by Jeremiah Burroughs
A servant of Christ once said, "Every day a Christian spends on earth is a day lost in heaven." He meant that union and communion with God in Jesus Christ is what makes heaven. Since this is attainable in life, what keeps a Christian from living in heaven while on earth? Our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3). Our conversation is in heaven, as another apostle said (Phil. 3:20). "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God" (Galatians 2:20).
These men were on earth, subject to infirmities like us, yet living in heaven. In this declining, wanton, Christ-denying age, there is still a generation upon earth who live like this. Their lives and graces, though hidden under a plain exterior, under many reproaches and infirmities, shine inwardly with the glory of Christ. They follow the Lord with a different spirit than the spirit of the world. Among these hidden ones of the Lord was the Preacher of these sermons, who, while on earth, lived in heaven. The end and purpose of these sermons is to encourage you to have a similar attitude. Take your mind off of fleeting vanities and set it on what is real and durable.
We can see how weak worldly pomp and glory is, and how the Lord is putting an end to the kingdoms of men who have not contributed their strength and power to advancing the glory of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, but rather to its decline and obscurity. Besides what the world tells us, our days have more examples of the vanity of the world than any other age. Therefore, our hearts should not be attached to things that cannot stretch themselves to eternity. The Apostle's reasoning is weighty.
The message is that those who have wives should live as if they do not, and those who weep should live as if they do not weep. Those who rejoice should live as if they do not, and those who buy should live as if they do not possess. Those who use the world should do so without abusing it.
The preacher supports this exhortation with the argument that time is short and life is shorter still, and that the end of all things is near. We should focus on greater things and set our hearts on them. This holy man's spirituality is evident in the fact that even though he enjoyed many comforts on earth, he still viewed them as a stranger would and used them to raise his soul to a more holy, humble, and self-denying walk with God. It is more impressive for someone who is surrounded by creature comforts to reject them with a divine spirit and elevate themselves to a state of higher enjoyment with Jesus Christ. This is comparable to someone who is made a partaker of the Divine nature and who lives above the world in the enjoyment of it.
These sermons are printed twice: once in the practice of the holy man and once again in these papers presented in a preaching style, which is more desired, more acceptable to his hearers, and, if not mistaken, more effective in working upon the affections and being profitable to the majority of Christians. Although the papers could have been more condensed, this preaching style is chosen because it is more appealing to the audience.
The Lord Jesus be with your spirit, and go along with these, and all his other precious labors, to the furtherance of the joy of your faith, building you up in the inner man, and directing you in the way to your eternal rest.
Thomas Goodwin, William Bridge, William Greenhill, William Adderly, John Yates, Sydrach Simpson, Philip Nye.
Table of Contents
To the Reader
Chapter One: Doctrine: There is a great difference between a wicked man and a godly man. The one minds the earth; the other’s conversation is in heaven
Chapter Two: Earthly-Mindedness Discovered in Nine Particulars
Chapter Three: Six Evils of Earthly-Mindedness
Chapter Four: Eight Additional Evils of Earthly-Mindedness
Chapter Five: Five Things may be Wrought in an Earthly-Minded Man
Chapter Six: Seven Reasons of Men’s Earthly-Mindedness
Chapter Seven: Eleven Considerations to Take the Hearts of Men off of Earthly-Mindedness
Chapter Eight: Five Directions How to Get Our Hearts Free From Earthly-Mindedness