IN A SERMON Preached March, 11th. 1688/9. At the Entrance of a Young Man upon his Habitation and parti­cular Calling.

And at his Request Published By T. CRƲSO.

I CORINTH vii. 30.

—And they that buy, as tho' they possessed not.

LONDON, Printed by J.R. for John Salusbury, at the Rising Sun, near the Royal Exchange in Cornhil, 1689.

To his Esteemed Friend. MR. R. G.


YOU cannot blame the inscribing of these Papers to your self, as their just and proper Patron, because through your own so­licitation, the matter contain'd in them was first delivered, and is now after this more publick man­ner recorded, principally for your own use. If any others receiv'd any benefit by the Hearing, or if any should hereafter by the Reading of it, as they ought to return the chief praise to God, (whose Spirit, I hope, assisted in the Composure, and from whom his servants have all their furniture for every good word and work) they do in the next place owe their Thanks to you. For you have [Page](especially) by putting me upon such a second ser­vice, manifested your unwillingness to reap the Fruit of this labour alone, aswel as your charita­ble hopes, that it may produce some through the blessing of heaven; in which I heartily wish, that you be not disappointed. All the I can say to en­courage you, is only this, that I have not here stept out of the road of the common Faith, Tit. 1.4. but writ­ten the plainest Truths in the plainest method, and therefore 'tis so far fitted (though defective in many other respects) to answer the end of com­mon Edification; nor is your Case so peculiar, but that Others may frequently be in the same, and stand in need of the like instructions.

But I do not flatter you, when I tell you, that I am perswaded better things of you, than I can expect from this discourse upon every ordinary superficial Reader; men do seldom consider, that the word which sounds in their Ear, or is presented to their Eye,John 12.48. shall help to Judge them at the last day; and so, a trifling cursory perusal of the most serious and important things, aggravates their ac­count hereafter, though it does not influence their practice here. Multitudes, when they are at that [Page]Age, which you have arrived to, lay the foundation of a late and ineffual Repentance, and of remedi­less everlasting misery:Psal. 58.3. They are estranged from the Womb, and in that state they continue, till they are falling into the Grave, under the heavy load of the sins of their Youth; if they do take care to thrive and prosper in this World by heap­ing up Riches, they will be sure to make their condition most wretched in the next by Treasuring up Wrath; the neglect of their Souls, is as no­torious, as the (perhaps) unnecessary Provisi­on which is made for their Bodies; when they lanch into the business of their several Professions, the getting of an Estate is their only Aim, and in the pursuit of this, they lose that which is more worth than the whole World. The Wisdom recommended in the following Sermon, will be but foolishness to all such, unless God is pleased to give them other Spirits.

You on the other hand, have begun so well with God, that I therefore chearfully expect your happy progress: I doubt not but that you have fixt your eye, and set your heart, aright, by proposing the best End, and chusing the best Part; never­theless [Page]seeing your lot is cast into such a time of Temptation, and every circumstance of humane Life is so full of Snares, and there is a special vanity in youth, Eccl. 11.10. there is need of constant watch­fulness and care, and frequent renewing your Holy Resolutions, as well as Invocation of God for help, that your Bow which yet abides in strength, may never Break or Slacken, through the entice­ments of evil Company, the Deceitfulness of Riches, or power of Indwelling Sin. You may meet with some who think it strange, Pet. 4.4. that you run not with them to the same Excess of Riot, and other debauchery; and the Flesh is still Lusting against the Spirit in the most im­proved and mortified Christians; and there is scarce­ly any lawful Employment, but what by an un­due behaviour in it, may become sin. I must therefore, while I take Comfort in your Pious beginnings, give you this Councel and Caution against a dangerous Revolt.

I lift up an hearty prayer for you, that the bles­sing of God out of Sion may rest upon you, and all your concerns; that he may not be to you as the Moth, Hos. 5.12. or as Rottenness, but as the cherishing [Page]Sun and fructifying Dew; that neither your Root, nor Leaf may wither; that the Fear of God may be always before your face, and his secret upon your Tabernacle; Job 29.4. that your Soul may be like a watered Garden, and an Hedge of Providence Planted about all which you have on every side; and that after you are car­ried through the several Changes and Periods of time, the God whom you serve, may be your Inheritance and Portion to Eternity. So pray­ing, and by all other possible means, which my Sta­tion or Capacity will afford for your Assistance, in any Spiritual matters, I shall very readily approve my self,

Your Most Faithful Friend and Servant, T. C.

The Usefulness of Spiritual Wisdom with a Temporal Inheritance.

ECCLES. 7.11.

Wisdom is good with an Inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the Sun.

IT is an old Observation of Solomon, the Author of this Book,chap. 1.9. that there is no new thing under the Sun. Among the many Instances, which there are of the Truth of it, This may be reckon'd for One, that there are no New Complaints. Every Generation is apt to repeat the same murmuring Que­stion, chap. 7.10. What is the Cause that the former Dayes were bet­ter than these? (as in the words immediately prece­ding the Text) Our Streets were never free from this Complaining, and probably never will be; the Mouths of our Progenitors were full of it heretofore, and so are Ours now, and they that come after us, are as likely to continue it to the end of the World. So­lomon tells us here, that this springs from a foolish Im­patience; Men do not enquire wisely in this matter. It is certain, that since the entrance of Sin into the World, which is the Root and Foundation of all Ca­lamities, the Dayes have been always Evil, more or [Page 2]less; and yet every Age, through the Mercy of Gods Providence, hath enjoyed some Good to ballance the Evil; therefore instead of finding fault with the Times in which we live, (which is indeed to quarrel with God's casting of our Lot, and guiding of Events) we should rather consider and censure what is amiss in our selves. If we were as we ought to be, we might very well improve the worst of Times, but our own defects and disorders will make us miscarry in the best. From hence the Wise Man seems to take the occasion of recommending Wisdom in this place, ver. 11.

Four Questions are necessary to be resolved in the Opening of the Words.

I. What is meant by Wisdom here? Ans. In three things.

1.1 King. 4.29. It does not signifie such a largeness of heart, as Solomon himself had, who could search into the Na­ture and Reason of things, beyond any that were before him.Gen. 2.19, 20. (Adam onely excepted, who gave names to every Creature.) Such a comprehensive Mind, and vast understanding was Gods peculiar Gift to him; and besides, it must be owned, that the great Intellectual Abilities of others many times prove their Snare, and they go to Hell with such extraordinary Light. 1 Cor. 1.26. The Apostle says, that Not many wise men after the flesh are called; persons of the meanest parts do very commonly go into the kingdom of God before the learned.

2. The Holy Ghost here does not mean that Skill and Prudence, which is exercis'd in the getting, increasing [Page 3]or preserving of Estates. Luk. 16.8. So the children of this world are wise, in their generation, and usually prosper most with it. 'Tis true, a fit measure of such Wisdom is very necessary in the managing of every ones particu­lar Employment and Vocation; it's no prejudice to a Good Man, that he guides his affairs with discretion, Psal. 112.5. but a part of his just commendation; for else by his ignorance and folly he may soon ruine himself, and all that belong to him. But men may be thus Wise, and yet be Miserable. And therefore

3. The Wisdom here meant, is no other than seri­ous Religion. This is the most general sense of the word in the Holy Scripture, and more particularly in the Books of this Inspired Author. All other Wis­dom is insignificant without this, and this of it self is useful to the best purposes. We learn from Moses, Deut. 4.6. that those Nations which keep and do the command­ments of God, are indeed a wise and understanding people. Job mentions it as Gods immediate saying to Man, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, &c.Job 28.28. And the Psalmist agrees with both, in telling us, that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, &c.Psal. 111.10. Wicked Men, whatever other Qualifications and En­dowments they may have, which are valuable in their kind, must be look'd upon as the Real Fools in Israel. We cannot judge any one truly wise, who wants Grace, whereby to serve God, and his Generation.

II. What are we to understand by an Inheritance in this place? Answ. In two things.

1. It must not be restrained literally and strictly to such an Estate onely, as descends upon us from others by Legal right, or by their free and Arbitrary Bounty; [Page 4]the Inheritance here intended may be gotten by a mans own industry and Care, though Relatives and Friends may have left him as little in the World, as they carri­ed out of it.

2. Therefore it must be taken in the largest sense, to signifie a moderate share of worldly or Temporal pos­sessions; whatsoever will comfortably maintain and support us in this life. And this is exprest by an [In­heritance,] because that is accounted the best, the most solid, and Real Estate: But there is no mention of any limited quantity, because God gives to every one a portion of such good things according as he pleaseth, and Grace will teach us the improvement of a Lesser portion, when Lust will abuse a Greater.

III. What is the meaning of the Conjunction of these Two? Wisdom is good with an Inheritance. Answ. In Three things.

1. It must not be understood so, as if Wisdom were not good without an Inheritance. A man rich toward God is safe and happy, though he be poor in this World. Grace is a good treasure in the Heart, though God do cut us short in things that are with­out, which concern the body. It is not absolutely and indispensibly necessary to our main and principal blessedness, Prov. 30.8. that we should be fed with food convenient for us, (if we have necessary food, that will suffice) though it conduce very much to our present well being.

2. The meaning is not, that Wisdom and an inhe­ritance are equally good. The Holy Ghost does not design to set these two upon one Level; for an Inheri­tance is not to be compared with wisdom, but wis­dom [Page 5]ought to be preferred to the largest Inheritances in the World. My fruit is better than Gold, Prov. 8.19. yea than fine Gold, and my Revenue than choice Silver. Solo­mon puts them in the ballances together, and shews us which weighs most, in the words following the Text. Wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence, but the excellency of knowledge is, that it giveth Life to them that have it. verse 12.

3. Therefore the scope and sense of this passage is, that when wisdom is join'd with an Inheritance by the Spirit of God, and an Inheritance with wisdom by the Providence of God, 'tis best for the person himself, and for all those, who are within his influence and reach. They are neither of them so good, when they are divided and apart, as when they happen to be linkt in the same hand. 'Tis an happy dispensation when (like righteousness and peace, Psal. 85.10.) they kiss each other; for their Union is both most beautiful, and most advantagious.

IV. Why is the profit of these two limited to them that see the Sun? Answ. The wise man does plainly intend by that expression, such as are alive upon the Earth; for it is during this mortal life alone, that we either enjoy or need the benefit of that glorious Lu­minary; there is no Sun or Moon, Rev. 21.23. which shines to the inhabitants of the next World. But two things seem to be especially hinted by this clause here.

1. That, Our time of service ends at death. We must work the works of God, while it is day; John 9.4. all our opportunities of working cease, when the night comes. Solomon admonishes us in this Book to set about our duty with all possible diligence, because there is no [Page 6]knowledge nor wisdom in the Grave, c. 9.10. whither we go. Our works indeed are said to follow us, Rev. 14.13. when we dye in the Lord; because then we shall be finally recom­penced according to them; but to speak properly, all that we do for God, for our own Souls, or those that are our Contemporaries, it must be done on this side of Eternity. That which is neglected now, cannot be performed hereafter.

2. No Earthly things can be of any advantage to us, beyond the present Life. Therefore they are called this Worlds goods. 1 John 3.17. 1 Tim. 6.7. As we brought them not into the World with us, so neither can we carry them out; and if we could, they would avail us nothing; they cannot add to the happiness of the glorified in Heaven, nor take away from the misery of the damned in Hell. They profit not in the day of wrath; Prov. 11.4. they will neither prevent, nor alter the sentence, at the particular or universal judgment. The rust of mens Silver and Gold may eat their Flesh like Fire, Jam. 5.3. but nothing is suf­ficient to purchase them so much as a drop of water. The substance which we leave behind us, does then perish to us, in respect of its Ʋse: and however ser­viceable or helpful it may be to those that survive, it is utterly insignificant to them that are departed.

The Observation which the words thus explain'd, do offer to our further Thoughts, is this, That

Doct. Holy Wisdom with a competent Inheritance, is a very profitable good.

In the handling of this, I shall endeavour four Things.

I First, To shew, wherein Holy Wisdom ought chiefly to discover it self.

II Secondly, What may be justly accounted a com­petent Inheritance.

III Thirdly, How the Profitableness of both together does appear.

IV Lastly, Apply the whole.

1 The first thing, is to shew, wherein holy spiritual wisdom must be cheifly exercis'd and acted. There are Eight remarkable instances or discoveries of it, which all persons should look to.

First, a regular and seasonable performance of duties. Many actions, which as to the Matter of them hath been good, for want of Christian wisdom, have lost much of their beauty, through the ill management of their particular circumstances. The ordering and dis­posing of good actions well, is a great thing in Religion. We may say of a work done, aswell as of a Word spoken in due season, how good is it? Prov. 15.23. This adds a good­nesse to it, which if done at another less convenient time, it would not have. We should learn to put every thing into method, which our Hand findeth to do: That all our Duties may fall in their proper place, one after another, and not one disturb or hinder another. As God appoints a time to every purpose, so should we,Eccl. 3.1. and such a time as is most fit and agreeable to it.

2 Secondly, A careful avoiding, or vigorous resisting of temptations. Many temptations may be avoided by a prudent care, and by circumspect walking, which is a great evidence of wisdom: (see that ye walk circum­spectly, not as fools, but as wise: sayes the Apostle. Eph. 5.15.) And this we are obliged to, that we may not sin a­gainst our own prayers; for if we pray that God would not lead us into temptation, 'tis but reasonable that we [Page 8]should not foolishy run into it our selves. We may shun a multitude of entangling snares, if we tread with CAution. And those temptations which are avoidable, should be vigorously withstood; we must not yeild, or comply with them in the least, but after the most steady resolute manner oppose our selves to their first assaults. This is the way to come off with victory, and keep our consciences pure. Without doing so, we give great advantages to Satan, and it will be im­possible to escape or overcome the various difficulties which beset us in every condition of life.

3 Thirdly, A meek and patient bearing of afflictions. Much wisdom is seen in this; for it is the grossest folly in the world, to make our load at any time the greater by uneasie strugglings under it. A great deal of the art and mystery of practical Christianity, lyes in suffer­ing according to the will of God. 1 Pet. 4.19. All that are afflicted, do not suffer so: they suffer indeed what God in his providence thinks fit to inflict, (and they cannot do otherwise) but they do not suffer, as God in his word is pleased to direct; many suffer according to the dis­posing will of God, who in their sufferings regard not his commanding will. In the most prosperous state there oftentimes happens a mixture of disappointments and losses, and personal evills, (if we are freed from Publick ones) which one who is truly and savingly wise, will quietly and calmly undergo; whereas 'tis one of the Characters of a Fool,Prov. 14.16. to Rage. We can­not make our case the better by fretting and striving against God, but shall certainly make it worse.

4 Fourthly, A diligent improving of mercies for the Glory of God, and good of our Brethren. This is [Page 9]surest course of thriving in this world, and laying up a good foundation for the next. The rule of the Gos­pel does not bind any to wast and consume their Estates by an imprudent Prodigality (for this is not to honour God) but yet it warns them against a base and sinful Covetousness in Hording up of what they are called to Lay out. The Charitable man is wise for himself, when the wretched niggard is only wise for a doubtful posterity. And, is there not more wisdom in scattering upon Earth, that we may reap in Heaven, than in gathering for we know not whom? Is it not better to make to our selves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, than to leave it perhaps to such,Luke 16.9. who may curse our memory, while they rejoyce in our labour? When God gives us richly to enjoy, 'tis no sign of dis­cretion for us to give sparingly. If we believe the Scripture (Confirm'd by the Experience of many) this is more likely to impair our wealth, than to increase it. There is that withholdeth more than is meet, Prov. 11.24, 25. and it tendeth to poverty: Whereas the liberal soul shall be made fat. The bountiful giver wisely prevents what the sordid worldling fears.

5 Fifthly, a Curbing and restraining of our affections and appetites to lawful things. It is unsafe, and there­fore an unwise thing, to go to the utmost bounds of what we may do. Solomon tells us in this Book, which is the memorial of his Repentance, that whatsoever his eyes desired, he kept not from them, chap. 2.10. and he withheld not his heart from any joy. For ought we know, the ta­king of so great a liberty, might be an Introduction to his fall; because the passage is quick and easie many times from lawful fruitions to unlawful sensualities. Mortification and Self-denyal should not be strange [Page 10]things to us; the more we indulge our flesh, the more insolent and unruly it will be; and that which it seems now modestly to crave, hereafter it may imperi­ously command. Tis best always to abridge our selves a little, even of innocent enjoyments and delights, lest at length our Back or our Belly should come to be our God, Isa. 46.6. and we lavish gold out of the bag as much upon our lusts, as they whom the Prophet speaks of, did upon their Idols.

6 Sixthly, A continual watching over our sences, and strict Government of our Tongues. 'Tis a main branch of holy wisdom to make and keep a Covenant with our eyes and ears, Job 31.1. that they may not betray us into sin on a sudden, and before we are aware. They prove two often In lets to the Devil, and out lets to abundance of corruption, if they are not narrowly observ'd, and constantly guarded. 'Tis no unheard of thing, for the eye and ear not only to Affect the heart but to make way for Polluting it; and there­fore the heart should be very vigilant with respect to them. Nor is there any thing will discover more or greater wisdom, than the bridling of our Tongues; the Apostle James recommends this as one of the most important matters in Religion:Jam. 3.2. if any man offend not in word, Prov. 10.19. the same is a perfect man. Solomon (a very able and sufficient Judge) tells us, he that refraineth his lips, is wise; not he that is alwayes silent, but he whose speech is not infected with vanity or sin. A fool's voice (sayes the same Author) is known by the multitude of words; Eccles. 5 3. if there be nothing else to distinguish him, he commonly carries this mark in his mouth. The greatest quickness of apprehension should be accompanied with a slowness to speak; for the little [Page 11]member many times does no little mischief. The manag­ing of it, is of mighty consequence, as to our standing or falling before the bar of God:Matth. 12.37. By thy words (says our Saviour) thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be Condemned.

7 Seventhly, A Behaviour Sutable to those Relations wherein we stand. David is commended by the Holy Ghost for behaving himself wisely in all his wayes, 1 Sam. 18.5, 14. with reference to Saul, that is, both as a Son-in-law, and a Subject. And afterwards, when he came to the Throne he kept his resolution of behaving him­self wisely in a perfect way, Psal. 101.2. and walking within his House (as a Master, and within his Kingdom as a Magi­strate) with a perfect heart. No one stands so alone and so independently by himself in this world, but that he is cloathed with one relation or other towards some of his Fellow creatures; we are not like Melchisedeck, without descent, not dropt out of Heaven,Heb. 7.3. as Enoch was translated into it. Every one is either in authority or under it, a Superiour or an Inferiour; and to de­port our selves agreeably to our particular state, is a considerable part of Spiritual wisedom. This will teach us how to carry it as we ought, with respect to those that are above us, below us, and equal with us.

8 Eighthly, An unexceptionable and inoffensive con­versation before all, even strangers and enemies. 'Tis a great Apostolical precept,Colos. 4. [...]. walk in wisedom towards them that are without; do not furnish them with dirt to cast upon you, by any foul unjustifiable action. It was a sad slip both of Abraham and Sarah to give such an occasion of reproving them to Abimelech, Gen. 20.16. an Heathen Prince. Whatever calumnies are fram'd by our observers, we should live so, as that nothing may [Page 12]be found in us; that though their malice may prompt them to Accuse, they may not be able to Convince us of sin. The exactest Righteousnes and integrity in all our dealings, is the best prudence; the gain of a false ballance is in a special sense, deceitful riches. He that getteth wealth and not by right shall leave it in the midst of his dayes, Jerem. 17.11. and at his End shall be a fool: i. e. he shall then appear to be so. But as we should be wisely carefull to do nothing which may really injure, so nothing which may needlesly offend another: besides the law of Equity, there is a law of kindness to be ob­served, that our conversations may be blameless; we must beware not only of the smallest violation of ju­stice, but of the neglect of civil courtesie to the worst of men. A rough and a peevish temper is both a grei­vance to our selves, and reproach to Religion: the churl who cannot be spoken to, 1 Sam. 25.17. is more like a Son of Belial, than a child of God.

II The Second Thing, is to enquire, what may be reasonably lookt upon as a competent Inheritance. In General,Prov. 30.8. 'tis easily determined by Agur's prayer; that which comes up to his point, and sets us in a middle state between Poverty and Riches, is a full answer to the present Question. Pressing Indigency, and overflowing Abundance are the extreams on both hands, and attended with dangerous Temptations. Mens circumstances and occasions indeed are very different and various; so that what is sufficient to one, may not be so to all; but every one may take his measures by the Three following Rules.

1 First, That which affords the most conveniences with the fewest burdens, is a truly competent Inheri­tance. They that are in continual streights, and al­ways [Page 13] seek their Bread as out of desolate places, Psal. 109.10. are apt to be sunk and bowed down on one hand; and they that live in extraordinary fulness, are as much distra­cted and perplext on the other hand, and their souls cut asunder (as it were) and torn in pieces by multi­tude of Thoughts. The case lyes plainly thus; they that have too little, are opprest with necessary cares, and they that have too much are tormented with un­necessary ones; but they that have enough (and no more) are most free from both sorts of cares, and en­joy most comfort.

2 Secondly, That Inheritance which places us below Envy, and above Contempt, is a true competency. If we are too high, we shall be objects of more spite and malice; many will look upon us with an Evil eye, and be oftentimes prone to censure and condemn us for our most innocent and lawful actions; it may be, our prosperity will provoke some to endeavour our ruine, and seek our destruction; as Joseph's brethren hated him, and would not speak peaceably unto him, Gen. 37.4. but plotted his overthrow, and that which was next to his Murder, because he inherited most of his Fathers Love. If we are too low, every one will be apt to trample upon us, and treat us with scorn; Job, that was reverenc'd so much in his time of plenty, was equally sleighted in his poverty: If he intreated his Servants, they would give him no Answer; Job 19.16. nay (which was yet worse) young children despised him, verse 18. and when he arose, they spake against him. It is best to be in such a condition betwixt excessive Greatness and Mean­ness, that we may be safe both from the blasts of En­vy, and from the foot of Pride; that others may not be tempted to repine at us, nor be able to insult over us.

3 Thirdly, That which exempts us from the necessi­ty of receiving, and furnishes us with an ability of giv­ing, is a very desirable State, and a really sufficient Inheritance. Men are commanded to work with their hands the thing which is good, Eph. 4.28. that they may have to give to him that needeth. It is not so good to live upon Alms as to have the power of bestowing them; and our Sa­viour hath told us,Acts 20.35. that It is more blessed to give, than to receive. It is troublesome and uneasie to be in the condition of Beggars our selves, or to have crowds of Beggars always at our doors; the best is, to be ca­pable of releiving a few, and not to stand in want of releif from any. He that can dispense his own Chari­ty sometimes, and is never forc't to crave it from others, may very well sit down with satisfaction.

III The Third thing, is to shew, wherein the Profita­bleness of Wisdom and an Inheritance together does appear. This may be open'd distinctly under two Branches.

1 First, It is very manifest, that an Inheritance is pro­fitable with Wisdom. The Crown of the wise, (sayes Solo­mon) is their Riches. i. e. They are a singular orna­ment and advantage to them. And that in two re­spects.

1 First, Riches add a Reputation to what men say and do. The World will have no regard to them that sit at the Footstool. If real worth have not the accession of outward things to recommend it, it is as nothing to the generality of Men.Eccles. 9.16. The poor mans Wisdom is de­spised, and his words are not heard. Solomon was the more famous for his wisdom, because he was a Prince; his prudence was the more extolled, because his person was in honour.Prov. 19.7. If a poor man pursues even his Friends [Page 15]with words, they seldom prevail; and upon Strangers much less. An Inheritance will procure us some Cre­dit and Esteem, and by that means our words and actions will have the greater acceptance and success.

2 Secondly, Riches give Men the Opportunity of serving God and their Generation better than others. They may be made the instruments of advancing God's name, promoting his interest, and of doing much good to others, as well as helps in the working out of our own Salvation. When wisdom is without a com­petency of Wealth, 'tis a great inconvenience and ob­struction to the exercise of several Graces, and dis­charge of several duties, which would be profitable not only to our selves, but to the Publick. There may be pious inclinations and desires, but the mans wings are clipt, and his hands tyed from executing of them; as the Apostle said in another case, to will is present with me, but how to perform that which I would,Rom. 7.18. I find not. The narrowness of a mans Estate does of-often hinder the discovery of the largeness of his Heart.

2 Secondly, It is much more manifest, that wisdom is very beneficial with an Inheritance. Nabal, a rich Fool, was an unsociable Churl, and the burden of the Earth; though his belly was filled with conside­rable Treasures, yet his Heart being hid from under­standing, it almost unfitted him to live among Man­kind. Two Things will evince this more particu­larly.

1 First, Wisdom prevents the mischief which Riches alone might do. How often are they hurtful to the Owners, as well as to others, when Folly is with them! Eccles. 5.13. As, when they make Men arrogant and High-minded, [Page 16]or vain and wanton, or sensual and Earthly. What ill effects do they produce, when they encourage Men to oppress and wrong their Inferiours; when they become instruments of cruelty to pierce the hearts, and to grind the faces of the poor! Then it must be ac­knowledged, that they are like heavy talents, which weigh Men down the sooner to Hell, and sink them the deeper in it:2 Sam. 18.9. Or like Absalom's hair, which proved the means of his death, while he was seemingly lifted nearer towards Heaven. Holy wisdom is the only po­werful remedy against all such fatal abuses of our Tem­poral good things.

2 Secondly, As wisedome keeps them from being mis­cheivous, so it makes them positively useful. Wisdom is profitable to direct; Eccles. 10.10. it teaches Men how to employ their wealth in the best and most advantagious man­ner, and to lay it out so, as to receive their own again with the most plentiful increase, by a kind of sacred Ʋsury. It shews Men how to turn their riches into a Treasure which can neither be lost, nor corrupted; to exchange their Silver and Gold for a Crown of Life, and an eternal inheritance in the Kingdom of God. Chri­stian wisdom does indeed consecrate that to God, which corrupt Nature would sacrifice to the Devil, and writes Holiness to the Lord upon those Estates, which might otherwise be fram'd into weapons of un­righteousness. The flesh is very apt to manage them against God, but Grace renders them serviceable for him. Then may the brother of low degree rejoyce in be­ing exalted, Jam. 1.9. and apply that part of Jobs Thanksgiving very justly to his own case, The Lord hath given, blessed be the name of the Lord. Job 1.21.

IV The Fourth and last Thing, is to make some Appli­cation of the present Truth. It is improvable two ways.

1 First, By way of Confutation and Reproof. Two Things may be instanc'd in, which fall under the Edge of this Doctrine.

1 First, It confutes that Popish principle, which mag­nifies voluntary poverty. It is beside my purpose here, to insist upon the Juggle and the Cheat which there is commonly in this; (for under the Veil, and Cloak of pretended Mortification to the World, they not onely subsist by Idleness, but many times raise unseen Estates,) nor does it concern me now to lay open the absurd contradiction which there is in this, to some of their other receiv'd opinions; (as particularly, that outward grandeur and prosperity is a mark of the true Church) but upon this occasion which the Text fairly gives, I would only intimate how false and unagree­able it is to the Scripture-account. Voluntary pover­ty is not only against the Dictate of Nature, (be­cause it is the chusing of a real evil) but against the stream of the Word of God. It is an excluding of our selves from the benefit of all those promises which per­haps God might think good for us to reap; As, that the Righteous shall inherit the Land, Psal. 37.29. and the meek shall in­herit the Earth. Matth. 5.5. It is to make our selves such a Curse as wicked Men are often threatned to be; as, to be cloathed with rags, reduced to a morsel of bread, &c. If it be reckon'd as one of the Characters (tho' not an essential one) of a good man, that he leaves an Inheritance to his Childrens Children, Prov. 13.22. it can­not be our duty to cast it away from us, and there­by to deprive them of the hopeful reversion, as well as our selves of the comfortable possession. Riches are [Page 18]not things so utterly inconsistent with Salvation, as that they must be necessarily relinquish't and renounc't in order to it.

2 Secondly, It reproves that too general practise on the other hand, of over-valuing a Temporal Estate, even to the contempt of Religion. It is a very easie and common mistake, to set an extravagant price upon the good things of this Life, and at the same time to disparage, and think meanly of what is infinitely bet­ter. When Men put the World in their hearts, a Title of Honour shall be preferr'd to the New Name, and to be clad in Scarlet shall be reckon'd a greater priviledge, than to have Robes washt white in the Blood of the Lamb. Indeed there can be no Righteous Judgment, no discerning or approving of things that are excellent, where the Love of the World prevails; for the mind is alwayes so far blinded by Satan (the God of this World) that every thing is seen in a false Light. Some men are so fond of being deceiv'd, that they seem to please themselves with the fancy of Money answering all things; Eccl. 10.19. not considering, that though the expressi­on is unlimited, it must have a limited signification; for our principal wants cannot be supplied by Silver and Gold.1 Tim. 4.8. Godliness is profitable for all things, in the lar­gest sense, because it hath the promises of the present and future Life; it extends to the relief of our Earthly and our Heavenly part, our outward and our inward Man. But there are many calls (especially those that are most loud and urgent) which Money cannot answer to; the hungry and thirsty and naked Soul can­not be fed, or satisfied, or cloathed by it, though in such cases it may assist and refresh the Body. Mam­mon is fit, as a Servant to minister to us, but cannot be a God to Save us.

2 Secondly, It affords proper matter of Exhortation. Two things ought to be prest, as consequent upon what hath been said.

1 First, Whether Riches increase, or decrease, do not think of them above what is written. If they come in like a floud upon you, let not that lift you up; if they Ebb and decline as much, let not that cast you down. Remember still, how far the true estimate and value of them will reach, that you may not judge your condition bettered by the smiles of Providence, nor made worse by its frowns, beyond what really it is. It it our duty to be thankful, when god prospers us in the World, and to be contented when he does not; but the sinful Lovers of abundance, are alwayes least sensible of Gods goodness in bestowing it, and yet most impatient, whenever he does diminish it. In every state therefore bear this upon your thoughts, that the having of an Inheritance is not the chiefest good, and the loss of it is not the greatest evil.

2 Secondly, Let Religion be the main business and em­ployment of your Lives. Consider that your Gene­ral Calling, as Christians, is of more concern, than your particular Vocation, as Men. Let Spiritual things have the constant precedency to Temporal. Matth. 6.33. Seek first the Kingdom and Righteousness of God, and then you may chearfully expect that other things will be added unto you. The way to obtain every thing in a fit Measure, is to seek every thing in the right order. Be most careful and sollicitous about the one thing needful, before the other many things, Luk. 10.41, 42. which are of far less importance; chuse the good part, and do your utmost to secure it. 'Tis better, that your whole worldly portion should be neglected and hazarded, than this. With all thy gettings (says the Wiseman) get [Page 20]understanding. Prov. 4.7. Without it, though you should heap up silver as the dust, you are the poorest and most miserable creatures upon Earth; and the Apostle's Motto must be inverted, if it be transferr'd to you; As having nothing indeed,2 Cor. 6.10. when you seem to possess all things. Therefore in order to the Acquiring and Im­proving of Holy wisdom, follow these Six Directions.

Direct. 1 First, Go to God for it by prayer. This is both a necessary and successful means; the regular appoint­ed way of receiving every gift which comes down from above. There is ('tis true) a natural humane wisdom which may be increas'd and perfected by a man's own Industry; and there is a fleshly Devilish wisdom, which is learn't with too much ease and speed; but real saving wisdom is first infused at the New birth, and further degrees of it freely communicated afterwards by the spi­rit of God. Folly is born and bred with us; it is bound up in our hearts, when we are children, grows up with us, when we are young men; and as we increase in age and stature, we increase our foolishness, till God renews and enlightens our minds.Jam. 1.5. If any of you lack wisdom (as there is none that does not) let him ask it of God, who giveth to all men liberally (i. e. to all that ask) and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. Men that contrive and labour to be rich, are not sure that they shall prosper;Eccles. 9.11. for Bread is not to the wise; there is a great uncertainty of event in all such cases; but he that cryes after knowledge, Prov. 2.3, 4, 5. and lifts up his voice (with his Heart too Heaven) for understanding, ought to be confident of prevailing; he sins, if he doubts of his success; if he be denyed, 'tis because he questions his being heard. 1 King. 3.11, 12, 13. God liked Solomon's petition so well, that he gave him in answer to it, not only good mea­sure, [Page 21]but running over; both that which he askt, and a great deal more.

2 Secondly, Study and Meditate in the Word. This is that which makes the simple wise; Psal. 19.7. which made Da­vid himself wiser than his Enemies, (notwithstanding their subtilty),Psal. 119.98, 99, 100. and his Teachers (notwithstanding their Learning), and the Ancients (notwithstanding their large Experience.) This made Timothy wise to salvation, and he is therefore commended,2 Tim. 3.15. that from a Child he had known the Holy Scriptures. The more Men make use of this Lamp, the more Light will shine every day into their minds, and upon their wayes. Those hearts in which the word of Christ dwells most richly, contain the greatest Treasures of the best wisdom. If Gods Testimonies be your Counsellours, and the Bible your Oracle, and continual Companion, your profiting will ap­pear to all. The reason of that damning Ignorance which abounds even in the Reformed Christian World, is mens shameful unacquaintedness with the Word of God.

3 Thirdly, Chuse the Society of those, who are most instructed to the Kingdom of Heaven. Converse with the children of Light; not with those whose under­standings are darkened, who love simplicity, and love to propagate it, who live in errour, and would lead others into it. He that walketh with wise men, Prov. 13.20. shall be wise; one spark of Light may help to kindle another. But expect not to receive good from those who are evil themselves; that saying of our Saviour to the Phari­sees, is a sufficient discouragement,Matth. 12.34. Oh generation of Vipers, how can you being evil, speak good things? Their discourses are not likely to minister Grace, but to infect with sin. He who is in pursuit of that understanding which is a well spring of Life, must not go and seek it [Page 22]among the Dead. 'Tis dangerous to be their Famili­ars, who are strangers to God.

4 Fourthly, Be ready to take the Counsels and reproofs of those that are wise and good. This will be an evidence, Prov. 9.9. that God hath given us some wisdom already, and it is the proper course to be yet wiser, and increase in Learning. Prov. 12.1. Whoso loveth instruction, loveth knowledge, but he that hateth reproof, is brutish. q. d. he is not a reasonable Creature, but a Beast. They are no bet­ter than Swine that trample upon Pearls, when cast be­fore them. A poor and a wise Child is preferred to an old and foolish king, Eccles. 4.13. who will not be admonished. The stubbornness of Rehoboam, in opposition to the ad­vice of his Fathers Counsellours, ended in the loss of the far greater part of his Kingdom; and in more pri­vate cases many times, mens leaning to their own judg­ments and walking after the sight of their own eyes, hath been very fatal. Seasonable and prudent rebukes should be accepted always with all thankfulness, as the truest, and most valuable acts of Friendship.

5 Fifthly, Endeavour to subdue both pride and pas­sion; because both of them are great Enemies to sound Wisdom. Humility makes men teachable; there­fore be not wise in your own eyes, Prov. 3.7. learn this rule both from Solomon, Rom. 12.16. and the Apostle Paul. Strive to see your own blindness, and be not dazled with a false re­flexion of your own abilities. 'Tis easie to observe, that they who are most pufft up, are least enlightned, and men who think that they have the clearest know­ledge, are generally clouded with the grossest ignorance. 1 Cor. 8.2. Take heed also of giving place to wrath; for this is a Devil, which above all others, will soonest deface the Image of God on the understanding. What mad un­advised [Page 23]actions do mens furious unbridled passions hurry them into! How do they put men beside them­selves, and expose them to the just scorn of their fel­low-creatures? The Scripture doth not say in vain, or without cause, that He who is hasty of spirit, Prov. 14.29. exalt­teth folly, i. e. he lifts it up, as it were, in the open view of others.Jam. 3.13. Meekness of wisdom is recommended by the Holy Ghost; as if there could be no wisdom, where Meekness is not. A cool head, and understanding heart are linkt together; so that if we do not suppress the heat of Anger, we shall extinguish the light of knowledge.

6 Sixthly, Live in the constant vigorous sense of ap­proaching death. If any thing will make men apply their hearts to wisdom, (for the wisdom which we speak of, is the wisdom of the Heart, more than of the Head) it must be a right numbring of their dayes. Psal. 90.12. The com­mon follies of mankind, who mind nothing but buy­ing and selling and getting of gain, Jam. 4.13, 14. do spring from hence that they do not consider what a thin vanishing va­pour our life is. The Religiously prudent men of this World, are such as always reckon themselves to be upon the borders of another; we cannot be truly wise, without understanding our latter end. Deut. 32.29. According as every one is sensible of, and seriously Thoughtful a­bout, his present mortality, he will be wise for a future Eternity; that Man who walks among the Tombs, and makes the Grave his House, is best fitted both to Ʋse the World, and to Leave it; he will be a blessing to others while he lives, and he himself shall be blessed with God, when he comes to Dye.


Books Printed for John Salusbury.

THE Period of Humane Life, determined by the Divine Will, by T. Cruso.

The Mighty Wonders of a Merciful Providence, in a Sermon Preached on January the 31th. 1688. Being the day of publick thanksgiving to God for the great Deliverance of this Kingdom, by His Highness the Prince of Orange, by T. Cruso.

A Rational Defence of Non-Conformity, wherein the practice of Non-Conformists is vindicated from promoting Popery, and Ruining the Church, impu­ted to them by Dr. Stillingfleet, in his unreasonable­ness of Separation. Also his Arguments from the Principles and way of the Reformers, and first Dis­senters are Answered, and the case of the present Se­paration, truly stated, and the blame of it laid where it ought to be; and the way to Union a mong Pro­testants is pointed at, by Dr. Rule.

Four grand Questions proposed and briefly answe­red; wherein is discoursed the Authority and Duty of the Magistrates, in the Matters of Religion; the unlawfulness of a Toleration and general Liberty of Conscience, the Divine-Right of Christian Liberty in things indifferent, the unlawfulness of repealing the Laws against Popery and Idolatry, quarto, price 6 d.

Seventy five Sermons by the Right Reverend Fa­ther in God Ralph Browrigg late Lord Bishop of Ex­eter, published by W. Martin M. A. sometimes Preacher, at the Rolls, 2 Vol. Folio.

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