinde of emulation com∣monly among worldly neighbors, whereby they emulate such as goe beyond them in wealth: one neighbour striueth to out-build an other, one to get and purchase more than another. The couetous man casteth his eye on his rich neighbors, z as a man in a race doth on those that haue won ground of him, he striueth to get euen with this man, whom he is yet behind, to out-strip that man, whom he hath got euen withall. And the enuious man (as those two vices are seldome asunder) looking through the spectacles of enuie on his neighbours goods, a thinketh euery thing that his neighbor hath better than his own and it may be better than indeed it is, his grounds fertiler, his beasts fairer, his revenues larger, his gaines greater &c. and is ready enough oft to say with himselfe, Why should not my beasts looke a ••••ire a hi? why should not my grounds yeeld as much as hi? why should not I thrine as well as he, hauing as good ••••dnes to thrine by a he hath

And euen so wo•••••••• be with vs, held we God∣linesse to be gainefull. We would haue a kinde of godly emulation and ambition among vs, as the Apo∣stle speaketh, in matter of Godlinesse; we would euen b emulate, and c ambitiously, as it were, striue

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and contend to out-go one an other in goodnes and grace. And this were d a good and godly emulation, a goodly and a commendable strife and contention indeed. We would be eying of those that are got beyond vs in grace, and endeuour to get euen with them, yea, if it be possible, to out-strip them, and to cast them behind vs, e not by hindring their pro∣gresse, but by mending our owne pace, and f by straining our selues to runne the faster, the later it was ere we entred into this race. We would be as ready as they are to say to our selues; And why should not I be as forward in the feare of God, as Zea∣lous, as religious, as I see such and such are, since I haue as good meanes of being godly as they haue, as many inducements as either they or any other can haue?

But so stand the most affected, that they will not by their good will suffer any man to out-go them in wealth, in the way of the world: but they will let any man willingly out-go them in grace, and in the good wayes of God: there onely we straine cour∣tesie, and giue euery one the way of vs. And as our Sauiour telleth the Scribes and Pharisees, that g the very Publicans and Harlots might go into the kingdome of Heauen before them: So not a few among vs will suffer the very Pagans, and Papists, litle better than Pagans, if not worse many of them than they, the very Heathen and Heretikes to go into heauen be∣fore them, ere they will striue to out-go them in goodnes and godlinesse.

Thirdly, men would be more affected with it, if they supposed any matter of Gaine to be in it. h The couetous miser, saith the Heathen man, while the

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people either curse or hi••••e at him abroad, yet he pleaseth and cheereth himselfe the whilest with the sight or the consideration of his substance at home. It doth a man good at the very heart, euen to thinke vpon his riches, and but i to looke vpon his treasure. It will make our hearts to spring and leap within vs for ioy, to haue sodaine newes brought vs of some rich legacie, or large patrimonie by some meanes befallen vs.

But of this spirituall wealth and gaine most men are meerely stupide and senseles: No more moued commonly or affected, when either, (if any time at least they so do,) they thinke on it, or when they heare it spoken of in the Pulpit; then (as a Philoso∣pher said sometime of an ignorant Dol itting in the Theater, where the seats were of marble, that k One stone sate vpon an other:) then, I say, either the benches that they sit vpon, or the pillers that they leane against: Not once stirred at all to heare of the heauenly inheritance, or of holinesse, the meanes that must bring them to heauen, yea that worketh in mens hearts a kinde of l heauen vpon earth, and giueth Christian men seizin of heauen euen while they liue here. An euident argument that either they beleeue not the Gaine of it, or they beleeue not themselues to haue any share in it.

Fourthly, men would be oft taking account of their Gaines in this kinde, of their thriuing in God∣linesse, if they held Godlinesse to be so gainefull. m Worldly men are very frequent and diligent here∣in, very carefull to keepe their bookes of receipt and expense, poaring euer and anon on them, running

Page 33

oft ouer their reckonings, and casting vp their ac∣counts, to see how they thriue or pare in the world, how they goe forward or backward in wealth.

But where we shall finde a man that hath the like care of keeping & casting vp his spiritual accounts, of n examining himselfe for his spirituall estate, how he thriueth or pareth with the graces of Gods Spi∣rit, how he goeth forward or backward in goodnes or Godlinesse? And yet would our care be alike for either, did we equally apprehend the gaine of either. But let vs looke vnto it. For whither we call our selues to account here or no, God will questionlesse one day call vs to an account. And then not one∣ly o the prodigall Sonne, and the p vnfaithfull Stew∣ard, that hath the one vnthriftily lauished out his patrimonie, and the other riotously wasted his ma∣sters wealth; but q the idle and vnprofitable Seruant to, that hath not gained with his Talent, that hath not thriuen with the Grace of God bestowed on him, shall be bound hand and foot, and cast out into vt∣ter darknes, where shall be weeping and wailing, and gnashing of teeth.

Fiftly, men would make more account of Godli∣nesse, if they counted it as Gaine. Did they indeed account Godlinesse more gainefull than Gaine, they would not put Godlinesse away for Gaine, they would not prefer Gaine before Godlinesse. Yea did they deeme Godlinesse the gainfullest thing in the world, they would not forgo Godlinesse for a world of wealth, or for ought else that were in the world.

But it is with it, as it is with Time. It is a com∣mon

Page 34

saying in euery mans mouth, that r There is nothing in the world more precious than Time, and yet s there is nothing generally more trifled away than it. So of Godlinesse the most will (in word at least) acknowledge, that there is nothing in the world more gainefull than it, and yet the most of them that so say, sticke not to make it away for meere trifles. t Godly they are content to be for aduantage, so long as Godlines bringeth in any worldly Gaine with it, or so long as there is no hope of any the like Gaine by vngodlinesse. But let Godlinesse cease to bring in such Gaine, they grow soone weary of it: or let but the least hope of such Gaine by vngodlinesse shew it self, & they are ready presently to exchange Godlinesse for it.

u What should it auaile a man, saith our Sauiour, to winne the whole world, and loose his owne soule? It were no Gaine for a man to get the whole world by vngodlinesse; since he must withall loose him∣selfe, his life, his soule for his labour. But we are ready and willing, the most of vs, to part with God∣linesse, and forgo good Conscience, for far lesse matters then that commeth to, for a penny or an halfe-penny toy now and then; to exchange it for some small peece or patch of the world, for some sory snip or stired of the pelfe of it, or for ought else that we haue some fond fancie vnto, the coue∣tous worldling for a litle temporarie treasure, and the lasciuious wanton for a litle transitorie plea∣sure: like x prophane Es••••, that sold his birth-right for a messe of broth, and y Salomons vniust iudge, that would d 〈…〉〈…〉 〈◊〉〈◊〉 a 〈…〉〈…〉se•••• of bread, and

Page 35

z the false Prophets in Eechiels time, that would pollute Gods name for an handfull of barly.

That which euidently sheweth at how low a rate most men value Godlinesse. For as a a scoffing companion sometime told the Bishop that would giue him his blessing when he would not giue him an halfe-penny, that If his blessing had bin worth an halfe-penny, he should not haue had it. So if world∣ly men thought Godlinesse, and the Feare and Fa∣uour of God worth but an halfe-penny, they would not venture to put either away for an halfe-penny matter: they would not so readily exchange either for trifles, did they not make but a trifling matter of either.

Neither may the greater sort of such men auoide this imputation, and wash their hands with b Pilate from the soile of this sinne, because they are wont to make Godlinesse away for greater matters. To omit c that euen the greatest of them will beare no weight at all, if they be laid in the ballance against Godlinesse, when the whole world it selfe is too light to weigh against it. Thou thy selfe, who euer thou art, wilt cry out shame on some poore silly wretch, that shall forsweare himselfe, and so damne his soule, as thou thy selfe saist, for a penny, when thou dost thy selfe, it may be, in effect as much for somewhat more. But do thou consider, as d Ari∣stippus sometime told Plato, that a penny may be as much to him as a pound is to thee, and a pound no more with thee than a penny with him: and therefore doest thou value Godlinesse at as low a rate in stretching and straining of thy Con∣science

Page 36

for the one, as he in tentering it for the other.

Lastly, men would be content to take more paines for the compassing and increasing of it in themselues, if they held Godlinesse to be gainefull. Men can well endure to sit telling and taking mo∣ney, and it were all day long, from morning to dark night: But to heare the word, but an houre, where∣by the spirituall Gaine is gotten, the most can hard∣ly endure: they sit all that while on thornes, and thinke euery minute an houre, and are neuer well till all be done. They say, or thinke at least with them∣selues, as the prophane Iewes sometimes said, e What a toyle, or a tediousnes is here? what needeth so much preaching? what needeth so long praying? they thinke they might be as well, if not much bet∣ter, without either: Yea many can not endure so long as till the houre be at an end. To whom God may well say, as our Sauiour to his drowsie Disci∣ples, f What, could yee not watch an houre with me? So, Can yee not endure to waite an houre on me, that watch so many ouer you? On g worldly Mam∣mon they could be well content to waite all day long, with forbearance not of disport onely, but of ordinarie diet too, that would thinke much but halfe an houre in the day to waite vpon him.

Againe, for worldly wealth men can toile and moile all the weeke long; and yet are they not wea∣rie; they thinke not the whole weeke long enough neither: But for the heauenly Gaine, for the spiri∣tuall thrift, we haue but one day of seuen, and we

Page 37

thinke that too much too: we thinke the day all too long, the labour all lost, and the whole time cast away, that we imploy and spend to this purpose. We say as the same Iewes at an other time said; h When will the New Moone be past; and the Sabbath once ouer? that we may returne againe vnto our worldly affaires. Yea many a∣mong vs haue not the patience to tarry so long, but spend a great part of the Sabbath, that is Gods Market or Mart-day, for the getting of this spirituall Gaine, either about their worldly affaires. or their bodily delights.

The Sabbath day, I say, is Gods Market-day. And those that seeke to take away the Sabbaths, attempt to put downe Gods Markets, and so do the Deuill good seruice, whatsoeuer their intent be. As frequenting of Markets maketh a Rich man; so keeping of Sabbaths maketh a rich Chri∣stian. And as we count him a bad Husband, that followeth Game on the Market-day: so may we as well count him a spirituall vnthrift, that spendeth the Sabbath in that sort.

But may some say, when we haue bin at Church, and heard the Sermon and Seruice, is not Gods Market-day then done?

I answer: If the Sabbath be i a day, then is it not so soone done. Gods Market lasteth all day long.

Yea, grant the principall, because the publike, of it bee past: yet as Market-folks returning from Market will bee talking of their Markets, as they goe by the way, and be casting vp of

Page 38

their penny-worths, when they come home, reckon what they haue taken, and what they haue laid out, and how much they haue gotten: So should we, after we haue heard the word publikely, conferre priuately of it with others; at least meditate on it by our selues, and be sure to take an account of our selues, how we haue profited that day by the word that hath bin spo∣ken vnto vs, and by other religious exercises that haue bin vsed of vs. And as the Market∣man counteth that but an euill market-day, that he hath not gained somewhat on more or lesse: So may we well account it an euill Sabbath to vs, whereon we haue not profited somewhat, whereon we haue not either increased our know∣ledge, or bin bettred in affection; whereon we haue not bin further either informed in iudgment, or reformed in practise, whereon we haue added no whit at all to our Talent.

To winde vp all in a word. If we hold God∣linesse to be, as the Apostle here saith it is, a matter of Gaine, and of great Gaine, that which maketh Gaine to be Gaine, and without which Gaine it selfe is no Gaine indeede; that k it bringeth all good with it to him that hath it; and that it neuer leaueth him, but abideth with him, and sticketh by him for euer: Oh let vs labour then to get of it, and to grow more and more in it; let vs endeuor to out-go one an other in Godlinesse; let vs call our selues to a reckoning how we thriue or pare in it; let vs l not put it away for such trifles and toyes as the

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world or the m Deuill shall tender vnto vs to bereaue vs of so pretious a pearle; Especially let vs haue a care of frequenting n Gods markets, of obseruing Gods Sabbaths, the principall meanes of increasing this spirituall wealth in vs. So shall it come to passe that we shall haue God to be our portion; we shall be heires of his Kingdom, and coheires with his Christ; we shall haue all the good things both of this life and the next assured vnto vs here, and the full fruition of them for euer hereafter.

The end of the first Part.


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