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to me, “ Poor sinner, though thou hast dealt un- hast earnestly sought him; hath met thee in kindly with me, and cast me off ; yet I will not public and private ; hath been found of thee in do so by thee. Though thou hast set light by the congregation, in thy house, in thy closet, in me, and all my mercies, yet they and myself are the field, in thy waking nights, in thy deepest all thine. What wouldst thou have that I can give dangers. thee? And what dost thou want that I cannot 13. If bounty and compassion be an attracgive thee ? If any thing I have will give thee tive of love, how unmeasurably then am I bound pleasure, thou shalt have it. Wouldst thou have to love him ! All the mercies that have filled pardon ?
n? I freely forgive thee all the debt. up my life, all the places that ever I abode in, Wouldst thou have grace and peace? Thou all the societies and persons I have been convershalt have them both. Wouldst thou have my- sant with, all my employments and relations, self ? Behold I am thine, thy Friend, thy Lord, every condition I have been in, and every change thy Brother, Husband, and Head. Wouldst thou I have passed through, all tell me, that the founhave the Father ? I will bring thee to him, and tain is overflowing goodness. Lord, what a sum thou shalt have him, in and by me.” These of love am I indebted to thee! And how does were my
Lord's reviving words. After all, when my debt continually increase! How should I I was doubtful of his love, methinks I yet re- love again for so much love? But shall I dare member his overcoming arguments: “ Have I to think of requiting thee, or of recompensing done so much, sinner, to testify my love, and all thy love with mine? Will my mite requite yet dost thou doubt ? Have I offered thee my- thee for thy golden mines; my seldom wishes, self and love so long, and yet dost thou question for thy constant bounty ;' mine which is nothing, my willingness to be thine ? At what dearer or not mine, for thine which is infinite, and thine rate should I tell thee that I love thee? Wilt own? Shall I dare to contend in love with thee; thou not believe iny bitter passion proceeded or set my borrowed languid spark against the from love? Have I made myself in the gospel Sun of love? Can I love as high, as deep, as a lion to thine enemies, and a lamb to thee, and broad, as long as love itself ? as much as he that dost thou overlook my lamb-like nature ? Had made me, and that made me love, and gave me I been willing to let thee perish, what need have all that little which I have ? As I cannot match I done and suffered so much? What need I thee in the works of power, nor make, nor prefollow thiee with such patience and importunity? serve, nor rule the worlds ; no more can I match Why dost thou tell me of thy wants; have I not thee in love. No, Lord, I yield; I am overcome. enough for me and thee? Or of thy unworthi- o blessed conquest! Go on victoriously, and ness ; for. if thou wast thyself worthy, what still prevail, and triumph in thy love. The capshouldst thou do with my worthiness ? Did I tive of love shall proclaim thy victory'; when ever invite, or save the worthy and the righteous; thou leadest me in triumph from earth to heaven, or is there any such upon earth ? Hast thou from death to life, from the tribunal to the nothing; art thou lost and miserable, helpless throne; myself, and all that see it, shall acknowand forlorn ? Dost thou believe I am an all- ledge thou hast prevailed, and all shall say " Besufficient Saviour, and wouldst thou have me? hold how he loved him!” Yet let me love, in Lo, I am thine, take me ; if thou art willing, 1 subjection to thy love ; as thy redeemed captive, am ; and neither sin, nor Satan, shall break the though not thy peer. Shall I not love at all, match.” These, O these, were the blessed words because I cannot reach thy measure ? . O that I which his Spirit from his gospel spoke unto me, could feelingly say, “ I love thee, even as I love till he made me cast myself at his feet, and cry my friend, and myself!” Though I cannot say, out, “ My Saviour and my Lord, thou hast as the apostle, Thou knowest that I love thee;" broken, thou hast revived my heart; thou hast yet I can say, “ Lord, thou knowest that I would overcome, thou hast won my heart ; take it, it is love thee!" I am angry with my heart, that it thine ; if such a heart can please thee, take it; doth not love thee; I chide it, yet it doth not if it cannot, make it such as thou wouldst have mend; I reason with it, and would fain persuade it.” Thus, () my soul, mayest thou remember it, yet I do not perceive it stir; I rub and chafe the sweet familiarity thou hast had with Christ; it in the use of ordinances, and yet I feel it not there re, if acquaintance will cause affection, warm within me. Unworthy soul! Is not thine let out thy heart unto him. It is he that hath eye now upon the only lovely object? Art thou stood by the bed of sickness, hath eased thy not now beholding the ravishing glory of the pains, refreshed thy weariness, and removed thy saints? And dost thou not love? Art thou not fears. He hath been always ready, when thou a rational soul, and should not reason tell thee, that earth is a dungeon to the celestial glory ? session ? Is the heir in no better a state than a Art thou not thyself a spirit, and shouldst thou slave? My Lord hath taught me to rejoice in hope not love God, “who is a spirit, and the Father of his glory, and how to see it through the bars of spirits ?" Why dost thou love so much thy of a prison, for when persecuted for righteousperishing clay, and love no more the heavenly ness' sake, he commands me to “ rejoice and be glory? Shalt thou love when thou comest there ; exceeding glad,” because my reward in heaven when the Lord shall take thy carcass from the is great. I know he would have my joys exgrave, and make thee shine as the sun in glory ceed my sorrows, and as much as he delights in for ever and ever; shalt thou then love, or shalt “the humble and contrite," he yet more delights thou not? Is not the place a meeting of lovers ? in the soul that “ delights in him.” Hath my Is not the life a state of love ? Is it not the Lord spread me a table in this wilderness, and great marriage day of the Lamb ? Is not the furnished it with the promises of everlasting einployment there the work of love, where the glory, and set before me angels' food ? Doth he souls with Christ take their fill? O then, my frequently and importunately invite me to sit soul, begin it here! Be sick with love now, down, and feed, and spare not ? Hath he, to that thou mayest be well with love there. Keep that end, furnished me with reason, and faith, thyself now in the love of God; and let neither and a joyful disposition, and is it possible that life, nor death, nor any thing separate thee from he should be unwilling to have me rejoice? Is it it; and thou shalt be kept in the fullness of love not his command, to “ delight thyself in the for ever, and nothing shall imbitter or abate thy Lord ;” and his promise, to “ give thee the depleasure; for the Lord hath prepared a city of sires of thine heart ?” Art thou not charged to love, a place for communicating love to his “rejoice evermore ;" yea, to “ sing aloud, and chosen, " and they that love his name shall dwell shout for joy!" Why should I then be discourtherein."
aged? My God is willing, if I were but willing. 14. Awake then, O my drowsy soul! To He is delighted with my delights. He would sleep under the light of grace is unreasonable, have it my constant frame, and daily business, much more in the approach of the light of to be near him in my believing meditations, and glory. Come forth, my dull congealed spirit, to live in the sweetest thoughts of his goodness. thy Lord bids thee “ rejoice, and again rejoice." O blessed employment, fit for the sons of God! Thou hast lain long enough in thy prison of But thy feast, my Lord, is nothing to me withflesh, where Satan hath been thy jailor; cares out an appetite. Thou hast set the dainties of have been thy irons, fears thy scourges, and thy heaven before me; but, alas, I am blind, and food the bread and water of affliction ; where cannot see them! I am sick, and cannot relish sorrows have been thy lodging, and thy sins and them! I am so benumbed, that I cannot put foes have made thy bed, and an unbelieving forth a hand to take them. I therefore humbly heart hath been the gates and bars that have kept beg this grace, that as thou hast opened heaven thee in; the Angel of the covenant now calls to me in thy word, so thou wouldst open mine thee, and bids thee arise, and follow him. Up, eyes to see it, and my heart to delight in it; else O my soul! and cheerfully obey, and thy bolts heaven will be no heaven to me. O thou Spirit and bars shall all fly open; follow the Lamb of life, breathe upon thy graces in me; take me whithersoever he goeth. Shouldst thou fear to by the hand, and lift me from the earth, that I follow such a guide ? Can the sun lead thee to may see what glory thou hast prepared for them a state of darkness? Will he lead thee to death, that love thee ! who died to save thee from it ? Follow him, and 15. Away then, ye soul-tormenting cares and he will show thee the paradise of God; he will fears, ye heart-vexing sorrows! At least forbear a give thee a sight of the New Jerusalem, and a little while: stand by ; stay here below till I go up taste of the tree of life. Come forth, my droop- and see my rest. The way is strange to me, but ing soul, and lay aside thy winter dress ; let it not to Christ. There was the eternal abode of be seen by thy garments of joy and praise, that his glorious deity; and thither hath he also the spring is come; and as thou now seest thy brought his glorified flesh. It was his work to comforts green, thou shalt shortly see them “white purchase it; it is his to prepare it, and to prepare and ripe for harvest,” and then thou shalt be me for it, and bring me to it. The eternal God called to reap, and gather, and take possession. of truth hath given me his promise, his seal and Should I suspend and delay my joys till then ? oath, that, believing in Christ, I shall not perish, Should not the joys of the spring go before the but have everlasting life. Thither shall my
soul joys of harvest ? Is title nothing before pos- be speedily removed, and my body very shortly follow. And can mytongue say, that I shall shortly mountains, heal diseases with a word or a touch, and surely live with God; and yet my heart not or cast out devils, should I not rejoice in such leap within me? Can I say it with faith and privileges and honours as these, and shall I not not with joy? Ah faith, how sensibly do I now much more rejoice that my name is written in perceive thy weakness ! But though unbelief heaven? I cannot here enjoy my parents, or darken my light, and dull my life, and suppress my near and beloved friends, without some demy joys, it shall not be able to conquer and des- light : especially when I did freely let out my aftroy me; though it envy all my comforts, yet fection to my friend, how sweet was that exersome in spite of it I shall even here receive ; and cise of my love! O what will it then be to live if that did not hinder, what abundance might I in the perpetual love of God! “ For brethren have! The light of heaven would shine into to dwell together in unity here, how good and my heart ; and I might be almost as familiar how pleasant it is !" To see a family live in love, there, as I am on earth. Come away then, my husband and wife, parents, children, and servants, soul; stop thine ears to the ignorant language doing all in love to one another ; to see a town of infidelity ; thou art able to answer all its ar- live together in love, without any envyings, guments; or if thou art not, yet tread them under brawlings, or contentions, lawsuits, factions, or thy feet. Come away: stand not looking on that divisions, but every man loving his neighbour grave, nor turning those bones, nor reading thy as himself, thinking they can never do too much lesson now in the dust ; those lines will soon be for one another, but striving to go beyond each wiped out. But lift up thy head, and look to other in love ; how happy, how delightful a sight heaven, and see thy name written in golden is this! O then, what a blessed society will the letters “in the book of life of the Lamb that family of heaven be, and those peaceful inbabiwas slain.”
What if an angel should tell thee, tants of the New Jerusalem, where there is no that there is mansion in heaven prepared for division, nor differing judgments, no disaffection thee, that it shall certainly be thine for ever ; nor strangeness, no deceitful friendship, no, not would not such a message make thee glad ? one unkind expression, not an angry look or And dost thou make light of the infallible word thought; but all are one in Christ, who is one of promise, which was delivered by the Spirit, with the Father, and all live in the love of him; and even by the Son himself ? Suppose thou who is love itself! The soul is not more where hadst seen a fiery chariot come for thee, and fetch it lives, than where it loves. How near then thee up to heaven, like Elijah ; would not this will my soul be united to God, when I shall so rejoice thee? But thy Lord assures thee, that heartily, strongly, and incessantly love him! the soul of Lazarus hath a convoy of angels to Ah, wretched unbelieving heart, that can think carry it into Abraham's bosom. Shall a drunkard of such a day, and work, and life as this, with be so merry among his cups, or the glutton in such low and feeble joys! But my future enhis delicious fare, and shall not I rejoice who joyments will be more lively. must shortly be in heaven ? Can meat and drink 16. · How delightful is it to me to behold and delight me when I hunger and thirst ? Can I study these inferior works of creation! What find pleasure in walks and gardens, and conven- a beautiful fabric do we here dwell in ; the floor ient dwellings? Can beautiful objects delight so dressed with herbs, and flowers, and trees, mine eyes; or grateful odours 'my smell; or and watered with springs and rivers; the roof melody my ears ? And shall not the forethought so widely expanded, so admirably adorned ! of celestial bliss delight me ? Methinks among What wonders do sun, moon, and stars, seas, my books I could employ myself in sweet con- and winds contain ! And hath God prepared tent, and bid the world farewell, and pity the such a house for corruptible flesh, for a soul im. rich and great that know not this happiness ; prisoned : and doth he bestow so many millions what then will my happiness in heaven be, where of wonders upon his enemies ? O what a dwell. my knowledge will be perfect! If the Queen ing must that be, which he prepares for his dearly of Sheba came from the utmost parts of the earth beloved children ; and how will the glory of the to hear the wisdom of Solomon,and see his glory; New Jerusalem exceed all the present glory of how cheerfully should I pass from earth to hea- the creatures! Arise, then, O my soul, in thy ven, to see the glory of the eternal Majesty, and contemplation; and let thy thoughts of that glory attain the height of wisdom, compared with as far exceed in sweetness thy thoughts of the which, the most learned on earth are but fools excellencies below! Fear not to go out of this and idiots! What if God had made me com- body, and this world, when thou must make so mander of the earth; what if I could remove happy a change; but say, as one did when he was dying, “I am glad, and even leap for joy, or thy sickness, or thy natural death? Is it not that the time is come in which that mighty the same heaven which they and I must live in ? Jehovah, whose majesty in my search of nature is not their God, their Christ, their crown, and I have admired, whose goodness I have adored, mine, the same ? And shall I look upon it with whom by faith I have desired and panted after, an eye so dim, a heart so dull, a countenance so will now show himself to me face to face." dejected. Some small foretastes of it have I
17. · How wonderful also are the works of myself had : and how much more delightful Providence! How delightful to see the great have they been, than any earthly things ever God interest himself in the safety and advance were : and what then will the full enjoyment ment of a few humble, praying, but despised be ! persons; and to review those special mercies 20. What a beauty is there here in the imwith which my own life hath been adorned and perfect graces of the Spirit! Alas! how small sweetened! How often have my prayers been are these to what we shall enjoy in our perfect heard, my tears regarded, my troubled soul re. state! What a happy life should I here live, lieved! How often hath my Lord bid me be of could I but love God as much as I would ; could I good cheer! What a support are these experi. be all love, and always loving! Omy soul, what ences, these clear testimonies of my Father's wouldst thou give for such a life? Had I such love to my fearful unbelieving heart! O then, apprehensions of God, such knowledge of his what a blessed day will that be, when I shall word as I desire ; could I fully trust him in all have all mercy, perfection of mercy, and fully my straits ; could I be as lively as I would in enjoy the Lord of mercy; when I shall stand on every duty; could I make God my constant dethe shore, and look back on the raging seas Isire and delight; I would not envy the world have safely passed; when I shall review my their honours or pleasures. What a blessed pains and sorrows, my fears and tears, and pos- state, O my soul! wilt thou shortly be in, when sess the glory which was the end of all! If one thou shalt have far more of these than thou canst drop of lively faith was mixed with these con. now desire, and shalt exercise thy perfected siderations, what a heaven-ravishing heart should graces in the immediate vision of God, and not I carry within me! Fain would " I believe ; Lord, in the dark, and at a distance, as now. help my unbelief!"
21. Is the sinning, afflicted, persecuted church 18. * How sweet, O my soul, have ordinances of Christ, so much more excellent than any parbeen to thee! What delight hast thou had in ticular gracious soul? What then will the church prayer, and thanksgiving, under heavenly ser- be, when it is fully gathered and glorified; when mons, and in the society of saints, and to see it is ascended from the valley of tears to mount " the Lord adding to the church such as should Sion; when it shall sin and suffer no more! be saved !" How then can my heart conceive The glory of the Old Jerusalem will be darkness the joy which I shall have, to see the perfected and deformity to the glory of the New. What church in heaven, and to be admitted into the cause shall we have then to shout for joy, when celestial temple, and with the heavenly host praise we shall see how glorious the heavenly temple the Lord for ever! If the word of God was sweeter is, and remeinber the meanness of the church on to Job than his necessary food, and to David earth! than honey and the honeycomb, and was the joy 22. But, alas ! what a loss am I at in the and rejoicing of Jeremiah's heart ; how blessed midst of my contemplations! I thought my heart a day will that be, when we shall fully enjoy the had all the while attended, but I see it hath not. Lord of this word, and shall no more need What life is there in empty thoughts and words, these written precepts and promises, nor read without affections ? Neither God, nor I, find any book but the face of the glorious God! If pleasure in them. Where hast thou been, unthey that heard Christ speak on earth, were as- worthy heart, while I was opening to thee the tonished at his wisdom and answers, and won- everlasting treasures ? Art thou not ashamed dered at the gracious words that proceeded out to complain so much of an uncomfortable life, of his mouth ; how shall I then be affected to be- and to murmur at God for filling thee with sorhold him in his majesty!
rows, when he in vain offers thee the delights of 19. Can the prospect of this glory make angels? Hadst thou now but followed me close, others welcome the cross, and even refuse de- it would have made thee revive and leap for liverance; and cannot it make thee cheerful joy, and forget thy pains and sorrows. Did under lesser sufferings? Can it sweeten the I think my heart had been so backward to fames of martyrdom; and not sweeten thy life, rejoice !
23. ' Lord, thou hast reserved my perfect joys | If thy studies have been sweet, have they not for heaven; therefore, help me to desire till I also been bitter? And, at best, what are they may possess, and let me long when I cannot, as to the everlasting views of the God of truth? I would, rejoice. O my soul, thou knowest, to Thy friends here have been thy delight; and thy sorrow,
that thou art not yet at thy rest. have they not also been thy vexation aud grief? When shall I arrive at that safe and quiet har. They are gracious; and are they not also sinful? bour where there are none of these storms, waves, They are kind; and are they not soon displeasand dangers ; when I shall never more have a ed ? They are humble ; but, alas ! how proud weary restless night or day? Then my life will also! Their graces are sweet, and their gifts not be such a mixture of hope and fear, of joy helpful ; but are not their corruptions bitter, and and sorrow; nor shall flesh and spirit be combat their imperfections hurtful ? And art thou so ing within me; nor faith and unbelief, humility loth to go from them to thy God? and pride, maintain a continual conflict. 0 24. 'O my soul, look above this world of sorwhen shall I be past these soul-tormenting fears, rows ! Hast thou so long felt the smarting rod and cares, and griefs ? When shall I be out of of affliction, and no better understood its meanithis soul-contradicting, ensnaring, deceitful flesh; ing? Is not every stroke to drive thee hence ? this corruptible body, this vain, vexatious world? Is not its voice like that to Elijah, " What dost Alas! that I must stand and see the church and thou here?" Dost thou forget thy Lord's precause of Christ tossed about in contention, and diction, “ In the world ye shall have tribulation; made subservient to private interests, or deluded in me ye may have peace ?" Ah, my dear Lord, fancies! There is none of this disorder in the I feel thy meaning ; it is written in my flesh, heavenly Jerusalem : there I shall find a harmon- engraved in my bones. My heart thou aimest ious concert of perfected spirits, obeying and at; thy rod drives, thy silken cord of love draws; praising their everlasting King. O how much and all to bring it to thyself. Lord, can such a better to be a door-keeper there, than the com- heart be worth thy having; make it worthy, and mander of this tumultuous world! Why am I then it is thine: take it to thyself, and then take no more weary of this weariness? Why do I so This clod hath life to stir, but not to rise. forget my resting-place ? Up then, O my soul, As the feeble child to the tender mother, it lookin thy inost raised and fervent desires ! Stay eth up to thee, and stretcheth out the hands, and not till this flesh can desire with thee; expect fain would have thee take it up. Though I cannot that sense should apprehend thy blessed ob- not say, my soul longeth after thee;" yet I can ject, and tell thee when and what to desire. say, I long for such a longing heart. Doth not the dullness of thy desires after rest, spirit is willing, the flesh is weak.” My spirit accuse thee of most detestable ingratitude and cries, “ let thy kingdom come,” or let me come folly ? Must thy Lord procure thee a rest at so to thy kingdom; but the flesh is afraid thou dear a rate, and dost thou no more value it? shouldst hear my prayer, and take me at my Must he go before to prepare so glorious man- word. O blessed be thy grace, which makes sion for such a wretch, and art thou loth to go use of my corruptions to kill themselves; for I and possess it! Shall the Lord of glory be de- fear my fears, and sorrow for my sorrows, and sirous of thy company, and thou not desirous of long for greater longs; and thus the painful his? Must earth become a very hell to thee, means of attaining my desires increase my wearibefore thou art willing to be with God ? Behold vess, and that makes me groan to be at rest. the most lovely creature, or the most desirable 25. Indeed, Lord, my soul itself is in a state, and tell me where wouldst thou be, if not strait, and what to choose I know not; but thou with God ? Poverty is a burden ; riches a snare; knowest what to give. " To depart and to be sickness unpleasing ; health unsafe ; the frown- with thee, is far better;" but “to abide in the ing world bruises thy heel; the smiling world flesh seems needful.” Thou knowest I am not stings thee to the heart : so much as the world weary of thy work, but of sorrow and siu : I am is loved and delighted in, it hurts and endangers willing to stay while thou wilt employ me, and the lover ; and if it may not be loved, why should despatch the work thou hast put into my hands ; it be desired? If thou art applauded, it proves but, I beseech thee, stay no longer when this is the most contagious breath; if thou art vilified, done ; and while I must be here, let me be still or unkindly used, methinks this should not en- amending and ascending; make me still better, ticc thy love. If thy successful labours, and thy | and take me at the best. I dare not be so godly friends, seem better to thee than a life with impatient, as to importune thee to cut off my God, it is time for God to take them from thee. time, and snatch me hence unready ; because