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blessed preparations are made for our hope ? | I should both hope, and quietly wait for the salShall we now let the tempter shake it or dis- vation of the Lord. It is good for me that I courage it? The abundant mercy of God the have borne the yoke in my youth, and that I keep Father hath begotten us again to a lively hope, silence, and put my mouth in the dust, if so be by the resurrection of Christ, to an inheritance there may be hope. incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not God need not flatter such worms as we, nor away, reserved in heaven for us. Grace teacheth promise us that which he never means to perus to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and form. He hath laid the rudiments of our hope to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this in a nature capable of desiring, seeking, and world, as looking for that blessed hope, and the thinking of another life. He hath called me, by glorious appearing of the great God and our grace, to actual desires and endeavours; and Saviour. We are renewed by the Holy Ghost, some foretaste he hath vouchsafed. I look for and justified by grace, that we should be made no heaven, but the perfection of divine life, light, heirs according to the hope of eternal life. We and love, in endless glory with Christ and his are illuminated, that we may know the hope of holy ones ; and this he hath begun in me already. Christ's calling, and what is the riches of the Shall I not boldly hope when I have the caglory of his inheritance in the saints. The hope pacity, the promise, the earnest, and foretaste ? that is laid up for us in heaven is the chief doc- Is it not God himself that hath caused me to trine of the gospel, which bringeth life and im- hope ? Was not nature, promise, and grace from mortality into clearer light. It is for this hope him ? And can a soul miscarry, and be deceived, that we keep a conscience void of offence, and that departs hence in a hope of God's own causthat God is served in the world, wherefore girding and encouraging ? Lord, I have lived in up the loins of thy mind; put on this helmet, the hope, I have prayed in hope, I have laboured, hope of salvation ; and let not death seem to thee suffered, and waited in hope ; and, by thy grace, as it doth to them that have no hope.
I will die in hope. Is not this according to thy The love of our Father, and our Saviour, have word and will ? And wilt thou cast away a soul given us everlasting consolation, and good hope that hopes in thee, by thine own command and through grace, to comfort our hearts, and stablish operation ? Had wealth and honour, or continthem in every good word and work. Keep there- uance on earth, or the favour of man, been my fore the rejoicing of hope firm to the end. Con- reward and hope, my hope and I had died to. tinue grounded and settled in the faith, and be gether : were this our best, how vain were man! not moved away from the hope of the gospel. But the Lord lives, and my Redeemer is gloNow, Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee; rified, and intercedes for me ; and the same Spirit uphold me according to thy word, that I may is in heaven who is in my heart; as the same live ; and let me not be ashamed of my hope. sun is in the firinament which is in my house, Though mine iniquities testify against me, yet, The promise is sure to all Christ's seed, and O thou that art the hope of Israel, the Saviour millions are now in heaven that once did live thereof in the time of trouble, be not as a stran- and die in hope ; they were sinners once as now ger to my soul. Thy name is called upon by I am ; they had no other Saviour, no other Sanc- . me, O forsake me not. Why have our eyes be- tifier, no other promise, than I now have, conheld thy wonders, and why have we had thy fessing that they were strangers here; they covenant and thy mercies, but that we might set looked for a better country, and for a city that our hope in God. Remember the word to thy had foundations, even a heavenly, where now servant upon
which thou hast caused me to hope. they are; and shall I not follow thein in hope If thou, Lord, shouldst mark iniquity, O Lord, that have sped so well? Hope then, O my soul, who shall stand ? But there is forgiveness with unto the end. From benceforth, and for ever, thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the hope in the Lord. I will hope continually, and Lord ; my soul doth wait, and in his word do I will yet praise thee more and more; my mouth hope. I will hope in the Lord, for with him shall show forth thy righteousness and salvation. there is mercy and plenteous redemption. For The Lord is at my right hand; I shall not be he takes pleasure in them that fear him, in those moved. My heart therefore is glad, and my that hope in his mercy. Though flesh and heart glory rejoices; my flesh also shall dwell confifail, the Lord is the rock of my heart; he is my dently, and rest in hope ; for God hath showed portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in me the path of life: in his presence is fulness of him. The Lord good to them that wait for joy, and at his right-hand are pleasures for everhim; to the soul that seeks him. It is good that I more.
III. What then remains, O my soul, but that universal love communicate and pour out itself in trust and hope thou love thy God, thy Saviour, more plentifully upon my heart, how easy would thy Comforter, the glorious society, thy own per- it be to leave this flesh and world, and to hear fection in glorious, endless, heavenly life, light, the sentence of my departure to my God! Death and love, and the joyful praises of Jehovah, bet- and the grave would be but a triumph for victer than this burden of painful and corruptible torious love: it would be easier to die in peace flesh, and this howling wilderness, the habitation and joy, than to rest at night, or to come home of serpents and untamed brutes, where unbelief from my travel to my beloved friends, or to go, and murmuring, lust and folly, injustice and un. when I am hungry, to a feast: a little love hath charitableness, tyranny and divisions, pride and made me study willingly, preach willingly, and contention, have long provoked God, and wearied write willingly, yea, and suffer somewhat willthee ; where the vintage and harvest is thorns ingly; and would not more make me go more and thistles, sins and sorrows, cares and crosses, willingly to God? Shall the imagination of manured by manifold temptations ? How odious house, gardens, walks, libraries, prospects, meais that darkness and unbelief, that unholiness dows, orchards, hills and rivers, allure the deand disaffection, that deadness and stupidity, sires of deceived minds ? Shall not the thoughts which makes such a work as this, so reasonable, of the heavenly mansions, society, and delights, necessary, and pleasant a work, to seem unsuit- much more allure and draw up my desires ? able or hard? Is it unsuitable or hard to the The reading of a known fiction of a city of eye to see the sun and light? Or by it to see the sun, an Utopia, an Atlantis, &c. hath pleased the beautified world ? Or for a man to love his many. But if I did believingly hear of such a life or health, his father or his friend ? What country in the world, where men did never die, should be easier to a nature that hath rational nor were sick, or weak, or sad, where the prince love, than to love him that is essential love it was perfectly just and pious, wise and peaceable, self: he that loves all, and gives to all the loving devoted to God and the public good; and the faculty, should be loved by all : he that hath teachers were all wise, judicious men, of universpecially loved me, should be specially loved by sal certain knowledge, perfectly acquainted with me.
the matter and method of natural and theologiLove is the perfection of all thy preparations. cal truths, and all their duty, and all of one It desires to please God; and therefore to be in mind, and of one heart, tongue and practice ; the most pleasing state, and freed from all that loving each other, and the people as themselves, is displeasing to him, which is not to be hoped and leading the flocks heaven-ward through all for on earth. It desires all suitable nearness, ac- temptations, with triumphant hopes and joy ; quaintance, union and communion : it is weary where all the people perfectly obeyed God, their of distance, estrangement, and alien society and commanders and their teachers, and lived in affairs. It takes advantage of every notice, inti- perfect love, unity, and peace, and were daily mation, or mention of God, to renew and exer- employed in the joyful praises of God, and hopes cise these desires. Every message and mercy of glory, and in doing all possible good to one from him is fuel for love, and while we are short another, contending with none through ignorance, of perfection, stir up our desires after more. uncharitableness or pride, nor ever reproaching, When love tastes of the grapes, it would have injuring, or hurting one another, &c. I say, if I the vine : when it tastes of the fruits, it would knew or heard of such a country, should I not dwell where they grow, and possess the land : love it before I ever see it, and earnestly desire its thoughts of proximity and fruition are sweet, to be there ? Nay, do I not over-love this disno other person or thing can satisfy it. The soul tracted world, where tyranny sheds streams is where it loves : if our friend dwell in our of blood, and lays desolate cities and countries, hearts by love ; and if fleshly pleasure, riches, and exposes the miserable inhabitants to lamentand honour, dwell in the heart of the volup- able distress and famine ; where the same tyranny tuous, the covetous, and the proud, surely God sets up the wicked, reproaches and oppresses and our Redeemer, the heavenly society, holiness, the just and innocent, keeps out the gospel, and and glory, dwell in the heart which loves them keeps up idolatry, infidelity, and wickedness, with a fervent love. If heaven dwell in ny in the far greatest part of all the earth ; where heart, shall I not desire to dwell in heaven ? Satan chooses pastors too often for the churches Light and light, fire and fire, are not more in- of Christ, even such as by ignorance, pride, clined to union than love and love ; gracious sensuality, worldliness, and malignity, become love, and glorious love. Would divine, original, I thorns and thistles; yea, devouring wolves, to those whom they should feed and comfort ; | are they as the prophets that Obadiah hid in where no two persons are in all things of a mind; caves, or as Micaiah, or Elias among the lying where evil is commended, and truth and good-prophets, or the Baalites? Though such as of ness accused and oppressed, because men's minds whom the world is not worthy. Is that world are unacquainted with them, or unsuitable to then, more worthy of our love than heaven ? them. Those that are the greatest pretenders There are worthy and religious families which to truth, do most eagerly contend against it, and honour God, and are honoured by him : but, oppose it; and almost all the world are scolding alas, how few! and usually by the temptations or scuffling in the dark; and where there ap- of wealth, and worldly interest, how full even of pears but little hopes of a remedy. I say, can the sins of Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and I love such a world as this? And shall I not abundance of idleness, if not also unmercifulness think more delightfully of the inheritance of the to the poor! How are they tempted to plead for saints in light, and the uniting love and joyful their sins and snares, and account it rustic igpraises of the church triumphant, and the heaven- norance which contradicts them ? How few ly choir ?
pious families are there of the greater sort that Should I not love a lovely and a loving world do not quickly degenerate, and their posterity, much better than a world where there is, com- by false religion, error, or sensuality, grow most paratively, so little loveliness or love ? All that contrary to the minds of their pious progenitors ? is of God is good and lovely; but it is not here There are many that educate their children that his glory shines in felicitating splendour. wisely in the fear of God, and have accordingly I am taught to look upward when I pray, and comfort in them; but how many are there that, to say, “ Our Father which art in heaven.' God's having devoted them in baptism to God, train works are amiable even in hell; and yet though them up in the service of the flesh, the world, I would know them, I would not be there ; and, and the devil, which they renounced ; and never alas, how much of the works of man are mixed understood, or at least intended for themselves here with the works of God. Here is God's or children, what they did profess? How many wisdom manifest; but here is man's obstinate parents think, that when they offer their children folly. Here is God's government; but here is to God in baptism, without a sober and due conman's tyranny and unruliness. Here is God's sideration of the nature and meaning of that love and mercies ; but here are men's malice, great covenant with God, that God must accept, wrath, and cruelty ; by which they are worse to and certainly regenerate and save them! Yea, one another than wolves or tigers, depopulating too many religious parents forget. that they countries, and filling the world with bloodshed, themselves are sponsors in that covenant, and lamine, misery, and lamentations; proud tyrants undertake to use the means on their part to being worse than raging plagues ; which made make their children fit for the grace of the Son David choose the pestilence before his enemies' and the communion of the Spirit, as they grow pursuit. Here is much of God's beauteous order up, and think that God should absolutely sancand harmony; but here is also much of man's tify, keep, and save them at age, because they madness, deformity, and confusion. Here is are theirs, and were baptized, though they keep much historical truth, and some civil and ecclesi- them not from great and unnecessary tempta. astical justice; but, alas, with how much odious tions, nor teach them plainly and seriously the falsehood and injustice is it mixed ? Here is meaning of the covenant which was made for inuch precious theological verity ; but how dark them with God, as to the nature, benefits or conis much of it to such blind, negligent, and cor- ditions of it. How many send them to others rupted minds, as every where abound ? Here to be taught in grammar, logic, philosophy, or are wise, judicious teachers and companions to arts, yea, and divinity, before their own parents be found : but, alas, how few in comparison of ever taught them what they did with God in the most, and how hardly known by those that baptism, what they received, and what they need them! Here are sound and orthodox min. proinised and vowed to do? They send them isters of Christ, but how few that most need to trades, or secular callings, or to travel in fothem know which are they, and how to value reign lands, among a multitude of snares, among them or use them? How many thousands of tempting company, and tempting baits, before seduced or sensual sinners are made believe that ever at home they were instructed, armed, and they are but deceivers, or, as they called Paul, settled against those temptations which they pestilent fellows, and movers of sedition among must needs encounter, and which, if they do not the people. In how many parts of the world overcome, they are undone. How ordinarily, when they have first neglected this great duty of much of God's mercies and comforts I have here their own for their fortification, do they plead a had, but their sweetness was their taste of dinecessity of thrusting them out on these tempta- vine love, and their tendency to heavenly pertions, though utterly unarmed, from some punc- fection. What was the end and use of all the tilio of honour or conformity to the world, to good that ever I saw, or that ever God did for avoid the contempt of worldly men, or to adorn my soul or body, but to teach me to love him, their yet naked souls with some of the plumes and long for more ? How many weaning exor painted trifles, ceremonies, or complements, periences ; how many thousand better or contemwhich will never serve instead of heavenly wis- ning thoughts have I had of all the glory and dom, mortification, and the love of God and pleasures of this world ; how many thousand man : as if they were like to learn that fear love-tokens from God have called me to believe of God in a crowd of diverting and tempting and taste his goodness! Wherever I go, and company, baits, and business, which they never which way soever I look, I see vanity and vexalearned under the teaching, nurture, and daily tion written upon all things in this world, so far oversight of their religious parents, in a safer as they stand in competition with God, and station : or, as if for some little reason they would be the end and portion of a fleshly mind. might send them as to sea without pilot or an- I see holiness to the Lord written upon every chor, and think that God must save them from thing, so far as it declares God, and leads me the waves : or, as if it were better to enter them to him, as my ultimate end. God hath not for into satan's school or army, and venture them nothing engaged me in a war against this world, upon the notorious danger of damnation, than to and commanded me to take and use it as mine miss of preferment and wealth, or of the fashions enemy: the emptiness, danger, and bitterness of and favour of the times. Then when they hear the world, and the all-sufficiency, trustiness, and that they have forsaken God and true religion, goodness of God, have been the sum of all the and given up themselves to lust and sensuality, experiences of my life? Shall a worldly, backand perhaps as enemies to God and good inen, ward heart overcome the teachings of nature, destroy what their parents laboured to build up, scripture, the Spirit of grace, and all experience ?
when it were better to lament their own misdoing, and gift: all good is from thee : but love is the godit had been best of all to have lamented it.
like nature, life, and image. It is given us from Thus families, churches, and kingdoms, run the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and on to blindness, ungodliness, and confusion. the quickening, illuminating, and sanctifying Self-undoing, and serving the malice of Satan for operation of the Holy Spirit : what can the earth fleshly lust, is the too common employment of return unto the sun, but its own reflected beams ? mankind. All is wise, good, and sweet, which is If those. As how far soever man is a medium in prescribed us by God, in true nature, or super-generation, nature and that appetite which is the natural revelation. But folly, sin, and misery, moving weight in the child, is thy, work ; 80 mistaking themselves to be wit, honesty, and whatever is man's part in the mediate work of prosperity, and raging against that which nomni- believing and repenting, which yet is not done nally they pretend to and profess, are the ordi. without thy Spirit and grace, certainly it is the nary case and course of the most of men. When blessed regenerator which must make us new we would plead them out of their deceit and creatures, by giving us this divine nature, holy misery, it is well if we are not tempted to iini- love, which is the holy appetite and weight of tate them, or be not partly infected with their the soul. Come down, Lord, into this heart, disease, or at least reproached and oppressed as for it cannot come up to thee. Can the plants their enemies. Such a bedlam is most of the for life, or the eye for light, go up unto the world become, where madness goes for the only sun ? Dwell in me by the spirit of love, and wisdom, and he is the bravest man that can sin I shall dwell by love in thee. Reason is weak, and be damned with reputation and renown, and and thoughts are various, and man will be a successfully drive or draw the greatest numbers slippery, uncertain creature, if love be not his with him unto hell : to which the world hath no fixing principle, and do not incline his soul small likeness, forsaking God, and being very to thee : surely through thy grace, I easily feel much forsaken by him.
that I love thy word. I love thy image, I This is the world which stands in competition love thy work, and how heartily do I love for my love, with the spiritual, blessed world :/ to love thee, and long to know and love thee more! If all things be of 'thee, and through | Not like Noah's family in a wicked world, or thee, and to thee, surely this love to the beams Lot in a wicked city, or Abraham in an idolaof thy glory here on earth, is eminently so ! trous land, nor like Elijah left alone, nor like It is thee, Lord, that it means : 'to thee it looks : those that wandered in sheep-skins and goatit is thee it serves: for thee it mourns, 'seeks, and skins, destitute, afflicted, and tormented, hid in groans. In thee it trusts; and the hope, peace, dens and caves of the earth; not like Job on the and comfort, which support me, are in thee. dung-hill
, nor like Lazarus at the rich man's When I was a retạrning prodigal in Tags, thou door. Not like the African bishops, whose sawest me afar off, and met me with thy em- tongues were cut out; nor like the preachers bracing, feasting love. Shall I doubt whether silenced by popish imposers in Germany, by the he that hath better clothed me, and dwelt within Interim, or elsewhere ; nor like such as Tzegeme, will entertain me with a feast of greater dine, Peucer, and many other worthy men, whose love in the heavenly mansions, the world of maturest age was spent in prisons. Not as we love ?
poor, bewildered sinners, seeing evil, and fearing The suitableness of things below to my fleshly more, confounded in folly and mad contention, nature, hath detained my affections too much on some hating the only way of peace, and others earth ; and shall not the suitableness of things groping for it in the dark, wandering and lost above to my spiritual nature inuch more draw in the clearest light, where the illuminated can up my love to heaven? There is the God whom but pity the blind, but cannot make them willing I have sought and served. He is also here, but to be delivered. vailed, and but little known; but there he shines What is heaven to me, but God ? God who to heavenly spirits in heavenly glory. There is is life, light, and love, communicating himself the Saviour in whom I have believed. He hath to blessed spirits, perfecting them in the recepalso dwelt in flesh on earth ; but clothed in such tion, possession, and exercise of life, light, and meanness, and humbled to such a life and death, love for ever. These are not the accidents, but as was to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the essence of that God who is in heaven and the Gentiles matter of reproach ; but he shines all to me. Should I fear that death which passes and reigns now in glory, above the malice and me to infinite, essential life? Should I fear a contempt of sinners. I shall there live because darksome passage into a world of perfect light? he lives ; and in his light I shall have light. He Should I fear to go to love itself? Think, O loved me here with a redeeming, regenerating, my soul, what the sun's quickening light and and preserving love: but there he will love me heat is to this lower corporeal world! Much with a perfecting, glorifying, joyful love. I had more is God, even infinite life, light, and love to here some rays of heavenly light; but interposi- the blessed world above. Doth it not draw out tions caused eclipses and nights, yea, some long thy desires to think of going into a world of and winter nights. But there I shall dwell in love ? When love will be our region, our comthe city of the sun, the city of God, the heavenly pany, our life. More to us than the air is for Jerusalem, where there is no night, 'eclipse, or our breath, than the light is for our sight, than darkness. There are the heavenly hosts, whose our food is for our life, than our friends are for holy love and joyful praises I would wish to be a our solace; and more to us than we are to ourpartaker of! I have here had some of their lov- selves, and we more for it, as our ultimate end, ing assistance, but to me unseen, being above than for ourselves. O excellent grace of faith our fleshly way of converse; but there I shall which foresees, and blessed word of faith that be with them, of the like nature in the same orb, foreshows this world of love! Shall I fear to enter and of the same triumphant church and choir ! where there is no wrath, no fear, no 'strangeness, There are perfected souls gathered 'home to nor suspicion, nor selfish separation, but love Christ : not as here, striving like Esau and Jacob will make every holy spirit as dear and lovely in the womb: nor yet as John when he leaped to me as myself, and me to them as lovely as in the womb, because of his mother's joy; nor themselves, and God to us all more amiable than as wrangling children, that are hardly kept in ourselves and all. Where love will have no the same house in peace. Not like the servants defects or distances, no damps or discourageof Abraham and Lot, like Paul and Barnabas, ments, no discontinuance or mixed disaffection; like Epiphanius and Chrysostom, like Luther and but as life will be without death, and light withCarolostadius, like Ridley and Hooper, or the out darkness, a perfect everlasting day of glory, many striving parties now among us ; nor like so will love be without any hatred, unkindness, the disciples striving who should be the greatest. I or allay. As many coals make one fire, aud