THE Whole Duty OF DIVINE MEDITATION, Described In all its various Parts and Branches. WITH MEDITATIONS ON Several Places of Scripture.

By the Author of The Whole Duty of Man.

Psal. cxix. 16.

I will meditate on thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.

London, Printed for Iohn Back, at the Black-Boy, on the Middle of London-Bridge, 1694.

LICENSED, Decemb. 20. 1693.

THE PREFACE.

THE Whole Duty of Prayer, having met with so good a Reception in the World, I have, at the Re­quest and Importunity of some Friends, recommended to the Press this remain­ing Tract, bearing the Title of the Whole Duty of Meditation, by that Reverend and Worthy Author of the Whole Duty of Man.

The Subject I need not commend, for it carries its Worth along with it; and to every Christian will appear both pleasant and profitable: For by Medi­tation, the truly Religious may con­verse with the Almighty, and from the Throne of Grace find Help and Com­fort in time of Need; to those which are Aery, and are the Darlings of [Page] the World, this Gift may procure a well-compos'd Mind. For if he who by often looking on a Ring with a Death's Head, at last grew sober; who knows but by of­ten Meditating, their Hearts may be brought into a more serious and hea­venly frame?

The Royal Prophet stiles Meditation the Food of the Soul, Psal. 63. 4. My soul shall be satisfied as with mar­row and fatness, while I meditate on thee. The Heart never willingly fixeth upon Heaven, till the Almighty is the Treasure of it; for where any Man's Treasure is, there will his Heart be also. Now, it cannot easily meditate, but where it doth delight. Psal. 119. 97. Love is the Weight of the Soul; it readily moves to its be­loved Object. Mary will not depart from the Sepulchre where Christ had lain, before she had made Enquiry where she might see him whom her Soul loved.

[Page] It is the Duty of every good Chri­stian, to observe the Prophet Da­vid's Rule, Psal. 16. 8. to set the Lord always before him, that he may be in his fear all the day long. There is nothing more unsted­fast than the Mind of Man; and therefore nothing can so well compose it, as True Sanctity; which brings such great Advantages, that with holy Job, it makes the Soul both se­rious, and willing to acquaint it self with God, that it may be at peace, Iob 22. 21. He is the Rest of the Soul; and the more it knows of him, the more desirous it is to reside with him, that it may know more: The more it tasteth of his Favour, the more it longeth after his Glory, as Moses did, Exod. 33. 17, 18.

What the Philosopher said of all Knowledge, is true only of the Knowledge of God; that it is Quies Intellectus. And therefore [Page] our Saviour calleth it Eternal Life, Iohn 17. 3. in which alone the Soul doth rest. Now, one excellent Means of fixing the Heart on God, is Meditation; whereby the highly Pious summons together all that is within them, to bless his Name, Psal. 103.

Meditation is the Wing of the Soul, which carrieth the Affections thereof to Things Above. By this, with Moses, it goeth up to the top of Mount Pisgah, to take a Prospect of the Promised Land. It is, as Clemens Alexandrinus saith of Prayer, a Conversing with God. And as St. Chrysostome saith of Faith, so may we of Medi­tation, it makes God, and Christ, and Precepts, and Promises, ours, by giving us a fuller Possession of them.

Hereby we hold fast what we have learned; we awaken our Faith, inflame our Love, strengthen our [Page] Hope, revive our Desires, encrease our Joys in God; we furnish our Hearts, and fill our Mouths with Materials of Prayer; we slacken our Affections from the World, we pre-acquaint our selves with those Glories which we yet but hope for, and get some knowledge of that Love of Christ which passeth Knowledge.

The Necessity, Excellency, and Usefulness of this Christian Duty, the Reverend Author of this Tract hath Elegantly described; which is there­fore worthy Perusal of such as de­sire to acquaint and furnish them­selves with so excellent a part of Christian Skill, whereby we may be filled with the Fulness of God, and be always able continually to say, My Heart is fixed, O God, my Heart is fixed; I will sing, and give Praise.

G. B.

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THere is lately publish'd, The Whole Duty of Prayer: Containing Devotions for E­very Day in the Week, and for Several Occasions, Ordinary and Extraordinary. By the Au­thor of The Whole Duty of Man. Necessary for all Families. The Third Edition.

Printed for Iohn Back, at the Black-Boy, on the Middle of London-Bridge.

THE Whole Duty OF DIVINE MEDITATION.

SECT. I. What Meditation is.

FIRST, Divine Meditation differs from Occasional, by these Examples: When you hear the Hour of the Day or Night, think with thy self, What Thoughts, O my God, have I had of thee, this Hour? I am now nearer the silent Grave, and know not how soon I may be arrested by the Hand of Death.

THESE are like Ejaculatory Pray­ers; which tho' they are as Parenthesis [Page 2] in our Worldly Employment, yet they signifie more than all the rest of the Business we are employed in; but Me­ditation is of longer Duration than solemn Prayer upon Ordinary Occa­sions.

II. SECONDLY, It differs from Study: For Study consists of those things that are most knotty and diffi­cult, and generally such as afford lit­tle Spiritual Nourishment; but the Subject of Divine Meditation, concerns our Eternal Happiness: The End of Study is Knowledge, but the End of Meditation is Sanctity.

III. THIRDLY, It differs from Contemplation: For Contemplation is applicable to the Beatifical Vision, where the Angels behold the Face of the Almighty: Now Meditation is like Fire kindling; and Contemplation, the flaming of it when fully kindled: The one is like the Spouses Seeking of Christ; and the other, like her Enjoying of him.

IV. FOURTHLY, To conclude; Meditation is, a a serious and solemn considering of Heavenly Things, to the end we may understand how much [Page 3] it concerns us, and that our Hearts thereby may be raised to some holy Af­fections and Resolutions. Now there are Four kinds of Solemn Medita­tion, according to their several Sub­jects.

V. FIRST, Some Solemn Meditations are, upon the hearing of Sermons: which is a very useful and necessary Practice amongst Christians; and it is better to hear one Sermon, and meditate on it, than to hear two, and meditate of neither. Now, to prescribe a Method for Meditating on Sermons, is neither ne­cessary nor possible; since the Methods of Sermons are various, therefore the Mediatours are to observe the Method of the Sermon they meditate upon; and the Fruits of such Meditations, is to work those Truths, Advices, and Motives, &c. upon our Affections, that are propos'd to us in the Sermon.

VI. THE Second kind of Solemn Meditation, is, when upon some Pro­vidential Occasion, spiritual Distem­per, or Temptation, we retire, and pour out our Souls in Prayers, Soli­loquies, &c. Which connot but in a [Page 4] very large sence be styled Prayer, being mix'd of such variety, as sometimes speaking to the Great Majesty of Hea­ven, and humbly acknowledging how we stand affected to Him and his Or­dinances; sometimes we examine our Soul, chiding, encouraging, or instru­cting it; sometimes we reason with our selves, what holy Resolutions we design to put in practice, and what we intend to supplicate the Almighty. Many Instances of this nature you may find in Psal. 42. and other Psalms which cannot properly be called Pray­ers, but Solemn Meditations.

VII. THE Third kind of Solemn Meditation, are those that are upon Scripture, which is the Word of God, and his words are pure, even as the silver tried seven times in the fire, Psal. 12. 6. Our Saviour's Precept, is, That we should search the Scriptures, Joh. 5. 39. And St. Paul bids us prove all things, 1 Thes. 5. 21. And if we meditate on God's Word, which is the Golden Rule of all our Devotions, we shall acquire that Peace to our Souls, which the World cannot give, nor none upon Earth can take from us; for all his [Page 5] Promises are Yea, and Amen, 2 Cor. 1. 20.

VIII. THE Last kind of Meditation, is, upon some Practical Truth of Reli­gion; which is, the planting and nou­rishing of all true Vertue among Men; to grow in grace, 2 Pet. 3. 18. to cleanse our selves from all filthiness both of flesh and spirit, 2 Cor. 7. 1. And endeavour­ing to take hold of St. Paul's pressing Argument to his Corinthians, to be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; then this Assu­rance will infallibly appertain to us, That our labour shall not be in vain in the Lord, 1 Cor. 15. 58.

SECT. II. That Meditation is a Duty.

THAT Isaac did not neglect So­lemn Meditation, is evident, by reason he went out into the Fields to perform it; and to shew that it was a Set-Duty, 'tis said, that he went ont to meditate. And God commanded Ioshua to perform this Duty, as a chief means [Page 6] for the keeping of the Law, Iosh. 1. 18. And indeed we ought not to forget so important an Exercise; for the Occa­sion of Sin, is the want of Considera­tion, and not want of Knowledge: Isa. 1. 3. For, who is there, almost, in the World, that knows not but that he must die, but how few are they that consider it? Deut. 32. 29.

II. NEXT, The Necessity of Medi­tation is very material: For none can enter into a State of Conversion, who thinks it insignificant. To confirm which, we have it recorded in Scrip­ture the Story of the Prodigal Son, who listed himself in Harlots com­pany; but upon his submissive return, was receiv'd again into his Father's fa­vour. Now, this is the Method of the Converted: First, He hears the sacred Truth of God's Word, and is con­vinced by it. Secondly, He considers and meditates upon it, and sees how much it concerns himself. Thirdly, He is affected with them; and being thus affected, it raiseth holy Resolu­tions of better Obedience.

III. BUT some will object and say, I am Illiterate, and cannot attain to [Page 7] it, and therefore I must relinquish it, and leave it to the Learned, who is best able to perform a Duty of so great Importance. To which I answer, as in the Mathematical Science; He that is a rational Man, and does but improve his Reason, though he hath neither Tongues nor Arts to assist him, may understand and grow to an extraordi­nary Excellency in any Art▪ if he has God's Assistance, and does but exer­cise and improve it, he may reap the Benefit and Fruit of Meditation.

IV. OTHERS will object, and de­clare, It is a very hard Duty. To which my Replication is this; That the harder any thing seems, it is the more excellent when it is attained; but the Obstacle is apparent, and in­ferrs it not to be consonant to our per­verse Wills and Affections; and the more dissonant any thing is to that which is Evil, the more congruous it is to sublimer Actions: For it cannot reasonably be expected that any Duty should be performed at the first, with much facility. For Example; the Seven Liberal Sciences, which are of great Excellency in Temporal Enjoy­ments, [Page 8] are not so easily attained with­out Sollicitation and Sedulity.

V. NOW the reason is evident; for this Duty is powerful in mortifying Corruptions: dulcified things nourish and pamper the Body, and bitter things gives a purgation: Therefore, if you will only perform those Duties that are pleasant and delectable, they will only nourish, not purge out Corruption. Therefore implore the Almighty to in­flame your Hearts with his divine Love; and then this Duty will not only be facile and delightful, but will so affect the Undertaker, that it will be very difficult to avoid a Duty of so great im­portance; for it is as great a difficulty to take our Affections off from what we admire, as it is to place 'em upon what we abhorr: For, bid the covetous Person forsake his Gold and Silver, and bid him entertain the Thoughts of Things Celestial, and he'll find an equal Difficulty in both.

VI. INDEED, the Love of the Almighty, and Desire of Spiritual Things, are acquired by Meditation; and when once our Hearts are inflam'd by that Exercise, then our Meditations [Page 9] are inflam'd by Love: For, as Sparks of Fire [...] is first blown up before the Flame encreases; so the Difficulty of Meditation appears at the beginning, when there is but, as it were, a Spark of divine Love in the Heart, it will require some Pains, by Meditation, to blow it up to a Flame; but after­wards the Heart will be so fervent with these Conflagrates of Love, that it will so inflame all the Thoughts, and create in us not only Facility, but a Necessity to meditate on Things Spiritual.

VII. Now some will object, If it be a Duty so Necessary, how comes it to pass, that it hath been so geeerally Neglected by most Christians? To which I answer; That it hath been practised by many in ancient Times, and by many modern Christians. The Sacred Scriptures inform us, and it is evident that the Psalms of the Royal Prophet, are frequently digested into Meditations: But this being a Private Closet-Duty, the Omission nor Per­formance of it could not be taken no­tice of; and so the Omission of it could not be reprehended, nor Per­formance [Page 10] observed. Lastly, The Di­rections and Instructions for Medita­tion, have been generally very abstruse and intricate.

SECT. III. Rules and Directions for Meditation.

AS to the Place, that must be a­part, remote from Society and Disturbance; the Patriarch Isaac went into the Fields, our Blessed Saviour into a Garden; and the Prophet Da­vid adviseth us to enter into our Cham­ber, and be still, Psal. 4. 4. And Christ commands us, to enter into our Closet, and shut the door. Now the reason of the Privacy is this, that we might re­ceive no Interruption, or any Distra­ction, nor be forced to break off abrupt­ly before the Duty be ended; next, that we may be recluse from the Ob­servation of all Mortals that we may neither be heard nor seen; for there are divers Gestures and Expressions, which are not requisite or necessary for any but God and the Soul to be privy [Page 11] to: Now what Place soever you find to be necessary for this important Duty, be sollicitous to make choiee of.

II. As for the Time; the best Op­portunity is in the Morning: for the First Fruits of the Day being Holy, all the rest are Sanctified. Moreover, our Thoughts being then not polluted with worldly Affairs, they are not so liable to distraction: and the Body it self is more serene than after Meals; and this Duty requires a vacuity in the Sto­mach; not only because the Head will be more perspicuous and apt for Medi­tation, but also, because many Passages of Meditation require so much Atten­tion of the Mind, and Fervency of Af­fection, that they do hinder Digestion: And this Duty being performed in the Morning, it will have an influence upon the whole Day. But this Rule is not universal; for we read, that Isaac went forth in the Evening to medirate, Gen. 24. 63. And if the Subject of your Meditation be a Sermon, then perhaps the properest time is imme­diately after the hearing of it, before your Affections cool, or your Memory fail you.

[Page 12] III. FOR the Duration; consider­ing the Parts of Meditation are so many, as Preparation, Considerations, Affections, Resolutions, and the like: And not one of these are to be past slightly over; for Affections are not quickly raised: nor are we to cease blowing the fire, if it flame, until it be well kindled; Half an Hour may be reckon'd to be the least for Beginners, and an Hour for those that are Profi­cients in this Duty.

IV. But in this Particular, there is Two Rules especially to be observed: First, That as we ought not to desist from our Prayers before that temper and frame or heart is wrought, which is suitable to the Requests of our Pe­titions; so we should not desist in our Confession of Sin, till our Hearts are truly sensible, and humbled for Sin; neither should we slacken our Praises, until our Hearts are filled with holy Admirings, and inflamed with the Love of the Almighty. Now, the End of Meditation, are Affections and Resolu­tions, therefore we should not desist till those are effected.

[Page 13] V. SO in Private Prayer, when we find our Hearts enlarged by the Effu­sion of the Spirit of Supplication upon us, we are not to desist, unless by our persisting in that Duty, we omit ano­ther to which we are more particularly obliged at that juncture; so in Medi­tation, when we perceive the Heart affected, we are to continue it: But this Caution must be observ'd, That in our Enlargements, we must not continue them longer than while they flow freely, without much Straining and Compulsion: for Honey which comes freely from the Comb, is pure; but forced by Heat and Pressure, is not so well relish'd. Now, if the Heart is dead, we must use our utmost dili­gence to awaken it; and when once our Hearts are inflamed, and enlarged by holy Affections in an extraordinary manner, 'tis but an impediment to our Affections to return to the Meditation of those Points that raised them.

SECT. IV. Of the Subject and Method of Meditation.

FIRST, Avoid Controversie, for that will convert Meditation into Study; and nice Speculations, for they are sapless without Nutriment: be­sides, being so light, they fluctuate in the Brain, and want ponderosity to sink them down into the Heart; and inddeed, were they admitted, they are so insignificant, as the Heart, by its reception, could acquire no Affecta­tion. But let the Subject of your Me­ditation be the plainest, powerfullest, and usefullest Verities of the Almighty, as Death, Iudgment, Hell, and Heaven; the Mercies of God, our own Sins, and the Love and Sufferings of a crucified Saviour, Contemplate on that which is most suitable to your Spiritual Wants; as in the time of Desertion, meditate most of the Love and Mer­cies of God, and thy own Unworthi­ness, &c.

[Page 15] II. NOW the Rules for Meditation are these Three: 1st. Preparatory. 2dly. For the Body of the Duty. And, 3dly. The Conclusion. In our Duty of Preparation, besides the choice of the Subject, we are to be convinced and affected with the Presence of the Deity, and to use fervent Prayer for the Divine Assistance. Secondly, For the Body of Meditation, it consists of Three Parts: The First is, Conside­ration; which is, the convincing our Hearts of several Verities appertain­ing to that Subject whereof we me­ditate.

III. IF the Subject of our Medita­tion be Death, the Considerations may run thus: Alas, O my Immmortal Soul! the Manner, Time and Place where we shall expire, we are ignoraut of; generally Mens Lives come to a period sooner than they expect; and cer­tain it is, whensoever that Hour or Mi­nute approaches, we must bid adieu to Honours, Pleasures, Riches, Friends, and at last, our own frail Bodies, &c.

The Second Part, is, Affections; whether it be Love of God, Christ, or Spiritual Things; despising of the [Page 16] World, admiring of the Omnipotency, or any other Spiritual Affection. The Third Part, are, Resolutions to per­form that which is agreeable to God's Command, and to desist from all man­ner of Evil.

IV. NOW that this is the most pro­per and genuine way of Meditation, evidently appears: First, Because it is not Artificial, and such as requires Learning, as those Instructions are which advise us to consider the Effi­cient, Final, Formal, Material Cause of Defunction, with the Adjuncts, Con­comitants, and Concatenations, &c. which though they, perhaps, may please the Learned, yet such difficult words astonish the Ignorant. Now, this is the Method by which every one that is brought home to God, is con­verted.

V. AND the first thing in Cover­sion, is, our being convinced of some Truths; which Conviction raiseth Af­fections: For if the Verities of the Di­vine Omnipotence end in Conviction, and go no further; nay, if they end in Aflections only, and never arrive to Resolutions of shunning Evil, and [Page 17] performing of Good, Conversion can never be perfected. As for Example: One is convinced that he is a miserable, undone Wretch, by reason of Original and Actual Abomination: Upon this Conviction, Fear and Sorrow are ex­cited; yet if these do not operate in us a fixed Resolution of forsaking those Sins, we are yet in our Sins, and un­converted. Thirdly, There are several things for the concluding of Medita­tion, which I shall treat of in its pro­per order.

SECT. V. Of being affected with the Di­vine Presence.

WE are to consider, God is present in all places, as really and Essen­tially as he is in Heaven: For, Omni­potency did not create Heaven for his Confinement, but to manifest his Glory; for the Heaven of Heavens are not able to contain him; neither is the Almighty included by, nor ex­cluded from any place: And though [Page 18] Iacob said, Surely the Lord was in this place, and I knew it not, Gen. 28. 16. yet we must not imagine that Iacob was ignorant of the Verity of it, but did not actually consider it; but the the Psalmist, in the 139th. Psalm, is perspicuous in explaining and clear­ing up the Omnipresence of the Al­mighty.

II. NEXT, we must consider, That the Almighty doth more peculiarly observe his Servants, while they are performing of heavenly Duties: Yet this is to be understood, not as if God observ'd us more at one time than ano­ther, in respect of his Omnisciency; but we may inferr That God is much more offended with us, if our Deport­ment and Frame of Heart, be more irreverent and unholy in the Duty of Prayer and Meditation, than in the Duties of our particular Calling.

III. WE may consider with our selves, That Christ doth actually be­hold us, especially in these Duties of Sanctity: For it is not the remoteness of Place that doth obstruct Christ's Omnisciency, and exact observing of us. Little did Nathanael think that [Page 19] Christ saw him under the Fig-Tree: Nathanael did not perceive Christ, neither then was he corporally pre­sent, yet Christ beheld Nathanael when he prayed. So Christ beheld St. Ste­phen before the Heavens were opened, and the opening of the Heavens was not; that thereby Christ might be en­abled the better to behold St. Stephen, but that this holy Proto-Martyr might thereby be the better enabled to discern that Christ looked on him.

IV. AND without all controversie, the Almighty observes and knows with what Reverence, Faith, and Love, we address our selves to him; for else our Prayers would be fruitless, and our Faith ineffectual: For, how could he distribute to us according to our Faith, if he knew not the extent of it? If the inferiour frame of our Hearts were not observed by Omnipotency, we may then inferr, that an Hypocrite which can utter extraordinary Expres­sions, should acquire more by his Ad­dresses to the Almighty, than a true Nathanael, in whom there is no guile.

V. Suppose that thou hadst lived in that Age when Christ was upon Earth, [Page 20] or that he were corpotally present now, near thy Habitation; consider with what Joy, Reverence, Alacrity, and Assurance, thou wouldst address thy self to him for the Pardon of thy Sins, or for any other Mercy thou stoodst in need of: After the same manner thou mayst now address thy self; his remoteness from thee, in respect of a Corporal Presence, doth not diminish his Power to discern thy Wants, or give an Audit to thy Petitions; nor his being now glorified, doth not derogate his Benevolence to grant thy Requests, than if he were corporally present, in the Room with thee in the form of a Servant, as he was once at Ieru­salem.

VI. THE Glory of Christ doth not slacken his Love and Goodness; for Christ is the express Image of his Fa­ther, and God's Attributes are all con­sonant: The Majesty of Heaven doth not set Limits unto his Goodness, and make that finite; nor doth his Bounty make his Omnipotency less glorious: His Goodness makes his Deity more amiable, and his Omnisciency makes his Mercies more wonderful; so nei­ther [Page 21] doth the Exaltation of Christ, ex­cite him to abate or diminish his Good­ness to any that serve him, according to his divine Precepts.

VII. BUT if in any method his Love is mutable, it is by an Augmentation: For when our blessed Lord was in the flesh, you must have approached him by Faith, or expected no Mercy; and by Faith, though he is inthroned in Heaven, you may obtain Mercy in time of need. Thus you may ponder upon any of these Considerations, un­til your Heart be so convinced of, and affected with the Presence of God, that you thereby may be the better fitted for the carrying on the Duty of Medi­tation more effectually.

SECT. VI. Of Preparatory Prayer Before Meditation.

THE next Preparatory Conside­ration is, Prayer; which thou mayst perform to this or the like purpose.

[Page 22] LORD, my design, at this time, is not to be sequestred an Hour from worldly Enjoyments, for that were to be guilty of a Cessation, and to en­crease the number of my Sins, not my Graces; but my Sollicitation, at this time, is, to be so convinced and af­fected with those spiritual Verities re­vealed in thy Sacred Word, that I may fully resolve, by thy Strength and Power, to reform my Life: for I can neither understand the things that be­long to my Peace; not understanding them, be convinced of the Certainty and Verity of them.

II. NAY, Lord, though my Under­standing is illuminated, yet without thee my Affections cannot be enflamed: I can neither know, resolve, nor per­form any Good without thee; for from thee proceeds both the Will and the Benefit of thy good Pleasure. Lord, I humbly implore [...] to replenish me with thy Grace, that I may be con­sciencious in performing this Duty with my whole Strength, and not negligently, and inconsiderately. And, Lord, do thou illuminate me, and convince me with thy Sacred Truths, [Page 23] and so affect my Heart with the Love of Sanctity, and a Detestation of all Sin and Wickedness, that I may there­by be fully and firmly resolv'd (not­withstanding all the Oppositions that the Flesh, the World, or the Devil can procure) to run the ways of thy Commandments with joy and cele­rity.

III. AND, Lord, grant that when thou hast operated in me the Will so to perform, give me also the Benefit, and let me not trust to the Strength of my Resolutions. but to the conti­nual gracious Assistance of thy holy Spirit for the Performance of those Duties that through thee I shall re­solve to pursue. Grant this, O holy and blessed Father, even for the Merits of thy dear Son, who hath com­manded me to approach to thee in his Name for any Mercies I stand in need of. O let these my Petitions reach thy merciful Ears▪ even for his sake who is my only Lord and Sa­viour, Amen.

IV. THIS or the like Prayer thou art to send up to the Throne of Grace: But this must be done with thy whole [Page 24] Heart; for thou must believe, that it is by the Strength which thou shalt acquire from God, by Prayer, whereby thou shalt be enabled to perform this or any other Duty profitably; for it is he that teaches us to be Proficients. Now, he that begins a holy Duty with­out God, will end it without him also. It is a pernicious thing to imagine that we can by our Natural Parts, Learn­ing, or by the strength of Grace already received, without the Almighty's fur­ther Assistance, perform any thing that can please him, or edifie our own Souls; for though our Mountain be made strong, yet if he withdraws the Light of his Countenance, we are in Obscurity.

V. WE may with much more rea­son declare, Now the Sun is in his full Meridian, and the Air is so serene, that now we can transact well enough for a space, though that Solar Luminary be eclipsed; than to testifie, though our Hearts be never so much inflamed with the Love of the Almighty, now we are so supplied and inflamed with his di­vine Love, we can subsist by our own Strength, and for the present we want [Page 25] not God's further Assistance; afford us but Subject Matter to meditate of, and we shall be of Ability to continue and encrease our Flames. Do not possess thy self that it is a Burthen, but a Mercy and Privilege, that Omnipo­tence hath necessitated and comman­ded thee always to extract Strength from Him.

SECT. VII. Of Consideration.

FIRST, Our Considerations must be plain, not intricate and abstruse; for the main Scope of Meditation being the affecting of our Heart, and re­forming of our Lives. Next, they must be certain and evident, not con­troversial and dubious; for the Effect of Meditation is not peculiarly to en­crease our Knowledge, but to improve it. Neither let Considerations be cu­rious and nice Speculations: Neither make choise of those Books to assist thee, in this Duty, which are embel­lish'd with Rhetorical and Eloquent [Page 26] Expressions▪ which appear, in the eye of the World, to be witty, but are in­deed very empty: for Verity, indeed, is many times lost in those Allure­ments; and entangles the Mind, by disingaging of it, from serious Consi­deration: As many Dishes become un­savoury, by having too much Cost be­stowed, and so lose their Vertue before they reach the Stomach.

II. THE Bee fixes not upon the freshest coloured Rose, or fragrant's Smell; but on the Herb Thime, which is of slender beauty. Besides, Elo­quence in this Duty, may please some Persons, as Pictures in Books please Children, who while they gaze upon them, neglect their Learning; even so, while we are affected with Ele­gancy of Speech, we stray from the performance of conveying the Verity of what we ponder of, to our Hearts: As in the Disease of the Bladder, the skilful Physician, to perform a Cure, administers those Remedies which may soonest reach the Part affected; for if they meet with any Obstruction, they lose their vertue, and are insignificant: so if our Understanding should expli­cate [Page 27] the Eloquence, or search out the Meaning or Certainty of the Verity it considers, any long season, the Heart will prove cool and unaffected; and be under the same Circumstance with those Musicianers that were to play ther Consort before a great Emperour, but were so long a Tuning their In­struments, that he would not stay to hear 'em.

III. THE next Rule, is, If any doubt ariseth upon an evident Truth, in which the Devil is apt to cast in Scruples; then act as the Arch-Angel did with him, enter the Lists; and perhaps when you have examined the Matter, the Cloud may vanish, and the Sun shine in its full Meridian; by which resistance Satan will take flight: but if he still persist, and your Blasphe­mies are not removed, then dispute no more, but use the Arch-Angel's words, The Lord rebuke thee, Satan. To this pur­pose, 'tis requisite to be well grounded in the Verity of God's Word, which is the Sword of the Spirit, by which our Saviour silenced Satan in all his Temptations: We must not dispute with that Enemy by Humane Reason, but we must put on [Page 28] the whole Armour of God, if we will be able to stand in the Day of Tempta­tion, and when all is done to stand.

IV. OUR next Rule, is, Not to over-multiply our Considerations; but when, by considering the Truths of God, we find our Hearts ardently af­fected, then we are to make a Pro­gression. But this Caution is obser­vable, That when we find our Hearts, never so little affected, we must desist in our Considerations: The Bee will not leave the Flower, while any Honey is to be extracted. And it is a Temp­tation which Christians ought to take notice of, That Satan is ready to make us hastily pass over Duties, before we have extracted half the strength of 'em: For when we are confessing our Sins, and our Hearts begin in the least measure to be humbled, they are often filled with such Joy, as may be suspe­cted to proceed from him, or our cor­rupted Hearts.

V. CORN, when it springs too fast, and grows rank, the Husbandman cuts it down. A Corrosive applied to eat dead Flesh, must not be removed when it begins to smart: And Wheat in [Page 29] stony Ground soonest springs up. Our Considerations must take deep root, and not entertain Affections and Reso­lutions when the Heart has newly re­ceived any Impression: But this we must remember, that if our Affections be much inflam'd when we begin our Considerations, we are to yield to the Inspirations of God, and be guided by it: for this Method here proposed, is not to limit the extraordinary Opera­tions of God's Spirit; but if our Hearts be only a little excited, we must not leave blowing the fire so soon as it be­gins to kindle; for green Wood will suddenly extinguish, unless it be throughly kindled.

SECT. VIII. Affections and Resolutions.

WITHOUT Knowledge, we can­not consider: and Consideration raises Affections; and Affections pro­duces Resolutions; and the Effect of Resolution is Action, and a through [Page 30] Reformation of our Lives and Man­ners. Now, our Affections may vary according to the Subject of our Medi­tation: for sometimes we admire the Goodness, Majesty and Wisdom of the Almighty; another time we are amazed at our own Folly and Madness, in living so contrary to our own Prin­ciples; and that those sacred Truths revealed in God's Word, which we might improve to our Eternal Salva­tion, should be laid by, as useless; as if one should have in his possession an excellent and effectual Receipt for the Stone, and yet lock it up, and make no use of it.

II. SOMETIMES we despise the World, and with Iob, abhorr our selves in Dust and Ashes: sometimes we af­fect Sorrow, Joy, Love, Fear, &c. of which we may be furnish'd out of the Book of Psalms, which were indeed but Da­vid's Meditations, though not in this Method. Now, when our Affections are much excited, we may make a progress to Resolution.

III. NOW your Resolutions must be fixed; not vain and frivolous, but serious and resolved▪ Purposes. Say not [Page 31] with thy self, I am assured the Wrath of God comes upon the Children of Disobedience, and I must embrace Hell, or forsake taking of the Name of God in vain; the Offence is great, which I commit in Swearing, and I could hear­tily wish I could omit it: but instead of this, argue thus with thy self, I am solemnly resolv'd, by the Blessing of the Almighty, to forsake all Sin, espe­cially what I am most guilty of; for God will not be mocked, neither must I give a faint denial to Sin.

IV. WHATEVER thy Resolutions are, put them presently in practise, and drive them not off to futurity. Art thou addicted to Drinking? Do not resolve and say, This Sin I intend to forsake, but for the present I am engag'd to meet Company where I must appear sociable; but that being finish'd, I design to prosecute my Re­solution. This is one of Satan's De­vices, and is cast in thy way as a Stumbling-block, which, if not re­moved, will prove pernicious.

V. NEXT, Let not thy Resolutions be only against Sin, but against the Temptations and Allurements to it. [Page 32] Solomon doth not say to the Adulterer, Thou may'st discourse a Harlot; but, Be not enticed by her words to unclean­ness: He will not permit thee to go in­to her House, or by her Door; Prov. 5. 8. And when he disswadeth the Drunkard from that Vice, he advises him not to look upon the Wine; for as the Beauty of a prostitute Harlot, so the Colour of Wine will inflame our Desires after it, Prov. 23. 31. After this method Iob resolv'd, I have made a covenant with mine eyes, why then should I look upon a maid? Job. 31. 1.

VI. NEXT, You must observe this Caution: If you find your Heart ne­ver so much resolving against, and de­testing of any Sin, yet be very circum­spect, that you confide not upon the strength of Resolution, but earnestly deprecate the Almighty, that he would enable you by his Divine Power; and that as he has given you the Will, so he would give you his Grace to per­form it.

SECT. IX. Of Vows.

AS your Resolutios are, so let your Vows be; rather against the Oc­casions of Sin, than against Sin it self. In things Indifferent beware of making any Perpetual Vow, but rather let it be Conditional. As, First, That you will abstain from such a thing, or per­form what you design'd, unless you shall be otherwise advised by some di­screet, sober Person. Secondly, Add this Caution, if thou art guilty of Drinking, viz. If I think of it, I will not drink Wine this Month. Now, if a Breach of this Vow be made, though you did not think of it, you sin if your Vow be absolute.

II. THE next Caution concerning Things Indifferent, is this; Add a Pe­nalty upon the Breach o [...] your Vow; which may be to this purpose: I re­solve to set a-part one Hour in the Day, in Prayer for the Church, to the End of this Month; or else give Alms to the Poor. In such a case, if we per­form [Page 34] either, we sin not: And the rea­son of our Penalty, is, because some Inconveniences may arise which may prove very prejudicial to us; and then we have liberty to take the other part of our Vow, viz. To give so much to the Poor.

III. NOW, this Penalty we inflict upon our selves, must not be too light and trivial, but of such consequence as may be obligatory; yet not of that ponderosity to be prejudicial. For a rich Man to vow he will bestow a small Matter on the Poor, is inconsiderable; yet, perhaps, by a poor Man, the same Value may be of too large an extent: But let your Penalty be according to the Rules of Scripture and Reason, and opposite to those Sins which are most prevalent in thee. For Example, If Covetousness reigns in thee, exercise thy Penalty in Alms▪ If Voluptuous­ness, Prayer and Fasting, or abstaining wholly, for a time, from thy greatest Delight and Recreation.

IV. LASTLY, Let your Vows be rather against the External than the Internal Acts of Sin; rather against Speaking angrily, than being Angry: [Page 35] For though External Acts of Sin are worse, yet we have not so much do­minion over them. If your Vows ex­tend to the Performance of Holy Du­ties, let it be as to the Time, not the Quantity. For Example: Should'st thou bind thy self to read such a num­ber of Chapters, perhaps thou art tempted to read them too hastily over; whereas if thou dost allot thy self so much Time, thou art not so liable to this Temptation.

SECT. X. How to Conclude your Meditations.

FIRST, Thou must earnestly be­seech the Almighty to give thee Strength to perform whatever thou hast resolv'd to act in his Service. This must be perform'd fervently, though briefly and humbly, from an earnest Desire to act what thou hast promised and resolved, and also from an humble sense of thine Inability in the Per­formance. Next, express thy Thank­fulness; and when thou findest any [Page 36] Alteration wrought in thy Hearr to de­test Sin, give God the Glory, and re­joyce not in thy self, except it be with trembling at thy own Pride and Arro­gancy.

II. NEXT, We are to remember what Parts of our Medtation did most affect us, and lay them up so in our Thoughts, that frequently we may ponder on 'em. Lastly, When thy Meditations are ended, depart not ha­stily to thy Temporal Employments: Go not from the Presence of the Al­mighty, as a Bird out of the Snare of the Fowler, with alacrity and speed, but go vigilantly and warily from Holy Duties.

The Collects to be said Before or After Meditation.

O LORD, from whom all good Things do come, grant to me thy humble Servant, that by thy holy In­spiration, I may Think those things that be good, and by thy merciful guiding may Perform the same, through our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen.

[Page 37] GRANT to me, Lord, I beseech thee, the Spirit to Think and Doe always such things as be rightful; that I who cannot do any thing that is good without thee, may by thee be enabled to live according to thy Will, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

I BESEECH Thee, Almighty God, look upon the hearty De­sires of me the humblest of thy Ser­vants, and send forth the Right-hand of thy Majesty to be my Defence against all my Enemies, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

MED. I. Confession of Sin.

1 John i. 9.‘If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all un­righteousness.’

OMNIPOTENT God, my Sins ever appear in my sight, and are a Torment unto my Mind; every Day I think of thy Judg­ment, because Death threatens me every Hour. And when I remember, I must appear before the Iudgment-seat of Christ, 2 Cor. 5. 10. then I exa­amine my whole Life, and find it is altogether Vanity; my Actions are vain, my Words profane, and my Thoughts unprofitable. If the shadow of some Vertue appears, it is imper­fect; because Original Sin, and my vitiated Nature hath polluted it.

[Page 39] II. IF all our righteousness are as filthy rags, Isa. 64. 6. what can we ex­pect our Unrighteousness should be? Our Saviour tells us, When ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, we are unprofitable servants, Luk. 17. 10. And if we are so unpro­fitable in our Acts of Obedience, cer­tainly we are abominable in our Trans­gressions. St. Gregory, in his Morals, tells us, A diminutive Light may shine in Obscurity; but being set in the Sun, is darken'd. Wood not measured, may appear strait; but applied to the Rule, is found oblique. The Impress of a Seal may appear perfect in the Eyes of the Spectators, and yet be very im­perfect in the Eye of the Artificer. So that which glitters in the Estimation of the Performer, is often-times sordid in the Discretion of the Judger. For, the Thoughts of God are different from the Thoughts of Men, Isa. 55. 8.

III. THE Memory of many Sins affrights me; and yet there are divers I am ignorant of. Who can tell how oft he offendeth? O cleanse thou me from my secret faults! Psal. 19. 12. I dare not look up to Heaven, because I have [Page 40] offended him which inhabits there. In Earth I enjoy no Refuge, expecting nothing from the Creatures, because I have offended the Lord of the Universe. My Adversary the Devil accuseth me to the Almighty, and desires him the most Just Judge to condemn me to Chains of Darkness, for my Sin, that would not lay hold on the Means of Grace.

IV. NEXT, The Four Elements, in their order, accuse me: And, First, The Heavens acquaint me, they have supplied me with Light, to my Joy and Comfort. The Air whispers me, I have given thee all manner of Fowl my Re­gion affords, to be at thy Command. The Water violently speaks, I have given thee all manner of Fish to eat. And the Earth opens her Mouth, say­ing, I have given thee Corn, Wine and Oyl to nourish thee; but how hast thou abused these Mercies, to the Con­tempt and Dishonour of our Creation? Therefore let our Benefits redound to thy Punishment; let the Fire consume thee, the Water overwhelm thee, the Air fann and winnow thee, the Earth swallow thee up, and Hell devour thee.

[Page 41] V. THE Holy Angels which were appointed by the Almighty to minister unto me in this Life, and to be my Comforts in the Life to come, they accuse me: for by my Sins I have de­prived my self of their Ministry in this Life, and Hope of their Fellowship in the World to come; the Voice of God's Divine Law accuses me; either I must fulfil it, or perish; to perform the one, is impossible; and to undergo the other, is intollerable.

VI. GOD, the most severe Judge, and potentest Executer of his Eternal Law, accuses me: Him I cannot de­ceive, who is Wisdom it self; from him I cannot fly, who is Power it self, and reigns every where. Whither then shall I fly? Psal. 139. 7. Even to thee, O Blessed Jesu, my alone Redeemer and Saviour. I hear a Voice which bids me hide my self in the clifts of the rock, Cant. 2. 14. Thou art that Rock, and thy Wounds are the Clefts; in them will I hide my self against the Accusations of all the Creatures.

VII. My Sins cry aloud, even unto Heaven; but thy blood which was poured forth for my sins, cryes louder, Heb. 12. 2 [...]. [Page 42] My Sins are potent to Accuse me, but thy Passion is effectual to Defend me; the Unrighteousness of my Life is powerful to Condemn me, but thy most perfect Righteousness is power­fuller to Save me. I appeal therefore from the Throne of thy Justice, to thy Mercy-Seat; but I dare not appear be­fore thy great Tribunal, unless thy holy Merits interpose betwixt me and thy Judgment.

MED. II. That the Cross of the Holy Jesus should excite us to Repentance.

Rom. v. 8.‘While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.’

BEHOLD, my Soul, thy Saviour's Sufferings; the Wounds of him that was crucified, and the Torments of him that expired on the Cross: That sacred Head at which Angels tremble, is platted with a Crown of Thorns: That Face which in Beauty [Page 43] exceeded all Mankind's, is spit upon by the Ungodly: Those Eyes, brighter than the Sun in his Meridian, are ob­scured in Death: Those Ears which were accustomed to hear Angelical Anthems, are infested now with arro­gant Speeches, and scornful Reproaches: That Mouth from whence proceeded Divine Oracles, and dictated to An­gels their Celestial Lessons, receives nothing but Gaul and Vinegar: Those Feet which the devout Magdalen kissed, and wiped with the Hairs of her Head, are fastened with Nails: Those Hands which stretched out the Heavens like a Curtain, are now extended on the Tree of Shame.

II. THAT Body, the Deity's Tem­ple, is scourged and wounded with a Spear: Nothing escap'd the malicious Jews but his Tongue, and that was meekly exercised in Praying for his Persecutors. And he who now Reigns in the highest Heavens, underwent all this for lost Mankind: He felt the Pains of Hell, and cry'd out, My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me? Mat. 27. 46. So great was his Agony and Anguish, that he▪ which com­forteth [Page 44] Angels, stood now in need of one to comfort him.

III. IF this happens to the Just, what shall become of wretched Sin­ners? What measure shall the Al­mighty take with us for our Of­fences, who is so wrathfully displeased with his well-beloved Son for the Sins of the whole World? O God of infi­nite Mercy, take from us these stony Hearts of ours, and give us Hearts of Flesh, that we may tremble at thy Word, and melt at thy Judgments. Lord, let us not forget thy Acclama­tions and Tears: Thou cryedst from the Cross, Behold, O ye Sons and Daughters of Men, what I suffer for you! Was ever Grief so great? or any Sorrow like unto my Sorrow? But O Thou whose Property it is to have Mercy, convert our stubborn Hearts unto Thee.

MED. III. Of the Fruits of Repentance.

Mat. iii. 8. ‘Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance.’

THE Foundation of a Holy Life, is True Repentance; and where that is acquired, Remission of Sins, and Eternal Life succeeds. Why then do we deferr our Repentance, and procrastinate it from day to day? To Morrow is not in our possession; and to Repent sincerely, is not in our power; but when the Judgment-Day is approach'd, we must render an Account not only for one Day, but for our whole Lives.

II. ACKNOWLEDGE and bewail thy Sins, so shalt thou find God in Christ appeased towards thee. I, even I am he that blotteth out thy transgres­sions, saith the Lord, Isa. 43. 25. infer­ring our Sins are enrolled in the Court of Heaven. Turn away thy face from my sins, begs the Royal Prophet, Psal. 51. 9. Demonstating that our [Page 46] Iniquities are in God's sight. Be con­verted unto us, O God, prayeth Moses: therefore our sins do separate us from God, Isa. 59. 2. Our sins have answered us, complaineth Isaiah, ver. 12. and do ac­cuse us before God's Tribunal. Cleanse me from my sins, is the Psalmist's Peti­tion, Psal. 51. 2. Concluding, our Sins, in appearance, are sordid in the Eye of the Almighty.

III. SIN is the Distemper of the Soul: which moved David to cry out, Heal my soul, for I have sinned against thee, Psal. 41. 4. It is for Sin, that we are blotted out of the Book of Life. So said the Eternal, Whosoever shall sin against me, I will blot him out of my book, Exod. 32. 32. We are cast off by the Almighty for our Sins: which made David deprecate, Cast me not away from thy presence, Psal. 51. 11. Sin torments the Mind, and dries up the Moisture, as the Psalmist expe­rienc'd, Restore me to the joy of thy sal­vation, Psal. 47. 12.

IV. Sin is infectious, says the Pro­Prphet, Isa. 24. 5. The earth is defiled by the inhabitants thereof, which have transgressed the law. Our Sins press us [Page 47] down to Hell, else the Psalmist had not broke out, saying, Out of the deep have I cried to thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice. 130. 1. Sin is the spiritual Death of the Soul. So says the Apostle, We were sometimes dead in our sins, Ephes. 2. 1. By mortal Sin, Man loseth his Creator, who is the infinite and Incomprehensible Good: there­fore, to be deprived of him, is an infi­nite and incomprehensible Evil. And as the Almighty is the chiefest Good, so Sin is the chiefest Evil.

V. CALAMITIES and Punishments are not absolutely Evil; for many times from them Good is extracted: Nay, they may properly be called Good; because they are God's Mes­sengers, and proceed from him who is the Fountain of all Goodness. More­over, they lead us unto the chiefest Good, even Life Everlasting. Christ, by his Passion, entered into his Glory, Luk. 24. 26. And Christians, by Tri­bulations, enter into Life Eternal, Act. 14. 22. And consequently, Sin is the chiefest Evil, because it draws us from the chiefest Good.

[Page 48] VI. THE Sinner is accused by his Conscience, which he hath defiled; by his Creator, whom he hath of­fended; by the Sins he hath commit­ted; by the Creatures he hath abused; and by the Devil, who hath seduced him. How saving then is Repentance, which frees us from such Accusations! Let us haste then with speed to such a soveraign Catholicon. If thou deferr thy Repentance till Death, thou do'st not forsake thy Sins, but they forsake thee; and it is very difficult to trace out an Example of sincere Repentance at the Hour of Death, except that of the Thief upon the Cross.

VII. FOVRTEEN years have I served thee, (said Iacob to Laban,) it is time now that I should provide for my own house, Gen. 31. 41. And if thou hast pursued the World, and chased after the Vanities of it so many Years, it is now high time to provide for thy Soul. Every Day, nay, every Hour and Minute, we accumulate Sin; Oh, let the Spirit, every Moment, wash it away with Tears of Repentance. The Almighty infuses not the Oyl of Mercy, but into the Vessel of a con­trite [Page 49] Heart: He first mortifies us by Contrition, and then quickens us by his Spirit of Consolation: He leads us into a deep abyss of Grief, and brings us back by his Restraining Grace.

VIII. Elias first heard a vehement Wind, overturning Mountains, and cleaving Rocks; and after the Wind, an Earthquake; and after the Earth­quake, Fire, 1 King. 19. 11. At length there followed a still, small Voice, ver. 12. From whence we may inferr, That Terrour is the precursor of the Love of Omnipotency, and Sorrow precedes Comfort. God binds not up any Wounds that are laid open by Confession: He Pardons and Justifies none, except they Acknowledge and Condemn themselves: He Comforts not, unless they first Despond. And this is the sincere Repentance which God, by his Holy Spirit, operates in us.

MED. IV. Of Man's Salvation.

Tit. ii. 11.‘For the grace of God that bring­eth salvation, hath appeared unto all men.’

WHY art thou perplexed, O my Soul? and why art thou dubious of the Mercy of God? Remember thy Creator, who created thee without thy Assistance; who formed thee in se­cret, in the lower parts of the earth, Psal. 139. 15. He who took care of thee before thou wer't born: Will his Providence neglect thee, now thou art fashioned after his own Image? To Thee, the Great Creator, does thy unworthy Creature address himself: Though my Nature is infected by Sa­tan, and wounded by Thieves, which are my sinful Corruptions; yet my Creator liveth.

II. HE which made me, can renew me: He that created me without any Evil, can chase all Evil from me; what­soever hath gain'd admittance by the Devil's Suggestions, Adam's Prevarica­tion, [Page 51] or my own Actions; yea, though it hath over-spread my whole Sub­stance. The Almighty never hated his own Workmanship: We are before him, like Clay in the Hands of the Potter. Had he hated me, certainly he would never have created me when I was nothing: He is the Saviour of all men, but especially of them that be­lieve, 1 Tim. 3. 10. He created me wonderfully, and redeemed me mira­culously; but his Love was never so highly expressed, than in his Wounds and Passion.

III. SURELY we were indulgently belov'd, for whose sakes the only be­gotten Son of God is sent from the Bosom of his Father. Dear was the Price of our Redemption, and great was the Mercy of our Redeemer: To make us Rich, he embraced Poverty; for he had not where to lay his head, Mat. 8. 20. To make us the Sons of the Most High, he condescends to be­come Man; and doth not, after he had accomplish'd our Redemption, neg­lect us, but still intercedeth for us, Rom. 8. 34.

IV. LET my Sins, Satan, and all [Page 52] the Powers of Darkness accuse me, in Jesus my Mediator will I trust, who is Greater than my Accusers. Let my Weakness affright me, yet in his Strength will I glory. For the Suffi­ciency of my Merit I am familiarly ac­quainted, my Merits is not sufficient; it suffices me, that he is propitious against whom I have sinned; and whatsoever he hath decreed not to im­pute, will be perform'd; and all Guilt, with the Price of his most precious Blood, shall be done away.

V. LET it not then perplex me, that my Sins, though many, and of such a magnitud [...] discomfort me: For were I not oppress'd, and heavy laden with Sins, what need I earnestly request Christ's Righteousness? Had I no Distemper, I had no necessity to implore the Physician's Help: but I am spiritually sick; and He who is the Lord our Righteousness, is both our Saviour and Physician. Lord, I am Sick, a Sinner, and Condemned; and upon the Grand Inquest of my Con­science, pronounce my self Guilty: but have Mercy on me, O my Physician, my Saviour, and my Righteousness!

MED. V. The Youth's Memento.

Eccles. xii. 6.‘Remember now thy Crea­tor in the days of thy youth.’

IT was both seasonable and profitable Advice, and one of the elegantest and choicest Expressions in the Royal Preacher's Sermon. For, who is he which is now Young and Vigorous, that is certain he shall live to be Old? And yet that potent Voice which loudly proclaims to all the World, and whose Sound will remain till Death shall be expired, is scarce aucible in the Ears of thousands.

II. 'TIS one of this divine Chanters harmonious Lessons; and yet the World thinks it too harsh a Note, and is very much displeased with the Tune. 'Tis strange, and an amazing Wonder, That the Sweetest and Wisest of Preachers should have so slender a Train of Followers, being his Oratory is so Rhetorical and Divine: And yet it is so weighty a Text, which though [Page 54] they shun to hear, understand, or read, they cannot evade the seeing; for the whole Universe is but a Com­ment on it; every Creature we behold, preaches this useful Doctrine, which we so supinely sleep out with our Eyes open.

III. NATURE her self carries this Memento in her Forehead; and the very Bruit Beasts, in this Philosophy, can reason with us: And it is strange madness, that Man should forget his Maker, did he but remember himself. But alas, blooming Youth affects not to be put in mind of Heaven, which he is not acquainted with; 'twould impair his Memory, and make him think of his Prayers too often: Piety will but chill his Blood; Religion makes him look wither'd; the Thoughts of Heaven, and a Future-State, will make him sager than his years requires: his Blood informs him, he is not yet qualified to turn Divine; he may serve his Creator time enough, when he is more at leisure.

IV. THUS these Temporal Objects of Vanity and Pleasure chase away our Thoughts from Heaven, and its [Page 55] Celestial Raptures: We can spend the Flower and Beauty of our Years in Vice, and think the Almighty will be well enough pleas'd with the Defor­mity of decrepit Age: We can sport and revel our Piety and Time in vain and frivolous Delights, and conclude our selves potent enough to compel Heaven, and become Religious, when we are bowed down with Infirmities, and have nothing left us but Repen­tance and a Tomb.

V. WE are so highly pleas'd with the Sweetness of Sense, that we are negligent of any greater Felicity; and so extraordinary much delighted with the Happiness of Sinning freely, that we could willingly embrace that Re­ligion which tolerates Vice most: We place all our Devotion, with the luxu­rious Epicure, in the Riots of Nature: Jolly Meetings are our best Religious Exercises; a Sermon is as troublesom and melancholy to us, as a Funeral; and to hear of our Latter-end in the mid'st of our Pleasures, sounds like a Lecture of Death, the unwelcome and faint Eccho of the Grave.

[Page 56] VI. LET the Preacher instruct us never so earnestly to remember our Creator, we rather chuse to follow Sa­tan's Doctrine, to enjoy this World as long as we can, and entertain Thoughts of Heaven at our leisure. And shall the Lusts of this vain World, O Lord, be greater in my Soul than the Love of Thee? Shall the tempo­rary Allurements of Sin eclipse the Me­mory of thy Glory? My Life, I know, is but a Span; and yet, I beseech thee, abreviate that, rather than it shoud be spent in a neglect of Thee: better this Earthly Tabernacle of my Body be dissolv'd, than become a Theatre for Sin to revel in.

VII. LET me pay unto Nature the due Debt I owe her, sooner than per­haps she would summons it, rather than run deeper in score with thy Ju­stice. 'Tis far better I should die, and be lost in the memory of the World, than to forget thee: Thou broughtest me, at first, from nothing, not to sin, but to serve and fear Thee; and has impressed in me a Ray of thy blessed Self, that I might not seek my own perverse Will, nor pursue this vain [Page 57] World, but heavenly Mansions: inure me therefore to Thee, that I may be­hold those solid and ravishing Joys and Consolations that is in serving of Thee; what Tranquility accompanies thy Grace; that so I may no longer follow my own depraved Sense, but my Sa­viour.

VIII. IT is none of the least Sins of our Youth, that we are negligent and forgetful of Thee our Creator. And no wonder we are ignorant and insen­sible of the Joys to come, that live in such a constant and continued neglect of Heaven. Make me therefore, O my God, seriously to consider, that had I the perfect Fruition of all I could wish or long for here, I should not only be unsatisfied, but, in the end, find how miserable he is that fixeth his Heart on any thing but Thy Self. Teach me therefore so to enjoy the World, that I lose not Thee, nor the Memory of that Blessed and Eternal Reward Thou hast promised to them that Honour and Fear Thee.

MED. VI. General Rules for a Godly Life.

Ephes. xv. 16.‘See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise; redeeming the time, because the days are evil.’

EVERY Day Death approaches thee, and then follows Judgment and Eternity. Therefore, think often how thou may'st be able to Answer, in that most strict and severe Judg­ment: Look circumspectly unto thy Thoughts, Words, and Actions; for at that great Tribunal thou must ren­der up an exact Account, Eccles. 12. 14. Every Evening and Morning entertain thy Thoughts of the pale Messenger, and deferr not thy Repentance till the next Day; for the Morrow is uncer­tain; but Death is certain, and waits no Person's leisure.

II. NOTHING is more opposite to Piety than Procrastination. If thou contemnest the inward Voice of the Holy Spirit, thou will never attain to [Page 59] a sincere Repentance. Make it thy business and study to walk in the Law of the Lord. In thy Conversation be Affable and Courteous to all, Perplex­ing to none, and Familiar with few: To God live Piously, to thy self Con­tinently, and to thy Neighbour Justly: Shew Favour to thy Friend, Patience to thy Enemy, thy Good-Will towards all, and thy Bounty to whom thou art able. Always call to mind Three things past, the Evil committed, the Good omitted, and the Time pretermit­ted: And ever bear in mind Three things present, the Brevity of this present Life, the Difficulty of being saved, and the Paucity of them that shall be saved.

III. LET thy Evening Prayers ascend, and humbly confess the Sins of the Day past, and think how many are in danger of Hell-fire. Let the last Day of the Seven correct and amend what Enormities thou hast committed the whole Week: Shew Obedience to thy Superiours, give Counsel and Aid to thy Equals, and Defend and Instruct thy Inferiours: Subdue thy Body to thy Mind, and thy Mind to the Will [Page 60] of God: Heartily bewail thy past E­vils, and set not thy Affections on Temporal Enjoyments, but fix them on that which is Eternal: Mourn for Sins, upon remembrance of them; and often remember Death, that thou may'st cease from Sin: Let the Justice of the Almighty keep thee in Fear, and his Mercy preserve thee from De­spair.

IV. WITHDRAW thy self, as much as thou can'st, from the World, and addict thy self wholly to God's Ser­vice: In Pleasures and Delights, be vigilant of thy Chastity; in Riches, exercise thy Humility; and in worldly Affairs, neglect not Piety: Be stu­dious in pleasing none but thy Sa­viour, neither fear to displease any but Him: Deprecate Him always, that his Will may be done on Earth, as it is in Heaven; and beseech Him to forgive thee what is past, and to guide and govern what he has wrought in thee, for the future.

V. ABANDON all Hypocrisie; for God judgeth not according to exter­nal appearance, but according to the Heart. In thy Words, take heed of [Page 61] vain repetitions, Mat. 6. 7. because for every idle word thou must give an ac­count in the day of judgment, Mat. 12. 36. Let thy Words, Works, and Actions, be good or evil, they pass not away, but remain as Seeds of Eternity. And the Apostle assures us, If thou sowest to thy flesh, of the flesh thou shalt reap corruption; but if thou sowest to the spirit, of the spirit thou shalt reap life everlasting, Gal. 6. 8. Neither Ho­nours, Riches, Pleasures, or Vanities of this Life, can attend thee, after thy Glass is run out. Set a low value up­on what thou possesseth, but esteem highly what thou wantest.

VI. LET Holy Meditation produce in thee Knowledge; and Knowledge, Compunction; and Compunction, sin­cere Devotion. The Silence of the Mouth creates Peace in the Heart; and, and the more thou separates thy self from the World, the more accep­table thou art to the Almighty. What­soever thou requestest, ask it of God; and whatsoever thou enjoyest, resign up freely unto him: for he that is un­thankful for what he has received, is unworthy of receiving more; and the [Page 62] Gifts of Heaven cease to descend, when the Incense of our Thanks leave off ascending.

VII. WHATEVER happeneth to thee, convert it to a good use; as in Prosperity, bless and praise God, and exercise Charity according to thy Abi­lity. So in Adversity, exercise thy Re­pentance for what Enormities thou hast committed, which thou can'st not but imagine to be the Efficient Cause of what thou sufferest. Let Humility keep thy Heart in Subjection, that Ar­rogancy may get no possession of thee. Judge God to be a Father, for his Cle­mency, Power, and Gentleness; a Lord, for his Discipline, Severity, and Justice. Love him piously, as a Fa­ther, for his Mercy; and fear him, and trust in him, who abhors Sin in the least degree. Ever humbly ac­knowledge thy own Misery, but loudly proclaim his Mercy.

MED. VII. The Whole Duty of Man.

Eccles. xii. 13.‘Fear God, and keep his commandments, for this is the Whole duty of man.’

FEW there are which perform this Lesson; which yet should not so much appear our Duty, as it ought to be our Delectation. He that hath but once acquired the habit of adoring his Maker, will assideouslsly confess Religion the highest of Pleasures; and that Legislative Power which seems so formidable and disgustful to the World, will prove but recreative to his Immortal Soul. But alas, how little is there of the Royal Prophet's Piety now among us, when instead of delighting in God's Law, we obliterate it more; and are so far distant from meditating in it either Day or Night, that we never in the least think or con­sider of it at all.

II. 'TIS become a Custom, now, to Sin with Audacity; and a Syllogism of [Page 64] much Valour, to exile this timerous Religion, or fearing either the Al­mighty, or his Law, which he hath given us. The Royal Preachers edify­ing Doctrine is as obsolete, and worser than a Paradox; a meer Apocrypha, and a Heresie to revive it. To instruct us in our Duty, is to scurrilize the Times, whil'st we officiously unhinge Religion; and it is no amazing won­der there are such swarms of Atheists: but indeed, there never was such a time to generate them, as now; trace Anti­quity to its primitive Rise, and this Age cannot be parallell'd.

III. THE World never encreased so much in Sin: abominable Sects, and disaffected Parties, like Colonies, new cultivate the Earth; Profaneness is grown Hereditary, and sprouts out by Propagation; so that in process of time, Posterity may perhaps become Ethnicks. Were the Divine Wisdom and his Promise mutable, a Deluge would prove but a slender Penalty. We not only sin, but exult in it more; whil'st some, not satisfy'd to be occult and silent Atheists, proclaim it aloud, and are fierce of acquiring the Reputa­tion; [Page 65] as if we could not render our Ingenuity enough, without Denying our Maker.

IV. NO marvel Religion is out of Tune, when a Harmony in Eccle­siasticks is wanting; or that Christia­nity bears so faint a Sound, when com­mon Morality is not heard. And yet it is a Lesson which we cannot learn too well, a Tribute we cannot pay too often. We owe our Breath to the Bounty of his Hand; what Homage then can we better pay than that, which by magnifying of him, we pur­chase an Immortal Crown for our selves? Tell me, ye stupid Chasers of the World, what ye aim at in all your Pretences? Ye that scoff at Heaven, and make Divinity a Garment for Un­righteousness? That with the Pha­risee, embrace Formality for your Re­ligion, and make an external Piety your Duty?

V. ALAS, Heaven is not gain'd by pious Fraudulency, gilded Crimes, or fortunate Transgressions; nor the Eye of the Almigty to be deluded with a gaudy Zeal. 'Tis not a pretended San­ctity, that can invest us with Immorta­lity; [Page 66] nor a modish Devotion only, that will conduct us to Heaven. How mi­serable is he who idolizes the World, and embraces that Religion, to neg­lect his Creator! Therefore let us make that inquest of the Voice within us, and then invoke the Almghty in these or the like Expressions.

VI. ‘O GREAT Iehovah, what did'st thou bestow our Reason on us, but to diligently listen unto the Voice of thy Law, that the Celestial Rhe­torick of thy Word, might at least attract from us an ignorant Profane­ness? Shall Ethnicks, that had no other Scope, no other Recompence for their Sanctity, than some vain Applause, or the internal Triumphs of their Spirits, for their good Per­formances, outvie us in the Splen­dours of a Moral Life; and we that have sublimer and purer Hopes, be scarce Obedient for Thy sake? Shall they that are ignorant of Thee, be more passionately Just, than we that have traced out Heaven, and expect Eternity to succeed?’

VII. ‘THOUGH it was not in Man's Power to find Thee, till Thou [Page 67] did'st reveal Thy Self in a Crucify'd Jesus; yet now having so richly, and in that Plenitude expressed to us the Treasures of Thy Love, shall we not be excited to perform something for Thy Glory? Incite us, we beseech Thee, to consider well the Advan­tages that are in Thy Service, the Felicity that accompanies Obedience, and thae Crown which is the Re­compence of Faith; that so our Af­fections being mortified unto these fading Objects here Below, they may be enliven'd only with Desires after those Eternal Excellencies that are in Thee, in Thy Heavenly King­dom.’

MED. VIII. The Vanity of the World.

1 Joh. ii. 15.‘Love not the world, nor the things that are in the world.’

SET not thy Affections upon the World; for it shall pass away; and all the things that are therein, shall be [Page 68] consumed with fire? 1 Cor. 7. 31. 2 Pet. 3. 10. Love that Felicity which is Eternal, that so thou may'st enjoy it, and live for ever. Every Creature is subject to Vanity: whosoever there­fore idolizes the World, shall also be­come vain himself. Embrace that Good which is true and stable, that thy Heart may be quiet and fixed. VVhy doth mundane, ambitious Ho­nour delight thee? He that seeketh Applause of Men, cannot be Honour'd by the Almighty, Ioh. 5. 44. For he that chaseth after this VVorld's Va­nity, must be conformable to it: And the Apostle tells ye, He that pleaseth men, cannot please God, Gal. 1. 10.

II. HE that is Extoll'd yesterday, perhaps, to a high degree, by the Ap­plauses of Men, may be levell'd to morrow by Dis [...]race. VVhat is mor­tal Man the better, for gaining a Re­putation of a greater value than others, if he is disesteem'd in the sight of God? Our blessed Saviour being sought for to receive a Kingdom, fled from it; but to be ignominiously Crucified, sur­rendered himself. He that despises not the VVorld, to follow Christ, how [Page 69] will he be qualify'd to lay down his Life for him? Therefore there is no passage to true Happiness, but by con­temning the Pomps and Vanities of this wicked and fading World.

III. CHRIST, that blessed Pattern, taught us how we should value the World: For, if He who is Glory it self, rejected Temporal Glory, why should we, to our prejudice, embrace it? What availeth the Praises of Men, if the Voice within accuseth us? Or, what signifies a Bed of Gold, to one in a burning Fever, unless the State or Pomp could abate the Torment? It is only the Testimony of a good Con­science, that admits of any Duration. But why do'st thou chase so much af­ter Riches? He is too covetous, unto whom the Almighty is not sufficient. This Life is the Path to our Eternal Countrey. What doth transitory things profit us: They do but rather over­load the Traveller, as too much Bur­then doth a Ship.

IV. THE Majesty of Heaven is the Riches of his Servants; then why should'st thou not seek after that which will compleat thy Happiness? Tem­poral [Page 70] Riches produce Labour and Toil in the getting, Fear in the possessing, and Grief in the losing: and, which is most deplorable, the Labour of the Covetous not only perisheth, but it brings them also to the same Destiny. Lot's Wife, which was turn'd into a Pillar of Salt, yet preaches unto us this Doctrine, Not to look back on the Splendour of the World, but with speed to hasten to our heavenly Coun­trey. And why do'st thou so eagerly pursue after Pleasures? They are but Vanity, and in the end, Vexation of Spirit.

V. O THEN, let the remembrance of a Crucified Saviour, banish from thee all Pleasures; and let the remembrance of a Fire Unquenchable, extinguish all inordinate Concupiscence. Compare but the short Moments of Pleasure with Eternal Punishments, and thou wilt relinquish one to evade the other. Worldly Pleasures, if really considered, are brutish; and they that are involved in those Allurements, assume the shape of wild Salvages. The Sweetness of Heavens Kingdom pleases not that Ap­petite which daily feeds upon Husk [Page 71] with Swine. Let us then prepare, with the Patriarch Abraham, and offer up to the Almighty, as an Oblation, this our beloved Son, even our darling Sins which have so long invaded us.

VI. LET us consider, the Way to Eternal Mansions, is not strewed with fragrant Roses, but with Thorns and Thistles. The External Man, in­deed, is surrounded with Pleasures; but the Internal must press through many Tribulations. Let the Fear of Omnipotency then, macerate thy Flesh, that the Affections thereof may not delude thee. Retain always in mind the approach of the great Au­dit, that the perverse Judgment of thy sensual Appetite may no way enslave thee. Be not allured by the flattering Face of the Serpent, but remember the Sting he craftily conceals. Always in­voke the Almighty to strengthen thee with his Grace, that at the last thou may'st receive a Crown of Glory.

MED. IX. Iacob's Ladder.

Gen. xxviii. 12.‘And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set upon the earth, and the top of it reached unto heaven; and behold, the Angels of God ascending and descending on it.’

THE Patriarch Iacob had no sooner fixed upon a Stone for his Pillow, but a splendid Vision accosts his sight: That filial Obedience which attended him from his Father, on a Journey to Syria, became a nobler Conduct, and directed him the Way to Heaven: Those Angelical Travellers ascending and descending before him: Happy Solitariness, and glorious Entertain­ment with such Celestial Company! The Uneasiness of his Lodging was highly recompenc'd by this Beatifical. Prospect; when the God of Heaven, the Lord and Governour of the World, appeared unto him, refreshing him with the graciousness of his Promises and Providence.

[Page 73] II. WHEN I view the Figure of this humble Sleeper, I cannot forbear wondring at the folly of those, that expect Visions from Above upon their soft Beds, and seek for Revelation in the plenitude of their Pleasures: Their wanton Spirits would wax sick, and be out of humour with Piety, should it molest or oppose their Quiet: How apt would their Devotion be to con­tract an Ague, should they, with the Psalmist, rise up at Midnight to invoke the Almighty? God distills not his Miracles into the Lap of the Wanton; nor communicats the Excellency of his Glory, but to those who resign themselves to Him.

III. St. IOHN must be exil'd to Patmos, before he can be admitted a Divine; and have converse with none but Angels, if he would be a fit Pen­man for Heaven. Those devout Men, who were retir'd from all Company, but Solitude, and their Devotions, could not have merchandized so un­spotted with Heaven, had they not re­nounc'd all Correspondence with the World; and unvesting themselves of all Temporal Felicities, obtained an higher [Page 74] degree of Grace, and became living Monuments of Celestial Grandeur.

IV. OUR devout Patriarch enjoyed here no-Canopy but the serene Air; no other Tapers to illuminate his Apart­ment, but the Lamps celestial; and the vigilant Angels move to and fro, as it were, to guard and preserve him. Oh, how securely doth he rest, that lays down his Head in the Bosom of Providence, and makes that his Soul's Receptacle! Repose thus Beatifical, denotes a Sanctuary: Nor need he fear any Disturbance in his Rest, that has the Almighty for his Keeper; or that his pious nocturnal Thoughts shall be molested with frightful Dreams.

V. IACOB had no sooner prepared to sleep, but those holy Messengers unlock the Heavens, and invite him to ascend. But 'tis by a Ladder. Heaven is not to be clim'd up to in a moment: The Path to Happiness is trod by de­grees; and, as our Saviour informs us, 'tis very narrow. Every Vertue is a step to Eternity; and he is so much onward of his Journey, that daily tramples upon his Vices. We cannot prove too good Proficients in a Life of [Page 75] Sanctity, or imagine that in the least Acts of Piety we have enough to con­duct us to Happiness. 'Tis not a few Paces, but a constant Progress, that conveys us thither. Oh, how bad then is he, that thinks himself too good to be made better!

VI. ‘O LORD, the Promises of Thy Glory are immensible; and yet how negligently do we embrace'em! Thou hast directed us the Way unto Thy Self, and yet we are not only reluctant, but even weary of walk­ing to Thee! Alas, Is the Magnifi­cence of Thy Kingdom not worth approaching to? Can we propose to ascend Thy Throne by a feeble and dronish Devotion? How actively do we run after the Vanities of the World, but in Thy Service pretend faintness? We can chase after the fading Pleasures of this Temporal Life, but neglect our progress in the Way Thou prescribest us to walk in.’

VII. ‘QUICKEN us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and make us more ardous and zealous in Thy Service; and as Thou hast sent Thy dearly beloved Son, and our Redeemer, to [Page 76] summon us to Thy Self, so do Thou likewise send Thy Holy Spirit to san­ctifie us for Thy Self, that we may, by Thy heavenly Grace, become a peculiar People, zealous of Good Works: And we, who of our selves are unworthy to approach Thy Al­tar, will, by Thy Divine Assistance, run the ways of Thy Command­ments; so that at last we may attain our End, even the Saivation of our own Souls, and appear with Joy and Gladness in the Day of the Lord Jesus.’

MED. X. Of a Good Conscience.

Act. xxiv. 16.‘And herein do I exercise my self, to have always a conscience void of offence towards Ged, and to­wards men.’

WHATEVER thou undertakest, consult thy Conscience; and if Satan excites thee to any Evil, stand in awe of the Checks within thee: for [Page 77] the Internal Testimony is of more Efficacy than the External. Thy Con­science, that Angel-Guardian, which Divine Omnipotence hath fixed within thee, shall be register'd in those Books which will be opened at the Great Day, as is testified by St. Iohn, Rev. 20. 22.

II. THE First is, the Book of God's Omniscience; wherein thy Thoughts, Words, and Actions, shall be demon­strated. The Second is, the Book of Life, Rev. 13. 8. wherein those that are found written by Verity and Faith, shall be safely conducted by the Angels into Heaven's Imperial Court. The Third is, the Book of Holy Writ; ac­cording to which Golden Rule, our Faith and Good Works shall be mea­sured. The Fourth, contains the Te­stimony of the Indigent, whom we have defrauded or relieved. The Last Book contains the Internal Testimony of the Voice of Conscience; wherein all Offences are noted: and indeed, the Volume must be large, and ex­actly written by the Finger of Truth.

III. SINNERS, in that Day, will be fully convinced by the Terrour within 'em; and they can no ways [Page 78] shun so just an Accusation. A Mind undefiled, is the Crystal-Glass of the Soul; and is so transparent, that she evidently, by the Opticks of Faith, beholds the Idea of the Almighty: for a sordid Eye cannot view the Splendor of a true Luminary. As a well Com­plexion'd, and good Featur'd Counte­nance, is esteem'd in the Eye of the World; so an unspotted Conscience is acceptable in the sight of the Almighty. But that Conscience which abounds with Putrefaction, generates that Worm which continually, Vulture like, cor­rodes, but never dies.

IV. O THEN let us, while it is Day, with a true Remorse, have a sense and feeling of this never-dying Worm, and diligently labour to use all Arts to de­stroy it; and let us not indulge it by any means, lest it abide with us to all Eternity. VVhat can it advantage thee, if thou wer't a Proficient in all the Arts and Sciences in this Microcosm; nay, though thy Skill did extend so far, as to number the Stars, and to trace out the ways of the Planets, and did'st enjoy no Peace within to comfort thee. Let it be thy care to square [Page 79] the Actions of thy Life according to that Rule prescrib'd by the Holy Je­sus. Let Purity reign in the Centre of thy Heart, Verity possess thy Tongue, and embrace Justice, that it may at­tend thee in all thy Proceedings. All which will evidently demonstrate whe­ther thy Life be Good or Evil.

V. ALL the Applause and Breath of the VVorld is insignificant, if thy Bosom Friend, thy Conscience, accuse thee? And what can all their De­traction prejudice thee, if she defend thee? This potent [...]udge thou car­riest about thee, is sufficient to Accuse, Testifie, and to Condemn thee: This Justice holds the Balance even, and will not be bribed with unjust Re­wards; never will she be mollified with fruitless Prayers, but she indefatigably follows thee whithersoever thou goest, and will attend thee where-ever thou art, carrying about her that Charge which thou hast committed to her custody, whether it be good, or whe­ther it be evil.

VI. AND as the Testimony of thy Conscience evidences against thee, such Judgment must thou expect from the [Page 80] Judge of all Men. Sinners themselves, at last, shall become their own Ac­cusers, though no other Testimony ap­peared against them. For Instance, The Drunkard, when he is overwhelm'd with VVine, or Strong-drink, hath no sense of the Prejudice he hath receiv'd by his Intemperance; but having slept away his Drunkenness, the charm of sensuality is fractur'd, and he feels the smart of his own Imbecillity.

VII. So Sin, that Diabolical Trea­sure, whil'st it is agitating, darkens the Mind, and, like a condense Cloud, obscures the Lustre of perspicuous Judg­ment; but at length the Voice within is rouzed up like a Lion, and rendeth more vehemently than any other Ac­cuser. Oh, let us all, betimes, mortifie this Worm, by the fervour of our De­votion, that it may not gnaw upon us, to our Destruction, and lead us to Eternal Horrour. Extinguish this in­ternal Fire by thy Prayers and Tears, that so thou may'st enjoy Heaven in the Cool of the Day. VVhich God of his infinite Goodness grant that we may at­tain, by fighting a good fight, finishing our course, and keeping the faith, 2 Tim 47.

MED. XI. Of a Wounded Spirit.

Prov. xviii. 14.‘But a wounded spirit who can bear?’

NONE, on this side Eternity! not the vastest Heap, the Universe it self, that Theatre of Humane Frailty, cannot; for it groans and travels in Pains it self, to be delivered. Celestial Mansions was no longer a Residence for those ambitious, rebellious Spirits, who forfeited their Glory for those in­fernal Flames: which Torment is not equivolent to that infinite Despair which for ever secludes and interdicts them from it. It is no surprizing won­der, that many imagine there is no In­fernal Place like this; for its Torments are not to be parallell'd.

II. FIERY Furnaces, Stakes, Grid­irons, or Phalarus's Bull, are but Tri­fles, to this greedy Vulture. Tortures of the modernest Invention, are de­lightful Penalties, compar'd to this Crulty: Those inhumane dying [Page 82] Miseries, do but inrage and stupifie Sense; whil'st this vital Death, this destroying Life, exercises its Malice on a more Celestial Object; and con­tending to demolish and ruine an Im­mortal Part, makes Death it self a Principal, and gentle Murtherer to it.

III. CROAKS of Ravens, Shrieks of Owls, and Houls of Wolfs, that adds Obscurity to the dismal Night; Groans of departing Souls that invade the Ear, and fill the Apartment with trembling Epitaphs, transcribed in Characters mournful as the Grave and Silence; are well-tuned Harmonies, to the dying Elegiacks of a wounded Spirit, that vents nothing but bloody Satyrs against it self. Behold how, with the disconsolate Psalmist, it goes mourning all the Day and Night, in­viron'd with Sorrows, and surrounded with dismal and fatal Idea's, and in­verts his Bed into a Bath, which those weeping Fountains of Tears, his Eyes, have distilled! and instead of splendid and gentle Airs, evaporates nothing but dark and trembling Accents! which busie Satan labours to retort in doleful and despairing Eccho's.

[Page 83] IV. HOW contritely doth it expo­stulate with Heaven; My dearest Re­deemer, is that amiable Attribute of thy Mercy lost? Is the Fountain of it dried up from a poor and wretched Sinner? And wilt thou be a Jesus of Mercy to the whole Universe, and be­come none to me? Oh, let me descend from the loftiest Precipice, and for ever dwell in noisom Dungeons, inha­bited by none but loathsom Toads, Snakes and Serpents, beyond the reach and sight of all the World, so I may but enjoy the Light of thy Counte­nance! Let me live more poor and despicable than patient Iob upon his Dunghill, perplex'd with Boils, and and in a naked and dejected Defor­mity, so I may but conceal my Leopard's Spots, and place a Beauty in my Soul, which may invite that All­seeing Eye, whose radient Beams can comfort all Mankind!

V. TAKE heed, thou Sensualist, that now revellest and riottest in the World's Theatre, and counter-charms Damnation: Wer't thou but sensible of the terrible Agonies of Guilt, the Horrours of a murdering Sin, and the [Page 84] cursed Stings thy Pleasures leave be­hind them, how speedily would'st thou list thy self in nobler Services, and employ thy Time in better Thoughts? Wer't thou now to ex­pire thy Breath, how would the Guilt of an evil Life appale thee, when every Sin would represent it self a Messenger of Horrour, and the deluding World prove but an infernal Comforter.

VI. SHEW me in a Glass that Champion Conscience, that will not undertake, at length, to conquer that frozen Soul, whose Flashes will not liquefie and blast again, that Atlas-Sinner, whom gentle Burdens will not, at last, numerously depress. The VVorld is unquainted with a Misery equivolent; the Terrours of the un­welcom Grave are inconsiderate to it: which, could it but relieve the guilty Soul, and its tenebrous and silent Re­gions promise an Immunity from fu­ture Miseries, how readily would it purchase its Peace with Death, and implore its keenest Dart for a swifter Passage? Loss of Friends, Fortune, or Reputation, nay, Crosses which penetrate the Bone, are but slight [Page 85] Scratches, to these gaping VVounds. Procure me a Schedule of the deepest Afflictions; and there is none, I ima­gine, except this, which is not tole­rable to be dispensed with: But a wounded Spirit, who can bear?

VII. ‘O LORD, how Ponderous is the Load of a VVounded Spirit! How Formidable are the Stings of a Guilty Conscience! and the Appre­hensions of Thy Fiery VVrath! And how Deplorable is he that involves himself in Sin, and becomes insen­sible of his Guilt, till the Memento of his heinous Crimes display it: And when Mortality remembers him of a Future-State, nothing is his Con­comitant but his erroneous Life. Oh, Omnipotency! Thou hast fixed an impartial Register in our Breasts which no fawning Practice can bribe, nor Fountain of vulgar Tears silence from recollecting us of Thy Justice; and yet what numbers are there whose Consciences, like the great Leviathan, snap in sunder the Silver Cords of thy Divine Law, like Threads of Flax? and are so back­ward from Confessing their Crimes, [Page 86] that they are become obdurate in their Impenitence? But, Lord, do Thou teach me, as I commit Sin, so inspire me with Thy Grace daily, that whenever I shall approach Thy Presence, I may have no other Sins to testifie against me, than those which I possess; which if not throughly crucified, yet, at least, sincerely repented of with hearty Contrition.’

MED. XII. Of Humility.

1 Pet. v. 5.‘Be ye cloathed with humi­lity; for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.’

IF thou do'st but seriously consider the miserable State of Mankind, thou wilt easily shun the Temptations of an arrogant Spirit. Man, the Lord ‘of all Below,’ though he assumes to himself that Pride of Heart, yet he is Vile in his Ingress, Miserable in his [Page 87] Progress, and Lamentable in his E­gress: He is often assaulted, and pro­voked by Satan's Temptations: He is allured by Delights and Pleasures, cast down by Tribulations, entangl'd by Accusations, disrobed of Vertues, and ensnar'd into evil Habits and Customs. Why then art thou proud, O Earth and Ashes? Eccles. 10. 9. VVhat wast thou in thy Conception, but sinful Corruption? VVhat in thy Life, but a Lump of Flesh? And what after Death, but Food for VVorms? If there be any spark of Goodness in thee, it is not thy own, but the Almighty's, who is the only Donor of it.

II. THOU can'st claim nothing pe­culiar to thy self, but Sin which ac­company'd thee into the VVorld; and therefore▪ if Divine Omnipotence hath inspired into thee any measure of His heavenly Grace, give Him the Glory to whom it is most due. If thou wilt be Christ's Disciple, observe His Do­ctrine: Learn of me, for I am meek and lowly of heart, Mat. 11. 29. And he that observes this Lesson, will at length attain to be a Proficient in the School of Humility. Our Saviour, the Pat­tern [Page 88] of Humility, stiles Himself, the Lilly of the Vallies, Cant. 2. 1. Infer­ring, That He is the most imbellish'd of all Flowers; and springs forth, not in the mountainous and lofty proud Hearts, but in the low Vallies of the contrite and humble Spirits.

III. AND the Royal Psalmist tells ye, God dwelleth on high, and yet he be­holdeth the things that are humble, both in heaven and earth, Psal. 113. 5. If we contemplate with our selves, we may soon come to this result, That we cannot approach unto that Great Being, unless we tread in the Paths of Humility; for he that appears vile in his own Eyes, is valuable in the Eyes of the Almighty. VVeakness and Frailty is entail'd upon Humanity, and none can pretend to boast of such an Imbecillity. The twenty four Elders, (Rev. 4. 4.) cast down their Crowns be­fore the Throne, (ver. 10.) and render unto God all praise and glory. And the Seraphims cover their faces, before the face of the most Highest, Isa. 6. 2. VVhat then should Man do, who is the vilest of all Creatures, the worst of Sinners, and so unthankful to his Creator.

[Page 89] IV. CHRIST, the Everlasting Son of God the Father, wonderfully descended from Heaven in great Hu­mility, and miraculously condescended to take our frail Nature upon Him, and stooped so low as to be crucified for us: And what should poor Mor­tality answer for so high an Indul­gence, who is gone so far astray from his Maker? Behold, thou aspiring Soul, with what wonderful Humility thy Saviour hath allayed thy Pride! And do'st thou still swell with Ambi­tion? By the Path of Humility, and his bitter Death and Passion, Christ entered into his Glory, Luk. 24. 26. And dost thou imagine ever to reach Hea­ven-Gates, by wallowing in the haughty way of Pride: Lucifer, for his Am­bition, was expell'd Heaven; and our First Parents, for Diabolical Pride, was cast out of Paradise: And dost thou think to arrive at Eternal Hap­piness through a Sea of Pride?

V. OH, let us rather demean our selves, with an humble jesus, to wash the Feet of others, than to seek ambi­tiously, with Satan, for the highest Place. Let us humble our selves under [Page 90] the Mighty Hand of God, in this Life present, that we may be exalted, in due time, in the Life to come. Fix not thy Heart upon what thou hast, but consider seriously what thou want­est. Mourn for those Graces that are absent, rather than extoll those Ver­tues thou hast acquired. Conceal, with all humility, what good Qualifi­cations thou do'st enjoy; but confess those Sins thou daily committest.

VI. AS Fire is preserv'd by covering with Ashes, so Charity is secur'd un­der the Guard of Humility. Pride is the Seminary, Parent and Nurse to all Sins: Exercise therefore thy Vigilance and Care against any Elevation, lest by the precipice of thy Folly thou be cast headlong into the deep abyss of Sin and Misery. And now having con­sider'd the Detestableness of this Sin of Pride, and the Amiableness of this Virtue of Humility, let us earnestly endeavour to abandon the one, and embrace the other; and with all San­ctity, invoke the God of all Spirits to infuse into us his heavenly Grace, that this Tumour of Pride may be asswag'd in us; that his Meekness and Humi­lity [Page 91] may be our perfect Pattern to guide us in this Life, and conduct us to the Life to come.

MED. XIII. The Proud Pharisee.

Luk. xviii. 11.‘The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.’

SEE how Ingratitude is radicated in this proud Pharisee, that he so im­periously thanks Heaven! How pro­digiously hath Pride metamorphos'd him! He that accustom'd himself to prolix Prayers, intends now to use bre­vity: His devoutest Posture is, Stand­ing; and he comes not to Pray, but to Boast; not to Worship his Creator, but to Extoll himself: He is not qua­lify'd to be highly Pious, being so opi­nionated and transported with his own Virtues, that he is destitute of either [Page 92] Time or Patience to remember the sole Author, whose Benignity he would pretendedly seem to acknow­ledge, but 'tis so luke-warmly, 'twere better he were ungrateful still.

II. TRUTH had a lucky chance, to proceed from such graceless Lips. He did, indeed, far excell others, even to the Superlative degree of Auda­ciousness: But had he been acquainted with himself better, he would have proved more Grateful, and not so Ar­rogant. How amply doth he disturb the Ear of Heaven with these Ostenta­tions of his singular Value; but for his Pride and Arrogancy, makes not the least Apology. Indeed, he Thanks the Almighty; but 'tis after a modish Carelessness, and rather an airy Com­plement, than a solid Prayer.

III. HE may plead Ignorance; but be found guilty of the breach of the Second Commandment, in the First Table. For he knows he is forbid to Worship Idols, or Images; yet thinks it no Sin to Idolize himself: and there­fore dares presume to offer to the Al­mighty a Schedule of his own Merits. How many apt Scholars is there in the [Page 93] World, that hath perfectly learn'd this Lesson, and imprinted it in their Me­mory? See how the Roman Pha­risees charm and puff up themselves with Pride, by their sanctimonious Acts of Supererogation, and think to scale Heaven by a Ladder of their own forming; magnifying a superabundant Piety, and triumphing in a merito­tious superfluity of performing more than their appointed Task.

IV. WITH how much Agility do our trembling Enthusiasts follow their Ge­nerals Path, in a sanctimonious Pride, by a supercillious Purity of Intention; presuming it their Prerogative to re­form the Universe, and create it again a-new? That Canonize themselves ac­cording to their mode; and with the proud Pharisee, not only thank the Almighty, but tell him positively they far excell other Men; That outra­giously and loudly proclaim them­selves the great Luminary of the World, and in a devout lunacy, wou'd croud in new Notions, extravagantly decry­ing all Religions but their own? These malecontented Pretenders im­mure themselves a-part from others; [Page 94] and by a morose Piety, are become so prodigiously Divine, that they have always extinguish'd their Humanity.

V. NOW, if the Pharisee were not as other Men, yet these resemble him, having been such exact Proficients in his Nature and Religion. ‘So apt and prone, O Lord, are we to be seduced, even in our best Perfor­mances, and (whil'st we vainly ima­gine our selves not only to excell o­thers, but so meritorious in Thy sight) as to be elevated into Presumption. Tis Humility must Crown all our Graces, and put a Lustre on our Requests, whil'st the presuming As­surance of our own Merits does not only deface, but seclude us from Thee.’

VI. ‘TEACH us therefore, O Lord, with such Expressions of Gratitude, to use Thy Gifts, that we may not be stupified, so as to be forgetful of our selves or Thee▪ Whil'st others arrogantly boast themselves in meri­torious Acts of Supererogation, let us earnestly endeavour humbly to acknowledge, confess and bewail our many Imperfections. Let not a [Page 95] sanctimonious Pride seize upon our Immortal Souls, that may any ways hinder us from being innocent from the great Offence.’

MED. XIV. The Soul's Delight.

Psal. xciv. 19.‘In the multitude of my thoughts within me, thy comforts de­light my soul.’

GOD, the bountiful Provider of all the World, hath prepared a great Feast, Mat. 22. 4. And those which hunger and thirst after Righte­ousness, are freely invited. He that tasteth not, is not sensible of the Sweet­ness of this Divine Banquet; and he that has lost his Appetite, is not ex­pected a Guest at this Table. If thou believest on the Lord Jesus, obey the first Summons, and approach with chearfulness to this Royal Repast. None can acquire a Credulity, unless with Contrition he confess his Sins, [Page 96] and repent of the same in Dust and Ashes. And as Contrition is the spiri­tual Hunger of a Soul surrounded with Sin, so Faith is the spiritual Food that revives and nourishes it to Everlasting Life.

II. GOD gave the Israelites in the Wilderness, Manna, the Food of Angels, Exod. 16. 15. And in this Entertain­ment of the New-Testament, the Al­mighty exhibits to us the Celestial Manna; yea, he is there present him­self, who is that spiritual bread which came down from heaven to give life unto the world, Joh. 6. 51. He which had a desire to see his Field, refused to come, Luk. 14. 18. From whence we may inferr, That they which set their Af­fections on the Pleasures of this Life, cannot approach to this Holy Table. When the rich Gallant, in the Gospel, heard that he must forsake all his Goods of Fortune, for Eternal Life, he went away sorrowful, Mat. 19. 22.

III. CHRIST, the Celestial Elisha, infuses not the Oyl of his Loving-kindness but into Vessels which are empty, 2 King. 4. 4. And his Divine Love never inspires any Soul, except [Page 97] the Love of the World be extracted from it, whereby it may become a fit Receptacle for so Divine a Guest: For, where our treasure is, there will our heart be also, Mat. 6. 21. Temporal Enjoyments hath its attrrctive Allure­ments; but Divine Love hath that Energy to unite us to the Deity. Ter­restrial Treasures consists in the Goods of Fortune; but in these the Soul can acquire no Satisfaction, for it is beyond what this World can afford, and there­fore seeks for far greater Excellencies than transitory things.

IV. DID we but seriously consider the Duration of all Temporalities, we would not fix our Hearts so fervently upon them: For upon our Bed of Mortality no Relief can be expected from 'em; and what an absurdity is it for us to place our Affections on those things which are so frail and incon­stant! Our First Parents, when they rebelled against the Most High, would have attempted the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil; but before they could accomplish their Designs, were driven out of Paradise, Gen. 3. 6. So may we expect, it that Immortal Part, our [Page 98] Souls, should forsake him who hath so dearly purchas'd 'em, and cleave unto the World; but that we must un­dergo the same, if not a worse Punish­ment.

V. THEY which neglect our Sa­viour's candid Invitation of, Come un­to me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, shall not avoid hearing of him pronounce that Sentence of, Go ye cursed into everlasting fire, Mat. 25. 41. The Sodomites were consumed with fire, Gen. 19. 24. for refusing to hear Lot's Doctrine. and without a speedy Re­pentance, the Fire of God's Anger will consume them which have despised his Gospel, and rejected all Reproof. The five Foolish Virgins who neglected trimming their Lamps, were excluded the Bridegrooms Presence; so those whose Hearts are not inspired with Celestial Oyl, must expect to be de­barr'd the Participation of Eternal Joy and Comfort.

VI. CHRIST internally calls to us, by his Holy Spirit, and secretly affords us Motives to holy Desires, devout Af­fections, and pious Cogitations; and happy is he whose Soul is invested with [Page 99] these Ornaments. When thou per­ceivest the least spark of the Divine Goodness in thee, which doth excite thee to the performance of any good Duty, then labour to cherish it, that it may break out into a flame; and take heed that thou quench not the Spirit, and by that means extinguish the Operation: And the Apostle af­firms, If any man defile the Temple of God, him shall God destroy, 1 Cor. 3. 17.

VII. THE Heart of a Man, is the living Temple of the Lord; and he is guilty of the Destruction of it, who re­fuseth to give place to his Holy Spirit. The Prophets, in the Old Testament, diligently hearkned unto the Word of the Lord; and were prophetically in­spired, as a Reward for their-Obedi­ence. And in the New-Testament, the Disciples and Apostles were punctual in preaching the Gospel, and they were inspired by the Holy Ghost; and were at last Crown'd by the Merits of Christ, as a Recompence for their Labours; and to those which shall imitate such good Examples, blessed are they which shall hear and persevere in such good Performances.

MED. XV. True Contentment.

Phil. iv. 12.‘I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where, and in all things I am instructed, both to be full, and to be hungry; both to abound, and to suffer need.’

NONE but this happy Apostle, such a divine Saint as St. Paul was, could become a Proficient in this Lesson. How few is there, that have desired to learn it? 'Tis a Lecture the World hath long ago been weary of: not so much, because 'tis so hard a Task, but because 'tis so unpleasant a Theme. Were the Way to Ever­lasting Happiness strewed with Roses of Pleasure, for our sensual Appetites to range and revel in, 'twould quickly become a frequented and an easie Walk. Were there no Difficulties, no skilful Trials to be past through, who, of a Mortal, would not become a Saint? The Crown of Eternal Glory would be [Page 101] as common as a Garland of Flowers, did not that of Thorns carry the pre­cedence.

II. THE World values not a Reli­gion which disanuls all Splendour, whose strict Discipline abrogates all Pomp and Pleasure; and instead of all Temporal Delights, which affects the Senses, preaches Temperance, Pa­tience, and the Judgement to come. This Doctrine possesses us with an aguish Fit, and then we, like Felix, fall a trembling, and desire to be ex­cused from so piercing a Duty. He that invites us to see Heaven first, in­forms us, That to desire Temporal Enjoyments, is the Wish of an Eth­nick: For after all these things do the Gentiles seek, Mat. 6. 32. And shall Christians follow the Examples of Heathens? and aim not at sublimer Things than what this sublunary World can afford? Shall they who can, by the Eye of Faith, take a prospect of Eternity, look down upon this Lower World with Affectation?

III. AND was that the Occasion of this Invitation we gave the Most Highest? Did He which made the Heavens bow [Page 102] them, come down, and unthrone him­self to convey us thither, and do we lie wallowing in our Sins for ever? How Vile, Base, Vain, and Senseless a Creature is that Person, that winds up his Felicity in the fruitless Enjoyments of this Life, and eagerly resigns him­self to sordid Sense! But tell me, O Thou that reignest in Plenty, and obscurest Heaven in Oblivion, should the two bright Luminaries be invested in their Purple Robes, and transform­ing their Lustres, like bleeding Me­teors, change their Rays into Crimson Streams; were the Air now crouded with Sounds of the last Trumpets, ecchoing audibly in our Ears an ap­proaching Judgment; How prodigious would that Mutation appear! What vast and horrid Consternations would the remembrance of thy Profane and Atheistical Plenitude then strike and amaze thee with!

IV. INDEED, these Mundane En­joyments are so trivially poor & empty, that he which fixes his Hopes in their Fruition, will speedily find himself but an eternal Mendicant, a wretched, mi­serable, and deplorable Dives. And [Page 103] yet such is the apparent Sanctity of the whole Universe, to scoff at Religious Poverty, and deride the Exigencies of a Devout Life, as an Adversary to Na­ture: He is ignorant of the Joys of a Future State, and of an Expected Eternity, that thinks there's no Feli­city beyond this Hands Breadth, no Happiness beyond this slender Span.

V. WERE we but sensible of the glorious Reward which shall Crown the World, for that which she terms Mi­sery, that Felicity that attends on the most suffering and dejected Devotion, we should glory in our Wants, be affected with Hardship, and inure our selves to Poverty with Delight; we should be willing, not only to depart, but to live Martyrs; rejoyce even in the lowest State, to purchase Heaven; and chearfully learn that Art, with the holy Apostle, to suffer Want here, and to labour how to abound in that Pleni­tude which is infinite.

VI. ‘AND yet how hard a Task is it for us to endure even the pettiest Affliction, for Thy sake, O Lord? So senseless are we of Thine abundant Goodness, so wilfully forgetful of [Page 104] Thy Omnipotency, that we not only, in our greatest Necessities, arraign and condemn thy vigilant Providence, but are ready even to turn Pagans in our unhappy Mis­fortunes. Open Thou our Eyes, O Lord, that we may behold the Vanity of this transitory World, and the Deceitfulness of our own Hearts; that the alluring Pleasures of it may neither swallow us up, nor the Los­ses of it overthrow our Hope, or discourage our Obedience. Let that illuminated Glory which Thou hast freely promised to those that van­quish the World for Thy sake, be ever in our sight; that in whatso­ever State we are in, we may still be found triumphing in Faith, and at last receive, as a Recompence of Reward, a Crown of Righteous­ness.’

MED. XVI. Of Divine Faith.

Heb. xi. i.‘Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’

LET us now consider the Efficacy of Faith, and offer up an Obla­tion of Praise and Thanksgiving unto him who is the only Giver of it. It is that alone which ingrafts us into the Body of Christ; and as Branches ex­tract their Sap from the Vine, so from him proceeds Life, Righteousness, and Salvation. Adam, in his pristine State, fell, and lost his Divine Image, by his Incredulity; but we are restor'd again by Grace; and the Image of the Al­mighty, by Faith, is renewed in us. By this Faith, Christ dwells in our Hearts; and where He inhabits, there His Grace resides, and an Assurance of an Inheritance of Eternal Life.

II. AND as the Effects of Faith are Wonderful in their Operation, so they are Exemplary in their Demon­strations: [Page 106] For, By Faith, Abel offered unto God a greater sacrifice than Cain, Heb. 11. 4. So, by Faith, we are en­abled to offer Omnipotency spiritual Sacrifices; that is, the Fruit of our Lips, Heb. 13. 15. And, by Faith, Enoch was translated, Heb. 11. 5. So that Vertue withdraws us from the Society of the World, and invites us to place our Conversation in Heaven, Phil. 3. 20. By Faith, Noah prepared an Ark, Heb. 11. 7. So we, by that Theolo­gical Virtue, are received into that Church wherein our Souls are pre­served, amidst all the Storms and Tem­pests which happen in the World.

III. BY Faith, Abraham left an idola­trous Land, and went into a strange Coun­trey, in Expectation of the Promised Land, Heb. 11. 8, 9. So by the Energy of that Vertue, we depart this World, forsaking all that is near and dear to us, expecting to arrive at that Celestial Ierusalem which God hath prepared in the Heavens, Rev. 21. 2. We are Strangers and Pilgrims on this side Heaven, and travel, by Faith, unto a heavenly Countrey. By Faith, Moses chose rather to suffer Affliction [Page 107] with the People of God, than to enjoy the Pleasures of Sin for a season, Heb. 11. 25. So Faith animates us to contemn the World, and to despise the Glory, Ho­nour, Riches and Pleasures of it; and excites our Minds to Eternal Felici­ties.

VI. BY Faith, Israel kept the Passo­ver, Heb. 11. 28. So we, by the Eye of Faith, celebrate the Lord's Supper; where Christ is the Paschal Lamb, whose Flesh is meat indeed, and whose Blood is drink indeed, Joh. 6. 55. By Faith, Rahab was saved, Heb. 11. 31. So, in the universal Conflagration of this World, we shall be saved from Destruction. By Faith, the Fathers overcame Kingdoms, stopt the Mouths of Lions, and quenched the force of fire, Heb. 11. 33. So we, by Faith, de­stroy the Kingdom of the Prince of Darkness, escape the Treacheries and Rage of the infernal Lion, and are de­liver'd from Hell's implacable Malice, and everlasting Burnings.

V. NOW, Faith is not a naked Opinion, and slender Profession; but a true and lively Apprehension of Christ propounded to us in the Gospel, [Page 108] a full Assurance of his Grace residing in us, the Tranquillity of our Souls, which relies only upon Christ's Merits. This Faith is fructified of the Seed of the Sacred Word, whereby the Holy Spirit and this Vertue is united. Now, Faith resembles a spiritual Illumina­tion; for our Hearts are illustrated by its Splendor, and the Rays of a Life of Sanctity shines forth: Evil Actions are the Works of Darkness; and, What communion (saith the Apostle) is there between light and darkness? 2 Cor. 6. 14. Deeds of Darkness are the Seeds of Satan, but a lively Faith proceeds from Christ; and, What communion is there between Christ and Satan? 2 Cor. 6. 5.

VI. LASTLY, By Faith, our Hearts are purified; but no Internal Purity can center where the Words and Ex­ternal Actions are defiled. St. Iohn tells ye, That Faith is the victory which overcometh the world, 1 Joh. 5. 4. Now, there cannot be a true Faith fixed, where the Flesh vanquisheth the Spi­rit, and leadeth it away Captive into the Law of Sin. No impenitent Sin­ner, that persevereth in his Sins, can be Partaker of Life Eternal; neither [Page 109] can he, without true Repentance, claim any Privilege or Share in the Merits of Christ Jesus. ‘Kindle in us, O God, the Light of True Faith, that by the Vertue of it, and Thy alone Merits, we may obtain Eternal Salvation, and reign with Thee for evermore, in Thy Kingdom of Glory, World without end, Amen.

MED. XVII. The Canaanitish Woman's Faith.

Mat. xV. 28.‘And Iesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt.’

BEHOLD this Canaanitish Wo­man, how fortunate and happy she was, to be found worthy of so great an Expression! Her Female Weapon compensated for the Guilt of its past Follies; having now, by its seasonable Answers, merited so Divine an Eulogy. Poor Female! how en­rich'd [Page 110] was she, in whose Bosom was concealed a Treasure, which Empe­rors, Kings and Princes, compared to her, are Indigent: All the Holy Land, with its precious Balm, and odori­ferous Spices, could not furnish her with a sufficient Antidote to revive her Darling, and charm away the Infernal Spirit from tormenting her. Behold these Miracles of Faith, that at once could save two Souls, the Mother's, and her Daughter's!

II. SO miraculous and potent is solid Faith, that even the least grain of it can remove lofty Mountains, level steep Hills, and smooth the most aspert and ambitious Soul, into a meek and fructifying Valley. 'Twas this that calmed the Surface of the foam­ing Ocean, that made the boisterous Waves an easie Path, and turn'd their furious Rage into a pleasant Walk for St. Peter's Feet. 'Twas the Centurion's Faith, that gave his Servant a Respite from the Hands of Death, which all his Guards could never have prevented: 'Twas by Faith, that the Blind Man was restored to his Sight; which was be­yond the Skill of Art and Nature to perform.

[Page 111] III. ALL the Admirations of the Gospel were always concluded with, Thy Faith hath saved thee: And yet that Faith which then operated so many Miracles, is now grown the greatest Miracle it self. Whil'st some take the Symbol for the Thing, they fix the Magnitude of their Faith on the Greatness of their Works; and have so candid an Opinion of themselves, that they imagine it Faith enough, only to do well: Others expect to be Canoniz'd for their Doctrines, though not for their irregular Lives, they scoff at all Religious Duties, and imagine to tread the Path to Heaven only by their Faith.

IV. OBEDIENCE, hearty Contri­tion for Sin, that amiable Robe of a perplexed Soul, and the Royal Orna­ments of our Spiritual Warfare, are but vacant Ceremonies, and both these Par­ties Belief are of their own forming. But Heaven is not purchas'd only by Spe­culation: He that fixeth his Faith in his empty Skull, and imagines Reli­gion hath not its Attendant, may, like Moses, view and discourse of the Promised Land at a distance, but never [Page 112] approach to it. Our Obedience must cry out louder than our Pretensions. 'Tis not our Noise and Nonsence, that will create us Saints; 'tis not our ex­ternal Shew of Profession only, but our daily Practises too, that must proclaim us Heralds of this Faith.

V. ALTHOUGH our Merits can never reach Heaven, yet our pious En­deavours may, if they are sincere; be­cause there is a Mercy hangs over our Heads, that will pardon our Deficiency. All the Blossoms and Buds of our Piety spring forth from this Stem; and he that either believes or loves his Saviour that died for him, cannot ima­gine he is too much industrious to live well. This was the Female Sex's Faith here; and she had scarce effus'd it out with floods of Tears, when the Infer­nal Fiend, in a Consternation, forsakes his hold, unable to endure the Eccho of that Sound which was repeated by the diviner Accent of our Redeemer's Lips; and this Faith must be a Pre­servative against Sin; and by its di­viner Charms, chase Satan to his Chains of Darkness. 'Tis this, that prepares Heaven for us; that makes us survive [Page 113] our Monuments, become Immortal in our Graves, and promises Eter­nity to our Dust and Ashes: 'Tis this that consummates our Happi­ness, and will safely arrive us, where the Blessed Jesus shall receive us into His Glory.

VI. ‘O MOST Divine Omnipo­tence, Thou sentest Thy Son Christ Jesus to die for us, that by Believing in Him, we might attain to Ever­lasting Life. He, under whom Thou hast put all things in Subjection, was pleas'd to condescend to level Him­self with them; and dethron'd Him­self, to undergo a Crucifixion for our Souls, that we might receive the Be­nefits of His Death and Passion, and be Partakers of His Glory. Oh, let not those Miseries of our depraved Nature, which petitioned Thy Mercy and Compassion, make us uncapable of it: Let not those that plead Igno­rance of Thee, but by Thy Miracles, be more ardous in acknowledging Thine abundant Goodness, than we who by the Manifestation of Thy Love claim an Interest in Thy pre­cious Blood.’

[Page 114] VII. ‘BUT grant, O Lord, that we may live in a perpetual Thanks­giving to Thy Merits, who camest down from the Bosom of Thy Fa­ther, to purchase and save our Im­mortal Souls: To this end; do Thou inspire into us that Faith, without which it is impossible we should please Thee, and with which Thou annexes all other Graces. Teach us so to rely on Thy Mercies, that we may not neglect the Means, or ima­gine that a dead Faith will conduct us to that Life which Thou hast pro­mised to none but them as work out their Salvation with Fear and Trem­bling.’

MED. XVII. Of Love and Charity.

2 Pet. i. 7.‘And to brotherly-kindness, charity.’

TRUE and Sincere Love is an in­separable Property of a Pious Person. No Christian can subsist with­out [Page 115] Faith; and where that Vertue is, Charity is not wanting. Where the Lustre of Charity is extinguish'd, the Heat of Faith must consequently be quenched. Thou may'st as well rob the bright Luminary, the Sun, of his Light, as deprive Faith of the Gift of Charity. Charity is the External Act of the In­ternal Life of a Christian. The Body is dead without the Spirit, and Faith is dead without Charity, Jam. 2. 26. He is not a Member of Christ, that is not inspired with his Spirit; and he is not endued with his Holy Spirit, that is destitute of the Gift of Charity.

II. THIS Theological Vertue, is the fruit of the Spirit, Gal. 5. 22. And by the Goodness of the Fruit, the Tree is demonstrated. Charity is the bond of Christian perfection, (saith the Apostle, Col. 3. 14.) As the Bodily Members are united together by the Spirit, so the true Members of the Mystical Body are united by the Holy Spirit in the Bond of Charity. Solomon's Temple was all covered with Gold, within and without, 1 King. 6. 21. So our Bodies and Souls, which are the Almighty's Spi­ritual Temples, ought in like manner, [Page 116] both within and without, to be beau­tified with Love and Charity. Let this regent Vertue exercise its Efficacy in moving thy Heart to Compassion, and thy Hand to Contribution: For one, without the other, is not effectual.

III. FAITH receiveth all from God▪ the Fountain of all Goodness; and from that Stream, Charity, as a Chan­nel, conveys it to her Neighbours. By Faith, we are made Partakers of the Divine Nature, who is Love, 1 Joh. 4. 8. Therefore, where Charity manifesteth not Externally, Faith Internally doth not inhabit. No Man believes in the Lord Jesus, which doth not express Affections of Love to Him; and none can fulsil that New Commandment, except he loves his Neighbour. None can really apprehend the Benefits of Christ, with a Heart unfeigned, which has not Bowels of Compassion to the distressed.

IV. CHARITY is the Seminary of all Vertues; and nothing can be of good growth, which proceeds not from that Root. And this Vertue truly de­lineated, is the Soul's Spiritual Relish; for unto it alone are all things dulci­fied, [Page 117] all Adversity, Pain, Anguish, Trouble, nay, even Death it self: And And the Wise Man confirms this, That Love is as strong as Death, Cant. 8. 6. And indeed, I think I may invert the Wise Man's Text, and with Assurance proclaim, That Love is stronger than Death: For Love brought down a Sa­viour to die for us Sinners, that the Sting of Death might be removed from us: He, when he had overcome the sharpness of death, did open the kingdom of heaven to all believers. Oh, let us then embrace this Love, and die unto Sin daily, that we may live unto Righ­teousness.

V. ALL the Works of the Most High proceeds from this lovely Attri­bute, even Punishments, Denuncia­tions, and Judgments: The Two great Luminaries, and the Constella­tions of Heaven, illuminate not them­selves, but us wretched Creatures. Fire, Air, Earth, and Water, were created for our Necessity: The Beasts, Herbs, Plants, Trees, Birds, Fish, and Fowls, were all for our Use. And as God has been so gracious to give thee Plenty of these Blessings, so do [Page 118] thou distribute to thy Neighbours ac­cording to their Necessities. And this must be done freely, with true Amity, Affection and Compassion, else all our Charity is nothing worth, but will prove like sounding Brass, or a tinkling Symbal.

VI. CHARITY is patient, 1 Cor. 13. 4. For no Man is easily enraged with those whom he truly affects. Charity like­wise is bountiful: And he who has been so liberal, as to resign his Heart to his Friend, will, without all que­stion, not with-hold from him any temporal Enjoyments for the Relief of his Necessity. Charity envieth not; it thinketh no Evil, is not puffed up, and behaveth not it self undecently: Next, she seeketh not those things which are her own, neither is she pro­voked to Anger; she imagineth no Mischief, nor rejoyceth not in iniquity; but she beareth all things, believeth, hopeth, and endureth all things: she refuseth not to do unto others, as she desires them to perform unto her. Tongues and Prophecies shall cease, and Arts and Sciences be destroyed, but Charity shall never be extinguished.

[Page 119] VII. LET us then study this Lesson of Love and Charity; and howsoever thy Friend or Neighbour be qualified towards thee, yet remember Christ vouchsafed to lay down his Life for him: Therefore, refuse not to relieve that Soul whom Christ hath so dearly purchas'd. Let us not, while upon Earth, live in Discord; but observe the Psalmist's extolling of Tranquil­lity, Behold how good and how pleasant a thing it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity, Psal. 133. 1. We are all the Servants of One Lord, all Members of One Body: we have all One Father that Created us, One Saviour that Re­deemed us, and One Holy Ghost that Inspires us. Should thy Neighbour prove thine Enemy, yet love him; for in so doing, thou obeyest the Will and Pleasure of the Almighty.

VIII. TAKE no cognizance of what Trespasses Man commits agrinst thee, but consider what thou standest guilty of against Omnipotency: Observe not what Injuries are offer'd to thee, by thy Enemies; but remember the Benefits conferr'd on thee, by thy Redeemer, who commanded thee to love thine [Page 120] Enemies. We are Neighbours, by the State of our Earthly Nativity; and Brothers, by the Hope of our Celestial Inheritance. Let us therefore fervently love one another: ‘And do Thou in­flame in us, O God, the Fire of Love and Charity, by the Inspiration of Thy Blessed Spirit.’

MED. XIX. An Act of Divine Lov.

Luk. ix. 57.‘Lord, I will follow thee whither soever thou goest.’

HE was not ignorant, but knew it was the happiest Resolve he ever entertain'd: Nor can any check him for his Confidence, when it was his Glory to have been so presumptuous: he might have travell'd longer, and far remoter, and not have happen'd with such Celestial Company. Now the Query is, Whether his Boldness, or his Love to Christ, prompted him to this Heroick Action? Behold, with how devout an Importunity he salutes [Page 121] Him whom perhaps he had never known, seen, or heard of before, ex­cept by his Miracles only! And that Purity of Life which so amaz'd the Eyes of the Universe, could not but attract his Eyes, and inure his Heart too: And therefore thinking it no great Presumption to use all Arts of im­proving himself, nor willing to let slip so fair an Opportunity of being Happy; ambitious of an Admission into his Ser­vice, he breaks out into Raptures, without any other Oratory than a [...] humble Earnestness, resolutely gives Him this Salutation, Lord, I will follow thee whither soever thou goest.

II. NOR could our Saviour's Indi­gency, obstruct or deliberate his Re­solution, or dishearten his Purpose; being not only satisfied, but ambitious to partake of the Afflictions of so good a Master, in whose very Necessities he should find a Felicity beyond all Tem­poral Enjoyments. And is not this Person a fit Example for the whole World to imitate? He that will not run after Jesus affectionately, yet let him not be so scandalous, as to permit a Iew or Publican to circumvent him [Page 122] in the Journey. Are the Felicities of Eternal Bliss of so small a Value, that they are not worth approaching too? Or shall we imagine every step too tiresom, that conveys us to Everlasting Glory?

III. Were the Path to the New Ie­rusalem but spread with fragrant Roses, or millions of odoriferous Scents and Pleasures to prevent Carnality, the bruitish Sensualist would divert him­self constantly, and strive to be a Pre­cursor in those Walks. The Miser cannot follow a Crucified Saviour, for his extortionated Lumber; and rather than relinquish it, will make no Essay towards it. The riotous Epicure will not embrace that Religion that ex­horts him to Temperance; for al­though, perhaps, sometimes, Prayer may be agreeable to him, in case of Necessity, yet Fasting is a Stranger to his Constitution.

IV. THE Celestial Way is too streight for proud Ambition, whose lofty Edifice affects not to be squeez'd in its full carreer, but must post it away swiftly in a Road of as vast an extant as the Universe, or the In­fernal [Page 123] Pit can provide him, wherein his Troops of sinful Splendours may, as his Concomitants, attend him in a rank. So difficult a Task it is to abandon the World, even for Celestial Mansions; and contend against the Adulation of Sense, for an Inestimable Bliss; as if all our Hopes, all our Fe­licity, were wound and wrap'd up in Transactions of this Life only, and no future Expectation for us besides the Delectablenes on this side Mortality.

V. AND yet how numerous are they that imposterously pretend to follow Christ! but must plead Igno­rance to his Divine Steps, that pursue Causeys not of his proposing, but of their own shallow seeking: that beaten Path which so many Persons of San­ctity have walked before us, is too Vulgar, too Atheistical for them to trample in; they have, by their indefa­tigable and diabolical Industry, found out a nearer Way of their own; and imagine they shall arrive at the Cele­stial Countrey sooner, by shunning of that Way they think so difficult: So inauspicious is that eclipsed Zeal which hotly pursues an Ignis Fatuus which [Page 124] misguides 'em; and scorns the legal steps to the Sacred Temple, but shrinks it self in the obtuse and obscure Laby­rinths of Enthusiasm.

VI. THE Way to the Heavenly Canaan is not thorough dark Corners; and how streight soever it is, its Pas­sage to all Believers is kept open: 'Tis a serene Path, from whence may be viewed a Prospect of Eternal Happi­ness; nor need he be timerous of losing his Way, that doth not absurdly for­sake it. The poor sinful Mortal here mention'd, in an Ecstasie hastes to Jesus; and joyning Humility to Reso­lution, will admit of no Denial; but in a Mendicant Petionary style, and fortify'd with Confidence, thus pro­claims his Mind, Lord, I will follow thee whither soever thou goest.

VII. AND now, who would not run with Alacrity, through Adversity, wild Woods, Desarts, and Wilder­nesses? nay, even wade thorough Seas of Blood, to arrive safe at the Port of the Heavenly Cannaan? He that strives to follow after Jesus, shall never repent his undertaking so happy a Journey: He shall acquire such infi­nite [Page 125] Treasures in religious Poverty, such multiplicities of Celestial Joys and Satisfaction in the apparent Mise­ries of a Life of Sanctity, that he will not require any great Perswasions to excite him to this Resolution, cheer­fully to forsake all, and follow Jesus whither soever he goeth.

VIII. ‘BUT 'tis Thou alone, O Lord, that can'st raise our Souls from the World, and make them ambi­tious in searching after Thee and those Things which are Above. Thou art ascended to Thy Throne of Ma­jesty, in glorious Splendour; attract our Souls after Thee in Divine Rap­tures of Amity, and Spiritual Exal­tation, that we may effectually make the Vertues and Perfections of Thy Life, the Golden Rule of ours: And grant that we may not be so allured with transitory things, as to be void of Affection for Thy Glory; but enable us to walk with Alacrity in that Path which Thou hast trod, and fix'd before us; that as we con­tinally live by Thy Goodness, we may live to Thy Glory; and as we move in Thee, we may inde­fatigably [Page 126] be ever moving towards Thee, till we shall enjoy the Hap­piness of an Eternal Rest in Thy Hea­venly Kingdom, Amen.

MED. XX. Of Chastity.

Rom. xii. 1.‘I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacri­fice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.’

HE that would be entertain'd a Disciple of Christ, must wear his Livery of Sanctity and Chastity: For, God is a Spirit of that infinite Purity and Chastity, that no unclean thing must presume to approach his Presence. It was the Opinion and Saying of a wise Person, That the Chastity of the Body, and the Sanctity of the Soul, are the two Keys of Religion and Fe­licity, Now, if the Body be not pre­served pure and immaculare from all Sordidness, the Soul cannot be ardent [Page 127] in Supplication: Our Bodies are the Temples of the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 6. 19. And therefore we must be very vigi­lant and sollicitous, that we defile not this Body, which is the Habitacle of so great a Comforter.

II. OUR Members are the Members of Christ: Let us not then make 'em the Members of an Harlot; but let us cleave unto the Lord with Fidelity and Continency, that we may be one Spirit with him, and be pure as he even is pure. The swinish Sodomites were smitten with Spiritual and Corporal Blindness, and their burning Lust was punish'd with an Element proper to their crying Sins; and the Almighty will inflict the same Punishment on all obscene and incontinent Persons, with a Fire not to be extinguished: For the smoak of the torments ascendeth up for ever, Rev. 14. 11. Nature hath taught us, not to be guilty in the Eye of the World; and shall not the Checks of our own Consciences impede us from committing Enormities iu the Eye of Heaven.

III. DENS, Caves, nor Corners, can exclude ns from the Divine Omnipo­tence: [Page 128] All Hearts are open to his Om­nisciency, all Desires are known, and from him no Secrets can be concealed: His Omnipresence is of that potency, that the Voice within us, upon the Grand Inquest, will bear Testimony against us; and our own Enormities being empannell'd, will condemn us upon the Verity of the Verdict. And who would not relinquish this mo­mentary sensual Pleasure, to evade everlasting Burnings? If the Smoke of that concupiscible Fire ascends up to the Nostrils of the Almighty, nothing can purge the Odiousness of it, but infernal Flames.

IV. OH, let then the Remembrance of a Crucified Saviour. crucifie in thee all inordinate Affections; and the Thoughts of a tormenting Hell, quench in thee all the fiery Darts of the Wicked: Let Fountains of Tears, spring from a sincere Repentance, ex­tinguish in thee this conflagrating Carnality; and let the fear and dread of the Almighty mortifie that concu­piscible Enemy, that the Allurements of it may not delude thee. Consider with thy self the ill Consequents which [Page 129] are its Concomitants; it is full of Anxiety and Folly, Abomination and Ignominy; and without Repentance, must partake of everlasting Punish­ment.

V. LOOK not on the fawning out­side of this Temptation; but flie from it, as you would from a Serpent. Check the first Motions of it; for if you once fall to reason aud article with it, it will prove like the Element of Fire, if not quench'd in due time, grow too great to be conquer'd. Next, flie Idleness, which is the native Soil for these abominable Weeds to grow in; and be always employ'd in what­soever lawful Vocation or Business God hath been pleas'd to allot thee; that when the Tempter comes, he may find thee fortify'd against Temp­tations. 'Twas Idleness allured Da­vid to Adultery: Had he been busied as Ioseph was, he had withstood the Temptation.

VI. THINK often of Death's Sum­mons, and that his cold Hand will one day chill that Blood which was so apt to be inflam'd; and then tell me, whether Mortification is not more [Page 130] suitable to Death-bed Thoughts, than Sordidness and Obscenity. Be fre­quent in Prayer, and bring the Un­clean Spirit to Christ, that he may cast him out. And to your Prayer, add Fasting; for this Kind goeth not forth, but by Prayer and Fasting. And indeed, Temperance is a great Anti­dote against this Sin of Sodom; for many times our Tables become a Snare to us: for in pleasing our luxurious Palate, we make Provision for the Flesh, to fulfil the Lusts thereof. And by Epicuring of it so here, what can we expect when we depart hence, but the rich Glutton's Fate, even to want a drop of Water to cool our Tongues.

VII. REMEMBER, thou must give an account for every idle and unprofitable word, Mat. 12. 36. And how much more then will thy Account extend to obscene Speeches, and sordid Actions? Of what Continuance thy Life hath been, while brought to a Period, and what multiplicity of Sins soever thou hast committed, thy Accusers and Ac­cusations will be equivalent: Then those secret Thoughts which thou ne­ver resented'st, will apparently prove [Page 131] thee obnoxious before the great Tri­bunal: From thence thou can'st not flie, nor deceive the Omnipotence with vain Excuses; neither can'st thou appeal from that Sentence which will be pronounced against thee; for there will be Verity in the Inquisition, and Severity in the Execution.

VIII. THEREFORE, whil'st thou art on this side the Grave, endeavour to adorn thy Immortal Part with the fragrant Rose of Charity, the dulcified Violet of Humility, and the innocent Lilly of Chastity. When thou enter'st the List to conquer this formidable lustful Enemy, if the Fight seem dif­ficult, animate thy self with this Assu­rance, That the Conquest will be Glo­rious: Thou must vanquish it as thou would'st a sturdy Beggar, give it a positive Answer, and it is vanish'd: but shew it Encouragement, and it will prove like the Snake in the Fable, when warm by the Fire, to fall a hissing. If thou would'st not have this Enemy to rule over thee, entertain it not in the least corner of thy Heart, but earnestly beseech God to keep thee in Sanctity of Life, and Chastity of Body.

MED. XXI. Of Purity of Heart.

Mat. v. 8.‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.’

IF Innocency be the Robe of Hea­ven, who then would not diligently strive to be adorn'd with Purity? It is no wonder the Kingly Prophet was so importunate for a clean Heart, and a right Spirit. If this be the Recom­pence of true Sanctity, who would neglect Religious Duties? Beatifical Spirits! What Felicity and Purity do ye enjoy, that behold the glorious Face of your Heavenly Creator! Who would not indefatigably be industrious to imitate your Seraphick Example here, that he might resemble you in your happy Station, and possess Eter­nal Joys, such as the Heart, in all his Divine Raptures, never knew? Shall the imposterous and perfidious Vani­ties of this Transitory World allure our Hearts, and divest us of the Hopes [Page 133] of this Celestial Glory, the Fruition of this splendid Vision?

II. A Magnified Vision! in Compa­rison whereof, the Regalities of this Lower Orb, the Trophies and dazling Splendors of the Optick Nerves, and the Lustre of the whole Universe, is not worth the gazing at! A Vision, which no mortal Eye ever was Specta­tor of; but shall not be excluded, if it don't obscurely lose it self on Inferiour Objects here Below. No Ear did ever audibly hear its true Description; but may be admitted to the divine Har­mony, and heavenly Halleluja's of it, if it incline not to the Syrenical Charms of Sin, and the bewitching Musick of sordid Carnality.

III. 'Tis a Vision, whose bright Idea cannot be delineated by the most ele­vating and contemplative Speculations of any Metaphysical Brain, though ne­ver so Angelical: 'Tis not a sublime Fancy, but true Sanctity, that can reach it. The Divine Apostolical Geo­grapher, St. Paul, though lately there, could not exactly give us a Descrip­tion of it; and Sacred Scripture di­vinly characters it out, but in Parables [Page 134] and Simitudes, to demonstrate how infinitely transcendent is that Glory which is so unexpressible, and beyond all comprehension. Were all the Pearls, Rubies, Saphires and Diamonds the Earth produces, muster'd to a Splen­dour, they would not equallize the di­minitivest Glance of the radient Beams of Sol's bright Eye; and yet that mag­nificent Luminary, surrounded with so many attending Constellations that derive their Lustre from him, is but a Spark to his shining Countenance.

VI. WHO then would offer up that Part an Oblation to the World, which might be render'd the Instru­ment of so much Felicity? and suffer the Profuseness of his wanton Blood to revel there, where sublimer Passions and Flames should triumph? He that would be an Inhabitant among the Spi­rits of the Just, must discipline his own to the same Uniformity, and convert his Body to a Temple, where his Heart must be both Altar and Sacrifice; or rather, an Emblem of the Sanctum Sanctorum, for those excellent Graces of the Spirit to inhabit in.

[Page 135] V. THE stately Mansion-House of Life must be converted into a Mansion of Divine Love; and the magnificent Palace of Heroick Spirits, into a Royal Court of peculiar Graces; and then that Part which (as Natural Philoso­phors observe) which lives first, and dies last, shall become purely Vital, and not be liable to Mortality. No­thing but a thrice Glorious Trinity can satiate this Triangle, which must be shaped to the purest Figure, and taught in all its Pulses to palpitate no­thing but Heaven and Eternity.

VI. OUR Bosoms must be conver­ted to Closets of Devotion; and our Hearts to Cabinets of immaculate In­nocency, and fervent Prayer; embel­lish'd with that sparkling Diamond, a lively Faith, the Lamp at which all our minor Graces, as Tapers, light themselves, and like Stars, borrow their Lustre from this Luminary. 'Tis not a Heart that can chime to the airy Sound of any tinkling Religion, and pretends a Sanctity fix'd in its Counte­nance, that makes Affectation his Con­science; and Moroseness of Humour, Tenderness of Spirit.

[Page 136] VII. NO, 'tis a Heart adorn'd with the White Robe of Humility, crown'd with the Diadem of Love, fumigated by Prayers, the odoriferous Scent of Chastity, and the Fragrancies of a Life of Sanctity, that couches it self within the embracing Arms of our Saviour's Spouse, and stiles himself a Mourner in her Persecutions; that looks upon the VVorld as the Enemy of its Glory, and had rather embrace Mor­tality, than prove a Rebel against Hea­ven. 'Tis such a Celestial Heart that must be a Preparative for this tran­scendant Vision, and happy is he that arrives to that Purity.

VIII. ‘Fortifie us therefore, O Lord, against the Pomps and Va­nities of this wicked VVorld, and elevate our Thoughts to the sublime Contemplations of Thy Glory. Level in us every arrogant Thought that dares exalt it self against the Potency and Purity of Thy Law; and san­ctifie us for Thy Self and Service, that the Practick Part of a Life of Sanctity may be our chiefest Em­ployment; that when we are sum­moned to depart hence, we may be [Page 137] accepted of Thee; and being fled from the Eye of this Lower Orb, we may take a Prospect of Thy Heavenly Palace, of what neither Eye hath seen, Ear heard, nor Heart can conceive, the Glory Thou wilt impart in the Fruition of Thy Self.’

MED. XXII. Against Covetousness.

Heb. xiii. 7.‘Let your conversation be be without covetousness.’

COVETOUSNESS is the Root of all Malignity; and he that is a Slave to Riches, his Mind is always in­digent; he is tugging continually at the Oar, and accumulates worldly Dross; but (as the Psalmist says) he knoweth not who shall gather it, Psal. 39. 6. And as he is impoverished in his Mind, so he is miserable in his Station; for Bounty and Goodness are Strangers to himself and others; and Charity with him is so frozen, that the Poor, instead [Page 138] of recompenceing him with their Pray­ers, are more ready to attend him with their Imprecations. Fix not thy Trust in uncertain Riches, but place thy Mind on what is certain. 'Tis certain, the Hour of Death will come, and then what will all thy Wealth avail thee? They cannot assist thee in a true Repentance, nor plead thy Cause in the Court of Heaven: They cannot procure thee an easie Passage hence, nor give thee Assurance of Eternal Happiness.

II. THEREFORE, lay aside this bitter Root, and graft new Plants of Liberality and Charity. Make haste, with speed, and undertake this Task, lest thou offend the Almighty, and endanger thy own Soul. The cove­tous Person must needs allow this Maxim, That he lives without God in the World. And our Saviour informs us, we cannot serve God and Mammon, Luk. 16. 13. For he that wholly sets his Heart upon transitory Treasure, must of necessity unfix it from God, and Eternal Glory; and is uncapable of performing that Duty which is re­quired by the Almighty.

[Page 139] III. SEE with what eagerness the Covetous pursues Riches; and is greedy as a Lion after his Prey. All Opportunities of Gain are readily em­braced: Prayer, and all Religious Du­ties, are laid aside, to accomplish and attend it. So prone is frail Mortality to this Sin, that he leaves nothing un­attempted to answer his sordid Ava­rice: nay, it is often apparent, that Unlawfulness and Fraudulency is used by the Covetous to that degree, that many Families have suffered Destru­ction, though it were to the utter Ruine of the Souls and Bodies of the Misers themselves. And now, what can these Men expect for the Cruelties they transact, but to be excluded from Happiness, and to receive that Re­ward, of not inheriting the Kingdom of God, 1 Cor. 6. 10.

IV. THEY which hoard up Terre­strial Treasures, resemble those that place their Fruits in low and moist places, not considering they are inci­dent to Putrefaction. Oh, how infa­tuated are they then, which indulge themselves to that which is liable to Corruption? For, how can that which [Page 140] is Temporal, satisfie the Soul which is Eternal? The Animate Part com­prehends all Corporal Things, by virtue of its Spiritual Nature, that it cannot be distended and filled by any Quantity. All things, the higher they soar towards Heaven, the less they cark and care to hoard up: This may be attested by the Fowls of the Air, which neither sow nor reap, Mat. 6. 26. So it is with that Immortal Part, the Soul, the more it is elevated to its Creator, the more it withdrawn from Temporal Riches.

V. LET Contentment be the Ava­ritious Man's Catholicon to purge out Covetousness. This will make him a Proficient in the Almighty's Court, and wholly to depend upon His Provi­dence. Then he may contemplate, That God cloatheth the lillies of the field: And if so, much more will He cloath them which depend upon Him. Think on the Providence of thy Creator; and if thou reliest upon Him, thou may'st assure thy self, that none ever trusted in him, and was confounded. He is too guilty of Avarice, that chargeth the Almighty with not granting him his Heart's Desire; and he is too ungrate­ful, [Page 141] that expresses not his Thankful­ness for those Mercies he daily, nay, hourly receives from him.

VI. CONSIDER this, now ye that take too much Pains for Riches, what an imprudent Choice ye use to apply your Diligence: Ye that add House to House, and Field to Field, a lesser Compass at last must entomb ye; why then do you perplex your selves so much, and appear such busie Grasp­ers of the World; early you rise to gripe the World, and late go to rest, but can find no ease; your Mind is so fix'd on uncertain Riches, that you are perpetually loaded with Care and Sor­row. And why all this, poor Cove­tous Wretches! but to undoe others, and lose your Souls? Did you but wisely love your selves, you would pursue alone your own true Happiness: you would not become such wilful Fools; and preferr a short vexatious Vanity bfore an Eternal Joy and Fe­licity.

MED. XXIII. A Bad Exchange.

Mat. xvi. 26. ‘For what is a man pro­fited, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?’

THIS Text works no Effects upon the Covetous; for they had rather lose their Souls, than for­sake their Riches. He, for whom the whole Creation was made, makes him­self wretched and miserable, in chasing after Vanity: disrobing Himself of all his Glory; and by exceeding a bruitish Transformation, inhumes the Divinity of his Immortal Part in the Bowels of the Earth. Hearken unto this, all you that inhabit in this Lower Region, ye that are Votaries to Sensualities, and ascend no higher than the Elements for Celestial Glory! that can mortgage your Souls for a momentary Pleasure; and entertain a delectable Misery, for Evelasting Happinss!

[Page 143] II. GIVE Ear, thou aspiring Meteor, whose haughty Ambition, with Icarus, soars to that heighth, that thou con­sumes the Wings of thy immoderate Desires! Thou that wilt with eager­ness adore Satan, for a Kingdom; and greedily render him your Fidelity, for a Crown, and offer him a Revenue worth Ten thousand Worlds, the im­mortal Tribute of your precious Soul; till thy flourishing Hopes, and Tro­phies, be turn'd to endless Torments; thy Masquerading Revellings of elve­vated Honour, into Repentant Re­grets of direful Horrour; and thy Im­perial Chair of State, into a Bed of In­fernal Flames!

III. BE attentive, O thou indefa­tigable Wanton, whose Soul is as un­satiable as brutish Animals; that pal­pitates after Pleasure, beyond the Ca­melion's breathing after Air! Thou that swimmest in iniquity, and plungest Morality in Seas of Vice; bathing thy self in those amorous Streams that drown thee in wanton Delights! that imaginest True Religion but a ridicu­lous Fable; the Lives of Apostles, Saints and Martyrs, but a Tragy-Comical [Page 144] Play, or a melancholy Romance! and scoffest at Heaven, and its Creator, as if Infinite Eternity were but an imagi­nary Fancy!

IV. STOP not thy Ears, O thou wretched Miser, whom the deluding Rhetorick of Bags cram'd with Silver Coin can invite to Hell! and art ar­deously allured to throw thy self into the Arms of Satan, at the Musick of tempting Gold! That can'st assist thy weak Eyes with Spectacles; and gaze thy self almost blind, at the Splendor and Curiosity of a rich Gemm; and imprecateth Geography, for defining Riches beyond thy Sphere; earnestly wishing thy self an Indian, that thou might'st lead the remnant of thy Life among the choicest Treasures; and converse with the richest Mines, till the Hair on thy Head were all Silver; till thou thy self wer't all transmuted to Ore, and every Bone turn'd into a Wedge of the purest Gold.

V. LISTEN, ye tender Gallants, that are so attracted with the Mode of this World, that ye have have lost all Conceptions of a better! Ye that dwell upon Earth, only to delight your sen­sitive [Page 145] Appetites; and supply your Lux­ury with the exquisite martyrdom of thousands of Creatures! As ye are well-complexion'd Dust, and possess purer Veins; so entertain purer Pas­sions too, and acquire generous and nobler Inclinations for Eternal Glory! The sumptuousness of your Attire will not invest you with Immorta­lity. Should you expose your Estates to sale, and receive for it a great Value, ' [...]would not purchase one Inch in Pa­radise. It was the elegantest Speech the ancient Orator ever deliver'd, when he utter'd, He would not buy Repentance so dear. 'Twas but an Extemporay Oration; and yet all Silver-tongu'd Rhetorick could never parallel it: That one Note exceeded all his Eloquence, and will survive the Dexterity of his Pen.

VI. COULD we out-live the Lives of Patriarchs, even beyond the Age of old Methusalah, or of Time it self; and with the Pleasures of the greatest Epicures: Could we, like Cleopatra the Egyptian Queen, dissolve a Pearl into a Golden Cup, and drink the Riches and Pleasure of a Kingdom at [Page 146] a Draught; or Command all the Crea­tures of the Universe, as positively as ever the Centurion did his Servants: Had we all the delectable Enjoyments we can either wish, fancy, or chase after, and whatever can satisfie the Ambition of the most profuse and car­nal Appetite: Were the whole Universe turn'd into a Garden of Eden, or a perpetual Spring adorn the Surface of our Mother Earth:

VII. COULD we, like the Eagle, re­new our Age, and not grow Old, but still continue in our pristine Health; or if in Years, be insensible of the Mise­ries that attend the Aged: Could we unravel, untwist, or unwind Time a­gain; reverse and retrograde its Wheels again; stop the swift Celestial Mercu­ries, the nimble Posts of Heaven, in their full career; and set the great Clock of the World backward to a Mi­nute: Nay, were our Bodies of that durability as our Souls, that we could survive Time it self, and be a Spectator when the World receives its Period: Yet what shall we extract, if after all our vain and imaginary Felicities, and flippery Contentments, we become an [Page 147] Oblation for Hell, enroll'd in the exe­crable Catalogue of the Infernal Crew, a Victim for sulphurous Eternal Flames, banish'd to Perpetuity from God and Heaven: Then inform me, whoever thou art, and ask Dives him­self that necessary Question, What is? &c.

VIII. ‘O Lord, what is there in this World, that should attract our Hearts, to tire our selves in fruitless Desires, and indulge our selves to the Pleasures of this Life, as our chiefest Felicity? How difficult is it for him that is unacquainted with thy Law, to perceive the Evacuity of those En­joyments he hath so long rouled him­self in, to resist the enticing Advan­tages of Sin; and disesteem the glit­tering Flashes of this Life, for that Lustre of Glory Thou wilt impart. My God, instruct me so to use the World, that I forget not Thee. Let the Blessings Thou showerest down, quicken and encrease, not stupifie my Devotion. Elevate my Obedience, not overwhelm my Thankfulness; that so the Follies of the World may become my Derision; and the Glo­ries of Heaven, my only Ambition; [Page 148] that I may never, for a fading Frui­tion in this World, hazard both my Soul, and thy Saving-Grace together.’

MED. XXIV. In time of Sickness.

Mat. viii. 2. ‘Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.’

THIS Prayer was effectual; and all Petitions are answer'd by the Almighty, if deliver'd with a sincere Faith, and a good Assurance. Let us now be upon the Grand Inquest; Is not Sin a Leprosie? Then every Sin­ner ought to make the same Depreca­tion. He that had been a Spectator of the Leper's Body, would not have been amaz'd at his Prayer: and yet, could he but have inspected his Soul, might, perhaps, have beheld Objects more pro­digious and horrible; the Corruption of his Blood, which had lost its Vigour, and proved but an useless help to Na­ture, every part without Vitality, by so nauseating a Nutrition, instructed [Page 149] his Tongue this necessary, though dole­ful kind of Confident Prayer; Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

II. CHRIST, whose Bounty and Compassion never fails to demonstrate that the Fountain of his Love was as large as his Power was potent, would not reject such a Suit wherein his ten­der Mercy was so much concern'd: and those Members which might have been sooner immers'd, than bath'd into a Cure, re-assume new Vitality and Com­plexion, by the liberal Bounty of a Touch. Thus the Leper receives a new Body; but we read no Lecture of any Operation upon his Immortal Part, which, perhaps, effectually re­quired it: But his Successor, who was Bed-rid, was in a far greater state of Happiness; for his Sin and Disease were both healed together.

III. HOW many be found, that, like the Leper, view no higher than their Corporeal Substance, whole Ex­teriour Part is all their Principles of Religion; whil'st the Immortal Part, that Spring of Life, lies all neglected under Epidemical Infection: Our Blood shall enjoy all the Delights that Art [Page 150] can reach, or the most Chymical Lux­ury can extract, to supply its Flames; whil'st our splendid Part, the Divine and Celestial Fire which inspires us, lies all extinguish'd, and bereft of his Im­mortal Aliment, and can reserve no­thing but a dull and hectick Lustre to its Maker.

IV. THE Anguish of a Limb, can attract us to more Devotion in one Hour, than all the Concernments of our Souls can produce in a Year: and the deformity of the meanest Part, will appear an Object of more Disgrace and Dolour to us, than those pallid and in­fernal Forms that attend Sin, and dis­figure Heaven in us. Of all Pestilences, this is the grandest, and yet least re­garded: as if Hell were but a Trifle; Everlasting Damnation, a Pleasure; and the Eternal Misery of our Souls, a Diversion. Shew me that exquisite Beauty that is not Leprous; that In­nocence, which is so perspicuous, that it is Immaculate; that Pattern of San­ctity, which may become a Saint; that Infant, Man or Woman, which is a Stranger unto Sin; and then I shall be hold an Amazing Wonder.

[Page 151] V. DID our curious Veins excell the fragrant Violet, whose Odour perfumes the Chymistry of the Air, the Dew of the blushing Morn: Were our An­cestor, Adam's Sin, an Alien to our crimson Blood; and the Day of our Nativity, as perspicuuous as the splen­didst Morn, immaculate as the new-blown Rose: yet the Pollution of our irregular Lives would soon discipline us in this Prayer; and the blackness of our occultest Thoughts would silently pro­claim our own Deformity; and be ready to join with the Leper in this Pe­tition, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

VI. AND yet, was there not to be found, in those Days, a Generation of Vipers, that were righteous and clean in their own Eyes, that justify'd them­selves in their own Impurity, and reckon'd all the World but Lepers to them? Was not the lofty Pharisee a greater Leper than the poor Publicane, though so ambitiously he display'd his proud Plumes? His soaring Pride car­rry'd more contagious Infection along with it, than the other Persons Sins could e'er pretend too. He that trusts [Page 152] to the Merit of his own Illustration, may infallibly lose Heaven, and those Eternal Joys which an humble Assu­rance doth procure.

VII. ‘O LORD, though I am not so vile as some; yet I am so vile in my own Eyes, that the Leper here is a Pattern of Perfection, to my imper­fect Soul; Lazarus's Corps a Per­fume, to my ulcerated Heart: yet were I far more impotent and fractu­red than the poor Cripple of Be­thesda; more spotted with Leprosie than the Nine Unthankful Lepers which were cleansed, whose Ingrati­tude was more odious than their Disease; were those Legions of In­fernal Spirits, ejected by Thy Sacred Word, infused in me; and were I as execrable as Satan could wish to make me; yet I know Thy Paternal Goodness, and I do not despond of Thy Almighty Power: for, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean.

MED. XXV. Upon Death.

Rom. vi. 21.‘What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.’

SINCE Sin must be destroyed, who then would make choice of that for his Felicity, which shall perish with himself; whose End is not only Death, but Hell; and will be his De­struction, not only now, but hereafter? Indeed, were there no hopes that our Reliques should resuscitate again, or the Ruines of our Frame resurrect to a politer Shape, we might well plunge our selves in Enjoyments here, and fix our Felicity in delectable Pleasures: Every Person might then be tollerated, without Sin, to become an Epicure; and he that could project new Modes of Luxry, would not only pass for being Ingenious, but be esteem'd Fortunate.

II. GOOD Morality would appear all Vice; and yet Vice it self would be [Page 154] held no more a Crime, but our Hap­piness: not to be Lavish, then, were a Sin against Nature; and he that excel­led in Brutality, would be render'd most Rational: Legal Proceedings would then be a grand Enemy to Humanity; there could be no Sociableness, but in Confusion: and were there no Heaven, nor Hell, we should pleasantly mingle to a Chaos, and obey no other discipline but Riot: every Person might then be Atheistical, without Scandal: To be without the Almighty, and his Grace in the World, would be render'd no Misfortune; for then every Man might depend upon his own Merits, without Blasphemy.

III. Could they which inhabit the Earth, die like Bruits and Animals, and revive no more; the Hopes of not being Damn'd, would be a greater Comfort than the Delights of Sin. But alas, he that enters the Grave now, must live▪ again, that his Life may be remember'd. Nor yet is it so much the Terror of Death, as the Horrors of a Guilty Conscience▪ the formidable Prognosticks of a Future Etetnity, that affrights the departing Soul: The [Page 155] Pangs and Anguish of expiring Nature are insignificant to those Stings that at­tend the Memory of our Crimes: The deep Sorrows of the Grave, and our being Extinct here for ever, are Joys, to the Miseries which remain behind, but will certainly come.

IV. INFORM me now, thou that art so indulgent to the World, and hunts for Paradise in a Park of Sins; thou that makest Terrestrial things thy Treasure, and foldest up the Riches of thy Hopes in the Bosom of Old Time, or the Compass of a Span; when those lucid and swift Guides of Life, thine Eyes, shall wax dim with Age, or tired with Pain; when every Member shall become Sorrow's Object, and those Parts which were so employ'd in the Operation of Sin, shall become In­struments of Despair; when that de­lectable Frame, that magnificent Dar­ling Edifice, thy Body, shall, by its shivering Qualms, and trembling Con­vulsions, consternate its disconsolate Owner; how will the Fulgurations of a Future Justice, and the Terrours of thy Ultimate End, confound thee!

[Page 156] V. CAN those transitory Enjoy­ments that allured away thy Immortal Part, restore it in convenient time? Can those Pleasures which bereft thee of Heaven, recover it again before Death puts a period to thy Life? Can thy Pomps and Vanities asswage or allay thy deep Sorrows? or the Me­mento of thy Sins, the Destruction of thy End? Where's that soft Musick, whose select Airs, like David's Harp, might charm the Cries of a Guilty Conscience; and by its skilful Strains, drop a pleasant Harmony that might pacifie the Trouble of thy anguish'd Soul?

IV. WHERE are those expanded Trophies of empty Glories, thy Ambi­tion has purchas'd at the easie Rate of only sinning for greedy Honour, for which thou hast traffiqu'd and sold Heaven? That Sovereignty for which thou enslavest thy self, and lost the per­fect Freedom of thy Immortal Soul? Cannot all thy Grandeur excite thee up a little; and by a fumy Power, once so formidable and applauded, reprieve thee from the unsatisfy'd Grave, or a more Eternal Prison.

[Page 157] VII. Where are those Goods of Fortune thou hast forfeited thine Inhe­ritance for, whose transporting Lustre deprived thee of thy Eye-sight, and render'd thee dimmer than themselves? Can they, by their utmost Skill, neither bribe nor purchase thy Pardon? Or will the silent Grave require no other Fee than so rich a Miser? Where are all those fine Diversions that divested thee of thy Piety, and the Thoughts of thy Creator? those pleasing deluding Va­nities that swept away all sense of Hea­ven, and fore-sight of thy Future State? Are all shrunk into a Tomb, and an unwelcom Period? Are all thy Jocu­larities terminated in the Confines of a Sepulchral-Urn; and no other Objects left for thy Concomitants, but thy Crimes, and those Terrours thy Guilt presents?

VIII. BEHOLD now, and stand a­maz'd, ye Adorers of the World more than of the Almighty! and view the Portraiture of your End, those Ruines you have so smoothly built on! Try if your imaginary Felicities are Proof against this Arrow; or can protect you from this Invader, the only Con­queror [Page 158] of the World, whose general Prison is but a Reserve for a worse, and its Execution here, but a Reprieve for a more durable and yet vital Mortality. He that reign'd in Pleasures, must ex­pire in Flames; and having long revel­led it in Sin, must expect to riot it in Torments; and the misery is, that wishing not to live, he can never die.

IX. AND yet, how foolish and vain are our Desires still after the World? How easie and alluringly, O Lord, are we led by the counterfeit and transitory Pleasures of this Life, from Thee? We cannot plead Ignorance, but fully attest, That the Wages of Sin is Death; and yet how absurdly do we preferr its Service before Thine, whose Recompence of Reward is Life and Immortality? But The Period of Profaneness is Eternal Destruction, and the Delights of Im­piety end in Confusion; and yet we ea­gerly embrace the fawning Proffers of Sin, before the never-failing Promises of Everlasting Glory.

X. ‘Have Pity, O Holy Jesu, upon the weak Frailties of our Humane and Corrupt Natures: And we hum­bly implore Thee to pardon and [Page 159] forgive the profuse Irregularities of our whole Lives. Grant unto us, O Lord, a perpetual Supply of noble and ardent Defires to run after Thee, that the Pomps, Vanities, and Tinsel­ware of the World, may become Ob­jects of our Scorn and Derision; and that the bright Splendour of Thy E­ternal Glory, may create our Ambi­tion to serve Thee all the Days we re­main here; that we may not, for a present temporal Enjoyment in this transitory Life, lose the blessed Hopes, and future Inheritance of the Saints in Light, but at last, having finished our Course here, we may arrive with Joy and Gladness at Thy Heavenly Kingdom.’

MED. XXVI. Upon Judgment.

2 Cor. v. 10.‘For we must all appear be­fore the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.’

IT is an Axiom, confirm'd by woful Experience, That the generality of them which bear the Name of Chri­stians, and pretend to fight under Christ's Banner against the Enemies of the Apostolick Faith, are, by their pro­fligate Impieties, the greatest Scandal to that glorious Profession: They live in such a Universe of Wickedness, as if the Redeemer of the World descended from Glory, not to subvert, but to establish the Empire of Sin; as if the main De­sign of their State, in this World, were only to fulfil that voluptuous Maxim of the Licentious Epicure, Let us eat and drink, for to morrow we mst die.

II. BUT if these Proficients in A­theism had a serious Memento, That [Page 161] there is a Deity inthron'd in Heaven, who is of purer eyes than to behold ini­quity; and so jealous of his Honour, that he will not remit the least Guilt with Impunity: could they be per­swaded to devote a few Minutes of the Time which they consume away to finish their Debaucheries, to a solemn Reflexion upon that inevitable Account which will be exacted from them at the General Resuscitation; when not only their Words and Actions, but the most occultest of their Cogitations shall be brought to Judgment; it were impos­sible for them, unless given over to a reprobate Sense, to perpetuate under the Dominion of their Carnal Appe­tites and Infections.

III. THE very Apprehension of the Vengeance to come, would fright 'em into an immediate Repentance; and produce such an admirable Reforma­tion, that living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, they might be found Unblameable in the Great Day of the Lord Jesus. And what a Day will that be! at whose Appearance the Sun shall be turned into Darkness, and the Moon into Blood, Act. 2. 20. [Page 162] When the Heavens shall be rolled toge­ther as a Scroll, Isa. 34. 4. the Elements melt with fervent hert, 2 Pet. 3. 10. and this magnificent imbellish'd Struc­ture of the Material Creation must perish in a Conflagration.

IV. When the ecchoing Sound of the Last Trumpet will be loud enough to astonish drowsie Mankind out of the sleep of Mortality; and all those innu­merable Bodies, which for so many past Ages have inhabited the vast Re-Regions of Forgetfulness, shall arise from their Beds of Dust, and appear before the Aweful Tribunal of the Great and Impartial Judge! The Books will then be open'd, the In­dictments read, and every Man's Works shall be produc'd at the Barr, and Evidence given, either for or against him. No Title of Honour, or Dig­nity of Place; no Preheminence of Nativity, or Excellency of Natural or Acquired Endowments, will, in this Court of Equity, be admitted, as a sufficient Demurr, to an immediate and impartial Tryal: but the High and the Low, the Rich and the Poor, the Noble and the Mean, the Learned [Page 163] and the Ignorant; he that sits on the Throne, and he that stands behind the Mill; even from the Swayer of the Scepter, to the Drawer of Water, must be equally impleaded; and without respect of Persons, receive a Com­pensation proportionable to their Me­rits.

V. IN this Great Day, the Lord of the Harvest will gather his Wheat into Heaven's Granary, bat the Chaff shall be thrown into Fire Unquencheable; He shall separate his Fine Gold from the Dross, and distinguish Right Jewels from False and Counterfeit Sparkles: The Sheep will then be separated from the Goats, and True Believers mani­festly known from Formal Hypo­crites. But what Tongue! not that of Angels, can express the Joy of those vigilant Servants, whom their Lord, at that time, will find diligently employ'd in the Performance of their Duties! All that formidable Pomp, and dreadful Solemnity, which shall precede and attend the Advent of the Judge, will but contribute to their Comfort, and enhance their Conso­lation: For they shall know, that [Page 164] He, who appears with such ineffable Majesty, to keep his General Sessions of Righteousness, is the same Iesus which was crucify'd for their Redemp­tion.

VI. THEN that Exalted Saviour will accost his Followers in the Rege­neration, Mat. 19. 28. with these or the like transporting Expressions: you my beloved Disciples, who re­nounc'd all that the World call'd Grandeur and Generosity, for the sake of your Crucify'd Lord and Master, and despis'd the present En­joyments of Flesh and Blood, in Expectation of a Future and Invi­sible State of Felicity. You, who who retain'd your Obedience, in the mid'st of a Rebellious Genera­tion; and embrac'd Vertue, in an Age of Impiety and Prophaneness. You, who subdu'd your sensual Ap­petites by the Austerities of Self-denial, and conform'd them to the sublimer Dictates of Reason and Religion. And You, who rejoyc'd in the Day of Tribulation, and a­dorn'd the Doctrine of the Gospel by an exemplary Patience in the [Page 165] Day of Adversity: This is the Day wherein you shall receive a Recom­pence for all your Sufferings; a Re­compence so incomparably Glorious, and of such Sublimity, that it will at once create and accomplish your Beatitude.’

VII. ‘Your Troubles were Finite, and expired in a Moment; but the Duration of your Bliss will be Infi­nite and Eternal: You shall now enter into that Heavenly Kingdom, where all your Tears shall be wiped from your Eyes; and those Chry­stal Drops which you plentiful shed in the Prosecution of your Salva­tion, shall be congeal'd into Pearls, to enrich your Diadems, and imbel­lish your Robes of Immortality: There no Deluge of Sorrow shall disturb the Serenity of your Feli­city; no Anxiety or Perplexity, no Discontent or Vexation shall intrude within the Limits of your Happi­ness; but you shall securely bathe in Oceans of unmix'd Pleasures, and feast upon Delights which know no period.’

[Page 166] VIII. BUT, while these Fluctuations of the Divine Mercy will consum­mate a Beatifick Calm in the Breasts of the Righteous, what irresistable Tempests of Consternation shall ex­cruciate those impenitent Wretches, who chose their Portion on this side Heaven; and preferr'd the Dung and Miseries of a transitory World, before the Real Joys of a Solid Eternity? Now, they shall in vain invoke the Mountains to bury them beneath their perpetual Ruines; that by a more tolerable Destruction, they might e­vade the Fury of that Almighty In­dignation ready to overwhelm them. But what will attribute them, in these inextricable Exigencies, that they pos­sess'd the Quintessence of the Earth; that they were splendid in Wealth and Honour; that they inhabited Palaces of Cedar, and took their Repose under Canopies embroider'd with Gold; that they were homag'd by Crouds of Pa­rasites, and grew Famous in Popular Applause; that they were the Fa­vourites of Crowned Heads, and the Darling of the Multitude; that all things past currrant according to their [Page 167] Desires, and were not molested by the Misfortunes of other Men: when those illustrated Accommodations did con­tribute but to render 'em the more magnificently Miserable; when they vanish'd like a visionary Dream of the Night; but the Memento and Guilt of their Absurdity, will, like venomous Snakes and Serpents, cling to their Consciences, and become their remorse­less Executioners for infinite Ages.

IX. THEN the Eyes of their Un­derstanding will be opened, which the Fascinations of Sin had kept long clos'd; and they shall perceive the Folly and Frailty of those impertinent Trifles which they courted with so much Passion and Eagerness; and for whose unsatiable Fruition they neg­lected their Immortal Souls, forfeited their Title to a blissful Immortality, and subjugated themselves to those tremendous Extremities which are the inseparable Concomitants of an inevi­table Damnation. What heaps of Treasure then would they give, to re­enjoy one Minute of that inestimable Time which they profusely expended in the unprofitable Works of Dark­ness, [Page 168] that for so inconsiderable a space, they might be but within a Possibility of Salvation? What Presidents of Mortification! What Miracles of Piety? What inimitable Examples of Vertue and Goodness would they appear to Mankind, were they to renovate the Lease of their Lives! How would they disesteem all those magnificent Sha­dows, and glittering Annihilations, which the idolizing Worldling so pre­posterously admires; and esteem the unmatchable Treasure of a Pacifick Conscience, unspeakably beyond the most transcendent Terrestrial Enjoy­ments!

X. BUT alas! 'twill be then too late for Repentance; and they who, in the Day of their Visitation, con­temn'd the repeated Proposals of a Redeemers Reconciliation, shall, at this Juncture, with Tears of Blood, supplicate for Mercy, and be refus'd it: and the Lord Iesus, who would have been their Saviour, and so fre­quently extended his compassionate Arms to receive them into Favour, if they would but Believe and Re­pent, will, as their inexorable Judge, [Page 169] utter this direful Sentence against them, Depart from me, ye cursed, into ever­lasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his Angels.

XI. O IRREVERSIBLE Decree! from whence there can be no Appeal! and which no sooner pronoun'd, but those Condem'd Wretches must be for ever exil'd from the Ecstatical Presence of the Almighty; and by Legions of apostate Spirits, haled away to the dismal Place of Horrour and Confu­sion, where they shall languish under the pressure of intollerable Punish­ments; and, by Wonder of Omnipo­tency, shall in Torrents of Fire, endure Extremity of Frigidity; and in Rivers of Ice, be tormented with perpetual Burnings: There they shall feed the Worm that never dies, and transude in those Flames which cannot be extin­guish'd. And the Consideration of the Perpetuity of those Supernal Felicities which they rejected for Vanities, and of the infinite Continuation of their infernal Tortures, will shipwreck all their Hopes in the formidable Gulf of Desperation, and plunge them into the bottomless Abysses of the lowest Hell.

The Prayer.

O BLESSED Father! since Thou art Formidabe in Thy Judgments, and Thy Anger is a Con­suming Fire; since those incorrigible Sinners who despise the Offers of Thy Mercy, shall become the Victims of Thy implacable Vengeance, and glo­rifie Thee in unimaginable Pains; since Thou hast appointed a Season, when an Eternity of Felicity, or Misery, shall be the Reward of our Actions; and we must either stand or fall, according to our handy Operations: Vouchsafe, that the Contemplation of these weighty Verities may be such a prevalent Inducement to the Amendment of our Lives, that we may work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Let not the pernicious Allurements of this fraudulent World make us negligent of the Wrath to come; but let us walk with that aweful Care, and vigilant Circumspection, that we may appear with Joy, in [Page 171] that dreadful Day wherein the greater part of mis-call'd Christians shall be consign'd to an Immortal Ruine and Destruction.

MED. XXVII. Upon Hell.

Isa. xxxiii. 14.‘Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burning?’

ETERNAL Death is the dread­ful State of the Damned; by which they are not only depriv'd of the Presence of the Almighty, but are also tormented with perpetual Suffer­ing both in Soul and Body. Oh, how horrid is it then, to incurr the Dis­pleasure of the Divine Omnipotence! How strangely infatuated are ye, O senseless Sinners! to run on so swiftly in the Ways of Sin! Tell me, Can you freely receive your Wages, which [Page 172] is Death; and take up your Habita­tion in Everlasting Burnings, there perpetually to abide for ever.

II. COULD we but obtain, by Divine Permission, a Visionary Prospect of that incorrigible Miscreant and Tray­tor, Iudas; what a Scene of Horror would that be, to behold him, violently dragg'd by Infernal Spirits, and loaded with Chains of Fire; his Diabolical Countenance, pale and Wan; the Voice within him, his Conscience, Worm-eaten; his Pestilential Skin, cover'd with Leprosie, from whence issues out Stinks not to be endured; his Limbs and Body, wounded and tormented; and his Tongue filled with bitter Lamentations and Execrations; What a dreadful Apprehension will the Vision of so deplorable a Spectacle create in thee!

III. SHOULDST thou, in Contem­plation, fix that dire Object before thine Eyes; and upon a strict Disqui­sition, examine him, saying, ‘Tell me, O thou perfidious Iudas! what Griefs, what Pains and Torments are these thou undergoest? What number of Years has thou reign'd in [Page 173] sulphurous Fire? And how many Centuries of Ages must thou yet remain buried in Flames, and roar­ing among the Infernal Crew?’ His guilty and amazing Conscience would soon reply, ‘The Pains which which I endure are intollerable; no intermission for Relief is here to be found, but the Torments thus in­inflicted are perpetual: The least of our Miseries far exceed all Punish­ments, which either the Justice of God, or the Cruelties of Men upon Earth, did ever execute: Despair is our continual Associate, and there is no vacant Place for Hopes of ever to be freed for these unexpressible Torments: You upon Earth, take your Ease, you Eat and drink in full Bowls; whil'st we want Water to cool our Tongues, which are tor­mented in these Flames.’

IV. Let the Thoughts of Hell's Terrors ever put me in a Method to escape their Fury. Consider the Damned in their fatal Circumstances; their Life is, to die without expiring; and their Death is, to live in perpetual Punishment: There the Tormentor is [Page 174] never wearied, the Fire never con­sumes, and the Torments never de­crease. And this Decree is according as the irrevocable Sentence requires; the fulfilling of the Justice of the Al­mighty, and the Reward due to wilful Impenitents, and obdurate Offenders; that they should never want a suffi­cient measure of Punishment, who were continually glutted, and never ceas'd from Sin.

V. There, the least Sin has its pe­culiar Punishment, wonderfully ex­tracted out of its own Sordidness: The Salacious shall inhabit in unextinguish­able sulphurous Fire, continually fla­ming from their own inordinate Af­fections: The Epicure and Ebrious shall sigh in vain for a little Water to cool their Tongues: The Outra­gious and Passionate shall snarl like mad Dogs; and the Malicious and Uncharitable shall corrode their own Entrails: The Wealth of the Misers shall be as Goads in their Sides; and the Arrogant and Ambitious shall be hurried down from the Precipice of Scorn, to the Bottomless-Pit of Con­tempt: The Infatuated shall miserably [Page 175] deplore their mispent Time; and pine away with Grief, for their not being diligent.

VI. BUT, O what strange Con­vulsions shall fasten on their Spirits, and vulnerate and search the utmost of their Souls! When they shall with Amazement behold themselves eter­nally bereft of the illuminating Vision of the Most Highest! When they shall behold themselves eternally exil'd from the joyful and amiable Presence of Jesus; that Omnipotence who created 'em to inherit His Kingdom; that Sa­viour who purchas'd 'em to reign with Him in Glory: then shall they exe­crate the Hour of their Nativity, and those sordid Associates that enticed them to Ruine! They shall exclaim against the Folly of the fraudulent U­niverse; and belch out, with a raving Distraction, Are these the Products of those infatuated Desires, whose empty Enjoyments we esteem'd our Happi­ness! Alas! what will our loose Li­berties, and those fond Delights we so eagerly chas'd after, now yield us? What Happiness receive we from those fleeting Honours, and transitory Trea­sures [Page 176] we so highly valued? They are all fled away as a Vapour, and past away as a Morning-Cloud.

VII. BUT the Sting and Torment perpetually endures, and plagues our Vitals with Everlasting Anguish. Thus shall they roar out; but all is deaf to their Complaint: Thus shall they la­ment; but no Compassion shall relieve them. O dismal Spectacle of a wicked Life! O terrible Sequel of a destruc­tive Death! perpetually to wish for what they never can obtain! perpe­tually to undergo that which is inevi­table! ‘O magnify'd be Thy Divine Omnipotence, that with such an in­dulgent Affection gives us timely Notice of our Ruine! Save us, O blessed Lord! from all Impieties: Oh, save us, for Thy Own dear sake! Quicken our Minds against the Ef­fects of Sin! and with Thy Fatherly Corrections chastise us often, that at last the Terrors of Hell may force us into Thy Heavenly Kingdom!’

MED. XXVIII. Upon Heaven.

Psal. lxxxvii. 2‘Glorious things are spoken of thee, thou City of God.’

BUT all the most exalted Enco­miums are infinitely below thy deserved Lauds and Praises: For, What Humane Understanding, What created Tongue, can be able to comprehend or express thy ineffable Excellencies? If this Inferior Orb, the Place of our Exilement, and a Theatre of inevi­table Miseries, be so wonderfully de­lightful, that our Eyes are entranced with the Variety of its Objects, and can never sufficiently admire the Mar­vels they behold; if the Firmament, which is but a Foot-cloth for the Saints to tread on, be enamell'd with so many Starry Jewels, and imbellish'd with such radient Planets, and glit­tering Constellations: How transcen­dent! how superlatively Magnificent are the Inner Appartments and Cham­bers of that Emperial Palace where [Page 178] the Adorable Deity does vouchsafe to communicate his Essential and Ecsta­tick Glories?

II. O DESIRABLE Mansion! One Mi­nute's Residence in thy Celestial Courts, will make us more than Recompence for all the Afflictions we can possibly suffer in this Valley of Tears: And And how conceivably will our Reward be, when, by a Miracle of Divine Mercy, we shall be admitted to an Everlasting Participation of thy Immense and In­expressible Felicities! It was the cer­tain Hope of thy Enjoyment, which animated the Primitive Martyrs to sustain the most fiercest Tortures with an undaunted Constancy, and to tri­umph in the mid'st of their Conflagra­tion.

III. THE comfortable Expectation of thy Fruition, was the Grand Mo­tive which induced the Magnanimous Ignatius, when threatned by his Per­secutors with Extremity of Torments, to make this Heroick Replication; Fire, Gallows, Beasts, Breaking of my Bones, Quartering of my Members, Crushing of my Body, all the Torments of the Devil together; let them come [Page 179] upon me, so I may enjoy my Lord Iesus Christ.

IV. IT is an undeniable Axiom, That all Secular Felicitities are built upon brittle Foundations. The most sublime Terrestrial Pleasures, even in their greatest Complacencies, are but transcient Vanities, and conclude in Vexation; but the Objects of the Ce­lestial Habitations are refined to such an extraordinary degree of Perfection, that they will be able to satiate the most extended Desires of our capacious Souls: There we shall possess, in lieu of a living Mortality, which moves us towards the Grave, a Vitality glorious beyond Imagination, durable as the Ages of Eternity, and whose Enjoy­ment will entitle us to excessive and inexplicable Satisfactions.

V. IF we admire Beauty: Our ravish'd Eyes, in lieu of Corporeal Objects, shall behold those Immate­rial Glories which flow from the Foun­tain of Uncreated Light, and shall be permitted to contemplate that won­derful Clearness which proceeds from the Beatifical Visage of the Supreme Creator. If Riches be the Center of [Page 180] our Affections: Gold, Pearls, Dia­monds, Rubies, Jewels, and whatever we account most precious and estima­ble in the Universe, are but faint Me­taphors to describe the Inestimable Treasures of the Supernal World.

VI. IF Honour be the Subject of our Ambition: What are Scepters and Crowns, but Illustrious Miseries? What are the Grandeurs upon Earth, but gaudy Shadows, in comparison of those Incorruptible Diadems, those perma­nent and Substantial Dignities which flourish Above. If we delight in Mu­sick: There we shall hear the Pane­gyrical Anthems of the Seraphick Choir; and shall bear a part in the solemn Celebration of that Almighty Being, whose only Presence will be sufficient to replenish us with immea­surable Felicity.

VII. TO Conclude: Nothing can be ded to that Immensity of Beatitude which we shall there enjoy; but we shall be as perfectly Happy, as the immediate Vision of the Incompre­hensibly Glorious Trinity, the Society of Angels, the Conversation of Trium­phant Spirits, and the inexpressible [Page 181] Accommodations of a blissful Heaven can possibly make us.: And to con­summate our Felicity, all our Enjoy­ments shall be invested with Eternal Glory.

THE CONTENTS.

  • SECT. I. What Meditation is Page 1
  • SECT. II. That it is a Duty Page 5
  • SECT. III. Rules and Directions for Medita­tion Page 10
  • SECT. IV. Of the Subject and Method of Me­ditation Page 14
  • SECT. V. Of being Affected with the Divine Presence Page 17
  • SECT. VI. Of Preparatory Prayer Before Me­ditation Page 21
  • SECT. VII. Of Consideration Page 25
  • SECT. VIII. Affections and Resolutions Page 29
  • SECT. IX. Of Vows Page 33
  • SECT. X. How to Conclude your Meditati­ons Page 35
  • Collects to be said Before and After Meditations Page 36
Meditations on Several Occasions.
  • [Page]MED. I. COnfession of Sins Page 38
  • MED. II. That the Cross of the Holy Iesus should excite us to Repentance Page 42
  • MED. III. Of the Fruits of Repentance Page 45
  • MED. IV. Of Man's Salvation Page 50
  • MED. V. The Youth's Memento Page 53
  • MED. VI. General Rules of a Godly Life Page 58
  • MED. VII. The Whole Duty of Man Page 63
  • MED. VIII. The Vanity of the World Page 67
  • MED. IX. Jacob's Ladder. Page 72
  • MED. X. Of a Good Conscience. Page 76
  • MED. XI. Of a Wounded Spirit. Page 81
  • MED. XII. Of Humility Page 86
  • MED. XIII. The Proud Pharisee Page 91
  • MED. XIV. The Soul's Delight Page 95
  • MED. XV. True Contentment Page 10 [...]
  • MED. XVI. Of Divine Faith Page 105
  • MED. XVII. The Canaanitish Woman's Faith Page 109
  • MED. XVIII. Of Love and Charity Page 114
  • MED. XIX. An Act of Divine Love Page 120
  • MED. XX. Of Chastity Page 126
  • MED. XXI. Purity of Heart Page 133
  • [Page]MED. XXII. Against Covetousness Page 137
  • MED. XXIII. A Bad Exchange Page 142
  • MED. XXIV. In Time of Sickness Page 148
  • MED. XXV. Vpon Death Page 153
  • MED. XXVI. Vpon Iudgment Page 160
  • MED. XXVII. Vpon Hell Page 171
  • MED. XXVIII. Vpon Heaven. Page 177
FINIS.

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