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portion is in heaven, whose hopes are there, and 1—it will evidence your sincere piety, it is the who have forsaken all to enjoy this glory; and highest excellence of the Christian temper—it is shall I be discouraged from persuading such to the way to live most comfortably-it will be the be heavenly-minded ? Fellow-Christians, if you best preservative from temptations to sin-it will not hear and obey, who will? Well
may will enliven your graces and duties-it will be we be discouraged to exhort the blind, ungodly your best cordial in all afflictions-it will render world, and may say, as Moses did, · Behold the you most profitable to others—it will honour children of Israel have not hearkened unto me, God. Without it you will disobey the commands, how then shall Pharaoh hear me?' I require and lose the most gracious and delightful discovthee, Reader, as ever thou hopest for a part in eries of the word of God: it is also the more this glory, that thou presently take thy heart to reasonable to have your hearts with God, as his task, chide it for its wilful strangeness to God, is so much on you—and in heaven, where you turn thy thoughts from the pursuit of vanity, have so much interest and relation: besides, there bend thy soul to study eternity, busy it about is nothing but heaven worth setting your hearts the life to come, habituate thyself to such con- upon. templations, and let not those thoughts be sel- 3. (1.) Consider, a heart set upon heaven will dom and cursory, but bathe thy soul in heaven's be one of the most unquestionable evidences of delights ; and if thy backward soul begin to flag, your sincerity, and a clear discovery of a true and thy thoughts to scatter, call them back, hold work of saving grace upon your souls. You are them to their work, bear not with their laziness, often asking, 'How shall we know that we are nor connive at one neglect. And when thou truly sanctified ?' Here you have a sign infalhast, in obedience to God, tried this work, got lible from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself, acquainted with it, and kept a guard on thy where your treasure is, there will your hearts thoughts, till they are accustomed to obey, thou be also. God is the saints' treasure and happiwilt then find thyself in the suburbs of heaven, ness; heaven is the place where they must fully and that there is, indeed, a sweetness in the enjoy him. A heart, therefore, set upon heaven, work and way of God, and that the life of is no more but a heart set upon God; and, surely, Christianity is a life of joy. Thou wilt meet a heart set upon God through Christ, is the truest with those abundant consolations which thou hast evidence of saving grace. When learning will prayed, panted, and groaned after, and which so be no proof of grace ; when knowledge, duties, few Christians do ever here obtain, because they gifts, will fail ; when arguments from thy tongue know not this way to them, or else make not or hand may be confuted ; yet then will this, conscience of walking in it. Say not, • We are from the bent of thy heart, prove thee sincere. unable to set our own hearts on heaven ; this Take a poor Christian, of a weak understanding, must be the work of God only.' Though God a feeble memory, a stammering tongue ; yet his be the chief disposer of your hearts, yet next heart is set on God, he hath chosen him for his under him you have the greatest command of portion, his thoughts are on eternity, his desires them yourselves. Though without Christ you are there ; he cries out, О that I were there ! can do nothing, yet under him you may do much, He takes that day for a time of imprisonment, and must, or else it will be undone, and your- in which he hath not had one refreshing view of selves undone through your neglect. Christians, eternity. I had rather die in this man's condiif your souls were healthful and vigorous, they tion, than in the case of him who hath the most would perceive incomparably more delight and eminent gifts, and is most admired for his persweetness in the believing, joyful thoughts of your formances, while his heart is not thus taken up future blessedness, than the soundest stomach with God. The man that Christ will find out finds in its food, or the strongest senses in the at the last day, and condemn for want of a wedenjoyment of their objects; so little painful would ding garment, will be one that wants this frame this work be to you. But because I know, while of heart. The question will not then be, How we have flesh about us, and any remains of that much have you known, or professed, or talked ? "carnal mind, which is enmity to God,' and to but, How much have you loved, and where was this noble work, that all motives are little enough, your heart? Christians, as you would have a I will here lay down some considerations; which, proof of your title to glory, labour to get your if you will deliberately weigh, with an impartial hearts above. If sin and Satan keep not your judgment, I doubt not but they will prove effec- affections from thence, they will never be able tual with your hearts, and make you resolve on to keep away your persons. this excellent duty. More particularly consider 4. (2.) A heart in heaven, is the highest excel. lence of your Christian temper. As there is a the heart than corn and wine ;' then, surely, they common excellence, by which Christians differ that draw nearest, and most behold it, must be from the world ; so there is this peculiar dignity fullest of these joys. Whom should we blame of spirit, by which the more excellent differ from then, that we are so void of consolation, but our the rest. As the noblest of creatures, so the own negligent hearts ? God hath provided us noblest of Christians are they whose
a crown of glory, and promised to set it shortly set most direct for heaven. Such a heavenly on our heads, and we will not so much as think saint, who hath been wrapt up to God in his of it. He bids us behold and rejoice, and we contemplations, and is newly come down from will not so much as look at it; and yet we comthe views of Christ, what discoveries will he make plain for want of comfort. It is by believing, of those superior regions! how high and sacred that we are filled with joy and peace, and no is his discourse! Enough to convince an under- longer than we continue believing. It is in standing hearer, that he hath seen the Lord, and hope the saints rejoice, and no longer than they that no man could speak such words, except he continue hoping. God's Spirit worketh our comhad been with God. This, this is the noble Chris- forts, by setting our own spirits on work upon tian. The most famous mountains and trees are the promises, and raising our thoughts to the those that reach nearest to heaven; and he is place of our comforts. As you would delight a the choicest Christian, whose heart is most fre-covetous man by showing him gold ; so God quently and most delightfully there. If a man delights his people by leading them, as it have lived near the king, or hath seen the sultan were, into heaven, and showing them himself, of Persia, or the great Turk, he will be thought and their rest with him. He does not cast in a step higher than his neighbours. What then our joys while we are idle, or taken up with shall we judge of him that daily travels as far as other things. He gives the fruits of the earth heaven, and there hath seen the King of kings, while we plough, and sow, and weed, and water, hath frequent admittance into the divine presence and dung, and dress, and with patience expect and feasteth his soul upon the tree of life? For his blessing ; so doth he give the joys of the my part, I value this man before the noblest, the soul. I entreat thee, Reader, in the name of the richest, the most learned, in the world.
Lord, and as thou valuest the life of constant 5. (3.) A heavenly mind is the nearest and joy, and that good conscience which is a contruest way to a life of comfort. The countries tinual feast, to set upon this work seriously, far north are cold and frozen, because they are and learn the art of heavenly-mindedness, and distant from the sun. What makes such frozen, thou shalt find the increase a hundred fold, and uncomfortable Christians, but their living so far the benefit abundantly exceed thy labour. But from heaven? And what makes others so warm this is the misery of man's nature : though every in comforts, but their living higher, and having man naturally hates sorrow, and loves the most nearer access to God? When the sun in the merry and joyful life, yet few love the way to spring draws nearer to our part of the earth, how joy, or will endure the pains by which it is obdo all things congratulate its approach! The tained ; they will take the next that comes to earth looks green, the trees shoot forth, the hand, and content themselves with earthly pleaplants revive, the birds sing, and all things sures, rather than they will ascend to heaven to smile upon us.
If we would but try this life seek it; and yet when all is done, they must with God, and keep these hearts above, what a have it there, or be without it. spring of joy would be within us ! How should 6. (4.) A heart in heaven will be a most excellent we forget our winter sorrows! How early should preservative against temptations to sin. It will we rise to sing the praise of our great Creator : keep the heart well employed. When we are idle, O Christians, get above. Those that have been we tempt the devil to tempt us; as careless per. there, have found it warmer ; and I doubt not sons make thieves. A heart in heaven can reply but thou hast some time tried it thyself. When to the tempter, as Nehemiah did, 'I am doing a have you largest comforts? Is it not when thou great work, so that I cannot come. It hath no hast conversed with God, and talked with the leisure to be lustful or wanton, ambitious or inhabitants of the higher world, and viewed their worldly. If you were but busy in your lawful mansions, and filled thy soul with the fore callings, you would not be so ready to hearken thoughts of glory? If thou knowest by exper- to temptations ; much less if you were also busy ience what this practice is, I dare say thou know above with God. Would a judge be persuaded est what spiritual joy is. If, as David professes, to rise from the bench, when he is sitting upon *the light of God's countenance more gladdens | life and death, to go and play with children in the streets ? No more will a Christian, when that I might die the death of the righteous, and he is taking a survey of his eternal rest, give ear that my last end might be like his! Yet let the to the alluring charms of Satan. The children same men recover, and lose their apprehensions of that kingdom should never have time for of the life to come, and how quickly do they lose trifles, especially when they are employed in the their understandings with it! Tell a dying sinaffairs of the kingdom; and this employment is ner of the riches, honours, or pleasures of the one of the saints' chief preservatives from temp- world, and would he not answer, “What is all tations.
this to me, who must presently appear before 7. A heavenly mind is the freest from sin, God, and give an account of all my life?' Chris. because it hath truer and livelier apprehensions tian, if the apprehended nearness of eternity will of spiritual things. He hath so deep an insight work such strange effects upon the ungodly, and into the evil of sin, the vanity of the creature, make them so much wiser than before ; O what the brutishness of fleshly, sensual delights, that rare effects would it produce in thee, if thou temptations have little power over him. “In couldst always dwell in the views of God, and vain the net is spread,' says Solomon, in the in lively thoughts of thy everlasting state! Surely sight of any bird.' And usually in vain doth a believer, if he improve his faith, may ordinSatan lay his snares to entrap the soul that plainly arily have more quickening apprehensions of the sees them. Earth is the place for his tempta- life to come, in the time of his health, than an tions, and the ordinary bait; and how shall these unbeliever hath at the hour of his death. ensnare the Christian, who hath left the earth, 8. A heavenly mind is also fortified against and walks with God? Is converse with wise temptations, because the affections are thoroughly and learned men the way to make one wise ? prepossessed with the high delights of another Much more
ore is converse with God. If travellers world. He that loves most, and not he that return home with wisdom and experience, how only knows most, will most easily resist the much more he that travels to heaven? If our emotions of sin. The will doth as sweetly relish bodies are suited to the air and climate we most goodness, as the understanding doth truth ; and live in; his understanding must be fuller of light, here lies much of a Christian's strength. When who lives with the Father of lights. The men thou hast had a fresh, delightful taste of heaven, of the world that dwell below, and know no other thou wilt not be so easily persuaded from it. conversation but earthly, no wonder if their un- You cannot persuade a child to part with bis derstanding be darkened, and Satan • takes them sweetmeats, while the taste is in his mouth. O captive at his will.? How can worms and moles that you would be much on feeding on the hid. see, whose dwelling is always in the earth ? den manna, and frequently tasting the delights While this dust is in their eyes, no wonder they of heaven! How would this confirm thy resomistake gain for godliness, sin for grace, the lutions, and make thee despise the fooleries of world for God, their own wills for the law of the world, and scorn to be cheated with such Christ, and, in the issue, hell for heaven. But childish toys. If the devil had set upon Peter when a Christian withdraws himself from his in the mount of transfiguration, when he saw worldly thoughts, and begins to converse with Moses and Elias talking with Christ, would he God in heaven, methinks he is, as Nebuchad- so easily have been drawn to deny his Lord ? nezzar, taken from the beasts of the field to the What! with all that glory in his eye ? No. So, throne, and his reason returneth unto him.' if he should set upon a believing soul, when he When he hath had a gļimpse of eternity, and is taken up in the mount with Christ, what would looks down on the world again, how doth he such a soul say ? Get thee behind me, Satan; charge with folly his neglects of Christ, his fleshly wouldst thou persuade me hence, with trifling pleasures, his earthly cares! How doth he say pleasures, and steal my heart from this my rest? to his laughter, It is mad ; and to his vain mirth, Wouldst thou have me sell these joys for noWhat doth it? How doth he verily think there thing? Is any honour or delight like this? is no man in bedlam so truly mad as wilful sin. or can that be profit, for which I must lose ners, and unworthy slighters of Christ and glory! this?' But Satan stays till we are come down, This makes a dying man usually wiser than and the taste of heaven is out of our mouths, others, because he looks on eternity as near, and and the glory we saw is even forgotten, and hath more heart-piercing thoughts of it than he then he easily deceives our hearts. Though the ever had in health and prosperity. Then many Israelites below, eat, and drink, and rise up to of the most bitter enemies of the saints have play before their idol, Moses in the mount will their eyes opened, and like Balaam, cry out, 'not do so. O if we could keep the taste of our souls continually delighted with the sweetness burn. Light thy lamp at this flame, and feed above, with what disdain should we spit out the it daily with oil from hence, and see if it will not baits of sin!
gloriously shine. Keep close to this reviving 9. Besides, whilst the heart is set on heaven, fire, and see if thy affections will not be warm. a man is under God's protection. If Satan then In thy want of love to God, lift up thy eye of assault us, God is more engaged for our defence, faith to heaven, behold his beauty, contemplate and will doubtless stand by us, and say, 'My his excellencies, and see whether his amiableness grace is sufficient for thee.' When a man is in and perfect goodness will not ravish thy heart. the way of God's blessing, he is in the less danger As exercise gives appetite, strength, and vigour of sin's enticing. Amidst thy temptations, Chris- to the body; so these heavenly exercises will tian Reader, use much this powerful remedy— quickly cause the increase of grace and spiritual keep close with God by a heavenly mind; follow life. Besides, it is not false or strange fire, your business above with Christ, and you will which you fetch from heaven for your sacrifices. find this a surer help than any other. The way The zeal which is kindled by your meditations of life is above to the wise, that he may depart on heaven, is most likely be a heavenly zeal. from hell beneath.' Reinember that • Noah was Some men's fervency is only drawn from their a just man, and perfect in his generation ;' for he books, some from the sharpness of affliction, · walked with God:' and that God said to Abra- some from the mouth of a moving minister, and ham, Walk before me, and be thou perfect.' some from the attention of an auditory; but he
10. (5.) The diligent keeping your hearts in that knows this way to heaven, and derives it heaven, will maintain the vigour of all your daily from the true fountain, shall have his soul graces, and put life into all your duties. The revived with the water of life, and enjoy that heavenly Christian is the lively Christian. It is quickening which is peculiar to the saints. By our strangeness to heaven that makes us so dull. this faith thou mayest offer Abel's sacrifice, more How will the soldier hazard his life, and the excellent than' that of common men, and by it mariner pass through storms and waves, 'and no obtain witness that thou art righteous, God tesdifficulty keep them back, when they think of tifying of thy gifts,' that they are sincere. When an uncertain perishing treasure! What life then others are ready, like Baal's priests, to cut themwould it put into a Christian's endeavours, if he selves, because their sacrifice will not burn ; thou would frequently think of his everlasting treasure! mayest breathe the spirit of Elijah, and in the We run so slowly, and strive so lazily, because chariot of contemplation soar aloft, till thy soul we so little mind the prize. Observe but the and sacrifice gloriously flame, though the flesh man who is much in heaven, and you shall see and the world should cast upon them all the water he is not like other Christians; there is some of their opposing enmity. Say not, how can thing of what he hath seen above, appeareth in mortals ascend to heaven? Faith has wings, all his duty and conversation. If a preacher, and meditation is its chariot. Faith is a burnhow heavenly are his sermons! If a private ing-glass to thy sacrifice, and meditation sets it Christian, what heavenly converse, prayers, and to the face of the gun : only take it not away too deportment! Set upon this employment, and soon, but hold it there awhile, and thy soul will others will see the face of your conversation feel the happy effect. Reader, art thou not shine, and say, Surely he hath been with God thinking, when thou seest a lively Christian, and on the mount. But if you lie complaining of hearest his lively fervent prayers, and edifying deadness and dulness, that you cannot love discourse, "O how happy a man is this! O Christ, nor rejoice in his love ; that you have no that my soul were in this blessed condition !! life in prayer, nor any other duty, and yet neglect Why, I here advise thee from God, set thy soul this quickening employment ; you are the cause conscientiously to this work, wash thee frequently of your own complaints. Is not thy life hid with in this Jordan, and thy leprous dead soul will Christ in God? Where must thou go, but to revive, “and thou shalt know that there is a God Christ for it? And where is that but to heaven, in Israel,' and that thou mayest live a vigorous where Christ is ? • Thou wilt not come to Christ, and joyful life, if thou dost not wilfully neglect that thou mayest have life. If thou wouldst thy own mercies. have light and heat, why art thou no inore in the 11. (6.) The frequent believing views of glory sunshine ? For want of this recourse to heaven, are the most precious cordials in all afflictions. thy soul is as a lamp not lighted, and thy duties These cordials, by cheering our spirits, render as a sacrifice without fire. Fetch one coal daily our sufferings far more easy, enable us to bear from this altar, and see if thy offering will not | them with patience and joy, and so strengthen our resolutions, that we forsake not Christ for impatience, and censuring of God, because we fear of trouble. If the way be ever so rough, gaze on the evil itself, but fix not our thoughts can it be tedious if it lead to heaven? O sweet on what is beyond it. They that saw Christ sickness, reproaches, imprisonments, or death, only on the cross, or in the grave, do shake their accompanied with these tastes of our future rest! beads, and think him lost ; but God saw him This keeps the sufferings from the soul, so that dying, buried, rising, glorified, and all this at it can only touch the flesh. Had it not been for one view. Faith will in this imitate God, so far that little (alas ! too little) taste which I had of as it hath the glass of a promise to help it. We rest, my sufferings would have been grievous, see God burying us under ground, but we foreand death more terrible. I may say, 'I had see not the spring, when we shall all revive. fainted, unless I had believed to see the good- Could we but clearly see heaven, as the end of ness of the Lord in the land of the living. Un- all God's dealings with us, surely none of his less this promised rest had been my delight, I dealings could be grievous. If God would once should then have perished in mine affliction. raise us to this life, we should find, that though • One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will heaven and sin are at a great distance; yet I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of heaven and a'prison, or banishment, heaven and the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the the belly of a whale, or a den of lions, heaven beauty of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple. and consuming sickness, or invading death, are For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in at no such distance. But as . Abraham saw his pavilion : in the secret of his tabernacle shall Christ's day and rejoiced ;' so we, in our most he hide me; he shall set me upon a rock. And forlorn state, might see that day when Christ now shall mine head be lifted up above mine shall give iis rest, and therein rejoice. I beseech enemies round about me: therefore will I offer thee, Christian, for the honour of the gospel, and in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, for thy soul's comfort, be not to learn this heayea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.' All suf- venly art, when in thy greatest extremity thou ferings are nothing to us, so far as we have these hast most need to use it. He that, with Stephen, supporting joys. When persecution and fear sees the glory of God, and Jesus standing on hath shut the doors, Christ can come in, and stand the right hand of God,' will comfortably bear in the midst, and say to his disciples, · Peace be the shower of stones. • The joy of the Lord is unto you.' Paul and Silas can be in heaven, even our strength,' and that joy must be fetched from when they are thrust into the inner prison, their the place of our joy ; and if we walk without bodies scourged with many stripes, and their our strength, how long are we like to endure? feet fast in the stocks. The martyrs find more 12. (7.) He that hath his conversation in rest in their fames, than their persecutors in heaven, is the profitable Christian to all about their pomp and tyranny ; because they foresee him. When a man is in a strange country, how the flames they escape, and the rest which their glad is he of the company of one of his own fiery chariot is conveying them to. If the Son nation! How delightful is it to talk of their of God will walk with us, we are safe in the own country, their acquaintance, and affairs at midst of those flames, which shall devour them home! With what pleasure did Joseph talk with that cast us in. • Abraham went out of his his brethren, and inquire after his father, and country, not knowing whither he went ; because his brother Benjamin! Is it not so to a Chrishe looked for a city which hath foundations, tian, to talk with his brethren that have been whose builder and maker is God. Moses es. above, and inquire after his Father, and Christ teemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than his Lord ? When a worldly man will talk of the treasures in Egypt; because he had respect nothing but the world, and a politician of state unto the recompence of reward. He forsook affairs, and a mere scholar of human learning, Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; because and a common professor of his duties; the he endured, as seeing him who is invisible. heavenly man will be speaking of heaven, and Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; the strange glory his faith hath seen, and our that they might obtain a better resurrection. speedy and blessed meeting there. O how reEven Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, freshing and useful are his expressions! How for the joy that was set before him, endured the his words pierce and melt the heart, and transcross, despising the shame, and is set down at form the hearers into other men! How doth the right hand of God.' This is the noble ad- his doctrine drop as the rain, and his speech vantage of faith ; it can look on the means and distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the end together. This is the great reason of our tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass,