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he hath mildly said, “ dost thou well to be angry' upon it, it dies, or rather my cold heart quenches with me, or murmur against me? How often it. But they have their light in his light, and. hath he set thee on watching and praying, re- drink continually at the spring of joys. Here we penting and believing, and when he hath re- are vexing each other with quarrels, when they turned, hath found thee asleep,' and yet he hath are of one heart and voice, and daily sound forth covered thy neglect with a mantle of love, and the hallelujahs of heaven with perfect harmony. gently pleaded for thee, that the spirit is will- O what a feast hath my faith beheld, and what a ing, but the flesh is weak? Can thy heart be famine is yet in my spirit! O blessed souls! I cold, when thou thinkest of this ? Can it con- may not, I dare not, envy your happiness; I rather tain, when thou rememberest those boundless rejoice in my brother's prosperity, and am glad compassions ? Thus, Reader, hold forth the to think of the day when I shall be admitted into goodness of Christ to thy heart ; plead thus with your fellowship. I wish not to displace you, thy frozen soul, till, with David, thou canst say, but to be so happy as to be with you. Why · My heart was hot within me ; while I was mus- must I stay, and weep, and wait? My Lord is ing, the fire burned. If this will not rouse up gone; he hath left this earth, and is entered thy love, thou hast all Christ's personal excel into his glory; my brethren are gone ; my friends lencies to add ; all his particular mercies to thy- are there ; my hone, my hope, my all, is there. self, all his sweet and near relations to thee, and when I am so far distant from my God, wonder the happiness of thy everlasting abode with him. not what aileth me, if I now complain : an ignoOnly follow them close to thy heart. Deal with rant Micah will do so for his idol, and shall not it, as Christ did with Peter, when he thrice asked my soul do so for the living God ? Had I no him, 'Lovest thou me?' till he was grieved, and hope of enjoyment, I would go hide myself in answers, · Lord thou knowest that I love thee.' the deserts, and lie and howl in some obscure So grieve and shame thy heart out of its stupi- wilderness, and spend my days in fruitless dity, till thou canst truly say, 'I know, and my wishes ; but since it is the land of my promised Lord knows, that I love him.
rest, and the state I must myself be advanced 13. (2.) The next affection to be excited in to, and my soul draws near, and is almost at it, heavenly contemplation, is desire. The object I will love and long, I will look and desire, I of it is goodness considered as absent, or not will be breathing, “ How long, Lord! how long yet attained. If love be hot, desire will not be wilt thou suffer this soul to pant and groan, and cold. Think with thyself, · What have I seen? not open to him who waits, and longs to be with O the incomprehensible glory! O the transcen- thee!” Thus, Christian Reader, let thy thoughts dent beauty! O blessed souls that now enjoy aspire, till thy soul longs, as David, Othat it! who see a thousand times more clearly what one would give me to drink of the wells of salI have seen at a distance, and through dark in- vation! And till thou canst say as he did, • I terposing clouds! What a difference between have longed for thy salvation, O Lord ;' and as my state and theirs ! I am sighing, and they are the mother and brethren of Christ, when they singing: I am offending, and they are pleasing could not come at him, because of the multitude, God. I am a spectacle of pity, like a Job or a sent to him, saying, “Thy mother and brethren Lazarus, but they are perfect, and without blem- stand without, desiring to see thee;' so let thy ish. I am here entangled in the love of the message to him be, and he will own thee; for world, while they are swallowed up in the love he hath said, “They that hear my word, and do of God. They have none of my cares and it
, are my mother and my brethren.' fears: they weep not in secret; they languish 14. (3.) Another affection to be exercised in heanot in sorrows : these “tears are wiped away venly contemplation, is hope. This helps to supfrom their eyes." Ohappy, a thousand times port the soul under sufferings, animates it to the happy souls! Alas, that I must dwell in sinful greatest difficulties, gives it firmness in the most flesh, when my brethren and companions dwell shaking trials, enlivens it in duties, and is the with God! How far out of sight and reach of very spring that sets all the wheels a-going. their high enjoyment do I here live! What poor Who would believe or strive for heaven, if it were feeble thoughts have I of God! What cold not for the hope that he hath to obtain it? Who affections towards him! How little have I of would pray, but for the hope to prevail with God? that life, that love, that joy, in which they con- If your hope dies, your duties die, your endeatinually live! How soon doth that little depart, vours die, your joys die, and your souls die. And and leave me in thicker darkness! Now and then if your hope be not in exercise, but asleep, it is a spark falls upon my heart, and while I gaze next to dead. Therefore, Christian Reader, when thou art winding up thy affections to heaven, is this to the Almighty power, which made the forget not to give one lift to thy hope. Think heavens and the earth out of nothing ? Cannot thus, and reason thus with thy own heart : “Why that power which raised Christ from the dead, should I not confidently and comfortably hope, raise me ? and that which hath glorified the when my soul is in the hands of so compassion- Head, glorify also the members? Doubtless, by ate a Saviour, and when the kingdom is at the the blood of his covenant, God will send forth disposal of so bountiful a God ? Did he ever his prisoners out of the pit wherein is no water ; discover the least backwardness to my good, or therefore will I “ turn to the strong-hold, as a inclination to my ruin ? Hath he not sworn, that prisoner of hope." he delights not in the death of him that dieth, 15. (4.) Courage or boldness is another affecbut rather that he should repent and live? Have tion to be exercised in heavenly contemplation. not all his dealings witnessed the same ? Did It leadeth to resolution and concludeth in action. he not mind me of my danger, when I never When you have raised your love, desire, and feared it, because he would have me escape it? | hope, go on, and think thus with yourself_ Will Did he not mind me of my happiness, when I God indeed dwell with men? And is there such had no thoughts of it, because he would have a glory within the reach of hope? Why then me enjoy it? How often hath he drawn me to do I not lay hold upon it? Where is the cheerhimself, and his Christ, when I have drawn back- ful vigour of my spirit ? Why do I not gird up ward! How hath his Spirit incessantly solicited the loins of my mind? Why do not I set upon my heart! And would he have done all this, if my enemies on every side, and valiantly break he had been willing that I should perish ? Should through all resistance ? What should stop me, I not hope, if an honest man had promised me or intimidate me ? Is God with me, or against something in his power? And shall I not hope, me in the work? Will Christ stand by me, or when I have the covenant and oath of God? It will he not? If God and Christ be for me, who is true, the glory is out of sight; we have not can be against me? In the work of sin, almost beheld the mansions of the saints ; but is not the all things are ready to help us, and only God promise of God more certain than our sight? and his servants are against us, yet how doth We must not be saved by sight, but “ by hope; that work prosper in our hands! But in my and hope that is seen is not hope ; for what a course to heaven, almost all things are against man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? But if me, but God is for me; and therefore how hapwe hope for that we see not, then do we with pily doth the work succeed! Do I set upon this patience wait for it.” I have been ashamed of work in my own strength, or rather in the my hope in an arm of flesh, but hope in the pro- strength of Christ my Lord ? And “ cannot I mise of God maketh not ashamed. In my do all things through him that strengthens me?" greatest sufferings, I will say, “ The Lord is my Was he ever foiled by an enemy? He hath portion ; therefore will I hope in him. The Lord indeed been assaulted ; but was he ever conqueris good unto them that wait for him, to the soul ed? Why then doth my fesh urge me with the that seeketh him. It is good that a man should difficulties of the work ? Is any thing too hard both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the for Omnipotence? May not Peter boldly walk Lord. For the Lord will not cast off for ever. on the sea, if Christ give the word of command? But though he cause grief, yet will he have com- If he begin to sink, is it from the weakness of passion, according to the multitude of his mer. Christ, or the smallness of his faith? Do I not cies.” Though I languish and die, yet will I well deserve to be turned into hell, if mortal hope; for “the righteous hath hope in his death.” threats can drive me thither? Do I not well Though I must lie down in dust and darkness, deserve to be shut out of heaven, if I will be yet there “my flesh shall rest in hope.” And frightened from thence with the reproach of when my flesh hath nothing to rejoice in, yet tongues? What if it were father, or mother, will I “hold fast the rejoicing of the hope firm or husband, or wife, or the nearest friend I have unto the end ;" for the hope of the righteous shall in the world, if they may be called friends that be gladness. Indeed, If I was myself to satisfy would draw me to damnation, should I not fordivine justice, then there had been no hope: but sake all that would keep me from Christ? Will Christ hath brought in a better hope, “ by the their friendship countervail the enmity of God, which we draw nigh unto God.” Or, if I had or be any comfort to my condemned soul ? Shall to do with a feeble creature, there were small I be yielding to the desires of men, and only hope ; for, how could he raise this body from harden myself against the Lord ? Let them the dust, and lift me above the sun? But what | beseech me upon their knees, I will scorn to stop my course to behold them; I will shut my ears this is thy own inheritance. This crown is to their cries : let them flatter or frown ; let them thine, these pleasures are thine ; this company, draw out tongues and swords against me; I am this beautiful place, are all thine ; because thou resolved in the strength of Christ to break art Christ's, and Christ is thine: when thou wast through, and look upon them as dust. If they united to him, thou hadst all these with him.' would entice me with preferment, even with the Thus take thy heart into the land of promise ; kingdoms of the world, I will no more regard show it the pleasant hills and fruitful valleys ; them than the dung of the earth. O blessed show it the clusters of grapes which thou hast rest! O glorious state! Who would sell thee gathered, to convince it that it is a blessed land, for dreams and shadows ? Who would be en- flowing with better than milk and honey. Enter ticed or affrighted from thee? Who would not the gates of the holy city, walk through the strive, and fight, and watch, and run, and that streets of the New Jerusalem, walk about Sion, with violence, even to the last breath, in order and go round about her : tell the towers thereof: to obtain thee? Surely none but those that mark well her bulwarks ; consider her palaces ; know thee not, and believe not thy glory.' that thou mayest tell it to thy soul.' Hath it not
16. (5.) The last affection to be exercised in the glory of God, and is not her light like unto heavenly contemplation, is joy. Love, desire, a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, hope, and courage, all tend to raise our joy. clear as crystal ? See the 'twelve foundations This is so desirable to every man by nature, and of her walls, and in them the names of the twelve so essentially necessary to constitute our happi- apostles of the Lamb. And the building of the ness, that I hope I need not say much to per- walls of it are of jasper ; and the city is pure suade you to any thing that would make your gold, like unto clear glass; and the foundations life delightful. Supposing you therefore already are garnished with all manner of precious stones. convinced that the pleasures of the flesh are And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, every brutish and perishing, and that your solid and several gate is of one pearl, and the street of the lasting joy must be from heaven, instead of per- city is pure gold, as it were transparent glass. suading, I shall proceed in directing. Reader, There is no temple in it; for the Lord God Alif thou hast managed well the former work, thou mighty, and the Lamb, are the temple of it. It art got within sight of thy rest—thou believest hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon in the truth of it—thou art convinced of its excel it, for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the lency—thou art fallen in love with it—thou Lamb is the light thereof; and the nations of longest after it—thou hopest for it—and thou them which are saved shall walk in the light of art resolved to venture courageously for obtain- it. These sayings are faithful and true ; and
But is there any work for joy in this ? the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his We delight in the good we possess ; it is present angels,' and his own Son,'to show unto his sergood that is the object of joy; and thou wilt vants the things which must shortly be done.' say, “ Alas, I am yet without it! But think a Say now to all this, • This is thy rest, O my little further with thyself. Is it nothing to have soul! And this must be the place of thy evera deed of gift from God? Are his infallible lasting habitation. Let all the sons of Sion repromises no ground of joy? Is it nothing to joice ; let the daughters of Jerusalem be glad; live in daily expectations of entering into the for great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised kingdom ? Is not my assurance of being here in the city of our God, in the mountain of his after glorified, a sufficient ground for inexpressi- holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the ble joy? Is it not a delight to the heir of a whole earth, is Mount Sion. God is known in kingdom to think of what he must soon possess, her palaces for a refuge.' though at present he little differ from a servant ? 18. Yet proceed on. The soul that loves, Have we not both command and example, for ascends frequently, and runs familiarly through * rejoicing in hope of the glory of God ?' the streets of the heavenly Jerusalem, visiting
17. Here then, Reader, take thy heart once the patriarchs and prophets, saluting the apostles, more, and carry it to the top of the highest and admiring the armies of martyrs ; so do thou mount ; show it the kingdom of Christ, and the lead on thy heart as from street to street ; bring glory of it; and say to it, · All this will thy Lord it into the palace of the great King ; lead it, as give thee who hast believed in him, and been a it were, from chamber to chamber. Say to it, worshipper of him. “It is the Father's good · Here must I lodge: here must I live; here must pleasure to give thee this kingdom." Seest thou I praise ; here must I love, and be beloved. I this astonishing glory which is above thee? All must shortly be one of this heavenly choir, and
be better skilled in the music. Among this be left to thy prudence to determine. Thou hast blessed coinpany must I take up my place; my also an opportunity, if inclined, to make use of voice must join to make up the melody. My it, to exercise opposite and more mixed affectears will then be wiped away; my groans be tions ; such as-hatred of sin, which would deturned to another tune ; my cottage of clay be prive thy soul of these immortal joys-godly changed to this palace ; my prison rags to these fear, lest thou shouldst abuse thy mercy-godly splendid robes ; and my sordid flesh shall be shame and grief, for having abused it—unfeigned put off, and such a sun-like spiritual body be repentance—self-indignation-jealousy over thy put on ; . for the former things are here passed heart—and pity for those who are in danger of away. Glorious things are spoken of thee, o losing these immortal joys. city of God! When I look upon this glorious 20. (III.) We are also to take notice, how place, what a dunghill and dungeon methinks is heavenly contemplation is promoted by soliloquy earth! O what difference betwixt a man feeble, and prayer. Though consideration be the chief pained, groaning, dying, rotting in the grave, instrument in this work, yet, by itself, it is not and one of these triumphant shining saints ! so likely to affect the heart.
In this respect, Here shall I drink of the river of pleasures, the contemplation is like preaching, where the mere streams whereof make glad the city of God. explaining of truths and duties is seldom attended Must Israel, under the bondage of the law, serve with such success, as the lively application of the Lord with joyfulness, and with gladness of them to the conscience; and especially when a heart, for the abundance of all things? Surely I divine blessing is earnestly sought for to accomshall serve him with joyfulness and gladness of pany such application. heart, for the abundance of glory. Did perse- 21. (1.) By soliloquy, or a pleading the case cuted saints'take joyfully the spoiling of their with thyself, thou must in thy meditation quicken goods ;' and shall not I take joyfully such a full thy own heart. Enter into a serious debate with reparation of all my losses ? Was it a celebrated it. Plead with it in the most moving and affect• day wherein the Jews rested from their ene- ing language, and urge it with the most powermies, because it was turned unto them from ful and weighty arguments. It is what holy men sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good of God have practised in all ages. Thus David, day ?? What a day then will that be to my soul, Why art thou cast down, O my soul ? and why whose rest and change will be inconceivably art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in greater! • When the wise men saw the star' that God; for I shall yet praise him, who is the led to Christ, they rejoiced with exceeding health of my countenance, and my God.' And great joy;' but I shall shortly see him, who is again, • Bless the Lord, O my soul! and all himself “the bright and morning Star. If the that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the disciples departed from the sepulchre with great Lord, O my soul ! and forget not all his bene. joy,' when they had but heard that their Lord fits ! This soliloquy is to be made use of accor• was risen from the dead ;' what will be my joy, ding to the several affections of the soul, and when I shall see him reigning in glory, and my- according to its several necessities. It is a self raised to a blessed communion with him ! preaching to one's self: for as every good master Then shall I indeed have · beauty for ashes, the or father of a family is a good preacher to his oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of own family ; so every good Christian is a good praise for the spirit of heaviness, and Sion shall preacher to his own soul.
Therefore the very be made an eternal excellency, a joy of many same method which a minister should use in generations. Why then do I not arise from the his preaching to others, every Christian should dust, and cease my complaints ? Why do I not endeavour after in speaking to himself. Obtrample on vain delights, and feed on the fore- serve the matter and manner of the most heartseen delights of glory? Why is not my life a affecting minister ; let him be as a pattern for continual joy, and the savour of heaven perpetu- your imitation ; and the same way that he takes ally upon my spirit ?
with the hearts of his people, do thou also take 19. Let me here observe, that there is no with thy own heart. Do this in thy heavenly necessity to exercise these affections, either ex- contemplation ; explain to thyself the things on actly in this order, or all at one time. Some- which thou dost meditate ; confirm thy faith in times one of thy affections may need more ex- them by scripture; and then apply them to citing, or may be more lively than the rest ; or thyself, according to their nature, and thy own if thy time be short, one may be exercised one necessity. There is no need to object against day, and another upon the next; all which must this, from a sense of thy own inability. Doth
not God command thee to teach the scriptures diligently unto thy children, and talk of them
CHAPTER XV. when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou
HEAVENLY CONTEMPLATION ASSISTED BY SENSIBLE walkest by the way, and when thou liest down,
OBJECTS, AND GUARDED AGAINST A TREACHEROUS and when thou risest up?' And if thou must have some ability to teach thy children, much
Sect. 1. As it is difficult to maintain a lively impression of heavenly more to teach thyself; and if thou canst talk of
things, therefore, 2. (1.) Heavenly contemplation may be assisted divine things to others, why not also to thy own
by sensible objects ; 3. (1.) If we draw strong suppositions from
sense ; and, 4—11. (2.) If we compare the objects of sense with the heart?
objects of faith, several instances of which are produced. 12. (II.,
Heavenly contemplation may also be guarded against a treacherous 22. (2.) Heavenly contemplation is also pro
heart, by considering, 13, 14. (1.) The great backwardness of the moted by speaking to God in prayer, as well as
heart to this duty; 15. (2.) Its trifling in it; 16. 3.) Its wandering
from it; and 17. (4.) Its too abruptly putting an end to it. by speaking to ourselves in soliloquy. Ejaculatory prayer may very properly be intermixed 1. The most difficult part of heavenly conwith meditation, as a part of the duty. How templation is to maintain a lively sense of heaoften do we find David, in the same psalm, some- venly things upon our hearts. It is easier, merely times pleading with his soul, and sometimes with to think of heaven a whole day, than to be lively God! The apostle bids us 'speak to ourselves and affectionate in those thoughts a quarter of in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs ;' and an hour. Faith is imperfect, for we are renewed no doubt we may also speak to God in them. but in part; and goes against a world of resistThis keeps the soul sensible of the divine pre- ance; and, being supernatural, is prone to desence, and tends greatly to quicken and raise it. cline and languish, unless it be continually exAs God is the highest object of our thoughts, cited. Sense is strong, according to the strength 80 our viewing of him, speaking to him, and of the flesh; and being natural, continues while pleading with him, more elevates the soul, and nature continues. The objects of faith are far excites the affections, than any other part of off: but those of sense are nigh. We must go meditation. Though we remain unaffected, while as far as heaven for our joys. To rejoice in we plead the case with ourselves: yet when we what we never saw, nor ever knew the man that turn our speech to God, it may strike us with did see, and this upon a mere promise, in th awe; and the holiness and majesty of him whom Bible, is not so easy as to rejoice in what we see we speak to, may cause both the matter and and possess. It must therefore be a point of words to pierce thee deeper. When we read, spiritual prudence, to call in sense to the assistthat · Isaac went out to meditate in the field,' ance of faith. It will be a good work, if we the margin says, ' to pray ;' for the Hebrew word can make friends of these usual enemies, and signifies both. Thus in our meditations, to in. make them instruments for raising us to God, termix soliloquy and prayer; sometimes speaking which are so often the means of drawing us from to our own hearts, and sometimes to God, is, I him. Why hath God given us either our senses, apprehend, the highest step we can advance to or their common objects, if they might not be in this heavenly work. Nor should we imagine serviceable to his praise? Why doth the Holy it will be as well to take up with prayer alone, Spirit describe the glory of the New Jerusalem, and lay aside meditation ; for they are distinct in expressions that are even grateful to the flesh? duties, and must both of them be performed. Is it that we might think heaven to be made of We need the one as well as the other, and there- gold and pearl ? or that saints and angels eat and fore shall wrong ourselves by neglecting either. drink? No: but to help us to conceive of them Besides, the mixture of them, like music, will be as we are able, and to use these borrowed phrases more engaging ; as the one serves to put life as a glass, in which we must see the things into the other. And our speaking to ourselves themselves imperfectly represented, till we come in meditation, should go before our speaking to to an immediate and perfect sight. And besides God in prayer. For want of attending to this showing how heavenly contemplation may be due order, men speak to God with far less rev- assisted by sensible objects,—this chapter will erence and affection than they would speak to also show how it may be preserved from a wanan angel, if he should appear to them; or to a dering heart. judge, if they were speaking for their lives. 2. (I.) In order that heavenly contemplation Speaking to the God of heaven in prayer, is a may be assisted by sensible objects, let me only weightier duty than most are aware of.
advise to draw strong suppositions from sense, —and to compare the objects of sense with the
objects of faith.