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Here I shall consider the duty of this command, as it res spects,
I. I shall consider the duty of this command as it respects ourselves. If we consider, that this command forbidding eoveting in the general, says, in effect, these two things, 1. Thou shalt not covet or lust after what thou hast ; not, 2. What thou wantest; the great duty of this command with respect to ourselves will appear to be twofold.
First, A thorough weanedness from and indifferency to all those things that we have, in which our desires may be too eager. There are some things whereof our desire cannot be too much, as of God, Christ, grace, victory over sin ; and therefore we read of a holy lusting, Gal. v. 17. The renewed part not only desires, but eagerly and greedily gapes for perfect holiness and entire victory over sin. This is holy lusting, where there is no fear of excess, although indeed even that may degenerate, when our own ease, that is disturbed by sin, may be more in our view than the sinfulness of sin, and in this respect these lustings are mixed, and therefore sinful and humbling in the best; and they are so far contrary to this command, as they are lasting after ease, more than conformity to the holy will and nature of God.
There are other things to which our desires may be care tied out too eagerly and inordinately; and the desire of them is lawful, but the coveting or lusting after them, which is the inordinate desire of them, is here forbidden. Thus we may sin, not only in the inordinate desite of sensual things, as meat, drink, &c. but in rational things, as honour, esteem, &c. The desire of these things is not sinful; but there is a Just of them which is so.
Now, in opposition to this, we must be thoroughly weaned from and holily indifferent to these things, not only when We want them, for that falls in with contentment, but when we have them. So should one be to his own house, wife; servants, and any thing that is his; keeping our love to, desire after, and joy in them, within due bounds, as the Psalmist did, Psal. cxxxi. 2. Surely I have behaved and quieted
myself as a child that is weaned of his mother : my soul is even as a weaned child.' We may take it up in these four things following
1. The heart's sitting loose to them, so as the heart and they may fall asunder as things closely joined, yet not glued, when God shall be pleased to take them from us. For if they must needs be rent from us, it is an argument that our love to them was indeed a lust towards them. Therefore this disposition is called a hạting of them, Luke xiv. 26; for things that we have, we can part with, without their tearing as it were a piece of our heart away with them. We can say little on this piercing command, but what will be accounted hard sayings, by all that have not a clear view of the transcendent purity of the law, which is carried to the height in this caminand, because to the root, the corruption of our nature. And that corruption we must still keep in view here, or we will do no good with it.
2. The heart's looking for no more from them than God has
put in them. God has made created things as inns in the way to himself, where a person may be refreshed, but not as a resting-place, where the heart is to dwell. For the desire is inordinate when the man seeks his rest and satisfaction in these things instead of God, Psal. iv. 6. The corrupt judgment magnifies earthly things, and looks on shadows as substances ; and then the corrupt affections grasp them as such, and after a thousand disappointments lust after them still, Isa. lvii. 10.
3. The soul's standing on other ground, when these things stand entire about the man; drawing its support from God as the fountain, even when created streams are running full, 1 Sam. ii. 1. Psal. xviii. 46. The world's good things must .not be thy good things, Luke xvi. 25. Thou mayst love .them as a friend, but not be wedded to them as a husband; use them as a staff, yet not as the staff of thy life, but a staff in thy hand; but by no means as a pillar to build on them the weight of thy comfort and satisfaction.
4. The using of them passing!y. We must not dip too far in the use of them. Lawful desire and delight, like Peter, walks softly over these waters, but lust shines in them; in the one there is a holy carelessness, in the other a greedy gripe. The apostle lively describes this weanedness, 1 Cor. wii. 29, 30, 31. . It remaineth that both they that have VOL. III.
wives, be as though they had none; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; and they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.' The violent pulse of the soul in our high-bended hopes, perplexing racking fears, vehement love, swelling joy, and overmuch sorrow about these matters, is a sad symptom of the distemper of natural corruption that has seized all Adam's sons. The greedy appetite that the heart is carried with to these things, is a sad sign of an unweaned soul. A man may have a sinful lust to his meat, which yet is necessary to support his body; and a Just in the using of it, as those of the old world, Matth. xxiv. 38. 1 Sam. xiv. 32. The dogs of Egypt, they say, lap the water of the river Nile running, for fear of the crocodiles ; for not only in every berry of the vine, but in all created things there is a devil
. See how the Lord tried the people, Judg. vii. 6. • And the number of them that lapped, putting their hand to their mouth, were three hundred men: but all the rest of the people bowed down upon their knees to drink water.
All these things the law requires in their perfection without the least mixture. Where is the clean man to cast a stone at the rest ? It must be on a very transient glance of the heart that men say, The world is not their temptation, they care not for the world. For a view of the spirituality of the law would make us see that the world is fixed in our hearts, and only grace can loose it at the root, and only death can cast it over the hedge.
Secondly, A full contentment with our own condition. As for the sin in our condition, it is not from God, and there is no good in it; we are not called to be content with it, because it is not the condition which God set us in. But whate ever else be in our condition, we are obliged to be content with it, because so is the will of God that we should be in it. Every one is to look on his condition, as the paradise that God has set him down in; and though it be planted with thorns and briers, he must not look over the hedge; for thou shalt not covet. Though that which is wanting in thy condition cannot be numbered, and that which is crookcd cannot be made straight, yet none of these things must render us uneasy in the least. There is required a full contenteye, Much
ment, without a discontented glance of the to the making up of it, all here required.
1, Hearty renunciation of our own will, saying with the pattern of contentment, Not my will, but thine be done. We must no more be chusers for ourselves of our own lot; but as little children standing at the table, not to carve for themselves, but to take the bit that is given them. He shall chuse our inheritance for us,' says the Psalmist, Psal, xlvii. 4. Shall not Infinite Wisdom rule the world This les in three things.
(1.) We must not determine the kind or sort of our com, forts, as we often do, like petted children, that will not have this the parent holds out, but that which they set their eye on, Like Adam, whom the fruit of the tree of life could not serve, but he would have the forbidden frụit. The de sire of fruit was natural, therefore not evil; other fruit would have served that desire, if kept orderly; but the lusting de sire could not want forbidden fruit. Rachael had a husband but she must have children too, Orpah must have a hus band, Ruth wants both; but she determines nothing, but only she must have a God; and that she got, and both too,
(2.) We must not be positive as to the measure of our comforts; and there is no reason that beggars should be cbur sers. If the heart say, of our comforts, They are too little, and of afflictions they are too great, it flies in the face of this command, and of God's sovereignty, setting up
for inde pendency, 1 Tim. vi. 8. ' Having food and raiment, let us be therewith content, though the food be coarse, though scanty, &c. Nature is content with little, grace with less, and sets no measure; but the measure of lust can never be filled
(3.) We must not be wilful in any thing, 1 Tim, vi. 9:
They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare;' &c. They that will have these things, and will not want them, will never be truly content till God's will be brought down to theirs; which will never be altogether ; and if in a particular it come to be so, they will readily get their will with a vengeance, as the Israelites in the wilderness got, Psal. Lxxviii. 29.-31, ? So they did eat, and were well filled; for he gave them their own desire; they were not estranged from their lust: but while their meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them and slew the fattest of them, and smote down the chosen men of Israel.' Thus we must renounce our own will.
2. Absolute resignation to the will of the Lord, Matth.. xvi. 24. • If any man will come after me, let him deny him. self, and take up his cross, and follow me. We must give over the war betwixt our will and the will of God, and our will must run as a captive after his triumphal chariot. His preceptive will is the rule of our duty; and his providential will must, with our consent, be the rule of our condition, Our will must follow his, as the shadow does the body, without gainsaying. If he will let us have a created comfort, we must be content to keep it; if not, we must be content to part
with it. We must lie at the foot of Providence, as a ball before him that tosses it, to be thrown up and cast down as our God sees meet. This Providence will do with us whether we be willing or not; but if we are thus resigned, then our necessity is our obedience,
3. Entire submission to the will of God, 1 Sam. iii. 18. It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good. As they resign themselves to his disposal, they must stand to his de cision in the case. We must no more dispute the sove: reignty with God, but allow the divine will and pleasựre to carry it over the belly of our corrupt inclinations, and be disposed of by him as the weaned child is by the nurse. If that which is crooked cannot be made straight, we must ply to it as it is; if our lot be not brought up to our mind, we must bring down our mind to our lot, as Paul did, Phil. iv, 11, 12. ' Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where, and in all things I am instructed, both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.' lạ this submission to the will of the Lord the soul of content lies. For God does not subject the man only, or cast him down, as he can do the most discontented person, making him walk with the yoke wreathed about his neck, whether he will or
But the man voluntarily submits himself to God's disposal in the whole of his condition, whatever his wants be, Whatever be wanting in our condition, if we would be content,
ist, We must submit to them as just without complaining, as Cain did; saying with the prophet, Micah vii. 9.