« ElőzőTovább »
thing that is thy neighbour's : whereby it appears, that this command looks through all the other commandments of the second table, and so condemns all inordinate desire of any object whatsoever. And therefore the Papists dividing this command into two is abfurd, and but a trick invented to atone for their confounding the first and second. While this command says, nor any thing, it says, Thou shalt not only not dishonour thy neighbour by insolent and contemptuous behaviour, but there shall not be a desire in thy heart, saying, O that his place and post were mine, as in the 5th command ; nor, O that I had his health and strength, as in the 6th ; nor his reputation and esteem, as in the oth; though you have no deliberate design or desire to wrong him in these,
I do not wonder, if some are surprifed at this, and say, Are these sins ? for indeed this cominand goes deeper than the rest ; and if it did not fo, it would be fuperfluous; for you see it aims not at any new object, but holds by the objects of the former commands; therefore it must look to some more inward and less noticed motions of the heart than the rest do. And therefore Paul, though he learned the law at the school of divinity under Gamaliel, a profeflor of it, yet, till he learned it over again at the school of the Spirit, holding it out in its spirituality and extent, he did not know these things to be fin, Rom. vii. 7. It was this command brought home to his conscience, that let him lee that luft to be fin which he saw not before.
And seeing this is a command of the second table, and ourselves are our nearest neighbour, the lutt or imordinate desire of those things that are our own must be condemned here, as well as lufting after what is not ours.
So much for the negative part of this command, which in effect is this, Thou shalt not be in the least dissatisfied with thy own present condition in the
, nor have any inordinate motion in thy heart to that which is thy own or thy neighbour's.
The positive part is implied, and that is, Thou shalt be fully content with thy own lot, whatever it be, and arrest thy heart within the bounds that God has inclosed it in, bearing a charitable dispofition to thy neighbour and what is his. For all covetousness implies a discontent with our own condition. Queft. " What is required in the tenth commandment?"
Ans. “ The tenth commandment requireth full s contentment with our own condition, with a
right and charitable frame of fpirit toward our neighbour, and all that is his.”
Here I shall consider the duty of this command as it respects,
1. Ourselves. 2. Our neighbour. 3. The root of fin. I. I shall consider the duty of this command as it respects ourselves. If we consider, that this command forbidding coveting in the general, fays in effect these two things, 1. Thou shalt not covet or luft after what thou haft; nor, 2. What thou want eft; the great duty of this command with respect to ourselves will appear to be twofold.
First, A thorough weanedness from and indiffer ency to all those things that we have, in which our
, desires may be too eager. whereof our desire cannot be too much, as of God, Chrift, grace, victory over fin, and therefore we read of a holy lusting, Gal. v. 17. The renewed part not only desires, but eagerly add greedily gapes for perfect holiness and entire victory This is holy lusting, where there is no fear of exwhen our own ease that is disturbed by sin may be cess, although indeed even that may degenerate, niore in our view than the firsfulness of fin; and is
There are some things
this respect these luftings are mixed, and therefore sinful and humbling in the best; and they are so far contrary to this command, as they are lusting after ease, more than conformity to the holy will and nature of God.
There are other things to which our desires may be carried out too eagerly and inordinately ; and the desire of them is lawful, but the coveting or lusting after them, which is the inordinate desire of them, is here forbidden. Thus, we may sin not on. ly in the inordinate desire of sensual things, as meat, drink, &c. but in rational things, as honour, e. steem, &c. The desire of these things is not finful, but there is a luft of them which is fo.
Now, in opposition to this, we must be thoroughly weaned from and holily indifferent to these things, not only when we want them, for that falls in with contentment, but when we have them. So should one be to his own house, wife, fervants, &c. and any thing that is his; keeping our love to, desire after, and joy in them, within due bounds, as the psalmist did, Psal. cxxxi. 2. Surely I have behaved and quieted myself as a child that is weaned of his mother.: my soul is even as a weaned child. We may take it up in these four things following.
1. The heart's fitting loose to them, so as the heart and they may fall asunder as things closely joined, yet not glued, when God shall be pleafed to take them from us. For if they must needs be rent from us, it is an argument that our love to them was indeed a lust towards them. Therefore this disposition is called a hating of them, Luke xiv. 26. ; for things that we have, we can part with, without their tearing as it were a piece of our heart away with them. We can say little on this piercing command, but what will be counted hard sayings, by all that have not a clear view of the transcendent purity of the law, which is carried to the height in this coinmand, bucause to the root, the corruption of
our nature. And that corruption we must still keep in view here, or we will do no good with it.
2. The heart's looking for no more from them than God has put in them. God has made created things as inns in the way to himself, where a person may be refreshed, but not as a resting place, where the heart is to dwell. For the desire is inordinate when the man seeks his rest and satisfaction in these things instead of God, Psal. iv. 6. The corrupt judgement magnifies earthly things, and looks on thadows as substances; and then the corrupt affections grasp them as such, and after a thousand difappointments lust after them still, Il. lvii. 10.
3. The foul's standing on other ground, when these things ftand entire about the man; drawing its support from God as the fountain, even when created ftreams are running full, 1 Sam. ii. 1. Pfal. xviii. 46. The world's good things must not be thy good things, Luke xvi. 25. Thou mayst love them as a friend, but not be wedded to them as a husband; use them as a staff, yet not as the staff of thy life, but a staff in thy hand; but by no means as a pillar to build on them the weight of thy comfort and satisfaction.
4. The using of them passingly. We must not dip too far in the use of them. Lawful desire and delight like Peter walks softly over these waters, but luft shines in them ; in the one there is a holy carelessness, in the other a greedy gripe. The apostle livelily describes this weanedness, 1 Cor. vii. 29. 30. 31. It remaineth, that both. they that have wives, be as though they had none'; and they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they polleled not ; and they that use this world, as not abusing it : for the fashion of this world passeth away. The violent pulse of the foul in our high-bended hopes, perplexing racking fears, vehement love , swelling joy, and overmuch forrow about these matters, is a fad VOL. III.
and impertinent discourse, doing no good to the hearers, but bewraying the folly of the speaker.
3. A trade of jesting, Eph. v. 4. It is not finful to pass an innocent jest for begetting of moderate chearfulness. The wise man tells us, There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh, Eccl. iii. 4. It may in fome cases be as necessary to chear the spirits, as a cordial is to restore them, or a pleasant gale of wind to purify the air. It was not unbecoming the gra. vity of the prophet to mock Baal's priests, and to say, Cry aloud ; for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey ; or per adventure be seepeth, and must be awakened, 1 Kings xviii. 27. But sinful are,
(1.) Offensive jefts, which tend to the shewing a despiling of our neighbour, to the irritating and provoking of him. And indeed it is often seen, that those who are much given that way, their converfation is most offensive, sparing neither friend nor foe, and will rather lose their friend than their jeft.
(2.) Profane jests, either making a mock of lin, or of that which is holy, particularly wresting and abusing of scripture, to express the conceits of their light and wanton wits. It is a dangerous thing to jest in such matters.
(3.) People's being immoderate in jesting. To make every word a jelt, is liker the stage than Christian gravity. This is as absurd as to present a man a dish of salt to feed on; a little of it is good for seasoning, but to give it for the whole entertainment is abfurd.
4. Lastly, Flattery, Psal. xii. 3. This is a most dangerous ftroke, and the more deadly that the wound it gives does not smart, but by iť a man is hugged to ruin, The words of a flatterer are smoother than oil, yet are they in effect as drawn fwords. It is a compound of lying, abjectness of spirit, and treachery. The flatterer gives the praise that is not due, professes the kindness that is not real, and screws up