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But as the garden brings up weeds, as it were, of itself, which would choke what is sown therein, if it be not kept weeded, so are our hearts; there is sin enough to render all the good seed sown there in vain, unless Jesus's eyes of fire try our hearts, and burn up all the useless and worldly cares, and those sins which else choke his word and make it unfruitful..
I will speak also to you who are cheated with the deceitfulness of riches, who perhaps never once in your : life thought there was any danger in being rich, but have wished for it with all your hearts. Our Saviour has wisely called it the deceitfulness of riches, because such it really is, and no other. The poor cheat themselves in hoping to become rich, and those who have this world deceive themselves, and imagine themselves wealthy, and having much, and have not yet got the least spark of the love of God shed abroad in their hearts. They do not know that they have any part in the kingdom of God, or in the gold tried in the fire, which is the righteousness'and merits of Christ Jesus. O such, with all they have, are poor and miserable. What good did all the rich man's barns, full of corn and plenty, and his bags and chests of gold do him, when God called him, « Thou fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee?" Or of what use was it to Belshazzar that he could feast with all his nobles, and eat and drink out of bowls of silver and gold, when the same night a band-writing upon the wall tells him, “ His kingdom is given away from him, and he is weighed in the balances, and found wanting. Or of what.comfort was it to Dives, that just before he had been clothed in scarlet, and purple, and fine linen, and fared sumptuously or delicately every day, and now must lift up his eyes in the torment of hell, and want a drop of water to cool his tongue ? They were deceived with the deceitfulness of riches,
and forgot how hard it was for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
But whoever among you have hitherto been mistaken, hear me a little: Are you poor now? then learn to be content, and seek the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and you shall be rich. Mind it not, though here you may be a vessel of dishonour, like Lazarus, only let our dear Saviour be your sure portion; lay up treasure in heaven, get your part ascertained in his merits and atonement, and indeed you shall be rich, you shall have a kingdom that cannot be removed, and be yourselves upon the throne of God, kings and priests to the Lamb for ever. Are you rich : much of this world? Then be faithful stewards, and cast your bread upon the waters, that you may find it again; and let it be your chief, your only study, to ensure your interest in Christ, and lay hold on eternal life. Do not look upon yourselves as better than others, nor value a possession which in one hour may leave you destitute as a beggar: be rich in faith, in love, and good works; in all other respects be poor, and as one that needs the precious blood of the Lamb, and his salvation and pardon daily and hourly; so lie at his gate, like Lazarus, full of sores, and desire to be fed with the crumbs which fall from his table; and resolve to continue a poor despised disciple of your despised Master, and come follow him, and you shall be rich, “ you shall have treasure in heaven, raiment and jewels which no moth or rust can corrupt, and gold, which no thief can break through and steal;" and when you must go hence, and be no more seen, though you can carry nothing with you of all your goods or temporal blessings, you shall be received by “ the King of kings, and Lord of Lords," into the New Jerusalem, and go no more out. O may our merciful Lord and Saviour, in this sense, make us rich, for his name sake!
I must yet speak to one sort of people more, whose hearts have received the word of God among thorns ; and these are those who are led away with the pleasures of this life. I fear many who hear me are of this poor deceived number. Many have lived ten, twenty, thirty years in the world, and perhaps their whole lives, and never knew that what they call their innocent mirth, lawful recreations, and harmless pleasures, have been the very thorns which have choaked the word. But let me reason with you also a little, for else I should be inexcusable. I know what the pleasures of this life are ; they are what St. Paul calls“ the pleasures of sin for a season," and such as Moses left in the court of Pharaoh for Christ's sake. They are like Job's friends, miserable comforters indeed. In vain does one dress when his poor soul is naked, and ashamed before God; in vain he decks his body, when his spirit is without the righteousness of faith, and the beauty and comeliness which our Saviour puts on a soul, when he washes it and adorns it for the eternal bride-chamber; however he may amuse himself thus a little, his naked estate and vile heart must sometimes appear before him, and make him trembling think, Who knows but this painted and decorated wretch may ere long be summoned into eternity? And this deforms and sullies all bis gaiety and finery. In vain another runs to the play-house, or visits some place of diversion and pastime; a guilty mind and conscience must sometimes speak, and turn all their best sweets to gall and wormwood. In vain a third keeps company, and with unlawful and wanton looks, airs, and words, stirs up the lustful fire; it shall be like a vulture at the heart. A dread unspeakable succeeds close at the heels of such delights; a horror like the shadow of death, and secret remorse, stings, plague the breast where such fires burn,
and all are like the book John ate, however sweet it is in the mouth, in the belly shall it be very bitter. In vain a fourth feasts, and drinks new wine and strong drink, or sings away his days, or with riding, walking, hunting, or play, thinks to make himself happy; the wisest of all men tried all these things, and got all the delights of the sons of men, and at last confessed, what we all know to be true, “ In the midst of laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness ;” and a wiser man than Solomon hath said, “Wo be to them that laugh now, for they shall mourn and weep.” But why is it that souls are so bewitched and allured ? Why are the greatest part of mankind so deceived ? The old serpent that deceives all them that dwell on the earth has persuaded them, that else they shall always be mopes, and melancholy in the world; nor have they understood that “ the ways of Wisdom are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths peace.” Ye foolish people, if ye did but know how really fine, and like a bride prepared for the bridegroom, a soul is who has put on the Lord Jesus, ye would slight heartily all other finery for evermore. Come and be embraced one moment by the Friend of sinners, and receive his pardon, and nothing would so affect you for ever, nothing so please you as the tragedy of the Son of David; his tears and heaviness should always keep you chearful, and his bitterness of soul, when he felt the sting of death, would be
. Ye wanton and lustful men and women, come ye to Gethsemane, and see those cold drops of sweat which fell down to the ground like blood, from the Holy One; this shall root out, and extinguish, and wash away for ever all the impure fames which have so racked your mind, and exposed you to the most horrible dread on this side eternity. Our Sa
viour pities you, and is ready to save you from all your sins. There is no lust, no unholy and wild fire, no cursed inbred lechery, and whorish and unclean thought or wish which his blood and deathsweat cannot utterly abolish and drown. If you knew in what safety they dwell, with what peace they go forward, and how calm and undisturbed they are who are saved and made chaste, and washed white in the fountain opened for sin and uncleanness, you would not once more look back, or desire again to be entangled in the old sins ; no, you would bless the Lamb day and night who had delivered you and saved you from so great misery and danger. Ye drunkards and rioters, ye lovers of feasting and banqueting, come ye to the marriage-feast of the Lamb. Jesus invites you, to drink freely of the fountain of life, and to eat of the hidden manna. Ye who are fond of music, come and hearken to our Saviour, for his voice is sweet; all the music of the angels is nothing else but the echo of his love and forgiveness. Do you love a concert, come up and you shall see ten thousand harping upon their harps before the Lamb that was slain, and millions of trumpets blowing to the honour of his name. Do ye esteem 'songs? O get your lips touched with a coal from off the altar, and you shall join in the song of Moses and the Lamb upon mount Sion. If that mouth, which was once struck by the soldiers, kiss you and seal your pardon, the songs of the drunkards will no more be pleasing, nor the shouts of such as make merry; you will feel a joy which they understand not, and your lips shall utter a song which shall please your Beloved, and be the language of a heart that has overcome and obtained mercy in God our Saviour. You shall be happy witnesses that our Redeemer's service is perfect freedom, and that his children are the only happy people