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Set Your Affections on Things Above

Set Your Affections on Things Above

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
EDITED BY REV. EDWARD ATKYNS BRAY

FROM SKELTON


PART I,


COLOSSIANS 111. 2.
Set your affection on things above, not on things
on the earth.
EDITED BY REV. EDWARD ATKYNS BRAY

FROM SKELTON


PART I,


COLOSSIANS 111. 2.
Set your affection on things above, not on things
on the earth.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 09, 2014
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SET YOUR AFFECTIOS O THIGS ABOVEEDITED BY REV. EDWARD ATKYS BRAYFROM SKELTO PART I, COLOSSIAS 111. 2. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. When we consider how infinitely different are things above, and things on earth; how sensible and gross the one, how spiritual and pure the other; it may seem^ perhaps, surprising, that the same affections should be capable of enjoying both : or rather, indeed, as those affections originate from the Jleshly part of our nature, that they should have any inclination at all to objects purely spiritual. But our Maker, having intended us for a progress through both worlds, has fitted us for either. In this respect also, as well as in the make and car- * Philip Skeltoa was bora 1706-7, and died 1788. 403 riage of our bodies, though our feet are placed on earth, our heads are erected towards heaven. God intended we should be moved by our afflic- tions, but guided by our understandings. Yet the affections, though blind, will not always suffer themselves to be led. The judgment, indeed, in- terposes on 7nost occasions, and asserts its right of
 
dictating to the icill ; yet, unless it is seconded by t}M3 heart, it is either over-ruled, or but half obeyed. If it be asked, '' How a rational creature should ever act against reason ?" Experience readily answers, Man cannot help pursuing his own sup- posed happiness, and flying from that which he thinks will make him miserable. ow, it is chiefly through his affections that he enjoys or suffers ; and it is no wonder, therefore, if they assume a more than ordinary sway within him. Besides, their motions are generally so sudden and violent, that reason has not time to interfere, till they are become too strong to be controuled. They give pleasure, and we follow ; or they give pain, and we flij ; before it is w^ell considered, whether we should do either : for all is not good, that pleases ; nor all evil, that disgusts. Hence it is manifest, that  judgment is necessary to turn the affections away from that which is really evil, and to point them towards that which is really good. If reason, duly enlightened^ has the guidance and government of his affections, that man must be happy ; because he must be good. But if his affections are left to Dd^i 404 themselves, he must be ivicked : and he who is wicked, must be miserable. If they are chained down to earthly things, they turn his heart into a Jier2/ furnace, fierce as the flames of eternal tor- ment : but if they aspire to things above, their general warmth and effulgent light, refine as they ascend, till they mix with their kindred element in God.
 
We all are in pursuit of either real or mistaken happiness ; and flying from whatever appearances of evil present themselves to our passions and affec- tions. All our labours and anxieties^ all our arts and schemes, the profuseness of one, and the fru- gality of another, the activity of this, and the indo- lence of that; in short, the whole struggle and bustle of the world, is either to obtain some good, or avoid some evil ; and proceeds solely and alto- gether from our affections. In the midst of this infinite variety of solicitation made to our senses and desires by the things below, religion presents herself, and bids us set our affec- tions on certain things above ; which she proposes to be first examined by our understandings^ and, if approved of, to be acknowledged on the part of our desires. These, then, are God and heaven — in the enjoyment of which to all eterniti/, consists the chief, indeed the onl^^, happiness of man. As the proposal is made to us by God himself and founded on our very nature, I shall, examine the several notions by which it is represented to us 405 in his Holy Scriptures; and endeavour to illustrate and enforce thera. The first representation of our happiness after death, of which I shall take notice, is that of rest. In the revelation of St John, it is said by a voice from heaven, and by the Spirit of God, that the dead which die in the Lord are blessed ; and that they KEST from their labours. In the Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle, having founded an allegory between the promise of a ternpoiYil rest given to

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