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the innocent shall divide the silver. The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not. For GOD shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand. Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.- Arise, O Lord, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword: From men which are thy hand, O Lord from men of the world, which have their portion in this life, and whose belly thou fillest with thy hid treasure: they are full of children, and leave the rest of their substance to their babes. Job 27. 13, 16, 17, 19, 22, 23. Ps. 17. 13, 14. || Jam. 5. 1—5. Ps. 73. 3-7, 12, 18, 19. Luke 12, 16—21.
Are you willing to have your portion in this life? Be persuaded then not to set your affections on things seen and temporal?
176. Since the fashion of this world is passing away, is it not our DUTY and our WISDOM to make spiritual riches, or the interests of the soul, the principal objects of our desires and our pursuits?
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. But seek ye first the kingdom of GOD, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Col. 3. 1, 2. Phil. 4. 6, 7. Mat. 6. 19-21, 33, 34. || Prov. 15. 16. Jer. 45. 5. John 6. 27. 1 Pet. 5. 7. Luke 10. 41, 42.
Are your affections daily soaring to heavenly things? Do you find substantial happiness in any earthly object or pursuit? When will you cease to pursue shadows which flee at your approach, or vanish when you attempt to grasp them?
177. What directions and promises respect diligence and industry in the lawful concerns of life?
For even when we were with you, this we commanded you,
that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread. And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you; That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing. The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.- Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase. 2 Thes. 3. 10-12. 1 Thes. 4. 11, 12. Eccl. 5. 12. Prov. 13. 11. Gen. 3. 19. Ex. 20. 9. Prov. 12. 11, 24, 27. and 22. 29. Eph. 4. 28.
Are you diligent and economical from obedience to the commands of GOD? Does it quicken you in these duties that you may do good with your gains?
178. What are some of the consequences of idleness?
The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing. The desire of the slothful killeth him; for his hands refuse to labour.- I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; And lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. Then I saw, and considered it well: I looked upon it, and received instruction. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth; and thy want as an armed man. Prov. 20. 4. and 21. 25. and 24. 30-34. Ez. 16. 49. Prov. 22. 13. and 18. 9. Eccl. 10. 18. Prov. 6. 6-11.
If idleness is so shameful and ruinous in temporal concerns, how much more pernicious in spiritual concerns? Have you renounced sinful ease and indolence?
179. What is the conduct, language, and condemnation of the proud?
The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after GOD: GOD is not in all his thoughts. Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth. And they say, How doth GoD know? and is their knowledge in the Most High? And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to
be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.- For they, being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of GOD.- Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord: though hand join in hand he shall not be unpunished. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low. Ps. 10. 4. and 73. 6, 9, 11. Mat. 23. 6, 7. Rom. 10. 3. Prov. 16. 5. Is. 2. 11, 12. || 1 Sam. 2. 3. Prov. 11. 2. and 16. 18, 19. and 21. 4. and 29. 23. Jer. 13, 15, 16. Luke 14. 11.
Of what have you to be proud but ignorance, pollution, and weakness? Dare you longer cherish pride?
180. Are not mankind prone to be unmindful of their CREATOR who is ever mindful of his creatures for good?
Be astonished, O ye heavens, at this, and be horribly afraid, be ye very desolate, saith the Lord. For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water. Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number. A voice was heard upon the high places, weeping and supplications of the children of Israel: for they have perverted their way, and they have forgotten the Lord their GOD.The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget GOD. Now consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, and there be none to deliver. Jer. 2. 12, 13, 32. and 3. 21. Ps. 9. 17. and 50. 22. || Is. 1. 2, 3. Ps. 44. 20, 21. Deut. 8. 11, 19. Hos. 13. 6.
Had GOD been as unmindful of you as you have of him, what would have become of you? How base, how criminal, how dangerous, is forgetfulness of GOD?
181. What is the sum of man's duty?
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: FEAR GOD, AND KEEP HIS COMMANDMENTS: for this is the WHOLE duty of man. For GoD shall bring every work into
judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. Mat. 22. 37-40. and 7. 12. Eccl. 12. 13, 14.
Have you reverenced, loved, and served GOD? Are you now desirous of doing your whole duty?
182. Who prepares the heart to love and serve God?
O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.- The preparations of the heart in man, and the answer of the tongue, is from the Lord. Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear.Thus saith the Lord God; I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them; I will increase them with men like a flock. A new heart also will I give you, and a new' spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. Jer. 10. 23. Prov. 16. 1. Ps. 10. 17. Ez. 36. 37, 26, 27. || Ps. 119. 32, 65, 33. Jer. 32. 39, 40. Phil. 2. 13. Jam. 1. 16-18. Ezra 7. 27. 2 Cor. 8. 16. Neh. 2. 12.
Do you feel your entire dependance on GOD for every thing morally good? Dare you use this as an excuse for continuance in sin? Would it answer to be plead at the bar of God?
183. Do the prayers of God's people acknowledge their entire dependance on him?
The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us: That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers. I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn thou me, and I shall be turned; for thou art the Lord my God.- Create in me a clean heart, O GOD; and renew a right spirit within me. 1 Kings 8. 57, 58. Jer. 31. 18. Ps. 51. 10. || Heb. 13. 20, 21. 2 Thes. 2. 16, 17.
Did you ever pray "Create in me a clean heart, O God?” Without feeling guilty and helpless in yourselves, have you ever prayed aright?
184. Does their language express their dependance?
Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of GOD.- I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. But by the grace of
GOD I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me, was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of GoD which was with me. 2 Cor. 3. 5. Phil. 4. 13. 1 Cor. 15. 10. || Eph. 6. 10. 2 Tim. 2. 1. Is. 26. 12.
If you hope you have any measure of right views and affections, who hath made you to differ? Did you or did grace make the difference?
185. What Scripture directions manifestly imply free-agency, and require activity in the creature?
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to Gon, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double-minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.- Wash you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, every one according to his ways, saith the Lord God. Repent, and turn yourselves from all your transgressions; so iniquity shall not be your ruin. Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed; and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord GOD: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.- Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. Jam. 4. 7-10. Is. 1. 16, 17. Ez. 18. 30 -32. Is. 55. 1-3. 6, 7. || Hos. 10. 12. OBSERVE THE PURPORT OF THE SCRIPTURES THROUGHOUT.
Do you not feel yourselves to be moral agents free as creatures can be? If unable to comprehend the union of Divine