The Seventh Evil, opened in Six Particulars.
Further, In the seventh place, Earthly-mindedness, it cau∣ses many foolish lusts in the heart, that's a great evil; and for that you have the same Scripture that was before, for the temptations and snare, 1 Tim. 6. 9. But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurt∣full lusts: lusts that are very foolish and simple.
1. As for instance; It causes men to follow after things that are very vile and mean, it causes men to bestow the strength of their immortal souls about things that have no worth at all in them: that's a foolish lust, to bestow the strength of an immortal soul about vanities: If you should see men that are of excellent parts for to spend their time about tri∣fles and toyes, as about catching of flies, and following of feathers, you would say, surely they begin to be besot∣ted: so for the soul of man, that is capable of such excel∣lency as it is, of communion with God, with the Father, Son and holy Ghost, for such a soul to have the strength of it spent about such poor trifling things that cannot pro∣fit in the evil day, Oh this is a foolish lust.
Secondly, Foolish lusts, for earthly-mindedness, cau∣ses thee to be a servant to thy servants: you would account that man a fool that should be a servant to his servants: So God hath made the things of the earth to be a servant to thee, and yet thou wilt come and put thy neck under thy ser∣vants yoke, and art a servant to thy servant: yea, were it not a great deal of folly for a man to expect all his honour and respect to come from his servant rather than from any excellency in himself; as thus, Suppose a man were travel∣ling, & indeed there is respect given to him, but it's for his servants sake rather than his own; If he should come to Page 35 know this, this he would account a great dishonor to him∣self: But an earthly heart (I say) puts himself into such a condition, as indeed he makes it to be his greatest honour to have honour from his estate and riches: So that men do not respect rich men for any worth that there is in them∣selves, or for any excellency of their own, but only for their riches, as much as to say, a man is not respected for himself but for his servant. Take some men that have had estates, but now they are deprived of them, and are become as poor as any Almes-men or Beggars amongst us; who doth regard them then? But now, let a man have grace and holinesse, if he were turned out of all and made as poor as Job, yet he were one that the Angels of Heaven would look upon with honour, and would glory in atten∣ding upon him; this is the difference between the carnal earthly heart, and the spiritual heart. It's a foolish lust to make himself to be a servant to his servant.
3. It brings into foolish lusts, For a man might have as much (it may be) more of the earth if he did not mind it so much as he doth. Now for a man to mind the earth and to indanger himself in the minding of it, when as he might have it as well with∣out so much minding, surely, this is a foolish thing: For a man to bestow a great deal of labour about a thing when as he might have it with lesse labour, he is a fool surely. Certainly if you be such as belongs to God, especially you may rather expect God to bless you if you kept your hearts more spiritual, you might expect that God would grant to you more of the good things of this world if you were lesse earthly-minded than you are, and it's your earthly∣mindednesse that makes God cut you short of these things; I am verily perswaded there are many men that have ill suc∣cesse in their earthly affairs, and it's a fruit of Gods displea∣sure upon them because their hearts are so much upon worldly businesses, did you go on in your imployment in obedience to God, and commit it to God for successe, you might be crowned with more successe than you have been: now what a foolish thing is this?
Page 36 4. Yea further: It's a great deal of folly, for any of you to go and buy a thing and to pay a greater price for it than it's worth: If you send a servant to buy you commodities, and when he comes home you ask him what it cost, and he tells you it cost such a price which is ten times more than it's worth, you will say, Thus it is to send a fool to Market: so an earthly - minded man manifests himself to God, and his Angels and all the Saints to be a fool, for why? thou be∣stowest that upon this world, that is a thousand times more worth than the things of the world, for thou besto∣west that upon the world that might bring thee to heaven; I may say to an earthly-minded man, those thoughts, and cares, and affections, and endeavours that thou doest spend upon the things of the world, If they had been spent about the things of God might have sav'd thy soul to all eternity, thou mightest have got Christ and Heaven, and Eternity, the Lord would have gone along with thee; and thou mai∣est come hereafter to see it at the great day when all things shall be opened before men and Angels: had I but spent those thoughts and cares, and endeavours, about under∣standing the waies and things of God and eternal life, my soul might have bin sav'd for ever: Not that our works wil do it, but that God would have gone along together with you in such waies as those are; now for you to spend thoughts and cares about that that perhaps you shall not have, for many men and women spend their souls about the things of the world and never have them, this is a sad thing; Oh! wil not this be folly? will not you curse your selves hereafter for your folly? Oh that I should spend my self and be spent about that that I have not got neither, and I must be damn'd for that, whereas had I spent time about things that concern'd my soul and eternal life it would have been more like that I should have gotten those things; for God doth not fail men so in spiritual things as he doth in earthly things, a man may be as diligent as it's possible for any man to be in business of the earth, and yet he may miscarry; but give me any man or woman that Page 37 ever was diligent in seeking the things of God and eternal life that ever did miscarry; I verily beleeve at the day of Judgment there will not be one man found, that shall be a∣ble to say, Lord, I did improve what talents thou didest give me to the uttermost to save my soul, but Lord, because I was not able to do any more, without thy grace, thou didest deny thy grace to me, and therefore now I must be damn'd: I beleeve there will not be any soul that will be able to say so; but in the matters of the world men do say so, that they have done what they could, nad labour'd and toyl'd, and yet for all that they miscarry. Oh what a foolish thing is this then, for thee to toyl and labour a∣bout that which is so uncertain: for were it not a foo∣lish thing for a man to bestow all his estate about buying of pibble stones, and that that will afford him no kind of benefit at all: This folly is in the heart of man: I'le but put this care to you, If two of you should go to the Indies, where precious stones are, and one should purchase a la∣ding of precious stones and other rich commodities, and the other that carried as much money with him, he laies out all his money about baubles and trifles, and they both come home laden, Both went out with the same stock, both come home laden, and one comes home with precious stones that makes him rich, and his posterity to be great men; the other brings home nothing but a company of pibble stones which makes him scorn'd and jeer'd at by all his Neighbours; Oh! how would he be ready to tear his flesh for his folly in this kind: This will be the difference between men and women at the day of Judgment, for the truth is, what is this world but a sea-fare? we are here sailing in this world, and here we have the market of pearls, or else of that hath no worth at all in it: when you live in the times of the Gospel I say there is a mar∣ket for pearls, for those things that may enrich you to all eternity; now there's one man, he bestows the strength of his thoughts and heart about those things that he shall be blessing of God in the highest heavens to all eterni∣ty Page 38 for, and the other man bestows his thoughts and heart but upon the things of the earth, and lades himself with thick clay (as the Scripture phrase is;) and now at the day of Judgment when it shall appear, here's a man or woman that shall be to all eternity blessed, that shall joyn with Angels and Saints in the highest heavens to magnifie the free grace of God in Christ: and here's another had that he bestowed but his thoughts, and heart about the same things he might have been so blessed for ever, but he minding the things of the earth is a cursed fool, and is the scorn and contempt of men and Angels to all eternity; earthly∣mindednesse brings men into foolish lusts (the Scipture speaks:) Oh! though men of earthly minds think them∣selves the only blessed men, I applaud my self at home, let men talk what they will; but the holy Ghost saith, that those Iusts that are caused by earthly-mindednesse are foo∣lish lusts.
Fifthly, That's folly for a man to do that that he must undo a∣gain. Now especially those earthly-minded men that have this earthlinesse so to prevail with them as to get any thing of the earth by false waies; they must certainly undo all they have done: you have got so much of the earth in some cunning cheating way, and you blesse your selves that you have found out such a mystery of iniquity; this is a foolish lust: Foolish, Why? it must be done again, either you must be eternally damn'd, or else you must restore as Zacheus did if you be able, though it be to the impoverishing of your selves, yet it must out again, all the sorrow and repen∣tance that can be will not be sufficient, thou canst not be pardoned upon all thy sorrow and repentance if thou dost not restore if thou beest able, what thou hast ill gotten; I do not know that there was ever any Minister of the Gospel upon the face of the earth but held this, that it was of ab∣solute necessity to salvation to restore, and this one reason cannot but satisfie any mans conscience, That a man cannot truly repent of a sin, and yet wilfully to continue in it. Now ex∣cept you do restore, you do wilfully continue in it; for Page 39 why? you do not only wrong the man the first hour, but so long as you keep any thing that is his you do wrong him: and if you be able to restore and do not, because you are loth to part with so much mony, or so many goods, you do wilfully continue in the sin: now, no man or woman can truly repent of a sin and yet wilfully persist in that sin: what a foolish lust is this, for a man or woman to go and get the things of this world in such a way as he must undo all again though it be to his shame; Oh! consider what a fol∣ly it is. You deceitful servants, that spend away that upon your lusts, that you cheat and cosen your master of; after∣wards when you come to set up for your selves, you must restore what you have purloind, and it may be a great part of your estate must be repaid in way of restitution, it must be done, there's no gain-saying of it; and therefore what a foolish lust it is, to be set upon the things of the earth so as to get them in an earthly way.
6. And then foolish, (observe this one note) By Earthly∣mindednesse, they do lose the comfort of earthly things before they have them. I make it out thus, A man or woman that hath carking thoughts about the things of the earth, and it may be by their inordinate thoughts, and cares, and affections after some earthly things, they contract much guiltinesse upon their own spirits, yet after this perhaps God doth give them that earthly thing; now when they have got it, if they have any light in their consciences, their convinced consciences will then reflect thus upon them, I have got this indeed, Oh! but have I it with the blessing of God? I have it in my costody, but I got it dearly, it cost me such thoughts and cares, and affections before I had it, and now I have it, I cannot say it comes out of Gods love, I ra∣ther fear that God hath given it me in his wrath because I got it in such a way; now all the comfort is gone and lost, whereas had it come in the way of God, and hadst thou gi∣ven up thy self to God, and then providence had brought such a comfort to thee, thou mightest have enjoyed much of God in it, & bless'd God for it, the Lord hath bless'd me Page 40 in my trading, Oh! I have it from the Love of God. But now, when thy heart was earthly before it came, when it doth come thou hast no comfort in it, the comfort of all is lost before it comes, thou hast spent so much upon it; as if a man hath got a thing, & after he hath gotten it, he thinks thus, What hath this cost me; it hath cost me a great deal more than it's worth; now the comfort of it is vanished.