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his disciples ; and ver. 3. that “ his disciples came unto him privately,” and put their questions to him. St Mark is more particular in their names, that “ Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, asked him (those things) privately,” Mark xiii. 2. I observe this to shew, that as such an admonition concerns all, so it is not unsuitable to Christ's

professed disciples. If Christ saw fit to leave such a caution with his apostles, then, if we will take his judgment, the best of men should think themselves concerned, even in warnings against sensuality. Thus the apostle to the Colossians, after he had expressed his charitable hope that they “ were risen with Christ,” Col. ii. 1. yet directs an exhortation to the same persons, not merely to guard against sins of infirmity, but to “mortify their members which are upon earth, fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, and covetousness,” ver. 5.

3. The exhortation contained in the words to a care and concern about ourselves: Take heed to yourselves. Such an exhortation is laid down in the New Testament upon several occasions. It imports, in general, the peculiar care we are obliged to take of ourselves, more than of any beside. It intimates, also, the matter introduced with so solemn a caution to be of great importance; and, at the same time, our proneness to behave ill in such a matter, without care and diligence. And all this we are to understand by it here.

4. The general matter, with reference to which we are directed to exercise our care for ourselves : Lest your hearts be overcharged. Our Saviour teaches us to be mainly careful of our principal part, our souls; and, particularly, that they be not rendered unfit for their proper and most excellent acts, by too great an ascendant of the body and its concerns, over them.

The word which we render overcharged, Baguidãow, signifies to be pressed down ; as a man is held down by more weight upon him than he can wield, or as a ship, by being overloaded, is made unfit to sail. So it ought to be our concern, that our souls, which are capable of tending upwards, and were designed to do so, might not be held grovelling below by too much of earthy weight ipon them; that they should not be hindered from acting worthy of their spiritual and excellent nature, by too much indulgence of the

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body. One of our principal cares, while we dwell in body, should be, that our minds may be preserved free for their own worthy employments.

5. The instances mentioned, whereby our minds are eminently in danger of being overcharged. And they are of two sorts.

One is, the inordinate gratifications of the appetite by in-. temperance : Lest your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting and drunkenness ; that is, by the immoderate use either of meats or drinks; making more free with either, than is consistent with the proper place of the body; namely, to be under the direction and command of the soul.

The other is, immoderate cares about the concerns of this life. The mind may be as much indisposed and unfited for regular acting, and for attending to our principal interest, by too great a variety of wordly cares, or by too intense anxiety about them, as even by surfeiting and drunkenness. The sober actings of reason about our principal interests, may be as much disturbed by the one as by the other.

6. The extent in which this caution is prescribed : Lest at any time your hearts be so overcharged.

It is worst of all to have this for the case of our souls in customary and habitual practice; but that is not all which we are to provide against. We should be on our guard against every particular discomposure, either by worldly appetites or cares ; for every such instance makes a man a transgressor, and is not a little detrimental to his soul.

This addition also may intimate, that they who think themselves best fortified against such disorders, or to have little temptation to them, yet may, at some time or other, be surprised, if they take no heed to themselves. Who could be imagined to have less occasion for a caution against intemperance, than these disciples of Christ, who, by their constant attendance on their Master, were accustomed to a very regular way of living ? Or whom should one think less in danger of immoderate cares, than plain fishermen, who bad little to care for, except to keep their nets in order ? Yet Christ saw it proper to admonish them, lest at some time they might be led by temptation to those evils of which they might have no apprehension at present that they were in any danger. And the same caution we sliould also take to ourselves,

c. 7. The particular motive by which Christ awakened his disciples to this care and caution : Take heed, lest your hearts be overcharged,--and so that day come upon you


He had, in the context, acquainted his disciples with the sore destruction which was coming upon the Jewish temple and nation ; one of the severest judgments ever inflicted by God in this world. And, in the text, he calls his disciples to be very vigilant, that they might not miscarry in such a dreadful calamity, by indulging themselves in excess and luxury, or drowning their thoughts in worldly cares.

Either of these would lead them to forget that awful season, though they were forewarned of it, and hinder their preparation for it ; and, indeed, be a very unsuitable frame to be found in when such judgments should come.

But though Christ's warning to his disciples of that day was with a particular view to that national judgment upon the Jews ; yet, as that was a type of the last judgment approaching to us all, we are equally obliged to attend to the same caution in prospect of death, and the future judgment, lest those days come upon us at unawares. Mark tells us, that when Christ had, upon this occasion, called his disciples to watchfulness in particular, he then actually extended it to all, Mark xiii. 37. “ And what I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.” And what particular part of watchfulness contained in the text, must be understood in the same latitude. ; 1 intend upon this text to discourse only of the head of Intemperance. Immoderate cares will come under consideration in the next branch of my general subject, Christian con-, tentment. I am now to prosecute this truth,

That Christians are strongly obliged to maintain a strict guard against intemperance. Where I shall,

I. Shew what is to be accounted Intemperánce. And,

II. The obligations that lie upon Christians to keep a strict guard against it.

I. What is to be accounted intemperance.

And here I doubt not but you will easily apprehend, that I am not inquiring only after the grossest acts of this vice, such as justly expose a man to the common censure of all that


see him, or to be pointed at in the streets for a glutton, or a drunkard ; but also after all that which a man, judging of himself impartially by the rules of reason and scripture, and as in the sight of God, will have ground to account a criminal excess in this matter, though other people should have no foundation to pass a censure upon

him. Now, I know not a more comprehensive rule of judgment in this case, than that which is intimated in the text. All such use of bodily provisions, whereby the heart is overcharged, or the mind is indisposed for its regular acts, or rendered any way less fit for acting as a rational and a religious agent, this is in proportion a faulty excess. And by this rule, beside the gross acts of intemperance, conscience may tell us, that every one of the following instances infringe upon the


of intemperance.

1. All such use of meats and drinks as indisposes the body to be at the service of the soul. The body was designed by our Creator to be the minister of the soul, and in a readiness to execute the orders of the higher powers : and the provisions given for our sustenance are intended, by the blessing of God with them, to maintain the body in such a state. Whatever, therefore, we find prejudicial to our health, or that ordinarily has the effect to make our bodies heavy, sluggish, and inactive, whether it be some particular kinds of food, or liquor, or such a proportion and quantity of any, certainly ought to be abstained from, because we find them to disorder the just temperature of the body, and so to lessen its fitness to serve our minds. Indeed, we can hardly judge of this, one for another ; for that is eminently fit to nourish, and refresh, some constitutions, which is most prejudicial to others; and some require such a quantity of sustenance to preserve their bodies, in a regular and vigorous state, as would quite disorder and unfit others for their duty. But most people may, if they please, judge of this for themselves : and temperance obliges every man, upon the best observation he can make of himself, ordinarily to abstain from those supports of life, for quality and for quantity, which he finds a disservice, instead of an advantage, to the good state of his body. If our bodies are rendered unserviceable, either in whole or in part, by the providence of God, without our own fault, we cannot help that; it is our affliction, and not our sin. But if we should know

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" ingly disable ourselves, we not only sin against our own bodies,

but our own souls too, And, indeed, we are so inany ways * liable to disorders which we cannot help, that we have no need to increase them by our own follies.

2. Such ways of living as are above what our worldly circumstances will admit, may justly be esteemed intemperance. High living, above people's condition and estate, either in the daintiness of their provisions, or the plenty of them, is intem

perance in them, though it may not deserve to be so accounted ed in those of better circumstances. It is going beyond the

mean which they should fix to themselves, and is too often the occasion of great injuries done to their neighbours : and, which brings it under the rule of the text, it unnecessarily overcharges their hearts with care how to extricate themselves out of difficulties which were entirely owing to their own prodigality.

3. Such an application to indulge the appetite, as robs men of much of their time, not only frequently, makes men to suffer in their secular affairs, but wrongs their souls too. Though reason should not be disturbed, nor health impaired; though the head should be “strong to drink wine," and the estate able to bear it : yet this alone is a breach upon temperance, to “tarry long at the wine,” Prov. xxiii. 30. For it makes a business of that which ought to be no more than a refreshment, and a preparation for business. Especially, if by this means men keep such unseasonable hours at home, that either family-worship, or their secret devotions, are shut out; or they or their families already become so drowsy and indisposed, that they can at best only do the work of the Lord negligently. When this is the case, the spiritual interest of themselves, and of theirs, is greatly obstructed.

4. All such gratifications of appetite as disturb and lesson, though they do not entirely take away, the exercise of reason. The only commendable use of outward refreshments, is either

the body in its daily necessities, or to recruit and refresh the animal spirits when dull and heavy; that so the mind, which is nearly allied to the body in which it dwells,

apt to share in all its indispositions, may become fitter for the service of God and man. All compliances with appetite thus far, are not only lawful but praise-worthy. step we go knowingly beyond this is faulty. I wish this





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