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was written to direct me to ; which ministers | ing hopes, and yet be unwilling to pass unto the preached to me; which my books were written possession of them. for; which I prayed for ; and for which I served That is like to be our best which is our maGod? Or was it not for his grace on earth, and turest state. Nature carries all things towards glory in heaven ? Is it not better for me to have their perfection: our ap
pears, grapes, and the end of all these means, than lose them all, every fruit, is best when it is ripe, though they and lose my hopes ? Why have I used them, if then hasten to corruption, that is, through the I would not attain their end ?
incapacity of the corporeal materials any longer * That is my best state which all the course of to retain the vegetative spirit, which is not anniGod's fatherly providence tends to. All his sweeter hilated at its separation ; and being not made mercies, and all his sharper corrections, are to for its own felicity, but for man's, its ripeness make me partaker of his holiness, and to lead the state in which man uses it, before it doth me to glory in the way that my Saviour and all corrupt of itself, that its corruption may be for his saints have gone before me: all things work his nutriment; and the spirits and best matter of together for the best to me, by preparing me his said food doth become his very substance. for that which is best indeed. Both calms and Doth God cause saints to grow up unto ripestorms are to bring me to this harbour: if I take ness, only to perish and drop down into useless them but for themselves, and this present life, I rottenness? It is not credible. Though our mistake them, and understand them not, but un- bodies fall into corruption, our souls return to thankfully vilify them, and lose their end, life, God that gave them ; though he need them not, and sweetness. Every word and work of God; he uses them in their separated state ; and that every day's mercies, changes, and usages, look to such heavenly uses as the heavenly maturity at heaven, and intend eternity ; God leads me and mellowness hath disposed them to. Seeing no other
way. If I follow him not, 1 forsake my then love hath ripened me for itself, shall I not hope in forsaking him : if I follow him, shall I willingly drop into its hand. be unwilling to be at home, and come to the end That is like to be the best which the wisest of all this way?
and holiest in all ages of the world have preferSurely that is best for me, which God hath red before all, and have most desired ; which required me principally to value, love, and seek, also almost all mankind do acknowledge to be and that as the business of all my life, referring best at last. It is not likely that all the best men all things else thereto ; that this is my duty, I in the world should be most deceived, and be am fully certain, as is proved elsewhere. Is my put upon fruitless labours and sufferings by this business in the world only for the things of this deceit, and be undone by their duty; and that world? How vain a creature then were man; God should by such deceits rule all, or almost and how little were the difference between waking all mankind : also that the common notices of and sleeping, life and death. No wonder if he human nature, and conscience's last and deepest that believes that there is no life but this to impressions, should be all in vain. But it is past seek or hope for, lives in uncomfortable de- all doubt, that no men usually are worse than spair, and only seeks to palliate his misery with those that have no belief or hopes of any life the brutish pleasures of a wicked life, and if he but this ; that none are so holy, just, and sober, stick at no villany which his fleshly lusts incline so charitable to others, and so useful to manhim to: especially tyrants and multitudes who kind, as those that most firmly believe and hope have none but God to fear. It is my certain duty for the state of immortality. Shall I fear that to seek heaven with all the fervour of my soul, and state which all that were wise and holy, in all diligence of my life, and is it not best to find it? ages, have preferred and desired?
That must needs be best for me which all It is not unlikely that my best state is that other things must be forsaken for. It is folly to which my greatest enemies are most against. How forsake the better for the worse ; but scripture, much Satan doth to keep me and other men from reason, and conscience, tell me, that all this heaven, and how much worldly honour, pleasure, world, when it stands in competition, or opposi- and wealth he could afford us to accomplish tion, should be forsaken for heaven ; yea, for it, I need not here again be copious in reciting, the least hopes of it. A possible everlasting having said so much of it elsewhere. Shall I be glory should be preferred before a certainly per towards myself, so much of Satan's mind: he ishing vanity. I am sure this life will shortly be would not have me come to heaven: and shall nothing to me; and therefore it is next to no- I also be unwilling ?
I also be unwilling? All these things tell me, Must I forsake all for my everlast- that it is best to be with Christ.
created causes; of which more in the sequel
. SECTION II-ULTERIOR REASONS.
But to be as near as my nature was ordained to
approach, is but to attain the end and perfection Is it not far better to dwell with God in glory, of my nature. than with sinful men, in such a world as this ? As I must not look to be the nearest to him, Though he be every where, his glory, which we as he is the first efficient, no more must I as he must behold to our felicity, and the perfecting is the governing cause : as now I am under the operations and communications of his love, are government of his officers on earth, I look for in the glorious world, and not on earth. As the ever to be under sub-governors in heaven: my eye is made to see the light, and then to see glorified Saviour must be my Lord and Ruler; other things by the light, so is man's mind made and who else under him I know not. If angels to see God, and to love him; and other things, are not equal in perfection, nor, as is commonly as in, by, and for him. He that is our beginning supposed, equal in power, nor without some is our end : and our end is the first motive of all regimental order among themselves, I must not moral action, and for it, it is that all means are conclude that no created angel or spirit shall used. The end attained is the rest of souls. How have any government over me : but it will be so often hath my soul groaned under the sense of pure and divine, as that the blessed effects of distance, darkness, and estrangement from God? God's own government will be sweetly powerful How often hath it looked up, and aspired after therein. If the law was given by angels, and him, and said, O when shall I be nearer and the angel of God was in the burning bush, and better acquainted with my God ? • As the hart the angel conducted the people through the wil. panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my derness, and yet all these things are ascribed to soul after thee, O God: my soul thirsteth for God, much more near and glorious will the diGod, for the living God: when shall I come and vine rule there be, whoever are the administra. appear before God? Would I not have my tors. prayers heard, and my desires granted? What As I must expect to be under some created else is the sum of lawful prayers, but God him. efficient causes there, so must I expect to have self? If I desire any thing more than God, what some subordinate ends : else there would not be sinfulness is in those desires, and how sad is their a proportion and harmony in causalities; whatsignitication ? How often have I said, “Whom ever nobler creatures are above me, and have have I in heaven but thee, and there is none on their causalities upon me, I must look to be finearth that I desire besides thee? It is good for ally for those nobler creatures. When I look me to draw near to God? Woe to me, if I did up and think what a world of glorious beings dissemble; if not, why should my soul draw are now over me, I dare not presume to think back : is it because that death stands in the that I shall finally, any more than receptively, way? Do not my fellow-creatures die for my be the nearest unto God, and that I am made daily food ? And is not my passage secured by for none but him. I find here that I am made, the love of my Father, and the resurrection and ruled, and sanctified, for the public or common intercession of my Lord? Can I see the light good of many as above my own, of which I am of heavenly glory in this darksome shell and past doubt. I am sure that I must be finally for womb of flesh ?
my glorified Redeemer; and for what other All creatures are more or less excellent and spiritual beings or intelligences that are above glorious, as God is more or less operative and me, little do I know: and God hath so ordered refulgent in them, and by that operation com- all his creatures, as that they are inutually ends municates most of himself unto them : though and means for and to one another, though not in he be immense and indivisible, his operations an equality nor in the same respects. But whatand communications are not equal; and that is ever nearer ends there will be, I am sure that he said to be nearest to him, which hath most of who is the first efficient, will be the ultimate those operations on it, and that without the in- final cause. I shall be, in this respect, as near tervening causality of any second created cause; him as is due to the rank and order of my naand so all those are in their order near unto him, ture. I shall be useful to the ends which are as they have noblest natures, and fewest inter- answerable to my perfection. vening causes. Far am I from presuming to If it be the honour of a servant to have an think that I am, or shall be, the best and noblest honourable master, and to be appointed to the of God's creatures, and so that I shall be so near most honourable work: if it be some honour to him, as to be under the influx of no second or a horse above a swine, or a worm, or fly, that he serves more nearly for the use of man, yea, , which is such can never want an object till all for a prince, will it not be also my advancement things be annihilated. to be ultimately for God, and subordinately for Reason assures me, that were my will now what the highest created natures; and this in such it should be, and fully obsequious herein to my services as are suitable to my spiritual and hea- understanding, to fulfil God's will would be the venly state ?
fulfilling my own will, for my will should perFor I am far from thinking that I shall be fectly comply with his, and to please him perabove service, and have none to do, for activ- fectly would be my perfect pleasure. It is the ity will be my perfection and my rest; all such unreasonable adhesion to this body, and sinful activity must be regular in harmony and order selfishness, which makes any one think otherof causes, and for its proper use. What though wise now. I am sure that my soul shall live, I know not now fully what service it is that I for it is life itself, and I am sure that I shall live must do? I know it will be good, and suitable to God, and that I shall fulfil and please his to the blessed state which I shall be in : it is blessed will; and this is as incomparably better enough that God and my Redeemer know it, than my felicity. Yet so far as I am pleased in and that I shall know it in due time, when so doing, it will be my felicity. I come to practice it; of which more after- I begin now to think, that the strange love ward.
which the soul hath to this body, so far as it is The inordinate love of this body and present not inordinate, is put into us of God, partly to composition, seduces souls to think that all their signify to us the great love which Christ hath to use and work is for its maintenance and pros- his mystical body, and to every member of it, perity, and when the soul hath done that, and is even the least. He will gather all his elect out of separated from flesh, it hath nothing to do, but the world, and none that come to him shall be must lie idle, or be as nothing, or have no con- shut out, and none that are given him shall be siderable work or pleasure : as if there were no- lost. As his flesh is to them meat indeed, and his thing in the whole world, but this little fluid blood is to them drink indeed, and he nourishes mass of matter for a soul to work upon, or as if them for life eternal ;-his spirit in them, turning itself, and all the creatures, and God, were no- the sacrament, the word, and Christ himself, as thing, or no fit objects for a soul : why not believed in, into spirit and life to us, as the soul hereafter as well as now? Or, as if that which and our natural spirits turn our food into flesh, in our compounded state, operates on and by blood, and spirits, which, in a dead body, or any its organs, had no other way of operation with lifeless repository, it would never be ;—so as we out them. As if the musician lost all his power, delights in the ease and prosperity of our body, or were dead, when his instrument is out of tune, and each member, and have pleasure in the or broken, and could do nothing else but play pleasant food that nourishes it, and other pleaon that: as if the fiery part of the candle were sant objects which accommodate it; Christ also annihilated or transmutated, as some philosophers delights in the welfare of his church, and of all imagine, when the candle goes out, and were the faithful, and is pleased when they are fed not fire, and in action still: or as if that sun. with good and pleasant food, and when hereby beam which I shut out, or which passes from they prosper : Christ loves the church, not only our horizon, were annihilated, or did nothing, as a man must love his wife, but as we love our when it shines not with us? Had it no other bodies : no man ever hated his own flesh. Herein individual to illuminate, or to terminate its beams I must allow my Saviour the pre-eminence, to or action, were it nothing to illuminate the com-out-go me in powerful, faithful love : he will mon air?" Though I shall not always have a save me better from pain and death, than I can body to operate in and upon, I shall always have save my body; and will more inseparably hold God, a Saviour, and a world of fellow-creatures; me to himself. If it please my soul to dwell in and when I shine not in this lantern, and see such a house of clay, and to operate on so mean not by these spectacles, nor imaginarily in a a thing as flesh, how greatly will it please my glass, I shall yet see things suitable intuitively, glorified Lord to dwell with his glorified body, and as face to face. That which is essentially the triumphant church, and to cherish and bless life, as a living principle, will live: that which each member of it? It would be a kind of death is essentially an active, intellectual principle, to Christ to be separated from his body, and to force, and virtue, will still be such while it is it- have it die. Whether Augustine and the rest self, and is not annihilated, or changed into of the fathers were in the right or not, who another thing ; which is not to be feared : that I thought, that as our bodies do not only shed
their hairs, but by sicknesses and waste lose host as nothing to me? Will not love and much of their very flesh, so Christ's militant body union make their joy to be my own; if love here doth not only lose hypocrites, but also some who must make all my friends and neighbours' comseem to be living, justified members ; yet certain forts to become my own ? As their joy, accordit is, that confirmed members, and more certain ing to their perfection, is greater than any that that glorified members, shall not be lost : heaven I am now capable of, so the participation of so is not a place for Christ or us to suffer such loss great a joy of theirs, will be far better than to in. Will Christ love me better than I love my have my little separated apartment. Surely that body? Will he be more loth to lose me than I will be my best condition which angels and am to lose a member, or to die? Will be not blessed spirits will be best pleased in, and I take incomparably greater pleasure in animating shall rejoice most in that which they most reand actuating me for ever, than my soul doth in joice in. animating and actuating this body ? O then let me long to be with him! And though I am na
REASONS ARISING OCT turally loth to be absent from the body, let me OF THE INTELLECTUAL CHARACTER OF THE be by his Spirit more unwilling to be absent from the Lord; and though I would not be unclothed had not sin made it necessary, let me Though the tempter would persuade men begroan to be clothed upon with my heavenly habi- cause of the case of infants in the womb, &c. tation, and to become the delight of my Re- that the understanding will be but an inactive deemer, and to be perfectly loved by Love itself. power when separated from these corporeal or
Even this blessed susceptibility of my soul, in gans, I have seen before sufficient reasons to terminating the love and delight of my glorified repel this temptation. I will suppose that it will Head, must needs be a felicity to me! The in- not have such a mode of conception as it hath sensible creatures are but beautified by the sun's now by these organs : but, 1. The soul will be communication of its light and heat; but sensi- still essentially a vital, intellectual substance, distives have also the pleasure of it. Shall my soul posed to act naturally; and that is to those acts be senseless ? Will it be a clod or stone ? Shall which it is formally inclined to, as fire to illunthat which is now the form of man, be then more inate and warm. As it cannot die while it is lifeless, senseless, or incapable than the form of what it is in essence, because it is life itself, brutes is now ? Doubtless it will be a living, that is, the vital substance ; so it cannot but be perceiving, sensible recipient of the felicitating intellectual as to an inclined power, because it love of God and my Redeemer. I shall be loved is such essentially, though God can change or as a living Spirit, and not as a dead and sense- annihilate any thing if he would. 2. It will be less thing, that doth not comfortably perceive it. among a world of objects. 3. It will still have
If I must rejoice with my fellow servants that its dependence on the first cause, and receive rejoice, shall I not be glad to think that my his continual actuating influx. 4. No man cau blessed Lord will rejoice in me, and in all his give the least show of true reason to prove that glorified ones ? Union will make his pleasure it shall cease sensation, whether the sensitive to be much mine: and it will be aptly said by faculties be in the same substance which is inhim to the faithful soul,' Enter thou into the joy tellect, which is most probable, or in one as of thy Lord.' His own active joy will objec- some imagine, though the species and modes of tively be ours, as ours will be efficiently his, or sensation cease which are denominated from the from him. Can that be an ill condition to me, various organs. 5. Yea, no man can prove that in which my Lord will most rejoice? It is best the departing soul doth not carry with it its ig. to him, and therefore best to me.
neous spirits, which in the body it did immeThe heavenly society will joyfully welcome a diately actuate: if it were ever so certain that holy soul. If there be now “joy in heaven among those Greek fathers were mistaken, as well as the angels for one sinner that repenteth,' who Hippocrates, who took the soul itself to be a hath yet so little holiness and so much sin, what sublime intellectual fire. joy will there be over a perfected, glorified soul! As to the objection, some hold that the soul Surely if our angels there behold our Father's pre-existed before it was in the body; others, face, they will be glad, in season of our company. and most, that it then received its first being. The angels that carried Lazarus to Abraham's If the first were true, it would be true that the bosom, no doubt rejoiced in their work and their soul had its intellectual activity before, though Is the joy of angels and the heavenly the soul itself incorporate, remembers it not, because it operates but in human form, and its ob- that said, God is not the God of the dead, but livion they take to be part of its penalty: they of the living, that is, stands not related to them that think it a ray of the soul or system of the as his people, as a king to his subjects, is not world, must think that then it did intellectually himself the Lord of the absolute dead but of animate this world or a part of the world : to do the living. so again, is the worst they can conjecture of it. Therefore the immortality of the soul is provAs the rays of the sun which heat a burning able by the light of nature, but the manner of its glass, and by it set a candle on fire, are the same future operation must be known by faith. Blessed rays still diffused in the air, and illuminating, be the Father of spirits, and our Redeemer, heating, and moving it, and terminated on some who hath sent and set up this excellent light, by other body, and not annihilated or debilitated which we see further than infidels can do. when their contracted operation ceases by break- But I deny not but even the scripture itself ing the glass or putting out the candle : as the doth tell us but little of the manner of our intelspirit of a tree still animates the tree, when it re-lectual constitution, when we are out of the body; tires from the leaves and lets thenı fall. But and it is not improbable that there is more imthis being an unproved imagination of men's perfection in this mode of abstract knowledge own brains, we have no further use of it than to which the soul exercises in the body, than most confute themselves. But if the soul existed not consider of: that as the eye hath the visual fatill its incorporation, what wonder if it operate culty in sleep, and when we wink, and an interbut as a forın, when it is united to the body for nal action of the visual spirits, no doubt, and that use ? What wonder if its initial operations, yet sees not any thing without, till the eye-lids like a spark of fire in tinder, or the first lighting are opened, and was not made to see its own of a candle be weak, and scarcely by us percep- sight; so the soul in the body is as a winking tible? What wonder if it operate but to the eye to all things that are not by the sense and uses that the creation did appoint it; and first, as imagination intromitted or brought within its vegetative, fabricate its own body, as the maker's reach: but I am very suspicious that the body instrument, and then feel, and then understand ? is more a lantern to the soul than some will adWhat wonder if it operate no further than ob- mit; and that this abstract knowledge of things jects are admitted? Therefore what wonder if by organical images, names, and notions, is in apoplexies, &c. such operations are intercept. occasioned by the union of the soul with the body ed? But the departing soul is, 1. In its matur- as forms, and is that childish knowledge which ity. 2. No more united to this body, and so the apostle saith shall be done away. How much not confined to sense and imagination in its op- of man's fall might consist in such a knowing of erations, and the admission of its objects. 3. It good and evil I cannnot tell, or in the over-valis sub ratione meriti, and as a governed subject ning such a knowledge. I think that when vain is ordinate to its reward ; which it was not philosophy at Athens had called the thoughts and capable of receiving in the womb or in an apo- desires of mankind from great realities to the logiplexy, as we have the reasons before alleged cal and philological game at words and notions, to hold that it shall not be annihilated, nor it was Socrates's wisdom to call them to more dissolved, nor lose its essential faculties or substantial studies, and Paul's greater wisdom to powers, nor those essential powers be con- warn men to take heed of such vain philosophy, tinued useless by the wise and merciful Crea- and to labour to know God and Jesus Christ, tor, though by natural revelation we know not and the things of the Spirit, and not to overin what manner they shall act; whether on any value this ludicrous, dreaming, worldly wisdom. other body, and by what conjunction, and how If I have none of this kind of notional, childish far; so by supernatural revelation we are as- knowledge when I am absent from the body, the sured, that there is a reward for the righteous, glass and spectacles may then be spared, when I and that holy souls are still members of Christ, come to see with open face, or as face to face. and live, because he lives, and that in the day Our future knowledge is usually in scripture of their departure they shall be with him in para- called seeing : “ Blessed are the pure in heart, for dise, and being absent from the body, shall be they shall see God.'-—'We shall see face to face.' present with the Lord; and that Christ there- - We shall see him as he is.'—* Father, I will fore died, rose, and revived, that he might be that those which thou hast given me, be with me Lord both of the dead and of the living, that is, where I am, that they may behold my glory of those that being dead, hence do live with him, which thou hast given me,' &c. An intuitive and of those that yet live in the body: for he knowledge of all things, as in themselves imme