I'm continuing my look at Jeremiah Burroughs' Earthly-Mindedness. Please see my introduction and Chapter 1 summary here.
In Chapter 2 Jeremiah Burroughs further expounds about what it means to 'mind earthly things.' He answers the important question: When does a man or woman mind earthly things in sinful ways?
Earthly-Mindedness is discovered in nine particulars:
- When men look upon earthly things as the greatest things
- When men's choicest thoughts are busied about earthly things
- When men's hearts cleave to the earth
- When men's hearts are filled with distracted cares about the earth
- When men's greatest endeavors of their lives are about things of the earth
- When men seek any earthly thing for itself, and not in subordination of some higher good
- When men are earthly in spiritual things
- When men pass by great difficulties about earthly matters and they seem little to them
- When men conceive of the most heavenly truth in an earthly way
Under point #2, Mr. Burroughs asks if we know our own hearts. His discourse convicted me of my unfocused, earthly-minded thoughts:
"Can you say when you are alone, 'O the very thoughts of God are sweet to me, I meditate in His law day and night." Can you suck out sweetness there as from a honeycomb? But an unclean wretch will suck sweetness out of his unclean thoughts when he is alone. The earthly-minded man will suck sweetness out of his earthly thoughts, and the ambitious man the sweetness of his pride when he is alone, and these are the most contentful thoughts to him. He can run two or three hours and take delight and pleasure in them, that's earthly-mindedness."
As I continued to rationalize my need for earthly-minded thoughts, Mr. Burroughs fully exposed the carnal nature of my heart:
"The watch over the heart is a very difficult thing...Resolve just one Sabbath to rise early in the morning, and to have your thoughts spiritual and heavenly as much as you can. Then get up and pray alone in your closet. Then read, and hear, and meditate, and mark what you hear. And when you go home, think of it, and confer about it. And when you come again to attend on the Word, and so spend the whole day in hearing, reading, meditating, and conferencing about good things, calling your family to account and praying again. See how tiresome this will be to your hearts if they are carnal.However, the spiritual heart will call the Sabbath a delight. And the Sabbath unto such a one is no other than a type and forerunner of that eternal day of rest it shall enjoy in the kingdom of heaven. One that is spiritual counts the Sabbath to be a day of rest, but an earthly man is quickly tired in spiritual things."
In my next post for this series, we will look at the six evils of earthly-mindedness found in Chapter 3.
"Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ," (2 Cor. 10:5).