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Upon Gravity and Levity
The stoic philosophy was famous for paradoxes, strange opinions, improbable and beside common conceit [thinking] for which it was much admired by some an is greatly controlled and taxed by others. Howbeit, not Stoicism only but every art in course of life and learning has some paradoxes or other, the Christianity has many more which seem like nothing less than truth and yet are as true as strange.
What can be more contrary to the principles and maxims the philosophers then to hold that there is your grass from eight total privation to a habit? It was that which the Epicureans and the Stoics derided in Paul when he preached the resurrection from the dead, and yet Christians build all their happiness and confidence upon it.
What can seem to carry more contradiction in it and the saying of our Savior, He that will lose his life shall find it? And yet it is the truth of that importance whosoever follows not Christ counsel will certainly miss of life.
What will happily appear more novel and strange then that which I shall now add by inverting the axiom and affirming this truth, Light things fall downwards, and heavy ascend upward. Lighter they are, the lower they sink; and the heavier they are, the higher they rise: and yet this riddle has a truth in it. In Scripture the wicked that must fall as low as hell are resembled the things of the greatest levity as well as vileness, dust, chaff, smoke, fame, scum; and the saints that must ascend as high as Heaven I likened to things of weight as well as worth: to wheat, the heaviest of which is the best; to gold, which is of metals the weightiest as well as richest; to gems and precious stones, that are valued by the number of carats which they weight, as well as by their luster with which they sparkle.
Yea, God has his balance to weigh men and their actions, as well as his touchstone to try them. He is a God of knowledge, by whom actions are weighed, says Hannah in her song. And if he find great men a lie and vanity upon the balance he will not spare them. What is the fear judgment did God execute upon Belshazzar who being weighed and found wanting was in the same night cast out of his kingdom and from the land of the living?
And what a dreadful sentence has Christ foretold shall come up on his mouth and they great day against those who have made a vain an empty profession of his Name; who are bid to depart from him and go accursed into everlasting fire, not for doing evil against his but for not doing of good onto them? A form of godliness without the power will condemn, as well as Real an open wickedness. To be found too light and God’s scale maybe a bar to heaven, as well as the load of many sins.
Oh remember who has said it, Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. How gladly then I would persuade Christians at the best way to climb to Jacobs ladder which has its foot on earth and its top in glory is to be fully laden with all fruits of holiness.
The burden of Christ is not a pressing weight but a winged thing which carries the soul upwards and helps it to soar aloft towards God himself. None are crowned with the greater glory or set up on higher grounds then they who have their fruit under true holiness above others.