The Twelfth Evil.
Earthly-mindedness is a dishonor to God, and a scandal to Reli∣gion. What! shalt thou profess an interest in Christ? and are there no higher things to be had in God than such base things as thy heart is upon? What! doest thou hold forth the everlasting Gospel in thy hand to others; and doest o∣penly professe a nearnesse to God more than others; and is there no difference between the workings of thy heart and the workings of others after the things of this world? Oh! how does this darken the excellency of Grace! if there be any grace at all: it very much clouds it; as the mixing of earth and drossie stuff with pure mettle, it takes away the excellencie of the pure mettle; so the mixing of earth with the profession of Religion, blemisheth the beauty and splen∣dor of the profession of Religion: Thou wilt never be the man or woman that is like to convince any by thy Con∣versation: thou art never likely to be a means to draw any to the love of the waies of godlinesse, because there is so much darknesse and earthlinesse in thy Conversation: Oh will they say, Indeed, he or she makes a great blaze in the world, and talks much of Religion, and of Ordinances, and such things, but as worldly as any, and groveling in the earth as much as any; people that are standers by wil think that profession is but a meer verbal thing, or a mock-shew, when as they see as much earthlinesse in your conversation as in the conversation of those that are without: you do bring an ill report on the things of God, as the Spies did Page 46 on the Land of Canaan. Whereas every professor of Reli∣gion should endeavour to put a lustre upon Religion, and to make the waies of God to be beautiful, amiable, and glorious in the eyes of all that do behold them: But now, to give a lye to your Gospel-profession by your Earthly∣conversation, is a very great scandal to the Name of Christ that is upon you and to his Gospel that you seem to stand up for. Oh! there's a great evil in this, and a very ill re∣port comes upon the waies of Religion by this means; ma∣ny that have had little religion in them, yet have some kind of generousness of spirit, so that they scorn such base sor∣dednesse as some sorts of Professors are given unto. Oh! for shame let not those that have only common gifts of na∣ture, and education outstrip you, that seem to be the follo∣wers of Christ; away with that base, muddy, earthly, sa∣ving, pinching disposition, it becomes none but Judas that carried the bag and betraied his Lord and Master for Eigh∣teen shillings and four pence. Let me argue with you, you that have to deal with any friends or neighbors, that you yet are afraid have not the power of godlinesse in them as you desire, but yet you see they have much ingenuity, and generousnesse, and publickness of spirit in them for publick good; take heed of scandalizing such men, for certainly such men if they could be brought to the love of Religion, to the power & strictness thereof, had they the work of the holy Ghost upon their hearts to humble them for sin, and to shew them the excellencie of Jesus Christ, they would be glorious Instruments in the Church of God and Common-wealth, and therefore it's a very great evil to scandalize such men as these; no, you should labor to walk so as they might see a beauty and excellencie in the waies of Religion by your Conversation; Oh! better, a thousand times bet∣ter that you be cut short of these things in the world, than that you should scandalize the waies of God, and the pro∣fession of the Name and Gospel of Jesus Christ.