CHAP. IV. Seven Reasons of mens Earthly-mindedness.
I Shall now proceed unto the Reasons of the Point, Why is it that mens hearts are so much set upon the earth, to mind earthly things. I give you briefly these Reasons for it.
First, The things of the earth appear real to them, but spiritual and heavenly things be but a notion: Now that that hath reali∣ty in it, takes with the heart most; though men are decei∣ved in this, for the Scripture speaks of spiritual things as the only real things, and earthly things as that that hath no being at all; in Prov. 23. 15. Wilt thou set thine eyes upon that which is not, (speaking of the riches of the world) it hath no reality at all in it. But in the 8. Prov. 20. 21. I lead in the way of righteousness, in the midst of the paths of Judgment: That I may cause those that love me to inherit substance; to inhe∣rit that which is, that which hath a being, othert hings they are not, the honors of the earth are but a fantasie and vain shew; you have read of Bernice and Agrippa, They * came with much Pomp, with great Fansie, so the original is: but to an earthly man these earthly things are real things, and therefore he minds them: and wisdom is a lye unto a fool.
Secondly, These things they look upon as the present necessary things, though the Scripture tels us, but of one thing that is necessiary, but yet they think that these are pre∣sent now, they may have need of heavenly things hereafter: They may have need of reconciliation with God, pardon of sin, peace of conscience, and such things, they may have need of them, that is, when they depart out of this life. Oh! the infinite folly of most hearts to think, that there is no present necessity of spiritual and heavenly things, whereas indeed, our life consists in them for the Page 65 present, This is eternal life: we may come here in this world to enjoy eternal life; but the generality of people they look upon all spiritual things only as our good for the future, when we go from hence and are seen no more.
Thirdly, These things are most sutable to mens hearts. It's no wonder that they mind earthly things; They are of the earth, and from the earth, they have nothing but the * first Adam in them; now the first man was from the earth earthly. The truth is, the happiness of mans estate even in innocency in the morning of the day of his creation in comparison of the things that are now reveal'd by the Gospel, was but earthly: take man when he was in Para∣dice, that Paradice was but earthly: but then take man in his fallen and corrupt estate then he must needs be earthly, and every thing closes with that that is sutable to it: com∣fort, it doth not come so much from the goodness of a thing but from the sutablness of the object with the facultie. Now the things of the earth, they are sutable to men that are of the earth, and therefore they mind them: the heart will abundantly run out upon that which is sutable to it.
Fourthly, These things of the earth have a very fair shew in the flesh, they have a kind of goodly appearance in the eye of sence, yea, and in the eye of that reason that is now corrupted by sin; we have a most elegant expressi∣on of these earthly things, and earthly minded men ha∣ving their hearts set upon these things, it is in the 6. to the Gal. 12. verse, As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh saith the Scripture, the words are to signifie when a man looks smug and neat, as you shall have some men dresse themselves curiously, and having handsom bodys they look so trim, fine, handsom, and very brave to the eye of all that do behold them. So saith he, these men that are the false teachers, they desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, that is, they look upon the things of the flesh as those things that are very brave to the eye, and they love to have all things so compleat about them, that they may look smug, and carry themselves with such beauty before the Page 66 world; Oh! this is their happiness, this they take content in, they seem to have fine estates, and to have brave cloa∣thing, and all curious things about them, this looks so brave in the eyes of the world, and therefore it is that their hearts are upon them, they are here enemies to the Crosse of Christ, they think suffering for Christ, poverty, disgrace looks but untowardly. But now, those that desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, that would have their counte∣nances well wash'd, fair, and beautiful wheresoever they come, and be as sombody in the world, these do thus and thus, these forsake the truths of God, and seek to pro∣vide for themselves in the things of the flesh.
Fiftly, Men naturally never knew better things than the things of the earth: and therefore no marvel though they mind earthly things so much: Children that are born in a dungeon and never knew any better place, they can play up and down in the dungeon: So it is with men that never knew what the things of heaven and eternal life meant, they can mind earthly things better than those: but when once the Lord opens the eyes of their understan∣dings to see into the reality, excellency, and glory of spiri∣tual things, they then wonder at their former blindness in minding such poor, low, mean foolish rattles, as the things of the earth are.
Sixtly, There are earthly principles continually dropt into men by converse with other men that are men of the earth: 49. Psal. 11. and 13. Their inward thoughts is, that their houses shall continue for ever, and their dwelling place to all gene∣rations, they call their lands after their own names. Their hearts are set upon these things, then in the 13. verse, This their way is their folly, yet their posterity approve their sayings. They are applauded by men, they see that every body do applaud them in these waies, and when they converse one with another, they do converse about the things of the earth, and the common example of men, they see every bo∣dy following the things of the earth, and are greedy after these toyes, and that likewise doth incline their minds to the things of the earth.
Page 67 Lastly, The sensible experience they have had of the sweetnesse that there is in the things of the earth: This is that that takes off their minds from spiritual things, and makes them to mind the things of the earth.
But though these be the reasons why men do thus mind the things of the earth, and an earthly-minded man blesses himself in his way, and thinks he hath good reason for what he doth, and thinks all men fools that do not grovel in the ground like a mole with himself, and looks upon the matter of Religion but as meer words and talk, let them do what they will, I find contentment here: yet cer∣tainly at length it will prove folly, this their way, as the holy Ghost saith in the 49 Psal. This their way it is but their folly, and in the end the wise men of the earth, those that have sought the things of the earth, and blesse themselves in their way, they will prove to be the greatest fools, the holy Ghost accounts them so: In the 17. of Jere. 11. verse, As the Partridge sitteth on eggs and hatcheth them not, so he that getteth riches and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his daies, and at his end shall be a fool. He applauds himself for the present in what he hath got, but at the end he shall be a fool.