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3. (1.) For the helping of thy affections in see far more than ever they saw, till they were heavenly contemplation, draw as strong suppo- loosed from the flesh, as I must be. Thus you sitions as possible from thy senses.
Think on see how it excites our affections in this heavenly the joys above, as boldly as scripture hath ex- work, if we make strong and familiar suppositions pressed them. Bring down thy conceptions to from our bodily senses, concerning the state of the reach of sense. Both love and joy are pro- blessedness, as the spirit hath in condescending moted by familiar acquaintance. When we at- language expressed it. tempt to think of God and glory, without the 4. (2.) The other way in which our senses scripture manner of representing them, we are may promote this heavenly work, is, by coinlost, and have nothing to fix our thoughts upon ; paring the objects of sense with the objects of we set them so far from us, that our thoughts are faith. As for instance : you may strongly argue strange, and we are ready to say, ' What is above with your hearts from the corrupt delights of us, is nothing to us. To conceive of God and sensual men, to the joys above. Think with glory, only as above our conception, will beget yourselves, · Is it such a delight to a sinner to but little love; or as above our love, will produce do wickedly ? and will it not be delightful inlittle joy. Therefore put Christ no farther from deed to live with God ? Hath the drunkard you than he hath put himself, lest the divine such delights in his cups, that the fears of damnature be again inaccessible. Think of Christ nation will not make him forsake them? Will as in our own glorified nature. Think of glori- the whoremonger rather part with his credit, fied saints, as men made perfect. Suppose thy- estate, and salvation, than with his brutish deself a companion with John, in his survey of the lights? If the way to hell can afford such New Jerusalem, and viewing the thrones, the pleasure, what then are the pleasures of the majesty, the heavenly hosts, the shining splen- saints in heaven! If the covetous man hath so dour, which he saw. Suppose thyself his fellow- much pleasure in his wealth, and the ambitious traveller into the celestial kingdom, and that man in places of power and titles of honour; thou hadst seen all the saints in their white robes, what then have the saints in everlasting treasures, with palms in their hands; and that thou hadst and in heavenly honours, where we shall be set heard those ósongs of Moses and of the Lamb.' above principalities and powers, and be made If thou hadst really seen and heard these things, the glorious spouse of Christ ? How delightin what a rapture wouldst thou have been ? And fully will the voluptuous follow their recreathe more seriously thou puttest this supposition tions from morning to night, or sit at their cards to thyself, the more will thy ineditation elevate and dice nights and days together! O the delight thy heart. Do not, like the papists, draw them we shall have when we come to our rest, in in pictures ; but get the liveliest picture of them beholding the face of the living God, and in in thy mind that thou possibly canst, by contem- singing forth the praises unto him and the Lamb!' plating the Scripture account of them, till thou —Compare also the delights above, with the canst say, · Methinks I see a glimpse of glory! lawful and moderate delights of sense. Think Methinks I hear the shouts of joy and praise, with thyself, • How sweet is food to my taste and even stand by Abraham and David, Peter, when I am hungry, especially if it be, as Isaac and Paul, and other triumphant souls ! Methinks said, “such as I love,” which my temperarice I even see the Son of God appearing in the and appetite incline to! What delight then clouds, and the world standing at his bar to re- must my soul have in feeding upon “ Christ, the ceive their doom; and hear him say, “ Come ye living bread,” and in “ eating with him at his blessed of my Father ;” and see them go rejoicing table in his kingdom!" Was a mess of pottage into the joy of their Lord! My very dreams of so sweet to Esau in his hunger, that he would these things have sometimes greatly affected me, buy it at so dear a rate as his birthright? How and should not these just suppositions much more highly then should I value this never-perishing affect me? What if I had seen, with Paul, food! How pleasant is drink in the extremity those “unutterable things?” Or, with Stephen, of thirst, scarcely to be expressed ; enough to had seen “heaven opened, and Christ sitting at make the strength of Samson revive! O how the right hand of God?” Surely that one sight delightful will it be to my soul to drink of that was worth his storm of stones. What if I had “ fountain of living water, which whoso drinketh seen, as Micaiah did, “ the Lord sitting upon his it shall thirst no more !" How delightful are throne, and all the host of heaven standing on grateful odours to the smell; or music to the his right hand, and on his left ?” Such things ear; or beautiful sights to the eye! What fragdid these men of God see; and I shall shortly rance then hath the precious ointment which is
poured on the head of our glorified Saviour, and tual intimacy with Jesus Christ, and in the which must be poured on the head of all his dearest love of the saints ! Surely this will be saints, and will fill all heaven with its odour! a stricter friendship, and these more lovely and How delightful is the music of the heavenly host! desirable friends, than ever the sun beheld ; and How pleasing will be those real beauties above! both our affections to our Father and Saviour, How glorious the building not made with hands, and especially theirs to us, will be such as we the house that God himself dwells in, the walks never knew here. If one angel could destroy a and prospects in the city of God, and the celes- host, the affections of spirits must also be protial paradise !
portionably stronger, so that we shall then love 5. Compare also the delights above, with those a thousand times more ardently than we can we find in natural knowledge. These are far now. As all the attributes and works of God beyond the delights of sense ; but how much are incomprehensible, so is this of love : he will further are the delights of heaven! Think then, love us infinitely beyond our most perfect love Can an Archimedes be so taken up with his to him. What then will there be in this mutual mathematical invention, that the threats of death love! cannot disengage him, but he will die in the 6. Compare also the excellencies of heaven, midst of his contemplations ? Should not I be with those glorious works of creation which our much more taken up with the delights of glory, eyes now behold. What wisdom, power, and and die with these contemplations fresh upon my goodness, are manifested therein ! How does soul; especially when my death will perfect my the majesty of the Creator shine in this fabric of delights, while those of Archimedes die with the world! "His works are great, sought out him? What exquisite pleasure it is to dive into of all them that have pleasure therein.' What the secrets of nature, and find out the mysteries divine skill in forming the bodies of men or of arts and sciences ; especially if we make a new beasts! What excellency in every plant! What discovery in any one of them ! What high de- beauty in flowers! What variety and usefulness lights are there then in the knowledge of God in herbs, plants, fruits, and minerals! What and Christ! If the face of human learning be wonders are contained in the earth and its inso beautiful, as to make sensual pleasures appear habitants; the ocean of waters, with its motions base and brutish ; how beautiful then is the face and dimensions; and the constant succession of of God! When we meet with some choice book, spring and autumn, of summer and winter! bow could we read it day and night, almost for- | Think then, “if these things, which are but sergetful of meat, drink, or sleep! What delights vants to sinful men, are so full of mysterious are there then at God's right hand, where we worth, what is that place where God himself shall know in a moment all that is to be known!'| dwells, and which is prepared for just men made -Compare also the delights above with the de- perfect with Christ! What glory is there in lights of morality, and of the natural affections. the least of yonder stars ! What a vast resWhat delight had many sober heathens in the plendent body is yonder moon, and every planet! rules and practice of moral duties, so that they What an inconceivable glory hath the sun! But took him alone for an honest man, who did well all this is nothing to the glory of heaven. Yonthrough the love of virtue, and not merely for der sun must there be laid aside as useless. fear of punishment; yea, so much valued was Yonder is but darkness to the lustre of my this moral virtue, that they thought man's chief Father's house. I shall myself be as glorious as happiness consisted in it. Think then, . What that sun. This whole earth is but my Father's excellency will there be in our heavenly perfec- footstool. This thunder is nothing to his dreadful tion, and in that uncreated perfection of God voice. These winds are nothing to the breath which we shall behold! What sweetness is there of his mouth. If the “sending rain, and making in the exercise of natural love, whether to chil- the sun to rise on the just and on the unjust," dren, parents, yoke-fellows, or intimate friends! be so wonderful, how much more wonderful and Does David say of Jonathan, “ Thy love to me glorious will that sun be, which must shine on was wonderful, passing the love of women ?” none but saints and angels!'—Compare also the Did the soul of Jonathan cleave to David ? Had enjoyments above, with the wonders of providence Christ himself one disciple whom he especially in the church and world. Would it not be an loved, and who was wont to lean on his breast? | astonishing sight, to see the sea stand as a wall If then the delights of close and cordial friend on the right hand and on the left, and the dry ship be so great, what delight shall we have in land appear in the midst, and the people of Israel the friendship of the most High, and in our mu- 1 pass safely through, and Pharaoh and his host
drowned ? or to have seen the ten plagues of communion with his greatness! If my pilgriEgypt ? or the rock gushing forth streams ? or mage and warfare have such mercies, what shall manna and quails rained from heaven ? or the I find in my home, and in my triumph! If God earth opening and swallowing up the wicked ? communicates so much to me while I remain a But we shall see far greater things than these ; sinner, what will he bestow when I am a pernot only sights more wonderful, but more de- fected saint! If I have had so much at such a lightful : there shall be no blood nor wrath in- distance from him, what shall I have in his termingled; nor shall we cry out, as the men of immediate presence, where I shall ever stand Bethshemesh, · Who is able to stand before this before his throne ! holy Lord God ? How astonishing, to see the 7. Compare the joys above with the comforts sun stand still in the firmament; or the dial of thou hast here received in ordinances. Hath not Ahaz go back ten degrees! But we shall see the bible been to thee as an open fountain, when there shall be no sun; or rather shall be- flowing with comforts day and night? What hold for ever a sun of infinitely greater bright suitable promises have come into thy mind; so
What a life should we live, if we could that, with David, thou mayest say, · Unless thy have drought or rain at our prayers ; or have fire law had been my delight, I should then have from heaven to destroy our enemies, as Elijah perished in mine affliction !' Think then, • If his had; or raise the dead, as Elisha ; or miracu- word be so full of consolations, what overflowing lously cure diseases, and speak all languages, as springs shall we find in God himself! If his the apostles ! Alas, these are nothing to the letters are so comfortable, what will the glories wonders we shall see and possess with God; and of his presence be! If the promise is so sweet, all of them wonders of goodness and love! We what will the performance be! If the testament shall ourselves be the subjects of more wonderful of our Lord, and our charter for the kingdom, be mercies than any of these. Jonah was raised so comfortable, what will be our possession of but from a three days' burial in the belly of a the kingdom itself !'— Think farther, “What defish ; but we shall be raised from many years' | lights have I also found in the word preached ! rottenness and dust; and that dust exalted to When I have sat under a heavenly, heart-searchthe glory of the sun ; and that glory perpetuated ing teacher, how hath my heart been warmed! through eternity. Surely, if we observe but Methinks I have felt myself almost in heaven. common providences ; as, the motions of the How often have I gone to the congregation sun; the tides of the sea ; the standing of the troubled in spirit, and returned joyful! How earth ; the watering it with rain, as a garden ; often have I gone doubting, and God hath sent the keeping in order a wicked confused world ; me home persuaded of his love in Christ! What with many others, they are all admirable. But cordials have I met with to animate me in every what are these to the Sion of God, the vision of conflict! If but the face of Moses shine so glothe divine Majesty, and the order of the heavenly riously, what glory is there in the face of God! host ?-Add to these, those particular provi- If the feet of them that publish peace, that bring dences which thou hast thyself enjoyed and re- good tidings of salvation, be beautiful; how beaucorded through thy life, and compare them with tiful is the face of the Prince of peace! If this the mercies thou shalt have above.
Look over treasure be so precious in earthen vessels ; what the mercies of thy youth and riper age, of thy is that treasure laid up in heaven! Blessed are prosperity and adversity, of thy several places the eyes that see what is seen there, and the and relations ; are they not excellent and innu- ears that hear the things that are heard there. merable, rich and engaging ? How sweet was it There shall I hear Elijah, Isaiah, Jeremiah, to thee, when God resolved thy doubts ; scat- John, Peter, Paul: not preaching to gainsaytered thy fears; prevented the inconveniencies ers, in imprisonment, persecution, and reproach ; into which thy own counsel would have cast but triumphing in the praises of him that hath thee; eased thy pains; healed thy sickness; and raised them to honour and glory.'—Think also, raised thee up as from death and the grave! What joy is it to have access and acceptance in Think then, · Are all these so sweet and precious, prayer; that I may always go to God, and open my that without them my life would have been a case and unbosom my soul to him, as to my most perpetual misery? Hath his providence on earth faithful friend! But it will be a more unspeakable lifted me so high, and his gentleness made me joy, when I shall receive all blessings without so great! How sweet then will his glorious asking, and all my necessities and miseries will presence be! How high will his eternal love be removed, and when God himself will be the exalt me! And how great shall I be made in | portion and inheritance of my soul.'-As for the Lord's supper, “What a privilege is it to be on the mount of transfiguration! • Master,' says admitted to sit at his table, to have his covenant he, “it is good for us to be here ; let us make sealed to me there! But all the life and comfort three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for there, is to assure me of the comforts hereafter. Moses, and one for Elias. As if he had said, O the difference between the last supper of Christo let us not go down again to yonder perseon earth, and the marriage supper of the Lamb cuting rabble ; let us not return to our mean and at the great day! Then his room will be the suffering state. Is it not better to stay here, glorious heavens; his attendants, all the hosts of now we are here? Is not here better company, angels and saints ; no Judas, no unfurnished guest, and sweeter pleasure ?' How was Paul lifted up comes there ; but the humble believers must sit with what he saw! How did the face of Moses down by him, and their feast will be their mutual shine, when he bad been talking with God! loving and rejoicing.'—Concerning the commun- These were all extraordinary foretastes; but little ion of saints, think with thyself, • What a plea- to the full beatific vision. How often have we sure is it to live with intelligent and heavenly read and heard of dying saints, who have been Christians! David says of such, “they were as full of joy as their hearts could hold ; and all his delight.” O what a delightful society when their bodies have felt the extremity of then shall I have above! Had I but seen Job sickness and pain, have had so much of heaven on the dunghill, what a mirror of patience ! and in their spirits, that their joy hath far exceeded what will it be to see him in glory? How de- their sorrows ! If a spark of this fire be so glolightful to have heard Paul and Silas singing in rious, even amidst the sea of adversity ; what the stocks! how much more to hear them sing then is glory itself! O the joy that the martyrs praises in heaven! What melody did David have felt in the flames! They were flesh and make on his harp! but how much more melo- blood, as well as we; it must therefore be some dious to hear that sweet singer in the heavenly excellent thing that filled their spirits with joy, choir! What would I have given for an hour's while their bodies were burning. Think, Reader, free converse with Paul, when he was just come in thy meditations, “Sure it must be some wondown from the third heaven! But I must shortly derful foretaste of glory that made the flames see those things myself, and possess what I see.' of fire easy, and the king of terrors welcome. -Once more, think of praising God in concert What then is glory itself? What a blessed rest, with his saints: “What if I had been in the place when the thoughts of it made Paul desire to deof those shepherds, who saw, and heard the hea- part, and be with Christ; and inakes the saints venly host singing, “ Glory to God in the high- never think themselves well, till they are dead! est, and on earth peace, good will towards men !" Shall Saunders embrace the stake, and cry, But I shall see and hear more glorious things. Welcome cross! and shall not I more delightHow blessed should I have thought myself, had fully embrace my blessedness, and cry, Welcome, I heard Christ in his thanksgivings to his Father! crown ? Shall Bradford kiss the faggot, and how much more, when I shall hear him pronounce shall not I kiss the Saviour ? Shall another poor me blessed! If there was such joy at bringing martyr rejoice to have her foot in the same hole back the ark, or at rebuilding the temple ; what of the stocks in which Mr Philpot's had been will there be in the New Jerusalem! If the before her ? and shall not I rejoice, that my soul earth rent, when the people rejoiced at Solomon's shall live in the same place of glory, where Christ coronation ; what a joyful shout will there be at and his apostles are gone before me ? Shall fire the appearing of the King of the church! If, and faggot, prisons and banishment, cruel mock“when the foundations of the earth were laid, ings and scourgings, be more welcome to others the morning stars sang together, and all the sons than Christ and glory to me? God forbid ! of God shouted for joy ; what a joyful song will 9. Compare the glory of the heavenly kingthere be, when the world of glory is both founded dom, with the glory of the church on earth, and and finished, when the top-stone is laid, and when of Christ in his state of humiliation. If Christ's " the holy city is adorned as the bride, the suffering in the room of sinners had such excelLamb's wife !" !
lency, what is Christ at his Father's right hand ! 8. Compare the joys thou shalt have in heaven, the church under her sins and enemies have so with what the saints have found in the way to much beauty, what will she have at the marriage it, and in the foretastes of it. When did God of the Lamb! How wonderful was the son of ever reveal the least of himself to any of his God in the form of a servant ! When he is saints, but the joy of their hearts was answerable born, a new star must appear, and conduct the to the revelation ? In what an ecstacy was Peter strangers to worship him in a manger! heavenly
hosts with their songs must celebrate his nativ. I have at last, with the gracious change which ity ; while a child, he must dispute with doctors ; the Spirit hath here wrought on thy heart. when he enters upon his office, he turns water There is not the smallest sincere grace in thee, into wine ; feeds thousands with a few loaves but is of greater worth than the riches of the and fishes ; cleanses the lepers, heals the sick, Indies : not a hearty desire and groan after restores the lame, gives sight to the blind, and Christ, but is more to be valued than the kingraises the dead. How wonderful then is his ce- doms of the world. A renewed nature is the lestial glory! If there be such cutting down of very image of God; Christ dwelling in us; and boughs, and spreading of garments, and crying the Spirit of God abiding in us : it is a beam Hosanna, for one that comes into Jerusalem, from the face of God; the seed of God remainriding on an ass; what will there be when he ing in us : the only inherent beauty of the racomes with his angels in his glory! If they that tional soul : it ennobles man above all nobility: heard him preach the gospel of the kingdom, con- fits him to understand his Maker's pleasure, do fess, • Never man spake like this man ;' they his will, and receive his glory. If this grain of then that behold his majesty in his kingdom, mustard-seed be so precious, what is the tree will say, “There was never glory like this glory.' of life in the midst of the paradise of God! If If, when his enemies came to apprehend him, a spark of life, which will but strive against they fell to the ground ; if, when he is dying, corruptions, and fame out a few desires and the earth quakes, the vail of the temple is rent, groans, be of so much worth ; how glorious then the sun is eclipsed, the dead bodies of the saints is the fountain of this life! If we are said to be arise, and the standers by acknowledge, • Verily like God, when we are pressed down with a body this was the Son of God;' O what a day will it of sin ; sure we shall be much more like God, be, when the dead must all arise, and stand be when we have no such thing as sin within us. Is fore him! when he will once more shake, not the desire after, and love of heaven, so excellent ; the earth only, but the heavens also ! when this what then is the thing itself? Is our joy in foresun shall be taken out of the firmament, and be seeing and believing so sweet; what will be the everlastingly darkened with his glory! and when joy of full possession? How glad is a Christian every tongue shall confess him to be Lord and when be feels his heart begin to melt, and be King! If
, when he rose again, death and the dissolved with the thoughts of sinful unkindgrave lost their power; if angels must roll away ness! Even this sorrow yields him joy. 0 the stone, terrify the keepers till they are as what then will it be, when we shall know, and dead men, and send the tidings to his disciples ; love, and rejoice, and praise in the highest perif he ascend to heaven in their sight; what power, fection! Think with thyself, · What a change dominion, and glory, is he now possessed of, and was it, to be taken from that state wherein I which we must for ever possess with him! When was born, and in which I was rivetted by cushe is gone, can a few poor fishermen and tent- tom, when thousands of sins lay upon my score, makers cure the lame, blind, and sick, open pri. and if I had so died, I had been damned for ever ! sons, destroy the disobedient, raise the dead, and What an astonishing change, to be justified from astonish their adversaries ? what a world will all these enormous crimes, and freed from all that be, where every one can do greater works these fearful plagues, and made an heir of hea. than these! If the preaching of the gospel beven! How often, when I have thought of my accompanied with such power as to discover the regeneration, have I cried out, O blessed day! secrets of the heart, humble the proud sinner, and blessed be the Lord that ever I saw it! and make the most obdurate tremble: if it can How then shall I cry out in heaven, O blessed make men burn their books, sell their lands, eternity! and blessed be the Lord that brought bring in the price, and lay it down at the preach me to it! Did the angels of God rejoice to see er's feet; if it can convert thousands, and turn my conversion ? Surely they will congratulate the world upside down; if its doctrine from the my felicity in my salvation. Grace is but a prisoner at the bar, can make the judge on the spark raked up in the ashes, covered with flesh bench tremble ; if Christ and his saints have this from the sight of the world, and sometimes power and honour in the day of their abasement, covered with corruption from my own sight; and in the time appointed for their suffering and but my everlasting glory will not be so clouded, disgrace ; what then will they have in their ab- nor my light be under a bushel, but upon a hill, solute dominion, and full advancement in their even upon mount Sion the mount of God. kingdom of glory!
11. Once more, compare the joys which thou 10. Compare the glorious change thou shalt shalt have above, with those foretastes of it