Such is the corruption of human nature, even in the best
Christian, that while we receive the good things of this life—we forget the
Giver, and idolize the gift. We are apt to think too highly of every
blessing. We ought to receive every favor from God, with humble gratitude.
We are always to bear in our mind these few following reflections, which
will help us to rejoice with moderation—in the blessings of this present
1. Created good is always greater in the prospect—than in
the possession. While the heavenly bliss, like Solomon's glory and wisdom—is
the greater the nearer it is approached.
2. No worldly felicity can enrich the soul. Many a time
the happiest men, with respect to the world, have the greatest leanness in
their soul, and, as their outward man flourishes, their inward man decays.
3. Nothing that we receive in the world can keep us a
moment longer in it. Many things which we may possess, as riches and
relations, make us both unwilling and unfit to leave the world.
4. There is always a deficiency in the most perfect of
earthly enjoyments—and a thorn in the most pleasant of earthly enjoyments.
5. Have we a good name? Lying tongues may ruin it. Have
we riches? These, however well secured—may make themselves wings—and fly
away. Have we relations, beloved, kind, and endearing? Death may deprive us
of them all, and leave us to mourn alone. Have we children? They may die
young, and set our hearts a bleeding. Or they may live long, and by their
wicked life—break our very hearts, when we are bowed down with years.
6. He makes a poor exchange, who prefers the creature
before God; or gives God less room in his mind, in his meditations, in his
affections—that his earthly enjoyments may have the more.
7. Tranquility of mind, and a smiling conscience, are the
gift of God. No earthly enjoyment can bestow them, or compensate their loss
8. Carnality will spring up at every corner—and come in
with every good thing. Carnality will intrude itself amidst all the graces
of the Spirit—so that we have need to be always on our guard.
9. The brevity and uncertainty of human life—as it should
dry the tears of the mourner—so it should moderate our earthly joys.
10. According to the talents put into our hand, according
to the gifts of God to us—so must we give account to the sovereign Judge of
all. Our aptness to misuse all God's blessings—should keep us humble at all
times, and in all places.
11. Since infinite wisdom has seen fit to bestow very
little worldly good, or earthly felicity, on the greater part of his
people—this should teach us to possess the good things of this life with
fear, and to rejoice in them with trembling.
12. To be dispossessed of our possessions, to lose our
loving relations, to be dismissed from our posts and employments, and to be
bereft of all our enjoyments—is more galling and irksome, than never to have
had possession, relation, post, or employment.
13. Earthly good things we can neither carry with us to
the eternal world; draw comfort from in the hour of death; nor secure to our
heirs in this world, when we are no more. Therefore it is only our vitiated
imagination that pictures out such scenes of pleasure—in earthly vanities.
14. Confidence in the earthly things, too often
accompanies the possession of them—yet this is the canker-worm at the root
of all our enjoyments. For it is in God, the Giver of all—that all our
confidence should rest.
15. The favor of God is our best inheritance, the
providence of God is our richest possession. The favor of God can make us
happy, in spite of all misfortunes, while we live. The providence of God can
attend to our posterity, when we are no more.
16. Finally, our wisdom is—to seek to enjoy God in all
things—to see him in all things—to glorify him in all things—to prefer him
above all things—and to be fully satisfied with him alone, in the room of
all created things—relations, riches, good name, peace, prosperity, health,
and life—or whatever we enjoy below.