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4. That we should attentively and unweariedly imitate him in all his imitable perfections and actions.
5. That we should intirely refign up our selves to his conduct and difpofal.
6. That we should chearfully rely, and depend upon him. All which, as I fhall fhew, are included in the heavenly part of the Chriftian Life, and do most effectually contribute to our future happiness.
I. As we are rational Creatures related to God, we are obliged to be often contemplating and thinking upon him. For the natural ufe of our underftanding is to contemplate Truth, and therefore the more of Truth and Reality there is in any knowable object, and the farther it is removed from Falfhood and Non-entity, the more the Understanding is concerned to contemplate and think. upon it. God therefore being the most true and real object, as he ftands removed by the neceffity of his existence from all poffibility of not-being; muft needs be the molt perfect Theme of our Une derstanding, the best and greatest Subject, on which it can employ its Meditations. And befides that he is the most true and real of all beings, he is alfo the fource and spring of all Truth and Reality, his Power conducted by his Wifdom, and Goodness being the caufe, not only of all that is, but of all that either fhall be, or can be. And is it fit that our Understanding, which was made to contemplate, fhould wholly over-look the fountain of it? But befides this too, that he is the greatest Truth himself, and the caufe of every thing elfe that is true and real, he is the Soveraign of Beings, He and
and the most amiable and perfect as he includes in his infinite Effence all poffible perfections both in kind and degree. And what a monstrous Irreverence is it for minds that were framed to the contemplation of Truth, to pafs by fuch a great and glorious one without any regard or obfervance; as if he flood for a Cypher in the world, and were not worthy to be thought upon? Nay, and befides all this, (which one would think were enough to oblige our Understandings to the ftricteft attendance to him) he is a Truth in which above all others we are most nearly concerned, as he is not only the Father and Prop of our Beings, and the Confolation of our lives, but the fole Arbiter of our Fate too,upon whom our everlafting well or ill being depends. And what can we be more concerned to think, and meditate upon than this great Being, from whom we fprang, in whom we live and breath, and of whom we are to expect all that evil or good that we can fear or hope for. All which confidered, there is no doubt to be made but that our Understanding was chiefly made for God, to look up to him, and contemplate his Being and Perfections. And though in this imperfect State it is too often averted from him, by this vaft variety of fenfual things that furround it, and intercept its Prospect, yet as our Soul recovers out of this fenfual condition into a life of Reason, we find by experience that its Understanding prefently looks upwards, by a natural Inftinct, and directs it felf to God, as to its proper Pole and Center. And as it grows more and more indifferent to the objects of Sense, so it becomes more and more vigorous in its tendency towards
towards God and divine things. And 'tis no wonder it doth fo, fince it is God only who is an infinite Truth, that is able to fatisfie its infinité Thirst after Truth. And hence it is, that till we have throughly fixed our Minds and Wills upon God, we do naturally affect fuch an Infinity of Objects, that our Defires are always reaching at new Pleafures, and carried forth after new Pofleffions; that our Fancy is always entertaining our mind with new Ideas, and our Understanding continually calling for new Scenes of Contemplation. By which, as one hath well obferved, the foul declares that it is not to be perfectly pleafed with finite Truth or Good: Which poflibly nay be the reafon of that delight we take in Fables, and Pictures of Anticks and Monsters, because they exceed the limits of Truth, and fo do enlarge, as it were, the profpect of the Soul,which by its unconfined motions, fhews that it is of a Divine Extract, and that it can never be perfectly fatisfied but in union with God, who is an infinite Ocean of Truth and Goodness. For as for all other Beings, they are fo very fhallow, that we quickly fee (or at least fhall do, when we fee after, the manner of Spirits) to the very bottom of their Truth and Reality; and when we have done that, they have no more in them to feed and entertain our understandings. So that when we have exhausted the Truth of finite Beings, we must either ceafe to understand any more, which would be to deprive our nobleft Faculty of any farther Pleafure, or we must at last fix our mind upon God, in whom it will find fuch infinité Truth, as will be fufficient to exercise it throughH 2 out
out all its infinite Duration. But unless we do now acquaint our minds with God by frequent thinking and meditating upon him, we fhall by degrees grow fuch Strangers to him, that, by that time we go into the other world, we fhall be fo far from being pleafed with contemplating him, that we fhall look upon him as an uncouth Object, and out of distaste avert and turn our eyes from him. For the mind of man must be familiarized to its abjects, before it will be able to contemplate them with pleasure, and though the objects themselves be never fo amiable, yet while the mind is unused to them, its thoughts will fart and flie off from them, and without a great deal of violence, will never be reduced to a fixt and ferious attention to them. So that if we go into Eternity with minds unaccustomed to the thoughts of God, we fhall be continually flying away from him, as Bats and Owls do from the light of the Sun, and never be able to compofe our awkward thoughts into a fixed contemplation of his glory. And when we have thus banished our felves from the only object that can for ever bleß and fatisfie our understanding, that can keep it in everlafting exercise and motion, and feed its greedy thoughts eternally with fresh and glorious discoveries, we have utterly loft one of the fweeteft Pleafures that Humane Nature is capable of; and fo must neceflarily pine and languish, under an eternal difcontentednefs. To prevent which, the Gofpel enjoyns us to train up our minds to divine Contemplation, and to be frequently thinking and meditating upon God; to mind thofe things that are above, for fo the Greek word is to be rendred, Col. iii. 1. To fanctifie the
Lord God in our Hearts, 1 Pet. iii. 15. that is, by entertaining great and worthy Thoughts of him. And therefore the Gofpel is fet before us as a Glaß, that therein we may contemplate and behold the glory of God, 2 Cor. iii. 18. namely, that divine glory which is therein difcovered and revealed to us; that we may fet him always before our minds, and gather up our thoughts about him, and force them to dwell and ftay upon him, that fo they may taste and relish his heavenly beauties, and pleafe and fatisfie themfelves with the view and contemplation of them. For though to meditate clofely upon God may at first be irksom and tedious to our unexperienced minds, yet when by the conftant practice of it, we have worn off that Strangeneß towards God, which renders the thoughts of him fo troublefome to us, and by frequent converfes are grown better acquainted with him, we fhall grow by degrees fo pleafed and fatisfied with the thoughts of him, that we shall not know how to live without them; and our minds at last will be toucht with fuch a lively sense of his attractive beauties, that we fhall never be well but while we are with him; fo that he will become the conftant Companion of our thoughts, and the daily Theme of our Meditations; and nothing in the world will be fo grateful and acceptable to us, as tó retire now and then from the world, and converfe with God in holy Contemplations. And though by reafon of our prefent Circumstances and Neceffities there is no remedy but our thoughts must be often diverted from him, and forced to attend to our fecular occafions; yet after they have been used a while to God, we fhall