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brother; and so cheerfully, "not grudgingly, or of necessity." An alms may be wrung out of a miser, but it proceeds from the liberal soul, as a stream from its fountain: therefore he is called a deviser of liberal things, and one that standeth upon liberalities, as those last words of Isa. xxxii. 8. are rendered by the Dutch translators. If you speak of righteousness or temperance, he is not overruled by power, or compelled by laws, but indeed actuated by the of that law which is written and engraven power upon his mind. If you speak of acts of worship, whether moral or instituted, in all these he is also free, as to any constraint. Prayer is not his task, or a piece of penance, but it is the natural cry of the new-born soul; neither does he take it up as a piece of policy, to bribe God's justice, or engage men's charity, to purchase favour with God or man, or his own clamorous conscience: but he prays, because he wants, and loves, and believes; he wants the fuller presence of that God whom he loves; he loves the presence which he wants; he believes that He that loves him, will not suffer him to want any good thing that he prays for. And therefore he does not bind up himself severely, and limit himself penuriously to a morning and evening sacrifice and solemnity, as to certain rent-seasons, wherein to pay a homage of dry devotion; but his loving and longing soul, disdaining to be confined within canonical hours, is frequently soaring in some heavenly raptures or other, and sallying forth in holy ejaculations: he is not content with some weak essays towards heaven, in set and formal prayer, once or twice a-day, but labours also to be all the day long drawing in those
divine influences, and streams of grace, by the mouth of faith, which he begged in the morning by the tongue of prayer; which hath made me sometimes think it a proper speech to say, the faith of prayer, as well as the prayer of faith; for believing, and hanging upon divine grace, doth really drink in what prayer opens its mouth for, and is, in effect, a powerful kind of praying in silence: by believing we pray, as well as in praying we do believe. A truly godly man hath not his hands tied up merely by the force of a national law, no, nor yet by the authority of the fourth commandment, to keep one in seven a day of rest; as he is not content with mere resting upon the Sabbath, knowing that neither working, nor ceasing from work, doth of itself commend a soul to God, but doth press after intimacy with God in the duties of his worship; so neither can he be content with one Sabbath in a week, nor think himself absolved from holy and heavenly meditations any day in the week; but labours to make every day a Sabbath, as to the keeping of his heart up unto God in a holy frame, and to find every day to be a Sabbath, as to the communications of God unto his soul: though the necessities of his body will not allow him, it may be, though indeed God hath granted this to some men, to keep every day as a Sabbath of rest; yet the necessities of his soul do call upon him, to make every day, as far as may be, a Sabbath of communion with the blessed God. If you speak of fasting, he keeps not fasts merely by virtue of a civil, no, nor a divine institution; but, from a principle of godly sorrow, afflicts his soul for sin, and daily endeavours more and more to be emptied of himself,
which is the most excellent fasting in the world. If you speak of thanksgiving, he does not give thanks by laws and ordinances, but having in himself a law of thankfulness, and an ordinance of love engraven upon, and deeply radicated in his soul, delights to live unto God, and to make his heart and life a living descant upon the goodness and love of God; which is the most divine way of thank-offering in the world; it is the hallelujah which the angels sing continually. In a word, wherever God hath a tongue to command, true godliness will find a hand to perform; whatever yoke Jesus Christ shall put upon the soul, religion will enable to bear it, yea, and to count it easy too; the mouth of Christ hath pronounced it easy, and the Spirit of Christ makes it easy. Let the commandment be what it will, it will not be grievous. The same spirit doth, in some measure, dwell in every Christian, which, without measure, dwelt in Christ, who counted it "his meat and drink to do the will of his Father."
2. And more especially, the true Christian is free from any constraint as to the inward acts which he performeth. Holy love to God is one principal act of the gracious soul, whereby it is carried out freely, and with an ardent love towards the object that is truly and infinitely lovely and satisfactory, and to the enjoyment of it. I know, indeed, that this springs from self-indigency, and is commanded by the sovereignty of the supreme good, the object that the soul eyes but it is properly free from any constraint. Love is an affection, that cannot be extorted as fear is; nor forced by any external power, nor indeed internal neither: the revenues of the king of Per
sia, or the treasures of Egypt, cannot commit a rape upon it; neither, indeed, can the soul itself raise and lay this spirit at pleasure.
Though the outward bodily acts of religion are ordinarily forced, yet this pure, chaste, virgin affection cannot be ravished; it seems to be a kind of a peculiar in the soul, though under the jurisdiction of the understanding. By this property of it, it is elegantly described by the Spirit of God: "If a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned." It cannot be bought with money, or money-worth, cannot be purchased with gifts or arts; and if any should offer to bribe it, it would give him a sharp and scornful check, in the language of Peter to Simon, "Thy money perish with thee;" love is no hireling, no baseborn, mercenary affection, but noble, free, and generous. Neither is it low-spirited and slavish as fear is therefore, when it comes to full age, it will not suffer this son of the bondwoman to divide the inheritance, the dominions of the soul, with it; when it comes to be "perfect, it casteth out fear," says the Apostle. Neither, indeed, is it directly under the authority of any law, whether human or divine it is not begotten by the influence of a divine law, as a law, but as holy, just, and good, as we shall see anon: quis legem dat amantibus? ipse est sibi lex amor: the law of love; or, if you will, in the Apostle's phrase, "the spirit of love, and of power," in opposition to the spirit of fear, doth more influence the godly man in his pursuit of God than any law without him: this is as a wing to the soul; whereas outward commandments are but as guides in his way; or, at most, but as spurs in his sides.
The same I may say of holy delight in God, which is indeed the flower of love, or love grown up to its full age and stature, which hath no torment in it, and consequently no force upon it. Like unto which are holy confidence, faith and hope, ingenuous and natural acts of the religious soul, whereby it hastens into the divine embraces, "as the eagle hasteneth to the prey," swiftly and speedily, and not by force and constraint, as a fool to the correction of the stocks," or a bear to the stake. These are all genuine offsprings of holy religion in the soul, and they are utterly incapable of force; violence is contrary to the nature of them; for, to use the Apostle's words, with the change of one word, Hope that is forced, is not hope."
Now, a little farther to explain this excellent property of true religion, we may a little consider the author, and the object of it.
The author of this noble and free principle is God himself, who hath made it a partaker of his own nature, who is the free agent; himself is the fountain of his own acts. The uncreated life and liberty hath given this privilege to the religious soul, in some sense, to have life and liberty in itself, and a dominion over its own acts. I do not know that any created being in the world hath more of divinity in it than the soul of man, qua nihil homini dedit Deus ipse divinius, as Tully speaks; nor that any thing in the soul doth more resemble the divine essence, than the noble freedom that the soul hath in itself; which freedom is never so divine and generous, as when it is placed upon God himself. This excellent freedom is something of God in the soul of