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other mercies by another hand : and it belongs when you are almost leaving the world yourto him to choose the messenger, who gives the selves, would you not send your treasure before gift. If you will childishly dote upon the first you to the place where you must abide? How messenger, and say you will have all the rest of quickly will you pass from hence to God, where your mercies by his hand, or you will have no you shall find your
lamented as more, your frowardness more deserves correction if they had been lost, and there shall dwell with than compassion : and if you be kept fasting till them for ever ? O foolish mourners! would you you can thankfully take your food, from any not have your friends at home? at their home hand that your Father sends it by, it is a cor- and your home, with their Father and your rection very suitable to your sin.
Father, their God and your God! Shall you 9. Do you so highly value your friends for not there enjoy them long enough ; can you so God, or for them, or for yourselves, in the final much miss them for one day, that must live with consideration ? If it was for God, what reason them to all eternity; and is not eternity long of trouble have you, that God hath disposed of enough to enjoy your friends in ? them, according to his wisdom and unerring Object. But I do not know whether ever I will ? Should you not then be more pleased that shall there have any distinct knowledge of them, God has, and employs them in his highest ser- or love to them, and whether God shall not there vice, than displeased that you want them ? be so far all in all, as that we shall need no com
But if you value, and love them for themselves, fort from the creature. they are now more lovely when they are more Answ. There is no reason for either of these perfect; and they are now more fit for your con- doubts : for, 1st. You cannot justly think that tent and joy, than they could be in their sin and the knowledge of the glorified shall be more consorrows.
fused or imperfect than the knowledge of natural But if you valued and loved them' but for men on earth. We shall know much more, but yourselves only, it is just with God to take them not so much less. Heaven exceeds earth in from you, to teach you to value men to proper knowledge, as much as it does in joy. 2d. The ends, and upon better considerations : and both angels in heaven have now a distinct, particular to prefer God before yourselves, and better to knowledge of the least believers, rejoicing parunderstand the nature of true friendship, and ticularly in their conversion, and being called by better to know that your own felicity is not in Christ himself their angels. Therefore when the hands of any creature, but of God alone. we shall be equal to the angels,' we shall cer
10. Did you improve your friends while you tainly know our nearest friends that there dwell had them ? or did you only love them, while you with us, and are employed in the same attendance. made but little use of them for your souls ? If | 3d. Abraham knew the rich man in hell, and the .you used them not, it was just with God, for all rich man knew Abraham and Lazarus : therefore your love, to take them from you. They were we shall have as distinct a knowledge. 4th. The given you as your candle, not only to love it, two disciples knew Moses and Elias in the but to work by the light of it: and as your gar- mount, whom they had never seen before : though ments, not only to love them, but to wear them; it is possible Christ told them who they were, and as your meat, not only to love it, but to feed yet there is no such thing expressed : and there. upon it. Did you receive their counsel, and fore it is as probable that they knew them by bearken to their reproofs, and pray with them the communication of their irradiating glory : and confer with them upon those holy truths that much more shall we be then illuminated to a tended to elevate your minds to God, and to in- clearer knowledge. 5th. It is said expressly, flame your breasts with sacred love? If not, be that our present knowledge shall be done away it now known to you, that God gave you not such only in regard of its imperfection ; and not of helps and mercies only to talk of, or look upon itself, which shall be perfected : 'when that which and love, but also to improve for the benefit of is perfect is come, then that which is in part our souls.
shall be done away.' As we put away childish 11. Do you not seem to forget where you are thoughts and speeches, when we become men: yourselves, and where you must shortly and for the change will be from seeing in a glass' to ever live? Where would you have your friends, seeing face to face,' and from “knowing in part but where you must be yourselves? Do you to knowing even as we are known.' mourn that they are taken hence ? why, if they 2. That we shall both know, and love, and had staid here a thousand years, how little of rejoice in creatures, even in heaven, notwiththat time should you have had their company ; standing that God is all in all, appears further thus : 1st. Christ in his glorified humanity is | take heed of fancying such a heaven itself, as is a creature: and yet there is no doubt but all above the capacity of a creature; as some very his members will there know and love him in wise divines think they have done, that tell us we his glorified humanity, without any derogation shall immediately see God's essence, his glory from the glory of his deity. 2d. The body of being that which is provided for our intuition Christ will continue its union, and every mem- and felicity, and is distinct from his essence ; ber will be so nearly related, even in heaven, being not every where, as his essence is. As that they cannot choose but know and love each those do that tell us because that God will be other. Shall we be ignorant of the members all in all, therefore we shall there have none of of our body: and not be concerned in their feli- our confort by any creature. Though flesh and city with whom we are so nearly one ? 3d. The blood shall not enter into that kingdom, but our state and felicity of the church hereafter, is fre- bodies will then be spiritual bodies ; yet will they quently described in scripture, as consisting in be really the same as now, and distinct from our society. It is a kingdom, the city of God, the souls ; and therefore must have a felicity suitable heavenly Jerusalem : and it is mentioned as part to a body glorified : if the soul did immediately of our happiness to be of that society. 4th. The see God's essence, yet as no reason can conclude saints are called kings themselves: and it is that it can see nothing else, or that it can see said that they shall judge the world, and the an- even created good, and not love it, so the body gels. Judging in scripture is frequently put however must have objects and felicity fit for a for governing, therefore, whether there will be body. another world of mortals which they shall govern, Object. But it is said, if we knew Christ after as angels now govern men; or whether the mi- the flesh, henceforth know we him no more. sery of damned men and angels will partly con. Answ. No doubt but all the carnality in prinsist in as base a subjection to the glorified saints, ciples, matter, manner and ends of our knowledge, as dogs now have to men, or wicked reprobates will then cease, as its imperfection : but that a on earth to angels; or whether in respect of carpal knowledge be turned into a spiritual, is both those together, the saints shall then be no more a diminution to it, than it is to the glory kings, and rule and judge; or whether it be only of our bodies, to be made like the stars in the the participation of the glory of Christ, that is firmament of our Father. called a kingdom, I will not here determine ; Object. But then I shall have no more coinbut it is most clear that they will have a dis- fort in my present friends than in any other. tinct particular knowledge of the world, which Answ. First, If you had none in them, it is no they themselves must judge; and some concern- diminution to our happiness, if indeed we should ment in that work. 5th. It is put into the de- have all in God immediately and alone. Second, scription of the happiness of the saints, that they But if you have as much in others that you never shall come from the east, and from the west, and knew before, that will not diminish any of your shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, comfort in your ancient friends. Third, But it in the kingdom of God. Therefore they shall is most probable to us, that as there is a two-fold know them, and take some comfort in their pre- object for our love in the glorified saints ; one is
6th. Love, even to the saints, as well as their holiness, and the other is the relation which unto God, is one of the graces which shall endure they stood in between God and us, being made
It is exercised upon an immortal ob- his instruments for our conversion and salvation, ject (the image and children of the most high) so that we shall love saints in heaven in both and therefore must be one of the immortal graces. respects : in the first respect, which is the chief, For grace, in the nature of it, dies not: and there- we shall love those most that have most of God, fore if the object cease not, how should the and the greatest glory, though such as we never grace cease, unless you will call its perfecting a knew on earth. In the second respect we shall ceasing?
love those most, that were employed by God for It is a state too high for such as we, and I our greatest good. think for any mere creature, to live so immedi- That we shall not there lay by so much reately and only upon God, as to have no use for spect to ourselves, as to forget or disregard any fellow creature, nor no comfort in them. our benefactors, is manifest. 1. In that we God can make use of glorified creatures, in such shall for ever remember Christ, love him, and subserviency and subordination to himself, as praise him, as one that formerly redeemed us, shall be no diminution to his all-sufficiency and and washed us in his blood, and hath made us honour, nor to our glory and felicity. We must kings and priests to God:' therefore we may
also in just subordination to Christ, remember from all the world, and to converse with God them with love and thankfulness, that were his himself, and to long for heaven, where you
shall instruments for the collation of these benefits. 2. be separated from your friends no more. Your This kind of self-love, to be sensible of good and forsaken state will somewhat assist you to that evil, to ourselves, is none of the sinful or imper- solitary converse with God, which it calls you to : fect selfishness to be renounced or laid by, but but this brings us up to the third part of the part of our very natures, and as inseparable from text. us as we are from ourselves.
III. How the loss is supplemented. Much more, were it not digressive, might be · Yet I am not alone, because the Father is with said on this subject : but I shall only add, that me.' as God doth draw us to every holy duty by show- Doct. When all forsake us, and leave us (as ing us the excellency of that duty; and as per- to them) alone, we are far froin being simply petuity is not the smallest excellency, so he hath alone ; because God is with us. purposely mentioned that love endureth for ever, He is not without company that is with the when he hath described the love of one another, king, though twenty others have turned him off. as a principal motive to kindle and increase this He is not without light that hath the shining sun, love. Therefore those that think they shall have though all his candles be put out. If God be no personal knowledge of one another, nor per- our God, he is our all, and is enough for us: sonal love to one another,--for we cannot love if he be our all, we shall not much find the want personally, if we know not personally,—-take a of creatures while he is with us. most effectual course to destroy in their souls For, 1. He is with us who is every where, all holy special love to saints, by casting away and therefore is never from us : and knows all that principal or very great motive given them the ways and projects of our enemies ; being by the Holy Ghost. I am not able to love much with them in wrath, as he is with us in mercy. where I foreknow that I shall not love long. I 2. He is with us who is almighty, sufficient to cannot love a comely inn, so well as a nearer preserve us, conquerable by none ; and there dwelling of my own, because I must be gone to-fore while he is with us, we need not fear what morrow. Therefore must I love my Bible better man can do unto us: for they can do nothing than my law-books, or physic books, &c. be- but what he will: no danger, no sickness, no cause it leads to eternity. Therefore I must love trouble or want, can be so great as to make it holiness in myself and others, better than meat any difficulty to God to deliver us, when and and drink, wealth and honour, beauty and plea- how he pleases. sure, because it must be loved for ever, when the 3. He is with us who is infinitely wise, and love of these must needs be transitory, as they are therefore we need not fear the subtilty of enetransitory. I must profess, from the very experi- mies ; nor shall any of his undertaken works for ence of my soul, that it is the belief that I shall his church or us miscarry for want of foresight, love my friends in heaven, that principally kindles or through any oversight. We shall be preserved my love to them on earth. If I thought I should even from our own folly, as well as from our never know them after death, and consequently enemies' subtilty : for it is not our own wisdom never love them more when this life is ended, I that our greatest concerns do principally rest should, in reason, number them with temporal upon, nor that our safety and peace are chiefly things, and love them comparatively but a little : secured by ; but it is the wisdom of our great even as I love other transitory things, allowing Preserver. He knows what to do with us, and for the excellency in the nature of grace. But what paths to lead us in, and what is best for us now I converse with some delight with my god in all conditions. And he hath promised to ly friends, as believing I shall converse with them teach us, and will be our sure, infallible guide. for ever, and take comfort in the very dead and 4. He is with us who is infinitely good, and absent, as believing we shall shortly meet in therefore is only fit to be a continual delight and heaven : I love them, I hope, with a love that satisfaction to our souls; that hath nothing in is of a heavenly nature, while I love them as him to disaffect us, or discourage us : whom we the heirs of heaven, with a love which I expect may love without fear of over-loving; and need shall there be perfected, and more fully and for not set any bounds to our love, the object of it ever exercised.
being infinite. 12. The last reason that I give you, to move 5. He is with us who is most nearly related you to bear the loss or absence of your friends, to us, and most dearly loves us ; and therefore is, that it gives you the loudest call to retire will never be wanting to us in any thing that is fit for us to have. This is he that is with us, Though all friends turn enemies, and would when all have left us, and as to man we are alone ; destroy us, or turn false accusers, as Job's friends, and therefore we may well say that we are not in their ignorance or passion ; though all of alone. Of this I shall say more in the applica- them should add affliction to our affliction, yet is tion.
our Redeemer and justifier still with us, and will Quest. But how is he with us? Answ. 1. He lay his restraining hand upon our enemies, and is with us not only in his essential presence, as say to their proudest fury, ‘hitherto, and no furhe is every where, but by his gracious Fatherly ther shalt thou go.' He is angry with Job's accus. presence : we are in his family, attending on ing friends, notwithstanding their friendship and him : even as the eye of a servant is to the hand good meaning, and though they seemed to plead of his master : we are always with him, and, as for God and godliness against Job's sin. Who he phrases it himself in the parable, all that he shall be against us while God is for us? or hath is ours,' that is, all that is fit to be communi- who shall condemn us when it is he that justifies cated to us, and all the provisions of his bounty us? Though we be put to say as David, “I looked for his children. When we awake, we should be on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no still with him : when we go abroad, we should man that would know me: refuge failed me; no be always as before him: our life and works man cared for my soul ;' yet we may say with should be a walking with God.
him, ' I cried unto thee, O Lord; I said, Thou 2. He is always with us sufficiently to do us art my refuge and my portion in the land of the good; though we have none else that cares for living : bring my soul out of prison, that I may us, yet will he never cast us out of his care, but praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me bids us cast our care on him, as promising that about: for thou shalt deal bountifully with me. he will care for us. Though we have none else I poured out my complaint before him; I showed to provide for us, he is always with us, and our before him my trouble: when my spirit was overFather knows what we want, and will make the whelmed within me, then thou knewest my path : best provision for us. Though we have none in the way wherein I walked have they privily else to defend us against the power of our ene- laid a snare for me. Thus 'God is our refuge mies, he is always with us to be our sure de- and strength; a very present help in trouble : fence: he is the rock to which we fly, and upon therefore should we not fear though the earth which we are surely built. He gathers us to were removed, and though the mountains were himself as the hen gathers her chickens under carried into the midst of the sea ; though the her wings. And surely while love is thus protect- waters thereof roar and be troubled,' &c. Though ing us, we may well say that the Father himself as David saith, “mine enemies speak evil of me: is with us.
Though in all our wants we have when shall he die, and his name perish ? And if no other to supply us, yet he is still with us to he come to see me, he speaketh vanity: his heart perform his promise, that no good thing shall be gathereth iniquity to itself ; when he goeth abroad wanting to them that fear him. Though we may he telleth it: all that hate me whisper together have none else to strengthen and help us, and against me: against me do they devise my hurt: support us in our weakness, yet he is always with an evil disease, say they, cleaveth fast unto him ; us, whose grace is sufficient for us, to manifest and now that he lieth, he shall rise up no more: his strength in weakness. Though we have no yea, my own familiar friend, in whom I trusted, other to teach us, and to resolve our doubts, yet that did eat of my bread, hath lift up his heel he is with us that is our chief master, and hath against me.' Yet we may add as he, “and as taken us to be his disciples, and will be our light for me, thou upholdest me in mine integrity, and and guide, and will lead us into the truth. settest me before thy face for ever. Though as Though we have none else to be our comforter, Psal. xxxv. 7. &c. • Without cause they have hid in our agony, darkness or distress; but all for- for me their net in a pit, which without cause they sake us, or are taken from us, and we are exposed have digged for my soul : 11. and false witnesses as Hagar with Ishmael in a wilderness, yet still did rise up, they laid to my charge things that I the Father of all consolations is with us; his knew not: they rewarded me evil for good : 15, Spirit, who is the Comforter, is in us : and he that 16. In my adversity they rejoiced, and gathered so often speaks the words of comfort to us in his themselves together ; the abjects gathered themgospel, and says, “be of good cheer; let not your selves together against me, and I knew it not ; hearts be troubled, neither be afraid,' &c., will they did tear and ceased not ; with hypocritical speak them, in the season and measure which is mockers in feasts, they gnashed upon me with fittest for us, unto our hearts.
their teeth: 20. For they speak not peace, but they devise deceitful matters against them that thoughts many years together: and so may he are quiet in the land. Yet, verse 9. “My soul that lives in the open world, and hath all the visishall be joyful in the Lord; it shall rejoice in his ble works of God to meditate upon : but all this salvation : 10. All my bones shall say, Lord, who were nothing if God were not the sense of books is like unto thee, who deliverest the poor from and creatures, and the matter of all these noble him that is too strong for him, yea, the poor and studies : he that is alone, and hath only God the needy from him that spoileth him.' Though himself to study, hath the matter and sense of friends be far off, “the Lord is nigh to them that all the books and creatures in the world, to emare of a broken heart, and saveth such as be of ploy his thoughts upon. He never needs to want a contrite spirit : many are the afflictions of the matter for his meditation, that hath God to medirighteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of tate on. He need not want matter of discourse, them all.'—The Lord redeemeth the soul of his whether mental or vocal, that hath God to talk servants ; and none of them that trust in him of, though he have not the name of any other shall be desolate. Therefore, I will be glad and friend to mention. All our affections may
have rejoice in his mercy, for he hath considered my in him the highest and most pleasant work. The trouble, and hath known,' and owned, “my soul in soul of man cannot have a more sweet and exadversity: and hath not shut me in the hand of cellent work than to love him : he wants neither the enemy. When my life was spent with grief, work nor pleasure, that in his solitude is taken and my years with sighing, my strength failed up in the believing contemplations of eternal love, because of mine iniquity, and my bones were and of all his blessed attributes and works. O consumed ; I was a reproach among all mine ene- then what happy and delightful converse may a mies, but especially among my neighbours, and believer have with God alone! He is always a fear to mine acquaintance ; they that did see present, and always at leisure to be spoken with; me without, fled from me: I was forgotten, and and always willing of our access and audience : as a dead man out of mind; I was like a broken he hath no interest opposed to our felicity, which vessel : I heard the slander of many : fear was should move him to reject us, as worldly great on every side, while they took counsel together ones often have. He never misunderstands us, against me, they devised to take away my life : nor charges that upon us which we were never but I trusted in thee, O Lord : I said, thou art guilty of: if we converse with men, their mismy God: my times are in thy hand : deliver me takes, interests, passions, and insufficiencies, from the hands of mine enemies, and from them makes the trouble so great, and the benefit so that persecute me: make thy face to shine upon small, that many have become thereby weary of thy servant: save me for thy mercies' sake. O the world, or of human society, and have spent how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid the rest of their days alone in desert places. Inup for them that fear thee, which thou hast deed the more of God that appears in men, the wrought for them that trust in thee before the more is their converse excellent and delightful : sons of man! Thou shalt hide them in the secret and theirs is the best that have most of God: but of thy presence from the pride of man: thou there is so much of vanity, and self, and flesh, shalt keep them secretly in a pavilion from the and sin in the most, or all of us, as very much strife of tongues. Thus God is with us when darkens our light, damps the pleasure, and men are far from us, or against us; his people blasts the fruit of our societies and converse. O find, by happy experience, that they are not alone. how often have I been solaced in God, when I Because he is nigh them, evil shall not come nigh found nothing but deceit and darkness in the them unless as it works for their good. He is world! How often hath he conforted me, when their ‘hiding place to preserve them from trouble: it was past the power of man! How often hath the great water-floods shall not come nigh them : he relieved and delivered me, when all the help he will compass them about with songs of deliv- of man was vain! It hath been my stay and erance.'
rest, to look to him, when the creature hath been 3. As God is with us thus relatively and effi- a broken staff, and deceitful friends have been ciently, so also objectively, for our holy con- but as a broken tooth, or a foot that is out of
Wherever our friends are, God is still joint, as Solomon speaks of confidence in an unat hand to be the most profitable, honourable, faithful man in the time of trouble. Verily, as and delightful object of our thoughts. There is the world were but an horrid dungeon without enough in him to take up all the faculties of my the sun, so it were a howling wilderness, a place soul. He that is but in a well-furnished library, of no considerable employment or delight, were may find great and excellent employment for his it not that in it we may live to God and do him