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Take therefore no thought for the morrow, for the morrow shall take thought for the things of it felf: fufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
UR Lord having fufficiently cautioned his Difciples against seeking this world's praife in an oftentatious performance of religious duties, warns them next against a defire of the wealth and riches of this world. And here he enters upon a doctrine wholly evangelical, proper to no religion, but to that which he taught; and agreeable only to that spiritual and heavenly kingdom, which he was then erecting. But because it must appear a new and ftrange precept to the Jews, who expected that the kingdom of the Meffiah would be founded in the enjoyment of riches and temporal profperity, he proceeds to argue for the obfervance of it, by fhewing the reasonableness of the duty in feveral particulars. Thus therefore in effect he speaks to us in the present paragraph.
"MAKE it not the business of your lives to get "and hoard up earthly treasures; fet not your "hearts upon them, they are vain in their own naC6 ture: The richest furniture wears away by use "and age, and even your gold laid by confumes in "ruft; and all are but uncertain poffeffions, which 66 ye may eafily be deprived of by a thousand ac"cidents. But inftead thereof, provide your felves "an inheritance in the world to come; a treafure "which neither violence nor fraud can take from 66 you, nor time nor misfortunes can destroy. For "whatever you efteem as your happiness, on that "will your hearts and affections be fet. If your "judgments be good, ye will rightly difcern the "value of heavenly treafures above earthly, and "direct
"direct your aims and your defires accordingly; but "if your judgments be corrupt and blinded, your "choice will certainly be wrong, and how fatal "must such an error prove! Nor will the folly be "lefs, to think to divide your felves between this "world and the other. For it is impoffible to "obey two masters commanding contrary fervices; "to be devoted faithfully to God, and at the fame "time governed by the oppofite interests and ma"xims of this world. Be not therefore follicitous "to make a figure, but content your felves with "the neceffaries of life according to your conditiCC on; and even for thefe, for your ordinary food "and raiment, be not anxioufly thoughtful; but "having employed your industry in the ufe of ho"neft and proper means to obtain them, leave the " event to God, depending always upon his provi"dence, which will not leave you deftitute, and "which you fee takes care of every other creature. "The birds of the air are incapable of plowing "and fowing, or of the arts of trade and merchan"dize; all they can do is to go out and feek their "food, and God provides it for them: and if he "thus feeds them, will he neglect or overlook the "nobler branches of his family? If he will not "fuffer even the birds to want, which only by "natural inftinct trust in him, much more will "he take care of you, who trust in him by "choice, and glorify him by a religious and ra"tional dependance. But if ye will still be trufting "to your own care, and place your only hopes "therein, confider that how follicitous foever ye are, "how many and wife foever your projects are, they "are all to no purpofe, except the providence of God "fucceed and bless them; without his affiftance
can no more add one farthing to your estate, than one cubit to your ftature. And as for your rai 66 ment, obferve the flowers of the earth, which
"have no thought of their clothing, no care in "the providing of it, and yet no furniture in So"lomon's court was fo beautiful and glorious. Now "if God beftows fuch ornaments on the fhort-liv'd "flowers of the field, which are but of a day's "continuance, ye must have little faith indeed to "queftion his concern for you. 'Tis true, the ig"norant Gentiles, who have gods of wood and "ftone, that cannot help them, and who have "neither an intereft in, nor any just notion of "happiness in a life to come, are with fome fhew "of reafon carking and follicitous for a provifion "in this present world: but ye that are my Difci
ples fhould know better. Ye know that ye "have in heaven a moft compaffionate and Al"mighty Father, who is thoroughly fenfible of 66 your wants, and able and willing to relieve them. "Ye are born to nobler expectations than this "world can anfwer; ye have an inheritance in "eternal glory, that requires your best affections,
and your greateft diligence. Employ your care "then in the first place by a life of righteoufnefs, "to fecure an intereft in that future ftate of glo" ry; and fuch a care fhall be fo far from occafi66 oning any want of temporal neceffaries (tho' it di"vert you from an eager and anxious folicitude about "them) that the providence of God will upon "that very account more efpecially concern it felf "to provide for and fupply you with them. Look "not therefore too far forward; every day has its ❝ own trouble and moleftation, and why should ye "anticipate the cares and forrows of many years to come; which it may be ye may never feel, or if 66 ye do, it will be foon enough in its own season; "and to partake of them fooner, is to double your own burden, and to fuffer twice under the fame ❝ evil.
IN the farther explanation of this paragraph, I fhall fhew,
I. THE full extent of the precept; that we should not lay up treasures on earth, but lay them up
II. THE force of all thofe arguments diftinctly, which our Lord makes use of here to strengthen it.
I. THE full extent of the precept; which will best appear, by confidering each branch of it apart: As,
FIRST, What is included in the negative, the thing which is here forbidden us, laying up treasures on earth. And this having in it feveral degrees of evil; and every one of them by it felf being an offence against the precept, as well as all of them together, it will be neceffary to trace them step by ftep, if we would be exact in our discovery.
(1.) FIRST then, there may be too great an opinion of the worth and excellency of earthly treasures a vain notion of the fufficiency of these things to make a man happy; and this either proceeds from, or produces (for it is neceffarily attended with) cold and flightly apprehenfions of true fpiritual happinefs, the pleafures of religion, and the expectations of a life to come. The worldling has heard indeed of the comforts which pious fouls take in the contemplation of God's love to them, and the exercise of their own to God; he has been told of a most delightful entercourfe with heaven in prayer, and praifes, and receiving the holy facrament: but these employments being fpiritual, and he a stranger to them, it paffes all for mere enthufiafin; or at least his ideas of the delight that is to be found in them are confused, and faint, and ineffectual. He has been taught, and pretends to believe many glorious
things of a felicity immenfe and everlasting, referv'd beyond the grave, for the fpirits of juft men made perfect; but the futurity and diftance of them is fuch, that even their greatness and eternity do very little move his affections. Whereas this prefent world and its enjoyments are at hand, the reality of them is vifible, and the impreffions they make upon him strong, as they are the objects of fenfe: the nature of them is fuited to a corrupt and carnal heart, at enmity with God, and earnestly seeking happiness in it felf, or any thing rather than in him. He finds them in efteem with almost every body, the daily converfation turns upon them, and the common endeavours of mankind are center'd in them which puts a mighty biafs on his judgment, to approve and admire what prefents it felf under fo many recommendations. As this is true of the enjoyments of this world in general, fo is it also with regard particularly to riches, the grand inftrument of procuring all the reft. The pomp and hofpitality of the great, with the refpect and honours that are paid them, cannot but draw a fecret veneration to that wealth of which they are the confequents. The ordinary conveniencies and comforts of life, nay even neceffaries of it too, being not to be had without money, is a moft fenfible argument with men to value it. And befide all this, the very precepts of their education prepare them in favour of it: for the father leaves a plentiful portion to his fon, and telling a grave ftory of the labours and hazards he underwent in raifing it, gives him ftrict charge, and many directions for the improvement. The mafter, together with the myfteries of his trade, inftructs his fervant in the more fecret ones of unreafonable gain and profit. And thus pofterity falls of courfe into the vain fentiments of thofe that went before, and money is become the idol of the world. Now that this over