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mer will appear almost as nothing, when compared with the latter. This seems to
be 19. Lay not up for your selves treasures upon earth, ver. 25. Tokerio (or little) thought for your life what ye shall eat, or what you mall drink, nor yet for the body what ye shall put on ; but also, that they should discharge themselves of all that wealth they are poflessed of, by selling or parting with all and giving it to the poor, in order to be bis Disciples, and to be interested in the treasures of heaven, Matthew xix, 21, 22. Jcfus said unto him (the young man) if thou will be perfect, go and sell that thou haft, (or, as in Mark X. 21. Sell whatsoever thou haft) and give to the poor, and thou lialt have treasure in heaven, and come and follow me. But when the young man beard that saying, he went away forrowy ul; for he had great polleffions. But least what Chrilt has herc said, of selling all and giving it to the poor, might be looked upon as peculiar to this young man, and only as a tryal to him, Christ, in order to make it general, and relative to all rich men, adds, by way of reflection on the young man's conduct, the following remarks, as at verses 23, 24. Then said Jesus unto his Disciples, verily I say unto you, that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven. And again I fay unto you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needlé, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. To inherit eternal life, to enter into life, to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and the kingdom of God, and to have treasures in heaven, all these modes of speech, as used in the discourse betwixt Christ and the young rich man, must, if they are pertinently applied, be used to express one and the same thing ; for the attainment of which thing, Christ hath inade, or declared, the selling all and giving it to the poor, to be pre-requisite or necessary i but the selling all and giving it to the poor is a task so exceeding difficult, and scarccly to be complied with by rich
therefore the conclusion from these premises must needs be just, viz. that a rich man shall hardly enter into the kingdom of heaven ; that it is almost as easy for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, as for a rich man, for any
rich and not for the young man anly, to enter into the kingdom of God; and this had been exemplified in the young man's case.
be the purport of these precepts. Man, from his make and constitution, is an infirm, indi. gent creature, whose fate and condition in the world, and the part he ought to act in it, as an indigent branch of it, these require, and call for much thoughtfulness, application and diligence, in order for him to obtain for himself, and for others, (who may be the proper objects of his regard) those conveniencies and pleasures, that nature hath prepared, and disposed him to enjoy; and that, not only for the present time, but also for the morrow, and through a life that
may be extended to threescore years and ten, a life that may be checquered with the changes of fortune, and many other vicisifudes, all which are to be taken into the account, and prudently provided for. And as man's relations, obligations, and duties, all arise from his present existence, and from what he now is and has ; so his present well doing must needs be the special, and more immediate, object of his present regard. As to man's well doing, in a conftitution of things to come, all the provision he is capable of making for it 110w, is to act suitably to his manly character, and properly fill up assigned him in this. This being the present
condition of mankind, the question before us is, whether that thoughtlessness and indolence, as to worldly goods, which Christ requires, or that thoughtfulness and industry, which man's present indigent condition, or the present constitution of things call for, the question is, which of these contribute most to human happiness? If the former be the case, then it gives it for christian morals; but if the latter be the case, then it gives it against christian morals; that is, if such a proper care, application, and diligence, in making provisions for a man's present well-doing, as his present indigent state seems to require, will, upon the whole, contribute more to the publick good, than that thoughtlessness and indolence, as to worldly goods, which Christ hath required, then, in this instance, christian inorals are less excellent, and perfect, than those morals that come in competition with them.
AGAIN, Luke xiv. 12, 13. When thou inakest a dinner or a supper, call not, or thou fhalt not call, tly friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; left they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makejt a feast,call, or thou shalt call, the poor, the maimed, the
lame, the blind, &c. Tho' this rule of life was given to a particular person, upon a particular occasion ; yet as the reason affigned for it is general, and equally affects all persons, in the same circumstances; so the precept, connected with it, and grounded upon it, must needs be general also. As the precept laid down is most plain, express and peremptory ; so, thereby, Christians are required to deny themselves of that pleasure and satisfaction, which arises from entertaining, and being entertained by friends, relations, neighbours, and those of their own rank, and which, perhaps, is one of the principal enjoyments of life ; and to confine themselves, in this respect, to the company, conversation and friendship of the poor, the lame, the maimed, the blind; that is, to the necesitous only. That the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, when rendered, by their misfortunes, unable to take care of, and provide for, themselves, ought to be taken care of, and be provided for, by those whose plentiful fortunes render them capable of it, surely, is not disputed ; but then, perhaps, those necessitous people may be taken care of, in a way, which will contribute much more to the comfort of their
lives, than fitting down to meat, at a rich man's table, can do. And, therefore, the question is, whether the hitting down to meat with the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, exclusive of the rich; or the fitting down to meat with friends, relations, and rich neighbours, whilst the necessitous are properly taken care of some other way, contributes most to human happiness? If the former be the case, then it gives it for christian morals; but if the latter be the case, then it gives it against christian morals ; that is, if entertaining, and being entertained by, friends, rich neighbours, &c. together with a proper provision for the poor and needy, some other way, contribute more, upon the whole, to the happiness of man. kind, than sitting down to meat with the necessitous, exclusive of the rich, then christian morals, in this instance, are less excellent, and perfect, than those morals that come in competition with them.
THESE, I apprehend, are the precepts that are confidered as peculiarly Christian, or some of them, at least; else I cannot conceive which are ; and by a fair comparison of these, with those precepts that come in competition with them, a judgment may be