« PreviousContinue »
like-minded, to live in temperance and moderation, as knowing the Lord is. at hand. Sumptuous apparel, rich unguents, delicate washes, stately furniture, costly cookery, and such diversions as balls, masques, music-meet. ings, plays, romances, &c. which are the delight and entertainment of the times, belong not to the holy path that Jesus and his true disciples and followers trod to glory. No, Through many tribulations, says none of the least of thein, must we enter into the kingdom of God." I do earnestly beseech the gay and luxurious, into whose hands this discourse shall be directed, to consider well the reasons and examples here advanced against their way of living; if happily they may come to see how remote it is from true Christianity, and how dangerous to their eternal peace. God Almighty, by his grace, soften their hearts to instruction, and shed abroad his tender love in their souls, that they may be overcome to repentance, and to the love of the holy way of the cross of Jesus, the blessed Redeemer of
For they cannot think that he can be. nefit them, while they refuse to lay down their fins for the love of him, that laid down his life for the love of them. Or that he will give them a place in heaven, that refuse him any in their hearts on earth. But let us examine luxury in all its parts.
9. II. Luxury has many parts, and the first that is forbidden by the self-denying Jefus, is the belly : Take no thought, says he to his dif
• Als xiv, 220
ciples, saying, What shalt we eat, or what shall we drink ?-for after these things do the Gentiles seek: - as if he had said, The uncircumcised, the Heathen, such as live without the true God, and make a god of their belly, whose care is to please their appetite, more than to seek God and his kingdom : you must not do so, but seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. That which is convenient for you, will follow: let every thing have its time and order.
This carries a serious reprehension to the luxurious eater and drinker, who is taken up with an excessive care of his palate and belly, what he shall eat, and what he shall drink : who being often at a loss what to have next, therefore has an officer to invent, and a cook to dress, disguise, and drown the species, that it may cheat the eye, look new and strange ; and all to excite an appetite, or raise an admiration. To be sure there is great variety, and that curious and costly; the sauce, it may be, dearer than the meat ; and so full is he fed, that without it he can scarce find out a tomach; which is to force an hunger, rather than to satisfy it.--And as he eats, so he drinks; rarely for thirst, but pleasure; to please his palate. For that purpose he will have divers forts, and he must taste them all : one, however good, is dull and tiresome; variety is more delighiful than the best; and therefore the whole world is little enough to
fill his cellar. But were he temperate in his proportions, his variety might be imputed rather to curiosity than luxury. But what the temperate man uses as a cordial, he drinks by full draughts, till inflamed by excess, he is fitted to be an instrument of mischief, if not to others, always to himself; whom perhaps at last he knows not ; for such brutality are some come to, they will sip themselves out of their own knowledge. This is the luft of the flesh, that is not of the Father, but of the world : for upon this comes in the music and dance, and mirth, and the laughter, which is mad
;c that the noise of one pleasure may drown the iniquity of another, left his own heart should deal too plainly with him. Thus the luxurious live; they forget God, they regard not the afflicted.
o that the fons and daughters of men would consider their wantonness and their iniquity in these things! How ill do they requite the goodness of God in the use and abuse of the plenty he yields them? How cruel are they to his creatures, how lavish of their lives and virtue, how thankless for them ; forgetting the Giver, and abusing the gift of their lusts; and despising counsel, and casting instruction behind them ? They lose tenderness, and forget duty, being swallowed up of voluptuousness; adding one excefs to another. God rebuked this fin in the Jews by the prophet Amos: Ye that put far away the evil day, and cause the seat of violence to come near; that lie upon beds of ivory, and
c Eccl. ii. 2.
stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and the calves out of the stall; that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music, like David; that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments; but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph. These, it seems, were the vices of the degenerate Jews, under all their pretence to religion ; and are they not of Christians at a this day? Yea, they are, and these are the great parts of luxury struck at in this discourse. Remember the rich man, with all his sumptuous fare, went to hell: and the apostle pronounces heavy woes upon those whose god is their belly; for such glory in their shame.
Christ places these things to the courts of worldly kings, not his kingdom; making them unseemly in his followers: his feast therefore, to the multitude, which was his miracle, was plain and simple; enough, but without curio. fity, or the art of cookery: and it went down well, for they were hungry; the best and fittest time to eat. And the apostle, in his directions to his much-beloved Timothy, debases the lovers of worldly fulness; advising him to godliness and content, as the chiefest gain : adding, and having food and raiment, let us therewith be content.' Behold the abstemious, and moft contented life of those royal pilgrims, the sons of heaven, and immortal offspring of the great power of God; they were in fasts and perils often, and eat what was set before * Aros vi. 3, 4, 5, 6.
c Phil. iii. 19.
fi Tim. vi. 6. 8.
them; and in all conditions learned to be contented. O blessed men! O blessed spirits ! Let my soul dwell with yours for ever.
S. Ill. But the diseases which luxury begets and nourishes, make it an enemy to mankind: for belides the mischief it brings to the souls of people, it undermines health, and shortens the life of man, in that it gives but ill nourishment, and so leaves and feeds corrupt humours, whereby the body becomes rank and foul, lazy and scorbutic; unfit for exercise, and more for honest labour. The spirits being thus loaded with ill flesh, and the mind effeminated, a man is made unactive, and so unuseful in civil society; for idleness follows luxury, as well as diseases. These are the burdens of the world, devourers of good things, self-lovers, and so forgetters of God: but, which is fad, and yet just, the end of those that forget God, is to be turned into hell.
$. IV. But there is another part of luxury, which has great place with vain man and woman, and that is the gorgeousness of apparel, one of the foolishest, because most costly, empty, and unprofitable excess people can well be guilty of.
We are taught by the scriptures of cruth to believe, that fin brought the first coat; and if consent of writers be of force, it was as well without as within: to those that so believe, I direct my discourse, because they, I am sure, are the generality. I say, if sin brought the first coat, poor Adam's" offspring have little reason to be proud or curious in their clothes; & Pfalm ix, 19.
h Gen, iii, 21.