CHAP. II. Earthly-mindedness discovered in Nine particulars.
THE first is this, When a man looks upon earthly things as the greatest things of all, when he hath a high esteem of earthly things, as THE things: as thus, Oh if I had such and such things as others have, Oh how happy should I be, how happy are such and such men that do enjoy such earthly things at their will, in their dwel∣lings, their furniture, their comings in, Oh these are the brave things, these are the delightful things, these are THE things wherein felicity and happiness doth consist. When men shall promise to themselves felicity in any earthly things, then they mind earthly things. I remem∣ber golden mouth'd Chrysostom hath a speech of a covetous man, That he looks upon his Money, and he sees more beauty in his Money than in the very Sun it self that shines in the Firmament: When men look upon the things of the earth as the most beautiful things in their eyes: Certainly that man is in a distemper, when he puts such a high esteem upon any earthly things, this esteem is not according to what God and his Saints do put upon earthly things, God never puts any great eminencie on any earthly thing; he never made any earthly things to be any great Conduit, Page 6 or means of Conveyance of any great good from himsel unto his Creature; If you would know what your heart, are, you may know it by this one sign as much as any What do you account your excellencie? according to what any man or woman accounts their excellency to consist in, so are their hearts, their hearts are sutable; in the 27. chap. of Genesis, 28. 39. verses. You shall find there Isaac blessing of Jacob and Esau, he blesses them both: but now, what I would observe is this, the difference in the placing of them, you shall observe, the blessing of Jacob in the 28. verse, therefore God giveth of the dew of Heaven, and the fatness of the earth, and plenty of Corn and Wine, that's Jacob's blessing: Now look to Esau's blessing, for the blessing was sutable to their disposition, and Jacob's father answered and said unto him, behold thy dwelling shall be of the fat∣ness of the earth, and of the dew of Heaven from above: mark, Isaac blesses them both with the dew of Heaven and fatness of the earth; but now, in Jacob's blessing the dew of Heaven is first, and the fatness of the earth is in the se∣cond place; but in Esau's blessing the fatness of the earth is first, and then the dew of Heaven: noting this, That a godly man indeed, doth stand in need of the things of the earth, as Christ saith, your father knows you stand in need of this things; I but the great thing in the first place that a godly heart doth mind, it ts, The dew of Heaven, and then in the second place, The blessing of the erath; But now, a carnal heart doth think it hath some need of the things of Heaven, it will acknowledge that: I but in the first place it's the fatness of the earth they desire: and secondly the dew of Heaven, So that that's the first thing: Earthly min∣ded men look upon these things as the high and chief things, and hence it is that the choise of the thoughts of an earthly-minded man is carried out on worldly objects.
Secondly, When the Cream and choise of the thoughts of men and women are busied about earthly things then they mind earthly things in a sinful manner: You may know what your hearts are by your thoughts as much as any thing, the thoughts Page 7 are the immediate ebulitions or risings up of the heart (as I may so call them) that is the bubbles that come from the heart immediately; a man cannot know what is in his heart so much by words and actions, as by the thoughts, because the thoughts immediately spring from the heart, as thus, I can tell what the water is in such a fountain bet∣ter from that that bubbles up immediatly from the fountain-head, than I can tell by the water that runs in the stream a mile or two off, for there may many things intervene in the stream a mile or two off that never came from the foun∣tain-head, but that that immediately bubbles from the fountain-head, that discovers of what nature the fountain is: So the thoughts are as it were the first born of the heart, and therefore the heart may be known what it is by the thoughts, Prov. 23. 7. saith the holy Ghost there, As he thinketh in his heart, so is he; That which is here spoken in a particular case may be applied in the general, As a man thinks in his heart so is he, as his thoughts are so is he: So is the heart as the thoughts of the mind are, Men may keep in words and actions out of by-respects, I but if you could know what the heart is, and look into the haunts of it in secret, that would discover to your selves what you are: as now, Many of your servants, when they are in your pre∣sence before you or before others they may out of divers re∣spects carry themselves fairly, but if you would find them out, labour to know what they do when they are alone in their private haunts: So, would you know your own hearts? do not so much look at them, and take a scantling of them by how you behave your selves in words and acti∣ons before others, but what they are in your private cham∣bers, what they are in the inward thoughts of the mind, there the heart comes to be discovered most; And by these thoughts I do not mean every kind of injection, or suggesti∣on, for sometimes the Devil may cast in evil thoughts into the most holy; but I mean such thoughts as are sweet to the soul, whereby the soul comes to suck out sweetness, and contentment, for that's the minding earthly things, when Page 8 you find the strength of your thoughts to be upon the things of the earth: and they are more sutable to your hearts than any other: It is not when through weakness the mind may be wandring this way or that way, or through suggestions or temptations; but now, when men or women are most themselves when alone and free, then for to examine what are the most sutable thoughts to their hearts, Can you say when you are alone, Oh the very thoughts of God are sweet to me, immediate in his Law day and night, and suck out sweetness there as from an ho∣ny comb? But an unclean wretch will suck out sweetness of his unclean thoughts when he is alone; and so the earthly minded man will suck out the sweetness of his earthly thoughts, and so the Ambitious man the sweetness of his pride when he is alone, and these are the most contentful thoughts to him, he can run along if it be two or three hours together and take delight and pleasure in them: here's Earthly-mindedness.
The third thing is this, An Earthly-minded man, is one whose heart cleaves to the earth: for so I told you the word was, not only to mind, but to savour the things of the earth: his heart doth cleave to the earth: The Psalmist in a far differing case said, that his soul did cleave to the dust: but it's true of many men in this case that I am speaking of, their very souls do cleave to the dust, their spirits are mix∣ed with the earth, and therefore they are drossie: Though it may be they have some good common gifts, some good natural parts, and some workings of the holy Ghost upon them, yet their spirits are drossie: because they are mixt with the earth: discourse never so much to these men of the vanity of the things of the earth, they will give you the hearing, but when you have done all, their souls do cleave to the earth: and discourse never so much to them of the excellency of heavenly things, they will hear you, but when you have done all, their souls stil cleaves to the earth: As a man whose soul cleaves in love to a woman, (As it is said of Sampson, his soul did cleave to Dalilab) talk what Page 9 you will against that women, or of the excellency of any other woman, yet his soul cleaves to that woman: so 'tis in an earthly minded man, let what will be said against the things of the earth, or what can be said for the setting forth of the excellency of the things of Heaven, yet his soul cleaves to the earth: as the Serpents belly did to the dust of the ground. That's an earthly minded man.
Fourthly, An earthly minded man, it on, whose heart is filled with distracting cares about the earth: what he shall eat and drink, and what he shall put on, how he shall provide for himself and his family, and what shall become of him at such a time, Though he be well now yet what may become of him afterwards: when the heart is filled with distracting cares about the things of the earth; so far as the heart hath these prevailing over it, so far such a man may be judged to be earthly.
There are two things that do cause distrating cares a∣bout anie businesse
The first is, An apprehension of some verie great evil In case I should be disappointed, I look upon my disap∣pointment in such a thing as a most intolerable evil to me, If I should be disappointed I know not what in the world to do That's the first
The second is, An uncertaintie in the means for the pre∣ventment of this disappointment: when as I look upon disappointment as a very great evil, so those means that should prevent and help me against disappointment I can∣not trust to: I look upon them as too weak to help me, notwithstanding al such means I may yet be desappointed, this causes distracting thoughts; so, tis in the things of the earth, an earthly minded man or woman hath his thoughts fil'd with distracting cares about the world. That is thus
First, They looking upon the things of the world as such great things, they conceive if they should be disap∣pointed they should be undone; they look upon it as such a fearful unsufferable evil to be depriv'd of their estate and outward comforts in this world.
Page 10 Secondly, They don't look upon the means of provisi∣on for themselves and families as having anie certaintie in it, which is a main thing to be considered of: As for out∣ward things in the world, they find by experience there is uncertainty in them. And then for any promse that there is in Scripture that God will provide for them and their fa∣milies, alas that they dare not trust to, that's a thing that of all means they think to be the weakest, Lord have mercy upon them (say they) if they have nothing else to trust to, but only a word in Scripture, they think themselves most miserable and wretched. But now, it would be otherwise with the soul if it were not earthly minded, it would not be at any great pause how things do fall out here in the matters of the world, it's true, perhaps I may miscarry in such a businesse, and my estate may be taken from me by the Caldeans or Sabeans as Jobs was, but I shall not be un∣done, my happiness is not gone, I shall have that that will comfort me when all that is gone; suppose the worst, yet this will not undo me, Indeed a man that sends abroad in a venture all his whole estate, he is very solicitous because if there be ill news about it he is undone; but another man that hath a great deal of riches, house, and Lands, and a stock at home to maintain him and his family, If there comes such ill news, I have a stock to live on he thinks, therefore he is not so much solicitous: So a worldly man, all his stock is in the earth, there's his only portion, and if he miscarries there he is undone; But a godly man, though he hath the things of the earth, yet he hath some∣thing else, treasures in Heaven to rest upon besides the earth, and therefore he is not so solicitous.
And then for the second, The uncertainty of means and help: if a godly man looks upon outward causes, he sees all is uncertain, but he hath a promise to rest upon, I will never leave you nor forsake you: cast your care upon me for I care for you; and this he looks upon as a certain means and help, whatsoever fals out, here's a promise that he can build upon, and therefore this takes off his solicitous Page 11 cares: But an earthly minded man or woman whose heart is fild with distracting cares, because he look upon himself as undone if he miscarries here, and hath nothing to rest upon for his provision in this world, more than the crea∣ture.
Fifthly, An earthly minded man or woman, is one whose great business of his heart and endeavours of his life are about the things of the earth: he makes it his great bu∣siness, and the strong endeavours of his spirit are exercised in the things of the earth: He eagerly and greedily works with the strongest intention about these things, his whole Soul, the whole man is laid out about the world, it is the adequate object of his soul.
You will say, Other men they are busie in their callings as well as these that you account earthly minded men, I but mark, they are busie about their callings in obedience to God; and for outward things set aside their obedience to God, then (I say) all the things that they busie them∣selves about in the world, were it not under that considera∣tion that they were obeying God in it they would not be adequate objects for their souls. I mean by an adequate object, that that Is sufficient to take up the whole strength of the soul to lay it out fully: I'le give you this similitude to express my mind further, to shew you what I mean by an adequate object, You have a little child, he is playing at sports, now this sport it hath as much in it as there is in his spirit, there is a kind of equality between his spirit and such a sport, there is benefit enough a child conceives in such a sport as it's worth the laying out of all his strength and might upon it: Now it may be, sometimes a man or woman will play with their child, they will do as the child doth to play with it, but this sport it's not an adde∣quat object, that's thus, a man or woman for the while would please themselves with the child, but not so as if there were as much good in this as would fill their souls, so as they would lay out all their mind and might upon this thing as that is fully adequate to the desires of their Page 12 soul; But sport is fully adequat to the desires of the soul of the child, but though a man or woman doth sport so with the child, yet these things are not fully adequat to the desires of a man or woman, and they have other matters in their heads than these, and businesses of a higher nature: and so it is in those that are not earthly minded, though they may be busied about the things of this world, yet they use the world as if they used it not, the things of the world are not objects adequat to their hearts, a spiritual heart reserves the chief strength of it for higher things, I follow these things in the world but so, as I reserve the chief strength for a more desirable good: As a man now, if he hath divers friends to come to him, perhaps he hath some of an ordinary rank, they come first, he makes ordi∣narie provision for them, but if he hath anie choise things for entertainment he reserves them for some choise friends that are coming to him: so a man that is not of the world though he may be busie in earthly things, yet the choise of his heart he both reserve for things of a higher nature. I remember Tertullian hath a speech of the Christians how they eat, and drank; when they sup'd, they eat and drank (saith he) so as they remembred they were to pray that night be∣fore they slept: So a gracious spiritual heart follows his out ward business in the world, but so as he remembers he is to converse with God that night before de sleeps, so that he reserves the strength of his spirit for communion with God; but now the other laies out all his strength as having no∣thing to do afterwards: so that in this an earthly, and a spiritual heart are quite contrary; The Apostle you know would have godly men to use the world as if they used it not; so on the contrary, an earthly-minded man uses spi∣ritual things as if he used them not; look how an earthly minded mans heart is in spiritual things, so a spiritual mind is in earthly things: An earthly minded man wil do some things that are spiritual, he will come and hear the word, perhaps he wil pray in his familie, and reade a chapter, I but his heart is not much there, he doth it as Page 13 he did it not, comes and hears as if he heard not, and praies as if he prayed not, he makes it not his business to pray or hear; so a spiritual minded man he doth the things of the world but as if he did them not, I mean in comparison of his being busie in spiritual things, there he doth it with all his might; An earthly minded man is like to Corab, Da∣than, and Abiram, we reade of them that they were swallo∣wed up of the earth: and so the truth is, the things of the earth, Contentments, provision for themselves and fami∣lies in earthly things, doth as it were open and swallow up the very hearts of earthly-minded men: and that's the fift thing for the discription of earthly mindedness.
Sixthly, But suppose a man doth not seem to be so strongly intent, to lay out his whole strength and heart a∣bout earthly things, yet when anie man or woman shall seek anie earthlie thing for it self (observe it) and not in subordination to some higher good, this is an earthly-minded man so for as this prevailes; in the 2 Cor. 4. 18. our Apostle Paul speaks there of the things that are seen that are but temporal, While we look not at the things that are seen, for the things that are seen are earthly and temporal: the word is * as much as to say, while we do not look as our scope upon temporal and earthly things that are seen, we do not make them our end, but we seek them in subordination, there is somewhat else that we look at higher in all these things, as for instance, a man that is godly, he follows his busi∣ness as other men do, but what is it that he would have? It's this, I shew my obedience to God, and I would provide those things that may be helpful to me to serve God in my generation; that's my end, I can appeal to God in this, that even in the following my business and all outward things, it is that I might follow God in the use of means for the providing of such things as may enable me to serve him the more in my generation: this is my scope in what I do. But now on the other side, an earthly-minded man makes his scope this, he will follow his business and look about the business of his calling that he might gain, he Page 14 would get that he might get, he would have more that he might have more, and that he and his children might be somebodie in the world, and it may be that he might have enough to have his will, and lusts, therefore he fol∣lows his business very intent, meerly that he may get to sa∣tisfie the flesh, yea, indeed all the good things that he doth he brings them in subordination to earthly things. You may take it thus, a spiritual man doth not seek earthly things for himself, but an earthly man doth; or thus more fully, (you may mak it a distinct head if you will,) An earthly man is earthly in all he doth do, both in earth∣ly and spiritual things, and a spiritual minded man is spi∣ritual in all he doth, both in spiritual and in earthly things; an earthly man when he is in earthly things he is altogether earthly, he looks not at obedience to God in what he doth, as thus, I'le follow my calling because God hath required it, but an earthly man thinketh, I'le follow it because I see gain come in by it, this is earth; though the things be lawful, and it's your duty to follow your calling, but to follow it meerly for gain, this is earthly: but because it is your duty and the place God hath set you in, that's spiritualness in earthly things: An earthly man is earthly in earthly things, and he is more earthly in spi∣ritual things: when he performes spiritual duties he hath an earthly end in it, either to get esteem from men, or to cover some evil, or meerly for form and fashion, he doth it in an earthly way, and it may be at the most that that he doth do, it is but meerly for his own quiet, and to sa∣tisfie his own conscience, he is earthly in spiritual things. But now, a spiritual man, is spiritual in earthly things. one of a spiritual mind, is more heavenly and spiritual when he is about his calling though the meanest, as hed∣ging, and ditching, or when he is pulling his ropes and lines, or using his Ax or hammer, he is more spiritual I say then, than an earthly man is, when he is praying, or hearing, or receiving Sacraments; certainly it is so, and it will be found to be so at the great day of Judgment, Page 15 when the secrets of all hearts shall be disclosed: that's the sixt thing, when a man seeks earthly things for him∣self.
And that that we may add as a seventh is, That he is earth∣ly in spiritual things. I grant that the best of the Saints may have some earthlinesse in spirtual things; but I speak of the predominancie, it's that that doth rule in the heart, so that in the performance of spiritual things, his very ends are but earthly, and the frame of his heart is but earthly in spiritual performances.
The eight thing wherein we may find an earthly min∣ded man is this, That he passes through many and great diffi∣culties in matters of the earth, and they are very little to him; and though he hath a great deal of toyl for the matters of the earth, yet he is never weary with it, because he is in his proper element; and therefore let there be what difficulties there will be, which to another man would be very great, he makes of them as nothing, and though there be much toyl and labour yet he is not weary, why? because he is in his own element: The fish is not weary with swimming, but a man is quickly weary, I but the fish is in it's element and a man is not; so, I beseech you observe this, when a mans spirit is in this kind of temper, let him but be busied about earthly things, wherein earthly advantage comes in, no difficulties will hinder him, no wind or weather, he will rise in cold mornings and go abroad, do any thing in the world. Oh! what difficulties will men endure In storms at Sea, and hazards there, and troubles at land ma∣ny waies for things of the earth, and sit up late, and rise early, and toyl themselves, and complain of no wearinesse nor no difficulties But now, let them come but to spiri∣tual things, to soul-businesses that concern God and their spiritual estates, every little difficulty puts them aside and discourages them, every mole-hill is a mountain in their way, I would do so and so indeed, but 'tis so hard, and 'tis tedious to rise in a morning, especially in cold winters morning; it is very hard and difficult to reade and pray Page 16 and so he is complaining of the difficulty of these things: And to watch over the heart, it's a mighty difficulty: to an earthly man any spiritual thing is difficult, and the diffi∣culties doth discourage him, and in spiritual things, Oh how weary are they! as they in the 1. of Micha, 13. they cryed out, What a weariness is it: But in the businesse of the world they can follow it, from morning to night they are never tired, they can work (as we say sometimes of men) like a horse and yet never out of breath: Oh I would but desire you try your hearts once, but to endea∣vour to spend one Sabbath exctly, and see what a weari∣nesse that would be to you, resolve but one Sabbath to rise early in the morning, & to have your thoughts spiritual & heavenly as much as you can, and then get up & pray alone in your closet, then reade, and hear, and meditate, and mark what you hear; and when you go home think of it, and confer about it, and when you come again attend up∣on the word, and so spend the whole day in hearing, rea∣ding, meditating, and conference about good things, Cal∣ling your family to account, and praying again, and see how tiresom this will be unto your hearts if they be car∣nal. But now a spiritual heart will call the Sabbath a de∣light unto it: And the Sabbath unto such an one is no o∣ther than that type and fore runner of that eternal day of rest it shall enjoy in the kingdom of heaven: one that is spiritual accounts the Sabbath to be a day of rest, but an earthly man is quickly tired in spiritual things, he will give over his work and not go through it: we reade in the 4. of Nehe. 6. verse Nehemiah having spoken of the great difficulties that they met withal in their work, and yet (saith he) the work went on, for they bad a mind to it. So, look how a mans mind is, so he will be able to go through his work; If a man be an earthly-minded man, such a man will go through stich with his work, If he take up busi∣nesse for the world he will go through with it, for he hath a mind to it, he is a man of an earthly mind; But let him take in hand a spiritual work, and he will lay it aside be∣fore Page 17 it be half done, he will seldom bring to perfection a∣ny spiritual work, why? because he hath no mind to it, whereas were the heart spiritual, and there were any spiri∣tual work undertaken, such a one would go through with it till all was finished.
Another note about the discription of an earthly-minded man, is this: An earthly-minded man, is one that doth con∣ceive of the most heavenly Truths that are revealed in the Word in an earthly way, according to his mind, his genious, and disposition of his own heart: And I verily think this is in a special man∣ner meant in this place, for the Apostle is speaking of those that did oppose him in his Ministery, and that were ene∣mies to the Crosse of Christ: Now (saith he) These mind earthly things, their mindes are of an earthly temper, and therefore no marvell (as if he should say) though they do not savour those Heavenly and Spiritual Truths that we bring to them, for their minds being earthly, they only apprehend those things after an earthly manner: As now, what was the great Truth that the Apostle did bring to the Philippians? It was the way of reconciling the world to God, of making our peace with God, and of our Justifica∣tion through Jesus Christ. Now there is no point of Reli∣gion more Spiritual, Heavenly, and Divine, than the Do∣ctrin of Reconciliation, and of Justification by Jesus Christ. So that, one that is of an earthly disposition, though he may be convinc'd of a necessity of pardon of sin, and peace with God, yet he apprehends the making of his peace with God, and obtaining pardon of his sin, but in an earthly manner, he hath carnal thoughts and apprehensions about his peace with God, and about obtaining pardon of sin, he thinks it is the same way that one man obtains peace with another when he is fallen out, and of getting pardon from another man that he hath offended, he conceives it in an earthly way, he looks upon his making peace with God, by some thing that he himself must perform; but for the point of Free justification by the grace of God in Christ, it's too Di∣vine, Spiritual and Heavenly for an earthly-minded man Page 18 to apprehend in the Spiritualnesse of it; an earthly-mind∣ed man, his apprehensions of God are but in a carnal, earth∣ly way; as the Prophet speaks in the 1 of Isa. The Ox knows his owner, and the Ass his masters crib: Even after that man∣ner doth an earthly-minded man know God; as an Ox his owner, and the Ass his masters crib: as thus, the ox knows his owner because he brings him fodder daily, so an earth∣ly-minded man hath no other apprehensions of God but this, he thinks God gives him good things in this world, God makes his corn to grow, or Prospers his voyage. An earthly-minded man may rise so high to have apprehensi∣ons of God as bringing good things unto him here on earth: But one that is spiritual and heavenly doth appre∣hend God as God, doth not look upon God meerly as good in respect of the benefit he receives from God here, but he looks upon God as he is in himself, he sees the face of God: as there's a great deal of difference between a man that knows another man, and a beast that knows a man, The ox knows his owner, the ox knows the man that brings hay or provender to him, but a man knows a man in another way, knows what the nature of a man is, knows what it is to be a rational creature, so one that is spiritual, knows what God is in himself, he sees the face of God, and understands what God is in another way than others do: the difference between the knowledge of God that a spiritual soul hath, one that is pure in heart, and the knowledge of God that an earthly heart hath, is just so much difference as comes to this, As the ox knows the man that drives him to fat pastures, so doth an earthly man know God that gives him good things: but a spiritual heart knows God as one man knows another, not in his full excellency, I mean not so, but there is such a kind of difference in some degree, between the apprehensions of God in a spiritual heart, and the apprehensions of God in an earthly heart: And so we might mention in many o∣ther Spiritual and Divine Truths, that an earthly mind doth apprehend but in an earthly way; consider of Heaven Page 19 its self, how doth an earthly mind apprehend that? he ap∣prehends that he shall be delivered from pain, and shall have some kind of glory, but knows not what it is, conceives it according to the way of the earth, some pompous, glo∣tious thing, that he shall live in pleasures and not in pain; and so apprehends all the glory of Heaven but in sensuali∣ty; whereas a spiritual heart looks at Heaven in another kind of notion, he looks upon the enjoyment of Commu∣nion with God and Jesus Christ in Heaven, and living of the life of God in Heaven; that's a thing that an earthly heart hath no skill at all in, neither doth such an heart so much as savour it. Thus I have in these several particulars discovered what an earthly-minded man is, Oh that you would lay your hands upon your hearts, and every one consider how far these things do reach you. But I have besides these, divers other convincements, to convince the consciences of men and women that yet there is much earthlinesse in them: but of them we shall treat of in their order afterwards.
The Second head to consider is this. The great evill that there is in earthly-mindedness, They mind earthly things. Is that any such great matter (you will say) indeed we cannot imagine the transcendency of the evil that there is in this, We think there's a great deal of evil in swearing, whoring, drinking, and such kind of scandalous sins, and indeed there is, But to have an earthly mind we do not think this to be so exceeding evil; yet you will find that the Scripture doth speak most dreadful things against this, and if God please to set them home upon your hearts, I hope there is much glory may come to God by it, and much good unto you in particular.