The Fifth Evil.
But Fifthly: For the discovery of the great Evil that there is in Earthly-mindedness: It puts men upon very great Temptations; and for that we need no other Scrip∣ture than that in the 1 of Tim. 6. 9. saith the Apostle there, But they that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare. Mark, that is, Those that have set their hearts so much upon the things of the earth, as they are resolved they must have them whatsoever comes of it: Observe the phrase; They that wil be rich, they apprehend a necessity of the things of the earth, they do not only wish and desire, Oh! that we had riches, and had these things of the earth, but they resolve they must have them upon any terms: Wel, If the heart go on in obedience to God in the duties of its calling, and if God send in riches and an estate, it doth thankfully accept it from God; these do not meet with such temptations and a snare as the Apostle here speaks of; but when the heart is Page 29 set upon it, that it needs must have an estate whatsoever comes on it; now they that will be so, they (saith the A∣postle) fall into temptations and a snare. There's dange∣rous temptations in following after the things of the earth, and there is a snare in them that you do not think of, for you think only of the bravery of the things of the earth, how sumptuously you should live, and how fine you should be, in your house, and cloaths, and what table you may keep, you only think of these things that may give the flesh contentment; but you do not think of the temptation, and the snare that is in them; and those whose hearts are set up∣on these things, they fall into the snare, nay, temptation; those that are earthly-minded, have great temptations, to shift up and down, to strain their consciences for the things of the earth; for so it is, that while we live in this world God hath made the things of the earth to be as thorns, and so they are compared in Scripture, and it's hard for one to meddle with thorns without pricking his fingers; they are as briars, & its hard for the sheep ro get among them but she wil lose some of her wool: and so it's hard for the heart to be busie about the things of the earth, but it will be prickt and lose some of its fleece, in will fall into temptation and a snare, and be catch'd: Oh! how many men and wo∣men that have enlightened consciences, & they think some∣times that they would not for all the world do any thing against their consciences, though they might gain all the glory and riches under Heaven: Well, but yet their hearts being earthly, when it comes to some particular, how rea∣dy are they? at least, to strain conscience, and not to attend to the voice of conscience, and are willing that conscience should have its mouth stop'd for the time: Indeed, If their consciences did plainly tell them, that this thing is abso∣lutely sin against God, perhaps they would not do it, but that were not the snare, for tis no snare when I see the dan∣ger before me, here's a deep pit, and if I step a step further I fall into it, this is no snare. But now, there are some that are not catch'd so, by a pit that's open; but the Devil doth Page 30 lay upon the pit (it may) some green grass, so that they shall not perceive, or very hardly perceive the danger; thus such as have earthly hearts they fall into a snare and temptation, they are put upon straining of conscience, and wringing it as much as may be, and many shifts that they are put too, Oh! a man when once he is got into an earth∣ly business he knows not how in the world to bear it if he be crost in it, It may be I have gone thus far, and I have very great hopes that I shall succeed in it, only there is one stop, now for him to think that for this one stop I am like to lose all, Oh it goes to his heart: Oh but now, if you would but strain conscience a little you may get over it presently; an earthly-man will strain hard but he will get over it; whereas now, were the heart taken off from the earth, though such a man had gone on never so far in a business, if there comes a stop in a matter of conscience, yea, if it were but a doubt that such a thing were sin; it's e∣nough to stop him, a meer doubt lest he should sin would be enough for to make him say, let the business fall if it will, there may be a snare in this, and I see some cause to doubt: now if the heart were spiritual it would be taken off; but an earthly mind will go through very many dreadful things and doth not much trouble himself, and so doth insnare himself exceedingly, that he may get an estate, or preserve it when once he hath got it: That's the fifth thing.