The Fourth EVILL.
Then Fourthly; There is scarce any disposition more opposite, more contrary to the work of grace, to the work of godlinesse in a mans own heart than earthly-minded¦nesse, 'tis so exceeding crosse to the nature of grace, that it may as well put men or women to be at a stand, and put them upon examination whether there be any grace or no in their hearts if earthly-mindednesse prevail, as almost any other thing; if God should suffer your corruptions to pre∣vail over you, so as you should break forth into some out∣ward notorious sins, then it may be you would begin to think, can this stand with grace? and how can that stand with such workings as I have had before? have not I cause to fear that I am but an Hypocrite, a rotten professor? But now, this earthly-mindednesse hath as much opposition to the nature of grace, and the power of godlinesse in the heart as almost any sin that you can name. It is so quite contrary to the very beginning of the work of grace, not contrary to the degrees only, but to the very begining. The main work of God at the very first, in working grace in Page 25 the soul, is to disingage the soul from the creature, it is to take it off from the Earth, and from all creatures here be∣low: for naturally 'tis true, That as we are of the earth, so we are earthly, and have our spirits ingaged to the things of this earth; but then comes the work of grace upon the soul, and takes it off, and discharges the heart from the earth: and therefore you find that Christ laies in this as the first lesson, That he that will be my Disciple, must deny himself, and take up his Cross and follow me: as if he should say, never think of being a Christian except you will deny your selves. Self: what's that? all natural con∣tentment, natural-self, and sinful-self, to be emptied wholly of your selves, and creature-comforts, and content∣ments, and take up my Cross, to be willing to suffer any thing in regard of earthly comforts, to be willing to lay down all at my feet, and to give up your interest in all, and to take up my Cross; this is the very first beginning of Christs bringing Disciples to himself. Then (saith the soul) let me have my sin pardoned, and farewel earth, it's Heaven, Holiness, renewing of the Image of God, communion, and union with God, and living to the eter∣nal praise of his Name in Christ that my heart is upon; I say, this in the beginning of Gods working the heart to himself. The work of Grace when it is first wrought, it hath the name of Vocation: Calling, what is it for a man to be called? give diligence to make your calling & election sure: To be called, is this, and whereas before thou wert altoge∣ther digging and dolving in the earth, and seeking for thy happiness in the world, now it pleases God to make thee to hear a voice behind thee, calling thee, and telling thee, O poor soul, thy happiness is not here, there are other things in which thy chief good consists, thou art made for higher and better things than these, God hath nobler thoughts about man-kind than meerly to let him have a few contentments here in the earth, Oh soul! come away and look after higher things; here's the first work of grace: and the soul answers unto this call of God and saith, Lord, Page 26 I come, and so gives up it's self to God to dispose of it, and this is in the beginning of the work of Grace: Now, how contrary is earthly-mindednesse to the work of God in bringing grace into the heart? Conceive it in these three things.
1. The very work of conversion, it is set out in Scripture by Gods calling the soul out of the world, Whom he hath predestinated; him he hath called. When God effectually be∣gins to work upon the heart of a sinner, he does cause a voice to be heard in the soul, Oh soul, thou hast been busy∣ing thy self about many things, but there is one thing ne∣cesseary, Oh come out of that way of thine that thou art in, thou canst never be happy else, thou wilt be undone in it; the Lord calls the soul out of the world; and that (I say) is the very work of conversion, the souls answearing to Gods call: Now for one stil to be earthly, and to have a heart cleaving to these things, surely such a one is not as yet ef∣fectually called out of the world.
2. And then from thence follows, upon the souls answer to this call; the Lord difingages the heart from all creature∣comforts, and teacheth, the first lesson to deny himself, and to take up Christs Crosse: now what's more opposite to self-denial and the taking up of the Crosse of Christ than earthly-mindednesse? the text saith here, They are enemies to the Cross of Christ.
And then a third thing in conversion it is, The resigning up of the soul to God as the chief good; the soul upon the call of God, it learns the lesson of Self-denial, and taking up the Crosse, and so being disingaged from the creature, now it resigns up it self to God as an infinite soul satisfying good for ever: now you cannot but in the naming of this see how opposite earthly-mindednesse is to it.
And then for the work of grace upon the heart, after the heart is converted and turned to God.
First, Grace brings a new light into the soul: A Spiritual and Divine light is set up in the soul upon the conversion of a sinner to God; but now, the earth you know, it's Page 27 the dark part of the world, and earthly mindednesse it causeth darknesse to be upon the spirit, as the interposition of the earth between us & the Sun, it doth hinder the sight of the Sun from us; And so the interposition that there is of earthlinesse in the soul of man between God and it, doth hinder the sight of God from the soul; there is a Divine light set up in the soul, and when as God works grace that doth discover things of a higher and more excellent and glorious nature, than those things were that before the heart did so much cleave unto.
In the second place: the Scirpture sets forth the work of grace by the New creature. In the soul all things are made new, old things are Past, he that is in Crhist is a new crea∣ture: Now earthly-mindednesse is opposite to the new creation in the soul, it's the old man that is of the earth, the first man is of the earth earthly; and so it is apparant that thou art still only in the stock of the first man, of the earth earthly who art an earthly-minded man. But the second man is, the Lord from Heaven: But now, thou that art an earthly-minded man or woman art yet but a child of A∣dam, of the first man, and so art of the earth earthly, this is opposite to grace, grace works a new creation in the soul.
3. And grace is of an Elevating nature, raises the heart a∣bove its self, and above the creature, yea, above the world, in some respect above Angels themselves, above Principali∣ties and Powers, above all created things, grace is of a raising nature; but an earthly-minded man sinks down to low and base things.
And grace (fourthly) is of an Enlarging nature; it enlar∣ges the heart, so that it cannot be satisfied with any earth∣ly thing, though God should give the whole world to a heart that hath grace, this would not satisfie that heart, why? because it is so Enlarged by the work of grace, the work of grace it is the Divine nature, the Image of God in the soul, and therefore works the soul like to God: and it's said of God in the 40. of Isa. that all the nations of the Page 28 earth are to him, but as the drop of the bucket, and as the smal dust in the ballance. Now grace makes the soul to be like God, to accout all the things of the earth to be as the drop of a bucket, and the dust of the ballance, to be nothing, less than nothing.
5. And then, Grace sanctifies the soul: Now what is it to sanctifie, but to take off from all common uses, and to dedi∣cate to God as the highest act of all things? And therefore, the Greek word that is for Holy, it is taken from a partici∣ple Premitive, and a word that signifies the Earth, as much * as to say, Not Earthly, and a holy one in the Greek language is not an earthly one, according to the usual etimology given of it. Now Grace it makes the soul holy, it sanctifies the soul, it sets apart the soul for God, and dedicates and con∣secrates the soul to God: and therfore you see that it is op∣posite to the work of God in bringing Grace into the soul, and to the work of grace, and the power of godliness in the soul of man: This is the great Evil of Earthly mindedness.