Page images

which the Spirit hath given thee here. Hath not do, thy heart will tell thee of other business, not God sometimes revealed himself extraordin- or set thee upon some other duty; for it had arily to thy soul, and let a drop of glory fall rather go to any duty than this. Perhaps it will upon it? Hast thou not been ready to say, 'Otell thee, · Other duties are greater, and therethat it might be thus with thy soul continually!fore this must give place to them, because thou Didst thou never cry out with the martyr, after hast no time for both. Public business is more thy long and mournful expectations, . He is important; to study and preach for the saving come! He is come! Didst thou never, under of souls, must be preferred before these private a lively sermon of heaven, or in thy retired con- contemplations. As if thou hadst not time to templations on that blessed state, perceive thy care for thy own salvation, for looking after that drooping spirits revive, and thy dejected heart of others. Or thy charity to others were so great, lift up thy head, and the light of heaven dawn that it obliges thee to neglect thy own eternal on thy soul ? Think with thyself, • What is this welfare. Or as if there were any better way to earnest to the full inheritance ! Alas ! all this fit us to be useful to others, than making this light that so amazeth and rejoiceth me, is but a proof of our doctrine ourselves. Certainly heacandle lighted from heaven, to lead me thither ven is the best fire to light our candle at, and through this world of darkness! If some godly the best book for a preacher to study ; and if we men have been overwhelmed with joy, till they would be persuaded to study that more, the have cried out, “ Hold, Lord, stay thy hand ; I church would be provided with more heavenly can bear no more !" what then will be my joys lights ; and when our studies are divine, and our in heaven, when my soul shall be so capable of spirits divine, our preaching will also be divine, seeing and enjoying God, that though the light and we may be called divines indeed. Or if thy be ten thousand times greater than the sun, yet heart have nothing to say against the work, it my eyes shall be able for ever to behold it! will trifle away the time in delays, and promise Or if thou hast not yet felt these sweet foretastes, this day, and the next, but still keep off from (for every believer hath not felt them,) then the business. Or it will give thee a flat denial, make use of such delights as thou hast felt, in and oppose its own unwillingness to thy reason. order the better to discern what thou shalt here- All this I speak of the heart, so far as it is still after feel.

carnal ; for I know, so far as it is spiritual, it 12. (II.) I am now to show how heavenly con- will judge this the sweetest work in the world. templation may be preserved from a wandering 14. What is now to be done? Wilt thou do heart. Our chief work is here to discover the it if I tell thee? Wouldst thou not say, in a danger, and that will direct to the fittest remedy. like case, “What should I do with a servant that The heart will prove the greatest hinderance in will not work? or with a horse that will not this heavenly employment; either-by back- travel? Shall I keep them to look at ? Then wardness to it—or, by trifling in it—or, by faithfully deal thus with thy heart ; persuade it frequent excursions to other objects—or, by to the work, take no denial, chide it for its abruptly ending the work before it is well begun. backwardness, use violence with it. Hast thou As you value the comfort of this work, these no command of thy own thoughts ? Is not the dangerous evils must be faithfully resisted. subject of thy meditations a matter of choice,

13. (1.) Thou wilt find thy heart as backward especially under this conduct of thy judgment ? to this, I think, as to any work in the world. 0 Surely God gave thee, with thy new nature, what excuses will it make! What evasions will some power to govern thy thoughts. Art thou it find out! What delays and demurs, when it again become a slave to thy depraved nature ? is ever so much convinced! Either it will ques- Resume thy authority. Call in the Spirit of tion whether it be a duty or not; or, if it be so Christ to thine assistance, who is never backward to others, whether to thyself. It will tell thee, to so good a work, nor will deny his help in so • This is a work for ministers that have nothing just a cause. Say to him, 'Lord, thou gavest else to study; or for persons that have more my reason the command of my thoughts and afleisure than thou hast. If thou be a minister, it fections: the authority I have received over will tell thee, • This is the duty of the people; them is from thee; and now, behold, they reit is enough for thee to meditate for their in- fuse to obey thine authority. Thou commandest struction, and let them meditate on what they me to set them to the work of heavenly medihave heard. As if it was thy duty only to cook tation, but they rebel and stubbornly refuse the their meat, and serve it up, and they alone must duty. Wilt thou not assist me to exercise that eat it, digest it, and live upon it. If all this will l authority which thou hast given me ? O send

[ocr errors]

down thy Spirit, that I may enforce thy com- | devour the life and joy of thy thoughts ; there. mands, and effectually compel them to obey thy fore drive them away from thy sacrifice, and will ?" Thus thou shalt see thy heart will sub- strictly keep thy heart to the work. mit, its resistance be overcome, and its back- 17. (4.) Abruptly ending thy meditation be. wardness be turned into cheerful compliance. fore it is well begun, is another way in which

15. (2.) Thy heart will also be likely to betray thy heart will deceive thee. Thou mayest easily thee by trifling, when it should be effectually perceive this in other duties. In secret prayer, meditating. Perhaps, when thou hast an hour is not thy heart urging thee to cut it short, and for meditation, the time will be spent before thy frequently making a motion to have done? So heart will be serious. This doing of duty, as if in heavenly contemplation,, thy heart will be we did it not, ruins as many as the omission of weary of the work, and will stop thy heavenly it. Here let thine eye be always upon thy heart. walk before thou art well warm. But charge it Look not so much to the time it spends in the in the name of God to stay, and not do so great duty, as to the quantity and quality of the work a work by halves. Say to it, •Foolish heart! that is done. You can tell by his work, w!iether if thou beg awhile, and goest away before thou a servant hath been diligent. Ask yourself, hast thy alms, is not thy begging a lost labour? • What affections have yet been exercised ? How If thou stoppest before the end of thy journey, niuch am I yet got nearer to heaven?' Think is not thy travel lost ? Thou camest hither in not, since thy heart is so trifling, it is better to hope to have a sight of the glory which thou let it alone : for by this means, thou wilt cer- must inherit; and wilt thou stop when thou art tainly banish all spiritual obedience ; because the almost at the top of the hill, and turn back bebest hearts, being but sanctified in part, will re- fore thou hast taken thy survey? Thou camest sist, so far as they are carnal. But rather con- hither in hope to speak with God, and wilt thou sider well the corruption of thy nature; and that go before thou hast seen him ? Thou camest to its sinful indispositions will not supersede the bathe thyself in the streams of consolation, and commands of God; nor one sin excuse for to that end didst unclothe thyself of thy earthly another; and that God has appointed means to thoughts, and wilt thou only touch the bank and excite our affections. This self-reasoning, self- return? Thou camest to spy out the land of considering duty of heavenly meditation, is the promise ; go not back without one cluster of most singular means, both to excite and increase grapes to show thy brethren, for their encourlove. Therefore stay not from the duty, till agement. Let them see that thou hast tasted thou feelest thy love constrain thee, any more of the wine, by the gladness of thy heart; and than thou wouldst stay from the fire, till thou that thou hast been anointed with the oil, by feelest thyself warm ; but engage in the work till the cheerfulness of thy countenance; and hast love is excited, and then love will constrain thee fed of the milk and honey, by the mildness of to further duty.

thy disposition, and the sweetness of thy conver16. (3.) Thy heart will also be making excur-sation. This heavenly fire would melt thy frozen sions from thy heavenly meditation to other heart, and refine and spiritualize it; but it must objects. It will be turning aside, like a careless have time to operate.' Thus pursue the work servant, to talk with every one that passeth by. till something be done, till thy graces be in exWhen there should be nothing in thy mind but ercise, thy affections raised, and thy soul refreshed heaven, it will be thinking of thy calling, or thy with the delights above; or if thou canst not ataffections, or of every bird, or tree, or place thoutain these ends at once, be the more earnest at seest. The cure is here the same as before; use another time. · Blessed is that servant, whom bis watchfulness and violence. Say to thy heart, Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.' • What! did I come thither to think of my world. ly business, of persons, places, news, or vanity, or of any thing but heaven, be it ever so good ? Canst thou not watch one hour ? Wouldst thou leave this world and dwell for ever with Christ in heaven, and not leave it one hour to dwell with Christ in meditation ? Is this thy love to thy friend?

Dost thou love Christ, and the place of thy eternal blessed abode, no more than this! If the ravening fowls of wandering thoughts devour the meditations intended for heaven, they


Christian ;

3. · How near is that most blessed, joyful day! CHAPTER XVI.

It comes apace.

“ He that shall come, will come,

and will not tarry.” Though my Lord seems to HEAVENLY CONTEMPLATION EXEMPLIFIED, AND

delay his coming, yet a little while and he will

be here. What is a few hundred years, when Sect. 1. The Reader's attention excited to the following example of meditation. 2. The excellencies of heavenly rest ; 3. Its nearness ;

they are over? How surely will his sign appear! 4. dreadful to sinners, 5. and joyful to saints : 6. its dear purchase: How suddenly will he seize upon the careless lief banished. 10. A careless world pitied. 11–13. Heavenly rest world, even as the lightning cometh out of the the object of love, 14-21. and joy. 22. The heart's backwardness to heavenly joy lamented. 23.–27. Heavenly rest the object of de- east, and shineth unto the west! He who is gone sire. 28 Such meditations as this urged upon the reader : 29. The hence shall so come. Methinks I hear his trummischief of neglecting it; 30. The happiness of pursuing it. 31. The Author's concluding Prayer for the success of his work. pet sound! Methinks I see him coming in

clouds, with his attending angels, in majesty 1. And now, Reader, according to the above and glory! directions, make conscience of daily exercising 4. O secure sinners! What now will you thy graces in meditation, as well as prayer. do ? Where will you hide yourselves ? What Retire into some secret place, at a time the most shall cover you ? Mountains are gone; the convenient to thyself, and, laying aside all world-heavens and the earth, which were, are passed ly thoughts, with all possible seriousness and away; the devouring fire hath consumed all, exreverence look up toward heaven, remember cept yourselves, who must be the fuel for ever. there is thine everlasting rest, study its excel- O that you could consume as soon as the earth ; lency and reality, and rise from sense to faith, and melt away as did the heavens! Ah, these by comparing heavenly with earthly joys: then wishes are now but vain! The Lamb himself mix ejaculations with thy soliloquies ; till having would have been your friend ; he would have pleaded the case reverently with God, and seri- loved you, and ruled you, and now have saved ously with thy own heart, thou hast pleaded thy you ; but you would not then, and now it is too self from a clod to a flame; from a forgetful sin- late. Never cry, “ Lord, Lord;" too late, too ner, and a lover of the world, to an ardent lover late, man. Why dost thou look about ? Can of God; from a fearful coward to a resolved

Whither dost thou run ? Can from an unfruitful sadness to a joyful any hide thee? O wretch, that hast brought life: in a word, till thou hast pleaded thy heart thyself to this ! from earth to heaven, from conversing below to 5. Now, blessed saints, that have believed walking with God, and till thou canst lay thy and obeyed. This is the end of faith and paheart to rest, as in the bosom of Christ, by some tience. This is it for which you prayed and such meditation of thy everlasting rest as is here waited. Do you now repent your sufferings and added for thy assistance.

sorrows, your self-denying and holy walking ? 2.Rest! How sweet the sound! It is melody Are your tears of repentance now bitter or sweet? to my ears! It lies as a reviving cordial at my See how the Judge smiles upon you ; there is heart, and from thence sends forth lively spirits, love in his looks ; the titles of Redeemer, Huswhich beat through all the pulses of my soul ! band, Head, are written in his amiable shining Rest—not as the stone that rests on the earth, face. Hark, he calls you ! he bids you stand nor as this flesh shall rest in the grave, nor such here on his right hand : fear not, for there he sets a rest as the carnal world desires. O blessed his sheep. O joyful sentence ! “ Come, ye blessed rest! when we

rest not day and night, saying, of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty !” When you from the foundation of the world.” He we shall rest from sin, but not from worship : takes you by the hand, the door is open, the from suffering and sorrow, but not from joy! 0 kingdom is his, and therefore yours ; there is

When I shall rest with God! your place before his throne; the Father receives When I shall rest in the bosom of my Lord ! you as the spouse of his Son, and bids you wel. When I shall rest in knowing, loving, rejoicing, come to the crown of glory. Ever so unworthy, and praising! When my perfect soul and body you must be crowned. This was the project of shall together perfectly enjoy the most perfect free redeeming grace, the purpose of eternal love. God!

When God, who is love itself, shall per- O blessed grace ! O blessed love! Oh how love fectly love me, and rest in his love to me, as I and joy will rise ! But I cannot express it, I shall rest in my love to him; and rejoice over cannot conceive it. me with joy, and joy over me with singing, as I 6. “This is that joy which was procured by shall rejoice in him !

sorrow, that crown which was procured by the 1119

any save thee?

blessed day!

you also.

cross. My Lord wept, that now my tears might | row for ever: farewell my rocky, proud, unbe wiped away; he bled, that I might now re- believing heart; my worldly, sensual, carnal joice; he was forsaken, that I might not now be heart : and welcome now my most holy, heavenly forsook; he then died, that I might now live. O nature. Farewell repentance, faith, and hope ; free mercy, that can exalt so vile a wretch! Free and welcome love, and joy, and praise. I shall to me, though dear to Christ! Free grace, that now have my harvest, without ploughing or sow. hath chosen me, when thousands were forsaken! ing; my joy without a preacher, or a promise ; When my companions in sin must burn in hell, even all froin the face of God himself. WhatI must here rejoice in rest! Here must I live ever mixture is in the streams, there is nothing with all these saints! O comfortable meeting of but pure joy in the fountain. Here shall I be my old acquaintance, with whom I prayed, and encircled with eternity, and ever live, and ever, wept, and suffered, and spoke often of this day ever praise the Lord. My face will not wrinkle, and place ! I see the grave could not detain nor my hair be gray ; “ for this corruptible shall you; the same love hath redeemed and saved have put on incorruption, and this mortal, im

mortality, and death shall be swallowed up in 7. • This is not like our cottages of clay, our victory. O death, where is now thy sting? 0 prisons, our earthly dwellings. This voice of grave, where is thy victory ?” The date of my joy is not like our old complaints, our impatient lease will no more expire, por shall I trouble groans and siglis; nor this melodious praise like myself with thoughts of death, nor lose my joys the scoffs and revilings, or the oaths and curses, through fear of losing them. When millions of which we heard on earth. This body is not ages are passed, my glory is but beginning ; and like that we had, nor this soul like the soul we when millions more are passed, it is no nearer had, nor this life like the life we lived. We ending. Every day is all noon, every month is have changed our place and state, our clothes harvest, every year is a jubilee, every age is full and thoughts, our looks, language, and company. manhood, and all this is one eternity. O blessed Before, a saint was weak and despised ; so proud eternity! The glory of my glory! the perfecand peevish, we could often scarce discern his tion of my perfection! graces : but now how glorious a thing is a saint! 8. 'Ah, drowsy, earthly heart! How coldly Where is now their body of sin, which wearied dost thou think of this reviving day! Hadst themselves and those about them? Where are thou rather sit down in dirt, than walk in the now our different judgments, reproachful names, palace of God ? Art thou now remembering divided spirits, exasperated passions, strange thy worldly business, or thinking of thy lusts, looks, uncharitable censures ? Now we are all earthly delights, and merry company? Is it of one judgment, of one name, of one heart, | better to be here, than above with God? Is the house, and glory. O sweet reconciliation ! company better? Are the pleasures greater? Happy union! Now the gospel shall no more Come away; make no excuse nor delay; God be dishonoured through our folly. No more, commands, and I command thee ; gird up thy my soul, shalt thou lament the sufferings of the loins; ascend the mount; look about thee with saints, or the church's ruins, nor mourn thy faith and seriousness. Look not back

upon the suffering friends, nor weep over their dying way of the wilderness, except it be to compare beds, or their graves. Thou shalt never suffer the kingdom with that howling desert, more thy old temptations from Satan, the world, or sensibly to perceive the wide difference. Yonder thy own flesh. Thy pains and sickness are all is thy Father's glory; yonder, O my soul, must cured; thy body shall no more burden thee with thou remove, when thou departest from this weakness and weariness ; thy aching head and body; and when the power of thy Lord hath heart, thy hunger and thirst, thy sleep and la- raised it again, and joined thee to it, yonder bour, are all gone. O what a mighty change is must thou live with God for ever. There is the this! From the dunghill to the throne! from glorious New Jerusalem, the gates of pearl, the persecuting sinners to praising saints! From a foundation of pearl, the streets and pavements vile body, to this which “ shines as the bright-of transparent gold. That sun, which lighteth ness of the firmament!" From a sense of God's all this world, will be useless there ; even thyself displeasure, to the perfect enjoyment of him in shall be as bright as yonder shining sun: God love! From all my doubts and fears, to this will be the sun, and Christ the light, and in his possession which puts me out of doubt! From light shalt thou have light. all my fearful thoughts of death, to this joyful 9. O my soul! dost thou life! Blessed change! Farewell sin and sor- promise of God through unbelief?” I much suse

stagger at the pect thee.

Didst thou believe indeed, thou | loves thee; and is the love of a friend like the wouldst be more affected with it? Is it not love of Christ? Their weeping or bleeding for under the hand, and seal, and oath of God? Can thee, does not ease thee, nor stay the course of God lie? Can he that is truth itself be false ? thy tears or blood; but the tears and blood that What need hath God to flatter or deceive thee? fell from thy Lord have a sovereign healing virWhy should he promise thee more than he will tue.-0 my soul! if love deserves, and should perform ? Dare not to charge the wise, almighty, beget love, what incomprehensible love is here faithful God, with this. How many of the pro- before thee! Pour out all the store of thy afmises have been performed to thee in thy confections here, and all is too little. O that it version! Would God so powerfully concur with were more! O that it were many thousand times a feigned word ? O wretched heart of unbelief! more! Let him be first served, that served thee Hath God made thee a promise of rest, and wilt first. Let him have thy first-born, and strength thou come short of it? Thine eyes, thine ears, and of thy soul, who parted with strength, and life, all thy senses, may prove delusions, sooner than and love for thee.—0 my soul! dost thou love a promise of God can delude thee. Thou may- for excellency? Yonder is the region of light; est be surer of that which is written in the word, this is a land of darkness. Yonder twinkling than if thou see it with thine eyes, or feel it stars, that shining moon, and radiant sun, are all with thine hands. Art thou sure thou art alive, our lanterns hung out of thy Father's house, to or that this is earth thou standest on, or that light thee while thou walkest in this dark world. thine eyes see the sun ? As sure is all this glory But how little dost thou know the glory and to the saints ; as sure shall I be higher than blessedness that is within !—Dost thou love for yonder stars, and live for ever in the holy city, suitableness ? What person more suitable than and joyfully sound forth the praises of my Re- Christ? His Godhead and humanity, his fulldeemer ; if I be not shut out by this "evil heart ness and freeness, his willingness and constancy, of unbelief,” causing me to " depart from the all proclaim him thy most suitable friend. What living God."

state more suitable to thy misery, than mercy ? 10. ^ And is this rest so sweet and so sure? Or to thy sin and pollution, than honour and Then what means the careless world ? Know perfection? What place more suitable to thee they what they neglect ? Did they ever hear of than heaven? Does this world agree with thy it, or are they yet asleep, or are they dead ? Do desires ? Hast thou not had a sufficient trial of they certainly know that the crown is before it, or dost thou love for interest and near relathem, while they thus sit still, or follow trifles ? tion? Where hast thou better interest than in Undoubtedly they are beside themselves, to miud heaven, or nearer relation than there? so much their provision by the way, when they 12. • Dost thou love for acquaintance and faare hasting so fast to another world, and their miliarity? Though thine eyes have never seen eternal happiness lies at stake. Were there left thy Lord, yet thou hast heard his voice, received one spark of reason, they would never sell their his benefits, and lived in his bosom. He taught rest for toil, nor their glory for worldly vanities, thee to know thyself and him; he opened thee nor venture heaven for sinful pleasure. Poor that first window through which thou sawest into men! O that you would once consider what you heaven. Hast thou forgotten since thy heart hazard, and then you would scorn these tempt. was careless, and he awakened it; hard, and he ing baits ! Blessed for ever be that love which softened it; stubborn, and he made it yield ; at hath rescued me from this bewitching darkness! peace, and he troubled it; whole, and he broke

11. ‘Draw yet nearer, O my soul! with thy it; and broken till he healed it again ? Hast most fervent love. Here is matter for it to thou forgotten the times when he found thee in work upon, something worth thy loving. O see tears; when he heard thy secret sighs and groans, what beauty presents itself! Is not all the beauty and left all to come and comfort thee ? when he in the world united here? Is not all other beauty took thee, as it were, in his arms, and asked but deformity? Dust thou now need to be per- thee, “ Poor soul, what ails thee? Dost thou suaded to love ? Here is a feast for thine eyes, weep, when I have wept so much? Be of good and all the powers of thy soul : dost thou need cheer, thy wounds are saving, and not deadly; entreaties to feed upon it? Canst thou love a it is I have made them, who mean thee no hurt: little shining earth, a walking piece of clay ? though I let out thy blood, I will not let out And canst thou not love that God, that Christ, thy life." I remember his voice. How gently that glory, which is so truly and unmeasurably did he take me up! How carefully did he dress lovely? Thou canst love thy friend, because he my wounds! Methinks I hear him still saying 1121


« PreviousContinue »