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tentedly for the blessed Inheritance of the Children of God, reckoning, that the sofferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in them. Rom. 8. 18. Let them hunger and thirst after Righteousness, in hope of the blessedness belonging to them that do fo, for they shall be filled. Mat. 5. 6. Whatever else they want, let them be clothed with bumility, and þumble themselves under the mighty Hand of God, that he may exalt them in due time. 1. Pet. 5. 5. 6. Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for their's is the Kingdom of Heaven. Mat. 5 3.
Whatever our condition be in this World, whether we be rich or poor, high or low, healthful or fickly, let us always remember, that it is the condition which our wife and gracious God hath chosen for us. And therefore it becomes us to be contented with it, and chearfully to acquiefce in it, fo long as it pleaseth him to continue it. If we be rich and healthful, we are so much the greater Debtors to God, for so much undeserv'd goodness. And if we be poor, or fick, fore or maimed, we know that we have deserved far worse things than these, and have abundant cause to bless God, that it is no worse with us.
Let us remember, that God is the LORD and Owner, the free Disposer and Giver of all things, and we have no right to any thing, not so much as to life itself; and therefore ought to be well contented, and very thankful in whatsoever state we are. Whatsoever it is, better or worse, it behoves us to make the best we can of it, and so to improve it, that we may be eternally the better for it. We are all of us, as long as we live, in a state of Trial; we are Pro, bationers for another World, and there is no con
dition we can here be in, good or bad, but ir may be improv'd to the encrease of our future and eternal Happiness; and again, it may be fo abused, as to encrease our future and eternal misery. Our present condition may be very changeable and various, as it pleaseth God; sometimes better, sometimes worse, and the Prince and Begger may in a little time be made to change pla. ces; what ever it be, it shall very shortly change for one that will be for ever unchangeable And yet, howsoever our condition changeth, it is our fault, if it do nor alway change for the better. If God had made Riches the best way to Heaven, it would have concerned us to use all Endeavours to become rich, and to keep our felves fo. And if God had made Poverty the onely or best way to Heaven, we should have been as much concern’d to keep our felves poor. But it is neither the one, nor the other, that we are to account either the onely, or the best way. It is indifferent, which it is that God chuseth for us, so that he give us also grace to behave our felves well in the way wherein he hath fet us. We must quickly be at the end of our Journey, and out of this world, and we are no sooner our of it, but we are in another, and in a condition there, which will be one and the same forever. It ought therefore to be very indifferent to us now, which way we are to go, through Riches or through poverty, prosperity, or adversity; see. ing either way we may conie as well to our Journeys end, if we order our goings by the Law of God. Let us not therefore be follicitous about the way, or what our state and condition may be in this world, wherein we are but Pilgrims and Strangers; but let it be our care to go on up,
Fightly, and apace in the way wherein God hath set us. Are we in any measure rich and bealthful? So let us use our Wealth and Health, that we may be the bappier hereafter, for the Wealth and Health we have bere enjoyed: For so we may be, if we do as much good with both as we can ; and if we do not so, they will make us more miserable for ever. Are we poor, weak, or fickly? Let us so behave our felves, that we may be hereafter so much the happier for having been in such a condition, and so we shall be, if we now bear our wants and sufferings as we ought; and if we do not so, we shall be the more miserable for ever, for having been miserable once. In short, let us live soberly, piously, and godly, and whatever our outward state now is, we shall find in the end, that it was the best for uş.
There is yet one thing more, that may deserve to be taken notice of, in the description of these two Persons in this Parable. And it is this, That the one of them is here called by his proper Name, but the other is not. Our blessed Saviour speaking of the poor Man, faith, There was a certain Begger named LAZARUS, but of the rich Man he saith no more but this, I bere was a certain rich Man, what his Name was, he tells us pot. What the Reason is, why the one is here expressed by Name, and the other not; or what was our blessed Saviour's design hereby to teach us, I dare not confidently affirm; nor am I willing to lay any more weight on the Words and phrases used in Parables, than I think they will bear. And yet nothing hinders, but that we may by any words we read in the Holy Scripture be put in mind of something, which tho' it was not, perhaps, any part of the Speaker's Intention,
may yet to the Reader or Hearer be an occasion of a seasonable and useful Meditation.
Many Persons are very ambitious of a Name in the World, yea, and to leave a Name behind them, when they go out of the World too. And truly if it be a Good Name they affect, and if they aspire unto it by vertuous actions only, which are the only folid Foundations whereon real Honour and Renown can stand, it ought not to be called Vain-glory, but is to be esteemed a branch of that Magnanimity, or greatness of Soul, which excellently well becometh every Christian. A good Name is better than precious Ointment. Eccl. 7. 1. The Testimony of one's Conscience, that his life hath been truly vertuous, and for that Laudable, is more sweet and refreshing, more pleasant and delightful to a good Man, than all the most delicious and costly Ointments and Perfumes can be to the voluptuous Epicure; yea, the fame of such an one as bath lived to do good all the days of his life, reviVeth dying vertue in those who shall hear of him, when he is to be no more feen. The weet Savour he hath left behind him, renders his Memory blessed to late Posterity, and tho' he be dead, the good Example he hath set furviveth, and teacheth them that come after him, how they are to follow him unto real and everlasting Glory. A good Name therefore is rather to be chosen then great Riches. Proy. 22. 1. Had the rich Man here made his choice, his Name might possibly have been transmited to us by our Saviour, as well as that of the Beggar. Butấthis rich Gentleman, as too many do, desiring rather to be ricla than virtuous, and to have a great Name in the World , rather than a good one; is not thought worthy by our Saviour of a Name; how D4
considerable foever he might seem to himself, and to others like himself, yet the holy JESUS mentions him with Contempt, as a mean despicable Fellow; a certain rich Man, that's all the Title of Honour or Respect he thought fit to bestow upon him.
That which is highly esteemed amongst Men, is abomination in the light of God. Luk. 16. 16. This rich man we are to suppose to be one of those, who are wont to be had in great Honour, and to be cringed to by their poorer Neighbours, and efpecially by them who have any dependance upon them, such as their Servants and Tenants. Let a Man be rich, it's no matter by what base Arts he became fo, he is forthwith a Gentleman at least, and it will be hard to keep him from being a Nobleman too. For what should hinder him from rising to what height he pleaseth, who is born up
with golden Wings ? Like Nebuchadnezar's golden Image, he will be sure to have Worship enough, if not for love, yet for fear, tho'he be a very Idol, and can have no Sense of real worth and goodness, yet may he fall upon, and by his weight crush those to Death, that observe not their distance. However, if he be rich, he is to be sure a. Man of Name in the Neighbourhood, every one knoweth him by it, and seldom mentioneth it without some addition, Whilst the poor Man, how deserving soever, is known by few, and usually, if not, as Solomon faith, bated, yet despised of bis Neighbour. Prov. 14. 20. Almost no body takes notice of him, and the most are afham'd to seem acquainted with him, as one who is thought fitter Company for Dogs than Men. And truly it was a greater Honour to poor Lazarus to lie with the Dogs at the