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I know my everlasting state so much depends messenger of my joy. Let not my soul be on the improvement of this life. Nor would ejected by violence, and dispossessed of its habiI stay when my work is done; and remain tation against its will; but draw it to thyself by here sinning, while my brethren are triumphing. the secret power of thy love, as the sunshine in Thy footsteps bruise this worm, while those stars the spring draws forth the creatures from their shine in the firmament of glory. Yet I am thy winter cells; meet it half way, and entice it to child as well as they ; Christ is my Head as well thee, as the loadstone doth the iron, and as the as theirs: why is there then so great a distance! greater flame attracts the less! Dispel, therefore, But I acknowledge the equity of thy ways: the clouds that hide thy love from me; or rethough we are all children, yet I am the prodi- move the scales that hinder mine eyes from begal, and therefore more fit in this remote coun- holding thee; for the beams that stream from try to feed on husks, while they are always with thy face, and the foretastes of thy great salvathee, and possess thy glory. They were once tion, and nothing else can make a soul unfeignthemselves in my condition, and I will shortly edly say, “ Now let thy servant depart in peace !" be in theirs. They were of the lowest form, be- But it is not thy ordinary discoveries that will fore they came to the highest; they suffered, be- here suffice : as the work is greater, so must thy fore they reigned ; they came out of great tribu- help be. O turn these fears into strong desires, lation, who are now before thy throne; and shall and this lothness to die into longings after thee ! not I be content to come to the crown as they | While I must be absent from thee, let my soul did ; and to drink of their cup, before I sit with as heartily groan, as my body doth under its them in the kingdom ? Lord, I am content to want of health! If I have any more time to stay thy time, and go thy way, so thou wilt ex- spend on earth, let me live as without the world alt me also in thy season, and take me into thy in thee, as I have sometimes lived as without barn, when thou seest me ripe. In the mean thee in the world. While I have a thought to time I may desire, though I am not to repine ; I think, let me not forget thee; or a tongue to may believe and wish, though not make any sin move, let me mention thee with delight; or a ful haste; I am willing to wait for thee, but not breath to breathe, let it be after thee, and for to loose thee; and when thou seest me too con- thee; or a knee to bend, let it daily bow tented with thine absence, then quicken my lan- at thy footstool ; and when by sickness thou guid desires, and blow up the dying spark of love ; confinest me, do thou “make my bed, numand leave me not till I am able unfeignedly to ber my pains, and put all my tears into thy cry out, “ As the hart panteth after the water bottle !" brooks, só panteth my soul after thee, O God. 27. * As my flesh desired what my spirit abMy soul thirsteth for God, for the living God; horred, so now let my spirit desire that day when shall I come and appear before God? My which my flesh abhorreth ; that my friends may conversation is in heaven, from whence I look not with so much sorrow wait for the departure for a Saviour. My affections are set on things of my soul, as my soul with joy shall wait for above, where Christ sitteth, and my life is hid. its own departure ! Then let me die the I walk by faith, and not by sight; willing rather death of the righteous, and let my last end be to be absent from the body, and present with the like his ;" even a remoral to that glory which Lord."
shall never end! Then let thy convoy of angels 26. What interest hath this empty world in bring my departing soul among the perfected me; and what is there in it that may seem so spirits of the just, and let me follow my dear lovely as to entice my desires from my God, or friends that have died in Christ before me ; and make me loth to come away? Methinks, when while my sorrowing friends are weeping over I look
upon it with a deliberate eye, it is a howl my grave, let my spirit be reposed with thee in ing wilderness, and too many of its inhabitants rest: and while my corpse shall lie rotting in the are untamed monsters. I can view all its beauty dark, let my soul be in the inheritance of the as deformity; and drown all its pleasures in a saints in light.” O thou that numberest the very few penitent tears ; or the wind of a sigh will hairs of my head, number all the days that my scatter them away. O let not this Aesh so se body lies in the dust; and thou that “writest duce my soul, as to make me prefer this weary all my members in thy book,” keep an account life before the joys that are about thy throne of my scattered bones ! O my Saviour, hasten And though death itself be unwelcome to nature, the time of thy return: send forth thy angels, yet let thy grace make thy glory appear to me and let that dreadful, joyful trumpet sound! 80 desirable, that the king of terrors may be the Delay not, lest the living give up their hopes ;
delay not, lest earth should grow like hell, and looks down on the world as if it were quite bethy church, by division, be all crumbled to dust; low him; fields and woods, cities and towns, delay not, lest thy enemies get advantage of thy seem to him but little spots. Thus despicably flock, and lest pride, hypocrisy, sensuality, and wilt thou look on all things bere below. The unbelief prevail against thy little remnant, and greatest princes will seem but as grasshoppers ; share among them thy whole inheritance, and the busy, contentious, covetous world, but as a when thou comest thou find not faith on the heap of ants. Men's threatenings will be no terearth ; delay not, lest the grave should boast ror to thee ; nor the honours of this world any of victory, and having learned rebellion of its strong enticement; temptations will be more guest, should refuse to deliver thee up thy due ! harmless, as having lost their strength; and af. O hasten that great resurrection-day, when thy Alictions less grievous, as having lost their sting; command shall go forth, and none shall disobey; and every mercy will be better known and rel. when “the sea and the earth shall yield up their ished. It is now, under God, in thy own choice, hostages, and all that sleep in the grave shall whether thou wilt live this blessed life or not ; awake, and the dead in Christ shall rise first ;” and whether all this pains I have taken for thee when the seed which thou sowest corruptible, shall prosper or be lost. If it be lost through shall come forth incorruptible; and graves that thy laziness, thou thyself wilt prove the greatest received rottenness and dust, shall return thee loser. O man! what hast thou to mind but God glorious stars and suns! Therefore dare I lay and heaven ? Art thou not almost out of this down my carcass in the dust, intrusting it, not world already ? Dost thou not look every day, to a grave, but to thee; and therefore my flesh when one disease or other will let out thy soul shall rest in hope, till thou shalt raise it to the Does not the grave wait to be thine house ; and possession of everlasting rest. “Return, worms to feed upon thy face and heart ? What Lord; how long? O let thy kingdom come !" | if thy pulse must beat a few strokes more? What Thy desolate bride saith, Come! for thy Spirit if thou hast a little longer to breathe, before thou within her saith, Come; and teacheth her thus breathest out thy last; a few more nights to sleep, to “pray with groanings which cannot be ut- before thou sleepest in the dust ? Alas! what tered ;" yea, the whole creation saith, Come, will this be, when it is gone ? And is it not waiting to be delivered from the bondage of cor- almost gone already? Very shortly thou wilt ruption into the glorious liberty of the children see thy glass run out, and say to thyself, • My of God. Thou thyself hast said, “Surely I life is done! My time is gone! It is past recome quickly." Amen. Even so, come, Lord calling! There is nothing now but heaven or Jesus !'
hell before me! Where then should thy heart
be now, but in heaven? Didst thou know what CONCLUSION.
a dreadful thing it is, to have a doubt of heaven
when a man is dying, it would rouse thee up. 28. Thus, Reader, I have given thee my best And what else but doubt can that man then do advice for maintaining a heavenly conversation. that never seriously thought of heaven before ? If thou canst not thus meditate methodically 29. Some there be that say, ' It is not worth and fully, yet do it as thou canst; only be sure so much time and trouble, to think of the greatto do it seriously and frequently. Be acquainted ness of the joys above; so that we can make with this heavenly work, and thou wilt, in some sure they are ours, we know they are great. But degree, be acquainted with God; thy joys will as these men obey not the command of God, be spiritual, prevalent, and lasting, according to which requires them to have their conversation the nature of their blessed object; thou wilt have in heaven, and to set their affections on things comfort in life and death. When thou hast nei- above ;' so they wilfully make their own lives ther wealth, nor health, nor the pleasures of this miserable, by refusing the delights which God world, yet wilt thou have comfort. Without hath set before them. And if this were all, it the presence, or help of any friend, without a were a small matter ; but see what abundance minister, without a book, when all means are of other mischiefs follow the neglect of these denied thee, or taken from thee, yet mayest thou heavenly delights. This neglect will damp, if nave vigorous, real comfort. Thy graces will not destroy their love to God,—will make it be mighty, active, and victorious; and the daily unpleasant to them to think or speak of God, joy, which is thus fetched from heaven, will be or engage in his service,—it tends to pervert thy strength. Thou wilt be as one that stands their judgments concerning the ways and oron the top of an exceeding high mountain; he dinances of God,—it makes them sensual and
voluptuous,--it leaves them under the power | Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who of every affliction and temptation, and is a pre-was, and is, and is to come! Thou art worthy, parative to total apostacy,—it will also make O Lord, to receive glory and honour, and them fearful and unwilling to die. For who power! When he looks on the glorified Sawould go to a God or a place he hath no de- viour, he is ready to say, Amen, to that new light in? Who would leave his pleasure here, song, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and if he had not better to go to ? Had I only power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, proposed a course of melancholy, and fear, and and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever. For sorrow, you might reasonably have objected. thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by But you must have heavenly delights, or none thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, that are lasting. God is willing you should and people, and nation ; and hast made us, unto daily walk with him, and fetch in consolations our God, kings and priests! When he looks from the everlasting fountain : if you are unwill- back on the wilderness of this world, he blesses ing, even bear the loss; and, when you are the believing, patient, despised saints; he pities dying, seek for comfort where you can get it, the ignorant, obstinate, miserable world ; and and see whether fleshly delights will remain for himself, he says, as Peter, · It is good to with you ; then conscience will remember, in be here; or as Asaph, · It is good for me to spite of you, that you was once persuaded to a draw near to God; for lo, they that are far from way for more excellent pleasures, pleasures thee shall perish. Thus, as Daniel, in his that would have followed you through death, captivity, daily opened his window towards Jeand have lasted to eternity.
rusalem, though far out of sight, when he went 30. As for you, whose hearts God hath weaned to God in his devotions ; so may the believing from all things here below, I hope you will soul, in this captivity of the flesh, look towards value this heavenly life, and take one walk · Jerusalem, which is above.' And as Paul every day in the New Jerusalem. God is your was to the Colossians, so may the believer love and your desire ; you would fain be more be with the glorified spirits, though absent in acquainted with your Saviour ; and I know the flesh, yet with them in the spirit, joying it is your grief, that your hearts are not nearer and beholding their heavenly order. to him, and that they do not more feelingly the lark sweetly sings while she soars on high, love him, and delight in him. O try this life but is suddenly silenced when she falls to the of meditation on your heavenly rest! Here is earth; so is the frame of the soul most delightthe mount, on which the fluctuating ark of ful and divine, while it keeps in the views of vour souls may rest. Let the world see, by God by contemplation. Alas! we make there your heavenly lives, that religion is something too short a stay; fall down again, and lay by more than opinions and disputes, or a talk of our music! outward duties. If ever a Christian is like him- 31. But, thou, the merciful Father of self, and answerable to his principles and pro- spirits, the attractive of love, and ocean of defession, it is when he is most serious and lively lights, draw up these drossy hearts unto thyin this duty. As Moses, before he died, went self, and keep them there till they are spirituaup into mount Nebo, to take a survey of the lized and refined ; and second thy servant's land of Canaan ; so the Christian ascends the weak endeavours, and persuade those that read mount of contemplation, and by faith surveys these lines to the practice of this delightful, his rest. He looks upon the glorious mansions, heavenly work! O suffer not the soul of thy and says "Glorious things are deservedly spo- most unworthy servant to be a stranger to those ken of thee, thou city of God!' He hears, as joys which he describes to others; but keep it
were, the melody of the heavenly choir, and me, while I remain on earth, in daily breathsays, ' Happy is the people that are in such a ings after thee, and in a believing, affectionate case; yea, happy is that people, whose God walking with thee! And when thou comest, is the Lord!' He looks upon the glorified in- let me be found so doing; not serving my habitants, and says, “ Happy art thou, O Israel; flesh, nor asleep with my lamp unfurnished ; who is like unto thee, O people, saved by the but waiting and longing for my
Lord's return ! Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the Let those who shall read these heavenly di. sword of thine excellency! When he looks rections, nor merely read the fruit of my studupon the Lord himself, who is their glory, he ies, but the breathing of my active hope and is ready, with the rest, to fall down and wor- love: that, if my heart were open to their view, ship him that liveth for ever and ever, and say, I they might there read the same most deeply 1129
engraven with a beam from the face of the Son heart of the reader, and so be the savour of life of God; and not find vanity, or lust, or pride to both! Amen.' within, when the words of life appear without ; that so these lines may not witness against me ; • Glory be to God in the highest ; on earth but, proceeding from the heart of the writer, peace ; good-will towards men.' may be effectual, through thy grace, upon the
THE DIVINE LIF E.
our ultimate end as is also our greatest mercy
and felicity. Therefore doth the Lord Jesus OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD. here in the text describe that life eternal which
he was to give to those whom the Father had " And this is life eternal, that they might know given him, to consist in knowing the only true thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ | God, and Jesus Christ whom he had sent.' My whom thou hast sent."-JOHN xvii. 3.
purpose is in this treatise to speak only of the
first part of the text, the knowledge of God,' INTRODUCTORY REMARKS.
and first I shall very briefly explain the text.
This,' that is, this which I am describing. God is the principal efficient, the supreme di- * Life ;' life is taken sometimes for the soul's fective, and the ultimate final cause of man : for abode in the body, which is the natural life of of him, and through him, and to him, are all man ; or the soul's continuation in its separated things, and to him shall be glory for ever. The state, which is the natural life of the soul : and new life or nature in the saints, is his image. sometimes for the perfections of natural life : The principle of it is called the divine nature. and that either its natural perfection, that is, it The exercise of that principle, including the health and vivacity; or its moral perfection or principle itself, is called the life of God, from rectitude; and that is either in the cause, and which the Gentiles are said to be alienated by so God is our life, Christ is our life, the Holy their ignorance. Therefore it is called holiness, Spirit is our life: or in itself, and so holiness which is a separation to God from common use : is our life in the principle, seed or habit. Someand “God's dwelling in us, and ours in him,' of times life is taken for the work, employment and whom we are said to be born and regenerated,' exercise of life ; and so a holy conversation is and our perfection in glory, is our living with our moral, spiritual, or holy life. Sometimes God, and enjoying him for ever. Godliness it is taken for the felicity of the living : and then is the comprehensive name of all true reli- so it contains all the former in their highest gion. Jesus Christ himself came but to restore perfection, that is, both natural life and moral, corrupted man to the love, obedience, and frui- spiritual life, and the holy exercise thereof, totion of his Creator, and at last will give up the gether with the full attainment and fruition of kingdom to his father, that God may be all and God in glory, the end of all. in all: and the Son himself shall be subject to · Eternal, that is, simply eternal, objectively, this end. The end of Christ's sacrifice and in- as to God the principal object : and eternal, tercession is to reconcile God and man : the end subjectively, that is, everlasting. of his doctrine is to teach us to know God : the This is life eternal,' not natural life in itself end of his government is to reduce us to the per- considered, as the devils and wicked men shall fect obedience of our Maker. It is therefore the have it; but, 1. It is the same moral, spiritual greatest duty of a Christian to know God as re- life, which shall have no end, but to endure to vealed by his Son; and it is such a duty about 'eternity: it is a living to God in love ; but only