Page images
PDF
EPUB

discontent, which always accompanies it, as we may see in the case of Ahab, 1 Kings xxi. 4.; for it goes always on a comparison of our neighbour's condition with one's own, the grudge being that they have more or as much as we.

I shall shew the evil of it, and the remedies thereof.

First, I shall shew the evil of it briefly.
1. View it in the ingredients thereof, whereof it

is made up.

I.

ift, Sorrow and grief for the good of our neigh, bour, 1 Cor. xiii. 4. (fo opposite is it to charity); for envy makes the heart like the moon that shines full and clear in the night, as long as itself is the topping light, but grows pale and wan as soon as the fun riseth, John iji. 26. The prosperity and wel. fare of others is a weight on the envious heart, a thorn in the evil eye, and a prick in that weak fide, Gen. xxxi. 1. 2dly, Fretting anger at their good, Psal. xxxvii.

What makes others easy makes the envious un. easy; and the more fresh and green others are by the providence of God, the more withered and fretted are they, Num. xi. 28. 29. So it was with Jofeph's brethren. The fun shining on others burns them up; and the more it warms their neigh. bour, the more it scorches them, and makes the black fume of envy and grudge to alcend.

2 View it in the springs and rise thereof. W 1919

1/7, Covetousness of what is their neighbour's. Had not Ahab coveted Naboth's vineyard, he had not grudged him the pofleflion of it. The envious would draw all to themselves; and what they are forry others should keep, they themselves would fain possess. A heart knit to the world, and carnal self-intereft, cannot miss to be envious.

2diy, Discontent. The envious are always difcontented that they have not more than others, or that they want what others do enjoy, Discontent

makes an empty room with them, and envy frets that it is not filled up with what belongs to their neighbour.

3dly, Pride and selfishness, Gal. v. ult. Pride fo exalts one's self, and depresses others, that nothing is too much for the proud man, and nothing too little for his neighbour. Selfiihness cares only for what is one's own, and has no regard to the intereft of our neighbour, quite contrary to the spirit of the gospel, that teaches, that every man should not look on his own things, but also on the things of others, Phil. ii. 4. Hence the man cannot endure to fee others like him, far less above him.

3. View it in the effects thereof. It has almost the same as those of discontent, which may be well applied thereto. I will only say, that envy is a sword, and wounds three at once.

1/1, It strikes agair It God, being highly offensive and dishonourable to him. It quarrels his government of the world, and accuses him of tolly, partiality, and injustice, Matth. ss. 15. It cannot rest in the disposals of holy providence, but is ever picking quarrels with its management. Some have too much, others too little, the world is ill dealt; though had they the dealing of it, where there is one complaint now, there would be ten in that case, for they would heap it up to themselves, come of others what would.

2dly, It strikes against our neighbour. It is a bitter disposition of fpirit, withing his ill-fare, and grudging his good; and not only binds up meng hands from doing him good, but natively tends to loole them to his hurt. It will be at him one way or other in word or deed, and there is no escaping the evil of it, Prov. xxvii. 4. Who is able to slund before envy? Oft.times it drives on men to the greatest extravagancies, as it did Joseph's brethren to murder him ; which being stopt they fold him for a slave, Gen. xxxvii. 11. c.

[ocr errors]

3. It strikes at one's self, Job v. 2. Envy payeth the filly man. Though it be so weak as to do no execution on others, yet be sure it never misses a man's self; and it wounds one's self the deeper, that it cannot do much hurt to the party envied. It frets the mind, and keeps it always uneasy as upon tenter.hooks ; nay, it ruins the body, and fi. lently murders it, Prov. xiv. 30. Envy is the rottenness of the bones, making a man to pine away, because others thrive.

Thirdly, I fall give the remedies of this sin.

1. Taking and cleaving to God himself as our portion, Matth. vi. 21. God is a full portion, and in him there is enough for all; and if our fouls reft ia him, they will easily bear others having other things that we want. But the world can never satisfy; and therefore when people look for their portion in it, it is no wonder they be always complaining, and think others have more and bettor than they, because if they had it all alone, they would not have enough.

2. Loving God for his own fake, and our neighbour for his fake. Did we thus love, we would rejoice in God's honour and our neighbour's welfare. This guarded Moses and John againit envy, and made them joy in what others grieved at and grudged. An envious spirit is a narrow spirit, that is never concerned for the one nor the other, but for sweet felf, to which all must be sacrificed by them.

3. Humility, which would make us low in cur own eyes, and make others high. He that is in his own cyes nothing, will not grudge though his part be less than others ; the chief of finners will never think the highest seat among the favourites of providence belongs to him. And whoso have a due regard for others, will not grudge that it is well with them.

I come next to conficer how the corruption of

nature runs in concupiscence, lust, or inordinate affection. The two branches into which it divides it.

self are,

[ocr errors]

i. A luft after what is our own.

2. A lust after what is our neighbour's, or not ours.

First, A lust after what is our own. What God has given us, we may like and desire for the ends he has given it. But when that delire is inordinate, it is finful, it is luft and inordinate affection, Col. iii. 5. Now the desire of or love to or liking of what is ours is inordinate in these several cases following, all which are here forbidden.

1. The heart's being so glued to them, that it cannot want them, cannot part with them, 1 Cor. vi. 12. There is but one thing needful, Luke x. ult. the enjoyment of God. So God has made it, and therefore he would have us fit loose to all other things. When instead of that the heart cleaves to other things, so that it cannot part with them, that is a lust to them, that must be killed by weaning therefrom, Luke xiv. 26. There the heart grips too hard, and must have it.

2. A too great eagerness in the using of them, when the heart caits off the band of religion and reason, and runs loose after them. Thus a man may have a luft to his own meat or drink, 1 Sam. xiv. 32. For our affections even to lawful things need a curb, because they are ready to be violent; and the violent pulse of the affections to them is a symptom of a feverish foul distempered by original fin. 3.

The deure of them for other ends than God has allowed or appointed; for then it is carried without the rule set by the Lord, and cannot miss to be inordinate. Thus oft-times God's good creatures are desired to be fewel to lufts, Jam. iv. 3. 4. desire meat for our necessity is not evil, but for our lufts is not good. Whatever God has made ours, it is not absolutely, but with a reserve, to wit, for Vol. III.

Dd

3. 4. To

such uses as he has allowed ; if we go beyond that with them, it is a sinful lufting after the fame, as if it were not ours at all. But alas! in these things men are often like a tenant, who having taken a house to dwell in, would make bold to pull it down, and burn it for fewcl.

4. The being led to the use of them, without reason, neceflity, or expediency. Then we are under the power of them, and not they under our power, i Cor. vi. 12. It is lawfol to eat, but to be a slave to unreasonable appetite is a sin, and fo in other cases. For fo the foul is degraded, and made to ferve a lust, instead of commanding and regulating the desire, which ought always to be subject to right reason. And however common this is, and but little regarded, it is the native effect of origiDalfin, which has disturbed the order and beautiful harmony of the faculties of the foul; the affections, like an unruly horse, refusing to be held in by the curb of reaíon.

5. The using of them to the hurt either of foul or body; in that case the desire cannot but be inordi

Our fouls and bodies are the Lord's, and he fiys as of his own, Do thyself no harm. It must needs be a lust that carries a man over the belly of this command. Yet alas ! how many such motions and affeciions have people to what is even their own, that to satisfy them they facrifice both their spiritual and temporal interests! Hence it is a good rule in the use of lawful things, That then people do exceed, when by the use of them they are unfitted either for the service of God, or their own intereft.

6. The using of them without any regard to the lionour of God, 1 Cor. x. 31. The old world were Ipwyorles, eating like beasts. The glory of God should regulate us in all things, determine us to the use of wiat is ours, and determine us against it; all being to be cut and carved as may beft luit that end.

Secondly, A lust after what is our neighbour’s, or

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »