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This Remark, and the other following one, where our Saviour faith, It is easier for a Camel to go through the Eye of a Needle, than for a rich Man to enter into the Kingdom of God, undeniably shew us thus much, that what is here required of this young Man, is also requir’d of all rich Men in all Ages of the Church, in order to their being true Members of the Kingdom of God.
FOR how could this be said of rich Men, that they can hardly and with more Difficulty enter into the Kingdom of God, if they were not oblig'd to the same, that this rich Man was oblig'd to.
For if they may enjoy their Estates, and yet enter into the Kingdom of God, the Difficulty is vanish'd, and they may enter with Ease, though this young Man was put upon much harder Terms,
If therefore we will but use common Sense in understanding these Words of our Saviour, we must allow that they relate to all rich Men, and that the same Renunciation of all Self-enjoyment, is required of them, that was required of this young Man.
His Disciples plainly understood him in this Sense, by their saying, Who then can be saved? And it appears by our Saviour's Answer, that he did not think they
understood him amiss; for he seems to allow their Remark upon the Difficulty of the thing, and only answers, that with God all things are possible ; implying, that it was possible for the Grace of God to work this great Change in the Hearts of Men.
Those who will still be fancying (for there is nothing but Fancy to support it) that this Command related only to this young Man, ought to observe, that this young Man was very virtuous; that he was so eager after eternal Life, as to run to our Saviour, and put the Question to him upon his Knees, and that for these things our Saviour loved him.
Now can it be imagin'd, that our Saviour would make Salvation more difficult to one who was thus dispos'd than to others?
THAT he would impose particularly hard Terms upon one whose Virtues had already gain'd his Love?
AND such hard Terms, as for their Difficulty might justly be compared to a Camel's going through the Eye of a Needle ? Would he make him lacking in one thing, which other Men might lack in all Ages, without any hindrance of their Salvation ? Would he send him away sorrowful on the account of such Terms, as are no longer Terms to the Christian World ?
A s this cannot be suppos’d, we must allow, that what our Saviour requir’d of that young Man, was not upon any particular Account, or to fhew his Authority of demanding what he pleas'd ; but that he requir'd this of the young Man for the Sake of the Excellency of the Duty, because it was a Temper necessary for Christianity, and always to be requir’d of all Christians : It being as easy to conceive, that our Saviour should allow of less Reftitution and Repentance in some Sinners than in others, as that he should make more Denial of the World, more Affection for Heaven, necessary to fome, than to others.
I SUPPOSE it cannot be deny'd, that an Obedience to this Doctrine had shewn an excellent Temper; that it was one of the nost noble Virtues of the Soul ; that it was a right Judgment of the Vanity of earthly Riches; that it was a right Judgment of the Value of heavenly Treasures; that it was a proper Instance of true Devotion to God.
But if this was a Temper so absolutely, fo excellently right then, I desire to know, why it has not the same Degree of Excellency still?
HATH Heaven or Earth suffer'd any Change since that time? Is the World
become now more worth our Notice, or heavenly Treasure of less' Value, than it was in our Saviour's Time ? Have we had another Saviour since, that has compounded Things with this World, and helped us to an easier Way to the next ?
FART HER, it ought to be observed, that when our Saviour commandeth the young Man to sell all and give to the Poor, he gives this Reason for it, and thou shalt have Treasure in Heaven.
This manifestly extends the Duty to all rich Men, since the Reason that is given for it, either equally obliges all, or obliges none ; unless a Treasure in Heaven can be said to be a valuable Consideration to some, but not to others.
The Matter therefore evidently comes to this, either we must say that our Saviour did not make a reasonable Proposal to the young Man, that what he required of him, was not sufficiently Excellent in it self, and advantagious to him, or we must allow that the same Proposal is as Reasonable for us to accept of now, as it was in the first Ages of the Church.
We must Observe too, that if all the Reasons which press’d this Duty upon the young Man, equally recommend it to us, that if we neglect it, we are equally
Unreasonable with him, who went away Sorrowful.
LET those who are startied at this Doctrine, and think it unnecessary now, deal Faithfully with their own Hearts, and ask themselves; whether they should not have had the same Dislike of it, had they lived in our Saviour's Days, or whether they can find any one Reason, why they should have been so Spiritual and Heaven-, ly then, which is not as good and as strong a Reason for their being as Spiritual and Heavenly now.
LET them consider, whether if an Apostle was to rise from the Dead, calling all rich Men to this Doctrine, they would not drive their Coaches froni such a Preacher, rather than be saved at such a Price.
To proceed, if this selling all, this Renunciation of worldly Wealth, was not required for the Excellency of the Duty, and its Suitableness to the Spirit of Christianity, it will be hard to Thew a Reason, why such voluntary Self-denial, such Renunciation of one's own Enjoyments, such Persecution of one's self, should be required at a Time, when Christianity expos'd its Members to such uncommon Hatred and Persecution from other People.