« PreviousContinue »
not the desire of good that may fatisfy, that makes the difference between the godly and the wicked, but the different ways they take : Psal. iv. 6. 7. « There be many that say, Who will fhew us any good ? Lord, lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon us. Thou hast put gladness in my heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increafed.” In whatever case a man is on earth, in heaven or hell this is still his desire; and he must cease to be a man, ere he can ceafe to defire to be a happy man. When that desire, mentioned Ecclef. xii. 5. fhall fail, this defire is still fresh and green ; and it is good in itself, Our Lord supposeth this in the text, and therefore he promises to them what they are seeking, rest, if they will come to him..
2. "This defire is the chief of all; all other things are desired for it. All men's desires, however diferent, meet here, as all the rivers meet in the sea, though their courses may be quite contrary. "Therefore this is what they labour for. The devil has some labourers at his coarse work, others at the more fine, but they all meet in their end.
3. Defects and wants are interwoven with the very nature of the creature ; and the rational creature finds that it cannot be, nor is felf-sufficient. Hence it fecks, its happiness without itself, and must do it, to satisfy these natural desires.
Laily, Seeing, then, man's happiness is without himself, it must be brought in, which cannot be done without labour. It is proper to God to be liappy in himself; but every crearure must needs go out of itself to find its happiness; so that action is the true way to it, that is, rest cannot be found but in the way of action and labour, and because they are not in the right way, it is wearisome labour.
LET Ler us inquire, II. How it is that men out of Christ labour for happiness and satisfaction. Here it is impossible for us to reckon up particulars, and that in regard,
1. Of the different dispositions of men, and the various,, as well as contrary opinions, concerning what may make a man happy. Varro fays, there were two hundred and eighty opinions touching the chief good in his time. It is true, Christianity, in the profession of it, hath fixed this point in prin. ciple ; but nothing less than overcoming grace can fix it in point of practice. The whole body of Christless finners are like the Sodomites at Lot's door; all were for the door, but one grasps one part of the wall for it, another another part, not one of them found it. The world is, as the air in a summer-day, full of insects; and natural men, like a company of children, one running to catch one, another another, while none of them is worth the pains. One runs to the bowels of the earth, another to the ale-house, &c. It is impossible to determine here,
2. In regard of men's still altering their opinions : about it, as they meet with new disappointments. Like a' man in a mist, seeking a house in a wilderness, when every bush, tree, &c. deceives, till, by coming near, he is undeceived. "O! (thinks the man), if I had such a thing, I would be well.' Then he falls to labour for it; may be he never gets it, but he ever pursues it. If he gets it, he finds ić will not do, for as big as it was afar off, yet it will not fill his hand when he grips it : but it must be filled, or no reft, hence new labour to bring forth just a new disappointment : Isa. xxvi. 18. “ We have been with child, we have been in
A a 3
pain, we have as it were brought forth wind,” It is difficult also,
3. Because they cannot tell themselves what they would be at. Their starving souls are like the hungry infant, that gapes, weeps, cries, and sucks every thing that comes near its mouth, but cannot tell what it would have, but is still reftlefs till the ·mother set it to the breast. It is regenerating
grace that does that to the foul. The Hebrew word for believing, comes from a root that signifies to nurse, as if faith were nothing but a laying of the foul on the breasts of Christ, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead. The scripture holds him out as the mother that bare them; hence his people are called, Ifa. liii. 11. “ The fruit of the travail of his soul.” He also is their nourisher; hence he fays, Isa. i. 2. “ } have nourifhed and brought up children.” The breasts of the church, Ifa. lxvi. 11. at which they are to suck and be satisfied, are no other than Christ. But, in the general, to see from whence it is that men out of Christ go about to squeeze out their happinefs, fee Psal. iv. 6. 7. quoted above. From which observe two things.
(1.) That it is not Gød, for these two are fet in oppofition; go to as 'many doors as they will, 'they never go to the right door; hence it follows, that it is the creatures out of which they labour to draw their fatisfaction : “ Having forsaken the fountain of living waters, they hew out to themfelves cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." . (2.) That it is good they are seeking out of them; and indeed men can seek nothing but under that notion, though for the most part they call evil good, and good evil. All good is either profitable, pleasureable, or honest; these, then, are all that they are seeking, not from God, but from