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Recreations, which should have been bestow'd in che enriching of their Souls. They too little confider the Dangers they are in, and therefore too daringly venture upon the Temptations which they cannot be sure to conquer; and so for want of due Circumspection and Caution are set behind Hand in their great Business, and are often at so great a Loss, that they know not which way to turn thein. They cast themselves into perplexing Fears and Doubts, that they quite loft the Day of Grace, and shall never again get into the Way to Heaven; and indeed cannot get into it again, or revive their Dying Hopes, without very much difficulty, and bitterness of Soul.
when there in Cold, at and and by
5. How industrious and diligent are the Chile dren of this World, in all their Worldly Concerns which they have once set their Hearts upon ? What Pains and Drudgeries do they with most ad. mirable Patience and Alacrity undergo, toiling Night and Day when there is Occasion for it, Wer and Dry, in Heat and in Cold, at Home and Abroad, in Winter and Summer, by Land and by Sea, above Ground, and in the Bowels of the Earth? What costs are they ar? What a number of Servants and Factors do they employ? Nothing seems too much, or too hard, or too mean, or too tiresome to them, in order to the obtaining their Beloved Ends. But where is one half of this Pains and Industry visible among the Children of Light? How faintly and lingringly, and lazily go they about the great Affairs of their Souls? How quickly do.they grow tired, and wea. ry in their way to heaven and eternal blessedness? One day in a Week, yea, a few Hours of
that day tires them, if they be held to their work in earnest, and must be allow'd no Diversion. We are all for an easy and a cheap Religion; and are desirous to serve God, and to provide for our Souls indeed, but we would do it without much coft and trouble. We must do as little as we can for Heaven, only we would not willingly miss of it, and therefore we seem to do all rather of neceflity thần choice, and cho' things we do muft be done, and we dare not do otherwise; yec they seem a Burthen, and are grievous, and we do them irksomly and heavily.
6. Again, the Children of this world are fo much in earnest to compass what they aim at, that they will venture the loss of every thing for it, they'll set all at Srake, even Life it self for the winning what they have a mind to. This was touch'd on before, and therefore I say no more of it ; but thar we cannot ordinarily find the Children of Light so ready to venture the loss of any thing for the good of their Souls, and the Enjoyment of God in Heaven, as we find worldly Men are for any petty Trifle which their Affections are set upon.
: 7. When they meet with any considerable difficulty in their business, and apprehend some danger of miscarrying, the Children of the World are not willing to trust only to their own Wic and Conduct, but are very careful to have the best Advice and Directions they can possibly get. They consult their Experienc'à Neighbours, and all others of whose Skill and Judgment they have any Opinion. How little of this care do we find
among the Children of Light? As tho' the eternal concerns of their Souls did not either need it, or deserve it ; they seem mightily unconcern'd to be well advis'd in the Prosecution of them. How little use do Men ordinarily make of those Spiritual Guides, whom God hath fet over them to counsel and direct them? Are these consulted as often about our spiritual and eternalconcerns, as the Lawyer is about our worldly, or the Phy, fician about our bodily? What little use do we make of our pious and wise Neighbours, that we may gain wisdom by their Experience? Nay, it is well, if we will be at the pains to consult the Bible, the Book of God upon any Occasion. And when we do so, what care take we to understand what we read in it? How seldom ask we any Questions about the meaning of it, or defire any help for the right use and application of any thing that we meet with in it? As it Heaven lay open before us, and we could not possibly mistake in the way to it, we are altogether fecure, and trust to our own Judgments in every thing; or rather indeed to the way we are in, whatever it be, never troubling our selves to consider and Judge of it, whether it be right or wrong. We have been put into this way by our Friends, and it is the beaten Road, or that they go in, of whose Judgment we have got a good Opinion, and on which we are resolved to fix without giving our felves the trouble of advising about it.
8. Lastly, The Children of this World oien take an Account of their present itare, and examine how they fand in the World, what they
have gain'd, or what they have lost. To this end they are very exact in the keeping of their Books, and their Notes; and observe how successful or or unsuccessful they are in the Courses they have hitherto taken; and whether they are to hold on in the same course still, or are to alter their Methods and Measures. But here again the Children of Light fall short of them. How rarely do they examine themselves, and take any Account of their Spiritual State. How many days let they pass away, without observing and noting down the Occurrences thereof; that they may know what they have gained, or lost in any of them? How few of us seem to take this care to keep all Reckonings streight in the Books of our Consciences between God and us? Neither our Receipts from him, nor our idle Expences, and wasting of his Goods ; neither the mercies we are to thank him for, nor the Debts of Duty, which we owe him, and are in Arrear for, nor the Sins which we have committed, and are to be repented of, are so carefully observed, or so fully considered, as they ought to be. And we so feldom enquire into our selves, that even to attempt ir, confounds us, and we know not how to go about it. Instead of many more Instances wherein that which is callid the Wisdom of worldly Men
discovererh it felf, these are enow to shew them 1 to be wiser in their Generation than the Chil
dren of Light.
If we be desirous to know how this cometh to pass, or what is the Reason why the Children of Light should not behave themselves as wisely in the ways they have chosen to walk in; as the
Children of this World do in their's, it is easy enough to understand it, when we consider the present state and condition that all Mankind is now in. Indeed, the Children of this World and of Light, are not the very fame state, for the one are in an unregenerate state, the state of corrupc Nature; but the other are in a state of Grace, the one are in the broad way that leads to Destruction, and the other in the narrow way that leads to Life eternal; yet notwithstanding this, we are all in a state of Imperfection and Weak: ness; we are yet in the Body, and in this World, and in the Company of the Wicked, and have much worldly Business to do, and many Temptations to overcome, and many evil Spirits haunting us. And when all this, and a great deal more which might be said is well consider'd, it cannot seem strange that the Men of the World should appear wiser in their way, than the Children of Light do in their’s. For they appear to be wiseft, who so manage their Business, that with the fewest Miscarriages and Disappointments in the way, they compass their Ends, and bring about their Designs, and it is a great deal more easy for worldly Men to do this, than it is for the Children of Light.
1. The Children of this World being born of the Flesh only, and not born again of the Spirit are Flesh, only Flesh. 7oh. 3. 6. Carnally minded, Rom. 8. 6. And sow to the Flesh only. Gal. 6.8. And have but one Interest to serve, that of the Flesh. All their Contrivance and Labour is to make Provision for the Flesh to fulfil the Lufts thereof. But that which is born of che Spirir,