The Thirteenth Evil.
Earthly-mindednesse, it doth exceedingly hinder preparation for death, and it is like to make death to be very grievous and terrible to them when it comes (that are like the rich fool in the Gospel) In the 21. of Luke, the 34. verse, (this I have from the Scripture) Take heed to your selves (Christ here speaks to his Disciples) lest at any time your hedrts be over-charged with surfitting and drunkenness and cares of this life; (he puts them together) It's very strange you will say that Christ should speak this to his Disciples, to forewarn them of this, we do not think that they were drunkards so as to follow after Taverns and Ale houses, or to reel in the streets; but by this drunkennesse he means any excesse in the use of the creatures in meat or drink, and professors of Religion may be subject to that, to give up themselves too much to sensual delights and excesse in the use of the creature, but besides that, though many there are that would abhor glutteny and drunkennesse, yet the cares of this life takes up their hearts; therefore saith Christ, Take heed to your selves lest at any time your hearts he over charged with the cares of this life: why? what evil would the over-char∣ging of the heart which the cares of this life bring? mark, (saith the text) And so that day come upon you unawares, for as a snare shall it come upon all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth, watch ye therefore and pray alwaies &c. I may apply this to death: though the Scripture be speaking of Christs coming; now in the time of death Christ comes particularly, there is a particular day of Judgment at the day of death; it may likewise be applied to the time of any affliction, and then it may be inlarged thus, and so then the evil of earthly-mindednesse appears in this, that it doth hinder the preparation of the soul for afflictions. Oh! earthly-mindednesse will make thine affliction to be grievous and heavie to thee: an affliction is a very grievous thing to an earthly spirit; if God comes to take away any comforts of Page 48 this world, now because thy heart cleaves so close to them there must be a rending of them from thee, and that will put thee to pain; a man that hath his garments loose, he can easily put them off when he goes to bed at night, but if a man hath a sore upon his body, and his inward garments shall cleave to the sore, If he puls them off then it puts him to a great deal of pain, Oh then he cries out of his pain! Truly, this earthly-mindednesse comes from distemper of spirit, and the things of the earth they cleave to the hearts of men and women that are earthly, as the inward gar∣ment should cleave to a sore on a mans body; and now when afflictions or death comes to take the things of the earth from them, or them from the things of the earth, Oh it's painful to them, it's grievous to them and for one that hath an earthly spirit, a hundred to one if he hath any light of conscience left in him, but his conscience will trouble him in time of sicknesse and then tell him how he hath spent his time and strength of his spirit about the things of of the earth, whereas they should have bin spent about more excellent things, and when he comes to die then his spirit will be troubled, I am now to leave all these things that I have spent my care and thoughts upon and let out my heart about, and what good is it to me now that I shall leave so much more than my neighbor doth, what great content is this to me when I am upon my sick and death bed? what comfort can I have in all the good things I have enjoyed? yes, (it may be) through the earth∣linesse of my spirit, I have enjoyed but little of them, but I have had carking thoughts about them; But now, death is like to be to me as a Strainer, that strains out the good and leaves the drosse and the dirt behind it. And so all the good of the things of this world is gone, But the guil∣tinesse that I have contracted upon my spirit with my im∣moderate care and affections that I have let out upon the world that now is upon my spirit, Oh! death hath been very grievous to worldly spirits. I remember there's one that liv'd in a place not far from the place that I have for∣merly Page 49 liv'd in, a covetous, earthly spirit, when he was to die, cals for his Money, and fals a swearing, Must I leave you now? (speaking to his Bags, and hugging of them) What! must I leave you now? An earthly man that had spent his spirits and strength upon these things, and indeed let out his heart to them as his portion, and then he sees that he must be stript from all, must bid an eternal fare-wel to all, no more houses, nor lands, nor comming-in, nor money: Oh! death is grievous to such a one. Now, what should be the life of a Christian, but a continual preparati∣on for death? Many of the Heathens said of Philosophy, that it was but a preparation for death. A special excellency of Christianity consists in this, that it is a Preparative for death; and therefore you should let out your hearts to the things of this world so, as to be continually thinking of death, that when God cals you to depart from these things, that you may do it with ease, with as much ease as a man when he is going to bed casts off his cloaths that are loose about him; for so the grave is as a bed to the Saints where they fall asleep when they die, and so they may lay down all things and go to their sleep with ease and peace. A man or woman that can have their consciences tell them, I have been diligent in my calling, but God knows through faith∣fulnesse to him, rather than l••e to the world; and I have kept my heart close to God, and faithful to him, I can bid the world now farewel, as the world hath done with me, so I have done with it; so long as my time was to work for God, God continued those things that this frail nature of mine had need of, and now my work is done, farewell the the comforts of this world, I expect other kind of comforts that I am now going to: So, such a one that is spiritual may die with comfort; but those that have their hearts o∣vercharged with the cares of this life, they will have the day of Christ come upon them unawares.