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he was form’d; and that as Job fays of them, the rich and the poor *sball lie down alike in the dust, and the worms Mall cover them; so they were both made together, and the t Lord was the maker of them both. He does not think himself the greater favourite of heaven because he possesses fo much more of this world than many others do; he knows that these are not the rewards which God reserves for those who love him. Outward mercies and temporal enjoyments are scattered by providence, as it were with a careless hand to good and bad men: for as to such things, # No man knoweth either love or batred by all that is before them. There is one event to the righteous and to the wicked, to the good and to the clean and to the unclean, to him that sacrificeth and to him that facrificetb not, as is the good so is the finner, and he that sweareth as he that feareth an oath. And he considers besides, with deep humility and forrow, the many fins he is guilty of before God, and therefore whatever wealth or honour he makes a figure with in the sight of men, he knows he is to Itand or fall to another master, and to be judged at the bar of God by other measures. And such a man as this is properly one of those poor in spirit

' to whom the kingdom of heaven is promised. Riches indeed, as they are generally used, carry with them a very different temper, and render those who possess them, liable to great temptations and prejudices against the force of true religion: and for this cause I suppose it might be that the Church did anciently require their catechumens to profess their renunciation of the pomps and vanities of the world, which are the great enemies and corrupters of humility, and thereby declared that none are fit to be members of Christ, and subjects of his kingdom, but

* Job xxi. 26.

† Prov. xxii. 2.

# Ecclus. ix. 12.


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such as are of humble minds, who tho' they may enjoy many things in the world, are not so swellid and puff'd up with them as to value themselves thereupon. But,

2. The poor in spirit are such as are not covetous in their desire, nor penurious in the use, of worldly things; who use the world as if they us’d it not *, and live in it so as if they did not live upon it. The nearest to him who is so poor as to have nothing, is he who desires nothing, and uses that he has with indifference and moderation. This man remembers the advice of holy David, If riches encrease, set not your heart upon them; and the reason given for it by Solomon, For riches make themselves wings, they y away as an eagle toward heaven.

He remembers that a man's life, his safety and happiness, * confifteth not in the things which he possesseth ; and therefore (as our Saviour bids him) he takes heed of, and avoids all covetousness. Het makes not gold his hope, nor rejoices because his wealth is great, or that his hand hath gotten much; but his care is to use it well, to be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate to such as want what he en-. joys, laying up in store for himself a good foundation. against the time to comes that he may lay hold on eternal life. He sits loose to all the enjoyments of this world, as having laid up his treasure in a better place; he is not grasping in his desires, he is not fond of his possessions, he does not thirst for more than what he has, nor dote upon even that: for he considers that the love of the world is the great enemy of religion, and the root of all evil, the mother of falshood and oppression, variance and contention; whereas if men would be but

persuaded to regulate their desires, and to be poor in

* 1 Cor. vii. 31.

Luke xii. 15.

† Pfalm lxii. 1o. # Prov. xxiii. 5. † Job xxxi. 24, 25.


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that respect, the religion of Christ would have opportunity to enter and take poffefsion of their hearts, the government of the world would be easy, and charity would cement and bind all relations, and all societies. It is not necessary that men be poor, in order to be religious ; but it is necessary that they be not covetous, that their riches do not get the command of their hearts, and they be poor at least in their designs, and desires of, and their affections to this world. This is to be poor in fpirit, but fuch a 'poverty as has annexed to it the truest riches, that of contentment and repose, the communication of the spirit of Christ, and the rewards of eternal glory.

3. ANOTHER inftance in the description and character of the poor in Spirit, is, that they do thankfully acknowledge the good hand and providence of God in what they enjoy. They look not upon themselves as lords, but stewards; and how great socver their outward circumstances be, their minds are as humble and depending, their hearts as full of gratitude and acknowledgment, as if they liv'd upon the daily alms of heaven, the charity of good men. They consider that God is the great over-ruler and disposer of affairs, that it is in his power to give and to take away, to dif; possess the rich and to supply the needy, that they are strangers and pilgrims in this world, have nothing thcy can truly call their own, because they have every thing they enjoy from God, and not from themfelves; and therefore, as the poor man when he receives an alms, acknowledges the good; ness of the giver, so he who is poor in spirit acknowledges the favour and blessing of God even in his riches, and thankfully owns his dependance upon him, even for his daily bread. * The Lord

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maketh poor and maketh rich, he bringeth low and lifteth up. * Both riches and honour come of him, he reigneth over all, and in his band it is to make great and to give Arength unto all.

4. The fourth and last line in the description of the poor in spirit, is, that they are such as have a readiness and disposition of mind willingly and cbearfully to submit to a condition of poverty, when it fall please God to bring it upon them. They look upon themselves in the world as all men are apt at some times, viz. in wars or great mortalíties, when they stand ready for any event, and dispose themselves equally for suffering as for safety. And indeed this fate of mind is very necessary for the disciples of Chrift: for besides the evils and accidents which fall upon them in common with other men, they are often called to higher afts of suffering, and exposed to it upon the very account of their religion. + God tempted Abraham with a command of facrificing his son, that it might appear that pious father of the faithful had a heart disposed sincerely to obey his will, and submit to his providence, tho' with the loss of what was deareft to him in this life. Our Saviour also has declared, #that whosoever does not part with father and mother, wife or children, or any other relation or enjoyment, for his fake and the Gospel, is not worthy to be his follower. Which is not so to be understood as if it were necessary for all his disciples actually to forsake those relations, and to renounce those enjoyments; but to frame their hearts to such an indifferency towards them, that if they must either

either neglect and omit their duty to him, or suffer the loss of all, they should readily submit to suffering; and 1 Chron, xxix. 1?.

t Gen. xxii. 1, 2, 12. Luke xiv. 26.




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that as * Abraham went out from his country and his friends, at the command of God, so they should disengage themselves from all the endearments, which, in that state of things, shall prove obstructions to their duty and their religion. + Whosoever (says our Saviour) will come after me, let bim deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me. Now as poverty is one great instance of the cross, and submitting chcarfully to it, as to the will of God, a great degree of self-denial, we must not, when it falls in our way, be offended at it; but endeavour continually to prepare our minds for it, and set our selves to acquire that holy strength and fortitude which may enable us to bear it, when God shall think fit to lay that cross : upon our shoulders. Men generally addict themselves with so much eagerness to the gratifying their humour and their delight, that when it comes to the point of self-denial and forsaking, they are all diforder'd and passionate, look upon it as unreasonable and intolerable; they murmur at providence, and #charge God foolishly, and too often chuse with Demas to forsake St. Paul, their Duty and their Saviour, than this present world: whereas if they were poor in Spirit, in the sense here.' mention'd, they would make a wiser choice : if they had before wrought themselves ( as they should do ) to a readiness and disposition to bear the cross, they would find the weight much lessen'd when it Ihould be laid upon them, and say with holy Job, * Naked came 1 out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither, the Lord gave, and the Lord bath taken away; : blessed be the name of the Lord.

* Heb. xi. 8.

job i. 21.

† Mark viii. 34.

# Job i. 22.



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