Within doors. This I may call his home-trade, which is spent in secret, between God and his own soul. Here the Christian drives an unknown trade, he is at heaven, and home again richly laden in his thoughts and heavenly meditations before the world knows where he hath been. Every creature he sees is a text for his heart to raise some spiritual matter and observations from. Every sermon he hears cuts him out work to make up and enlarge upon when he gets alone. Every providence is as wind to his sails, and sets his heart a moving in some heavenly action or other suitable to the occasion. One while he is wrapped up with joy in the consideration of mercy, another while melted into godly sorrow for the sense of his sins; sometimes exalting God in his praises, anon abusing himself before God for his own vileness. One while he is at the breast of the covenant, milking out the consolations of the promises; at another time working his heart into a holy awe, and fear of the threatenings. Thus the Christian walks aloft, while the base worldling is licking the dust below. One of these heavenly pearls which the Christian trades for, is more worth than the worldling gets with all his sweat and travail in his whole life. The Christian’s feet stand where other men’s heads are. He treads on the moon, and is clothed with the sun, he looks down on earthly men—as one from a high hill doth upon those that live in some fen or moor—and sees them buried in a fog of carnal pleasures and profits, while he breathes in a pure heavenly air, but yet not so high as to be free from all storms and tempests. Many a sad gust he hath from sin and Satan without. What else mean those sad complaints and groans, which come from the children of God—that their hearts are so dead and dull, their thoughts so roving and unfixed in duty, yea, many times so wicked and filthy, that they dare hardly tell what they are, for fear of staining their own lips, and offending the ears of others by naming them? Surely, the Christian finds it in his heart to will and desire he could meditate, pray, hear, and live after another sort than this, doth he not? yes, I durst be his surety he doth. But so long as there is a devil [who] tempts, and we continue within his walk, it will be thus, more or less. As fast as we labour to clear the spring of our hearts, he will be labouring to royle or stop it again; so that we have two works to do at once, to perform a duty, and watch him that opposeth us—trowel and sword both in our hands. They had need work hard indeed, who have others continually endeavouring to pull down, as they are labouring to rear up, the building.
- Abroad. That part of the Christian’s trade, which lies abroad, is heavenly also. Take a Christian in his relations, calling, neighbourhood; he is a heavenly trader in all. The great business of his life is to be doing or receiving some good. That company is not for him, that will neither give nor take this. What should a merchant be, where there is no buying or selling? Every one labours, as his calling is, to seat himself where trade is quickest, and he is likeliest to have most takings. The Christian, where he may choose, takes such in relations near to himself, husband, wife, servants, as may suit with his heavenly trade, and not such as will be a pull-back to him. He falls in with the holiest persons as his dearest acquaintance; if there be a saint in the town where he lives, he will find him out, and this will be the man he will consort with. And in his conversation with these and all else, his chief work is for heaven, his heavenly principle within inclines him to it. Now, this alarms hell. What! not contented to go to heaven himself, but by his holy example, gracious speeches, sweet counsels, seasonable reproofs, will he be trading with others, and labour to carry them along with him also? This brings the lion fell and mad out of his den. Such to be sure shall find the devil in their way to oppose them. I would have come, saith Paul, but Satan hindered me. He that will vouch God, and let it appear by the tenor of his conversation that he trades for him, shall have enemies enough, if the devil can help him to such.
Third. The Christian’s hopes are all heavenly; he lots not upon anything the world hath to give him. Indeed he would think himself the most miserable man of all others, if here were all he could make of his religion. No, it is heaven and eternal life that he expects; and though he be so poor as not to be able to make a will of a groat, yet he counts himself a greater heir, than if he were child to the greatest prince on earth. This inheritance he sees by faith, and can rejoice in the hope of the glory which it will bring him. The maskery and cheating glory of the great ones of this world moves him not to envy their fanciful pomp; but when on the dunghill himself, he can forget his own present sorrows, to pity them in all their bravery, knowing that within a few days the cross will be off his back, and the crowns off their heads together—their portion will be spent, when he shall be to receive all his. These things entertain him with such joy that they will not suffer him to acknowledge himself miserable, when others think him, and the devil tells him, he is such. This, this torments the very soul of the devil, to see the Christian under sail for heaven, filled with the sweet hope of his joyful entertainment when he comes there; and therefore he raiseth what storms and tempests he can, either to hinder his arrival in that blessed port —which he most desires, and doth not wholly despair of—or at least to make it a troublesome winter voyage, such as Paul’s was, in which they suffered so much loss. And this indeed very often he obtains in such a degree, that by his violent impetuous temptations, beating long upon the Christian, he makes him throw over much precious lading of his joys and comforts; yea, sometimes he brings the soul through the stress of temptation to think of quitting the ship, while for the present all hope of being saved seems to be taken away. Thus you see what we wrestle with devils for.