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you that know any thing, do know that the riches of this world cannot satisfy the souls of men; and they are as fading as a flower, or as the owners of them.
Rem. 4. Seriously consider that though the saints, considered comparatively, are few; though they are a little flock, a remnant, a garden enclosed, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed; though they are as the summer gleanings; though they are one of a city, and two of a tribe; though they are but a handful to a houseful, a spark to a flame, a drop in the ocean; yet consider them simply in themselves, and they are an innumerable number that cannot be numbered, as John speaks; After this I beheld, and lo a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, Rev. vii. 9. So Matthew speaks; And I say unto you that many shall come from the east, and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, Matt. viii. 11. So Paul; But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of Angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, Heb. xii. 22, 23.
Rem. 5. Seriously consider that it will be but as a day, before these poor despised saints shall shine brighter than the sun in his glory. It will not be long before you will wish, 'O that we were now among the poor, mean, despised ones, in the day that God comes to make up his jewels!' It will not be long .before these poor few saints shall be lifted up upon their thrones to judge the multitude, the world, as the apostle speaks, Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world? And in that day, O how will the great and the rich, the learned and the noble, wish that they had lived and spent their days with these few, poor, contemptible creatures, in the service of the Lord! O how will this wicked world curse the day that ever they had such base thoughts of the poor mean saints, and that their poverty became a stumbling-block, to keep them off from the ways of sanctity!
I have read of Ingo, an ancient king of the Draves, who making a stately feast, appointed his nobles, at that time Pagans, to sit in the hall below, and commanded certain poor Christians to be brought up into his presence-chamber, to sit with him at his table, to eat and drink of his kingly cheer. At which many wondering, he said, that he accounted Christians, though never so poor, a greater ornament to his table and more worthy of his company, than the greatest peers unconverted to the Christian faith, for when these might be thrust down to hell, those might be his consorts and fellow princes in heaven. You know how to apply it. Although you see the stars sometimes by their reflections in a puddle, or in the bottom of a well, aye, in a ditch, yet the stars have their situation in heaven: so though you see a godly man in a poor, miserable, low, despised condition, for the things of this world, yet he is fixed in heaven, in the region of heaven; Who hath raised us up, says the apostle, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. O therefore say unto your own souls, when they begin to decline in the ways of Sion, because of the poverty and paucity of those that walk in them, 'The day is at hand when those few, poor, despised saints shall shine in glory: when they shall judge this world; and when all the wicked of this world will wish that they were in their condition, and would give ten thousand worlds, were it in their power, that they might but have the honour and happiness to wait upon those whom, for their poverty and paucity, they have neglected and despised in this world.'
Rem. 6. Solemnly consider that there will come a time even in this life, in this world, when the reproach and contempt that is now cast upon the ways of God, by reason of the poverty and paucity of those that walk in those ways, shall be quite taken away, by his making them the head, that have days without number been the tail; and by his raising them up to much outward riches, prosperity, and glory, who have been as the outcasts, because of their poverty and paucity. John speaking of the glory of the church, the new Jerusalem that came down from heaven, in Rev. xxi. tells us, that the nations of them which are saved, shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth do bring their glory into it. So the prophet Isaiah; They shall bring their sons from far, and their silver and their gold with them. For brass I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron. And so the prophet Zechariah speaks, chap. xiv. 14; And the wealth of all the heathen round about, shall be gathered together, gold, and silver, and apparel in great abundance. The Lord has promised that the meek shall inherit the earth; And heaven and earth shall pass away, before one jot or one tittle of his word shall pass unfulfilled. Ah, poor saints, now some thrust sore at you, others look asquint upon you; others shut the door against you; others turn their backs upon you; and most of men, except it be a few that live much in God and are filled with the riches of Christ, do either neglect you, or despise you because of your poverty; but the day is coming, when you shall be lifted up above the dunghill; when you shall change poverty for riches, your rags for robes, your reproach for a crown of honour, your infamy for glory, even in this world.
And this is not all, but God will also mightily increase the number of his chosen ones; multitudes shall be converted to him. Who hath heard such a thing? who hath seen such things? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day? or shall a nation be born at once? For, as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children. And they shall bring all your brethren for an offering unto the Lord out of all nations upon horses and in chariots, in litters and upon mules, and upon swift beasts to my holy mountain Jerusalem, saith the Lord; as the children of Israel bring an offering in a clean vessel into the house of the Lord, Isai. lxvi. 8, 20. Does not the scripture say, that the kingdoms of this world must become the kingdoms of our Lord 1 Has not God given to Christ the heathen and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession? Has not the Lord said, that in the last days the mountain of the Lord's house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills, and all nations shall flow unto it? Isai. ii. 2. Pray read and meditate upon Isai. lx. and lxvi; and there you will find the multitudes that shall be converted to Christ. And O that you would be mighty in believing, and in wrestling with God, that he would hasten the day of his glory, that the reproach that is now upon his people and ways may cease!
Dev. 6. The sixth device that Satan has to keep souls off from religious services, is by presenting before them the examples of the greatest part of the world that walk in the ways of their own hearts, and that make light of the ways of the Lord. 'Why,' says Satan, 'do not you see that the great and the rich, the noble and the honourable, the learned and the wise, even the greatest number of men, never trouble themselves about such and such ways? and why then should you be singular and nice? You were far better do as the most do.'
Now the remedies against this device, are these—
Rem. 1. The first remedy against this device of Satan, is solemnly to consider those scriptures that make directly against following the sinful examples of men; as that in Exodus; Thou shalt not follow a multitude to do evil, neither shalt thou speak in a cause to decline after many to wrest judgment. The multitude generally are ignorant and know not the way of the Lord; therefore they speak evil of that they know not. They are envious and ma liciously bent against the service and ways of God; and therefore they cannot speak well of the ways of God. This way is every where spoken against, said they. So the apostle; Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness. So Solomon; Enter not into the way of the wicked; forsake the foolish and live. They that walk with the most, shall perish with the most. They that do as the most, shall ere long suffer with the most. They that live as the most, must die with the most, and go to hell with the most.
Rem. 2. Seriously consider that if you will sin with the multitude, all the angels in heaven and men on earth cannot keep you from suffering with the multitude. If you will be wicked with them, you must unavoidably be miserable with them. Sin and punishment are linked together with chains of adamant. Say to thy soul, ' O my soul if thou wilt sin with the multitude, thou must be shut out of heaven with the multitude; thou must be cast down to hell with the multitude.' And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues, Rev. xviii. 4. Come out in affection, in action, and in habitation; for else the infection of sin will bring upon you the infliction of punishment. So says the wise man; He that walketh with wise men, shall be wise; but a companion of fools shall be destroyed, or as the Hebrew has it, shall be broken in pieces. Multitudes may help thee into sin, yea, one may draw thee into sin; but it is not multitudes that can help thee to escape punishment: as you may see in Moses and Aaron, who were provoked to sin by the multitude, but were shut out of the pleasant land, and fell by the hand of justice as well as others.
Rem. 3. Solemnly consider the worth and excellency of thy immortal soul. Thy soul is a jewel more worth than heaven and earth. The loss of thy soul is incomparable, irreparable, and irrecoverable. If that be lost, all is lost, and thou art undone for ever. Is it madness and folly in a man to kill himself for company? and is it not greater madness and folly to break the neck of thy soul, and to damn it for the company? Suspect that way wherein thou seest multitudes to walk; the multitude being a stream that thou must row hard against, or thou wilt be carried into that gulf out of which angels cannot deliver thee. Is it not better to walk in a strait way alone, than to wander into crooked ways with company? Surely it is better to go to heaven alone, than to hell with company.
I might add other things, but these may suffice for the present; and I am afraid, if these arguments do not stir you, other arguments will work but little upon you.
Dev. 7. The seventh device that Satan has to keep souls off from holy exercises, is by casting in a multitude of vain thoughts, whilst the soul is in seeking God, or waiting on God; and by this device he has cooled some men's