Nos qu [...]que floruimus, sed flos fuit ille [...]
Fl [...]mmaque de stipula nostra brepusque fui [...] O [...]:
Farewell Vaine World: as thou hast bin to me
Dust and a Shadow: those I leave with thee:
The vnseen Vitall Substance I committ.
To him that's Substance Life-Light-Love to it.
The Leavs & Fruit are dropt for soyle & Seed.
Heavens heirs to generate to heale and feed:
Them also thou wilt flatter and molest:
But shalt not keep from Everlasting R [...]st.

RICHARD BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS UPON PHIL. 1. 23. Written for his own Use in the latter Times of his corporal Pains and Weakness.

LONDON, Printed by Tho. Snowden, for B. Simmons at the Three golden Cocks, at the West end of St. Pauls, 1683.



I Have no other use for a Pre­face to this Book, but to give you a true excuse for its Publication. I wrote it for my self, unresolved whether any one should ever see it, but at last inclined to leave that to the will of [Page] my Executors, to publish or sup­press it when I am dead, as they saw cause. But my Person being seized on, and my Library, and all my Goods distrained on by Con­stables, and sold, and I constrai­ned to relinquish my House (for preaching and being in Lon­don:) I knew not what to do with multitudes of Manuscrip [...] that had long lain by me; having no House to go to, but a narrow hired Lodging with strangers: Wherefore I cast away whole Vo­lumes; which I could not carry away, both Controversies and Letters practical, and Cases of Conscience, but having newly lain [Page] divers Weeks, Night and Day, in waking torments Nephritick, and Colick, after other long pains and languor, I took this Book with me in my removal, for my own use in my further sickness. Three Weeks after falling into another extream fit, and expe­cting Death, where I had no Friend with me to commit my Papers to, meerly lest it should be lost, I thought best to give it to the Prin­ter: I think it is so much of the work of all mens lives to prepare to die with safety and comfort, that the same Thoughts may be needful for others that are so for me: If any mislike the Title as if [Page] it imported that the Author is Dead, let him know that I die daily, and that which quickly will be, almost is: It's suited to my own use: They that it is unsui­ble to, may pass it by. If those mens lives were spent in serious preparing Thoughts of Death, who are now studying to destroy each other, and tear in pieces a distres­sed Land, they would prevent much dolorous Repentance.

R. B.


  • Doct. 1. THat the Souls of Believers when departed hence shall be with Christ.
  • I. The necessity of believing this, proved, pag. 1, &c.
  • II. Whether it be best believing it without consideration of the difficulties or proofs? p. 7.
  • III. The certainty of it manifested; 1. From the Immortality of the Soul: which is proved, p. 11.
  • 1. The Soul is a substance. 2. It is a sub­stance formally differenced from lower substance by the Virtue of special Vital Activity, Intellect, and free will, p. 14 3. It is not Annihilated at Death. 4. Nor destroyed by dissolution of parts. 5. Nor loseth its formal Power or Vir­tue, p. 15. 6. Nor doth sleep or cease to act, p. 16. 7. To cease to be Individuate by Vnion with any other common Spirit, is not to be feared, were it [Page] true, p. 19. But it is not like to be true, p. 31, &c.
  • II. The second proof: It is a natural notice, p. 33.
  • III. From the duty of all men to seek a fu­ture happinessm p. 34.
  • IV. From Man's capacity of knowing God, &c. as differenced from Bruits. p. 37.
  • V. From God [...]s governing Justice, p. 38.
  • VI. From Revelation supernatural, p. 39.
  • VII. From God's answering Prayers, p. 42.
  • VIII. From our present communion with An­gels. p. 44.
  • IX. From Satan's temptations, Witches, Ap­paritions, &c. p. 45.
  • X. Specially from the Operations of God's Spirit on our Souls, preparing them for Glo­ry, p. 47.
  • Faith excited, and Objections answered in the Application.
    • The proofs summed up in Order, p. 65.
  • Why this Happiness is described by our being vvith Christ.
    • 1. What is included in our Being vvith Christ: 1. Presence with Christ's glorified Bo­dy and Soul, and God-head, p. 66.
    • 2. Vnion with him, in each, p. 73. Too near Vnion not to be feared, as destroying indi­viduation.
    • [Page] 3. Communion with him in each; active and passive opened, p. 74, &c.
  • We must DEPART that we may be with Christ. I. From what, p. 75.
  • 1. From this Body and Life: Yet it is far better so to do, p. 76.
  • 2. From all the fleshly Pleasures of this Life, p. 83. Yet best.
  • 3. From the more manly delights of Study, Books, Friends, &c. considered: 1. Of Know­ledge, and Books: the vanity, 2. Of Sermons, p. 87. 3. Of Friends and Converse, p. 95.
  • 4. Of God's Word and Worship, p. 98. Of Theo­logy, p. 99. Of my own labours herein, p. 103.
  • 6. Notice of the Affairs of the World, p. 109.
  • 7. From our Service to the Living, p. 112.
  • The Application to my self, p. 115.
  • To DEPART and to BE WITH CHRIST IS FAR BETTER, or rather to be chosen, p. 120.
  • I. Simply better and properly, at it is the ful­filling of God's will, p. 122.
  • II. Analogically better, as it tendeth to the Perfection of the Vniverse and the Church.
  • III. Better to my self as to my own felicity, p. 124. proved, 1. By general Reasons from the efficients and means. 2. The final Reasons. 3. The constitutive Reasons from the state of my Intellect: as to the Iu [...]uitive manner of knowledg, [Page] and as to the matter: Both opened: 1. I shall know God better, p 144. 2. And God's Works; the Vniverse. 3. And Jesus Christ. 4. And the Church. 5. And the Church triumphant, the heavenly Jerusalem. 6. And all God's Word; for Matter and Method. 7. God's present Works of Providence. 8. The nature and worth of Mercies. 9. And my self; Body and Soul. 10. And my fellow Creatures. 11. And what the evil was from which I was delivered, enemies, dangers, sins, &c.
  • 4. The Constitutive Reasons from the state of my will. I. Negatively, p. 163. 1. Freed from Temptations of the Flesh, World, and Devil, 2. There will nothing be in it that is against God, my Neighbours, or my self. II. Positively, 1. It will be conform to God's will: The benefits of this, p. 165. Fruition: A fixed will. The Ob­ject, 1. God. To love him and beloved of him, is our end, p. 169. He is a suitable, full, near, Object.
  • II. The next Object; God's golorius Image in the Perfection of the Vniverse, p. 171.
  • III. The Church Triumphant, p. 174. 1. Jesus Christ. 2. Angels, 3. Holy Souls. The Wills Reception in Glory, p. 175. 1. What it is to be loved of God. Excitations, 179. 2. How blessed to be under the Love of Christ, p. 881. Ex­citations, Desires, p. 182.
  • [Page] 3. Communion with Angels and Saints by re­ception. p. 188
  • More of the good of Vnion and Communion as distinct from singular Propriety, p. 190.
  • 5. The constitutive Reasons from our heavenly Practice, p. 195. Better works for us there than here, proved. What they are in general: What particularly: I. Concordant praising God. Excitations and Petitions, p. 169. II. The blessed probably used for the good of men and things be­low, p. 198. Their Opinion rejected, that assert, the cessation of sense; proof. Objection from Bruits answered The concluding Application, p. 202.
  • A Breviate of the helps of Faith, Hope, and Love for a dying Man.
    • I. The Gospel Evidence on 1 Tim. 3. 16. p. 260.
    • II. A Breviate of the proof of supernatural Revelation, and the Truth of Christianity, p. 262.
    • III. The difference between the World which I am leaving, and the World which I am going to: With Reasons of my comfortable hope. p. 283.
    • IV. More Reasons and Helps of my Faith and Hope, p. 289.
    • V. A discourse of the sensible manifestation of the Kingdom of Christ, at his Transfiguration, which is expounded and applied for the help of Faith and Patience, p. 300.
    • [Page] VI. Short Meditations on Rom. 5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Of the shedding abroad of God's Love on the Heart, that we may rejoice in hope of the Glory of God, p. 360.

THe exercise of Three sorts of LOVE, to God, to Others, and to my Self, afford me a Threefold satisfaction (conjunct) to be vvil­ling to depart.

I. I am sure my departure vvill be the fulfil­ling of that Will vvhich is Love it self, vvhich I am bou [...]d above all things to Love, and Please, and vvh [...] is the beginning, rule, and end of all: Antonine [...]ould hence fetch good Thoughts of Death.

II. The World dieth not vvith me vvhen I die; nor the Church, nor the Praise and Glo­ry of God vvhich he vvill have in and from this World unto the end: And if I love others as my self, their Lives and Comforts vvill novv be to my Thoughts, as if I vvere to live my self in them. God vvill be praised, and honoured by Posterity, vvhen I am dead and gone. Were I to be annihilated this vvould comfort me novv, if I lived and died in perfect Love.

III. But a better and glorious World is be­fore me, into vvhich I hope by Death to be translated, vvhither all these Three sorts of Love should rap up the desires of my ascend­ing [Page] Soul; even the Love of my self, that I may be fully happy; the Love of the triumphant Church, Christ, Angels, and glorified Man, and the Glory of all the Universe vvhich I shall see; and above all the Love of the most Glorious God, Infinite Life, and Light, and Love, the ultimate Amiable Object of Man's Love; in vvhom to beperfectly pleased, and delighted, and to vvhom to be perfectly plea­sing for ever, is the chief and ultimate end of me, and of the highest, vvisest, and best of Creatures; Amen.


PHIL. 1. 23.‘For I am in a streight between two, &c.

I Write for my self, and therefore supposing the sense of the Text, shall only observe what is useful to my Heart and Practice.

It was a happy state into which Grace had brought this Apostle, who saw so much not only tolerable but greatly desirable, both in living and dying. To live to him was Christ, that is, Christ's interest, or work: To die would be gain, that is, His own interest and re­ward: His streight was not whether it would be good [Page] to live or good to depart: Both were good: But which was more desirable was the doubt.

I. Quest. But was there any doubt to be made between Christ's interest and his own? Ans. No, if it had been a full and fixed competition: But by Christ or Christ's interest, he meaneth his work for his Churches interest in this World: But he knew that Christ also had an interest in his Saints above; and that he could raise up more to serve him here: Yet because he was to judge by what appeared, and he saw a defect of such on Earth, this did turn the Scales in his Choice; and for the work of of Christ and his Churches good, he more inclined to the delay of his reward, by self-denial: Yet knowing that the delay would tend to its increase. It's useful to me here to note:

That even in this World, short of Death, there is some good so much to be regarded, as may justly prevail with Believers to prefer it before the present hastning of their reward.

I the rather note this, that no temptation carry me into that extream, of taking nothing but Heaven to be worthy of our minding or regard; and so to cast off the World in a sinful sort, on pretence of mortifi­cation, and a heavenly mind and life.

I. As to the sense, the meaning is not that any thing on Earth is better than Heaven, or simply, and in itself to be preferred before it: The end is better than the means as such: And perfection better than imperfe­ction.

[Page] But the present use of the means may be preferred somtimes before the present possession of the end: And the use of means for a higher end, may be preferred before the present possession of a lower end: And every thing hath its season: Plan­ting, and Sowing, and Building are not so good as Reaping; and Fruit gathering, and Dwel­ling: But in their season they must be first done.

II. Quest. But what is there so desirable in this Life?

Ans. 1. While it continueth it is the fulfilling of the will of God who will have us here: And that's best which God willeth.

II. The life to come dependeth upon this: As the life of Man in the World, upon his Generation in the Womb; Or as the reward upon the work; or the Runners or Souldiers Prize upon his Race or Fighting: Or as the Merchants gain upon his Voyage. Heaven is won or lost on Earth: The possession is there, but the preparation is here: Christ will judge all men ac­cording to their works on Earth: [Well done good and faithful Servant, must go before [Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord: I have fought a good Fight, I have fini­shed my Course] goeth before the Crown of Righteousness which God the righteous Judge will give: All that ever must be done for Salvation by us, must here be donc: It waron Earth that Christ himself, wrought the work of [...] Redemption, fulfilled all Righteousness, became [Page] our Ransom: And paid the Price of our Salvation: And it's here that our part is to be done.

And the bestowing of the reward of God's work, who we are sure will never fail: There is no place for the least suspicion or fear of his misdoing or failing in any of his undertaken work, But the danger and fear is of our own miscarrying; lest we be not found capable of receiving what God will certainly give to all that are disposed Receivers. To distrust God is heinous sin and folly: But to distrust our selves we have great cause. So that if we will make sure of Heaven, it must be by giving all diligence to make firm our Title, our Cal­ling, and our Election here on Earth. If we fear Hell, we must fear being prepared for it.

And it is great and difficult work that must be here done: It's here that we must be cured of all damning sin: That we must be Regenerate and new Born; that we must be pardoned and justified by Faith; It's here that we must be united to Christ, made wise to Salva­tion, renewed by his Spirit, and conformed to his like­ness: It's here that we must overcome all the temptati­ons of the Devil, the World, and the Flesh, and per­form all the duties toward God and Man, that must be rewarded: It's here that Christ must be believed in with the Heart to Righteousness, and with the Mouth confessed to Salvation: It's here that we must suffer with him, that we may reign with him, and be faithful to the Death, that we may receive the Crown of Life. Here we must so run that we may obtain.

III. Yea, we have greater work here to do than meer securing our own Salvation. We are [...] [Page] of the World and Church, and we must labour to do good to many: We are trusted with our Masters Ta­lents for his Service; in our places to do our best to propaga [...]e his Truth, and Grace and Church; and to bring home Souls, and Honour his cause, and edifie his Flock, and further the Salvation of as many as we can. All this is to be done on Earth, if we will secure the end of all in Heaven.

Use. I. It is then an errour (though it is but few I think that are guilty of it) to think that all Religion lieth in minding only the Life to come, and disregard­ing all things in this present life: All true Christians must seriously mind, both the End, and the Means, or way: If they mind not believingly the End, they will never be faithful in the use of means: If they mind not and use not diligently the Means, they will never ob­tain the End. None can use Earth well that prefer not Heaven: And none come to Heaven (at Age) that are not prepared by well using Earth. Heaven must have the deepest esteem and habituated love, and desire, and joy: But Earth must have more of our daily thoughts for present practice. A Man that travelleth to the most desirable home, hath a habit of desire to it all the way: But his present business is his travel: And Horse and Company, and Inns, and Waies, and Weari­ness, &c. may take up more of his sensible Thoughts, and of his Talk, and Action, than his Home.

Use. II. I have oft marvelled to find David in the Psalms, and other Saints before Christ's coming, to [Page] have expressed so great a sense of the things of this pre­sent life, and to have said so little of another. To have made so great a matter of Prosperity, Dominions, and Victories on one Hand, and of Enemies, Success, and Persecution on the other, But I consider that it was not for meer Personal, Carnal interest, but for the Church of God, and for his Honour, Word, and Worship: And they knew that if things go well with us on Earth, they will be sure to go well in Heaven: If the militant Church prosper in Holiness, there is no doubt but it will triumph in Glory: God will be sure to do his part in receiving Souls, if they be here pre­pared for his receipt. And Satan doth much of his dam­ning work by men: If we escape their temptations we escape much of our danger. If Idolaters prospered, Israel was tempted to Idolatry: The Greek Church is almost swallowed up by Turkish Prosperity and Dominion. Most follow the powerful and Prosperous side. And therefore for God's cause, and for heavenly everlasting interest, our own state, but much more the Churches must be greatly regarded here on Earth.

Indeed if earth be desired only for Earth; and Pro­spirity loved but for the present welfare of the Flesh; it is the certain Mark of damning carnality, and an earthly mind. But to desire Peace and Prosperity, and Power to be in the hands of wise and faithful men, for the sake of Souls, and the increase of the Church, and the Honour of God, that his Name may be hallowed, his Kingdom come, and his Will done on Earth, as it is in Heaven, this is to be the chief of our Prayers to God.

Use. III. Be not unthankful then, O my Soul, for [Page] the Mercies of this present life, for those to thy Body to thy Friends, to the Land of thy Nativity, and spe­cially to the Church of God.

I. This Body is so nearly united to thee, that it, must needs be a great help or hinderance: Had it been more afflicted, it might have been a discouraging clog; like a tired Horse in a Journey, or an ill Tool to a Workman, or an untuned Instrument in Musick: A sick or bad Servant in an House is a great trouble: And a bad Wife much more. But thy Body is nearer thee than either, and will be more of thy concern.

And yet if it had been more Strong and Healthful, Sense, and Appetite would have been strong; and Lust would have been strong; and therefore danger would have been greater, and Victory and Salvation much more difficult. Even weak Senses and Tempta­tions have too oft prevailed: How knowest thou then what stronger might have done: When I see a thirsty Man in a Feaver or Dropsie, and specially when I see strong and healthful youths, bred up in fulness, and among temptations, how mad they are in sin, and how violently they are carried to it, bearing down God's rebukes, and Conscience, and Parents, and Friends, and all regard to their Sal­vation, it tells me how great a Mercy I had, even in a Body not liable to their case.

And many a bodily deliverance, hath been of great use to my Soul, renewing my time and opportunity and strength for Service, and bringing frequent and fresh reports of the Love of God.

[Page] If bodily Mercies were not of great use to the Soul, Christ would not so much have shewed his saving love, by healing all manner of diseases as he did. Nor would God promise us a Resurrection of the Body, if a congruous Body did not further the welfare of the Soul.

2. And I am obliged to great thankfulness to God for the Mercies of this life which he hath shewed to my Friends; that which furthers their joy, should increase mine: I ought to rejoice with them that rejoice: Nature and Grace teach us to be glad when our Friends are well and prosper: Though all in order to better things than bodily welfare.

3. And such Mercies of this life to the Land of our Habitation must not be undervalued. The want of them are parts of God's threatned Curse; and godliness hath the Promise of this life, and of that which is to come; and so is profitable to all things. And when God sends on a Land the Plagues of Famine, Pesti­lence, War, Persecution, especially a Famine of the Word of God, it is a great sin to be insensible of it: If any shall say, while Heaven is sure we have no cause to accuse God, or to cast away comfort, hope or duty, they say well: But if they say, Because Heaven is all we must make light of all that befalleth us on Earth, They say amiss.

Good Princes, Magistrates and publick Spirited men that promote the safety, Peace and true Prosperity of the Common-wealth, do thereby very much befriend [Page] Religion, and mens Salvation; and are greatly to be loved and honoured by all. If the Civil State called the Common-wealth, do miscarry or fall into ruine and calamity, the Church will fare the worse for it, as the Soul doth by the ruines of the Body. The Turkish, Muscovite, and such other Empires tell us, how the Church consumeth and dwindles away into contempt or withered Ceremony and Formality, where Tyran­ny brings Slavery, Beggary, or long Persecution on the Subjects. Doubtless divers passages in the Revelations contain the Churches glorifying of God, for their Power and Prosperity on Earth, when Emperors be­came Christians: What else can be meant well by Rev. 9. 10. [Hath made us Kings and Priests to God, and we shall Reign on the Earth;] but that Christians shall be brought from under Heathen Persecution, and have Rule and Sacred Honour in the World, some of them being Princes, some honoured Church Guides, and all a peculiar honoured People. And had not Sa­tan found out that cursed way of getting wicked men that hate true godliness and peace, into the Sacred places of Princes and Pastors, to do his work against Christ as in Christ's Name, surely no good Christians would have grudged at the Power of Rulers of State or Church: Sure I am that many called Fifth Monar­chy men, seem to make this their great Hope that Rule shall be in the Hands of Righteous men: And I think most Religious Parties would rejoice if those had very great Power, whom they take to be the best and trustiest men: Which shews that it is not the greatness of Power in most Princes, or sound Bishops that they dislike, but the badness (real or supposed) of those whose Power they mislike: Who will blame Power to do good.

[Page] Sure the three first and great Petitions of the Lord's Prayer include some temporal welfare of the World and Church, without which the Spiritual rarely pro­spereth extensively (though intensively in a few it may) since Miracles ceased.

4. Be thankful therefore for all the Churches Mercies here on Earth: For all the protection of Magistracy, the Plenty of Preachers, the perservation from Enemies, the restraint of Persecution, the Concord of Christians, and increase of Godliness, which in this Land it hath had in our Ages, notwithstanding all Satan's malig­nant rage, and all the bloody Wars that have interrup­ted our tranquillity. How many Psalms of joyful thanksgiving be there for Israel's deliverances, and the perservation of Zion, and God's Worship in his Sanctua­ry: Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem: They shall pro­sper that love it: specially that the Gospel is continued, while so many rage against it, is a Mercy not to be made light of.

Use IV. Be specially thankful, O my Soul, that God hath made any use of thee for the Service of his Church on Earth. My God, my Soul for this doth magnifie thee, and my Spirit rejoiceth in the review of thy great undeserved Mercy! O what am I whom thou took'st up from the Dunghil, or low ob­scurity, that I should live my self in the constant relish of thy Sweet and Sacred Truth, and with such encou­couraging success communicate it to others? That I must say now my publick work seems ended, that these For­ty three or Forty four years I have no reason to think that ever I laboured in vain! O with what gratitude [Page] must I look upon all places where I lived and laboured, but above all that place that had my strength. I bless thee for the great numbers gone to Heaven, and for the continuance of Piety, Humiliation, Concord and Peace among them.

And for all that by my Writings have received any saving Light and Grace. O my God, let not my own Heart be barren while I labour in thy Husbandry, to bring others unto Holy fruit. Let me not be a stran­ger to the Life and Power of that saving Truth which I have done so much to communicate to others: O let not my own Words and Writings condemn me as void of that Divine and Heavenly Nature, and Life, which I have said so much for to the World.

Use V. Stir up then, O my Soul, thy sincere desires and all thy Faculties, to do the remnant of the work of Christ appointed thee on Earth, and then joyful­ly wait for the heavenly Perfection in God's own time.

Thou canst truly say, To live to me is Christ: It is his work for which thou livest: Thou hast no other business in the World: But thou dost his work with the mixture of many oversights and imperfections, and too much troublest thy Thoughts distrustfully about God's part, who never faileth: If thy work be done, be thankful for what is past, and that thou art come so near the Port of rest: If God will add any more to thy daies, serve him with double alacrity, now thou art so near the end: The Prize is almost within sight: Time is swift and short: Thou hast told others that there is no working in the Grave, and that it must be now or never: Though the conceit of meriting of commuta­tive [Page] Justice, be no better than madness, dream not that God will save the wicked, no nor equally reward the slothful and the diligent, because Christ's Righteous­ness was perfect. Paternal Justice maketh difference according to that worthiness which is so denominated by the Law of Grace: And as sin is its own punish­ment; Holiness and Obedience is much of its own re­ward: Whatever God appointeth thee to do, see that thou do it sincerely, and with all thy might: If sin di­spose men to be angry because it is detected, disgraced and resisted, if God be pleased, their wrath should be patiently born, who will shortly be far more angry with themselves. If slander and obloquy survive, so will the better effects on those that are converted: And there is no comparison between these. I shall not be hurt when I am with Christ, by the Calumnies of men on Earth: But the saving benefit will by converted Sinners be enjoyed everlastingly. Words and actions are transient things, and being once past are nothing: But the effect of them on an immortal Soul, may be endless. All the Sermons that I have preached are nothing now: But the Grace of God on Sanctified Souls is the begin­ning of Eternal life. It is unspeakable Mercy to be sincerely thus employed with success; therefore I had reason all this while to be in Pauls streight, and make no hast in my desires to depart. The Crown will come in its due time: And Eternity is long enough to enjoy it, how long soever it be delayed: But if I will do that which must obtain it for my self and others, it must be quickly done before my declining sun be set.

O that I had no worse causes of my unwillingness yet to die, than my desire to do the work of life for my own and other mens Salvation? And to finish my course [Page] with joy, and the Ministry committed to me by the Lord.

Use VI. And as it is on Earth that I must do good to others, so it must be in a manner suited to their state on Earth. Souls are here closely united to Bodies, by which they must receive much good or hurt: Do good to mens Bodies if thou wouldst do good to their Souls: Say not, Things corporeal are worthless Trifles, for which the receivers will be never the better: They are things that nature is easily sensible of: And sense is the passage to the mind and will. Dost not thou find what a help it is to thy self, to have at any time, any ease and al [...] ­crity of Body: And what a burden and hinderance, pains, and cares are? Labour then to free others from such burdens and temptations, and be not regardless of them. If thou must rejoice, with them that rejoice, and mourn with them that mourn, further thy own joy in furthering theirs; and avoid thy own sorrows in avoiding or curing theirs.

But, alas, what power hath selfishness in most? How easily do we bear our Brethrens pains, reproaches, wants and afflictions, in comparison of our own: How few thoughts, and how little cost or labour do we use for their supply, in comparison of what we do for our selves. Nature indeed teacheth us to be most sensible of our own case: But Grace tells us that we should not make so great a difference as we do, but should love our Neighbours as our selves.

Use VII. And now, O my Soul, consider how mercifully God hath dealt with thee, that thy streight should be between two conditions so de­sirable? I shall either die speedily, or stay yet lon­ger upon Earth: Which ever it be, it will be [Page] a Merciful and Comfortable state. That it is desirable to depart and be with Christ, I must not doubt, and shall anon more copiously consider. And if my abode on Earth yet longer be so great a Mercy as to be put in the Ballance against my present possession of Heaven, surely it must be a state which obligeth me to great thankfulness to God, and comfortable acknowledgment: And surely it is not my pain, or sickness, my suffering [...] from malicious men, that should make this Life on Earth unacceptable, while God will continue it: Paul had his Prick or Thorn in the Flesh, the Messenger of Satan to Buffet him, and suffered more from men (though less in his Health) than I have done: And yet he gloried in such Infirmities, and rejoiced in his Tribulati­on [...], and was in a streight between living and dying▪ yea, rather chose to live yet longer.

Alas, it is another kind of streight that most of the World are in: The streight of most is between the de­sire of Life for fleshly interest, and the fear of Death as ending their felicity: The streight of many is, be­tween a tiring World and Body which maketh them aweary of living, and the dreadful prospect of future danger which makes them afraid of dying: If they live, it is in misery; if they must die they are afraid of grea­ter misery: which way ever they Look, behind or before them, to this World, or the next, fear and trouble is their Lot; yea, many an upright Chri­stian, through the weakness of their Trust in God; doth live in this perplexed streight; aweary of living and afraid of dying; between grief and fear, they are prest continually: But Paul's streight was between two Joys; which of them he should desire most: And if that be my case, what [Page] should much interrupt my Peace or Pleasure. If I live, it is for Christ; for his Work, and for his Church, for Preparation, for my own and others ever­asting felicity: And should any suffering which ma­keth me not unserviceable, make me impatient with such a work, and such a life? If I die presently it is my gain: God who appointeth me my work, doth li­mit my time, and sure his glorious reward can never be unseasonable or come too soon, if it be the time that he appointeth. When I first engaged my self to preach the Gospel, I reckoned (as probable) but upon one or two years: And God hath con­tinued me it above Forty four: (with such inter­ruptions as others in these times have had.) And what reason have I now to be unwilling either to live or die? God's Service hath been so sweet to me, that it hath overcome the trouble of constant pains or weakness of the Flesh, and all that men have said or done against me.

But the following Crown exceeds this pleasure, more than I am here capable to conceive. There is some trouble in all this pleasant work, from which the Soul and Flesh would rest: And blessed are the dead that die in the Lord: Even so saith the Spi­rit; for they rest from their Labours, and their Works follow them.

But, O my Soul, what need'st thou be troubled in this kind of streight? It is not left to thee to choose whether or when thou wilt live or die. It is God that will determine it, who is infinitely fitter to choose than thou: Leave therefore his own work to himself, and mind that which is thine; [Page] whilst thou livest, live to Christ, and when thou diest, thou shalt die to Christ; even into his bles­sed Hands; So live, that thou maist say, It is Christ liveth in me, and the life that I live in the Flesh, I live by the Faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me: And then as thou hast lived in the comfort of hope, thou shalt die unto the comfort of Vision and Fruition: And when thou canst say, he is the God whose I am, and whom I serve, thou maist boldly add, and whom I trust; and to whom I commend my departing Soul▪ And I know whom I have trusted.

Richard Baxter's Dying Thoughts.

Philippians 1. 23.‘For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to de­part, and to be with Christ, which is far better (or, for this is much rather to be preferred, or better.)’

§ 1. MAN that is born of a Woman, is of few daies, and full of trouble; He cometh forth like a Flower, and is cut down: He fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not: And dost thou open thine Eyes upon such a one, and bringest me into Judgment with thee? saith Job, ch. 14. v. 1, 2, 3. As a Watch when it is wound up, or as a Candle newly lighted; so Man newly conceived or born, beginneth a motion, which incessantly hasteth to its appointed period. And an Action, and its Time, that is past, is Nothing: So vain a thing would Man be, and so vain his Life, were it not for the hopes of a more durable Life, which this re­ferreth to. But those Hopes, and the Means, do not only difference a Believer from an Infidel, but a Man from a Beast. When Solomon describeth the difference in respect to the Time and Things of this Life only, he truly tells us, that one end here befalling both, doth [Page 2] shew that both are here but Vanity, but Man's Vexa­tion is greater than the Beasts. And Paul truly saith of Christians that if our hope were only in this life (that is, in the Time and Things of this life and world) we were of all men most miserable. Though even in this life, as related to a better, and as we are exercised about things of a higher nature, than the concerns of temporal life, we are far happier than any worldlings.

§ 2. Being to speak to my self, I shall pass by all the rest of the matter of this Text, and suppose its due Explication, and spread before my Soul only the Doctrine and Uses of these two Propositions contained in it. I. That the Souls of Believers when departed hence, shall be with Christ. II. That so to be with Christ is far better for them, than to be here in the body.

§ 3. I. Concerning the first, my Thoughts shall keep this order. I. I shall consider the Necessity of Believing it. II. Whether it be best believing it, without considera­tion of the Proofs or Difficulties. III. The certainty of it manifested for the exercise of Faith.

§ 4. I. Whether the words signifie that we shall be in the same place with Christ (which Grotius groundlesly denieth) or only in his Hand, and Care, and Love, I will not stay to dispute: Many other Texts concurring do assure us, that we shall be with him where he is, Joh. 12. 26. Joh. 17. 24, &c. At least [with him] can mean no less than a state of communion, and a par­ticipation of felicity. And to believe such a state of hap­piness for departed Souls, is of manifold necessity or use.

§ 5. I. If this be not soundly believed, a man must live besides, or below the End of Life: He must have a false End, or be uncertain what should be his End.

I know, it may be objected, that if I make it my End to please God, by obeying him, and doing all the [Page 3] good I can, and trust him with my Soul and future Estate, as one that is utterly uncertain what he will do with me, I have an End intended, which will make me godly, charitable, and just, and happy, so far as I am made for happiness: For the pleasing of God is the right End of all.

But, 1. Must I desire to please him no better than I do in this imperfect state, in which I have, and do so much which is displeasing to him? He that must de­sire to please him, must desire to please him perfectly: And our desires of our ultimate End must have no bounds, or check. Am I capable of pleasing God no bet­ter, than by such a sinful life as this?

2. God hath made the desire of our own felicity so necessary to the Soul of Man, that it cannot be expect­ed that our desire to please him, should be separated from this. 3. Therefore both in respect of God as the End, and of our felicity as our second End, we must believe that he is the beatifying rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

For, 1. If we make such an ill description of God, as that he will turn our pleasing him to our loss, or will not turn it to our gain, and welfare, or that we know not whether he will do so or not, it will hinder our Love, and Trust, and Joy in him, by which we must please him, and consequently hinder the alacrity, and sound­ness, and constancy of our obedience.

2. And it will much dismiss that self-love which must excite us, and it will take off part of our necessary End: And I think the Objecters will confess, that if they have no certainty what God will do with them, they must have some Probability and Hope, before they can be sincerely devoted here to please him.

§ 6. And 1. If a man be but uncertain what he [Page 4] should make the End of his Life, or what he should live for, how can he pitch upon an uncertain End? And if he waver so as to have no End, he can use no Means: And if End and Means be all laid by, the Man liveth not as a Man, but as a Brute. And what a torment must it be to a considering mind, to be uncertain what to Intend and Do in all the tenour and actions of his life? Like a man going out at his door, not knowing whither, or what to do, or which way to go: Either he will stand still, or move as Brutes do by present sense, or a Windmill or Weathercok, as he is moved.

§ 7. 2. But if he pitch upon a wrong End, it may yet be worse than none; for he will but do hurt, or make work for Repentance: And all the actions of his life must be formally wrong, (how good soever mate­rially) if the End of them be wrong.

§ 8. 2. And if I fetch them not from this End, and believe not in God as a Rewarder of his Servants, in a better Life, what Motives shall I have which in our pre­sent difficulties, will be sufficient to cause me to live a holy, yea or a truly honest life? All piety and honesty indeed is good, and Goodness is desirable for it self: But the goodness of a Means is its aptitude for the End; and we have here abundance of impediments, compe­titors, diversions and temptations, and difficulties of many sorts; and all these must be overcome by him that will live in piety or honesty. And our Natures (we find) are diseased, and greatly indisposed to un­questionable duties; and will they ever discharge them, and conquer all these difficulties and temptations, if the necessary Motive be not believed? Duty to God and Man is accidentally hard and costly to the flesh, though amiable in it self: It may cost us our Estates, our Liberties, our Lives. The world is not so happy [Page 5] as commonly to know good men from bad, nor to encourage Piety and Virtue, or to forbear opposing them. And who will let go his present welfare, without some hope of better as a reward? Men use not to serve God for nought; nor that think it will be their loss to serve him.

§ 9. A life of sin will not be avoided upon lower Ends and Motives: Nay, those lower Ends when alone, will be a constant sin themselves: A preferring Vanity to Glory, the Creature to God, and a setting our heart on that which will never make us happy: And when lust and appetite incline men strongly and constantly to their several objects, what shall sufficient­ly restrain them, except the greater and more durable delights or motives fetcht from preponderating things? Lust and Appetite distinguish not between lawful and unlawful. We may see in the brutish Politicks of Be­nedictus Spinosa, in his Tractat. Theolog. Polit. whither the Principles of Infidelity tend. If sin so overspread the Earth, that the whole world is as drowned in wick­edness, notwithstanding all the hopes and fears of a life to come, what would it do were there no such hopes and fears?

§ 10. 3. And no Mercy can be truly known and estimated, nor rightly used and improved by him that seeth not its tendency to the End, and perceiveth not that it leadeth to a better Life, and useth it not there­unto. God dealeth more bountifully with us than worldlings understand: He giveth us all the mercies of this life, as helps to an immortal state of Glory, and as earnests of it. Sensualists know not what a Soul is, nor what Soul-mercies are, and therefore not what the Soul of all bodily mercies are; but take up only with the carkass, shell, or shadow. If the King would give [Page 6] me a Lordship, and send me a Horse or Coach to carry me to it, and I should only ride about the fields for my pleasure, and make no other use of it, should I not un­dervalue and lose the principal benefit of my Horse or Coach? No wonder if unbelievers be unthankful, when they know not at all that part of God's mercies, which is the life, and real excellency of them.

§ 11. 4. And alas! how should I bear with com­fort the sufferings of this wretched life, without the hopes of a life with Christ? What should support and comfort me under my bodily languishings and pains? my weary hours, and my daily experience of the Vanity and Vexation of all things under the Sun, had I not a pro­spect of a comfortable end of all? I that have lived in the midst of great and precious mercies, have all my life had something to do, to overcome the temptation of wishing that I had never been born, and had never over­come it, but by the belief of a blessed Life hereafter. Solomon's sense of Vanity and Vexation, hath long made all the business, and wealth, and honour, and pleasure of this world (as such) appear such a dream and sha­dow to me, that were it not for the End, I could not have much differenced men's sleeping and their waking thoughts, nor have much more valued the waking than the sleeping part of life, but should have thought it a kind of happiness to have slept from the birth unto the death. Children cry when they come into the world; and I am often sorry when I am wakened out of a quiet sleep, especially to the business of an unquiet day. We should be strongly tempted in our consi­dering state, to murmure at our Creator, as dealing much hardlier by us than by the Brutes; if we must have had all those cares, and griefs, and fears, by the knowledge of what we want, and the prospect of [Page 7] death, and future evils, which they are exempted from, and had not withal had the hopes of a future felicity to support us. Seneca and his Stoicks had no better Argument to silence such murmurers who believed not a better life, than to tell them, that if this life had more evil than good, and they thought God did them wrong, they might remedy themselves by ending it when they would: But that would not cure the re­pinings of a Nature, who found it self necessarily aweary of the miseries of life, and yet afraid of dying. And it is no great wonder that many thought that pre­existent Souls were put into these bodies as a punishment of something done in a former life, while they foresaw not the hoped End of all our fears and sorrows. O how contemptible a thing is man! saith the same Seneca, un­less he lift up himself above humane things? Therefore, saith Solomon, Eccles. 2. 17. (when he had glutted himself with all temporal pleasures) I hated life, because the work that is wrought under the Sun, is grievous to me: For all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

§ 12. II. I have often thought whether an Implicit belief of a future happiness, without any search into its nature, and thinking of any thing that can be said against it, or the searching, trying way be better. On the one side, I have known many godly women that never disputed the matter, but served God comfortably to a very old Age, (between 80 and 100) to have lived many years in a chearful readiness and desire of death, and such as few Learned, studious men do never attain to in that degree; who, no doubt, had this as a Di­vine Reward of their long and faithful service of God, and trusting in him. On the other side, a studious man can hardly keep off all Objections, or secure his mind against the suggestions of difficulties and doubts; and [Page 8] if they come in, they must be answered; seeing we give them half a victory, if we cast them off before we can answer them. And a Faith that is not upheld by such evidence of Truth, as Reason can discern and justifie, is oft joyned with much secret doubting, which men dare not open, but do not therefore overcome: And its weakness may have a weakening deficiency, as to all the graces and duties which should be strengthened by it. And who knoweth how soon a temptation from Satan, or Infidels, or our own dark hearts, may assault us, which will not, without such evidence and resol­ving Light be overcome? And yet many that try, and reason, and dispute most, have not the strongest, or most powerful Faith.

§ 13. And my thoughts of this have had this issue. 1. There is a great difference between that Light which sheweth us the Thing it self, and that artificial skill by which we have right Notions, Names, Defini­tions, and formed Arguments, and Answers to Objections. This Artificial, Logical, Organical kind of Knowledge is good and useful in its kind, if right; like Speech it self: But he that hath much of this, may have little of the former: This is the true mean be­tween George Keith the Qua­kers Doctrine of Continued Inspiration & Intuition, and that on the other ex­tream. And unlearned persons that have little of this, may have more of the former, and may have those inward perceptions of the verity of the Promises & Rewards of God, which they cannot bring forth into artificial reasonings to them­selves or others; who are taught of God by the effective sort of Teaching, which reacheth the Heart o [...] Will, as well as the Understanding, and is a Giving of what is taught, and a Making us such as we are told we must be. And who findeth not need to pray hard for this [Page 9] effective Teaching of God, when he hath got all Or­ganical Knowledge, and Words and Arguments in themselves most apt, at his fingers ends (as we say?) When I can prove the Truth of the Word of God, and the Life to come, with the most convincing un­deniable Reasons, I feel need to cry and pray daily to God, to increase my Faith, and to give me that Light which may satisfie the Soul, and reach the end.

§ 14. 2. Yet man being a Rational wight, is not taught by meer Instinct and Inspiration: And therefore this Effective Teaching of God doth ordinarily suppose a Rational, Objective, Organical Teaching and Knowledge. And the foresaid unlearned Christians are convinced by good evidence, that God's Word is true, and his Re­wards are sure, though they have but a confused con­ception of this evidence, and cannot word it, nor re­duce it to fit notions. And to drive these that have fundamental evidence, unseasonably and hastily to dis­pute their Faith, and so to puzzle them by words and artificial Objections, is but to hurt them, by setting the Artificial Organical lower part (which is the body of Knowledge) against the real Light and Perception of the Thing (which is as the Soul) even as carnal men set the Creatures against God, that should lead us to God; so do they by Logical Artificial Knowledge.

§ 15. But they that are prepared for such Disputes, and furnished with all artificial helps, may make good use of them for defending and clearing up the Truth to themselves and others; so be it they use them as a means to the due end, and in a right manner, and set them not up against, or instead of the real and effective Light.

§ 16. But the Revealed and Necessary part must here be distinguished from the unrevealed and unneces­sary. [Page 10] To study till we as clearly as may be understand the certainty of a future happiness, and wherein it con­sisteth; (in the sight of God's Glory, and in perfect, ho­ly, mutual Love, in Union with Christ, and all the bles­sed) this is of great use to our Holiness and Peace. But when we will know more than God would have us, it doth but tend (as gazing on the Sun) to make us blind, and to doubt of certainties, because we cannot be resolved of uncertainties. To trouble our heads too much in thinking, how Souls out of the body do subs [...]s [...] and act, sensitively or not, by Organs, or without; how far they are one, and how far still individuate, in what place they shall remain, and where is their Paradise or Heaven; how they shall be again united to the body; whether by their own emission, as the Sun beams touch their Objects here, and whether the body shall be re­stored, as the consumed flesh of restored sick men, ali­unde, or only from the old materials: A hundred of these Questions are better left to the knowledge of Christ, lest we do but foolishly make snares for our selves. Had all these been needful to us, they had been revealed. In respect to all such curiosities and needless knowledge, it is a Believer's wisdom implicitly to Trust his Soul to Christ, and to be satisfied that he knoweth what we know not, and to fear that vain, vexatious knowledge, or inquisitiveness into good and evil, which is selfish, and savoureth of a distrust of God, and is that sin, and fruit of sin, which the Learned world too little feareth.

§ 17. III. That God is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and that holy Souls shall be in blessedness with Christ, these following Evidences con­joyned do evince; on which my Soul doth raise its Hopes.

[Page 11] § 18. I. The Soul which is an Immortal Spirit, must be immortally in a Good or Bad condition: But Man's Soul is an Immortal Spirit, and the good are not in a bad condition: Its Immortality is proved thus: A spiritual, or most pure invisible substance naturally endowed with the Power, Virtue, or Faculty of Vi­tal-Action, Intellection and Volition, which is not annihilated, nor destroyed by separation of Parts, nor ceaseth or loseth either its Power, Species, Individua­tion or Action, is an Immortal Spirit. But such is the Soul of Man, as shall be manifest by parts.

§ 19. I. The Soul is a substance: For that which is Nothing, can do Nothing; but it doth move, under­stand and will. No man will deny that this is done by something in us, and by some substance; and that sub­stance is it which we call the Soul: It is not Nothing, and it is within us.

§ 20. As to them that say, It is the Temperament of several parts conjunct, I have elsewhere fully confuted them, and proved, 1. That it is some one part that is the Agent on the rest, which all they confess that think it to be the material spirits, or fiery part: It is not bones and flesh that understand, but a purer sub­stance, as all acknowledge. 2. What part soever it be, it can do no more than it is Able to do: And a con­junction of many parts, of which no one hath the power of Vitality, Intellection, or Volition, formally or eminent­ly (somewhat as excellent) can never by contempera­tion do those acts: For there can be no more in the ef­fect than is in the cause; otherwise it were no effect.

The vanity of their Objections, that tell us, a Lute, a Watch, a Book, perform that by cooperation, which no one part can do, I have elsewhere manifested. 1. Many strings indeed have many motions, and so [Page 12] have many effects on the Ear and Phantasie, which in us are sound, and harmony: But all is but a percussion of the Air by the strings, and were not that motion re­ceived by a sensitive Soul, it would be no Musick or Melody; so that there is nothing done but what each part had power to do. But Intellection and Volition are not the conjunct motions of all parts of the body, receiving their form in a nobler Intellective nature, as the sound of the strings maketh melody in man: If it were so, that Receptive Nature still would be as excel­lent as the Effect importeth. 2. And the Watch or Clock doth but move according to the action of the spring or poise; but that it moveth in such an order as becometh to man a sign and measure of Time, this is from Man who ordereth it to that use. But there is nothing in the motion, but what the parts have their power to cause: And that it signifieth the hour of the daies to us, is no Action, but an object used by a rational Soul as it can use the shadow of a Tree or House, that yet doth nothing. 3. And so a Book doth nothing at all, but is a meer objective ordination of passive signs, by which Man's active Intellect can understand what the Writer or Orderer did intend; so that here is no­thing done beyond the power of the Agent, nor any thing in the effect which was not in the cause, either formally or eminently. But for a company of Atoms, of which no one hath sense or reason, to become sensitive and rational by meer conjunct motion, is an [...]ffect beyond the power of the supposed cause.

§ 21. But as some think so basely of our noblest Acts, as to think that contempered agitated Atoms can perform them, that have no natural intellective or sen­sitive virtue or power in themselves, so others think so highly of them, as to take them to be the Acts only of [Page 13] God (or some universal Soul) in the body of Man; and so that there is no Life, Sense or Reason in the World, but God himself (or such an universal Soul;) And so that either every man is God, (as to his Soul) or that it is the Body only that is to be called Man as distinct from God. But this is the Self-ensnaring and self-per­plexing temerity of busie, bold and arrogant heads, that know not their own capacity and measure. And on the like reasons they must at last come (with others) to say, that all passive matter also is God, and that God is the Universe, consisting of an Active Soul, and Passive Body. As if God were no cause, and could make no­thing, or nothing with Life, or Sense, or Reason.

§ 22. But why depart we from things certain, by such presumptions as these? Is it not certain, that there are baser creatures in the World, than Men or Angels? Is it not certain that one Man is not another? Is it not cer­tain, that some men are in torment of body and mind? And will it be a comfort to a man in such torment to tell him, that he is God? or that he is part of an uni­versal Soul? Would not a man on the Rack, or in the Stone, or other misery say, [Call me by what name you please, that caseth not my pain: If I be part of God, or an universal Soul, I am sure I am a tormented miserable part! And if you could not make me believe that God hath some parts which are Serpents, Toads, Devils, or wicked or tormented men, you must give me other senses, and perceptive powers, before it will comfort me, to hear that I am such a part. And if God had wicked and tormented parts on Earth, why may he not have such, and I be one of them hereafter? And if I be a holy and hap­py part of God, or of an universal Soul on Earth, why may not I hope to be such hereafter?

§ 23. We deny not but that God is the continued [Page 14] first cause of all Being whatsoever; and that the branches and fruit depend not as effects so much on the causa­lity of the Stock and Roots, as the creature doth on God; and that it is an impious conceit to think that the World, or any part of it, is a Being independent, and separated totally from God, or subsisting without his continued causation. But cannot God cause as a Crea­tor, by making that which is not himself? This yield­eth the self-deceiver no other honour, nor happiness, but what equally belongeth to a Devil, to a Fly or Worm, to a Dunghill, or to the worst & miserablest man!

§ 24. II. As Man's Soul is a SUBSTANCE, so is it a Substance differenced formally from all inferiour Substances, by an Innate (indeed Essential) Power, Vir­tue, or Faculty of Vital-Action, Intellection, and Free-will: For we find all these Acts performed by it, as Motion, Light and Heat are by the Fire or Sun. And if any should think that these Actions are like those of a Mu­sician, compounded of the Agents (principal and orga­nical several) parts, could he prove it, no more would follow, but that the lower powers (the Sensitive or Spirits) are to the higher as a Passive Organ, receiving its operations; and that the Intellectual Soul hath the power of causing Intellection and Volition by its Action on the inferiour parts, as a man can cause such motions of his Lute, as shall be melody (not to it, but) to him­self: And consequently, that as Musick is but a lower operation of man (whose proper acts of Intellection and Volition are above it) so Intellection and Volition in the Body are not the noblest Acts of the Soul, but it perform­eth them by an Eminent Power, which can do greater things. And if this could be proved, what would it tend to the unbelievers ends, or to the disadvantage of our hopes and comforts?

[Page 15] § 25. III. That man's Soul at death is not anni­bilated; even the Atomists and Epicurians will grant, who think that no Atom in the Universe is annihilated: And we that see not only the Sun and Heavens con­tinued, but every grain of matter, and that compounds are changed by dissolution of parts, and rarefaction, or migration, &c. and not by Annihilation, have no rea­son to dream that God will annihilate one Soul (though he can do it if he please, yea and annihilate all the World:) It is a thing beyond a rational expectation.

§ 26. IV. And a destruction by the dissolution of the parts of the Soul, we need not fear. For, 1. Either an Intellectual Spirit is divisible and partible, or not; if not, we need not fear it; if it be, either it is a thing that Nature tendeth to, or not: But that Nature doth not tend to it, is evident. For, 1. There is naturally so strange and strong an inclination to unity, and averse­ness to separation in all things, that even Earth and Stones, that have no other (known) natural motion, have yet an aggregative motion in their gravitation: But if you will separate the parts from the rest, it must be by force. And Water is yet more averse from par­tition without force, and more inclined to union than Earth, and Air than Water, and Fire than Air; so that he that will cut a Sun-beam into pieces, and make many of one, must be an extraordinary Agent. And surely Spirits, even Intellectual Spirits, will be no less averse from partition, and inclined to keep their Unity, than Fire, or a Sun-beam is; so that naturally it is not a thing to be feared, that it should fall into pieces.

2. And he that will say, that the God of Nature will change, and overcome the Nature that he hath made, must give us good proofs of it, or it is not to be feared. And if he should do it as a punishment, we [Page 16] must find such a punishment somewhere threatened, either in his Natural, or Supernatural Law, which we do not; and therefore need not fear it.

§ 27. 3. But if it were to be feared, that Souls were partible, and would be broken into parts, this would be no destruction of them, either as to their substance, powers, form or action, but only a breaking of one Soul into many: For being not compounded of Hetero­geneal parts, but as simple Elements of Homogeneal on­ly, as every Atom of Earth is Earth, and every drop of Water in the Sea is Water, and every particle of Air and Fire, is Air and Fire, and have all the properties of Earth, Water, Air and Fire; so would it be with every particle of an Intellectual Spirit. But who can see cause to dream of such a partition, never threatened by God?

§ 28. V. And that Souls lose not their formal Powers or Virtues, we have great reason to conceive; because they are their Natural Essence, not as mixt, but simple substances: And though some imagine that the Passive Elements may be attenuation, or incrassation, be transmuted one into another, yet we see that Earth is still Earth, and Water is Water, and Air is Air; and their conceit hath no proof: And, were it proved, it would but prove that none of these are a first or proper Element: But what should an Intellectual Spirit be changed into? How should it lose its formal Power? not by Nature; for its Nature hath nothing that tend­eth to deterioration, or decay, or self-destruction? The Sun doth not decay by its wonderful Motion, Light and Heat: And why should Spirits? Not by God's destroying them, or changing their Nature: For, though all things are in constant motion or revolution, he continueth the Natures of the simple Beings, and [Page 17] sheweth us, that he delighteth in a constancy of opera­tions, insomuch that hence Aristotle thought the world Eternal. And God hath made no Law that threateneth to do it as a penalty. Therefore to dream that Intellectual Spirits shall be turned into other things and lose their Essential formal Powers, which specify them, is without and against all sober reason. Let them first but prove that the Sun loseth Motion, Light and Heat, and is turned into Air, or Water or Earth. Such changes are beyond a rational fear.

§ 29. VI. But some men dream that Souls shall sleep, and cease their Acts, though they doe not their powers. But this is more unreasonable than the former. For it must be remembred that it is not a meer obedien­tial Passive power that we speak of; but an Active Power consisting in a great an Inclination to Act, as Passive natures have to forbear action. So that if such a nature Act not, it must be because its natural Inclina­tion is hindred by a stronger; And who shall hinder it?

1. God would not continue an Active Power, Force and Inclination in nature, and forcibly hinder the opera­tion of that nature which he himself continueth; un­less penally for some special cause; Which he never gave us any notice of by any threatning, but the con­trary.

2. Objects will not be wanting, for all the world will be still at hand, and God above all. It is there­fore an unreasonable conceit to think that God will con­tinue an Active Vital Intellective Volitive Nature, Form, Power, Force, Inclination, in a noble substance, which shall use none of these for many hundred or thousand years, and so continue them in vain.

Nay, 3. It is rather to be thought that some [Page 18] Action is their constant state without which the cessa­tion of their very form, would be inferred.

§ 30. But all that can be said with reason is that se­parated Souls, and Souls hereafter in Spiritual Bodies, will have Actions of another mode, and very dif­ferent from these that we now perceive in flesh. And be it so. They will yet be radically, of the same Kind, and they will be formally or eminently such as we now call, Vitality, Intellection and Volition; And they will be no lower nor less excellent if not far more; And then what the difference will be, Christ knoweth whom I trust, and in season I shall know. But to talk of a Dead Life, an unactive activity, or a Sleeping Soul, is fitter for a sleeping than a waking man.

§ 31. It's true that Diseases or Hurts do now hinder the Souls Intellectual perceptions in the body, and in In­fancy and Sleep they are imperfect. Which proveth in­deed that the Acts commonly called Intellection and Vo­lition, have now somthing in them also of sensation, and that sensitive operations are diversifyed by the Organs of the several senses. And that bare Intellection and Vo­lition without any sensation is now scarce to be observed in us, though the Soul may have such acts intrinsecally and in its profundity. For it is now so united to this body, that it acteth on it as our form; And indeed the Act, observed by us cannot be denied to be such as are specified or modified at least, by the Agents, and the Recipients, and Sub-Agents parts conjunct. But, 1. As the Sun would do the same thing ex parte sui if in vacuo only it sent forth its beams, though this were no Illu­mination or Calefaction, because there were no Recipient, to be Illuminated and Heated by it. And it would lose no­thing by the want of objects; so the Soul, had it no Body [Page 19] to act on, would have its profound Immanent Acts of self­living, self-perceiving, and self loving, (and all its external acts on other objects, which need not Organs of sense for their approximation.) And 2. Its sensitive faculty is it self, or such as it is not separated from, though the Par­ticular sorts of sensation may be altered with their uses: And therefore it may still act on or with the sense: And if one way of sensation be hindered, it hath ano­ther. 3. And how far this Lanthorn of flesh doth help or hinder its operations, we know not yet, but shall know hereafter. Sondi [...]s de Orig. Animae (though an heretical Writer) hath said much to prove that the Body is a hinderance, and not a help to the Soul's Intuition. And if Ratiocination be a compound act yet Intuition may be done for ever by the Soul alone. 4. But as we are not to judge what Powers the Soul hath when the Acts are hindered, but when they are done; nor what Souls were made by God for, by their state in the Womb or Infancy, or Diseases, but by our ordinary mature state of life; so we have little reason to think that the same God who made them for Life, Intellection and Volitions here, will not continue the same Powers o [...] the same, or as noble uses hereafter, whether with Organs, or without, as pleaseth him. If in this flesh our Spirits were not unactive and useless, we have no reason to think that they will be so hereafter, (and that for ever.)

§ 32. This greatest and hardest of all Objections, doth make us confess (with Contarenus, contra Pompo­natium de Anim. Immortalit.) that though by the Light of Nature we may know the Immortality of Souls, (and that they lose not their Powers, or Activity) yet with­out supernatural Light, we know not what manner of Action they will have in their separated state, or in [Page 20] another world, because here they act according to ob­jective Termination, and the Receptivity of the Sense and Phantasie, & Recipitur ad modum recipientis; and in the Womb we perceive not that it acteth intellectually at all.

But we know, That, 1. If even then it differed not in its formal [...]ower from the Souls of Brutes, it would not so much afterward differ in Act: And it would never be raised to that which was not virtually in its Nature at the first. 2. And we find, that even very little Children have quick and strong knowledge of such Objects as [...]e brought within their reach: And that their Ignorance is not for want of an Intel­lectual Power, but for want of Objects, or Images of things which time, and use, and conversation among Objects, must furnish their Phantasies and Memories with. And so a Soul in the Womb, or in an Apoplexy, hath not Objects of Intellection within its reach to act upon; but is as the Sun to a Room that hath no win­dows to let in its light. 3. And what if its profound Vitality, Self perception, and Self-love be by a kind of Sensation and Intuition, rather than by Discursive Rea­son? I doubt not but some late Philosophers make snares to themselves and others, by too much vilifying sense and sensitive Souls, as if sense were but some lose­able Accident of contempered Atoms: But Sensation (though diversified by Organs and Uses, and so far mutable) is the Act of a noble Spiritual Form and Vir­tue. And as Chambre and some others make Brutes a lower rank of Rationals, and Man another higher spe­cies, as having his nobler Reason for higher Ends; so for Man to be the noblest Order (here) of Sensitives, and to have an Intellect to Order and Govern Sensations, and connex them and improve them, were a noble work, [Page 21] if we had no higher. And if Intellection and Volition were but a higher species of Internal Sensation, than Imagination, and the Phantasie and Memory are, it might yet be a height that should set Man specifically above the Brutes. And I am daily more and more persuaded, that Intellectual Souls are essentially sensitive and more, and that their Sensation never ceaseth. 4. And still I say, that it is to Nature it self a thing unlikely that the God of Nature will long continue a Soul that hath formally or naturally an Intellective Power, in a state in which it shall have no use of it. Let others that will enquire whether it shall have a Vehicle or none to act in, and whether aereal, or igneous, and ethereal, and whether it be really an Intellectual sort of Fire, as mate­rial as the solar Fire, whose (not compounding, but) in­adequate-conceptus objectivi are, an Igneous substance, and a Formal Virtue of Life, Sense, and Intellection, with other such puzzling doubts; it satisfieth me, that God will not continue its noblest Powers in vain; and how they shall be exercised, is known to him: And that God's Word tells us more than Nature. And withal, LIFE, INTUITION and LOVE (or Volition) are Acts so natural to the Soul (as Motion, Light and Heat, quoad actum to Fire) that I cannot conceive how its Separation should hinder them, but rather that its Incorporation hindereth the two latter by hiding Ob­jects, whatever be said of abstractive knowledge and memory.

§ 33. VII. But the greatest difficulty to Natural Knowledge is, Whether Souls shall continue their indivi­duation, or rather fall into one common Soul, or return so to God that gave them, as to be no more divers (or many) individuals as now; as extinguished Candles are united to the illuminated Air, or to the Sun beams. But of [Page 22] this I have elsewhere said much for others; and for my self I find I need but this: 1. That as I said before, either Souls are partible substances, or not: If not par­tible. how are they unible? If Many may be made One by conjunction of substances, then that One may (by God) be made Many again by partition. Either All (or Many) Souls are now but One (individuate only by Matter, as many gulfs in the Sea, or many Candles lighted by the Sun) or not: If they are not One now in several bodies, what reason have we to think that they will be One hereafter, any more than now? Augustine (de Anim.) was put on the question, 1. Whether Souls are One, and not Many: (and that he utterly denieth.) 2. Whether they are Many, and not One; (and that it seemeth he could not digest.) 3. Whether they were at once both One and Many (which he thought would seem to some ridiculous, but he seemeth most to incline to:) And as God is the God of Nature, so Nature (even of the Devils themselves) dependeth on him, as I said, more than the Leaves or Fruit do on the Tree: And we are all his Off-spring, and Live, and Move, and Are in Him, Acts 17. But we are certain for all this, 1. That we are not God; 2. That we are yet many Individuals, and not all One Soul or Man. I [...] our Union should be as near as the Leaves and Fruit on the same Tree, yet those Leaves and Fruit are nume­rous and individual Leaves and Fruits, though parts of the Tree. And were this proved of our present, or our future state, it would not alter our Hopes or Fears: For as Now, though we all Live, Move, and Be in God, (and, as some dream, are parts of a common Soul) yet it is certain that some are Better and Happier than others; some wise and good, and some foolish and evil; some in pain and misery, and some at ease and in plea­sure; [Page 23] and (as I said) it is now no ease to the miserable to be told that radically all Souls are One; no more will it be hereafter, nor can men reasonably hope for, or fear such an Union, as shall make their state the same. We see in Nature (as I have elsewhere said) that if you graff many sorts of Sciens (some sweet, some bitter, some Crabs) on the same Stock, they will be One Tree, and yet have diversity of fruit. If Souls be not Unible, nor Partible substances, there is no place for this doubt: If they be, they will be still what they are, notwithstanding any such Union with a common Soul. As a drop of Water in the Sea is a separable part, and still it self; and as a Crab upon the foresaid Stock or Tree. And the good or bad quality ceaseth not by any Union with others.

Sure we are, that all Creatures are in God, by close dependance, and yet that the good are good, and the bad are bad, and that God is Good, and hath no Evil; and that when Man is tormented or miserable, God suffereth nothing by it (as the whole Man doth when but a Tooth doth ake.) (For he would not hurt himself were he passive.) Therefore to dream of any such ces­sation of our Individuation by any Union with a Crea­ture, as shall make the Good less Good, or happy, or the Bad less Bad or miserable, is a groundless folly.

§ 34. Yet it is very probable that there will be a Nearer Union of holy Souls with God and Christ, and one another, than we can here conceive of: But this [...] so far from being to be feared, that it is the highest of our hopes. 1. God himself (though equally every where in his Essence) doth operate very variously on his Creatures. On the wicked he operateth as the first Cause of Nature (as his Sun shineth on them:) On some he operateth by common Grace: To some he [Page 24] giveth Faith to prepare them for the Indwelling of his Spirit: In Believers he dwelleth by Love, and they in him: And if we may use such a comparison as Satan acteth on some only by suggestions, but on others so despotically as that it's called His Possessing them; so God's Spirit worketh on holy Souls so power­fully and constantly, as is called his Possessing them. And yet on the Humane Nature of Christ, the Divine Nature of the Second Person hath such a further extra­ordinary Operation, as is justly called a Personal Union; which is not by a more Essential Presence (for that is every where) but by a peculiar operation and relation: And so holy Souls being under a more felicitating ope­ration of God, may well be said to have a Nearer Union with him than now they have.

§ 35. [...]. And I observe, that (as is aforesaid) all things have naturally a strong inclination to Union and Communion with their like: Every clod and stone in­clineth to the Earth: Water would go to Water; Air to Air, Fire to Fire; Birds and Beasts associate with their like. And the noblest natures are most strongly thus inclined; And therefore I have natural reason to think that it will be so with holy Souls.

§ 36. 3. And I find that the inordinate Contraction of Man to himself, and to the interest of this Individual-Person, with the defect of Love to all about us, accord­ing to every creatures goodness, and specially to God the Infinite good, whom we should love above our selves, is the very sum of all the pravity of man. And all the injustice and injury to others, and all the neg­lect of good works in the world, and all our daily terrours, and self-distracting self-tormenting cares, and griefs, and fears, proceed from this inordinate Love and Adhesion to our selves: Therefore I have reason to think [Page 25] that in our better state, we shall perfectly Love others as our selves, and the selfish Love will turn into a common and a Divine Love, which must be by our preferring the common and the Divine Good, and Interest.

§ 37. And I am so sensible of the power and Plague of selfishness, and how it now corrupteth, tempteth and disquieteth me, that when I feel any fears lest indivi­duation cease, and my Soul fall into one common Soul (as the Stoicks thought all Souls did at death) I find great cause to suspect that this ariseth from the power of this cor­rupting selfishness: For Reason seeth no cause at all to fear it were it so.

§ 38. 4. For I find also that the nature of Love is to desire as near a Union as is possible; And the strongest Love doth strongliest desire it. Fervent Lovers think they can scarce be too much One. And Love is our Perfection, and therefore so is Union.

§ 39. 5. And I find that when Christians had the first and full pourings out of the Spirit they had the ferven­test Love, and the nearest Union, and the least desire of propriety and distance.

§ 40. 6. And I find that Christs prayer for the felicity of his disciples is a prayer for their Unity, Joh. 17. 22, 23. And in this he placeth much of their Per­section.

§ 41. 7. And I find also that man is a sociable na­ture and that all men find by experience that conjunction in societies, is needful to their Safety, strength and Plea­sure.

§ 42. 8. And I find that my Soul would fain be nearer God, and that darkness and distance is my misery and near communion is it that would answer all the tendencies of my Soul: Why then should I fear too near a Union.

§ 43. I think it utterly improbable, that my Soul [Page 26] should become more nearly united to any creature, than to God: (though it be of the same kind with other Souls, and infinitely below God): For God is as near me as I am to my self: I still depend on him as the ef­fect upon its total constant cause; And that not as the fruit upon the Tree, which borroweth all from the Earth, Water, Air, and Fire which it communicateth to its fruit; but as a creature on its Creator, who hath no Being but what it receiveth totally from God, by con­stant communication. Hence Autonine, Seneca, and the rest of the Stoicks thought that all the World was God, or one Great Animal consisting of Divine Spirit and Matter, as Man of Soul and body; Sometime calling the supposed Soul of the World, GOD, and sometime calling the whole World, God; But still meaning that the Universe was but one Spirit and Body united and that we all are parts of God, or of the Body of God, or Accidents at least.

§ 44. And even the Popish Mystical Divines in their pretensions to the highest Perfection say the same in sense; such as Benedict. Anglus in his Regula Perfectionis, (approved by many Doctors,) who placeth much of his Supereminent Life, in our Believing verily that there is nothing but God, and Living accordingly; Maintaining that all creatures are nothing distinct from God, but are to God, as the Beams are to the Sun, and as the Heat is to the Fire, (which really is it self;) And so teaching us to rest in all things as Good, as being nothing but Gods essential will, which is himself (resolving even our sins and Imperfections, accordingly into God, so that they are Gods or None.)

§ 45. And all these men have as fair a pretence for their conceits of such a Union with God now, as for such an Union after death: For their Reason is, 1. That God [Page 27] being Infinite, there can be no more Beings than his own But God and the smallest Being distinct, would be more Entity than God alone: But Infinity can have no additi­on. 2. Because Ens & Bonum Convertuntur; But God only is good.

And if we are notwithstanding all this, distinct Be­ings from God now, we shall be so then. For we shall not be Annihilated, and we shall not be so advanced as to be deified, and of creatures or distinct Beings, turn­ed into a Being infinitely above us. If we be not Parts of God now, we shall not be so then.

But if they could prove that we are so now, we should quickly prove to them, 1. That then God hath material divisible parts (as the Stoicks thought.) 2. And that we are no such parts, as are not distinct from one another; but some are tormented, and some happy. And 3. That (as is said) it will be no abatement of the misery of the tormented, nor of the felicity of the bles­sed, to tell them that they are all parts of God: For, though the manner of our Union with him, and de­pendance on him, be past our comprehension, yet that we are distinct and distant from each other, and have each one a joy or misery of his own, is past all doubt. Therefore there is no Union with God to be feared by holy Souls, but the utmost possible to be highliest desired.

§ 46. And if our Union with God shall not cease our Individuation, or resolve us into a Principle to be feared, we may say so also of our Union with any com­mon Soul, or many: If we be Unible, we are Partible, and so have a distinct, though not a divided substance, which will have its proper Accidents. All Plants are parts of the Earth, really united to it, and radicated in it, and live, and are nourished by it: And yet a Vine is a Vine, and an Apple is an Apple, and a Rose is a Rose, [Page 28] and a Nettle is a Nettle. And few men would be toiled Horses or Toads, if it were proved that they are animated by a common Soul.

§ 47. But God letteth us see, that though the World be One, yet he delighteth in a wonderful diver­sity and multiplicity of Individuals. How various and numerous are they in the Sea, and on the Land, and in the Air? And are there none in the other World? How come the Stars therein to be so numerous, which are of the same Element? And though perhaps Saturn, or some other Planets, or many Stars, may send forth their radiant Effluvia, or parts, into the same Air, which the Sun Beams seem totally to fill and illuminate, yet the Rays of the Sun, and of other Stars, are not the same, how near soever in the same Air.

§ 48. Were there now no more Contraction by E­goity or Propriety among men, nor Mine and Thine did signify no more, nor the distance were greater than that of the several drops of Water in the Sea, or particles of of Light in the illuminated Air, but I had all my part in such a perfect unity and Communion with all others, and knew that all were as happy as I, so that there were no divisions by cross interests or minds, but all were One, certainly it would make my own comforts greater by far than they are now? Are not an hundred Candles set together and united as splendid a flame as if they w [...]re all set asunder. To one Soul, one Love, one Joy would be.

§ 49. Object. But it is only the fomes that indivi­duateth Lights; As when the same Sun by a burning Glass lighteth a thousand Candles, they are individuate only by the matter contracting, being still all united parts of the same Sun Beams. And when they are extinct, they are nothing, or all one again.

[Page 29] Ans. They were before they were extinct, both One and many, none but fools think that extinction annihila­teth them, or any part of them: They are after, as much Substance and as much solar Fire though diffused, and as much and no more one than before, but not indeed Many as before, but Parts of one. Nature hath made the equal diffused Sun Beams to be to the Air and surface of the Earth, as the blood equally moving in the Body: And our Candles and Fires seem to be like the same blood contracted in a bile or Inflammation, which indeed is more felt than the equally diffused blood, but it is as the pain of a disease. And so when our Fires go out they are but like a healed Scattered Inflammation, & the same sub­stance is more naturally and equally diffused. And if the Individuation of Souls were only by Corporeal matter and the Union thus as great at their departure, it would not diminish, if it did not too much increase their perfection and felicity: For there would be no diminution of any Substance, or Power, or Activity, or Perfection what­soever.

§ 50. And this would confute their fond Opinion, who think that separated Souls sleep in nudâ potentiâ, for want of an organized body to operate in: For, no doubt but if all holy Souls were One, this World, either in Heaven or Earth, hath a common Body, enough for such a Soul to operate in. Even those Stoicks that think departed Souls are One, do think that that One Soul hath a nobler operation than ours, in our narrow Bodies, and that when our Souls cease animating this Body, they have the nobler and sweeter work in part, of animating the whole World: And those that thought several Orbs had their several Souls, of which the particular wights participated, said the like of separated Souls, as anima­ting the bodies of their Globes or Orbs. And though [Page 30] all these men trouble their heads with their own vain imaginations, yet this much the Nature of the Matter tells us, which is considerable, that whereas the utmost fear of the Infidel, is, that Souls departed lose their Indi­viduation or Activity, and are resolved into one com­mon Soul, or continue in a sleepy Potentiality, for want of a Body to operate in, they do but contradict them­selves, seeing it is a notorious Truth, 1. That if all holy Souls were One, no one would be a Loser by the Union, but it would be a greater Gain than we must hope for: For a part of One is as much and as noble, and as active a Substance, as if it were a separated Per­son: (And Annihilation, or loss of specifique Powers, is not to be rationally feared.) 2. And that one Soul is now either self-subsisting without a Body, or animateth a suitable Body (as some Ancients thought the Angels Stars.) If that One Soul can act without a Body, so may Ours, whether as parts of it, or not: If that One Soul animate a suitable Body, ours were they united parts of it, would have part of that Employment; so that hereby they confute themselves.

§ 51. Obj. But this would equalize the Good and Bad, or at least those that were good in several degrees; And where then were the Reward and Punishment?

Ans. It would not equal them at all, any more than distinct Personality would do: For, 1. The Souls of all holy Persons may be so united, as that the Souls of the wicked shall have no part in that Union. Whether the Souls of the wicked shall be united in one sinful miserable Soul, or rather but in one sinful Society, or be greatlier separate disunited, contrary to each other, and militant, as part of their sin and misery, is nothing to this case. 2. Yet Natural and Moral Union must be differenced. God is the Root of Nature to the worst, [Page 31] and however in one sense it is said, that There is no­thing in God but God, yet it is true, that, In Him all Live, and Move, and have their Being. But yet the wickeds Inbeing in God, doth afford them no Sancti­fying and Beatifying communion with him, as expe­rience sheweth us in this life; which yet holy Souls have, as being made capable Recipients of it. As I said, different Plants, Bryars and Cedars, the stinking and the sweet are implanted parts (or Accidents) of the same World or Earth. 3. And the godly themselves may have as different a share of happiness in one com­mon Soul, as they have now of Holiness, and so as dif­ferent Rewards (even as Roses, and Rosemary, and other Herbs differ in the same Garden, and several Fruits in the same Orchard, or on the same Tree.) For, if Souls are Unible, and so Partible Substances, they have neither more nor less of Substance or Holiness for their Union; and so will each have his proper mea­sure. As a Tun of Water cast into the Sea, will there still be the same, and more than a spoonful cast into it.

§ 52. Obj. But Spirits are not as Bodies extensive and quantitative, and so not partible or divisible, and there­fore your supposition is vain.

Ans. 1. My supposition is but the objectors: For if they confess that Spirits are Substances (as cannot with reason be denyed; For they that Specify their operations by Motion only yet suppose a pure proper substance to be the subject or thing Moved) then when they talk of Many Souls becoming One, it must be by conjunction and increase of the Substance of that one. Or when they say that they were alwaies One, they will confess withal that they now differ in number, as individuate in the body: And who will say that Millions [Page 32] of Millios are no more than one of all those Millions▪ Number is a sort of Quantity: And all Souls in the world are more than Cain's or Abel's only. One feel­eth not what another feeleth. One knoweth not what another knoweth. And indeed, though Souls have not such corporeal extension, as passive gross bodily Matter hath, yet as they are more noble, they have a more noble sort of Extension, Quantity or Degrees; accord­ing to which all Mankind conceive of all the Spiritual Substance of the Universe, yea all the Angels, or all the Souls on Earth, as being more, and having more Sub­stance than one man's Soul alone. 2. And the Fa­thers for the most part, especially the Greeks (yea and the Second Council of Nice) thought that Spirits crea­ted, had a purer sort of Material Being, which Tertul­lian called a Body; and doubtless all created Spirits have somewhat of Passiveness; for they do Recipere vel pati from the Divine Influx: Only God is wholly im­passive. We are moved when we move; and acted when we act: And it is hard to conceive that (when Matter is commonly called Passive) that which is Pas­sive should have no sort of Matter in a large sense ta­ken: And if it have any parts distinguishable, they are by God divisible. 3. But if the contrary be sup­posed, that all Souls are no more than One, and so that there is no place for uniting or partition, there is no place then for the Objection of all Souls becoming One; and of losing Individuation, unless they mean by Anni­hilation.

§ 53. But that God who (as is said) delighteth both in the Union, and yet in the wonderful multipli­city of Creatures, and will not make all Stars to be only One; though Fire have a most uniting or aggregative inclination, hath further given experimental notice that [Page 33] there is Individuation in the other world as well as here, even innumerable Angels and Devils, and not one only, as Apparitions and Witches, and many other evidences prove, of which more anon. So that all things consider­ed, there is no reason to fear that Souls shall lose their Individuation or Activity (though they change their manner of action) any more than their Being or for­mal Power: And so it is naturally certain that they are Immortal.

§ 54. And if Holy Souls are so far Immortal, I need not prove that they will be Immortally Happy: For their Holiness will infer it; And few will ever dream that it shall there go ill with them that are good, and that the most just and holy God will not use those well whom he maketh holy.

§ 1. II. That holy Souls shall be hereafter happy seem­eth to be one of the common notices of Nature planted in the consciences of mankind; And it is therefore ac­knowledged by the generality of the world that free­ly use their understandings. Most, yea almost all the Heathen Nations at this day believe it, besides the Ma­hometans; And it is the most barbarous Cannibals and Brasilians that do not, whose understandings have had the least improvement, and who have rather an in­considerate Nescience of it, than a denying opposition. And though some Philosophers denyed it, they were a small and contemned party: And though many of the rest were somewhat dubious, it was only a certainty which they professed to want, and not a probability or opinion that it was true. And both the Vulgar and the deep studyed men believed it, and those that question­ed it were the half studyed Philosophers, who not [Page 34] resting in the Natural notice, nor yet reaching full intellectual Evidence of it by discourse, had found out matter of difficulty to puzzle them, and came not to that degree of wisdom as would have resolved them.

§ 2. And even among Apostates from Christianity most or many still acknowledge the Souls Immortality, and the Felicity and Reward of holy Souls, to be of the common Notices, known by nature to mankind: Juli­an was so much perswaded of it, that on that account he exhorteth his Priests and Subjects to great strictness and holiness of life, and to see that the Christians did not exceed them. And among us the Lord Herbert de Veritate, and many others that seem not to believe our supernatural Revelations of Christianity, do fully acknowledge it. Besides those Philosophers who most opposed Christianity, as Porphyrius, Maximus Tyrius, and such others.

§ 3. And we find that this notice hath so deep a root in Nature, that few of those that study and labour themselves into Bestiality (or Saddu­ceism) are able to excuss the fears of future misery but Conscience overcometh or troubleth them much at least, when they have done the worst they can a­gainst it. And whence should all this be in man and not in Beasts, if man had no further reason of hopes and fears then they? Are a few Sadduces wiser by their for­ced or crude conceits, than all the World that are taught by Nature itself.

§ 1. III. If the God of Nature have made it every mans certain duty to make it his Chief care and work in this life, to seek for happiness hereafter, then such a hap­piness [Page 35] there is for them that truly seek it. But the ante­cedent is certain, as I have elsewhere proved. Ergo, &c.

§ 2. As to the antecedent, The world is made up of three sorts of men, as to the belief of future retributi­on. 1. Such as take it for a certain Truth (such are Christians; Mahometans, and most Heathens.) 2. Such as take it for Uncertain, but most probable or likeliest to be true. 3. Such as take it for Uncertain, but rather think it Untrue. (For as none can be certain that it is false (which indeed is true) so I never yet met with one that would say he was certain it was false.) So that I need not trouble you with the mention of any other party or opinion. But if any should say so; it is easy to prove that he speaketh falsly of himself.

§ 3. And that it is the Duty of all these, but espe­cially of the two former sorts, to make it their Chief care and work to seek for happiness in the life to come, is easily proved thus: Natural reason requireth every man to seek that which is Best for himself with the greatest diligence: But Natural reason saith that a Probability or Possibility of the future everlasting happiness is better and more worthy to be sought, than any thing at­tainable in this present life (which doth not suppose it.) Ergo, &c.

§ 4. The Major is past doubt. Good and Felicity be­ing necessarily desired by the will of man, that which is Best and known so to be, must be Most desired.

And the Minor should be as far past doubt, to men that use not their sense against their reason. For 1. In this life there is nothing certain to be continued one hour. 2. It is certain that all will quickly end; and that the longest life is short. 3. It is certain that time and pleasure past are nothing, properly nothing; And so no better to us than if they had never been. 4. And it is [Page 36] certain that while we possess them, they are poor, un­satisfactory things, the pleasure of the flesh being no sweeter to a man than to a beast; And the trouble that accompanieth it much more. Beasts have not the cares, fears and sorrows upon foresight which man hath: They fear not death upon foreknowledge of it, nor fear any misery after death, nor are put upon any la­bour, sufferings or Tryals, to obtain a future happiness, or avoid a future misery: All which considered, he speaketh not by reason, who saith this vain vexatious life is better than the Possibility or Probability of the everlasting Glory.

§ 5. Now as to the consequence (or Major) of the first Argument, it is evident of itself, from Gods per­fection, and the Nature of his works. God maketh it not mans natural Duty to lay out his chief care and labour of all his life, on that which is not, or to seek that which man was never made to attain; For then, 1. All his Duty should result from meer Deceit and falshood, and God should Govern all the World by a Lie which cannot be his part who wanteth neither Power, wisdom, or Love to Rule them by Truth and righteousness; And who hath Printed his Image both on his Laws and on his Servants; In which Laws Lying is condemned; And the better any man is, the more he hateth it; And Lyars are loathed by all mankind. 2. And then the better any man is, and the more he doth his duty, the more deluded, erroneous and miserable should he be. For he should spend that care and labour of his life, upon deceit, for that which he shall never have, and so should lose his time and la­bour. And he should deny his flesh those temporal Pleasures which bad men take, and suffer Persecutions and injuries from the wicked, and all for nothing, and [Page 37] on mistake: And the wickeder or more unbelieving any Man is, the wiser and happier should he be, as being in the right, when he denieth the life to come, and all duty and labour in seeking it, or in avoiding future punish­ment; and while he taketh his utmost pleasure here, he hath all that Man was made for. But all this is utterly unsuitable to God's Perfection, and to his other works: For he maketh nothing in vain; nor can he Lie: much less will he make Holiness itself, and all that duty and work of Life which Reason itself obligeth all men to, to be not only vain, but hurtful to them. But of this argument I have been elsewhere larger.

§ 1. IV. Man differeth so much from Bruits in the Knowledg of God, and of his future possibilities, that it proveth that he differeth as much in his capacity and certain hopes. 1. As to the Antecedent, Man knoweth that there is a God by his works: He know­eth that this God is our absolute Lord, our Ruler, and our End: He knoweth that naturally we owe him all our Love and Obedience: He knoweth that Good men use not to let their faithfullest Servants be losers by their Fidelity; nor do they use to set them to labour in vain: He knoweth that Man's Soul is Immortal, (or at least that it is far most probable that it is so); and therefore that it must accordingly be well or ill for ever; and that this should be most cared for. 2. And why should God give him all this Knowledge more than to the Bruits, if he were made for no more enjoyment than the Bruits, of what he knoweth: Every wise Man maketh his work fit for the use that he intendeth it to: And will not God? So that the consequence also is proved from the Di­vine Perfection: And if God were not Perfect, he were not God: The denial of a God therefore is the result of the denial of Man's future hopes.

[Page 38] § 2. And indeed, though it be but an Analogical Reason that Bruits have, those men seem to be in the right, who place the difference between Man and Bruits, more in the Objects, tend ency and work of our Reason, than in our Reason itself as such, and so make Animal Religiosum to be more of his description than Animal Rationale. About their own low concerns, a Fox, a Dog, yea, an Ass, and a Goose have such acti­ons, as we know not well how to ascribe to any thing below some kind of Reasoning, or a perception of the same importance. But they think not of God, and his Government and Laws, nor of obeying, trusting or loving him, nor of the hopes or fears of another life, nor of the joyful prospect of it: These are that work that Man was made for, which is the chief difference from the Bruits. And shall we unman our selves?

§ 1. V. The Justice of God as Governour of the World, inferreth different Rewards hereafter, as I have largely elsewhere proved. 1. God is not only a Mo­ver of all that Moveth, but a Moral Ruler of Man by Laws, and Judgment, and Executions. Else there were no proper Law of Nature, which few are so unnatu­ral as to deny: And Man should have no proper Duty, but only Motion, as he is moved: And then how cometh a Government by Laws to be set up under God by Men? And then there were no sin or fault in any; for if there were no Law and Duty, but only necessi­tated Motion, all would be moved as the Mover pleased, and there could be no sin: And then there would be no Moral Good, but forced or necessary motion: But all this is most absurd: And experience telleth us that God doth de facto, Morally Govern the World; and his Right is unquestionable.

[Page 39] § 2. And if God were not the Ruler of the World, by Laws and Judgment, the World would have no uni­versal Laws; for there is no Man that is the universal Ruler: And then Kings, and other Supream Powers, would be utterly Lawless and ungoverned, as having none above them to give them Laws, and so they would be capable of no sin or fault, and of no punishment; which yet neither their Subjects interest, nor their own Consciences will grant, or allow them throughly to be­lieve,

§ 3. And if God be a Ruler, he is Just: or else he were not Perfect, nor so Good as he requireth Princes and Judges on Earth to be. An unjust Ruler or Judge is abominable to all Mankind. Righteousness is the great Attribute of the Universal King.

§ 4. But how were he a Righteous Ruler. 1. If he drew all men to obey him by deceit: 2. If he obliged them to seek and expect a felicity or reward which he will never give them. 3. If he make Man's duty his misery. 4. If he require him to labour in vain. 5. If he suffer the wicked to prosecure his Servants to the Death, and make duty costly, and give no after re­compence. 6. If he let the most wicked on the Earth pass unpunished, or to scape as well hereafter as the best, and to live in greater pleasure here. The Ob­jections fetcht from the intrinsecal good of Duty, I have elsewhere answered.

§ 1. VI. But God hath not left us to the Light of meer Nature, as being too dark for men so blind as we: The Gospel Revelation is the clear Foundation of our Faith and Hopes. Christ hath brought Life and Im­mortality to Light: One from Heaven that is greater [Page 40] than an Angel was sent to tell us what is there, and which is the way, and to secure our hopes. He hath risen and conquered death, and entered before us as our Captain and Forerunner into the Everlasting habitations. And he hath all power in Heaven and Earth, and all Judgment is committed to him; that he might give Eternal life to his Elect: he hath frequent­ly and expresly promised it them, that they shall live because he liveth,Matth. 28. 18. and shall not perish,Joh. 5. 22. but have Everlasting life.Joh. 17. 2. And how fully he hath proved and sealed the Truth of his Word▪ Joh. 12. 26. and Office to us,Joh. 3. 16. I have so largely open­ed in my Reasons of the Christian Reli­gion,Rom. 8. 35, 36, 37, 30. and unreasonableness of Infidelity, and in my Life of Faith, &c. and since in my Houshold Catechizing, that I will not here repeat it.

§ 2. And as all his Word is full of promises of our fu­ture Glory at the Resurrection, so we are not with­out assurance that at Death the departing Soul* doth enter upon a State of Joy and Blessedness: For, 1. He expresly promised the penitent crucified Thief, This day shalt thou be with me in Paradise, Luk. 23.

2. He gave us the Narrative or Parable of the dam­ned sensualist, and of Lazarus, Luk. 16. to instruct us, and not to deceive us.

3. He tells the Sadduces that God is not the God of the Dead (as his Subjects and Beneficiaries) but of the Living, Mat. 22. 32.

4. Henoch and Elias were taken up to Heaven, and [Page 41] Moses that died appeared with Elias on the Mount Mat. 17.

5. He telleth us, Luk. 12. 4. that they that kill the Body, are not able to kill the* Soul.

6. And Christ's own Soul was commended into his Father's hands, Luk. 23. 46. and was in Paradise, when his Body was in the Grave, to shew us what shall be­come of ours.

7. And he hath promised that, Where he is, there shall his Servant be also, Joh. 12. 26. And that the life here begun in us is Eternal life, and that he that be­lieveth in him shall not die, but shall live by him, as he liveth by the Father; for he dwelleth in God, and God in him, and in Christ, and Christ in him, Joh. 17. 3. & 6. 54. & 3. 16, 36. & 6. 47, 56, 57, 50. 1 Joh. 4. & 5. 13. Luk. 17. 21. Rom. 14. 17.

8. And accordingly Stephen that saw Heaven open­ed, prayed the Lord Jesus to receive his Spirit, Act. 7. 5. 59.

9. And we are come to Mount Sion, &c. to an innumerable Company of Angels, and to the Spirits of the Just made perfect, Heb. 12. 22, 23.

10. And Paul here desireth to depart and be with Christ as far better. And to be absent from the Body, and be present with the Lord, 2 Cor. 5. 8.

11. And the dead that die in the Lord are blessed, from henceforth, that they may rest from their labours, and their works follow them.

[Page 42] 12. And if the disobedient Spirits be in Prison, and the Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, suffer the vengeance of eternal Fire, 1 Pet. 3. 19. Jude 7. then the Just have eternal Life. (And if the Jews had not thought the Soul immortal Saul had not desired the Witch to call up Samuel to speak with him:) The rest I now pass by. We have many great, and precious promises on which a departed Soul may trust.

13. And Luk. 16. 9. Christ expresly saith, that when we fail, (that is, must leave this World) we shall be received into the Everlasting habitations.

§ 1. VII. And it is not nothing to encourage us to hope in him that hath made all these Promises, when we find how he heareth Prayers in this life, and there­by assureth his Servants that he is their true and faith­ful Saviour. We are apt in our distress to cry loud for Mercy and deliverances; and when humane help faileth to promise God, that if he now will save us, we will thankfully acknowledg it his work; and yet when we are delivered, to return not only to security, but to ingratitude; and think that our deliverance came but in the course of common Providence, and not in­deed as an answer to our Prayers. And therefore God in Mercy reneweth both our distresses and our deli­verances, that what once or twice will not convince us of, many and great deliverances may. This is my own case. O how oft have I cryed to him when men and means were nothing, and when no help in second Causes did appear, and how oft and suddenly and mercifully hath he delivered me? What sudden ease, what re­moval of long afflictions have I had! such extraordinary changes, and beyond my own and others expectations, [Page 43] when many plain-hearted upright Christians have by Fasting and Prayer sought God on my behalf, as have over and over convinced me of Special Providence, and that God is indeed a hearer of Prayers. And won­ders I have seen done for others also, upon such Pray­er, more than for my self: Yea, and wonders for the Church and publick Societies. Though I and others are too like those Israelites, Psal. 78. who cried to God in their troubles, and he oft delivered them out of their distress, but they quickly for got this Mercies, and their Convictions, Purposes and Promises, when they should have praised the Lord for his Goodness, and declared his works with thanksgiving to the Sons of Men.

And what were all these Answers and Mercies but the fruits of Christ's Power, Fidelity, and Love, the fulfilling of his Promises, and the earnest of the greater blessings of Immortality, which the same Promises give me Title to.

I know that no Promise of hearing Prayer, setteth up our wills in absoluteness, or above God's, as if every will of our; must be fulfilled if we do but put it into a fervent or confident Prayer: But if we ask any thing through Christ, according to his will, expressed in his Promise, he will hear us. If a sinful love of this present life, or of Ease, or Wealth, or Honour should cause me to pray to God against Death, or against all sickness, want, reproach or other Trials, as if I must live here in Pro­sperity for ever if I ask it, this sinful desire and expe­ctation is not the work of Faith, but of Presumption: What if God will not abate me my last (or daily) pains? What if he will continue my life no longer, who ever pray for it, and how earnestly soever? Shall I [...]refore forget how oft he hath heard Prayers for me! [...] how wonderfully he hath helped both me and others? [Page 44] My Faith hath oft been helpt by such experiences, and shall I forget them? or question them without cause at last?

§ 1. VIII. And it is a subordinate help to my belief of Immortality with Christ, to find so much evidence that* Angels have friendly communion with us here, and therefore we shall have communion with them hereafter. They have charge of us, and pitch their Tents about us; they bear us up; they rejoyce at our Repentance: they are the regardful Witnesses of our behaviour; they are Ministring Spirits for our Good; they are Our Angels beholding the Face of our heavenly Father: They will come with Christ in glorious at­tendance at the great and joyful Day: And as his Exe­cutioners, they will separate the Just from the Un­just.

And it is not only the Testimony of Scripture, by which we know their communion with us, but also some degree of experience: Not only of Old did they appear to the Faithful as Messengers from God, but of late times, there have been Testimonies of their Mini­stration for us: Of which see Zanchy de Angelis, and Mr. I. Ambrose of our communion with Angels. Many a Mercy doth God give us by their Ministry: And they that are now so friendly to us, and suitable to our com­munion and help, and make up one Society with us, do he [...] greatly encourage us to hope, that we are made for the same Region, work and company, with these our blessed loving Friends. They were once [Page 45] in a life of tryal (it seems) as we are now (though not on Earth) Jude 6. 2 Pet. 2. 4. And they that over­came and are confirmed rejoice in our victory and con­firmation. It is not an uninhabited World which is above us: nor such as is beyond our capacity and hope: we are come to an innumerable Company of Angels, and to the Spirits of the perfected Just: who together have discrete quantity, or numerical difference, notwith­standing their happy Union and communion.

§ 1. IX. And Satan himself, though unwillingly, hath many ways helped my belief of our Immortality and Future hopes: 1. I have had many convincing proofs of Witches, the Contracts they have made with Devils, and the Power which they have received from them*: Beside the Volums of Remegius, and Bodin, and the Mallei Maleficorum, Danaeus, and others, we had many score of them detected, and many executed in one Year in Suffolk and Essex (about 1644.) And I have at this present a Flint Stone which was one of about 160. which were voided by the Urinary passage by a be­witched Child in Evesham (yet living); some of near an Ounce weight; which was fully proved, the Witch Executed, and the Child upon her imprisonment, freed: To pass by many others.

§ 2. And I have had convincing Testimony of Ap­paritions, besides that famous one, The Devil of Mas­con, and that in the shape of Lieutenant Collonel Bowen in Wales, mentioned elsewhere: And besides, [Page 46] many* Testimonies of haunted Houses (however ma­ny, or most such reports are but deceits.)

§ 3. From both these I gather, 1. that there are Individual Inhabitants of the Invisible World, and that Spirits have their numerical differences, whatever Uni­ty is among them: and therefore we have reason to judge the same of separated Souls. 2. That our Souls are designed to future happiness or misery; which is implied in the foresaid contracts and endeavours of Devils for our ruine: 3. That Faith and Holiness are the way of Life, and Unbelief and Sin the way to misery; which also is in these implied.

§ 3. 3. And I have both read and partly seen con­vincing evidence, that there is such an exercise of di­abolical power, as we commonly call Possession: Whe­ther all or most mad men are under such a Power as some think, I determine not: But that some are under it is evident: The motions of the Body, which I have seen, seem beyond Man's Natural power: The telling of secrets and things absent, the speaking Languages never learnt, the vomiting of Nails, Glass, Hairs, &c. and other such effects, which the most learned, sober, impartial Physicians profess to have seen, are credible Testimonies.

§4. 4. And I have felt, and heard, and known from others, of such a sort of Temptations, as shew themselves to be the acts of malicious Spirits, Enemies to Mankind. The advantages that Satan taketh of a corrupted Phantasie, which hath once taken in such an Image as may be his matter to Work upon, is very re­markable. I have known a worthy, learned, Pious Per­son, [Page 47] who from his youth to old Age, upon such an ad­vantage, hath been so tempted with Pleasure to torment himself, even his own Flesh, as that for many years to­gether in a partial melancholy at divers fits he was not able (though Conscience also tormented him for it) to forbear. Many by animmodest look or touch, have given Satan such a power upon their Phantasies, as no Reason, Conscience, or resolution could of a long time overcome. Few men, I think that observe themselves, have not at sometime had experience of such inward temptations, as shew that the Author of them is an invincible Enemy. All which tell us, 1. That there are Individual Spirits. 2. Yea, Devils that seek Man's mi­sery. 3. And that by the way of sin, and consequently that a future happiness or misery must be expected by us all.

§ 1. X. But the great and sure Pregnosticks of our Immortal Happiness is from the Renewing Operations of the Spirit of Holiness on the Soul. 1. That such a Renew­ing work there is, all true Believers in some measure feel. 2. And that it is the earnest of Heaven is proved thus.

§ 2. 1. If it be a Change of greatest Benefit to Man. 2. And if Heaven be the very Summ and End of it. 3. And if it overcome all fleshly worldly Opposition. 4. And can be wrought by none but God. 5. And was before promised by Jesus Christ to all sound believers. 6. And is universally wrought in them all, either only, or eminently above all others. 7. And was promised them, as a Pledge and Earnest of Glory; then it can be no less than such a Pledge and Earnest. But the former are all true, &c.

§ 3. 1. That the Change is of grand importance unto Man appeareth in that it is the Renovation of his Mind, and Will, and Life: It repaireth his depraved faculties: [Page 48] It causeth Man to live as Man, who is degenerated to a life too like to Bruits: By God's permitting many to live in Blindness, Wickedness, and Confusion, and to be tormentors of themselves and one another, by Tempta­tions, Injuries, Wars, and Cruelty, we the fullier see what it is that Grace doth save men from, and what a difference it maketh in the World. Those that have lived unholily in their youth, do easily find the difference in themselves when they are renewed: But to them that have been piously inclined from their Childhood, it is harder to discern the difference, unless they mark the Case of others. If Man be worth any thing, it is for the use that his Faculties were made: And if he be not good for the Knowledg, Love and Service of his Creator, what is he good for? And certainly the ge­nerality of ungodly Worldlings: are undisposed to all such works as this, till the Spirit of Christ effectually change them. Men are Slaves to sin till Christ thus make them free, Joh. 8. 32, 33, 36. Rom. 6. 18. Act. 26. 18. Rom. 8. 2. But where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is Liberty, 2 Cor. 3. 17. If the Divine Nature and Image, and the Love of God shed abroad on the Heart, be not our Excellency, Health, and Beauty, what is? And that which is Born of the Flesh, is Flesh, but that which is born of the Spirit is, Spi­rit, Joh. 3. 6. Without Christ and his Spirit, we can do nothing: Our dead Notions and Reason when we see the Truth, have not power to overcome Temptations, nor to raise up Man's Soul to its Original and End, nor to possess us with the love and joyful hopes of fu­ture Blessedness. It were better for us to have no Souls, than that those Souls should be void of the Spirit of God.

§ 4. 2. And that HEAVEN is the Sum and End of all the Spirits Operations, appeareth in all that [Page 49] [...]e truly Conscious of them in themselves; and to them and others by all God's Precepts, which the Spi­rit causeth us to obey, and the Doctrine which it cau­seth us to believe, and by the description of all God's graces which he worketh in us; What is our Know­ledge and Faith, but our knowledge and belief of Hea­ven, as consisting in the Glory and Love of God there ma­nifested, and as purchased by Christ, and given by his Covenant? What is our Hope but the Hope of Glory? See Heb. 11. 1. and throughout. 1 Pet. 1. 3. 21. Heb. 6, 11, 18, 19. & 3. 6, Tit. 2 13. & 3. 7. Col. 1. 5, 23, 27. And through the Spirit we wait for all this Hope, Gal. 5. 5. What is our Love but a desire of Com­munion with the blessed God initially here and per­fectly hereafter. As the Sum of Christ's Gospel was, [Take up the Cross, forsake all here, and follow me, and thou shalt have a Reward in Heaven,] Luke 14. 26, 33. & 18. 22, 23. and the Consolation of his Gospel is [Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven, Matt. 5. 11, 12. So the same is the Sum of his Spi­rits Operations: For what he teacheth and commandeth that he worketh: For he worketh by that Word: and the impress must be like the Signet what arm soever set it on. He sendeth not his Spirit to make men craftier than others for this World; but to make them wiser for Salvation; and to make them more Heavenly and Holy: For the Children of this World are wiser in their Generation, than the Children of Light: Heavenliness is the Spirits special work.

§ 5. 3. And in working this it conquereth the in­ward undisposedness and aversness of a fleshly, worldly mind, and will, and the customs of a Carnal life; and the outward Temptations of Satan, and all the allure­ments of the World. Christ first overcame the World, [Page 50] and teacheth and causeth us to overcome it; even its flatteries and its frowns: Our Faith is our V [...]ctory: Whether this Victory be easie, and any honour to the Spirit of Christ, let our experience of the wickedness of the ungodly World, and of our own weakness, and of our falls when the Spirit of God forsaketh us, be our informer.

§ 6. 4. And that None but God can do this work on the Soul of Man, both the knowledge of Causes and Experience prove. The most learned, wise, and holy Teachers cannot (as they confess, and shew:) The wisest, and most loving Parents cannot: and therefore must pray to him that can: The greatest Princes cannot; Evil Angels neither can nor will. What Good Angels can do on the Heart we know not; but we know that they do nothing, but as the obedient Ministers of God. And (though we have some power on our selves; yet) that we our selves cannot do it: that we cannot Quic­ken, Illuminate, or Sanctifie our selves, and that we have nothing but what we have received, Conscience and Experience fully tell us?

§ 7. 5. And that Christ promised this Spirit in a special measure, to all true Believers, that it should be in them his Advocate, Agent, Seal, and Mark, is yet visible in the Gospel; yea, and in the former Prophets, Isa. 44. 34. Ezek. 36. 26. & 37. 14. Joel 2. 28, 29. Ezek. 11. 19. & 18. 31. Eph. 1. 13. Joh. 3. 5. & 4. 23, 24. & 6. 63. & 7. 39. Joh. 1. 33. & 14. 16, 26. Act. 1. 5, 8. Joh. 15. 26. & 16. 7, 8, 9, &c. Indeed the Spirit here, and Heaven hereafter, are the chief of all the Promises of Christ.

§ 8. 6. And that this Spirit is given (not to Hypo­crites that abuse Christ, and do not seriously believe him, nor to meer pretending nominal Christians, but) to all that sincerely believe the Gospel, is evident not [Page 51] only to themselves in certainty (if they are in a conditi­on to know themselves,) but to others in part by the effects: They have other Ends, other affections, other lives, than the rest of Mankind have; Though their heavenly Nature and Design be the less discerned and honoured in the World, because their chiefest diffe­rence is out of the sight of Man, in the Heart, and in their secret actions, and because their imperfections blemish them, and because the Malignant World is by Strangeness and Enmity an incompetent judge, yet it is discernable to others, that they live upon the hopes of a better life, and their heavenly Interest is it that over­ruleth all the adverse Interests of this World, and that in order thereunto they live under the conduct of Di­vine Authority, and that God's will is highest and most prevalent with them, and that to obey and please him so far as they know it, is the greatest business of their lives, though ignorance and adverse Flesh, do make their Holiness and Obedience imperfect. The univer­sal noise and opposition of the World against them, doth shew that men discern a very great difference, which Error and cross Interests, and Carnal inclinations, render displeasing to those who find themselves condem­ned by their heavenly Designs and Conversations.

§ 9. But whether others discern it, or deny it, or detest it, the true Believer is conscious of it in himself: Even when he groaneth to be better, to believe, and trust, and love God more, and to have more of the heavenly life and com­forts, those very desires signifie another Appetite, and Mind, than Worldlings have; and even when his frailties and weaknesses make him doubt of his own sincerity, he would not change his Governour, Rule or Hopes, for all that the World can offer him. He hath the Witness in him­self, that there is in Believers a sanctifying Spirit, call­ing [Page 52] up their Minds to God and Glory, and warring victoriously against the Flesh; so that to* will is present with them; and they love and delight in a Holy con­formity to their Rule, and it is never so well and plea­sant with them, as when they can trust, and love God most; and in their worst and weakest condition, they would fain be Perfect. This Spirit, and its renew­ing work, so greatly different from the temper and de­sires of worldly men, is given by Christ to all sound believers.

§ 10. It is true, that some that know not of an In­carnate Saviour, have much in them that is very lau­dable; whether it be real sa [...]ing Holiness, and whether A­braham were erroneous in thinking that even the Sodom's of the World were likely to have had fifty righteous Per­sens in them, I am not now to enquire: But it is sure, 1. That the World had really a Saviour, about Four thousand Years before Christ's Incarnation; even the God of pardoning Mercy, who promised and undertook what after was performed, and shall be to the end. 2. And that the Spirit of this Saviour did Sanctifie God's Elect from the beginning: and gave them the same ho­ly and heavenly dispositions (in some degree) before Christ's Incarnation, as is given since: yea it is called, The Spirit of Christ, which was before given, 1 Pet. 1. 11. 3. That this Spirit was then given to more than the Jews. 4. That Christ hath put that part of the World that hear not of his Incarnation, into no worse a Condition than he found them in: That as the Jews Covenant of Peculiarity was no repeal of the Universal Law of Grace, made by God with fallen Mankind in [Page 53] Adam and Noah; so the Covenant of Grace of the Second Edition made with Christ's peculiar People, is no repeal of the foresaid Law in the first Edition, to them, that hear not of the second. 5. That all that wisdom and Goodness, that is in any without the Christian Church, is the work of the Spirit of the Redeemer; as the light which goeth before Sun rising, and after Sun setting, and in a cloudy day, is of the same Sun which others see, even to them that see not the Sun itself. 6. That the liker any without the Church are to the Sanctified Believers▪ the better they are; and the more unlike the worse; so that all these six things being undeniable, it appeareth, that it is the same Spirit of Christ, which now giveth all men what real goodness is any where to be found. But it is notorious that no part of the World, is in Heavenliness and Virtue comparable to true and serious Christians.

§ 11. 7. And let it be added, that* Christ who pro­mised the greatest measures of the Spirit (which he ac­cordingly hath given) did expresly promise this, as a Means and Pledge, First-Fruits and Earnest of the Hea­venly Glory: And therefore it is a certain proof, that such a Glory we shall have. He that can and doth give us a Spiritual change or renovation, which in its Nature and tendency is Heavenly, and sets our Hopes and Hearts on Heaven, and turneth the endeavours of our lives to the seeking of a future Blessedness, and told us before hand that he would give us this preparatory Grace, as the Earnest of that felicity, may well be trusted to per­form his Word in our actual glorification.

§ 12. And now O weak and fearful Soul! Why shouldst [Page 54] thou draw back, as if the case were yet left doubtful? Is not thy Foundation firm? Is not the way of Life, through the Valley of Death, made safe by him that conquered Death? Art thou not yet delivered from the Bondage of thy fears, when the Jaylor and Executioner who had the power of Death, hath by Christ been put out of his power as to thee? Is not all this Evidence true and sure? Hast thou not the Witness in thy self? Hast thou not found the motions, the effectual Opera­tions, the renewing changes of this Spirit in thee long ago; and is he not still the Agent and Witness of Christ, residing and Operating in thee? Whence else are thy groanings after God? Thy desires to be nearer to his glory? To know him better? To Love him more? Whence came all the pleasure thou hast had in his Sacred Truth, and Ways, and Service? Who else overcame thy Folly, and Pride, and vain desires, so far as they are overcome? Who made it thy choice to sit at the Feet of Christ, and hear his Word, as the better part, and to despise the Honours, and Preferments of the World, and to account them all as Dung and Dross? Who breathed in thee all those Requests that thou hast sent up to God? Overvalue not corrupted Nature; it bringeth not forth such Fruits as these: If thou doubt of that, remember what thou wast in the Hour of Temptation; even of poor and weak Temptations: And how small a matter hath drawn thee to sin, when God did but leave thee to thy self: Forget not the Days of youthful Vanity: Over-look not the case of the mi­serable World? Even of thy sinful Neighbours, who in the midst of Light still live in darkness? And hear not the loudest Calls of God? Look about on Thousands that in the same Land, and under the same teaching, and after the greatest judgments and deliverance, run on [Page 55] to all excess of riot, and as past feeling are greedily vi­cious and unclean: Is it no work of Christ's Spirit that hath made thee to differ? Thou hast nothing to boast of, and much to be humbled for; but thou hast also much to be thankful for. Thy Holy desires are alas, too weak: but they are Holy: Thy Love hath been too cold: but it is Holiness, and the Most Holy God that thou hast loved: Thy Hopes in God have been too low: but it is God thou hast hoped in, and his Love and Glory that thou hast hoped for: Thy prayers have been too dull and interrupted: but it is Holiness and Heaven that thou hast most prayed for: Thy labours and en­deavours have been too sloathful: but it is God and Glory, and the Good of Mankind that thou hast labou­red for. Though thy motion were too weak and slow, it hath been Godward; and therefore it was from God. O bless the Lord that hath not only given thee a Word, that beareth the Image of God, and is sealed by uncontrolled Miracles to be the matter of thy Belief, but hath also fulfilled his Promises so oft and notably to thee, in the answer of Prayers, and in great and con­vincing deliverances of thy self and many others! And hath by wonders oft assisted thy Faith; bless that God of Light and Love, who besides the universal attesta­tions of his Word, long ago given to all the Church, hath given thee the internal Seal, the nearer indwel­ling attestation, the effects of Power, Light, and Love, imprinted on thy Nature, Mind, and Will, the Witness in thy self that the Word of God is not a humane Dream, or lifeless thing; that by Regeneration hath been here preparing thee for the Light of Glory, as by Genera­tion he prepared thee to see this Light, and converse with men: And wilt thou yet doubt and fear against all this Evidence, Experience, and Foretast?

[Page 56] § 13. I think it not needless labour to confirm my Soul in the full persuasion of the truth of its own Im­mortal Nature, and of a future Life of Joy or Misery to Mankind, and of the certain Truth of the Christian Faith: The Being of God, and his Perfection hath so great Evidence that I find no great Temptation to doubt of it, any more than whether there be an Earth or a Sun; and the Atheist seemeth to me to be in that no better than Mad; the Christian Verity is known only by Supernatural Revelation; but by such Revelation it is so attested externally to the World, and internally to Holy Souls, as maketh Faith the Ruling, victorious, consolatory Principle, by which we must live, and not by sight: But the Souls Immortality and Reward hereafter is of a middle Nature; viz. Of Natural Revelation, but incomparably less clear than the Being of a God; and therefore by the addition of Evangelical (Supernatural) Revelation, is made to us much more clear and sure. And I find among the Infidels of this Age, that most who deny the Christian Verity, do almost as much deny or question the Retribution of a future Life: And they that are fully satisfied of this, do find Christianity so excel­lently Congruous to it, as greatly facilitateth the work of Faith. Therefore I think that there is scarce any ve­rity more needful to be throughly digested into a full assurance, than this of the Souls Immortality and hope of future happiness.

§ 14. And when I consider the great unlikeness of mens Hearts and Lives to such a Belief as we all profess, I cannot but fear that not only the ungodly, but most that truly hope for Glory have a far weaker belief (in habit and act) of the Souls Immortality and the Truth of the Gospel, than they seem to take notice of in themselves. Can I be certain or fully persuaded (in ha­bit [Page 57] and act) of the future Rewards, and Punishments of Souls, and that we shall be all shortly judged as we have lived here, and yet not despise all the Vanities of this World, and set my heart with resolution and dili­gence to the preparation which must be made by a ho­ly, heavenly, fruitful Life, as one whose Soul is taken up with the hopes and fears of things of such unspeaka­ble importance. Who could stand dallying as most men do, at the Door of Eternity, that did verily believe his Immortal Soul must be shortly there? Though such a one had no certainty of his own particular Title to Salvation, the certainty of such a grand concernment (that Joy or misery is at hand) would surely awaken him to try, to cry, to search; to beg, to strive, to watch, to spare no care, or cost, or labour to make all sure, in a matter of such weight: It could not be but he would do it with speed, and do it with a full resolved Soul, and do it with earnest zeal and diligence. What Man that once saw the things which we hear of, even Heaven and Hell, would not afterwards (at least in deep regard and seriousness) exceed the most resolved Believer that you know: One would think in Reason it should be so thought: I confess a wicked Heart is very sensless.

§ 15. I do confess that there is much weakness of the Belief of things unseen where yet there is sincerity: But surely there will be some proportion between our Belief and its Effects. And where there is little Regard, or Fear, or Hopes, or Sorrow, or Joy, or resolved Dili­gence for the World to come, I must think that there is, (in act at least) but little belief of it, and that such Persons little know themselves how much they secretly doubt whether it be true. I know that most complain almost altogether of the uncertainty of their Title to Sal­vation, [Page 58] and little of their uncertainty of a Heaven and Hell: But were they more certain of this, and truly persuaded of it at the Heart, it would do more to bring them to that se­rious resolved faithfulness in Religion, which would help them more easily to be sure of their Sincerity, than long ex­aminations, & many marks talked of, without this will do.

§ 16. And I confess that the great Wisdom of God hath not thought meet that in the Body we should have as clear, and sensible, and lively apprehensions of Heaven, and Hell, as sight would cause. For that would be to have too much of Heaven or Hell on Earth; for the gust would follow the perception, and so full a sense would be some sort of a possession, which we are not fit for in this World. And therefore it must be a darker Revelation than sight would be, that it may be a lower Perception, lest this World, and the next should be confounded; and Faith, and Reason should be put out of Office, and not duly tryed, exercised, and fitted for reward. But yet Faith is Faith, and Knowledg is Knowledg; and he that verily believeth such great transcendent things, though he see them not, will have some proportionable affections and endeavours.

§ 17. I confess also that Man's Soul in Flesh is not fit to bear so deep a sense of Heaven, and Hell, as sight would cause; because it here operateth on and with the Body, and according to its capacity, which cannot bear so deep a sense, without distraction, by screwing up the Organs too high, till they break, and so over doing would undo all: But yet there is an over-ruling Serious­ness, which a certain belief of future things must needs bring the Soul to, that truly hath it. And he that is careful and serious for this World, and looketh after a better, but with a slight, unwilling, half-regard, and in the second place, must give me leave to think that he be­lieveth, [Page 59] but as he liveth, and that his doubting or unbelief of the reality of a Heaven & Hell, is greater than his Belief.

§ 18. O then, for what should my Soul more pray, than for a clearer and a stronger Faith? I believe, Lord help my unbelief! I have many a Thousand times groaned to thee under the burden of this remnant of darkness and unbelief: I have many Thousand times thought of the Evidences of the Christian verity, and of the great necessity of a lively, powerful, active Faith. I have begged it: I have cryed to thee Night and Day, Lord increase my Faith: I have written and spoken that to others, which might be most useful to my self, to raise the apprehensions of Faith, yet higher, and make them liker those of sense: But yet, yet Lord, how dark is this World? What a Dungeon is this Flesh? How lit­tle clearer is my sight, and little quicker are my percepti­ons, of unseen things, than long ago? Am I at the highest [...] Man on Earth can reach? and that when I am so dark and low? Is there no growth of these appre­hensions more to be expected? Doth the Soul cease its increase in vigorous Perception, when the Body ceaseth its increase or vigor of sensation? Must I sit down in so low a measure, while I am drawing nearer to the things believed? and am almost there where belief must pass into sight and love? or must I take up with the passive silence and inactivity, which some Fryars per­suade us is nearer to Perfection? and under pretence of Annihilation and Receptivity, let my fluggish Heart alone, and say that in this neglect I wait for thy Ope­rations: O let not a Soul that is driven from this World, and weary of Vanity, and can think of little else but im­mortality, that seeks and crys both Night and Day, for the heavenly Light, and fain would have some foretast of Glory, and some more of the first Fruits of the pro­mised [Page 60] joys, let not such a Soul either long, or cry, or strive in vain? Punish not my former grieving of thy Spirit, by deserting a Soul that cryeth for thy Grace, so near its great and unconceivable change: Let me not languish in vain desires, at the Door of Hope; nor pass with doubtful Thoughts, and Fears from this Vale of Mi­sery? Which should be the Season of Triumphant Faith, and Hope, and Joy, if not when I am entering on the World of Joy? O thou that hast left us so ma­ny consolatory words of Promise, that our joy may be full, send, O send the promised Comforter, without whose approaches and heavenly Beams, when all is said, and a thousand Thoughts, and strivings have been assayed, it will still be Night and Winter with the Soul.

§ 19. But have I not expected more particular and more sensitive Conceptions of Heaven, and the State of blessed Souls, than I should have done, and [...]emained less satisfied, because I expected such distinct Perceptions to my satisfaction which God doth not ordinarily give, to Souls in Flesh? I fear it hath been too much so: A distrust of God, and a distrustful desire to know much (Good and Evil) for our selves, as necessary to our quiet and satisfaction, was that sin which hath deeply corrupt­ed Man's Nature, and is more of our common pravity than is commonly observed: I find that this Distrust of God, and my Redeemer, hath had too great a hand in my desires of a distincter and more sensible Knowledg: I know that I should implicitely, and absolutely, and quietly, trust my Soul into my Redeemers Hands; (of which I must speak more anon:) And it is not only for the Body, but also for the Soul, that a distrustful care is our great sin and Misery. But yet we must desire that our Knowledge and Belief may be as distinct and parti­cular [Page 61] as God's Revelations are; and we can Love no further than we know; and the more we know of God and Glory, the more we shall love, desire and trust him: It is a known and not meerly an unknown God, and happiness that the Soul doth joyfully desire. And if I may not be ambitious of too sensible and distinct Percep­tions here, of the things unseen; yet must I desire and beg the most fervent and sensible Love to them that I am capable of. I am willing (in part) to take up with that unavoidable ignorance, and that low degree of such Knowledge, which God confineth us to in the Flesh, so be it he will give me but such Consolatory foretasts in Love and Joy, which such a General imperfect Know­ledge may consist with, that my Soul may not pass with distrust and terrour, but with suitable triumphant Hopes, to the Everlasting pleasures.

O Father of Lights, who givest Wisdom to them that ask it of thee, shut not up this sinful Soul in darkness! Leave me not to grope in unsatisfied doubts, at the Door of the Celestial Light! Or if my Knowledg must be General, let it be clear and powerful; and deny me not now the lively exercise of FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE which are the stirrings of the New Creature, and the dawnings of the everlasting Light, and the Earnest of the promised Inheritance.

§ 20. But we are oft ready to say with Cicero, when he had been reading such as Plato, that while the Book is in our Hands, we seem confident of our Immortality, and when we lay it by our doubts return; so our Ar­guments seem clear and cogent, and yet when we think not of them with the best advantage, we are oft surpri­zed with Fear, lest we should be mistaken, and our Hopes be vain; and hereupon) and from the common fear of Death, that even good men too often manifest) the [Page 62] Infidels gather that we do but force our Selves into such a Hope as we desire to be true, against the tendency of mans Nature and that we were not made for a better World.

§ 21. But this fallacy ariseth from mens not distin­guishing, 1. sensitive fears from Rational uncertainty, or doubts. 2. And the mind that is in the darkness of unbelief, from that which hath the Light of Faith.

I find in my self too much of fear, when I look into Eternity, interrupting and weakening my Desires and Joy. But I find that it is very much an irrational sensi­tive Fear, which the Darkness of Man's mind, the Greatness of the Change, the dreadful Majesty of God, and Man's Natural aversness to die, do in some degree necessitate, even when Reason is fully satisfied that such fears are consistent with certain safety. If I were bound with the strongest Chains, or stood on the surest Battle­ments, on the top of a Castle or Steeple, I could not possibly look down without fear, and such as would go near to overcome me; and yet I should be rationally sure, that I am there fast and safe and cannot fall. So is it with our Prospect into the Life to come: Fear is oft a ne­cessitated Passion: When a Man is certain of his safe Foundation, it will violently rob him of the comfort of that Certainty: Yea it is a passion that irrational­ly doth much to corrupt our Reason it self, and would make us doubt because we fear, though we know not why: And a fearful Man doth hardly trust his own apprehensions of his safety, but among other Fears, is still ready to fear lest he be deceived: Like timorous Melan­choly Persons about their Bodies, who are ready still to think that every little Distemper is a mortal Symptom, and that worse is still near them than they feel, and they hardly believe any words of hope.

§ 22. And Satan knowing the power of these passi­ons, [Page 63] and having easier access to the Sensitive, than to the Intellective Faculties, doth labour to get in at this back Door, and to frighten poor Souls into doubts and unbelief: and in timorous Natures he doth it with too great success, as to the Consolatory acts of Faith. Though yet God's Mercy is wonderfully seen in preserving many honest tender Souls, from the damning part of unbelief, and by their fears preserveth them from being bold with sin: When many bold and impudent Sinners turn Infidels or Atheists, by forfeiting the helps of Grace.

§ 23. And indeed Irrational fears have so much power to raise Doubts, that they are seldom separated; insomuch that many scarce know or observe the difference between Doubts and Fears: And many say they not on­ly fear but doubt when they can scarce tell why, as if it were no intellectual act which they meant, but an irra­tional Passion.

§ 24. If therefore my Soul see undeniable Evidence of Immortality; and if it be able by irrefragable Argu­ment, to prove the future blessedness expected, and if it be convinced that God's promises are true, and suffi­ciently sealed and attested by him, to warrant the most confident belief, and if I trust my Soul and all my hopes upon this word, and evidences of Truth, it is not then our aversness to die, nor the sensible fears of a Soul that looketh into Eternity, that invalidate any of the Reasons of my Hope, nor prove the unsoundness of my Faith.

§ 25. But yet these Fears do prove its weakness, and were they prevalent against the Choice, Obedience, Re­solutions, and Endeavours of Faith, they would be pre­valent against the Truth of Faith, or prove its nullity; for Faith is Trust; and Trust is a securing, quieting thing: Why are ye fearful, O ye of little Faith? was a just re­proof [Page 64] of Christ to his Disciples, when sensible dangers raised up their fears. For the established will hath a political or imperfect, though not a despotical and abso­lute Power over our Passions. And therefore our fears do shew us our unbelief, and stronger Faith is the best means of conquering even irrational fears; Why art thou cast down O my Soul; and why art thou so disquieted in me? Trust in God, &c. Psal. 42. is a needful way of chiding a timorous Heart.

§ 26. And though many say that Faith hath not evi­dence, and think that it is an Assent of the Mind, meer­ly commanded by the Empire of the Will, without a knowledg of the Verity of the Testimony; yet certainly the same Assent is ordinarily in the Scriptures called in­differently, Knowing and Believing: And as a bare Command, will not cause Love, unless we perceive an Amiableness in the Object, so a bare Command of the Law or of the Will, cannot alone cause Belief, un­less we perceive a truth in the Testimony believed: For it is a Contradiction; or an act without its Object. And Truth is perceived only so far as it is some way Evident: For Evidence is nothing but the objective per­ceptibility of Truth; or that which is Metaphorically called Light. So that we must say that Faith hath not sen­sible Evidence of the invisible things believed; but Faith is nothing else but the willing Perception of the Evidence of Truth in the word of the Assertor, and a Trust therein. We have and must have Evidence that Scripture is God's Word, and that his Word is true, before by any Com­mand of the Word or Will, we can believe it.

§ 27. I do therefore neither despise Evidence as unneces­sary, nor trust to it alone as the sufficient total cause of my belief: For if God's Grace do not open mine Eyes, and come down in power upon my Will, and insinuate into [Page 65] it a sweet acquaintance with the things unseen, and a tast of their Goodness to delight my Soul, no Reasons will serve to stablish and comfort me, how undeniable so­ever: Reason is fain first to make use of notions, words or signs: and to know Terms, Propositions, and Argu­ments, which are but Means to the knowledg of Things, is its first employment, and that alas which Multitudes of Learned men do take up with: But it's the Illumi­nation of God that must give us an effectual acquaintance with the Things Spiritual and Invisible, which these Notions signifie, and to which our Organical Knowledg is but a Means.

§ 28. To sum up all, That our Hopes of Heaven have a certain ground appeareth, I. From Nature, II. From Grace, III. From other works of Gracious Providence.

1. From the Nature of Man: 1. Made capable of it. 2. Obliged even by the Law of Nature to seek it before all. 3. Naturally desiring Perfection, 1. Ha­bitual. 2. Active. 3. And Objective.

2. And from the Nature of God. 1. As Good and Communicative. 2. As Holy and Righteous. 3. As Wise: making none of his works in vain.

§ 29. II. From Grace, 1. Purchasing it. 2. De­claring it by a Messenger from Heaven, both by Word and by Christ's own (and others) Resurrection. 3. Promising it. 4. Sealing that Promise by Miracles there. 5. And by the work of Sanctification to the end of the World.

§ 30. III. By subordinate Providence, 1. God's actual Governing the World by the hopes and fears of another Life. 2. The many helps which he giveth us for a heavenly Life, and for attaining it (which are not vain.) 3. Specially the Ministration of Angels, and their Love [Page 66] to us, and Communion with us, 4. And by accident, Devils themselves convince us, 1. By the Nature of their Temptations. 2. By Apparitions and haunting Houses. 3. By Witches. 4. By Possessions: Which though it be but a Satanical Operation on the Body, yet is so Extraordinary an Operation, that it differeth from the more usual, as (if I may so compare them) God's Spirit so operateth on the Saints that it is called his dwelling in them, or possessing them, as different from his lower Operations on others.

§ 1. II. Having proved that Faith and Hope have a certain future Happiness to expect, the Text directeth me next to consider, why it is described by [being with Christ;] viz. I. What is included in our [being with Christ.] II. That we shall be with him: III. Why we shall be with him.

§ 2. To be with Christ includeth, 1. Presence: 2. Union. 3. Communion, or participation of Felicity with him.

§ 3. 1. Quest. Is it Christ's Godhead, or his Hu­mane Soul, or his Humane Body, that we shall be Pre­sent with, and united to, or All? Answ. It is all, but variously.

§ 4. 1. We shall be Present with the Divine Na­ture of Christ: Quest. But are we not always so? And are not all Creatures so? Answ. Yes, as his Essence comprehendeth all Place and Beings: But not, as it is Operative and Manifested in and by his Glory. Christ directeth our Hearts and Tongues to pray [Our Father which art in Heaven:] And yet he knew that all Place is in and with God: Because it is in Heaven that he Gloriously operateth and shineth forth to holy Souls: Even [Page 67] as Man's Soul is eminently said to be in the Head, be­cause it understandeth, and reasoneth in the Head, and not in the Foot or Hand, though it be also there. And as we look a Man in the Face when we talk to him, so we look up to Heaven when we pray to God. God who is and operateth as the Root of. Nature in all the works of Creation (for in Him, we Live, and Move, and Are,) and by the way of Grace in all the Gracious, doth Operate and Is by the works and splendour of his Glory eminently in Heaven: By which Glory therefore we must mean some Created Glory: For his Essence hath no inequality.

§ 5. 2. We shall be present with the Humane Na­ture of Christ both Soul and Body: But here our pre­sent narrow Thoughts must not too boldly presume to resolve the difficulties, which to a distinct under­standing of this should be overcome: For we must not here expect any more than a dark and general Know­ledge of them: As, 1. What is the formal difference between Christs glorified Body, and his Flesh on Earth. 2. Where Christ's glorified Body is, and how far it extend­eth: 3. VVherein the Soul and the Glorified Body dif­fer, seeing it is called A Spiritual Body: These things are beyond our present reach.

§ 6. 1. For what conceptions can we have of a Spi­ritual Body? save that it is Pure, incorruptible, invi­sible to mortal Eyes, and fitted to the most perfect state of the Soul: How near the Nature of it is to a Spirit (and so to the Soul) and how far they agree or differ in substance, extensiveness, divisibility, or activity, little do we know.

§ 7. 2. Nor do we know where and how far Christ's Body is present by extent. The Sun is commonly taken for a Body, and its Motive, Illuminative, and Calefactive Beams are by the most probable Philosophy taken to [Page 68] be a real emanant part of its substance, and so that it is Es­sentially as extensive as those Beams; that is, It at once filleth all our Air, and toucheth the surface of the Earth, and how much further it extendeth we cannot tell: And what difference there is between Christ's glorified Body, and the Sun, in Purity, Splendour, Extent, or Excellency of Nature, little do poor Mortals know. And so of the rest.

§ 8. Let no Man therefore cavil, and say, How can a whole World of glorified Bodies be all present with the One Body of Christ, when each must possess its proper room? For as the Body of the solar Beams, and the extensive Air, are so compresent, as that none can discern the difference of the places which they possess, and a World of Bodies are present with them both, so may all our Bodies be with Christ's Body, and that without any true confusion.

§ 9. 2. Besides Presence with Christ, there will be such an Union as we cannot now distinctly know. A political Relative Union is past doubt, such as Subjects have in one Kingdom with their King: But little know we how much more. We see that there is a wonderful Corporeal continuity or contact among the material works of God: And the more Spiritual, pure and noble, the more inclination each Nature hath to Union. Every Plant on Earth hath a Union with the whole Earth in which it liveth; they are real parts of it. And what Natural Conjunction our Bodies shall have to Christ's and what influence from it, is past our Know­ledge: Though his similitudes in Joh. [...]5. & Joh. 6. & Eph. 5. & 1 Cor. 12. seem to extend far, yet being but similitudes, we cannot fully know how far.

§ 10. The same (variatis variandis) we may say of our Union with Christ's humane Soul. Seeing Souls [Page 69] are more inclinable to union than Bodies, when we see all Vegetables to be united parts of one Earth, and yet to have each one its proper individuating form and matter, we cannot (though Animals seem to walk more disjunct) imagine that there is no kind of Union or Conjunction of invisible Souls; though they retain their several substances and forms. Nor yet that our Bodies shall have a nearer Union with Christ's Body, than our Souls with his Soul: But the nature, manner, and mea­sure of it, we know not.

§ 11. Far be it from us to think that Christ's glori­fied Spiritual Body is such in form, parts, and dimensions, as his earthly Body was: That it hath Hands, Feet, Brains, Heart, Stomach, Liver, Intestines, as on Earth: Or that it is such a Compound of Earth, Water, and Air, as here it was, and of such confined extent; for then as his Disciples and a few Jews only were present with him, and all the World besides were absent, and had none of his Company, so it would be in Heaven. But it is not such only as Paul, but all true Believers in the World, from the Creation to the end, shall be with Christ, and see his Glory. And though inequa­lity of Fitness (or Degrees of Holiness) will make an inequality of Glory, no Man can prove an inequality by local distance from Christ; Or if such there be (for it's beyond our reach) yet none in Heaven are at such a distance from him, as not to enjoy the Felicity of his Presence.

§ 12. Therefore when we dispute against them that hold Transubstantiation, and the ubiquity of Christ's Body, we do assuredly conclude that Sense is Judge, whether there be real Bread and Wine present, or not: But it is no Judge, whether Christ's Spiritual Body be present or not, no more than whether an Angel be present: And [Page 70] we conclude that Christ's Body is not Infinite or Immense as is his Godhead; but what are its dimensions, Limits or extent, and where it is absent, far be it from us to de­termine, when we cannot tell how far the Sun extend­eth its secondary substance, or emanant Beams; nor well what Locality is as to Christ's Soul or any Spirit, if to a Spiritual Body.

§ 13. Their fear is vain and carnal, who are afraid lest their Union with Christ or one another will be too near; even lest thereby they lose their individuation, as Rivers that fall into the Sea, or extinguished Candles whose Fire is after but a Sun-beam, or part of the com­mon Element of Fire in the Air; or as the Vegetative Spirits which in Autumn, retire from the Leaves into the Branches and Trunk of the Tree: I have proved before, that our Individuation or numerical Existence ceaseth not: And that no Union is to be feared, were it never so sure, which destroyeth not the Being, or for­mal Powers or Action of the Soul; and that it is the great radical disease of SELFISHNESS and want of Holy LOVE to God and our Saviour, and one another, which causeth these unreasonable Fears; Even that Selfishness which now maketh men so partially desirous of their own wills and pleasure in comparison of God's, and their own Felicity in comparison of other, and which maketh them so easily bear God's injuries, and the Suf­ferings of a Thousand others, in comparison of their own. But he that put a great desire of the Bodies preservation into the Soul while it is its form, will abate that desire when the time of separation is come, because there is then no use for it till the Resurrection: Else it would be a torment to the Soul.

§ 14. 3. And as we shall have UNION, so also COM­MUNION with the Divine and Humane Nature of [Page 71] Christ, respectively. Both as they will be the Objects of our Souls most noble and Constant acts, and as they will be the Fountain or Communicative cause of our receptions.

§ 15. 1. We find now that our various Faculties have various Objects suitable to their Natures: The Objects of Sense are things sensible; and the Objects of Imagination things Imaginable, and the Objects of Intellection things Intelligible, and the Objects of the Will things amiable: The Eye that is a nobler Sense than some others, hath Light for its Object, which to other Senses is none: and so of the rest. Therefore we have cause to suppose, that as far as our Glorified Souls, and our Spiritual Glorified Bodies, will differ, so far Christ's Glorified Soul and Body will respectively be their several Objects: And behold­ing the Glory of both will be part of our Glory.

§ 16. Yet is it not hence to be gathered that the se­parated Soul before the Resurrection shall not have Christ's Glorified Body for its Object: For the Objects of the Body are also the Objects of the Soul, or to speak more properly, the Objects of Sense are also the Objects of Intellection and Will, though all the Objects of the Intellect and Will are not Objects of Sense. The Separated Soul can know Christ's Glorified Body, though our present Bodies cannot see a Soul. But how much our Spiritual Bodies will excel in Capacity and Activity these passive Bodies, that have so much Earth and Water we cannot tell.

§ 17. And though now our Souls are as a Candle in a Lanthorn, and must have extrinsick Objects admitted by the Senses before they can be understood, yet it fol­loweth not that therefore a separated Soul cannot know such Objects: 1. Because it now knoweth them Ab­stractively per species, because its act of Ratiocination is Compound as to the Cause (Soul and Body.) But it will then know such things Intuitively (as now it can do [Page 72] it self) when the Lanthorn is cast by. 2. And (what ever many of late, that have given themselves the title of Ingenious have said to the contrary) we have little reason to think that the sensitive faculty is not an Es­sential, inseparable power of the same Soul that is Intel­lectual, and that sensation ceaseth to separated Souls, (however the modes of it may cease with their several Uses and Organs:) To Feel Intellectually, or to under­stand, and will feelingly, we have cause to think will be the Action of separated Souls: And if so, why may they not have communion with Christ's Body and Soul as their Objects in their separated State? 3. Besides that we are uncertain whether the separated Soul have no Vehicle or Body at all: Things unknown to us must not be supposed True or False: Some think that the sensitive Soul is Material, and as a Body to the Intellectual, ne­ver separated: I am not of their Opinion that make them two substances; but I cannot say, I am certain that they err: Some think that the Soul is Material, of a purer substance than things visible, and that the common Notion of its substantiality meaneth nothing else but a pure (as they call it Spiritual) Materiality: Thus thought not only Tertullian, but almost all the old Greek Do­ctors of the Church that write of it, and most of the Latine, or very many, as I have elsewhere shewed; and as Faustus reciteth them in the Treatise answered by Mammertus: Some think that the Soul (as Vegeta­tive) is an Igneous Body, such as we call Aether or Solar Fire, or rather of a higher purer kind, and that Sensation and Intellection are those formal Faculties which Speci­fically difference it from inferior meer Fire or Aether. There were few of the Old Doctors that thought it not some of these ways Material: And consequently exten­sive and divisible per potentiam Divin [...], though not [Page 73] Naturally or of its own inclination, because most strongly inclined to Unity. And if any of all these uncer­tain Opinions should prove true, the Objections in hand will find no place. (To say nothing of their conceit who say, that as the Spirit that retireth from the falling Leaves in Autumn▪ continueth to animate the Tree, so Man's Soul may do when departed, with that to which it is United, to animate some more Noble universal Bo­dy:) But as all these are the too bold Cogitations of men that had better let unknown things alone, so yet they may be mentioned to refel that more perillous boldness, which denyeth the Souls Action which is certain, upon (at best) uncertain Reasons.

§ 18. I may boldly conclude notwithstanding such Objections, that Christ's Divine and Humane Nature, Soul and Body, shall be the felicitating Objects of In­tuition and holy Love to the separated Soul before the Resurrection; and that to be with Christ, is to have such communion with him, and not only to be present where he is.

§ 19. 2. And the chief part of this communion will be that in which we are Receptive; even Christ's Com­munications to the Soul. And as the Infinite Incompre­hensible Deity is the Root or first Cause of all Communi­cation, Natural, Gracious and Glorious, to Being, Mo­tion, Life, Rule, Reason, Holiness and Happiness; and the whole Creation is more dependant on God, than the Fruit on the Tree, or the Plants on the Earth, or the Members on the Body, (though yet they are not parts of the Deity, nor Deified, because the Communication is Creative;) so God useth Second Causes in his Commu­nications to inferiour Natures: and it is more than proba­ble, that the Humane Soul of Christ primarily and his Body secondarily are the chief second cause of Influence and [Page 74] Communication both of Grace and Glory, both to Man in the Body, and to the separated Soul. And as the Sun is first an Efficient communicative second Cause of seeing to the Eye, and then is also the Object of our sight; so Christ is to the Soul * For as God, so the Lamb is the Light and Glory of the heavenly Hierusalem: and in his light we shall have light. Though he give up the Kingdom to the Father, so far as that God shall be all in all, and his Creature be fully restored to his favour, and there shall be need of a healing Government no more, for the recovering of lapsed Souls to God; yet sure he will not cease to be our Mediator, and to be the Chur­ches Head, and to be the conveying cause of Everlasting Life, and Light, and Love to all his Members: As now we live because he liveth, even as the Branches in the Vine, and the Spirit that quickneth, enlightneth, and sanctifieth us, is first the Spirit of Christ before it is ours, and is communicated from God by him to us; so will it be in the state of Glory: For we shall have our Union and Communion with him perfected, and not destroyed or diminished. And unless I could be so proud as to think that I am or shall be the most excellent of all the Creatures of God, and therefore nearest him, and above all others, how could I think that I am under the Influence of no second Cause, but have either Grace or Glory from God alone?

20. So far am I from such arrogancy as to think that I shall be so near to God, as to be above the need [Page 75] and use of Christ and his Communications, as that I dare not say that I shall be above the need and help of other subordinate Causes: As I am now lower than Angels, and need their help, and as I am under the Government of my Superiors, and as a poor weak Member am little worth in comparison of the whole Body, the Church of Christ, and receive continual help from the whole: So how far it will be thus in Glory I know not; but that God will still use second Causes for our Joy, I doubt not; and also that there will not be an equality: and that it will be consistent with God's Allsufficiency to us and our felicity in Him, that we shall for ever have use for one another, and that to sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of God, and to be in Abraham's Bosom, and sit at Christ's Right, and Left hand in his Kingdom, and to be Ruler over ten Cities, and to join with the heavenly Host or Chore in the joyful Love and Praise of God, and of the Lamb, and many such like, are not false, nor useless notes, and notions of our Celestial Glory.

§ 21. And certainly if I be with Christ, I shall be with all that are with Christ: Even with all the heaven­ly Society: Though these Bodies of gross passive Matter must have so much room, that the Earth is little enough for all its Inhabitants; and those at the Anti­podes are almost as strange to us, as if they were in ano­ther World, and those of another Kingdom, another Province or County, and oft another Parish, yea ano­ther House, are Strangers to us; so narrow is our Ca­pacity of Communion here. Yet w [...] [...]ave great cause to think by many Scripture expressions, that our hea­venly Union and Communion will be nearer and more ex­tensive; and that all the Glorified shall know each other, or at least be far less distant, and less strange, than now we are. As I said before, when I see, how far the Sun [Page 76] beams do extend, how they penetrate our closest Glass, and puzzle them that say that all Bodies are impenetra­ble; when I see how little they hinder the placing or presence of other Creatures, and how intimately they mix themselves with all; and seem to possess the whole Region of the Air, when yet the Air seemeth it self to fill it, &c. I dare not think that glorified Spirits, (no nor Spiritual Bodies) will be such Strangers to one another as we are here on Earth.

§ 22. And I must needs say that it is a pleasant Thought to me, and greatly helpeth my willingness to die, to think that I shall go to all the Holy ones, both Christ and Angels, and departed blessed Souls. For 1. God hath convinced me, that they are better than I, (each singly) and therefore more amiable than my self: 2. And that many are better than one, and the whole than a poor sinful part, and the New Hierusalem is the Glory of the Creation. 3. God hath given me a Love to all his Holy Ones as such. 4. And a Love to the work of Love and Praise which they continually and perfectly perform to God. 5. And a Love to the Celestial Je­rusalem as it is compleat, and to his Glory shining in them. 6. And my old acquaintance with many a holy Person▪ gone to Christ, doth make my Thoughts of Hea­ven the more familiar to me. O how many of them could I name. 7. And it is no small encouragement to one that is to enter upon an unseen World, to think that he goeth not an [...] [...]trodden Path, nor enters into a solitary or singular state; but followeth all from the Creation to this day, that have passed by death to endless life. And is it not an emboldening consideration to think that I am to go no other way▪ nor to no other place or state, than all the Believers and Saints have gone to before me, from the beginning to this time. (Of this more anon.)

[Page 77] [TO DEPART.]

§ 1. But I must be Loosed or Depart before I can thus be with Christ. And I must here consider, I. From what I must depart. II. And How, or in what Man­ner: And I must not refuse to know the worst.

§ 2. I. And, 1. I know that I must Depart from this Body itself, and the Life which consisteth in the ani­mating of it. These Eyes must here see no more; this Hand must move no more; these Feet must go no more; this Tongue must speak no more, As much as I have loved and overloved this Body, I must leave it to the Grave. There must it lie and rot in darkness, as a neglected and a loathed thing.

§ 3. This is the Fruit of Sin, and Nature would not have it so: I mean the Nature of this compound MAN: But what though it be so? 1. It is but my Shell or Taber­nacle, & the cloathing of my Soul, and not it self. 2. It is but an elementary Composition dissolved; and Earth going to Earth, and Water to Water, and Air to Air, and Fire to Fire, into that Union which the elementary Nature doth incline to.

3. It is but an Instrument laid by when all its work is done, and a Servant dismissed when his Service is at an end. And what should I do with a Horse when I shall need to ride or travel no more, or with a Pen when I must write no more? It is but the laying by the Passive receiver of my Souls Operations, when the Soul hath no more to do upon it: As I cast by my Lute or other instrument when I have better employment than Musick to take up my time!

4. Or at most it is but as Flowers die in the fall, and Plants in Winter, when the retiring Spirits have done their work, and are undisposed to dwell in so cold and [Page 78] unmeet a Habitation, as the Season maketh their former matter then to be. And its retirement is not its annihi­lation, but its taking up a fitter place.

5. It is but a separation from a troublesome Compani­on, and putting off a Shoe that pinched me; many a sad and painful Hour I have had in this frail and fal­tring flesh. Many a weary Night and Day: What cares, what fears, what griefs, what groans hath this Body cost me? Alas, how many Hours of my precious time, have been spent to maintain it, please it, or re­pair it? How considerable a part of all my life hath been spent in necessary sleep and rest! And how much in eating, drinking, dressing, physick? And how much in labouring or using means to procure these and other necessaries? Many a hundred times I have thought, that it costeth me so dear to live, yea to live a painful weary life, that were it not for the work and higher ends of life, I had little Reason to be much in love with it, or to be loath to leave it. And had not God put into our Nature itself a necessary, unavoidable, sensitive Love of the Body, and of Life, (as he puts into the Mother, and into every Bruit, a love of their young Ones, how unclean, and impotent, and troublesome so­ever) for the propagation and continuance of Man on Earth? Had God but left it to meer Reason, with­out this necessary pre-engagement of our Natures, it would have been a matter of more doubt and difficulty than it is, whether this life should be loved and desired, and no small number would daily wish that they had never been Born! A wish which I have had much a do to for­bear, even when I have known that it is sinful, and when the work and pleasure of my life have been such to overcome the evils of it, as few have had.

6. Yea, to depart from such a Body is but to be re­moved [Page 79] from a very foul, uncleanly and sordid Habitation. I know that the Body of Man and Bruits is the curious wonderful work of God, and not to be despised, nor injuri­ously dishonoured, but admired and well used: But yet it is a wonder to our Reason that so noble a Spirit should be so meanly housed: And we may call it, Our vile Body, as the Apostle doth, Phil. 3. 21. It is made up of the Airy, Watery, and Earthly parts of our daily food, sub­acted and actuated by the fiery part, as the instrument of the Soul. The greater part of the same food (which with great cost, and pomp, and pleasure, is first upon our Tables, and then in our Mouths to day) is to mor­row a fetid loathsom excrement, and cast out into the draught, that the sight and smell of that annoy us not, which yesterday was the sumptuous fruit of our abun­dance, & the glory of that which is called great housekeep­ing, and the pleasure of our Eyes and Taste. And is not the rest that turneth into Blood and Flesh, of the same general kind with that which is turned into loathsom filth? The difference is, that it is fitter for the Soul by the fiery Spi­rits, yet longer to operate on and keep from corruption: Our blood, and flesh, are as stinking and loathsom a sub­stance as our filthiest excrements, save that they are longer kept from putrefaction. Why then should it more grieve me that one part of my food which turned into flesh, should rot and stink in the Grave, than that all the rest should daily stink in the draught? Yea while it is within me, were it not covered from my sight, what a loathsom mass would my Intestines appear? If I saw what is in the Guts, the Mesentery, the Ventricles of the Brain, what filth, what bilious or mucous matter, and perhaps crawling Worms there are in the most proud or comely Person, I should think that the cover of a cleaner Skin, and the borrowed Ornaments of Apparel, make no great diffe­rence [Page 80] between such a Body and a Carkass (which may be also covered with an adorned Coffin and Monument, to deceive such Spectators that see but out-sides:) the change is not so great of corruptible Flesh, repleat with such fetid Excrements into corrupted Flesh, as some Fools imagine.

7. Yet more, to Depart from such a Body, is but to be loosed from the Bondage of Corruption, and from a Clog and Prison of the Soul. I say not that God put a pre­existent Soul into this Prison Penally, for former faults: I must say no more than I can prove, or than I know: But that Body which was an apt Servant to innocent Man's Soul, is become as a Prison to him now: What alteration sin made upon the Nature of the Body, as whether it be more terrene and gross than else it would have been, I have no reason to assert: Of Earth, or Dust, it was at first, and to Dust it is sentenced to return. But no doubt but it hath its part in that dispositive de­pravation which is the fruit of sin. we find that the Soul as sensitive, is so imprisoned or shut up in Flesh, that sometimes it is more than one Door that must be opened before the Object and the Faculty can meet: In the Eye indeed, the Soul seemeth to have a Window to look out at, and to be almost itself vi [...]ible to others: And yet there are many interposing tunicles, and a suffusion, or winking, can make the clearest sight▪ to be as use­less for the time as if it were none: And if sense be thus shut up from its Object, no wonder if Reason also be under difficulties from coporeal impediments; and if the Soul that is yoaked with such a Body, can go no faster than its heavy pace.

8. Yet further, To Depart from such a Body is but to be separated from an accidental Enemy, and one of our greatest and most hurtful Enemies: Though still we say, That it is not by any default in the work of [Page 81] our Creator, but by the effects of sin, that it is such: What could Satan or any other Enemy of our Souls, have done against us without our flesh? What is it but the Interest of this Body, that standeth in competition against the Inte­rest of our Souls and God? What else do the prophane sell their heavenly Inheritance for, as Esau his Birthright? No Man loveth evil, as evil, but as some way a real or seem­ing good? And what good is it but that which seemeth good for the Body? What else is the Bait of Ambition, Co­vetousness and Sensuality, but the Interest and Pleasure of this Flesh. What taketh up the Thoughts, and Care which we should lay out upon things Spiritual and Heavenly, but this Body and its Life? What Pleasures be they that steal away mens Hearts from the heavenly Pleasures of Faith, Hope, and Love, but the Pleasures of this Flesh? This draweth us to sin: This hindereth us from and in our duty. This Body hath its interest which must be mind­ed, and its inordinate Appetite which must be pleased; or else what murmurings and disquiet must we expect? Were it not for Bodily Interest, and its Temptations, how much more innocently and holily might I live? I should have nothing to care for, but to please God and to be pleased in him, were it not for the care of this Bodily life? What Employment should my Will and Love have, but to Delight in God and Love Him, and his Interest, were it not for the Love of the Body, and its concerns? By this the mind is darkened, and the Thoughts diverted; By this our wills are perverted and corrupted, and by Loving things Corporeal, con­tract a strang [...]ness and aversation from things Spiritual: By this Hea [...] and Time are alienated from God; our Guilt is increased, and our heavenly desire and hopes destroyed; Life made unholy and uncomfortable, and Death made terrible, God and our Souls separated, [Page 82] and Life eternal set by, and in danger of being utterly lost. I know that it is the sinful Soul, that is in all this the chief cause and agent: But what is it but Bodily In­terest that is its temptation, bait and end? What but the Body and its Life, and Pleasure is the chief Ob­jective alluring cause of all this sin and misery? And shall I take such a Body to be better than Heaven, or be loth to be loosed from so troublesom a Yoak-fellow, on to be separated from so burdensom, and dangerous a Companion?

§ 3. Obj. But I know this Habitation, but the next I know not; I have long been acquainted with this Bo­dy, and this World, but the next I am unacquainted with.

Ans. 1. If you know it, you know all that of it which I have mentioned before: you know it to be a burden and snare: I am sure I know by long experience, that this Flesh hath been a painful lodging to my Soul, and this World as a tumultuous Ocean, or like the un­certain and stormy Region of the Air. And well he deserveth bondage, pain, and enmity, who will love them because he is acquainted with them, and is loth to leave them because he hath had them long, and is afraid of being well, because he hath been long sick.

2. And do you not know the next and better Habita­tion? Is Faith no knowledge? If you believe God's Promise you know that such a state there is: And you know in general that it is Better than this World: And you know that we shall be in Holiness and Glorious hap­piness with Christ: And is this no knowledge? 3. And what we know not, Christ, that prepareth and promiseth it, doth know: And is that nothing to us, if really we Trust our Souls to him? He that knoweth not more Good by Heaven than by Earth, is yet so earthly and unbelieving, that it is no wonder if he be afraid and unwilling to depart.

[Page 83] § 4. II. In Departing from this Body and Life, I must depart from all its ancient Pleasures: I must taste no more sweetness in meat or drink, or rest, or sport, or any such thing that now delighteth me; House and Lands, and Goods and Wealth must all be left; and the place where I live must know me no more. All my posses­sions must be no more to me, nor all that I laboured for or took delight in than if they had never been at all.

And what though it must be so? Consider O my Soul, 1. Thy ancient Pleasures are all past already: Thou losest none of them by Death, for they are all lost before, (if immortal Grace have not by sanctifying them, made the benefits of them to become immortal.) All the sweet draughts, and morsels, and sports, and laughters, all the sweet Thoughts of thy worldly Possessions, or thy Hopes, that ever thou hadst till this present Hour, are past by, dead, and gone already. All that Death doth to such as these is to prevent such, that on Earth thou shalt have no more.

2. And is not that the Case of every Bruit, that hath no comfort from the prospect of another Life, to repair his loss: And yet as our dominion diminisheth their pleasure while they live, by our keeping them under fear and labour, so at our will their lives must end: To please a Gentleman's Appetite for half an hour or less, Birds, Beasts, and Fishes must lose life itself, and all the pleasure which life might have afforded them for many Years; yea perhaps many of these (Birds and Fishes at least) must die to become but one Feast to a rich Man, if not one ordinary Meal. And is not their sensual pleasure of the same Nature as ours? Meat is as sweet to them, and ease as welcome, and lust as strong (in season;) And the pleasure that Death depriveth our Flesh of, is such as is common to Man with Bruits: [Page 84] Why then should it seem hard to us to lose that in the Course of Nature, which our Wills deprive them of at our Pleasure? When if we are Believers we can say that we do but exchange these delights of Life, for the greater delights of a Life with Christ, which is a com­fort which our fellow Creatures (the Bruits) have not!

3. And indeed the Pleasures of Life are usually em­bittered with so much pain, that to a great part of the World doth seem to exceed them: The Vanity and Vexation is so great and grievous, as the pleasure seldom countervaileth. It's true that Nature desireth Life even under Sufferings that are but tolerable, rather than to die: But that is not so much from the sensible Pleasure of life, as from meer Natural Inclination; which God hath laid so deep that free will hath not full power against it. As before I said, that the Body of Man is such a thing, that could we see through the Skin (as men may look through a Glass Hive upon the Bees) and see all the parts and motion, the filth and excrements that are in it, the Soul would hardly be willing to actuate, love and cherish such a mass of unclean matter, and to dwell in such a loathsom place, unless God had necessitated it by Nature (deeper than Reason or sense) to such a Love, and such a labour by the Pondus or Spring of Inclina­tion: Even as the Cow would not else lick the unclean Calf, nor Women themselves be at so much labour and trouble with their Children, while there is little of them to be pleasant, but uncleanness, and crying, and helpless impatiency to make them wearisom, had not necessita­ting Inclination done more hereto than any other sense or reason: Even so I now say of the pleasure of Living, that the sorrows are so much greater to Multitudes than the sensible delight, that life would not be so commonly [Page 85] chosen and endured under so much trouble, were not men determined thereto by Natural necessitating Inclination; (or deterred from Death by the fears of misery to the separated Soul;) And yet all this kept not some counted the best and wisest of the Heathens, from taking it for the Valour and Wisdom of a Man to make away his life in time of extremity, and from making this the great answer to them that grudge at God, for making their lives so miserable [If the misery be greater than the good of life, Why dost thou not end it? Thou maist do that when thou wilt.]

Our Meat and Drink is pleasant to the healthful; but it costeth poor men so much toil, and labour, and care, & trouble to procure a poor Diet for themselves and their families, that I think, could they live without eating, and drinking, they would thankfully exchange the pleasure of it all, to be eased of their care and toil in getting it: And when sickness cometh, even the plea­santest Food is loathsom.

4. And do we not willingly interrupt and lay by these Pleasures, every Night when we betake our selves to sleep? It's possible indeed a Man may then have pleasant Dreams: But I think few go to sleep for the pleasure of Dreaming: Either no Dreams, or vain, or troublesom Dreams are much more common. And to say that Rest and Ease is my pleasure, is but to say that my daily labour and cares are so much greater than my waking pleasure, that I am glad to lay by both toge­ther: For what is Ease but deliverance from weariness and pain? For in deep and dreamless sleep there is lit­tle positive sense of the Pleasure of Rest itself. But in­deed it is more from Natures necessitated inclination to this self-easing and repairing means, than from the posi­tive pleasure of it, that we desire sleep. And if we [Page 86] can thus be contented every Night to die as it were to all our waking pleasures, why should we be unwilling to die to them at once.

5. If it be the inordinate pleasures forbidden of God, which you are loath to leave, those must be left before you die, or else it had been better for you never to have been born? Yea every wise and godly Man doth cast them off with detestation: You must be against Holiness on that account as well as against Death? And indeed the same Cause which maketh men unwilling to live a Holy life, hath a great hand in making them unwilling to die; even because they are loth to leave the pleasure of sin: If the wicked be converted, he must be gluttonous and drunken no more, he must live in Pride, Vain­glory, Worldliness and sensual pleasures no more; and therefore he draweth back from a Holy life, as if it were from Death itself. And so he is the lother to die, because he must have no more of the pleasures of his Riches, Pomp, and Honours, his Sports, and Lust, and pleased Appetite; no more for ever; but what's this to them that have mortified the Flesh with the affe­ctions and lusts thereof?

6. Yea it is these forbidden pleasures which are the great impediments both of our Holiness and our truest pleasures: And one of the Reasons why God forbiddeth them, is be­cause they hinder us from better. And if for our own good we must forsake them when we turn to God, it must be supposed that they should be no reason against our willingness to die, but rather that to be free from the danger of them, we should be the more willing.

7. But the great satisfying Answer of this Objection is, that Death will pass us to far greater pleasures with which all these are not worthy to be compared. But of this more in due place.

[Page 87] § 5. III. When I die, I must depart not only from sensual delights, but from the more manly Pleasures of my Studies, knowledge and converse with many wise and godly men, and from all my pleasure in Reading, Hearing, publick and private Exercises of Religion, &c. I must leave my Library, and turn over those pleasant Books no more: I must no more come among the Living, nor see the faces of my faithful Friends, nor be seen of Man, Houses and Cities and Fields: and Countreys, Gardens and Walks, will be nothing as to me. I shall no more hear of the Affairs of the World, of Man or Wars, or other News, nor see what becomes of that beloved Inte­rest of Wisdom, Piety, and Peace, which I desire may prosper, &c.

Answ. 1. Though these delights are far above those of sensual S [...]ners, yet alas, how low and little are they? How small is our knowledg in comparison of our Ignorance? And how little doth the knowledge of Learned Doctors differ from the thoughts of a silly Child? For from our Childhood we take it in but by drops; and as trifles are the Matter of childish knowledge, so Words, and Notions, and artificial Forms do make up more of the Learning of the World, than is commonly understood; and many such Learned men know little more of any Great and excellent Things themselves, than Rusticks that are contemned by them for their ignorance. God and the Life to come are little better known by them, if not much less, than by many of the unlearned. What is it but a Child-game that many Logicians, Rhetori­cians, Grammarians, yea Metaphysicians, and other Philosophers in their eagerest Studies and Dis­putes are exercised in? Of how little use is it to know what is contained in many Hundred of the Vo­lumes that fill our Libraries? Yea, or to know many of the most glorious Speculations in Physicks, Mathe­maticks, &c. Which have given some the Title of Vir­tuosi [Page 88] & Ingeniosi in these times, who have little the more Wit or Virtue to Live to God, or overcome Temptations from the Flesh and World, and to secure their everlast­ing Hopes: What pleasure or quiet doth it give to a dy­ing Man, to know almost any of their Trifles.

2. Yea, it were well if much of our Reading and Learning did us no harm, and more than good: I fear lest Books are to some but a more honourable kind of temptation than Cards and Dice: Lest many a precious Hour be lost in them, that should be employed on much higher matters: And lest many make such knowledge but an unholy, natural, yea carnal Pleasure, as Worldings do the Thoughts of their Lands and Honours; and lest they be the more dangerous by how much the less suspected: But the best is, it is a pleasure so fe [...]ed from the sloathful with Thorny labour of hard and long Stu­dies, that laziness saveth more from it than Grace, and holy Wisdom doth. But doubtless Fancy and the Natural Intellect may with as little Sanctity live in the pleasure of Reading▪ Knowing, Disputing, and Writing, as others spend their time at a Game at Chess, or other ingenious sport.

For my own part, I know that the Knowledg of Natural things is valuable, and may be Sanctified; much more Theological Theory: And when it is so, it is of good use; and I have little knowledge which I find not some way useful to my highest ends. And if Wishing or Money would procure more, I would wish and empty my Purse for it; but yet if many score or hundred Books which I have read, had been all un­read, and I had that time now to lay out upon higher thing, I should think my self much richer than now I am. And I must earnestly pray, The Lord forgive me the Hours that I have spent in reading Things less profitable, for the pleasing of a Mind that would fain [Page 89] know all, which I should have spent for the increase of Holiness in my self and others: And yet I must thank­fully acknowledge to God, that from my youth he taught me, to begin with things of greatest weight, and to refer most of my other Studies thereto, and to spend my days under the Motives of Necessity and Profit to my self, and those with whom I had to do. And I now think better of the Course of Paul that determined to know nothing but a Crucified Christ among the Corin­thians, that is, so to converse with them as to Use, and Glorying as if he knew nothing else: And so of the the rest of the Apostles and Primitive Ages: And though I still love and honour the fullest Knowledge (and am not of Dr. Collets mind, who as Erasmus saith most slighted Augustine) yet I less censure even that Carthage Council which forbad the reading of the Hea­thens Books of Learning and Arts, than formerly I have done. And I would have men savour most that Learn­ing in their Health which they will or should savour most in Sickness, and near to Death.

3. And alas how dear a Vanity is this Knowledge! That which is but Theorical and Notional is but a tick­ling delectation of the Phantasie or Mind, little differ­ing from a pleasant dream: But how many Hours, what gazing of the wearied Eye, what stretching Thoughts of the impatient Brain▪ must it cost us, if we will attain to any Excellency. Well saith Solomon, Much reading is a weariness to the Flesh, and He that increaseth Know­ledge increaseth sorrow. How many hundred studious Days and Weeks, and how many hard and tearing Thoughts, hath my little, very little knowledg cost me? And how much infirmity and painfulness to my Flesh, increase of painful Diseases, and loss of Bodily ease and health? How much pleasure to my self of other kinds, [Page 90] and how much acceptance with men, have I lost by it, which I might easily have had in a more Conversant and plausible way of life? And when all is done, if I reach to know any more than others, of my place and order, I must differ so much (usually) from them: And if I manifest not that difference, but keep all that knowledge to my self, I sin against Conscience and Nature it self: The Love of Man, and the Love of Truth oblige me to be soberly Communicative: Were I so indifferent to Truth and Knowledg, as easily to forbear their pro­pagation, I must also be so indifferent to them, as not to think them worth so dear a Price as they have cost me (Though they are the free Gifts of God:) As Na­ture is universally inclined to the propagation of the kind by Generation; so is the Intellectual Nature to the Communication of Knowledge (which yet hath its Lust, and inordinacy in proud ignorant hasty Teachers, and Disputers, as the Generating faculty hath in Forni­cators and Adulterers.)

But if I obey Nature and Conscience in Communica­ting that Knowledge which containeth my difference aforesaid, the Dissenters too often take themselves di­sparaged by it, how peaceably soever I manage it: And as bad men take the Piety of the godly to be an accusa­tion of their impiety, so many Teachers take themselves to be accused of Ignorance, by such as condemn their Errours by the light of Truth? And if you meddle not with any Person, yet take they their Opinions to be so much their Interest, as that all that is said against them, they take as said against themselves. And then alas what envyings, what whispering disparagements, and what backbitings. if not malicious slanders and under­minings do we meet with from the Carnal Clergy: And O that it were all from them alone, and that among [Page 91] the Zealous and Suffering Party of faithful Preachers, there were not much of such iniquity, and that none of them preached Christ in strife and envy: It is sad that Errour should find so much shelter under the selfishness, and pride of pious men; and that the Friends of Truth should be tempted to reject and abuse so much of it in their ignorance as they do: But the matter of fact is too evident to be hid.

But especially, if we meet with a Clergy that are high, and have a great deal of Worldly interest at the stake: Or if they be in Councils and Synods, and have got the Major Vote, they too easily believe that either their Grandure, Reverence, Names, or Numbers must give them the reputation of being Orthodox and in the right, and will Warrant them to account and defame him as Erroneous, Heretical, Schismatical, Singular, Factious, or Proud, that presumeth to contradict them, and to know more than they: Of which not onely the case of Nazianzene, Martin, Chrysostome are sad proofs, but also the proceedings of too many General and Pro­vincial Councils. And so our hard studies and darling Truth must make us as Owls or reproached Persons among those Reverend Brethren, who are ignorant at easier rates, and who find it a far softer kind of life to think and say as the most or best esteemed do, than to purchase reproach and obloquy so dearly.

And the religious People of the several parts, will say as they hear their Teachers do, and be the Militant fol­lowers of their too Militant Leaders: And it will be their House talk, their Shop talk, their Street talk, if not their Church talk, that such a one is an Erroneous, dangerous Man, because he is not as Ignorant and Er­roneous as they, especially if they be the followers of a Teacher much exasperated by confutation, and engaged [Page 92] in the Controversie; and also if it should be suffering▪ Confessors that are contradicted, or men most highly esteemed for extraordinary degrees of Piety: Then what cruel censures must he expect who never so tender­ly would suppress their Errours.

O what sad Instances of this are, 1. The Case of the Confessors in Cyprians Days, who as many of his Epistles shew, became the great disturbers of that Church. 2. And the Egyptian Monks at Alexandria, in the Days of Theophilus, who turned Anthropomor­phites, and raised abominable Tumults, with woful scandal and odious bloodshed. 3. And O that this Age had not yet greater Instances to prove the matter, than any of these.

And now should a Man be loth to die, for fears of leaving such troublesome costly Learning and Know­ledge, as the wisest men can here attain?

4. But the chief Answer is yet behind. No Know­ledge is lost, but perfected, and changed for much nobler, sweeter, greater Knowledg: Let men be never so un­certain in particular de modo, Whether acquired Habits of Intellect and Memory die with us, as being dependant on the Body: Yet (by what Manner soever) that a far clearer Knowledge we shall have, than is here attaina­ble, is not to be doubted of. And the cessation of our present Mode of knowing, is but the cessation of our ignorance and imperfection: As our wakening endeth a dreaming Knowledge, and our Maturity endeth the tri­fling Knowledge of a Child: For so saith the Holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 13. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. Love never faileth, (and we can Love no more than we know:) But whether there be Prophesies they shall fail: (that is, Cease:) Whether there be Tongues they shall cease: Whether there be Knowledge (Notional and Abstractive such as [Page 93] we have now) it shall vanish away: When I was a Child I spake as a Child, understood as a Child, I thought as a Child; but when I became a Man, I put away childish things: For now we see through a Glass (per species) dark­ly (as men understand a thing by a Metaphor, Para­ble or Riddle) but then Face to Face (even Creatures intuitively as in themselves naked and open to our sight:) Now I know in part (not Rem sed aliquid Rei; in which sense Sanchez truly saith, Nihil scitur:) But then shall I know, even as I am known: (Not a God knoweth us; for our knowledge and his must not be so comparatively likened: but as Holy Spirits know us both now and for ever: we shall both know and be known by immediate intuition)

If a Physician be to describe the parts of Man, and the latent Diseases of his Patient, he is fain to search hard, and bestow many Thoughts of it, besides his long reading and converse to make him capable of know­ing: and when all is done, he goeth much upon Con­jectures, and his knowledge is mixt with many uncer­tainties, yea and mistakes; but when he openeth the Corps, he seeth all, and his knowledg is more full, more true, and more certain, besides that it is easily, and quickly attained, even by a present look: A Countrey Man knoweth the Town, the Fields, and Rivers where he dwelleth (yea, and the Plants and Animals) with ease and certain clearness; when he that must know the same things by the study of Geographical Writings and Tables, must know them but with a General, an unsatisfactory, and oft a much mistaking kind of knowledge: Alas, when our present know­ledge hath cost a Man the study of Forty, or Fifty, or Sixty Years, how lean and poor, how doubtful and unsatisfactory is it after all? But when God will shew [Page 94] us himself and all things, and when Heaven is known as the Sun by its own Light, this will be the clear, su [...] and satisfactory knowledge: Blessed are the Pure in Heart, for they shall see God, Mat. 5. And without Holiness, none can see him, Heb. 12. 14.) This sight will be worthy the Name of Wisdom, when our pre­sent glympse is but Philosophy, a love and desire of Wisdom: So far should we be from fearing Death through the fear of losing our knowledge, or any of the means of knowledge, that it should make us rather long for the World of Glorious Light, that we might get out of this darkness, and know all that with an easie look, to our joy and satisfaction, which here we know with troublesome doubtings, or not at all. Shall we be afraid of darkness in the Heavenly Light, or of Igno­rance when we see the Lord of Glory.

§ 6. And as for the loss of Sermons, Books, and other means, surely it is no loss to cease the means when we have attained the end: Cannot we spare our Winter Clothes as troublesom in the heat of Summer, and sit by the hot Fire without our Glores. Cannot we sit at home without a Horse or Coach? Or set them by at our Journeys end? Cannot we lie in Bed without Boots and Spurs? Is it grievous to us to cease our Phy­sick when we are well: Even here, he is happier that hath least of the Creature, and needeth least, than he that hath much and needeth much: Because all Crea­ture commodities and helps have also their discommodi­ties and troublesomness: And the very applying and using so many remedies of our want; is tedious of itself. And as God only needeth nothing, but is self-sufficient, and therefore only perfectly and essentially happy, so those are likest God that need least from without, and have the greatest plenitude of internal goodness. What [Page 95] need we to preach, hear, read, pray, to bring us to Heaven when we are there?

§ 7. And as for our Friends and our converse with them, as Relations, or as wise, religious, and faithful to us, he that believeth not that there are far More and far Better in Heaven than are on Earth, doth not believe as he ought that there is a Heaven: Our Friends here are wise, but they are unwise also: They are Faithful, but partly unfaithful; they are holy, but al­so alas too sinful: They have the Image of God, but blotted and dishonoured by their faults: They do God and his Church much service; but they also do too much against him, and too much for Satan, even when they intend the Honour of God: They promote the the Gospel; but they also hinder it: Their weakness, ignorance, errour, selfishness, pride, passion, division, contention, scandals and remisness, do oft so much hurt, that it is hard to discern whether it be not greater than their good to the Church or to their Neigbours. Our Friends are our helpers and comforters; but how oft also are they our hinderers, troubles and grief? But in Heaven they are altogether wise, and holy, and faith­ful and concordant, and have nothing in them, nor there done by them, but what is amiable to God and Man.

And with our faithful Friends, we have here a mix­ture, partly of useless and burdensom Persons, and partly of unfaithful Hypocrites, and partly of self-con­ceited factious Wranglers, and partly of malicious en­vious underminers▪ and partly of implacable Enemies: And how many of all these set together is there for one worthy faithful Friend? And how great a number i [...] there to trouble you? For one that will indeed com­fort you? But in Heaven there are none but the Wise, [Page 96] and Holy: No Hypocrites, no burdensom Neighbours, no treacherous, or oppressing or persecuting Enemies are there? And is not all good and amiable better than a little good with so troublesome a mixture of noisome Evils?

Christ loved his Disciples, his Kindred; yea, and all Mankind, and took pleasure in doing good to all; and so did his Apostles: But how poor a requital had he or they from any but from God? Christ's own Brethren believed not in him, but wrangled with him; almost like those that said to him on the Cross, If thou be the Son of God, come down and we will believe. Peter himself was once a Satan to him, Matth. 16. and after with Cursing and Swearing denied him: And all his Disciples forsook him and fled: And what then from others could be expected?

No Friends have a perfect suitableness to each other: and roughness and inequalities that are nearest us are most troublesom. The wonderful variety and contrariety of apprehensions, interest, educations, temperaments, and occasions, and temptations, &c. are such that whilest we are scandalized at the discord & confusions of the World, we must recal our selves and admire that all ruling Pro­vidence, which keepeth up so much order and concord as there is: We are indeed like People in crowded Streets, who going several ways molest each other with their jostling oppositions: Or like Boys at Foot-ball striving to overthrow each other for the Ball: But it is a wonder of Divine Power and Wisdom that all the World is not continually in mortal War.

If I do men no harm, yet if I do but cross their Wills, it goeth for a provoking injury: And when there are as many Wills as Persons, who is it that can please them all: Who hath Money enough to please all the Poor [Page 97] that need it, or the Covetous that desire it. Or who can live with displeased men, and not feel some of the fruits of their displeasure? What day goeth over my Head in which abundance desire not or expect not impossibilities from me? And how great is the number of them that expect unrighteous things? By nothing do I displease so many as by not displeasing God and my Conscience. And for nothing am so deeply accused of sin as for not sinning: And the World will not think well of any thing that crosseth their Opinion and Car­nal interest, be it never so conform to God's Com­mands: I must confess that while I suffer from all sides, few men have more common and open Praises from their Persecutors than I: But while they praise me in the general, and for other particulars, they aggravate my Non-conformity to their Opinions and Wills, and take me to be so much the more hurtful to them. The greatest Crimes that have been charged on me, have been for the things which I thought to be my greatest duties; and for those parts of my obedience to my Conscience and God, which cost me dearest: And where I pleased my Flesh least, I pleased the World least. At how cheap a rate to my Flesh could I have got the Applause of factious men, if that had been my end and business? Would I have conformed to their Wills, and taken a Bishoprick, and the Honour and Riches of the World, how good a Man had I been called by the Diocesan party? And O what praise I should have with the Papists, could I turn Papist! And all the backbitings and bitter Censures of the Antino­mians, Anabaptists and Separatists, had been turned into praise, could I have said as they, or not contra­dicted them. But otherwise there is no escaping their accusations. And is this tumultuous, militant, [Page 98] yea, malignant World, a place that I should be loth to leave?

Alas, our darkness, and weakness, and passions are such, that it's hard for a Family or a few faithful Friends, to live so evenly in the exercise of Love, as not to have oft unpleasant Jars! What then is to be expected from Strangers and from Enemies? Ten thousand Persons will judge of abundance of my Words and Actions, who never knew the Reasons of them: Every ones con­ceptions are as the report and conveyance of the matter to them is: And while they have a various Light, and false Reports (and defectiveness will make them false) what can be expected but false injurious Censures?

§ 8. And though no outward thing on Earth is more precious than the Holy Word, and Worship, and Or­dinances of God, yet even here I see that which point­eth me up higher, and telleth me it is much better to be with Christ. 1. Shall I love the Name of Heaven, bet­ter than Heaven itself? The Holy Scriptures are pre­cious, because I have there the Promise of Glory; but is not the Possession better than the Promise? If a Light and Guide thither through this Wilderness be good, surely the End must needs be better! And it hath plea­sed God that all things on Earth, and therefore even the Sacred Scriptures, should bear the Marks of our state of imperfection: Imperfect Persons were the Pen­men; and imperfect humane Language is the convey­ing, signal, organical part of the matter. And the Me­thod and Phrase (though true and blameless) are far short of the heavenly Perfection. Else so many Com­mentators had not found so hard a task of it to expound innumerable difficulties, and reconcile so many seeming contradictions, nor would Infidels find matter of so strong temptation, and so much cavil as they do; nor [Page 99] would Peter have told us of the difficulties of Pauls Epi­stles, and such occasions of mens wresting them to their own destruction. Heaven will not be made to perfect Spirits, the occasion of so many Errors, and Controversies, and quarrels as the Scriptures are to us imperfect men on Earth. Yea Heaven is the more desirable, because there I shall better understand the Scriptures, than here I can ever hope to do. All the hard passages now misunderstood, will there be made plain, and all the seeming contra­dictions reconciled; and which is much more, that God, that Christ, that New Jerusalem, that Glory, and that Felicity of Souls, which are now known but▪ darkly and enigmatically in the Glass, will then be known intuitively as we see the Face itself, whose Image only the Glass first shewed us. To leave my Bible, and go to the God, and the Heaven that is revealed, will be no otherwise a loss to me, than to lay by my Crutches or Spectacles when I need them not, or to leave his Image for the presence of my Friend.

2. Much less do I need to fear the loss of all other Books, or Sermons, or other Verbal informations. Much reading hath oft been a weariness to my Flesh; and the pleasure of my Mind is much abated by the great imperfection of the means. Many Books must be partly read, that I may know that they are scarce worth the reading: And many must be read to enable us to satisfie other mens expectations, and to confute those who abuse the authority of the Authors against the Truth: And many good Books must be read, that have little to add, to what we have read in many others before; and many that are blotted with ensnaring Er­rours: Which if we detect not, we leave snares for such as see them not: And if we detect them (never so tenderly, if truly) we are taken to be injurious to [Page 100] the Honour of the Learned godly Authors, and proud­ly to overvalue our own conceipts. And so lamentable is the Case of all Mankind, by the imperfections of hu­mane Language, that those Words which are invented for communication of conceptions, are so little fitted to their use, as rather to occasion misunderstandings and contentions: There being scarce a Word that hath not many significations, and that needeth not many more words to bring us to the true notice of the speakers Mind: And when every word is a Signum that hath three relations, 1. To the Matter spoken of. 2. To the Mind of the Speaker as signifying his conceptions of that matter. 3. And to the Mind of the Hearer or Reader which is to be informed by it, it is so hard to find and use words that are fitted indeed to all these uses, and to have store of such, and mix no other, that few if any in the World were ever so happy as to attain it. 1. And if words be not fitted to the Matter or Things, they are false as to their first and proper use: And yet the penury of apt words, and the redundancy of others, and the Authority of the Masters of Sciences imposing Arbi­trary Terms and Notions on their Disciples, and the Custom of the Vulgar who have the Empire as to the fense of Words, have all conspired to make words inept, and of very uncertain signification. So that when Stu­dents have learnt words by long and hard Studies, they are oft little the nearer the true knowledg of the Things; and too oft by their ineptitude misled to false concepti­ons. And so their saying is too often true, that a great Book is a great Evil, while it containeth so great a num­ber of uncertain words, which become the matter of great contentions.

2. And when the Mind of the Speaker or Writer is no better informed by such Notions, but his concepti­ons [Page 101] of Things are some false, some confused and undi­gested, what wonder if his words do no otherwise ex­press his mind to others: When even men of clearest understanding find it difficult to have words still ready to communicate their conceptions with truth and clear­ness. To form true sentiments of Things into apt sig­nificant words, is a matter of meer Art, and requireth an apt Teacher, & a serious Learner, and long use: (And too many take their Art of Speaking in Prayer, Confe­rence, or Preaching, to have more in it of Wisdom, and Piety, than it hath; and some too much Condemn the unaccustomed that want it.)

3. And if we could fit our words well to the Matter and to our Minds (with that double verity) yet still it is hard to fit them to the Reader or Hearer: For want of which they are lost as to him: And his information being our End, they are therefore so far lost to us. And that which is spoken most congruously to the Matter, is seldom fitted to the capacity of the receiver. And re­cipitur ad modum recipient is, & pro captu Lectoris, &c. Some Readers or Hearers (yea, almost all) are so used to unapt Words and Notions, obtruded on Mankind by the Masters of Words, that they cannot understand us if we change their terms and offer them fitter, and yet least understand those which they think that they best understand: And all men must have long time to learn the Art of Words, before they can understand them, as well as before they can readily use them. And the duller any Man is, and of less understanding, the more Words are necessary to make him understand: And yet his Memory is the less capable of retaining many. This is our difficulty not only in Catechizing, but in all our Writings and Teaching, a short Cate­chism, or a short Style, the ignorant understand not; [Page 102] and a long one they remember not. And he that will accommodate one judicious Reader or Hearer, with pro­found matter or an accurate Style, must incommodate Multitudes that are uncapable of it. And therefore such must be content with few approvers, and leave the Applause of the Multitude to the more popular, unless he be one that can seasonably suit himself to both.

A Man that resolveth not to be deceived by ambigu­ous words, and maketh it his first work in all his Read­ing and disputings to difference between Words, and Sense, and Things, and strictly to examine each disputed term, till the Speakers meaning be distinctly known, will see the lamentable case of the Church, and all Mankind, and what shaddows of knowledg deceive the World, and in what useless dreams the greatest part of men, yea of Learned men do spend their days: Much of that which some men unweariedly study, and take to be the ho­nour of their understandings, and their lives, and much of that which Multitudes place their Piety and Hopes of Salvation in, being a meer game at words, and use­less Notions; and as truly to be called Vanity and Vexa­tion as is the rest of the Vain shew that most men walk in. My sad and bitter Thoughts of the Heathen, In­fidel, Mahomet World, and of the common corruptions of Rulers and Teachers, Cities and Countries, Senates and Councils, I will not here open to others, lest they offend; nor cry out as Seneca, Omnes mali sumus, or stultorum plena sunt omnia, nor describe the furious Spi­rits of the Clergy, and their ignorance, and unrighte­ous Calumnies and Schisms, as Gregory Nazianzene and others do, nor voluminously lament the seeming hopeless case of Earth, by the boldness, blindness, and fury of men that make use of such sad considerations, to loosen my love from such a World, and make me will­ing to be with Christ.

[Page 103] 9. And if other mens Words and Writings are ble mished with so much imperfection, why should think that my own are blameless? I must for ever be thankful for the holy Instructions and Writings of others, notwithstanding humane frailty, and contentious mens abuse of words: And so I must be thankful that God hath made any use of my own, for the good of Souls, and his Churches Edification. But with how many allays are such comforts here mixed? We are not the Teachers of a well ruled School, where Learners are ranked into several Forms, that every one may have the teaching which is agreeable to his capaci­ty: But we must set open the Door to all that will crowd in, and publish our Writings to all sorts of Rea­ders: And there being as various degrees of Capacity as there are Men, and Women, and consequently great variety and contrariety of apprehensions, it's easie ab an­tecedente to know what various reception we must ex­pect: We cast out our Doctrine almost as a Foot-ball is turned out among Boys in the Street, in some Con­gregations: Few understand it, but every one censureth it. Few come as Learners or teachable Disciples, but most come to sit as Judges on their Teachers words: and yet have neither the Skill, or the Patience, or the diligence which is necessary in a just Try­al, to a righteous judgment. But as our words agree or disagree with the former conceptions of every Hearer, so are they judged to be wise or foolish, sound or unsound, true or false, fit or unfit. Few Sermons that I preach but one extolleth them, and wisheth they were printed, and another accuseth them of some hai­nous fault: Some men are pleased with clearness and ac­curatness of Doctrine▪ and others account it too high, and say we shoot over the hearers Heads, and like nothing [Page 104] but the fervent Application of what they knew before most Hearers are displeased with that which they most need: If they err, they reproach that Doctrin as erroneous that would cure them: If they are guilty of any prevailing Distemper and sin, they take that Application to be inju­rious to them, which would convince them, and save them from that guilt. Most are much pleased with plain and zealous reproof of sin; but it must be other mens sins, and not their own. The poor love to hear of the evil of oppression and unmercifulness, of Pride, Fulness and Idleness, and all the sins of the Rich: Sub­jects love to hear of their Rulers faults, and say, O this Man is no flatterer; he dares tell the greatest of their sins: But if they hear of their own, they take for it an injury. Rulers like a Sermon for submission and obe­dience but how few love to hear of the evil of injustice and oppression, or pride, and sensuality, or to read, Luke 16. or 12. or James 5. or to hear of the necessity of Holiness, Justice and temperance, and of Death, and Judgment and the Life to come. Every Sectary and Dogmatist delighteth to have his own Opinion cryed up, and his Party praised as the chiefest Saints: But all that tendeth to the praise of those that he dissenteth from, and accounteth adversaries to the Truth, is di­stastful to him, as a complying with iniquity, and a strengthning of the Enemies of Christ: And all that un­charitableness which he expecteth from us against others, is as much expected by others, as against him and such as he.

This Day while I am writing these words, my Poc­kets are too full of Letters sent me, on one side impor­tunately charging it on me as my duty to conform (to the Oaths, Declarations, Covenants and Practises, now imposed) or else to give over preaching (which would [Page 105] please them;) and on the other side vehemently cen­suring me as guilty of grievous sin, for declaring my judgment for so much of Conformity as I have done; and charging me by Predictions as guilty of the Suffer­ings of all that are otherwise minded, for communica­ting in the Sacrament, and the common Prayers of the Church; and others in the mid way, persuading me equally to bear my Testimony against unjust Separation and Persecution, and to endeavour still if possible to save a self destroying People, from the tearing fury of these two extreams: And how should I answer these contrary expectations, or escape the Censures of such expe­ctants?

And it hath pleased God, who Thirty Years and more hath tryed me by humane Applause, of late in this City (where multitudes of Persons of contrary Minds are like Passengers in crowded Streets, still jostling and offending one another) to exercise me with mens daily backbitings and cavils: And so many have chosen me for the subject of their Discourse, that I may say as Paul, 1 Cor. 4. 9, 10, &c. [We are made a Spectacle (or Theatre) to the World, and to Angels, and to men: We are Fools for Christs sake, but ye are wise in Christ, &c.] Did I not live out of the noise in retirement, and taken up with pain and expectations of my change, what an annoyance to me would it be to hear Religious Persons that have a God, a Christ, a Heaven to talk of, to abuse their Time and Tongues in so much talking of one so inconsiderable, and that hath so little to do with them, or they with him; while with some overvaluing me and others still quarrelling, I am the matter of their idle sinful talk. The Persecutors for divers Years after first silencing (if not still) and the Separatists for two or three Years last past, have been possessed with so strange [Page 106] a jealousie and quarrelsom a disposition against me, that they seem to take it for their Interest to promote my defamation? and for much of their work to search what may afford them any matter of accusation in every Ser­mon that I preach, and every Book that I write. And though the fury of the Persecutors be such as maketh them much uncapable of such converse and sober conside­ration as is needful to their true information and satis­faction; yet most of the more Religious Cavillers are satisfied as soon as I have spoken with them, and all endeth in a putarem or non putarem: For want of ac­curateness and patience, they judge rashly before they understand, and when they understand confess their er­rour; and yet many go on and take no warning after many times conviction of their mistake. Even in Books that are still before their Eyes (as well as in transient words in Sermons) they heedlesly leave out, or put in, or alter, and misreport plain words, and with confidence affirm those things to have been said that never were said, but perhaps the contrary. And when all People will judg of the good or evil of our words as they think we have Reason to use them or forbear them, how can we sa­tisfie men that are out of our hearing, and to whom we cannot tell our Reasons: Most men are of private narrow observation, & judge of the good or hurt that our words do, by those that they themselves converse with: And when I convince them that my decisions of many questi­ons (which they are offended at) are true, they say, It is an unseasonable and a hurtful truth: and when I have called them to look further abroad in the World, and told them my Reasons; they say, Had these been all set down, men would have been satisfied.] And on how hard terms do we instruct such Persons whose narrow understandings cannot know obvious Reasons of what we say till they [Page 107] are particularly told them? And so to tell men the Rea­sons of all that such can quarrel with, will make every Book to swell with Commentaries to such a bigness as they can neither buy nor read: And they come not to us to know our Reasons; nor have we leisure to open them to every single Person: And thus suspicious men, when their understandings want the humbling acquaintance with their ignorance and their Consciences that tenderness which should restrain them from rash judging, go on to accuse such needful Truths of which they know not the use and reason. And what Man living hath the leisure and op­portunity to acquaint all the ignorant Persons in City and Countrey with all the Reasons of all that he shall say, write or do? Or who that writeth not a Page instead of a Sentence, can so write that every unprepared Rea­der shall understand him: And what hopes hath that Tutor or School-master of preserving his reputation, who shall be accounted erroneous and accused of un­sound or injurious Doctrine, by every Schollar that understandeth not his words, and all the reasons of them?

But God in great Mercy to me hath made this my Lot (not causing but permitting the sins of the conten­tious) that I might before death be better weaned from all below: Had my temptations from inordinate Ap­plause had no allay, they might have been more dange­rously strong. Even yet while Church-Dividers on both extreams do make me the Object of their daily ob­loquy, the continued respects of the sober and peacea­ble, are so great as to be a temptation strong enough, to so weak a Person, to give a check to my desires to leave the World. It is long since Riches and worldly Honour appeared to me as they are, as not rendring the World much lovely or desireable. But the Love [Page 108] and Concord of Religious Persons hath a more amiable Aspect: There is so much Holiness in these, that I was loth to call them Vanity and Vexation: But yet as Flesh and Blood would refer them to selfish Ends, and any way value them as a Carnal interest, I must so call them, and number them with the things that are Loss and Dung, Phil. 3. 7, 8. Selfishness can serve itself up­on things good and holy: And if good men, and good Books, and good Sermons would make the World seem overlovely to us, it will be a Mercy of God to abate the temptation: And if my Soul looking toward the heavenly Jerusalem, be hindred as Paul was in his Journey to Jerusalem, Act. 20. & 21. by the Love of ancient Friends and Hearers, I must say, What mean you to weep and break my Heart! I am ready to leave the dearest Friends on Earth, and life, and all the plea­sures of life, for the presence of far better Friends with Christ, and the sweeter pleasures of a better life. That lit­tle amiableness which is in things below, is in godly men as life in the Heart, which dieth last: When that's all gone, when we are dead to the Love of the godly themselves, and to Learning, Books, and mediate Ordinances, so far as they serve a selfish interest, and tempt down our Hearts from heavenly aspirings, the World then is Crucified to us indeed, and we to it: I rejoice to tread in the Footsteps of my Lord, who had some indeed weeping about his cross, but was forsaken by all his Disciples, while in the Hour of Temptation they all fled▪ But my de­sertion is far less, for it is less that I am fit to bear. If God will justifie, who shall condemn? If he be for me, who shall be against me? O may I not be put to that dread­full case, to cry out, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? And may nothing separate me from his Love! And then were I forsaken of the sober and [Page 109] peaceable, as I am in part of some quarrelsom Divi­ders, how tolerable a tryal would it be? Man is as dust in the Ballance, that addeth little to it, and signifieth nothing when God is in the other end. But I suspect still that I make too much account of Man, when this case hath taken up too much of my observation.

1. And of all things surely a departing Soul hath least cause to fear, the losing of its notice of the Affairs of the World? Of Peace or Wars, or Church, or King­doms. For, 1. If the Sun can send forth its material Beams, and operate by motion, light, and heat, at such a distance as this Earth, why should I think that blessed Spirits are such local, confined and impotent sub­stances, as not to have notice of the things of Earth? Had I but bodily Eyes I could see more from the top of a Tower or Hill, than any one that is below can do. And shall I know less of Earth from Heaven than I do now? It's unlike that my Capacity will be so little: And if it were, it is unlike that Christs and all the Angels will be so strange to me, as to give me no notice of things that so much concern my God and my Redeemer (to whom I am united) and the Holy Society of which I am a part, and my self as a Member of Christ and that Society! I do not think that the Communion of the Celestial Inhabitants is so narrow and slow, as it is of walking Clods of Earth, and of Souls that are confined to such dark Lanthorns as this Body is? Stars can shine one to another. And we on Earth can see them so far off in their Heaven: And sure then if they have a seeing faculty each of them can see many of us; even the Kingdoms of the World. Spirits are most active, and of powerful and quick communication. They need not send Letters, or write Books to one another, nor lift up a voice to make each other hear: Nor is there any unkind­ness, [Page 110] division, or unsociable selfishness among them, which may cause them to conceal their notices or their joys: But as Activity, so Unity is Greatest, where there is most Perfection: They will so be Many, as yet to be One; and their Knowledge will be One Knowledge, and their Love One Love, and their Joy One Joy: Not by so perfect a Unity as in God himself, who is One and but One; but such as is suitable to created imperfection, which par­ticipate of the Perfection of the Creator, as the Effect doth of the virtue of the Cause, and therefore hath some participation of his Unity. (O foolish Soul! if I shall fear this Unity with God, Christ, and all the Holy Spi­rits, lest I should lose my present separate Individuation, when Perfection and Union are so near akin.) In a word I have no cause to think that my Celestial advance­ment will be a diminution of any desirable Knowledge even of things on Earth; but contrarily that it will be unconceivably increased.

2. But if indeed I shall know less of things below, it will be because that the knowledge of them is a part of Vanity and Vexation, which hath no place in Heaven. So much knowledge of good and evil in lower matters, as came to us by sin, is unworthy of our fond tenacious­ness, and fear of losing it? Surely the sad tidings which we have Weekly in our News Books, our lamentable no­tices of Heathen and Infidel Kingdoms of the over­spreading prevalency of Barbarousness, Idolatry, Igno­rance and Infidelity; of the rage and success of cruel Tyrants; of the bloody Wars of proud, unquiet world­ly men, of the misery of the oppressed desolate Coun­treys, the dissipated Churches, the persecuted innocent Christians, are no such pleasing things as that we should be afraid to hear of such no more. To know or hear of the poor in Famine, the rich in Folly, the [Page 111] Church distracted, the Kingdom discontented; the godly scandalous by the effects of their Errours, imperfecti­ons and divisions, the wicked outrageous and waxing worse, the falseness or miscarriages or sufferings of Friends, the fury or success of Enemies, is this an in­telligence which I cannot spare? What is the daily tidings that I hear but of bloody Wars, the undone Countreys, the persecuted Churches, the silenced, ba­nished, or imprisoned Preachers, of the best removed in judgment from an unworthy World by Death, and worse succeeding in their rooms, of the renewed de­signs and endeavours of the Churches Enemies; the implacable rage of the worldly and unquiet Clergy, and the new divisions of self-conceited Sectaries, and the obloquy and backbitings of each Party against the other? How oft hear I the sad tidings of this Friends sickness or Death, and that Friends discontent, and of anothers fall, and of many, very many's Sufferings? My Ears are daily filled with the cryes of the poor whom I cannot relieve, with the endless complaints of fearful Melancholy despairing Persons; with the wranglings of the ignorant and proud Professors, and contentious Divines, who censure most boldly where they are most Erroneous or dark: Or with the trouble­som discontents of those that I converse with: And should I be afraid of the ending of so sad a Tragedy, or of awaking out of such an unpleasant dream. Have I not many times thought of the Priviledge of the deaf, that hear not these troublesom and provoking things; and of the Blind that see not the Vanities and Temptati­ons of this World: It is one part of the benefit of soli­tude, or a private life and habitation, to free me from many of these unpleasing Objects; and a great part of the benefit of sleep, that with my Cloaths I may lay by these troubleous Thoughts.

[Page 112] § 11. But other men tell me, The Church cannot yet spare you: There is yet this and that necessary work to be done: There is this and that need, &c.

But, 1. Is it we or God that must choose his Ser­vants, and cut out their work? Whose work am I doing? Is it my own, or his? If his, is it not he that must tell me what, and when, and how long? And will not his will and choice be best? If I be [...]eve not this, how do I take him for my God? Doth God or I know better what he hath yet to do? And who is fittest to do it? The Churches Service and benefits must be measured out by our Master and Benefactor, and not by our selves.

2. What am I to those more excellent Persons whom in all Ages he hath taken out of the World? And would mens Thoughts of the Churches needs detain them? The poor Heathen, Infidel, Mahometane Na­tions have no Preachers of the Gospel? And if their need prove not that God will send them such, no Countreys need will prove that God will continue them such. Many more useful Servants of Christ have died in their youth: John Janeway preached but one Sermon: Joseph Allen (and many another excellent Men) died young in the midst of his vigorous successful labours: Both of them far more fit for God's work and likely to win Souls, and glorifie God, than I am or ever was (However their greater Light was partly kindled from my lesser.) Yet did both these under pain­ful consuming languishings of the Flesh, die as they had long lived in the lively triumphant Praises of their Redeemer, and joyful desires and hopes of Glory? And shall I at Sixty seven Years of Age, after such a life of unspeakable Mercies, and after almost Forty four Years of comfortable help in the Service of my Lord, [Page 113] be now afraid of my reward, and shrink at the Sen­tence of Death, and still be desiring to stay here, upon pretence of further service: We know not what is best for the Church as God doth: The Church and the World are not Ours, but his: not our desires, but his will, must measure out its Mercies: We are not so Merci­ful as he is: It is not unmeet for us to desire many things which God will not give, nor seeth it meet to grant the particulars of such desires. Nothing ever lay so heavy on my Heart as the sin and misery of Mankind, and to think how much of the World lyeth in folly and wickedness? And for what can I pray so heartily as for the Worlds recovery: And it is his will that I should shew a Holy and Universal Love by praying, Let thy Name be hallowed, Thy Kingdom come, and Thy will be done on Earth as it is done in Heaven: And yet alas, how unlike is Earth to Heaven, and what Ig­norance, Sin, Confusions and Cruelties here reign and prosper? And unless there be a wonderful change to be expected, even as by a general Miracle, how little hope appeareth that ever these Prayers should be grant­ed in the things? It maketh us better to desire that others may be better: But God is the free disposer of his own gifts: And it seemeth to be his will, that the permitted Ignorance and Confusions of this World, should help us the more to value, and desire that World of Light, Love and Order, which he calleth us to prefer and hope for.

And if I am any way useful to the World, it is un­deserved Mercy that hath made me so; for which I must be thankful: But How long I shall be so is not my business to determine, but my Lords. My many sweet and beautiful Flowers arise and appear in their beauty and sweetness, but for one Summers time, and they murmur not that they flourish for so short a space. The [Page 114] Beasts, and Birds, and Fishes, which I feed on, do live till I will have them die: And as God will be served and pleased by wonderful variety at once (of A­nimals, and Vegetables, &c.) So will he by many successive▪ Generations: If one Flower fall or die, it sufficeth that others shall Summer after Summer arise from the same root: And if my Pears, Apples, Plums, &c. fall or serve me when they are ripe, it suf­ficeth that (not they, but) others the next Year shall do the same; God will have other Generations to suc­ceed us: Let us think him that we have had our time: And could we overcome the Grand (too little obser­ved) Crime of SELFISHNESS, and could Love others as our selves, and God as God above all the World, it would comfort us at Death, that others shall survive us, and the World shall continue, and God will be still God, and be glorified in his works: And Love will say, I shall live in my successors, and I shall more than Live in the Life of the World; and yet most of all in the eternal Life and Glory of God.

And God, (who made us not gods but poor Crea­tures as it pleased him) doth know best our measures: And he will not try us with too long a Life of Temp­tations, lest we should grow too familiar where we should be Strangers, and utterly Strangers to our home: No wonder if that World was ready for a deluge, by a deluge of sin, in which men lived to Six, Seven, Eight and Nine hundred Years of Age: Had our Great Sensua­lists any hope of so long a life, they were like to be like incarnate Devils, and there would be no dwelling near them for the Holy Seed? If Angels were among them, they would like the Sod [...]mites seek furiously to abuse them.

Nor will God tire us out with too long a life of [Page 115] earthly sufferings: We think short cares, and fears, and sorrows, persecutions, sickness, and crosses to be long: And shall we grudge at the Wisdom and Love which shortneth them. Yea, though holy duty it self be ex­cellent and sweet, yet the weakness of the Flesh maketh us liable to weariness, and abateth the willingness of the Spirit: And our wise and merciful God will not make our warfare or our race too long, lest we be wearied and faint, and fall short of the prize. By our weariness, and complaints, and fears and groans, one would think that we thought this life too long, and yet when we should yield to the call of God, we draw back as if we would have it everlasting.

§ 12. Willingly submit then O my Soul: It is not thou, but this Flesh that must be dissolved; this trou­blesom, vile and corruptible Flesh: It is but the other half thy meat and drink, which thy presence kept longer uncorrupted, going after the excremental part. Thou diest not when Man (the compositum) dieth, by thy departure. And as thou livest not to thy self, I die not to my self; whether I live or die, I am the Lords: He that set up the Candle, knoweth how long he hath use for the light of it. Study thy duty, and work while it is Day, and let God choose thy time, and will­ingly stand to his disposal. The Gospel dieth not when I die: The Church dieth not: The Praises of God die not; the World dieth not: And perhaps it shall grow better, and those Prayers shall be answered which seemed lost: Yea, & it may be some of the Seed that I have sowen, shall spring up to some benefit of the dark unpeaceable World when I am dead. And is not this much of the end of life? & is not that Life good, which attaineth its End? If my End was to do Good and Glorifie God, if Good be done, and God be Glorified, when I am dead, yea though I were [Page 116] annihilated, is not my End attained: Feign not thy self to be God, whose Interest (that is, the pleasing of his Will) is the End of all things: And whose will is the measure of all Created good: Feign not thy self to be All the World: God hath not lost his work; the World is not dissolved, when I am dissolved! O how strong and unreasonable a Disease is this inordinate SEL­FISHNESS! Is not God's Will Infinitely better than mine? And fitter to be fulfilled: Choose the fulfilling of his Will, and thou shalt always have thy choice: If a Man be well that can always have his will, let this al­ways be thy Will, that God's Will may be done, and thou shalt always have it.

Lord, let thy Servant Depart in Peace: even in Thy Peace, which passeth understanding, and which Christ the Prince of Peace doth give, and nothing in the World can take away! O give me that Peace which be­seemeth a Soul, which is so near the Harbour, even the World of endless PEACE and LOVE! where per­fect UNION (such as I am capable of) will free me from all the sins and troubles, which are caused by the convulsions, divulsions, and confusions of this divided SELFISH World. Call home this Soul by the en­couraging Voice of Love, that it may joyfully hear, and say, It is my Fathers Voice: Invite it to thee by the heavenly Messenger: Attract it by the tokens and the foretasts of Love: The Messengers that invited me to the Feast of Grace, compelled me to come in without constraint: Thy effectual call did make me willing: And is not Glory better than preparing Grace? Shall I not come more willingly to the Celestial Feast? What was thy Grace for, but to make me willing of Glory, and the way to it? Why didst thou dart down thy Beams of Love, but to make me Love thee, and to call me [Page 117] up to the everlasting Center! Was not the Feast of of Grace, as a Sacrament of the Feast of Glory: Did I not take it in remembrance of my Lord until he come? Did not he that told me, All things are ready, tell me also that He is gone to prepare a place for us, and it is his will that we shall be with him and see his Glory. They that are Given him, and Drawn to him by the Father on Earth, do come to Christ: Give now and Draw my Departing Soul to my Glorified Head: And as I have Glorified thee on Earth in the measure that thy Grace hath prevailed in me, pardon the sins by which I have offended thee, and Glorifie me in the beholding and participation of the Glory of my Re­deemer; come Lord Jesus, come quickly with fuller Life, and Light, and Love, into this too Dead, and Dark, and Disaffected Soul, that it may come with joy­ful willingness unto thee.

§ 13. Willingly Depart O lingring Soul! It is from a Sodom, though in it there be righteous Lots, who yet are not without their woful blemishes! Hast thou so oft groaned for the general blindness and wickedness of the World, and art thou loth to leave it for a better? How oft wouldst thou have rejoyced to have seen but the dawning of a Day of Universal Peace and Reformation? And wouldst thou not see it, where it shineth forth in fullest Glory? Would a light at Midnight have plea­sed thee so well: Hast thou prayed and laboured for it so hard? And would thou not see the Sun? Will the things of Heaven please thee no where but on Earth, where they come in the least and weakest influences, and are terminated in gross, terrene, obscure, and un­kind recipients? Away, away, the vindictive Flames are ready to consume this sinful World? Sinners that blindly rage in sin, must quickly rage in the effects of [Page 118] sin, and of God's Justice: The pangs of Lust, prepared for these pangs! They are treasuring up wrath against this Day: Look not then behind thee: Away from this unhappy World! Press on unto the Mark, Phil. 3. Looking towards, and hastning to the coming of the Day of God, 2 Pet. 3. 10, 11, 12.

As this World hath used thee, it would use thee still, and it will use others? If thou hast sped well in it, no thanks to it, but unto God! If thou hast had manifold deliverances, and marvellous preservations, and hast been sed with Angels food, love not this Wilderness for it, but God and his Angel which was thy Guide, Protector and Deliverer.

And hath this troublesome Flesh been so comfortable a companion to thee, that thou shouldst be so loth to leave it? Have thy pains, thy weariness, thy languishings, thy labours, thy cares and fears about this Body, been pleasing to thee? And art thou loth that they should have an end? Didst thou not find a need of patience to under­go them? And of greater Patience than m [...]r Nature gave thee? And canst thou hope now for better, when Nature faileth, and that an aged, consumed, more diseased Body, should be a pleasanter habitation to thee, than it was heretofore? If from thy youth up it hath been both a tempting and a troubling thing to thee, surely though it be less tempting, it will not be less troubling, when it is falling to the Dust, and above ground sa­voureth of the Grave! Had things sensible been never so pleasant in thy youth, and hadst thou glutted thy self in health with that sort of delight, in Age thou art to say by Nature, I have no pleasure in them. Doth God in great Mercy make pain and feebleness the Harbingers of Death, and wilt thou not understand their business? Doth he mercifully before hand take away the pleasure [Page 119] of all fleshly things, and worldly vanities, that there may be nothing to relieve a departing Soul, (as the shell breaketh when the Bird is hatched, and the Womb relaxed when the Infant must be Born;) and yet shall we stay when nothing holdeth us, and still be loth to come away? Wouldst thou dwell with thy beloved Body in the Grave, where it will rot and stink in loath­some darkness? If not, why should it now in its pain­ful languor, seem to thee a more pleasant habitation than the glorious presence of thy Lord? In the Grave it will be at rest, and not tormented as now it is, nor wish at Night, O that it were Morning; nor say at Morning, when will it be Night? And is this a dwelling fit for thy delight? Patience in it while God will so try thee, is thy duty? But is such Patience a better and sweeter life, than rest and joy?

§ 14. But alas, how deaf is Flesh to Reason? Faith hath the Reason which easily may shame all contrary Reasoning; but sense is unreasonable, and especially this inordinate tenacious Love of present Life. I have Reason enough to be willing to depart, even much more willing than I am: O that I could be as willing as I am convinced, that I have Reason to be? Could I Love God as much as I know that I should Love him, then I should desire to depart and to be with Christ, as much as I know that I should desire it: But God in Nature hath here laid upon me some necessity of aversation, (though the inordinateness came from sin:) Else Christ had not so feared, and deprecated the Cup: Death must be a penalty, even where it is a gain! and therefore it must meet with some un­willingness: Because we willingly sinned, we must unwillingly suffer! The Gain is not the pain or dis­solution in itself, but the happy consequents of it. [Page 120] All the Faith and Reason in the World, will not make Death to be no penalty, and therefore will not take away all unwillingness. No Man ever yet Reasoned or Believed himself into a Love of Pain and Death as such: But seeing that the gain is unspeakably Greater than the Pain and Loss, Faith and Holy Reason may make our willingness to be Greater than our unwillingness, and our Hope and Joy, than our Fear and Sorrow: And it is the deep and effectual notice of Goodness which is God's way in Nature and Grace, to change and draw the Will of Man: Come then my Soul, and Think believingly what is BEST for thee: And wilt thou not Love and Desire most, that which is certainly the BEST?

To Depart and to be with Christ is far bet­ter (or rather to be chosen.)

§ 1. TO say and hear that it is far better to be with Christ, is not enough to make us willing; Words and Notions are such instruments as God useth to work on Souls, but the convincing, satisfying, powerful Light, and the inclining Love are other things. The Soul now operateth ut forma hominis, on and with the Corporeal Spirit and Organs; and it perceiveth now its own per­ceptions; but it is a stranger to the Mode of its future Action, when it is separated from the Body, and can have no formal conception of such conceptions as yet it never had. And therefore its Thoughts of its future [...]ate, must be Analogical and General, and partly [...]range. But General notices when certain may be very powerful, and satisfie us in so much as is needful to our [...]onsent, and to such a measure of Joy as is suitable to [Page 121] this earthly state. And such notices we have from the Nature of the Soul, with the Nature of God, the course of Providence, and Government of Mankind, the in­ternal and external conflicts which we perceive about Mens Souls, the Testimony and Promises of the Word of God, the Testimony of Conscience, with the Witness of the sanctifying Spirit of Christ, and in it the Earnest and the foretast of Glory, and the beginnings of Life eternal here; of all which I have before consider­ed.

§ 2. The Socinians who would interpret this of the state of Resurrection only, against plain evidence vio­late the Text: Seeing Paul expresly speaketh of his Gain by Death, which will be his abode with Christ, and this upon his departure hence: which in 2 Cor. 5. 7, 8. he calleth, his being absent from the Body, and present with Lord: And Christ to the penitent Thief calleth his being with him in Paradise: And Luke 16. in the Parable of the Steward, Christ intimateth to us, that wise preparers when they go hence are received in­to the Everlasting habitations; as he there further tells us Lazarus was in Abrahams bosom.

§ 3. Goodness is primaria & mensurans vel secunda­ria & mensurata: The first is God's perfect Essence and Will. The second is either properly and simply Good, or Analogical. The former is the Creatures conformity to the Will of God, or its Pleasingness to his will: The later is, 1. The Greater, which is the wellfare or per­fection of the Universe. 2. The Lesser, which is the Perfection of the several parts of the Universe, ei­ther 1. In the nobler respect, as they are Parts contri­buting to the Perfection of the whole; or 2. In the lower respect, as they are Perfect or Happy in them­selves; or 3. In the lowest respect of all, as they are [Page 122] good to their fellow Creatures which are below themselves.

§ 4. Accordingly, It is far better to be with Christ, I. Properly and simply, as it is the fulfilling of God's will. II. Analogically, as it tendeth to the Perfection of the Universe and the Church? III. And as it will be our own good or felicity. IV. And as it will be Good to our inferiour fellow Creatures; though this last be most questionable, and seemeth not included in the meaning of this Text: Somewhat of these in order.

§ 5. I. It is an odious effect of Idolatrous SELFISH­NESS, to acknowledge no Goodness above our own FELICITY, and accordingly to make the Goodness of God to be but formally his Usefulness, Benovolence and Beneficence to his Creatures, which is by making the Creature the ultimate End, and God but the Means, to make the Creature to be God, and deny God indeed, while we honour his Name: As also it is, to acknow­ledge no higher goodness formally in the Creature, than its own felicity as such: As if neither the pleasing of God's will, nor the Perfection of the Church and World, were better than we are: We are not of our selves, and therefore we are not chiefly for our selves, and there­fore we have a higher Good to Love.

That is simply Best which God willeth. Therefore to Live here is Best whilest I do live here: and to depart is best when the time of my departure cometh: That is Best which is, (which is the work of God:) The World cannot be Better at this Instant than it is, nor any thing Better (which is of God:) because it is as he willeth it to be: But when God hath changed them, it will then be Best that they are changed. Were there no other Good in my departure hence, but this simple Good, the fulfilling of God's will, my Reason telleth me that I should be fully satisfied in it: But there is also a subordinate sort of Good.

[Page 123] § 6. II. For my change will tend to the perfection of the Universe: even that Material Good or Perfection, which is its Aptitude for the use to which God hath created and doth preserve it. As all the parts, the modes, the situation, the motions of a Clock, a Watch, or other such En­gine do to the ends of the Artificer. Though God hath not told me particularly, Why every Thing, and Mode and Motion is as it is, I know it is all done in perfect Wisdom, and suited to its proper use and end: If the Hen or Bird knoweth how to make her nest, to lay her Eggs secretly together, when and how to sit on them till they are hatched, and how to feed them and pre­serve them, and when to forsake them, as sufficient for themselves without her help, &c. If the B [...]c know when, and whence, and how to gather her Honey and Wax, and how to form the repository Combs, and how to lay it up, and all the rest of her marvellous Oecono­my, shall I think that God doth he knoweth not what, or what is not absolutely the best? Doth he want ei­ther Shill, or Will, or Power?

And should the Stone grudge to be hewed, the Brick to be burnt, the Trees to be cut down, and sawed and framed, the Lead and Iron to be melted, &c. when it is but to form an useful Edifice, and to adapt and compose every part to the perfecting of the whole.

Shall the Waters grudge that they must glide away, and the Plants that they must die, and half die every Winter, and the Fruit and Flowers that they must fall, or the Moon that it must have its changing motions, or the Sun that it must set and rise so oft, &c. when all is but the action and order which maketh up that harmo­ny and perfection which was designed by the Creator, and is pleasing to his will.

[Page 124] § 7. III. But lawful self-love is yet further herein gratified: The Goodness expressed in the Text, is that Analogical subordinate Good, which is mihi Bonum, my own Felicity, and that which tendeth thereunto: It is most Reasonable to Love God best, and that next which is likest him (if known:) And why should it not be the easiest and the sweetest: But experience findeth it so easie to Love our selves, that certainly if I firmly Believe that it is best for me, I shall Desire to depart and be with Christ. And have I not reason to believe it?

§ 8. The Reasons of it I will consider in this order: I. The general Reason from the Efficients and the Means. II. The Final Reasons. III. The constitu­tive Reasons from the state of my Intellect; and its Acti­on and Fruition there. IV. The constitutive Rea­sons from the state of my Will. V. The constitutive Rea­sons from my practice there, leaving out those which the Resurrection will give me, because I am speaking but of my present departure unto Christ.

§ 9. And 1. That is best for me, which Love itself, my heavenly Father designeth and chooseth for my good: I hope I shall never dare to think or say, that he is mistaken, or that he wanted Skill or Love: Or that I could have chosen better for my self than he doth, if he had left all to my choice. Many a time the wise and good-will of God, hath crossed my foolish rebel­lious will on Earth: And afterward I have still per­ceived that it was best; usually for my self, but always for a higher good than mine. It is not an Enemy, nor a Tyrant that made me, that hath preserved me, and that calls me hence. He hath not used me as an Enemy: The more I have tried him, the better I have found him: Had I better obeyed his Ruling will, how happy had I been: And is not his disposing and rewarding will [Page 125] as good? Man's work is like Man, and evil corrupteth it; but God's work is like God, and uncorrupted: If I should not die till my dearest Friend would have it, much more till I my self would choose it (not con­strained by misery) I should rejoyce, and think my life were safe! O foolish sinful Soul, if I take it not to be far better to be at God's choice than at my own or any Mans! And if I had not rather that he choose the time than I.

Be of good cheer then O my Soul; it is thy Fathers voice that calls thee hence: His voice that called thee into the World, and bid thee live, that called thee out of a state of sin and death, and bid thee live hereafter unto him: That called thee so oft from the Grave, and forgiving thy sins, renewed thy strength, restored thee to the comforts of his House and Service; and hath so graciously led thee through this howling Wil­derness, and brought thee almost to the sight of the pro­mised Land. And wilt thou not willingly go, when in­finite fatherly Love doth call thee? Art thou not de­sirous of his presence? Art thou afraid to go to him who is the only cure of thy fears? What was it but this Glory to which he did (finally) Elect thee? Where dost thou read that he Elected thee to the Riches and Honours of this World: or to the pleasures of the Flesh? But he Elected us in Christ to the heavenly In­heritance, Eph. 1. 3, 4, &c. Indeed he Elected thee al­so to bear the Cross, and to manifold sufferings here: But is it that which thou preferrest before the Crown? That was but as a Means unto the Kingdom, that thou mightest be conformed to Christ, and reign with him when thou hast suffered with him. If God choose thee to blessedness, refuse it not thy self, nor behave thy self like a refuser.

[Page 126] § 10. 2. And surely that state is my Best which my Saviour purchased and promised me as best: As he bought me not with Silver and Gold, so neither to Sil­ver and Gold? Did he live and die to make me Rich or advanced in the World? Surely his Incarnation, Merits, Sacrifice and Intercession had a low design if that were all! And who hath more of these than they that have least of Christ: But he purchased us to an in­corruptible Crown; to an Inheritance undefiled, that fadeth notaway, reserved in Heaven for us, that are kept by God's Power through Faith unto Salvation, 1 Pet. 1. And is it Heaven that cost so dear a price for me, and is the End of so wonderful a design of Grace, and shall I be unwilling now to receive the gift?

§ 11. 3. That sure is Best for me, for which God's Holy Spirit is preparing me: That for which he is gi­ven to believers: And that which is the End of all his holy Operations on my Soul. But it is not to Love this World that he is persuading me from Day to Day; but to come off from such Love, and to set my Heart on the things above. Is it to love this life and fleshly interest, this Vanity and Vexation, or rather to love the invisi­ble Perfection, that this blessed Spirit hath done so much to work my Heart? And would I now undo all, or Cross and frustrate all his Operations? Hath Grace been so long preparing me for Glory, and shall I be loath to take possession of it? If I am not willing I am not yet sufficiently prepared?

§ 12. 4. If Heaven be not better for me than Earth, God's Word and Ordinances have been all in vain? Sure­ly that is my Best, which is the Gift of the Better Co­venant, and which is secured to me by so many sealed Promises, and which I am directed to by so many sacred [Page 127] Precepts, Doctrines, and Examples; and for which I have been called to hear, and read, and meditate, and pray, and Watch so long: Was it the interest of the Flesh on Earth, or a longer life of worldly Prosperity, which the Gospel Covenant secured to me; which the Sacraments and Spirit Sealed to me: Which the Bible was written to direct me to, which Ministers preached to me: Which my Books were written for: Which I prayed for, and for which I served God: Or was it not for his Grace on Earth, and Glory in Heaven: And is it not better for me to have the End of all these means, than lose them all, and lose my hopes: Why have I used them, if I would not attain their End?

§ 13. 5. That is my Best state, which all the Course of God's Fatherly Providences tend to: All his sweeter Mercies, and all his sharper corrections are to make me partaker of his Holiness, and to Lead me to glory in the way that my Saviour and all his Saints have gone before me: All things work together for the best to me, by preparing me for that which is best indeed. Both calms and storms are to bring me to this Harbour: If I take them but for themselves, and this present life, I mistake them, and understand them not, but unthankfully vilifie them, and lose their End, and life and sweetness: Every word and work of God, every Days mercies, and changes, and Usages, do look at Heaven, and intend Eternity: God leadeth me no other way: If I follow him not, I forsake my hope in forsaking him: If I follow him, shall I be unwil­ling to be at home, and come to the End of all this way?

§ 14. 6. Surely that is Best for me, which God hath required me principally to value, love, and seek, [Page 128] and that as the business of all my life, referring all things else thereto: That this is my Duty, I am fully certain, as is proved elsewhere and before, Is my business in the World only for the things of this World? How vain a Creature then were Man; and how little were the difference between waking and sleeping? Life and Death: No wonder if he that believeth that there is no Life but this, to seek or hope for, do live in uncom­fortable despair, and only seek to palliate his misery with the brutish pleasures of a wicked life, and if he stick at no villany which hisfleshly Lusts incline him to! Especially Tyrants and Multitudes who have none but God to fear. And it is my certain duty to seek Heaven with all the fervour of my Soul, and diligence of my life: And is it not Best to find it?

§ 15. 7. That must needs be Best for me, which all other things must be forsaken for: It is folly to for­sake the Better for the worse: But Scripture, Reason, and Conscience tell me, that all this World, when it stands in competition or opposition, should be forsaken for Heaven; yea, for the least hopes of it: A possible ever­lasting Glory should be preferred before a certainly pe­rishing Vanity: I am sure this life will shortly be no­thing to me; and therefore it is next to nothing now. And must I forsake all for my everlasting Hopes, and yet be unwilling to pass unto the possession of them.

§ 16. 8. That is like to be our Best, which is our Maturest state: Nature carrieth all things towards their perfection: Our Apples, Pears, Grapes and every Fruit is best when it is ripe: And though they then hasten to corruption, that is, through the incapacity of the cor­poreal materials, any longer to retain the Vegetative Spirit, which is not annihilated at its separation; and being not made for its own felicity, but for Mans, its [Page 129] ripeness is the state in which Man useth it, before it doth corrupt of itself, that its corruption may be for his nutriment; and the Spirits and best matter of his said food doth become his very substance. And doth God cause Saints to grow up unto ripeness, only to perish and drop down unto useless rottenness? It is not credible. Though our Bodies become but like our filthiest ex­crements, our Souls return to God that gave them: And though he need them not, he useth them in their se­parated state; and that to such heavenly uses, as their heavenly Maturity and Mellowness hath disposed them to. Seeing then Love hath ripened me for itself, shall I not willingly drop into its hand?

§ 17. 9. That is like to be the Best which the Wisest and Holiest in all Ages of the World have pre­ferred before all, and have most desired: And which also almost all Mankind do acknowledge to be best at last. It is not like that all the Best men in the World should be most deceived, and be put upon fruitless la­bour and sufferings by this deceit, and be undone by their duty; and that God should by such deceits rule all or almost all Mankin? And also that the common notices of humane Nature, and Consciences last and closest documents, should be all in vain. But it is past all doubt, that no men usually are worse, than those that have no Belief or Hopes of any Life but this: And that none are so Holy, Just, and Sober, so charitable to others, and so useful to Mankind, as those that firm­liest believe and hope for the state of immortality: And shall I fear that state which all that were wise and holy, in All Ages, have preferred and desired?

§ 18. 10. And it is not unlike that my Best state is that which my greatest Enemies are m [...]st against. And how much Satan doth to keep me and other men from [Page 130] Heaven, and how much worldly Honour, and Pleasure, and Wealth he could afford us to accomplish it, I need not here again be copious in reciting, having said so much of it elsewhereTreat. of Infidelity.. And shall I be towards my self, so much of Satans mind: He would not have me come to Heaven: And shall I also be unwilling? All these things tell me, that. It is Best to be with Christ.

II. The Final Reasons.

§ 1. II 1. Is it not far better to dwell with GOD in Glory, than with sinful men in such a World as this? Though he be every where his Glory, which we must behold to our Felicity, and the perfecting Operations and Communications of his Love, are in the glorious World, and not on Earth. As the Eye is made to see the Light, and then to see other things by the Light, so is mans mind made to see God, and to Love him; and other things as in, by, and for him. He that is our beginning is our end: And our End is the first Motive of all Mo­ralaction, and for It, it is that all means are used. And the End attained is the Rest of Souls! How oft hath my Soul groaned under the sense of Distance, and Dark­ness, and Estrangeness from God! How oft hath it look­ed up, and gasped after him, and said, O when shall I be nearer and better acquianted with my God? As the Heart panteth after the water Brooks, so panteth my Soul after thee O God: My Soul thirsteth for God, for the li­ving God: When shall I come and appear before God? Psa. 40. 12. And would I not have my Prayers heard, and my desires granted? What else is the summ of [Page 131] lawful Prayers, but God himself? If I desire any thing more than God, what sinfulness is in those desires, and how sad is their signification? How oft have I said, Whom have I in Heaven but Thee, and there is none on Earth I desire besides Thee? It is good for me to draw near to God, Psal. 73. 25: 28. Woe to me, if I did dissemble: If not, Why should my Soul draw back? Is it because that Death stands in the way? Do not my fellow Creatures die for my daily Food? And is not my passage secured by the Love of my Fa­ther, and the Resurrection and Intercession of my Lord? Can I see the Light of heavenly Glory, in this dark­some shell and womb of Flesh?

§ 2. All Creatures are more or less excellent and glorious, as God is more or less Operative and re­fulgent in them, and by that Operation communicateth most of himself unto them: Though he be immense and indivisible, his Operations and Communications are not equal: And that is said to be Nearest to Him, which hath most of those Operations on it, and that without the intervenient causality of any second created Cause; and so all those are in their Order Near unto him, as they have Noblest Natures, and fewest interve­nient Causes; far am I from presuming to think that I am or shall be the Best and Noblest of God's Crea­tures, and so that I shall be so near him, as to be un­der the influx of no second or created Causes; (of which more anon.) But to be as Near as my Nature was ordained to approach, is but to attain the End and Perfection of my Nature.

§ 3. And as I must not look to be the Nearest to Him, as he is the first Efficient, no more must I as he is the first Dirigent or governing Cause: As now I am un­der the government of his Officers on Earth, I look for [Page 132] ever to be under subgovernours in Heaven: My glori­fied Saviour must be my Lord and Ruler; and Who else under him I know not: If Angels are not equal in Per­fection, nor as is commonly supposed equal in Power, nor without some regimental order among themselves, I must not conclude that no created Angel or Spirit, shall have any government over me: But it will be so Pure and Divine, as that the blessed Effects of God's own Government will besweetly powerful therein. If the Law was given by Angles, and the Angel of God was in the burning Bush, and the Angel conducted the People through the Wilderness, and yet all these things are as­cribed to God, much more near and glorious will the Di­vine Regiment there be, whoever are the Administrators.

§ 4. And as I must expect to be under some created Efficient and Dirigent Causes there, so must I expect to have some subordinate Ends: Else there would not be a proportion and harmony in causalities; whatever no­bler Creatures are above me, and have their Causalities upon me, I must look to be finally for those nobler Crea­tures. When I look up and think what a world of glorious Beings are now over me, I dare not presume to think that I shall finally any more than Receptively; be the Nearest unto God, and that I am made for None but Him. I find here that I am made, and ruled, and sanctified, for the Publick or Common Good of many as above my own (of which I am past doubt:) And I am sure that I must be finally for my glorified Redeemer; and for what other Spiritual Beings or Intelligences that are above me, little do I know: And God hath so ordered all his creatures, as that they are mutually Ends and Means for and to one another, though not in an Equality, nor in the same respects. But whatever nearer Ends there will be, I am sure that he who is the first [Page 133] Efficient and Dirigent, will be the ultimate final Cause And I shall be in this respect as near him, as is due to he rank and order of my Nature. I shall be useful to he Ends which are answerable to my Perfection.

§ 5. And if it be the honour of a Servant to have an honourable Master, and to be appointed to the most honourable work: If it be some honour to a Horse above a Swine, or a Worm, or Fly, that he serveth more nearly for the use of Man, yea for a Prince, will it not be also my advancement to be ultimately for God, and subordinately for the highest created Natures, and this in such Services as are suitable to my Spiritual and Heavenly State?

§ 6. For I am far from thinking that I shall be above Service, and have none to do! For Activity will be my Perfection and my Rest: And all such Activity must be Regular in harmony and order of Causes, and for its proper use. And what though I know not now fully what service it is that I must do? I know it will be good, and suitable to the blessed state which I shall be in: And it is enough that God and my Redeemer know it; and that I shall know it in due time, when I come to practice it: (of which more afterward.)

§ 7. The inordinate Love of this Body and present composition seduceth Souls to think that all their use and work is for its maintenance and prosperity, and when the Soul hath done that, and is separated from Flesh, it hath nothing to do▪ but must lie idle, or be as nothing, or have no considerable work or pleasure: As if there were nothing in the whole World, but this little fluid mass of matter, for a Soul to work upon? As if itself, and all the Creatures, and God were nothing, or no fit Ob­jects for a Soul? And why not hereafter as well as now? Or as if that which in our compounded state, [Page 134] doth Operate on and by its Organs, had no other way of Operation without them? As if the Musician lost all his power, or were dead, when his Instrument is out of tune or broken, and could do nothing else but play on that! As if the fiery part of the Candle were anni­hilated or transmutate (as some following-Philosphers imagine) when the Candle goeth out; and were not fire, and in action still: Or as if that Sun beam which I shut out, or which passeth from our Horizon, were annihilated, or did nothing, when it shineth not with us? Had it no other individual to illuminate or to ter­minate its beams or action, were it nothing to illu­minate the common Air? Though I shall not always have a Body to Operate in and upon, I shall always have God, and a Saviour, and a world of fellow-Creatures; and when I shine not in this Lanthorn, and see not by these Spectacles, nor imaginarily in a Glass, I shall yet see things suitable intuitively and as Face to Face. That which is essentially Life (as a Living Principle) will Live: And that which is essentially an Active, Intel­lective, Volitive principle, force and Virtue, will still be such while it is itself, and is not annihilated or changed into another thing? (which is not to be feared:) And that which is such can never want an Object, till all things be annihilated.

§ 8. Reason assureth me, that were my will now what it should be, and fully obsequious herein to my understanding, to fulfil Gods will would be the fulfilling my own will (for my will should perfectly comply with His) and to please him perfectly would be my per­fect pleasure: And it is the unreasonable adhesion to this Body, and sinful selfishness, which maketh any one think otherwise now. I am sure that my Soul shall Live (for it is Life itself) and I am sure that I shall live to [Page 135] God, and that I shall fulfil and please his blessed will; and this is (as such) incomparably better than my Fe­licity (as such:) And yet so far as I am pleased in so do­ing, it will be my Felicity.

§ 9. I begin now to think, that the strange Love which the Soul hath to this Body (so far as it is not inordinate) is put into us of God, partly to signifie to us the great Love which Christ hath to his Mystical Political Body, and to every member of it, even the least: He will gather all his Elect out of the World, and none that come to him shall be shut out, and none that are given him shall be lost: As his Flesh is to them Meat indeed, and his Blood is to them Drink indeed, and he nourisheth them for Life eternal: (His Spirit in them, turning the Sa­crament, the Word, and Christ himself in esse objectivo as Believed in, into Spirit and Life to us, as the Soul and our Natural. Spirits turn our food into Flesh, and Blood, and Spirits, which in a dead Body, or any lifeless repository, it would never be;) so as we delight in the ease and prosperity of our Body and each Member, and have pleasure in the pleasant food that nourisheth it, and other pleasant Objects which ac­commodate it; Christ also delighteth in the welfare of his Church and of all the Faithful, and is pleased when they are fed with good and pleasant Food, and when hereby they prosper: Christ Loveth the Church, not only as a Man must love his Wife, but as we Love our Bodies; And no Man ever hated his own Flesh, Eph. 5. 27, &c. And herein I must allow my Saviour the pre­eminence, to overgo me in powerful faithful Love! He will save me better from pain and death, than I can save my Body; and will more inseparably hold me to him­self: If it please my Soul to dwell in such a House of Clay, and to operate on so mean a thing as Flesh, how [Page 136] greatly will it please my glorified Lord, to dwell with his glorified Body, the triumphant Church, and to cherish and bless each Member of it? It would be a kind of death to Christ to be separated from his Body, and to have it die: Whether Augustine and the rest of the Fathers were in the right or no, who thought that as our Bodies do not only shed their Hairs, but by sick­nesses and wast lose much of their very Flesh, so Christ's Militant Body doth not only lose Hypocrites, but also, some living justified Members, yet certain it is that confirmed Members, and more certain that glorified Members shall not be lost! Heaven is not a place for Christ or us to suffer such loss in. And will Christ love me better than I love my Body? Will he be lother to lose me than I am to lose a Member or to die? Will he not take incomparably greater pleasure in animating and actuating me for ever, than my Soul doth in ani­mating and actuating this Body? O then let me long to be with him? And though I am naturally loth to be absent from the Body, let me be by his Spirit more un­willing to be absent from the Lord? And though I would not be unclothed had not sin made it necessary, let me groan to be clothed upon with my heavenly Habi­tation, and to become the delight of my Redeemer, and to be perfectly loved, by Love itself.

§ 10. And even this blessed Receptivity of my Soul, in terminating the Love and Delight of my glorified Head, must needs be a felicity to me! The insensible Creatures are but Beautified by the Suns communicati­on of its Light and Heat; but the sensitives, have also the Pleasure of it? Shall my Soul be sensless? will it be a Clod or Stone? Shall that which is now the form of be then more Lifeless, Sensless, or uncapable than the form of Bruits is now? Doubtless it will be [Page 137] a living, perceiving, sensible Recipient, of the felicitating Love of God and my Redeemer? I shall be loved as a living Spirit, and not as a dead and senseless thing, that doth not comfortably perceive it.

§ 11. And if I must rejoice with my fellow Ser­vants that rejoice, shall I not be glad to think that my blessed Lord will rejoice in me, and in all his glorified Ones? Union will make his pleasure to be much mine? And it will be aptly said by him to the faithful Soul, Enter thou into the Joy of thy Lord, Mat. 25. 21. His own active Joy, will objectively be Ours, as Ours will be Efficiently His (or from Him.) Can that be an ill condition to me, in which my Lord will most rejoice: It is Best to Him, and therefore Best to me.

§ 12. And the heavenly Society will joyfully wel­come a Holy Soul.Luke 15. 10. If there be now Joy in Heaven among the Angels for one Sin­ner that Repenteth (who hath yet so little Holiness and so much Sin:) What joy will there be over a perfected glorified Soul! Surely if Our Angels there behold our Fathers Face, they will be glad in Sea­son of our Company: The Angels that carried Laza­rus to Abraham's Bosom, no doubt rejoiced in their work and their success. And is the Joy of Angels and the heavenly Host as nothing to me? Will not Love and Union make their Joy to be my own: if Love here must make all my Friends and Neighbours comforts to become my own? And as their Joy according to their Perfection, is greater than any that I am now capable of, so the participation of so great a Joy of theirs, will be far better than to have my little separated apart­ment. Surely that will be my best condition which Angels and blessed Spirits will be best pleased in, and I shall rejoice most in that which they most rejoice in.

III. The Constitutive Reasons from the In­tellective state.

III. § 1. Though the Tempter would persuade men, because of the case of Infants in the Womb, Apoplectick's, &c. that the understanding will be but an unactive Power when separated from these corporeal Organs, I have seen before sufficient Reasons to repel this temptation. I will suppose that it will not have such a mode of Conception as it hath now by these Organs: But, 1. The Soul will be still essentially a Vital Intel­lective substance, disposed to act naturally, and that is, to those acts which it is formally inclined to (as fire to illu­minate and heat.) And as it cannot die (while it is what it is in Essence) because it is Life itself, that is, The Vital substance; so it cannot but be Intellective (as to an Inclined Power,) because it is such Essentially (though God can change or annihilate any thing if he would.) 2. And it will be among a world of Objects. 3. And it will still have its dependence on the first cause, and receive his continual actuating influx. 4. And no Man can give the least shew of true Reason, to prove that it shall cease sensation, (whether the sensitive Faculties be in the same substance which is Intellective, which is most probable, or in one conjunct as some ima­gine) though the Species and Modes of Sensation cease which are denominated from the various Organs. 5. Yea, no Man can prove that the departing Soul doth not carry with it its igneous Spirits, which in the Body it did immediately actuate: (If it were ne­ver [Page 139] so certain that those Greek Fathers were mistaken (as well as Hippocrates) who took the Soul itself to be a sublime Intellectual Fire.

And as to the Objection, some hold that the Soul preexisted before it was in the Body; others and most that it then received its first being. If the first were true, it would be true that the Soul had its Intellectual Acti­vity before, though the Soul itself incorporate remem­ber it not, because it Operateth but ut forma hominis, (and its Oblivion they take to be part of its penalty:) And they that think it a radius of the Anima mundi vel systematis must think that then it did Intellectually ani­mate hunc mundum, vel mundi partem: And to do so again, is the worst they can conjecture of it: As the rays of the Sun which heat a burning Glass, and by it set a Candle on fire, are the same rays still diffused in the Air, and illuminating, heating and moving it, and terminated on some other Body, and not annihilated or debilitated when their contracted Operation ceaseth by breaking the Glass or putting out the Candle: And as the Spirit of a Tree still animateth the Tree, when it retireth from the Leaves and lets them fall. But this being an unproved imagination of mens own Brains, we have no further use of it, than to confute themselves. But if the Soul existed not till its incorporation, what wonder if it Operate but ut forma, when it is united to the Bo­dy for that use? What wonder if its initial Operations like a spark of Fire in Tinder, or the first lighting of a Candle, be weak and scarce by us perceptible? What wonder if it operate but to the uses that the Creation did appoint it; and first as vegetative fabricate its own Body as the Makers instrument, and then feel, and then understand? And what wonder if it Operate no further than Objects are admitted? And therefore [Page 140] what wonder if in Apoplexies, &c. such Operations are intercepted? But the departing Soul is, 1. in its Maturity. 2. No more united to this Body, and so not confined to sense and imagination in its Operations, and the admission of its Objects. 3. And it is sub ra­tione meriti, and as a governed subject is ordinate to its reward; which it was not capable of receiving in the Womb or in an Apoplexy. And as we have the Reasons before alledged to hold, 1. That it shall not be annihi­lated. 2. Nor dissolved. 3. Nor lose its essential Fa­culties or Powers. 4. Nor those essential Powers be continued useless by the wise and merciful Creator, though by Natural revelation we know not in what manner they shall act; whether on any other Body, and by what conjunction, and how far; so by Supernatural Revelation we are assured, that there is a reward for the Righteous, and that holy Souls are still members of Christ, and live because he liveth, and that in the Day of their departure they shall be with him in Paradise, and being absent from the Body, shall be present with the Lord; and that Christ therefore died, rose and revi­ved that he might be Lord both of the Dead and of the Living, that is, of those that being Dead, hence do Live with him, and of those that yet live in the Body: For he that said, God is not the God of the dead but of the Living, that is, stands not related to them as his People as a King to Subjects, is not himself the Lord of the absolute Dead, but of the Living.

Therefore (as Contarenus against Pomponatius de Im­mortal. Anim: saith) the Immortality of the Soul is pro­vable by the Light of Nature, but the manner of its future Operation must be known by Faith. And bles­sed be the Father of Spirits, and our Redeemer, who hath sent and set up this excellent Light, by which we see further than purblind Infidels can do.

[Page 141] § 2. But I deny not but even the Scripture itself, doth tell us but little of the Manner of our Intellection when we are out of the Body; and it is not improba­ble that there is more Imperfection in this Mode of No­tional, Organical, Abstractive knowledge which the Soul exerciseth in the Body, than most consider of: And that as the Eye hath the visive Faculty in sleep, and when we wink, and an internal action of the visive Spirits (no doubt,) and yet seeth not any thing with­out, till the Eyelids are opened, (and was not made to see its own sight;) so the Soul in the Body is as a wink­ing Eye, to all things that are not by the Sense and Ima­gination intromitted or brought within its reach: And whether (sicut non video visum, ne (que) facultatem, ne (que) substantiam videntem, videndo tamen certo percipio me videre, so it may be said, Non intelligo immediatè ip­sam intellectionem, ne (que) facultatem, aut substantiam intelligentem; Intelligendo tamen certo percipio me in­telligere, quia actus Intellectûs in Spiritus sensitivos operans sentitur; or whether we must further say with Oc­kam, that Intellectus tum intuitivè tum abstractivè se in­telligit; I leave to wiser men to judge: But I am very su­spicious that the Body is more a Lanthorn to the Soul, than some will admit; and that this Lusus notionum se­cundarum, or abstractive knowledge of Things by Orga­nical Images, Names, and Notions, is occasioned by the Union of the Soul with the Body ut formae; and is that Childish knowledge which the Apostle saith shall be done away: And how much of Mans fall might con­sist in such a knowing of good and evil I cannot tell (or in the overvaluing such a knowledge:) And I I think that when vain Philosophy at Athens had called the thoughts and desires of Mankind from great Realities to the Logical and Philological game at Words and [Page 142] Notions, it was Socrates his wisdom to call them to more concerning Studies, and Pauls greater Wisdom to warn men to take heed of such vain Philosophy, and to labour to know God and Jesus Christ, and the things of the Spirit, and not to overvalue this ludicrous dream­ing worldly Wisdom. And if I have none of this kind of Notional childish knowledge when I am absent from the Body, the Glass and Spectacles may then be spa­red, when I come to see with open Face, (or as face to Face.) Our future knowledge is usually in Scripture called SEEING, Mat. 5. 8. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, 1 Cor. 13. 12. We shall see Face to Face, 1 Joh. 3. 2. We shall see him as he is, Joh. 17. 24. Father, I will that those which thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my Glory which thou hast given me, &c. An Intuitive knowledge of all things as in themselves immediately is a more excel­lent sort of knowledge than this by similitudes, Names and Notions, which our Learning now consisteth in, and is but an Art acquired by many acts and use.

§ 3. If the Sun were, as the Heathens thought it, an Intellective Animal, and its emitted rayes were vitally visive, and when one of those rayes were received by prepared seminal matter (as in Insects) it became the Soul of an inferiour Animal, in this case the said ray would operate in that Insect or Animal but according to the Capacity of the recipient matter; whereas the Sun itself by all its emitted rays would see all things Intellectu­ally and with delight, and when that Insect were dead, that Ray would be what it was, an Intellective Intui­tive emanation: And though the Soul in Flesh do not know itself, how it shall be united to Christ and to all other holy Souls and to God himself, nor how near, or just of what sort that union will be, yet united it will [Page 143] be; and therefore will participate accordingly of the the universal Light or understanding to which it is united. The Soul now as it is or operateth in the Foot or Hand doth not understand, but only as it is and ope­rateth in the Head: And yet the same Soul which is in the Hand understandeth in the Head; and the Soul operateth not so selfishly or dividedly in the Hand, as to repine there because it understandeth not there; but it is quiet in that it understandeth in the Head, and performeth its due Operation in the Hand. But this di­versity of Operations seemeth to be from the Organs and the Bodies use or need: But Souls dismissed from the Body seem to be as all Eye, or Intuitive Light. There­fore though it might content us to say that our Head seeth all things, and we are united to him, yet we may say further that we our selves shall see God, and all things that are meet for us to see.

§ 4. And seeing it is most certain that the Superior glorious Regions are full of blessed Spirits who do see God and one another, having much more perfect Operations than we have (whose effects we Mortals find here below) why should I that find an Intellective Nature in my self, make any doubt of my more per­fect Operations when I am dismissed hence (being sa­tisfied that a Soul will not lose its simple Essence.) Ei­ther those superiour Spirits have ethereal Bodies to act in (or are such themselves) or not: If they are or have such, why should I doubt of the like; and think that my Substance or Vehicle will not be according to the Region of my abode. If not, why should I think that my departed Soul may not know or see without an igne­ous or ethereal Body or Vehicle, as well as all those worlds of Spirits. And the certainty of Apparitions, Possessions, and Witches do tell us, not only that there [Page 144] are such Inhabitants of other Regions, Ordinarily invi­sible to us, but also that we are in the way to that Hap­piness or Misery which is in our invisible state.

§ 5. These things reviewed (being partly mention­ed before) assuring me that I shall have actual Intel­lection in my separated state, the Region, with the Ob­jects, but above all the Holy Scriptures, will tell me as much as it is meet that I should here know, what it is that I shall intuitively understand. The Apostle, 1 Cor. 13. 10, 11, 12. doth distinguish our knowing in part and knowing Perfectly, knowing as a Child, and as a Man, knowing darkly and enigmatically as in a Glass, and knowing Face to Face as we are known: The great Question is, When this Time of Perfection is? Whether he mean at Death, or at the Resurrection. If Dr. Hammonds observation hold that [...] in Scripture,And Mr. Beverly in his Great Soul of Man. when [The Flesh or Body] is not joined with it, signifies that Life which the Soul doth enter upon im­mediately after our Death, and so that the Soul hath that [after living] which is sinified by the ve­ry word which we Translate Resurrection] then it will lead men to think that there is less difference between Mansstate at his first departure and at his last Resurrecti­on than most think (even than Calvin himself thought:) But the difference between our first and last state of after life (or Resurrection) cannot be now distinctly known. What difference there is now between Henoch, Elias, and those who rose at Christs Resurrection, and the rest of the Saints, even the Spirits of the perfected Just, and whether the first have as much greater Glory than the rest, as it is conceived that we shall have at the Re­surrection above that which immediately followeth Death, what mortal Man can tell? I am past doubt [Page 145] that Flesh and Blood (formally so called, and not only ab accidente, as sinful) shall not inherit the Kingdom of God (vid. Hammond in loc.) but that our Natural Bodies shall be made Spiritual Bodies: And how a Spi­ritual Body differeth from a Spirit or Soul, I pretend not well to understand, but must stay till God by ex­perience or fuller Light inform me. But surely the dif­ference is not like to be so great, as that a Soul in Flesh shall know in part, and a Soul in a Spiritual Body shall know perfectly, and a Soul between both shall not know at all. If it be Perfection which we shall have in our Spiritual Body, it is like that we are nearer to that Perfection (in Knowledge and Felicity) while we are between both, than we are in the Flesh.

§ 6. And sure a Soul, that even Solomon saith goeth upward, and to God that gave it, is liker to know God, than that which is terminated in Flesh, and operateth ut forma according to its capacity and state: And a Soul that is with Christ, is liker to know Christ, and the Father in him, than that which is present with the Body, and absent from the Lord. What less can the Promise of being with him signifie?

§ 7. And, 1. as to the Kind of Knowledge, how ex­cellent and more satisfactory a way will that of Intuition or Intellective-Sense be than is our present way of ab­straction, Similitudes and Signs: What abundance of Time, Thoughts and Labour doth it cost us now, to learn our Grammar, our Rhetorick, and our Logick? Our Artes loquendi, dicendi, & disserendi? To learn our Wordy Rules and Axioms, in Metaphysicks, Phy­sicks, &c. And when we have learnt them all (if all can be learned) how little the nearer are many to the knowing of the signified Realities? We oft get but a Set of Words to play with, to take up our time, and divert [Page 144] [...] [Page 145] [...] [Page 146] us from the Matter: Even as Carnal men use the Crea­tures which signifie God, and are made to lead them up to him, to intangle them and be the greatest and most pernicious diversion of their Souls from God; so do too many Learned men do by their Organical signal Know­ledge They use it as men do Cards, and Romances, and Plays, to delight their Phantasies; but they know less of the Things that are worth their knowing, than many unlearned Persons do, as I said before. Had not much of the Athenian Learning been then a meer Game, for men to play away their precious time at, and to grow proud of, while they were ignorant of saving Realities, Christ and his Apostles had not so much neg­lected it as they did, nor Paul so much warned men to take heed of being deceived by that vain kind of Phi­losophy; in which he seemeth to me to have greater respect to the universally esteemed Athenian Arts, than, as Dr. Hammond Thought, to the meer Gnostick pretensions.

This poor dreaming signal Artificial Knowledge is, 1. Costly, 2. Uncertain. 3. Contentious. 4. Unsatis­factory, in comparison of Intuitive Knowledge.

1. It is costly, as to the hard labour and precious time, which must be laid out for it, as aforesaid; we grow old in getting us Horses, and Boots, and Spurs for our Journey, and it's well if we begin it at the last: Like a Man that would study the new found Planets, and the shape of Saturn, and Jupiter's Satellites, and the Viam Lacteam, &c, and he spends his whole life in getting him the best Tubes or Telescopes, & never useth them to his ends: Or like one that instead of learning to write doth spend his life in getting the best Ink, Paper & Pens: Or rather like one that learneth to Write and Print exactly, and not to understand what any of his words do signifie. Men take their Spectacles in stead of Eyes.

[Page 147] 2. And when this Learning is got, how uncertain are we whether the words have no ambiguity? Whether they give us the true notice of the Speakers [...], and of the Matter spoken of? As I said before, what a penu­ry, and yet redundancy of words have we? Of how va­rious and uncertain signification? Changed by Custom, or Arbitrary design? Sometime by the Vulgar use, and sometime by Learned men, that being conscious of the defectiveness of the speaking-Art, are still tampering and attempting to amend it. And some men speak ob­scurely on purpose, to raise in their Readers a conceit of their subtile and sublime conceptions. And he that under­standeth Things most clearly, and speaketh them most plainly (which are the parts of true Learning) shall have much a do to get the Matter out of dark and bewildring uncer­tainties, and to make others understand both it and him.

3. And hence come the greatest part of the Contenti­ons of the World, which are hottest among men that most pretend to wordy knowledge: As in Traffick and converse, the more men and business we have to do with, usually the more quarrels and differences we have; so the more of this wordy Learning, instead of Realities, me [...] [...]pretend to, the more Disputes and Controver­sies they make; and the Instruments of Knowledge, prove the Instruments of Errour and Contention: And alas how many applauded Volumes are the snares and troublers of the World! And how great a part of our Libraries are vain janglings, and strife of words, and traps for the more ingenuous sort, that will not be taken with Cards and Dice robbing us of our time, destroy­ing our Love, depressing our minds that should ascend to God, and diverting them from the great and holy Things, which should be the matter of our Thoughts and Joys; and filling the Church with Sects and Strife, [Page 148] while every one striveth for the preeminence of his Wit and Notio [...]s, and few strive for holy Love, and Unity, and good works.

4. And all this while, alas, too many Learned men do but lick the outside of the Glass, and leave the Wine within untasted: To know God, and Christ, and Hea­ven and Holiness, do give the Soul a nourishing and strengthning kind of pleasure, like that of the Appetite in its food: But this game at Words is but a knowing of Images, Signs, and Shadows, and so is but an image and shadow of true Knowledge: It is not that Grace which Austine's definition saith, Nemo male uti­tur; but it is that which the Sanctified use well, and the Unsanctified are puffed up by, and use to the opposition of Truth, the Ostentation of a Foolish Wit, and the deceit of their own Souls: And if it be sanctified know­ledge, it is but Mediate in order to our knowledge of the Things thus signified: And it is the real Good which contenteth and beatifieth, though the Notions may be a subordinate recreation. And Intuition feasteth on these Realities.

§ 9. II. And as to the Objects of this Intuition, their excellency will be the excellency of our Know­ledge. I. I shall know God better. II. I shall know the Universe better. III. I shall know Christ better. IV. I shall know the Church his Body better, with the holy Angels. V. I shall better know the Methods and Perfection of the Scripture and all God's Dirigent Word, and Will. VI. I shall know the Methods and Sense of Disposing Providence better. VII. I shall know the Divine Benefits which are the Fruits of Love better. VIII. I shall know my Self better. IX. I shall better know every fellow Creature which I am concerned to know. X. And I shall better know all that [Page 149] Evil, Sin, Satan, and Misery, from which I am delivered.

§ 10. I. Aquinas, and many others took it for the chief Natural proof of the Souls Immortality, that Man by Nature desireth not only to know Effects, and se­cond Causes, but to rise up to the Knowledge of the first Cause; and therefore was made for such Knowledge in the state of his Perfection: But Grace hath much more of this desire than Nature: Not that we must not be content to be without a great deal of Know­ledge, which would be unmeet for us, useless, trou­blesome or dangerous to us; nor must we aspire to that which is above our capacity; and to know the un­searchable things of God: But not to know God is to know nothing; and to have an understanding worse than none. I presume not to pry into the secrets of the Almighty, nor to pretend to know more of God than indeed I know; but O that I might know more of his glorious Perfections, of his Will, and Love, and Ways, with that knowledge which is Eternal Life! Blessed be that Love that sent the Son of God from Hea­ven to reveal him to us in the Gospel as he hath done: But all that hear the same Words and Believe them, have not the same degree of Light or Faith? If an An­gel from Heaven came down on Earth to tell us all of God that we would know, and might lawfully desire and ask him, who would not turn his Back on Libraries and Universities, and the Learned men, to go and dis­course with such a Messenger? What travel should I think too far? What cost too great for one Hours talk with such a Messenger? But we must have here but such intimations as will exercise Faith and excite desire, and try us under the Temptations of the World and Flesh: The glorious Light is the reward of the Victory ob­tained by the conduct of the Light of Grace. God in [Page 150] great Mercy even here beginneth the reward: They that are true to the initial Light, and faithfully follow on to know the Lord, do find usually such increase of Light, (not of vain Notions, but of quickning and comforting knowledge of God) as greatly encourageth them, and draweth them still on to seek for more: It is very pleasant here to increase in holy Knowledge, though it usually bring an increase of malignant op­position, and so of sorrows to the Flesh. The pleasure that the mind hath in common knowledge brings men through a great deal of labour to attain it: How ma­ny Years travel over Land and Sea do some men take, to see and know more of this lower World? Though it's little that they bring home, but more acquaintance with Sin, and Vanity, and Vexation. How many more Years do Thousands spend in the reading of multitudes of tedious Volumes, that they may know what others knew before them. Printers and Booksellors live by our desire of Knowledge. What Soul then on Earth can pos­sibly conceive how great a pleasure it will be for a glo­rified Soul to see the Lord? Though I cannot now conceive what that intuition of God himself will be, and whether it will not be a glorious kind of con­cluding or abstractive knolwedge; whether the Glory which we shall see be only a created appearance of God, or be his very Essence, it satisfieth me that it will be as perfect a knowledge as is fit for me to desire; and I shall then desire no more than is fit: And what it is I shall then know by itself, for it is not otherwise to be clearly known. And all the pleasure that I shall have in Heaven in know­ing any of the works of God, will be in my beholding God himself, his Being, his Vital power and action, his Wisdom, and his Love, and Goodness, in those works: For he is the Life, and Glory of them all. Blessed are the pure in Heart, for they shall see God.

[Page 151] II. And doubtless it will be no small part of my de­light, to see and know God's perfect works, I mean, the Universe itself; I cannot say that I shall have so large a Capacity as to comprehend all the World, or know it perfectly and with an adequate know­ledge: But I shall know it in such Perfection as is suita­ble to my capacity: It is exceeding pleasant to know the least Particles of the works of God: With what diligence and delight have men endeavoured to Anato­mize a Body, yea a small part of a Carkass, and to know and describe poor Worms and Insects, Plants and Minerals? And no Man ever yet perfectly knew the least of them all; no Herbalist or Physician ever yet knew the Nature, and uses of any one Herb with an adequate knowledge! With what delight and di­ligence are Physical searches carryed on in the World, though still we are all but groaping in the dark, and ignorant of many things for one that we know (and therefore know no one perfectly because we are igno­rant of rest.) But if indeed we were above our dream­ing erroneous Hypotheses, and saw the Nature of eve­ry Creature, even in Sea and Land (this little Spot of God's Creation,) and the compages of all, Oh, what a delightful Spectacle would it be? How much more to see the whole Creation, yea or one Vortex or Systeme of the Globes, and to know their union and communion, and to behold their beauteous Symmetry, and hear them in concord and melodious Harmony praising the the Glory of their Great, Wise, Amiable Creator, this were a delectable sight indeed: I shall have as much of this as I shall be capable of: And the wonders and glo­ry of the Works of God, shall wrap up my Soul in ad­miring joyful praise for ever: And though here it be but little of God's Works that we know, I have great [Page 152] reason to think that it will be far otherwise there. 1. Because the state of Perfection must far excel our dark and infant state of imperfection: We have now desires after such a knowledge: His Works are great, sought out of them that have pleasure therein. And these desires being of God, shall not be frustrate. 2. Because there will be a proportionableness of the parts of our Perfection; and therefore as our Love to God and his works will be there perfected, so will be our know­ledge. 3. Because we shall know God himself as much as we are capable, and therefore we shall know his works, in him, or by a subordinate knowledge, the less being in the greater, 4. Because God hath made his works to be known to his glory: But it is little that is here known of them by Mortals; therefore they are known by them in Heaven, who are fitted to improve that knowledge to his praise.

If Christ who is the wisdom of God, will teach me the true Philosophy, how to love God, and live here in all well pleasing unto him, I shall quickly in Heaven be a perfect Philosopher; and experience will tell me, that the surest way to be truly Learned, and know the wonderful works of God, was to know, love, and serve the Great Creator, and in Him we shall have all, and without him we know nothing, and have nothing at all.

Satan tempted Christ by shewing him the Kingdoms and glory of the World, and promising them all to him if he would have worshipped him: But God will shew me more than Satan could shew, and give me more of that which is best, than Satan could give.

III. And that in Heaven I shall better know Jesus Christ, and all the Mystery of our Redemption by him, will not be the least of my felicity! For in him are [Page 153] hid all the Treasures of Wisdom: And to know the Mystery of his Eternal Godhead, in the second Person, and his created Nature, and the Union of these, and to see God's wonderful design and work of grace in him laid open to our clearest view; O what beatifying knowledge will this be? All dark Texts concerning his Person, his Office, and his Works will be then ex­pounded and fully understood: All those strange and diffi­cult things which were the great exercise and honour of Faith, will then be plain: Difficulties will no more be Satans advantage to tempt us to unbelief or doubting. The sight of the Glory of my Lord will be my Glory, Joh. 17. 24. If Paul had not then attained to Perfecti­on in the knowledge of Christ, and the power of his Re­surrection, but was pressing forward to reach that Crown in the life to come (which he calleth The Re­surrection of the dead,) Phil. 3. 9, 10, 11, 12. Such as I must not expect here to attain it; but when that which is Perfect is come, this imperfect knowledge of Faith will be done away, as childish knowledge is in manly: And the Glass and Riddle shall be laid aside, when we shall see Face to Face, and shall know as we are known, 1 Cor. 13. 10, 11, 12. (as to our sight and knowledge of Christ and his Triumphant Body: For I dare not apply that Phrase to the sight and knowledg of the Divine essence; nor yet deny it.)

If now though we see not Christ, yet believing we love him, and rejoice in him with unspeakable glorying joy: What love, and joy will the Everlasting sight of our blessed head, excite there in the Souls of all the glo­rified?

IV. I shall better (O much better) know the hea­venly Jerusalem, the Triumphant Church, the Blessed Angels and glorified Saints: And as my love to them, so [Page 154] my knowledge of them will not be the least part of my hea­venly delight. As strangely as I now look upward to that World, because I cannot see it with these Eyes, it shall be my well known Everlasting habitation! O what a sight, what a joyful sight will Death shew me by drawing aside the vail? Or rather the Lord of Life by turning Death to my advantage! When I am there at home, I shall no more think with confusion, fear or doubting of that blessed place or state. My fears which now come from the smalness of my Faith, will end when Faith is turned into Vision. As I now know the several Rooms in my House, and Houses in the Street, and Streets in the City, so shall I then know the many Mansions, which Christ hath said are in his Fathers House. Words now give me so poor imper­fect a conception of the World and things which I never saw, as that somtimes I can scarcely tell, whether the Joy of my Faith, or the trouble of my dark appre­hensions, be the greater: But when I shall see the Place, the Persons, the Glory which I heard of, that will be the delightful satisfying, and possessing kind of know­ledge. If Nehemiah and the godly Jews, made so great a matter of seeing the Walls of Jerusalem re­paired, and others of the imperfect reedifying of the Temple, O what a joyful sight to me, will the heaven­ly Jerusalem then be: The most glorious sight will be at the great Marriage day of the Lamb, when Christ shall come to be glorified in his Saints, and admired in all them that now believe: But the next to that will be the Day of my particular deliverance, when I shall come to Christ, and see the Saints admiring him in Glory.

If I were of the Opinion of those Greek Fathers, who thought that Stars were Angels or had intellectual Souls (matters unknown to us) I should love them as my [Page 155] Guardians, and take it to be yet more of my concern­ment to be advanced to the fuller knowledge of them. But seeing I know that Angels love us, and by Office do attend and keep us, and rejoice at our good, and at our repentance, and (which is far more) are more holy and excellent Creatures than we are, it is therefore my comfort to think that I shall better know them, and live in near and perpetual acquaintance and communion with them, a more sensible and sweet com­munion than we can have with them here. Devils are aereal and near to this dark and sinful World, and ofter appear to men than Angels: But the Angels affect not such descending appearances, till Love and Obedience to their Lord, make it pleasing to them. And therefore we have but little knowledge, even of those that know, and love, and keep us: But when we come home to their nearest society and converse, to know them will be sweet and joyful knowledge: For they are more excel­lent Creatures than the most glorious that are below the Intellective Nature: They are full of Light, and full of Love to God and Man! Had God bid me pray to them I would not have refused it, but taken it for my honour: But seeing he hath not, I will do that which he hath bid me, even Love them, and rejoice in my relation to the innumerable Company of them, in the City of the Living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, Heb. 12. 22. and long to know and love them more; expecting long to bear my part in the Praises of God and of the Lamb, in the same Chore where they are the Precentors.

And that I shall know the Spirits of the perfected Just, and be of their communion, will be no small ad­dition to my joy. How sweet hath one wise and holy (though weak and blemished) companion been to me [Page 156] here on Earth? And how lovely have God's Graces in such (though smutted) appeared to me. O then what a sight will it be when we shall see the Millions of Souls that shine in perfect Wisdom and Holiness with Christ: To see a Garden that hath some beautiful Flowers in it, is somthing: But if you saw whole Fields and Coun­tries shining with them, it would be a glory (though fading) to the Earth. A well built City is a pleasan­ter sight, than a single House; and a Navy than a Ship; and an Army than one Man: And if this poor low World did all consist of Wise, and Just, and Holy Per­sons, O what an orderly, lovely World would it be! If one Kingdom consisted (Prince, Magistrates, Pa­stors, and People) all of such, what a blessed King­dom would that be: The plague of wicked mens de­ceits, and falshoods, oppressions and iniquities, may help to make us sensible of this: It would be a great temptation to us to be loth to die, and leave such a Countrey, were it not that the more the beauty of goodness appeareth, the more the state of Perfection is desired: It is pleasant to me to pray in hope as Christ hath commanded me, that Earth may be made liker un­to Heaven, which now is become so like to Hell: But when I shall see the Society perfected, in Number, in Holiness, in Glory, in heavenly Employment, the joyful Praises of Jehovah, the Glory of God and the Lamb shining on them, and God rejoicing over them as his delight, and my self partaking of the same, that will be the truly blessed day! And why doth my Soul im­prisoned in Flesh no more desire it?

V. I shall better understand all the World of God! The Matter, and the Method of it! Though I shall shall not have that use for it as I have now in this Life of Faith, yet I shall see more of God's Wisdom and his [Page 157] Goodness, his Love, Mercy, and Justice appearing in it, than ever Man on Earth could do! As the Crea­tures, so the Scriptures are perfectly known only by perfect Spirits. I shall then know how to solve all doubts, and reconcile all seeming contradictions, and to ex­pound the hardest Prophesies: That light will shew me the admirable Methods of those Sacred words, where dark minds now suspect confusion! How evi­dent and clear then will every thing appear to me? Like a small print when the light comes in, which I could not read in the glimmering twilight. How easily shall I then confute the cavils of all our present Unbelievers? And how joyfully shall I praise that God and Saviour, that gave his Church so clear a light to guide them through this darksom World, and so sure a promise to support them till they came to life Eternal? How joyfully shall I bless him that by that immortal Seed did regenerate me to the hopes of Glory? And that ruled me by so Holy and Just a Law?

VI. In that World of Light I shall better understand God's present and past works of Providence, by which he ordereth the matters of this World: The Wisdom and Goodness of them is little understood in little parcels; It is the union and harmony of all the parts which shew­eth the beauty of them; when the single Parcels seem deformed, or are not understood. And no one can see the whole together but God, and they that see it in the light of his Celestial Glory: It is a prospect of that End, by which we have here any true understanding of such Parcels as we see. Then I shall know clear­ly why (or to what use) God prospered the wicked, and tryed the Righteous by so many afflictions? I shall know why he set up the ungodly, and put the humble under their Feet: Why he permitted so much igno­rance, [Page 158] ungodliness, pride, lust, oppression, persecuti­on, falshood, deceit, and other sins in the World: I shall know why the faithful are so few: And why so many Kingdoms of the World, are left in Heathenism, Mahometanism and Infidelity. The strange permissi­ons which now so puzzle me, and are the matter of my astonishment, shall all be then as clear as day: I shall know why God disposed of me as he did through all my life; and why I suffered what I did; and how many great deliverances I had, which I understood not here; and how they were accomplished. All our mis­interpretations of God's works and permissions, will be then rectified: And all our Controversies about them, which Satan hath made so great advantage of (by a pretended zeal for some Truths of God) will then be reconciled, and at an end: And all the works of Di­vine Providence from the beginning of the World, will then appear, a most delectable beauteous frame.

VII. And among all these works, I shall specially know more, the nature and excellency of Gods mercies and gifts of Love, which here we too unthankfully undervalued & and made light of! The special works of Love, should be the matter of our most constant, sweet and serious Thoughts, and the fuel of our constant Love and Gra­titude! The lively sense of Love and Mercy, maketh lively Christians, abounding in Love to God, and Mercy to others: But the Enemy of God and Man most laboureth to obscure, diminish, and disgrace God's Love and Mercys to us, or to put us out of relish to them, that they be unfruitful as to their excellent ends and uses. Little do most Christians know how much they wrong God and themselves, and how much they lose, by the diminutive poor Thoughts which they have of God's Mercies: Ingratitude is a grievous misery to [Page 159] the Sinner, as gratitude is a very pleasant work. Ma­ny a Thousand Mercies we now receive, which we greatly undervalue. But when I come to the state and work of perfect gratitude, I shall have a more perfect knowledge of all the Mercies which ever I received in my Life, and which my Neighbours and Friends, and God's Church and the World did ever receive: For though the thing be past, the use of it is not past: Mer­cies remembred must be the matter of our everlasting thanks: And we cannot be perfectly thankful for them, without a perfect knowledge of them: The worth of a Christ, and all his grace, the work of the Gospel, the worth of our Church-priviledges, and all God's Ordinan­ces, the worth of our Books, and Friends, and Helps of our Life and Health, and all conveniences will be better understood in Heaven, than the most holy and thank­ful Christian here understandeth them.

VIII. And it will be some addition to my future hap­piness that I shall then be much better acquainted with my self: Both with my Nature, and with my Sin and Grace. I shall then better know the Nature of a Soul, and its formal Faculties (Three in One:) I shall know the nature and way of its Operations, and how far its acts are simple or compound, or organical! I shall know how far Memory, Phantasie, and Sense internal and external belong to the rational Soul, and whether the sensitive and rational are two or one; and what Senses will perish and what not? I shall know how the Soul doth act upon it self, and what acts it hath that are not felt, in sleep in Apoplexies, and in the Womb? I shall know whether the vegetative nature be any thing else than Fire; and whether it be of the same Es­sence with the Soul (sensitive, or rational:) (and whether Fire eminenter be a common fundamental sub­stance [Page 160] of all Spirits, diversly specified by the Forms, (mental, sensitive and vegetative:) or whether it be as a Body or Vehicle to Spirits, or rather a nature made for the Copulation of Spirits and Bodies, and the Ope­ration of the former on the latter, as between both: And whether Fire (and of what sort) be the active forma telluris, and of other Globes: I shall know how far Souls are One and yet Many, and how they are In­dividuate? And whether their Quantitas discreta in being numerically many, do prove that they have any Quan­titatem continuam, and whether they are a purer sort of Bodies as the Greek Fathers, Tertullian and others Thought, and what Immateriality signifieth; and what substantiality of Spirits; and how substantia & materia differ; and how far they are penetrable and indivisible; and whether a Soul be properly pars; and whether individual Souls are parts of any common Soul: and how far the individuation doth continue? And whe­ther separated from the Body, they operate in and by any other Vehicle, or without, and how? and whether they take with them any of the fiery Nature as a Ve­hicle or as a constitutive part? I shall know how God produceth Souls? And how his production by Emana­tion or Creation, doth consist with Generation? And how forms are multiplied? And what Causality the Pa­rents Soul hath to the production of the Childs? Whe­ther by communication of substance, or only by dispo­sing the recipient matter? I shall know whether all Souls came from Adam's one substantiality, and whe­ther there be more substance in the All than in that One, and whether one substance cause more by genera­tion? Or whether it be so as to the Souls of Bruits; or whether any Anima communis inform many Organical Bodies of the Bruits, as the Sun lighteth many Candles [Page 161] which are individuate by matter to which (as parts of one) they variously are contracted, and on which they operate, and whether they were individuate in pre-existence, or shall be individuate after separation? I shall know how far the semen in generation is animated: And how the animated semina of two make one? And if animated, what becomes of the anima seminis perditi? and of an Abortive? And whether the Body be animated as Vegetative or Sensitive before the entrance of the rational Soul? Or rather the same Soul which in its Fa­culty is Rational being one with the Sensitive and Vege­tative, be the constitutive form of the first animated Body, and the Fabricator of its own domicilium? I shall know how far the Soul is receptive? And what the Causa finalis doth to it? And what each Object is to the Constitution or production of the act? Yea and what an Act is, and what a Habit? And how a Soul acting or habited differeth from itself not acting or ha­bited? And how its acts are many and yet but One: Or its Faculties at least: Many other such difficulties will all be solved; which now Philosophers contend about in the dark, and pass but under doubtful con­jectures? Or at least are known to very few.

And I shall know how God's Spirit operateth on Souls: And how it is sent from Christ's humane Na­ture to work on Man? And whether Grace be properly or only Metaphorically called a Nature (a New Na­ture, a Divine Nature) in us: I shall know what Free­will is, and how Man's will can be the first determiner of any act of its own in specie morali (good or evil) without being such a Causa prima, as none but God can be: And so how far free acts are necessitated or not: I shall know what power the Intellect hath on the will, and the will on the Intellect, and what power the [Page 162] Sense and Phantasie hath on either: And what any In­tellectus agens doth? Whether it be to our Intellection, as the Sun is to our sight? I shall know what is meant by the Degrees of Acts and Habits in the Soul: And whether there be divers Degrees of Substantiality, or of the virtus vel facultas formalis of several Souls: I shall know better the difference of the Habits called Acquired and Infused: And what common Grace is, and what it doth: And what Nature can do of itself or by common Grace, without that which is proper to the justified: And how far any Degrees of Grace are lost.

I shall know what measure of Grace I had my self: and how far I was mistaken in my self: And what acts were sincere, and how much that was not sound was mixt: and what was of my self and sin.

I shall know much more of my sin than here I ever knew; the number, and the greatness of them: That so I may know with greatest thankfulness and love, how much I am beholden to pardoning and healing Grace.

Yea I shall know more of my Body, as it was the Habitation of my Soul, or the organical matter on which unitedly it workt. I shall know how far it helpt or hindred me: And what were all th [...] obscure Di­seases that puzzled all the Physicians and my self: And how marvellously God sustained, preserved, and oft de­livered me: And what of my actions, was to be im­puted to the Body, and what of them to the Soul?

IX. And every fellow Creature, which I am con­cerned to know, I shall know far better than now I do, both Things and Persons: The Good and Bad, the Sincere and the Hypocrites will be there discerned: And many an action that here [...] for honourable, co­vered [Page 163] or coloured with wit or worldly advantages, or false pretences, will then be found to be odious and un­just: and wickedness will be flattered or extenuated no more: And many a good and holy Work which false men through wickedness and worldly Interest, reproached as some odious Crime, will there be justified, honoured and rewarded: All Sciences are there perfect, without our ambiguous Terms, or imperfect Axioms and Rules of Art.

X. And lastly, I shall better know, from what Ene­mies, what Sins, what Dangers I was here delivered. What contrivances and malicious endeavours of Satan and his Instruments God defeated: How many Snares I escaped: And I shall better know how great my de­liverance is by Christ from the Wrath to come. Though we shall not know Hell, by painful Sense, we shall know it so far as is necessary to fill us with grati­tude to our Redeemer: Yea we shall know much of it far better than the damned Spirits that feel it. For we shall know by sweet and full fruition what the Joy and Blessedness is which they have lost; when they have no such kind of knowledge of it.

All this knowledge will be thus advanced to my glorified Soul beyond what I can here conceive in Flesh: And is it not then far better to be with Christ?

IV. The Constitutive Reasons from the state of my will.

§ 1. But it is the WILL that is to the Soul, what the Heart is to the Body: As it is the prime [...]eat of Morality, [Page 164] so is it the chief seat of Felicity. My greatest Evil [...] there; and my greatest subjective Good will be there. Satan did most against it, and God will do most for it. And will it not be better with Christ than here?

1. It will not there by tyed to a body of cross in­terests and inclinations, which is now the greatest snare and enemy to my Soul? Which is still drawing my love, and care, and fears, and sorrows, to and for it self, and turning them from my highest interest. How great a deliverance will it be, to be freed from the temptations, and the inordinate love, and cares, and fears for this corruptible Flesh?

2. My will shall not there be tempted by a world of inferiour good, which is the bait and provision for the Flesh, where Meat, and Sleep, and Possessions, House, Lands, and Friends, are all become my snares and danger: Gods mercies will not be made there the Tempters instruments: I shall not there have the Flat­teries or frowns, promises or threatnings of the Tyrants of the World to tempt me: Bad company will not in­fect me, nor divert me: The errours of good men wi [...]l not seduce me; nor reputation or reverence of the Wise, Learned, or Religious draw me to imitate them in any sin.

3. I shall there have none of Satans solicitations, to pervert my will: He will not have that advantage by my Sense and Phantasie, nor that access unto me as now he hath. But of this I spake before.

§ 2. My WILL shall there be better than here, I. Negatively, because, 1. There will be nothing in it that is displeasing to God: No sinful inclination, ha­bit or act: Nothing to strive against God's Spirit: Nor grudge at any word or work of God: No Princi­ples of Enmity or Rebellion left. 2. There will be no­thing [Page 165] that is against the good of others: No inclinations to injury, or any thing that is against my Neighbours or the common good. 3. There will be nothing in it that is cross to itself; no more war or striving in me; not a Law in my Mind, and a Law in my Members that are contrary to each other: No crossness between Sense and Reason, nor between the sensitive Appetite and the rational: All will be at unity and peace within.

§ 3. II. Positively; Christ will have finished his cure on my will: The work of Sanctification will be perfect: And I. My will shall there by union and communion be made conformable to the will of Christ, and so unto the Fathers will. This must needs be meant (whatever more) in the Prayer of Christ, Joh. 17. 21, 22. Where he prayeth [that they may be One as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they may be one in us, that they may be one, even as we are one.] The will of Christ and of the Father will be my will, that is, I shall love and will (dispositively and actually) the same that God loveth and willeth (in the measure of a Creature, infinitely below him:) And if so, 1. How can the will of Man have greater honour, than to be the same with the will of God? Assimilation to a King among us poor Mortals goeth for Honour: Assimilation to Angels is much more: That we shall be like or equal to the Angels, is a high part of the Blesseds praise: But how much more is it, to be thus far like to God! Indeed God's Image and the Divine in us here, can be no less, than this similitude to God's will in the degree that we have it: But, alas, that degree is so very low, as that we can hardly tell whether our similitude or our dissimilitude be the more; I mean, whether our wills are for more that God willeth, or against more. O how many Thousand wishes and desires [Page 166] have we had, which are against the will of God! But there we shall have the full impression of God's will upon our wills, as Face answereth Face in a Glass▪ or as the Wax answereth the Seal: As the Finger on the outside, answereth the motion of the Clock within, so in all things which belong to our duty and perfecti­on, we shall answer the will of God. As the Eccho answereth the Voice, defectively, but truly, without contradiction or discord, so will our wills be as the Ec­cho of God's will.

2. And then I am sure that there will be no­thing in my will but good! For God willeth no evil.

3 And this will be virtually all obedience! For all sin is voluntary, and all Moral good is primarily in the will.

4. And then there can be no matter of disquiet in me, but all will be in perfect Peace; for all that is like God will be pleasing both to God and me: No trou­bling crossness will remain.

5. And how easy and sweet then will all my obe­dience be, when I shall perfectly will it, without any reluctancy or aversness? All will be my very pleasure, that I do.

§ 4. II. And seeing my will shall be the same with the will of God, it followeth that it shall never be fru­strate, but I shall have all whatsoever I would have, and shall be and do whatsoever I would be and do? For I shall desire nothing but what God willeth; and God's will shall certainly be done: I shall have as much Love and Joy as I would have: I shall be as happy as I would be: I shall desire nothing for others but it shall be done: Indeed if God's will were there unknown to me, I might ignorantly go against it, as I do here: But there before I will or desire any thing, I shall know whether it be God's will or not: So that I shall never wish any [Page 167] thing, which shall not be accomplished: An I as it is God's Perfection to have his will alway done (though all his Laws be not obeyed,) so my Perfection shall con­sist in this likeness unto God, that my will shall be still fulfilled. And then Christ's promises will be perfectly performed, Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my Name he will give it you, Joh. 15. 16. &. 16. 2 [...]. &. 14. 13, 14. & 15. 7. Ye shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you: While their will was the same with the will of Christ: But he saith not that it shall all be given us here: we ask for Perfection, and we shall have it, but not here.

§ 5. III. Yea my will it self shall be my Fruition: For it shall not be the will of one in need; a desire of what I want; for I shall want nothing: Therefore it is said that we shall Thirst no more: But it will be a Com­placency in what I do possess: And in this also my per­fection will be the Image of God's perfection: Not but that all Creatures still Receive from God, and in that sense may be said to need, in that they have nothing of themselves, but all by gift and communication from him: But being still and full possessours they cannot pro­perly be said to want▪ Complacency in that which we possess is Love and Pleasure in one act: And indeed Pleasure and Love are the same thing: To Love any thing is to have that thing to be Pleasing to my mind. Even when it is wanted, it is thought on a pleasing thing, and therefore desired; so that the desiring act of the Will is but a second act occasioned by want, and following the first act, which is Complacency or simple Love. I de­sire it because I love it. Rightly therefore is the Will itself called LOVE; for in the first act, Love, Will, and Rational Appetite are all words of the same signi­fication. My will therefore must needs be perpetually full of perfect JOY, when enjoying Love and Pleasure [Page 168] will be my will itself: Thus shall I have in me the Spring of Living Waters; and the Comforter will then perfectly do his work; when my constant will itself shall be Comfort: well therefore is Glory said to be the [...]erfection of sanctifying Grace: when this Grace is the beginning of that Love and Joy which Glory is the Perfection of: And Perfection is the Spirits work.

§ 6. IV. And it will be much of my felicity that my Will shall be confirmed and fixed in this conformity to the will of God, and holy LOVE will be its Nature. Now both understanding and will are so lamentably mutable, that further than God promiseth to uphold us, we know not one day, what we shall think, judge or Will the next. But when Love is as a fixed Nature in us, we shall be still the same, adhering to amiable goodness, without intermission or Cessation: It will be as easy to us (and more) to love God and Holiness, as it is to the Hungry and Thirsty to love meat and drink, or to the proud to love praise or domination; yea or to any Man to love his life. And we shall be no more weary of Loving, than the Sun is of shining, or than the Hungry is of Feasting, or a Friend of friendly love and converse: Nay the Comparison is quite too low; for all Creatures here have a fading vanity which wearieth the satiated or failing Appetite; but there is no such thing in Heaven.

§ 7. II. And as from the nature of that act, so much more from the nature of the Object, my love will ap­pear to be my happiness: The Objects (which are as the Matter of the act) will be these.

1. GOD himself will be the full and everlasting Ob­ject of my Love. And he that could but understand as well as those in Heaven do, what this word signi­fieth [Page 169] [to LOVE GOD and be BELOVED of him] would say that there needs no other description of perfect hap­piness! Perfect joyful Complacency in God is the Hea­ven which I desire and hope for. This is my Felicity, and much more. As I am the Agent of Love to God, and the Object of God's Love to me, it is my Felicity: As God is the ultimate Object of my Love, and the Agent of his Love to me (that is, of the effects of it,) so it is unspeakably more high and excellent than to be my fe­licity: Love is the closure of the Wills of God and Man: And as it is God's part or interest (efficiently or ob­jectively) it is infinitely more excellent, than as it is my part and interest.

§ 8. In GOD there is all that Love can desire for its full everlasting Feast. 1. He is Infinitely good in himself, that is most amiable: And the nature of Man's will is to love Good as Good: Could we love God with a Love that is adequate to the Object, we should be God our selves which is impossible; none but God can adequately know God or Love him: In God's Love to Himself, both the Act and Object are Infinite, and in­deed are both one, there being not that formally which we know by the name of Act and Object; but [Act and Object] are our analogical inadequate conceptions of that Act of God which is his Essence. But in our Love to God, the Act is finite and infinitely below the Object: Yea, the Object which in reality [...] itself infinite, yet proximately as the esse Cognitum is the Object of our Love, is finite there: It is the Conception or Idea of God in the Intellect, which is the proper and nearest Ob­ject of the Will: And this is as a Face in a Glass, a shadow; even the finite little shaddow of an infinite Being. The same Infinite good is a felicity to diver [...] Persons in divers degrees according as they diversly love him, and are receptive of his Love.

[Page 170] § 9. 2. God who is infinitely Good in himself, will be that most suitable Good to me, and meetest for the dearest embracements of my will. For, 1. He hath All in himself that I need or can desire: There is no Room, nothing above him, or beyond him, or without him, for love to cleave to: (Though Below him the Creature, though not being without him, is loved with­out him, by the deception of the mind.)

§ 10. 2. He is willing to be loved by me: He disdain­eth not my Love: He might have refused to be em­braced by such affections, as have so oft and sinfully polluted themselves by embracing vanity and filth: As Persons of state and stately cleanliness will not be touch­ed by filthy hands; much less let Dogs or dirty Swine leap on them which come from wallowing in the mire: God might have driven me away from the happiness of loving him; and have denyed me the leave for so high a work: But he commandeth my Love, and maketh it my greatest duty: He inviteth and intreateth me, as if he were a gainer by my happiness: He seeketh to me to seek to him, and as he is the first, so is he the most ear­nest suiter: He is far readier to receive my Love, than I am to give it him. All the compassionate invitations which I have had from him here, by his Word and Mercies, assure me that he will there receive me readi­ly; he that so valued my poor cold imperfect love to him on Earth, will not reject my perfect love in Heaven: He that made it the great work of his Spirit to Effect it, will not refuse it when it is made perfect by himself.

§ 11. 3. And he is near to me, and not a distant God out of my reach, and so unsuitable to my Love: Blind Unbelievers may dream that he is far off; but he is as near us even now, as we are to our selves: He is not far from any of us, for in him we live, and move, and [Page 171] have our being: The Light of the Sun is not so nea [...] my Eyes, as God will be for ever to my Mind. When he would sanctifie us to love him, he bringeth us nigh to him in Christ. As we love our selves easily as being, as they say, the nearest to our selves: So we shall as easily love God as our selves, when we see [...]at he is as near us as we are to our selves, as well as that he is infinitely more Amiable in himself.

§ 12. 4. And because of the imparity of the Crea­ture and the Creator, he hath provided such Means to demonstrate to us his nearness, as are necessary to the exercise of our Love: We shall see his G [...]o [...]y and taste his Love in our glorified Mediator, and in the G [...]o [...]y of the Church and World: God will condescend to shew himself to us according to our Capacities of beholding him: Here we see him in his Works and Word, and there we shall see him in the glory of all his perfect Works. But this leadeth me to the second Object of my Love.

§ 13. II. Under God as I shall see, so I shall delight­fully Love the glorious Perfection of the Universe; even the Image of God in all the World; as my Love will be my delight, so I shall love best that which is best, and most delight in it: And the whole is better than any part: And there is a peculiar Beauty and Excel­lency in the whole World, as perfect, compaginate, harmonious, which is not to be found in any part, no not in Christ himself as Man, nor in his Church.

The marvellous inclination that all things have to Union, even the Inanimates, might persuade me, if I felt it not certainly in my self, that it is most credible that Man also shall have the like inclination, and such as is agreeable to the nature of his Faculties: And there­fore our love and delight in all things, is that uniting inclination in Man.

[Page 172] § 14. III. And I shall have a special Love to the Holy Society, the triumphant Universal Church, con­sisting of Christ, Angels, and Saints, as they are spe­cially amiable, in the Image and Glory of God: God himself loveth them more than his inferiour works: (that is, his Essence, which is Love, and hath no de­grees or change, doth send forth fuller streams of good upon them, or maketh them better and happier than the rest:) And my love will imitate the love of God, in my Capacity. And if Societies on Earth, more holy and wise than others, though imperfectly, are very amiable, what then will the heavenly Society be? Of this I spake before (of knowing them.)

§ 15. 1. Think here, O my Soul, how sweet a state▪ unto thee it will be to Love the Lord Jesus thy glo­r [...]fied Head with perfect love! When the glory of God which shineth in him, will feast thy love with full and everlasting pleasure: The highest created Per­fection of Power, Wisdom, and Goodness, refulgent in him, will not give leave to thy Love, to cease, or in­termit, or abate its fervour. When thou shalt see in the glorified Church the precious fruits of Christ's Re­demption, Grace, and Love, this also will feed thy love to him, from whom this heavenly Glory cometh: And when thou shalt feel thy self possest of perfect hap­piness, by his Love to thee, will not this also do its part? Yea the remembrance of all his former Love; what he did for thee, and what he did in thee here on Earth, how he called thee with a Holy calling, how he washed thee in his Blood from all thy sins, how he kindled in thee those desires which tended to that perfect Glory, how he renewed thy Nature, how he instructed, and guided, and preserved thee from thy Childhood, and how many and how great sins, enemies, dangers, and [Page 173] sufferings he saved thee from, all this will constrain thee Everlastingly to love him: Thus, (though he give the Kingdom to the Father as ceasing his Mediatory, healing, saving work of acquisition) he will be to thee the Me­diator of fruition: God in him will be accessible, and condescend to a suitable communion with us, Joh. 17. 24. And as Christ is thy Life, radically and efficiently, as he is the giver of Grace and the Spirit of Love, so he will be Objectively thy Life as he is Lovely, and it will be formally thy Life to Love him, and God in him for ever.

§ 16. 2. Think also, O my Soul, how delectable it will be to Love, (as well as to know) those Angels that most servently love the Lord! They will be love­ly to thee as they have loved thee, and more as they have been Lovers and Benefactors to the Church and to Mankind; but far more as they are so many refulgent Stars which continually move, and shine, and burn in purest love to their Creator. O blessed difference be­tween that amiable Society of holy Spirits, and this dark, mad, distracted, wicked World! Here Devils tempt me within, and Devils incarnate persecute me without: Blaspheming of God, reviling godliness, deriding the Sacred Scriptures, and Sacred exercises, malignant slandering of the Servants of God, hating, persecuting, si­lencing and saying all manner of evil falsly of them, for their Righteousness sake, while such Crimes are pretended as they once falsly charged on Christ himself; this is the Conversation of those that I have long dwelt with in this World: Atheism, Infidelity, Papal Church tyranny, bloody Wars, destroying the Righteous, oppressing the Poor, Adultery and Fornication, Stigmatizing-Per­jury, Ambition, Violence, Covetousness, deceit, sot­tish Ignorance, wilfulness in Sin, hatred of Reproof, re­vengeful [Page 174] Malice; these and such like are the fruits of the Soil where I have long sojourned (Though through the Grace of Christ among the faithful there have been better fruits:) And is not the Company of Holy An­gels better than this? With whom God is all; who are even made up of shining Wisdom, and holy Lov [...], and beneficent activity: who are the blessed Cho [...]e that melodiously sing forth the high Praises of their Maker: Among whom God dwelleth as in his presence Chamber or his Temple, and in whom he taketh his great delight: With these I shall see or hear no evil: No mixture of fools or wicked Ones do pollute or trou­ble their Society: There will be no false Doctrine, no evil Example, no favouring Wickedness, no accusing Goodness, no hurtful Violence, but holy, powerful, operative Love, will be all and do all, as their very Nature, Life, and Work. And is it not better be a Door-keeper there than to dwell in the Pallaces of Wickedness! And is not a Day with them better than a Thousand here?

§ 17. 3. And with the holy Angels I shall love holy Souls that are made like unto them and joined with them in the same Society (and it is likely with them Judge, that is, Rule the World.) All their infirmities are there put off with the Flesh; they also are Spirits made up of holy Life, and Light, and Love: There is none of their former igno­rance, errour, imprudence, selfishness, contentiousness, impatience, or any other troubling hurtful thing. When I think with what fervent love to God, to Jesus Christ, and to one another, they will be perfectly united there, alas, how sad and how shameful is it, that they should here be prone to disaffections and divi­sions, and hardly agree to call each other the Servants of God, or to worship God in the same Assembli [...][Page 175] But the remnants of dividing Principles (viz. Pride, Errour and Uncharitableness) will be all left behind. Society with imperfect Saints is sweet: The imperfect Image of God upon them is amiable: But their frailties here are so vexatious, that it is hard to live with some of them in Peace. But perfect Love will make them one, and O how delightful will that communion of Saints be. I can never forget how sweet God hath made the course of my Pilgrimage, by the fragrancy and use­fulness of his Servants graces: How sweet have my bosom Friends been, (though mutable?) How sweet hath the Neighbourhood of the godly been? How sweet have the holy Assemblies? And how many hours of comfort have I there had? How profitable have their Writings, their Conference, and their Prayers been? What then will it be to live in the union of perfect Love with perfect Saints in Heaven for ever, and with them concordantly to love the God of Love?

§ 18. III. And as the Act and the Object of LOVE will constitute my felicity, so will my Reception from the Love of God, and his Creatures be sweeter to me than my own activity can be: For it is Mutual Love that makes it up. I shall not be the Fountain of my own delights; nor can I act till I am acted, nor offer any thing to God, but what I have first received from him. And Receive I shall abundantly and continually, and from thence shall overflow to God, and Receiving and Returning (are now and) will be, the circular end­less motion, and our true perpetual Life and Happi­ness.

§ 19. I. All my Receivings shall be from God. His LOVE is not a meer Immanent Will, nor a Wish which toucheth not the Object: But it is what Heat is in or [Page 176] from the Sun or Fire: It is an efflux of Goodness: It is the most powerful, sweet, communicating Principle or Work. All Love is communicative; but none in com­parison of Gods: As there is none primitive and simply good but God. How much doth Love in the affairs of men? All that is pleasant in the World is it, or its ef­fects. Were it not for sensual Love there would be no Generation of Man or Bruits: God hath made it a ge­nerating Principle: Hatred causeth not congress, but fighting with or flying from one another: Were it not for Natural Love, Mothers would never endure the pain, and trouble, and care, which is necessary to hu­mane Birth and Education: Were it not for Love, Pa­rents would never labour all their lives to leave their Children well instructed and well provided for when they are gone. My Food would not please me, did I not love it, and I should neglect it to the neglect of my life: Did I not love my Books and Learning itself, I should never have bestowed so much of Threescore Years in poring on them, and searching for Know­ledge as I have done: Did I not love my House, my Conveniences and necessaries I should neglect them; and they would be to me of small use: Did I not love my Friends, I should be less profitable to them and they to me: Did not I love my Life, I should neg­lect it, and never have endured the labour and cost about it as I have done! If a Man love not his Cour­trey, Posterity and the common good, he will be as a burdensom Drone in the Hive, or as pernicious Ver­mine. What is done in the World that is good, but by LOVE?

And if created Love be so necessary, so active, so communicative, how much more will the infinite Love of the Creator be? His Love is now the Life of the [Page 177] World: His Love is the Life of Nature in the Living, the life of Holiness in Saints; and the life of glory in the Blessed. In this infinite Love it is that I and all the Saints shall dwell for ever more. And if I dwell in LOVE, and LOVE in me, surely I shall have its sweet and plenteous communication; and shall ever drink of the Rivers of Pleasure. It is pleasant to Nature to be Beloved of others: Especially of the great, and wise, and good: much more to have all the communications of Love, in converse and gifts, in plenty and con­tinuance, which may be still expressing it to our great­est benefit! Had I a Friend now that did for me but the hundredth part of what God doth, how dearly should I love him? Think then, think believingly, se­riously, constantly, O my Soul, what a life thou shalt live for ever in the Presence, the Face, the Bosom of infinite Eternal Love? He now shineth on me by the Sun, and on my Soul, by the Sun of Righteousness but it is as through a Lanthorn, or the crevises of my darksom Habitation: But then he will shine on me, and in me, openly and with the fullest streams and beams of Love.

§ 20. God is the same God in Heaven and Earth, but I shall not be the same Man; Here I receive com­paratively little, but live in darkness, doubtful and frequent sorrows; because my Receptivity is less: The windows of my Soul are not open to his light: Sin hath raised clouds, and consequently storms against my comforts: The enterances to my Soul by the streights of Flesh and Sense are narrow; and they are made narrower by sin than they were by Nature, Alas how oft would Love have spoken comfortably to me, and I was not at home, to be spoken with, but was abroad among a world of Vanities; or was not at leisure; or was asleep and not willing to be awaked! [Page 178] How oft would LOVE have come in and dwelt with me, and I have unkindly shut my doors against him! How oft would he have been with me in secret where he freely would embrace me, but I had some pleasing company or business which I was loth to leave! How oft would he have feasted me, and had made all ready, but I was taken up and could not come; [...]ay, when his Table hath been spred before me, Christ, Grace and Glory have been offered to me, my Appetite hath been gone or dull, and all hath been almost neglected by me, and hath scarce seemed pleasant enough to be ac­cepted, or to call off my mind from luscious Poyson! How oft would he have shined upon me, and I have shut my windows or mine eyes: He was jealous indeed, and liked not a Partner: He would have been All to me, if I would have been All for him: But I divided my Heart, my Thoughts, my Love, my De­sires, and my Kindnesses; and alas, how much did go besides him? yea, against him to his Enemies, even when I knew that all was lost, and worse than lost, which was not his? What wonder then if so foolish and unkind a sinner, had little pleasure in his Love; and if so great ingratitude and neglect of Soveraign goodness, were punished with such strangeness, and fears, and faintings, as I have long with groans la­mented? Recipitur ad modum recipientis.

But in Heaven I shall have none of these obstructions: All old unkindness and ingratitude will be forgiven: The great reconciler in whom I am beloved, will then have perfected his work: I shall then be wholly sepa­rated from the vanity which here deceived me! My open Soul will be prepared to receive the heavenly in­flux: With open Face I shall behold the open Face of glorifying Love; I shall joyfully attend his Voice; and [Page 179] delightfully relish the Celestial Provisions! No disease will corrupt my Appetite: No sluggishness will make me guilty again of my old neglects: The Love of the Father, by the Grace of the Son, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit, will have got the victory over all my deadness folly, and disaffection, and my God-displeasing and self-undo [...]ng averseness and enmity will be gone for ever! The perfect LOVE which God do [...]h first effect in me, will be my everlasting Receptivity of the fullest Love of God: Benevolent love will make me good, that is, a Holy lover of God; and then pleased love will make me his delight, and benevolence will still maintain me in my capacity.

Study this heavenly work of Love, O my Soul; these are not dead or barren studies: These are not sad, unpleasant studies: It is only love that can relish love, and understand it: The will here hath its gust, so like to an understanding, as maketh some Philosophers say that voluntas percipit, is a proper Phrase: What can poor carnal Worldlings know of glorious Love, who study it without Love? What sounding Brass and tinkling Cymbals, a lifeless Voice, are they that preach of God, and Christ and heavenly Glory with­out Love? But gazing upon the face of Love in Christ, and tasting of its gifts, and looking up to its glorious reign, is the way to kindle the Sacred Fire in thee. Look upwards if thou wouldst see the Light that must lead thee upwards! It is not for nothing that Christ hath taught us to begin our Prayers with [Our Father which art in Heaven:] It is Fatherly Love that must win our Hearts, and that must comfort them: And it is [in Heaven] where this is gloriously manifested: As I said before, as the Soul is in all the Body, but yet un­derstandeth not in the Hand as it doth in the Head, nor [Page 180] rejoiceth not in the Foot as it doth in the Heart; so God that is every where, doth not every where glorifie his Love, as he doth it in Heaven: Thither therefore the Mind and Eye are even by Nature taught to look up as to God, as we look a Man in the Face when we speak to him, rather than to his Feet, though his Soul be also there.

My sinful Heart hath needed sorrow! My careless, rash, presumptuous Soul hath needed fears; and I have had some part of these: Mercy saw it good for me, as necessary to prevent my more dangerous deceits and lapses! And O that in the hour of sensual temptations, I had feared more, and departed from evil. But it is HOLY LOVE that must be my life! Or else I am dead not­withstanding fear.

O come then and study the life of Love: It is more of a Holy Nature than of Art; but yet study must do much to prepare thee to receive it. This is the great use of a heavenly Conversation! It is the contemplati­on, belief and hope of the glorious state of Love here­after, that must make us like it, and kindle it in us here: The burning Glass must be turned directly to the Sun, if you will have it set any thing on fire. There is a carnal or common love to God, which is kindled in men by carnal pleasures: But a Holy love like that in Heaven must be studiously fetcht from Heaven, and kindled by the fore sight of what is there, & what we shall be there for ever: Faith must ascend, and look within the vail; thou must not live as a stranger to thy home, to thy God, and Saviour, and thy hopes: The fire that must warm thee is in Heaven, and thou must come near it, or open thy self to its influence, if thou wilt feel its powerful efficacy. It is night and winter with carnal minds, when it is day and summer with those that set their Faces Heavenward.

[Page 181] § 21. II. But though all my Receivings will be from God, they will not be from him alone: We must live in perfect Union also with one another, and with all the heavenly Society; and therefore as we must love them all, so shall we be beloved by them all: And this will be a subordinate part of our blessedness: God there will make use of second causes, even in communi­cating his Love and Glory.

§ 22. 1. The Lord Jesus Christ will not only be the Object of our delightful love, but will also love us with an effectual operative love for ever: His love will be as the Vital Heat and Motion of the Heart to all the Members; the Root of our Life and Joy. The Love of our Redeemer will flow out into us all as the Vital Spirits, and his Face of Glory will be the Sun of the heavenly Jerusalem, and will shine upon us, and shew us God: And in his light we shall have light. Did his tears for a dead Lazarus make men say, Behold how he loved him! O then what will the reviving Beams of heavenly life, make us say of that love, which filleth us with the pleasures of his presence, and turneth our Souls into JOY it self! He comforteth us now by the teaching of his Word; but surely the fruition of Salvation will be more gladding then the tidings of it! When he that told us of Glory in his Gospel shall give it us, we shall not only believe but feel that he loveth us.

§ 23. Believe, O my Soul, thy Saviours Love that thou maist foretast it and be fit to feel it. We were uncapable in sinful Flesh of seeing him otherwise than as cloathed with Flesh; and his consolations were ad­ministred by a word of Promise suitable to his appear­ance: But when he withdrew his bodily presence, the Comforter was sent with a fuller Consolation: But all that was but the earnest and the first fruits of what he will be to us for ever: Be not seldom, not unbelie­ving, [Page 182] nor slight in the thoughts of thy Saviours love; for it is he that is the way to the Infinite love: Let thy believing be so much of thy daily work, that thou maist say, that he dwelleth in thy Heart by Faith, Eph. 3. 17. and that while thou livest here it is Christ that liveth in thee; and that thy life in the Flesh is not a fleshly life, but by the Faith of the Son of God that hath loved thee and given himself for thee, Gal. 2. 20. And that though thou see him not, yet believing thou lovest him also with unspeakable Joy, as believing the un­speakable, perfect Joy which his Love-will communi­cate to thee for ever.

Look upon the Sun and think thus with thy self, [How wonderful is the Emanation of this Sun: Its mo­tion, light, and heat communicated to so many Mil­lions of C [...]eatures all over the Earth, and in the Seas: What if all these beams of light and heat, were propor­tionable beams of perfect Knowledge, Love, and Joy? and that all Creatures that are under the Sun had from its influx as much Wisdom, Love, and Joy, as they have Light, Heat, and Motion: Would not then this Earth be as a World of Angels, and a Heaven? O what a blessed World would it be? And what a bene­factor would the Sun be to the World? Why, even such will Jesus Christ be to the Celestial World! He is the Sun of Glory: His Influence will send forth LIFE, and LIGHT and JOYFUL LOVE upon all the blessed from the Face of the God, as the Sun sends forth from God, its Motion, Light, and Heat, upon this World. Now therefore begin and live upon him: live upon the influence of his Grace, his Teaching, Love-kindling, and Quickning Grace, that thou maist have his Name and Mark, and he may find in thee something of him­self or of his own, when thou comest to his Righteous ryal. His Grace is not in my power, not at my com­mand: [Page 183] It is not meet it should be so: But he hath not bid me seek and beg in vain: If he had never told me that he will give it me, it is equal to a promise if he do but bid me seek and ask: But I have more! He teacheth me to pray: He maketh my Prayers: He writeth me out a Prayer Book on my Heart: He giveth me desires, and he loveth to be importuned by them! His Spirit is first a Spirit of supplication, and after of Consolation, and in both a Spirit of Adoption: so far is he from being loth to be troubled with my importu­nity, that he seeketh to me to seek his grace, and is displeased with me that I will ask and have no more!

All this is true! But how then cometh my Soul to be yet so low, so dark, so fond of this wretched Flesh and World, and so backward to go home, and dwell with Christ? Alas a taste of Heaven on Earth is a Mercy too pretious to be cast away, upon such as have long grieved and quencht the Spirit, and are not by dili­gent and patient seeking prepared to receive it: He that proclaimeth a general Peace, will give Peace only to the Sons of Peace: If after such unkind neglects, such wilful sins as I have been guilty of, I should ex­pect to be suddenly in my Saviours Arm [...] ▪ and to be feasted presently with the first Fruits of Heaven, I should look that the Most Holy should too little ma­nifest his hatred of my sin. My Conscience remem­breth the follies of my Youth, and many a later odious sin; and telleth me that if Heaven were quite hid from my sight, and I should never have a glimpse of the Face of glorious eternal Love, it were but just: I look up­ward from Day to Day; I groan to see his pleased Face, and better to know my God and my home! I cry to him daily‘[My God, this little is better than all the pleasures of sin: My Hopes are better than all the [Page 184] Possessions of this World: Thy gracious looks have oft revived me, and thy mercies have been unmeasurable to my Soul and Body: But O how far short am I of what even Fourty Years ago I hoped sooner to have attained? Where is the Peace that passeth Under­standing that should keep my Heart and Mind in Christ! O where is the seeing, the longing, the re­joicing and triumphing Faith? Where is that pleasant familiarity above, that should make a Thought of Christ and Heaven to be sweeter to me than the Thoughts of Friends, or Health, or all the Prosperity and Pleasure of this World? Do those that dwell in God, and God in them, and have their Hearts and Con­versations in Heaven, attain to no more clear and satis­fying perceptions of that blessed state, than I have yet attained! Is there no more acquaintance above to be here expected? No livelier sense of future joyes! No sweeter foretast? Nor fuller silencing of doubts and fears? I am not so loth to go to a Friend, nor to the Bed where I oft spend the Night in restless pains and rolling, as I have too often been to come to thee! Alas, how many of thy Servants are less afraid to go to a Prison than to their God! and had rather be banish­ed to a Land of Strangers, than sent to Heaven! Lord, must I that am called Thy Child, and an Heir of Heaven, and a Co-heir with Christ, have no more acquaintance with my glorified Lord, and no more love to Thee that art my portion, before I go hence, and come before thee! Shall I have no more of the heavenly Life, and Light, and Love? Alas, I have scarce enough in my Meditations, to denominate them tru­ly heavenly Meditations: I have scarce enough in a Prayer to make it indeed a heavenly Prayer: or in a Ser­mon to make it a heavenly Sermon: And shall I have no more when I come to die! Must I go hence so like a [Page 185] stranger to my home! Wilt thou take Strang [...] into Heaven, & know them as thine that do no better know thee here? O my God, vouchsafe a Sinner yet more of his Spirit, that came down on Earth to call up earth­ly minds to God: and to open Heaven to all Believers! O what do I beg for so frequently, so earnestly, for the sake of my Redeemer, as the Spirit of Life and Consola­tion, which may shew me the pleased Face of God, and unite all my affections to my glorified Head, and draw up this dark and drowsie Soul to love and long to be with thee.]’

But alas, though these are my daily groans, how little yet do I ascend! I dare not blame the God of Love! He is full and willing! I dare not blame my blessed Saviour! He hath shewed that he is not back­ward to do good! I dare not accuse the holy Spirit! It is his work to sanctifie and comfort Souls! If I knew no reason of this my low and dark Estate, I must needs conclude that it is somewhat in my self! But, alas, my Conscience wants not matter, to satisfie me of the cause! Sinful resistance of the Spirit, and unthankful neglects of Grace and Glory, are undoubtedly the cause. But are they not a cause that Mercy can for­give? That grace can overcome: and may I not yet hope for such a Victory before I die.

Lord, I will lie at thy doors and groan! I will pour out my moans before thee! I will beg, and what­ever thou wilt do with me! Thou describest the kindness of the Dogs to a Lazarus that lay at a rich Man's Doors in Sores? Thou commendest the neigh­bourly pitty of a Samaritan, that took care of a wounded Man! Thou condemnest those that will not shew mercy to the poor and needy! Thou biddest us, Be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful: [Page 186] If we see our Brother have need and shut up the Bowels of our compassion from him, it is because thy love dwelleth not in us: And shall I wait then at thy Doors in vain and go empty away from such a God; when I beg but for that which thou hast commanded me to ask, and without which I cannot serve thee or come to thee, live or die in a habit beseeming a Member of Christ, a Child of God, and an H [...]ir of Heaven? O give me the wedding Garment without which I shall but dishonour thy bounteous Feast: Let me wear a Livery which becometh thy Family, even a Child of God! How oft hast thou commanded [...] to Rejoice? Yea, to rejoice with exceeding and unspeakable joy: And how fain would I in this obey thee? O that I had more faithfully obeyed thee in other pre­paratory duties, in ruling my Senses, my Phantasie, my Tongue, and in diligent using all thy Talents? Then I might more easily have obeyed thee in this! Thou knowest, Lord, that Love and Joy are duties that must have more than a Command: O bid me do them with an effecting word. How can I Rejoice in Death and Darkness: When the Bridegroom is ab­sent I must fast and mourn▪ While I look towards Heaven but through the crevises of this dungeon Flesh, my Love and Joy will be but answerable to my Light: How long is it since I hoped that I had been translated from the Kingdom of Darkness, and delivered from the power of the Prince of Darkness, and brought into that Light which is the entrance of the Inheritance of Saints: And yet alas, Darkness, Darkness is still my misery! There is Light round about me, in thy word and works, but darkness is within me. And if my Eye be dark, the Sun will be no Sun to me. Alas my Lord, it is no [...] all the Learn­ing [Page 187] in the World, no not of Theology that consisteth in the knowledge of Words and Methods, which I can take for the satisfactory heavenly Light! To know what thou hast written in the Sacred Book, is nor enough to make me know my glorified Saviour, my Father, and my home. It must be a Light from Heaven, that must shew me Heaven; and a Light accompanied with Vital heat, that must turn to Love and Joy within me: O Let me not have only dreaming know­ledge, of Words and Signs, but quickning Light, to shew the Things which these words do signifie, to my M [...]nd, and Heart! Surely the Faith By which we must live, must be a l [...]ving Faith! And must reach further than to Words, how true soever. Can Faith live in the Dark? What is it but an effect of thine Illumination! What is my Unbelief but the Darkness of my Soul! Lord Iesus scatter all these mists: Make thy way O thou Son of Righteousness into this be­nighred mind! O send thine Advocate to silence every temptation that is against thy truth and thee, and thine Agent to prosecute thy cause against thine Ene­mies and mine, and to be the resident Witness of thy Verity, and my Sonship, and Salvation. Hearing of thee is not satisfactory to me! It must be the Presence and Operation of thy Light and Love, shed abroad by thy Spirit on my Heart, that must quiet and content my Soul! I confess with shame that I have sinned against Heaven and before thee, and am unworthy to have any glimpse or taste of Heaven! But so did many that are now entertained and feasted by thy Love in Glory!

My Lord, I know that Heaven is not far from me! It is not (I believe) one Days or Hours journey to a se­parated Soul! How quick is the communion of my Eyes with the Sun, that seems far off! And couldst thou not shew it me in a moment? Is not Faith a seeing [Page 188] Grace? It can see the invisible God, and the unseen World, the new Jerusalem, the innumerable Angels, and the Spirits of the perfected Just, if it be animated by thine influx! Without which it can do nothing, and is nothing! Thou that oft healedst the Blind here in the Flesh, didst tell us that it is much more thy work to illuminate Souls! It is but forgiving all my sins, and removing this film that sin hath gather­ed, and my illuminated Soul will see thy Glory: I know that the vail of Flesh must be also rent before I shall see thee with open Face, and know my fellow Citizens above as I am known! It is not Heaven on Earth that I am begging for, But that I may see it from Mount Nebo, and have the bunch of Grapes; the Pledge, and the first Fruits; that Faith and Hope which may kindle Love and Desire, and make me run my Race in Patience, and live and die in the Joy which beseemeth an Heir of Heaven!

But if my part on Earth must be no greater than yet it is, let it make me the wearier of this Dungeon, and groan more fervently to be with thee, and long for the day when all my longing shall be satisfied, and my Soul be filled with thy light and love.

§ 24. And doubtless as I shall love the Angels and Saints in Heaven, so I shall some way in subordination to Christ be a Receiver from them: Our love will be mutual: And which way soever I owe duty, I shall ex­pect some answerable return of benefit. The Sun shineth upon the Stars as well as on the Earth, and the Stars on one another. If Angels are greatly useful to me here, it's like they will be much more there, where I shall be a more capable receiver. It will be no dimi­nution to Christ's honour that he there maketh use of my fellow Creatures to my joy, no more than it is here: [Page 189] The whole Creation will be still one compaginated frame; and the heavenly Society will for ever retain their Relation to each other, and their aptitude and disposition to the duties and benefits of those Relations. And as we shall be far sitter for them than here we are, so shall we have far more comfort in them: How glo­riously will God shine in the glory of the Blessed? How delightful will it be to see their Perfection in Wisdom, Holiness, Love and Concord? What Voices they use, or what Communication instead of Voices we shall short­ly know: But surely there is a blessed harmony of Minds, and Wills, and Practice. All are not equal, but all accord to love and praise their glorious God, and readily to obey him, and perfectly to love each other: There is no jarring or discordant Spirit that is out of tune: no separation or opposition to each other! As God's love in Christ is our full and final hap­piness; so Nature which hath made us sociable teacheth us to desire to be loved of each other: but especially by wise and worthy Persons: Saints and Angels in Hea­ven will love incomparably better than our dearest Friends on Earth can do; and better than they did them­selves when we were on Earth: For they will love that best which is best; and where there is most of God appearing: Else it were not intellectual love! And therefore they will love us as much better when we come to Heaven, as we shall be better. If we go from loving friends on Earth, we shall go to them that love us far more: The love of these here doth but pitty us in our pains, and go weeping with our Carkasses to the Grave: But the love of those above will joyfully convoy or welcome out Souls, to their triumphing Society: All the holy Friends that we thought we had lost, that went before us, we shall find rejoicing there with Christ.

[Page 190] And O what a glorious state will be that common uniting and united love! If two or three Candles join­ed together make a greater flame and light, what would Ten thousand Stars united do▪ When all the LOVE of Angels and Saints in full Perfection, shall be so uni­ted as to make ONE LOVE, to God that is One, and to one another who are there all one in Christ, O what a glorious LOVE will that be? That LOVE and JOY will be the same thing: And that One universal LOVE will be One universal JOY.

Little know we how great a Mercy it is to be here commanded to love our Neighbours as our selves; and much more to be effectually taught of God so to love one another. And did we all here live in such unfeign­ed Love, we should be like to Heaven, as bearing the Image of the God of Love: But alas, our Societies here are small; our Goodness which is our Amiableness wo­fully imperfect, and mixt with loathsom sin and dis­cord: But there a whole Heaven ful [...] of blessed Spirits will flame for ever in perfect Love to God, to Christ, and one another.

Go then, go willingly, O my Soul! Love joineth with LIGHT to draw up thy desires! Nature inclin­eth all things unto Union! Even the lifeless Elements have an Aggregative motion, by which the parts when violently separated, do hastily return to their Natural adhesion. Art thou a Lover of Wisdom, and wouldst thou not be united to the Wise? Art thou a Lover of Holiness, and of Love itself, and wouldst thou not be united to the Holy who are made of Love? Art thou a hater of enmity, discord and divisions, and a Lover of Unity here on Earth, and wouldst thou not be where all the just are One? It is not an unnatural Union to thy loss: Nothing shall be taken from thee by it: Thou shalt [Page 191] receive by it more than thou canst contribute: It shall not be forced against thy will: It is but a Union of Minds and Wills; a perfect Union of Loves. Let not natural or sinful selfishness cause thee to think suspi­ciously or hardly of it: For it is thy happiness and end: What got the Angels that fell to selfishness from Unity? And what got Adam that followed them herein! The further any man goeth from UNITY by SELFISH­NESS, the deeper he falleth into sin and misery from God! And what doth Grace but call us back, from sin and selfishness to Gods Unity again! Do [...]e not then on this dark divided World! Is not thy Body, while the parts by a uniting Soul are kept together and make One, in a better state than when it is crumbled into lifeless dust? And doth not death creep on thee by a gradual dissolution? Away then from this sandy incoherent state! The further from the Center the fur­ther from Unity: A Unity indeed there is of all things; but it is One heavenly LIFE, and LIGHT, and LOVE which is the true felicitating Union.

We dispute here whether the Aggregative Motion of separated parts (as in descensu gravium) be from a Motive Principle in the part, or by the Attraction of the whole, or by any external impulse. It is like that there is somewhat of all these: But sure the greatest cause is like to do most to the effect: The body of the Earth hath more power to attract a Cload or Stone, than the intrinsick Principle to move it downwards: But intrinsick Gravity is also necessary. The superior attractive Love and Loveliness must do more to draw up this mind to God, than my intrinsick Holiness to move it upward: But without this Holiness the Soul would not be capable of feeling that attractive influx. E­very Grace cometh from God to fit and lead up my Soul [Page 192] to God: Faith therefore believeth the heavenly state, and Love doth with some Delight desire it, and Hope gapeth after it, that I may at last attain it.

They that have plea [...]ed against Propriety, and would have all things common in this World, have for­gotten that there is a Propriety in our present Egoity, and Natural Constitution, which rendereth some acci­dental Propriety necessary to us: Every Man hath his own bodily parts, and inherent accidents, and every Man must have his own Food, his own Place, Cloath­ing and Acquisitions; his own Children, and therefore his own Wife, &c. But that the greatest Perfection is most for Community as far as Nature is capable of it, God would shew us in making the first Receivers of the extraordinary pourings out of his Spirit, to sell all and voluntarily make all common, none saying, This or that is my own! which was not done by any constraining Law, but by the Law or Power of uniting Love: They were first all as of one Heart and Soul, Act. 4. 32.

Take not then thy inordinate desire of Propriety for thy Health, but for thy Sickness: Cherish it not, and be not afraid to lose it, and measure not the heavenly felicity by it: Spirits are penetrable: They claim not so much as a Propriety of place, as Bodies do: It is thy weak­ness and state of Imperfection now, which maketh it so desirable to thee that thy House should be Thine and nones but thine; thy Land be Thine, and nones but Thine; thy Cloaths, thy Books, yea, thy knowledge and grace, be Thine and Nones but Thine. How much more excellent a state were it, (if we were here capable of it) if we could say that all these are as the common Light of the Sun, which is mine and every ones as well as mine! Why are we so desirous to speak all Languages, but that we might understand all men and [Page 193] [...] understood of all, and so might make our sentiments as common as is possible? Whence is it that men are so addicted to talkativeness, but that Nature would make all our Thoughts and passions as common a [...] it can? And why else are Learned men so desirous to propagate their Learning, and Godly men so desirous to make all others wise and godly: It seemeth one of the greatest calamities of this life; that when a Man hath with the longest, and hardest study attained to much knowledge, he cannot bequeath it, or any part of it, to his Heir, or any Person when he dieth, but every Man must ac­quire it for himself: And when God hath sanctified the Parents, they cannot communicate their Holiness to their Children (though God promise to bless them on their account.) Much less can any Man make his Grace or Knowledge common: Nature and Grace in­cline us to desire it: but we cannot do it. For this end we Talk, and Preach, and Write; for this end we study to be as plain and convincing and mo­ving as we can, that we may make our Knowledge and Affections as common to our Hearers and Readers as we can: And O what a blessed work should we take Preaching and Writing for, if we could make them all know but what we know, and love what we are per­suading them to love? There would then be no need of Schools and Universities: A few Hours would do more than they do in an Age. But alas, how rare is it for a Father of excellent Learning and Piety, to have one Son like himself, after all his industry!

Is not the heavenly communion then desirable, where every Man shall have his Own, and yet his Own be common to all others? My knowledge shall be mine own, and other mens as well as mine: My goodness shall be my own and theirs: My glory and [Page 194] felicity shall be mine and theirs: And theirs also shall be mine as well as theirs: The Knowledge, the Good­ness, the Glory of all the heavenly Society, shall be Mine according to my Capacity: Grace is the Seed of such a state, which maketh us all one in Christ, (neither Bar­barian, nor Scythian, Circumcision, nor Uncircumcision, Bond, nor Free;) by giving us to love our Neighbours as our selves and to love both our Neighbours and our selves for Christ, and Christ in all: Well might Paul say, All things yours, But it is here but as in the Seed; the perfect union and communion is hereafter. Earth and Heaven must be distinguished: We must not extend our hopes or pretensions here beyond the Capacity of our Natures: As perfect Holiness and Know­ledge, so perfect Unity and Concord is proper to Hea­ven, and is not here to be expected: The Papal preten­sions of an impossible Union in one Governour of all the Earth, is the means to hinder that Union which is possible. But the state of Perfection is the state of perfect union & communion. Hasten then upwards, O my Soul, with the ferventest desires, and breath after that state with the strongest Hopes; where thou shalt not be rich, and see thy Neighbours poor about thee, nor be poor while they are rich; nor be well while they are sick, or sick while they are well: But their Riches, their Health, their Joy will be all thine, and thine will be all theirs, as the common Light; and none will have the less for the participation of the rest: Yea, Communion will be part of every ones felicity: It constitueth the very being of the City of God. This Celestial Communion of Saints in one holy Church, above what is here to be attain­ed, is now an Article of our Belief: But believing will soon end in seeing and enjoying.

V. The Constitutive Reasons from the hea­venly Life or Practice.

§ 1. Seeing and Loving will be the heavenly Life: But yet it seemeth that besides these, there will be EX­ECUTIVE Powers, and therefore some answerable PRACTICE. There are GOOD WORKS in Hea­ven, and far more and better than on Earth. For, 1. There will be more Vital Activity, and therefore more exercise of it: For the Power is for Action. 2. There will be more Love to God and one another: And Love is active. 3. There will be more likeness to God and our Redeemer, who is communicative, and doth good as he is good. 4. Our Union with Christ who will be everlastingly beneficent, as well as benevolent, will make us in our places also beneficent. 5. Our Com­munion in the City of God, will prove that we shall all bear our part as the Members of the Body, in con­tributing to the welfare of the whole, and in the com­mon returns to God.

§ 2. But, What are the heavenly Works, we must perfectly know when we come thither: In general we know, 1. That they will be the works of love to God and to his Creatures; that is, such as Love in­clineth us to exercise. 2. And they will be works of Obedience to God; that is, such as we shall do to please his will, and because he willeth them to be our duty. 3. They will be useful works to others. 4. They will be pleasant to our selves and part of our felicity. 5. And they will carry all to God our End.

[Page 196] § 3. And somwhat of them is particularly described in the holy Scriptures: As, 1. We shall in Concord with the whole Society or Chore▪ give Thanks and Praise to God and our Redeemer, Rev. 19. 5. 1 Pet. 4. 11. Rev. 7. 4. & 4. 7, 11. & 5. 13. & 7. 12. & 19. 1. Phil. 4, 20. Whether there be any Voice, or only such Spiritu­al activity and exultation as to Man in Flesh is not to be clearly understood, is not fit for us here to presume to determine: It will be somwhat more high and ex­cellent than our vocal Praise, and Singing is; and of which this beareth some analogical resemblance or signi­fication. As all Passions earnestly desire vent and ex­ercise, so specially do our holy affections, of Love, Joy and Admiration of God Almighty! And there is in us a desire of communion with many in such affecti­ons and expressions: Methinks when we are singing or speaking God's praise in the great Assemblies, with joyful and fervent Souls, I have the liveliest foretast of Heaven on Earth: And I could almost wish that our Voices were loud enough to reach through all the World, and unto Heaven itself: Nor could I ever be offended (as many are) at the Organs and other con­venient Musick, soberly and seasonably used, which excite and help to tune my Soul, in so holy a work, in which no true assistance is to be despised. No work more comforteth me in my greatest sufferings, none seemeth more congruous and pleasant to me while I wait for Death, than Psalms and words of Praise to God; nor is there any exercise in which I had rather end my life: And should I not then willingly go to the heavenly Chore, where God is praised with per­fect Love, and Joy, and harmony? Had I more of a Praising frame of Soul, it would make me long more for that Life of Praise. For I never find my self more [Page 197] willing to be there, than when I most joyfully speak or sing God's praise. Though the Dead praise not God in the grave, and dust doth not give him thanks; yet living Souls in Heaven do it joyfully, while their fleshly cloathing turns to dust!

Lord [...]une my Soul to thy Praises now, that sweet experience may make me long to be where I shall do it better! I see where any excellent Musick is, Nature maketh men flock to it; and they that are but Hear­ers, yet join by a concurrent phantasie and delight: Surely if I had once heard the heavenly Chore, I should Eccho to their holy Songs, though I could not imita [...] them; and I should think it the truest Bles­sedness to be there and bear my part. My God, the voice of thy comforting Spirit, speaking thy Love effectually to my Soul, would make such holy Mu­sick in me, that would incline me to the Celestial con­sort; and without it all these thoughts and words will be in vain. It is the inward M [...]lody of thy Spirit and my Conscience that must tune me to desire the h [...]avenly Melody. O speak thy love first to my Heart, and then I shall joyfully speak it to my Brethren, and shall ambitiously seek that communion of them, that praise thee better, than sinful groaning Mortals can: And though my sins here make a loathed jar and dis­cord in my Songs, I hope my groans for these sins and their effects, will make no discord: Sighs and Tears have had the honour to be accepted by thee, who despisest not a contrite Soul: But if thy Spirit will sing and speak within me, and help me against the discordant murmurs of my unbelieving Heart, and pained Flesh, I shall offer thee that which is more suitable to thy Love and Grace. I confess Lord that daily Tears and Sighs are not unsuitable to the Eyes [Page 198] and Voice of so great a Sinner, who is under thy correcting Ro [...]! What better could I expect when I grieved thy Spirit, than that it should prove my grief! Yea, this is far better than the genuine effects of sin. But this is not it that is mee [...]est to be offered to the God of Love: He that offereth Praise doth glorifie thee! And is not this the Spiritual Sacrifice acceptable through Christ, for which we were made Priests to God, 1 Pet. 2. 5. I refuse not Lord to lie in Tears and Groans when thou requirest it; and do not thou refuse those Tears and Groans; but O give me better, that I may have better of thine own to offer thee: And by this prepare me for the far better, which I shall find with Christ: And that which is Best to us thy Creatures, will be accepted as Best by Thee, who art glorified and pleased in the Perfection of thy works.

§ 4. II It is at least very probable that God ma­keth glorified Spirits his Agents and Ministers of much of his beneficence to the Creatures that are below them. For, 1. We see that where he endueth any Creature with the noblest endowments, he maketh most use of that Creature to the benefit of others▪ We shall in Hea­ven be most furnished to do good; and that furniture will not be unused. 2. And Christ tells us that we shall be like or equal to the Angels; which though it mean not [simply and in all things] yet it meaneth more than to be above carnal Generation; for it speaketh of a similitude of Na­ture and State as the Reason of the othe [...]. And that the An­gels are God's Ministers for the good of his chosen in this World, and Administrators of much of the Affairs on Faith, [...] past all doubt. 3. The Apostle telleth us [...] the Saint [...] shall Judg the World and Angels: And Judging in Scripture is oft put for Ruling! It is there­fore probable at least, that the Devils, and the Dam­ned, [Page 199] shall be put under the Saints, and that with the Angels they shall be employed in some Ministerial Oversight of the Inhabitants and Affairs of the promised New-Earth. 4. And when even the more noble Su­periour Bodies, even the Stars, are of so great use and influx to inferiour Bodies, it is like that accordingly Superiour Spirits will be of use to the Inhabitants of the World below them.

§ 5. But I think it not meet to venture here upon un­certain conjectures beyond the revelation of God's Word, and therefore shall add no more, but conclude that God knoweth what use to make of us hereafter as well as here, and that if there were no more for us to do in Heaven, but with perfect Knowledg, Love and Joy, to hold communion with God and all the heaven­ly Society, it were enough to attract a sensible and con­siderate Soul to fervent desires to be at home with God.

§ 6. And here I must not overpass my rejection of the injurious opinion of too many Philosophers and Divines, who exclude all Sense and Affection from Heaven, and acknowledge nothing there but Intellect and Will: And this is because they find Sense and Affection in the Bruits, and they think that the souls of Bruits are but some quality or perishing temperament of Matter; and therefore that Sense and Affection is in us no better.

§ 7. But, 1. What felicity can we conceive of with­out any affection of delight or joy: Certainly bare Volition now without these doth seem to be no felicity to us: Nor knowledg neither, if there were no delight in knowing.

§ 8. 2. Yea, I leave it to mens experience to judge, whether there be now any such thing in us as proper willing which is not also some internal sense of and af­fection to the good which we will? If it be Complacency or the Pleasedness of the Will, this signifies some Pleasure, [Page 200] and Love in the first act is nothing else but such an Ap­petite: If it be Desire, it hath in it a Pleasedness in the thing desired as in esse cognito, as it is thought on by us; and what Love is without all sense and affection?

§ 9. 3. Why doth the Scripture ascribe Love and Joy to God and Angels if there were not some reason for it? Doubtless there is great difference between the heavenly Love and Joy, and ours here in the Body: And so there is also between their knowledge and ours, and their Will and ours: But it is not that theirs is less or lower than ours, but somwhat more excellent, which ours giveth us some analogical (or imperfect formal) notice of.

§ 10. 4. And what though Bruits have Sense and Affe­ction, doth it follow therefore that we have none now? Or that we shall have none hereafter? Bruits have Life: And must we therefore have no Life hereafter, because it is a thing that's common [...]oBruits? Rather as now, we have all that the Bruits have and more, so shall we then have Life, and Sense, and Affection of a nobler sort than Bruits, and more. Is not God the Living God? Shall we say that he liveth not because Bruits live? Or rather that they live a sensitive life, and Man a Sensitive and Intellectual, because God is Essential, Transcendent In­finite Life, that makes them live.

§ 11. 5. But if they say that there is no Sensation or Affection but by bodily Organs, I answered before to that; the Body feeleth nothing at all, but the Soul in the Body: The Soul uniteth itself most nearly to the Igneous-aereal parts called the Spirits; and in them it feeleth, seeth, tasteth, smelleth, &c. And that Soul that feeleth, and seeth, doth also inwardly love, desire, and rejoice: And that Soul which doth this in the Bo­dy, hath the same power and faculty out of the Body: And if they judge by the cessation of sensation when [Page 201] the Organs are undisposed or dead, so they might as well conclude against our future Intellection and Will, whose operation in an Apoplexy, we no more perceive than that of Sense. But I have before shewed that the Soul will not want exercise for its Essen­tial faculties, for want of Objects or bodily Organs; and that men conclude basely of the souls of Bruits, as if they were not an enduring substance, without any proof or probability: And tell us idle dreams, that they are but vanishing temperaments, &c. which are found­ed on another Dream, that FIRE (or the Motive-Illu­minative-Calefactive Cause) is no substance neither; and so our unnatural Somatists know none of the most excellent substances, which actuate all the rest, but on­ly the more base and gross which are actuated by them: and they think they have well acquit them­selves, by telling us of subt [...]le act [...]d Matter and Motion, without understanding what any Living Active-Mo­tive Faculty, or Virtue is. And because no Man know­eth what God doth with the souls of Bruits, (whether they are only one common sensitive soul of a more common Body, or whether Individuate still and Transmigrant from Body to Body, or what else:) Therefore they make Ignorance a plea for Errour, and feign them to be no substances, or to be Annihilate.

§ 12. I doubt not but Sensation (as is aforesaid) is an excellent Operation of the Essential faculties of real substances called Spirits; and that the highest and no­blest Creatures have it in the highest excellency: and though God that fitteth every thing to its use, hath gi­ven, e. g. a Dog a more perfect Sense of Smelling than a Man, yet Man's internal Sense is far more excellent than the Bruits, and thereby is an advantage to our In­tellection, Volition and Joy here in the Flesh: And [Page 202] that in Heaven we shall have not less, but more, even more excellent Sense and Affections of Love and Joy, as well as more excellent Intellection and Volition: but such as we cannot now clearly conceive of.

§ 13. Therefore there is great reason for all those Analogical collections which I have mentioned in my Book called, The Saints Rest; from the present opera­rations and pleasures of the Soul in Flesh, to help our Conceptions of its future pleasures: And though we cannot conclude that they will not unconceivably differ in their manner from what we now feel, I doubt not but feel and rejoice we shall, as certainly as Live (and the Soul is Essential Life) and that our Life, and Feel­ing, and Joy, will be unconceivably better.

The Concluding Application.

§ 1. I am convinced that it is far better to depart and be with Christ, than to be here: But there is much more than such conviction necessary to bring up my Soul to such desires. Still there resisteth, 1. The natu­tural averseness to Death which God hath put into every Animal, and which is become inordinate and too strong by sin. II. The remnants of Unbelief, taking advantage of our darkness here in the Flesh, and our too much familiarity with this visible World. III. The want of more lively fortasts in a heavenly mind and love, through weakness of Grace, and the fear of Guilt. These stand up against all that is said; and words will not overcome them: what then must be done? Is there no remedy?

§ 2. There is a Special sort of the Teaching of God [Page 203] by which we must learn so to number our Days as to apply our Hearts to Wisdom: Without which we shall ne­ver effectually, practically and savingly learn either this or any the most common and obvious easie Lesson. When we have read, and heard, and spoken, and written the soundest Truth, and certainest Arguments, we know yet as if we knew not and believe as if we believed not, with a slight and dreaming kind of apprehension, till God by a special Illumination bring the same things clearly to our Minds, and awaken the Soul by a special suscitation, to feel what we know, and suit the Soul to the Truth revealed, by an influx of his Love, which giveth us a pleasing sense of the Amiableness and Con­gruity of the things proposed. Since we separated our selves from God, there is a hedge of separation between our Senses and our Understandings, and between our Understandings and our Wills and Affections, so that the communion between them is violated, and we are divided in our selves, by this Schism in our Faculties. All men still see the demonstrations of Divine Per­fections, in the World and every part thereof; and yet how little is God known. All men may easily know that there is a God, who is Al­mighty, Omniscient, Goodness itself, Eternal, Om­nipresent, the Maker, Preserver, and Governour of all, who should have our whole Trust, and Love, and Obedience; and yet how little of this knowledge is to be perceived in mens Hearts to themselves, or in their Lives to others? All men know that the World is Va­nity, that Man must die, that Riches then profit not, that time is precious, and that we have only this little time to prepare for that which we must receive hereafter: And yet how little do men seem to know indeed, of all such things as no Man doubts of? And when God doth [Page 204] come in with his powerful awakening Light and Love, then all these things have another appearance of affect­ing reality, than they had before; as if but now we began to know them: Words, Doctrines, Persons, Things do seem as newly known to us.

All my best Reasons for our Immortality and future Life, are but as the New-formed Body of Adam, be­fore God breathed into him the Breath of Life: It is he that must make them Living Reasons. To the Father of Lights therefore I must still look up, and for his Light and Love I must still wait; as for his blessing on the Food which I have eaten, which must concoct it into my living substance: Arguments will be but un­digested Food, till God's effectual influx do digest them. I must learn both as a Student and a Beggar: when I have thought and thought a Thousand times, I must beg thy Blessing, Lord, upon my Thoughts, or they will all be but dulness or self-distraction. If there be no Motion, Light, and Life, here without the Influx of the Sun, what can Souls do, or receive or feel without thy influx. This World will be to us without thy Grace, as a Grave or Dungeon, where we shall lie in Death and Darkness. The eye of my Un­derstanding, and all its Thoughts will be useless or vexatious to me, without thine illuminating Beams? O shine the Soul of thy Servant into a clearer know­ledge of thy Self and Kingdom, and Love him into more Divine and heavenly love; and then he will wil­lingly come to thee!

§ 3. 1. And why should I strive by the fears of Death, against the common course of Nature, and against my only hopes of Happiness? Is it not appoint­ed for all men once to die? Would I have God to al­ter this determinate Course, and make sinful Man im­mortal [Page 205] upon Earth? When we are sinless we shall be immortal. The love of life was given to teach me to preserve it carefully and use it well, and not to torment me with the continual troubling foresight of Death: Shall I make my self more miserable than the Vegeta­tives and Bruits? Neither they nor I do grieve that my Flowers must fade and die, and that my sweet and pleasant Fruits must fall, and the Trees be uncloathed of their beauteous leaves, until the Spring. Birds, and Beasts, and Fishes, and Worms, have all a self-preserving fear of Death, which urgeth them to fly from danger: But few if any of them have a tormenting fear arising from the fore-thoughts that they must die. To the Bo­dy death is less troublesom than sleep: For in sleep I may have disquieting pains or dreams: And yet I fear not going to my bed. But of this before.

If it be the misery after Death that's feared, O what have I now to do, but to receive the free reconciling Grace which is offered me from Heaven, to save me from such misery, and to devote my self totally to him, who hath promised, that those that come to him he will in no wise cast out.

§ 4 But this cometh by my selfishness: Had I stu­died my duty, and then remembred that I am not mine own, and that it is God's part and not mine to deter­mine of the duration of my life, I had been quiet from these fruitless fears: But when I fell to my self from God, I am faln to care for my self, as if it were my work to measure out my Days, and now I trust not God as I should do with his own. And had my resig­nation and devotedness to him been more absolute, my trust in him would have been more easy! But Lord, thou knowest that I would fain be thine, and wholly thine; and it is to thee that I desire to live: There­fore [Page 206] let me quietly Die to Thee, and wholly Trust Thee with my Soul.

§ 5. II. And why should my want of formal Concep­tions of the future state of separated Souls, and my strangeness to the manner of their subsistence and opera­tions, induce me to doubt of those generals, which are evident, and beyond all rational doubting? That Souls are substances, and not annihilated, and essentially the same when they forsake the Body, as before, I doubt not. Otherwise neither the Christians Resurrection, nor the Pythagoreans transmigration were a possible thing. For if the Soul cease to be, it cannot pass into another Body, nor can it re-enter into this? If God raise this Body then it must be by another Soul! For the same Soul to be Annihilated, and yet to begin again to be, is a contradiction: For the second beginning would be by Creation, which maketh a new Soul, and not the same that was before. It is the Invisible things that are excellent, active, operative and permanent: The Visible (excepting Light which maketh all things else visible) are of themselves but lifeless dross: It is the un­seen part of Plants and Flowers which causeth all their growth and beauty, their fruit and sweetness: Passive Matter is but moved up and down by the invisible active Powers, as Chess-men are moved from place to place by the Gamesters hands: What a loathsom Corps were the World without the invisible Spirits and Natures that a­nimate, actuate or move it▪ To doubt of the being or con­tinuation of the most excellent Spiritual parts of the Crea­tion, when we live in a World that is actuated by them, and where every thing demonstrates them as their effects, is more foolish than to doubt of the being of these gross materials which we see.

§ 6. How oft have I been convinced that there are [Page 207] good Spirits with whom our Souls have as certain com­munion (though not so sensible) as our Life hath with the Sun, and as we have with one another? And that there are evil and envious Spirits that fight against our Holi­ness and Peace, as certain Narratives of Apparitions and Witches, and too sad experience of Temptations do evince. And the marvellous diversity of Creatures on Earth, for kind and number, yea, the diversity of Stars in Heaven, as well as the diversities of Angels, and Devils, do partly tell me, that though All be of One, and through One, and to One, yet absolute Unity is the divine Prerogative, and we must not presume to ex­pect such Perfection, as to lose our specifique or numeri­cal diversity by any Union which shall befall our Souls. Nor can I reasonably doubt that so noble and active a Nature as Souls, dwelling above in the lucid Regions, in communion with their like, and with their betters, shall be without the activity, the pleasure, and felicity, which is suitable to their Nature, their Region, and their Company. And my Saviour hath entered into the Holiest, and hath assured me that there are many Man­sions in his Fathers House, and that when we are ab­sent from the Body we shall be present with the Lord.

§ 7. Organical sight is given me for my use here in the Body: And a Serpent or a Hawk hath as much or more of this than I have: Mental knowledge reacheth further than sight, and is the act of a nobler Faculty, and for a higher use: Though it be the Soul itself embodied in the igneous Spirits that seeth, yet it is by a higher and more useful Faculty, that it understand­eth: And Faith is an understanding act: It knoweth things unseen because they are revealed. Who can think that all believing holy Souls, that have passed hence from the beginning of the World, have been [Page 208] deceived in their Faith and Hope? And that all the w [...]cked worldly Infidels, whose hope was only in this life, have been the wisest men and have been in the right: If Virtue, and Piety, are faults or fo [...]lies, and bruitish Sensual [...]ty be best, then why are not Laws made to command Sensual [...]ty, and forb [...]d Piety and Vir­tue? To say this, is to deny humanity, and the Wis­dom of our Creator, and to feign the World to be go­verned by a Lie, and to take the Perfection of our Nature for its disease, and our greatest disease for our Perfection. But if Piety, and Virtue, be better than Impiety and Vice, the Principles and necessary Motives of them are certainly true, and the exercise of them is not in vain. What abominable folly and wickedness were it to say the wicked only attain their ends, and that they all lose their labour, and live, and die in mise­rable deceit, who seek to please God in hope of a bet­ter life to come, believing that God is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him? Wou [...]d not this justi­fie the foolish Manichees that thought a bad God made this World; yea, and would infer that he not only made us for a mischief, but Ruleth u [...] to our deceit and hurt, and giveth us both Natural and Super­natural Laws, in ill will to us, to m [...]slead us to our misery, and to fill our lives with needless troubles: Shall I not abhor every suggestion that containeth such inhumane absurdities as these? Wonderful! that Satan can keep up so much Unbelief in the World, while he must make men such fools, that he may make them un­believers and ungodly.

§ 8. III. That my Soul is no more heavenly, and my foretast of future Blessedness is so small, is partly the fruit of those many wilful sins, by which I have quench­ed the Spirit that should be my Comforter: And it is [Page 209] partly from our common state of darkness and strange­ness, while the Soul is in Flesh, and operateth as the Bodies form, according to its Interest and Capacity: Affections are more easily stirred up to things seen, than to things that are both unseen, and known only very defectively, by general, and not by clear distinct ap­prehensions. And yet this, O this is the misery and burden of my Soul! Though I can say that I love God's Truth and Graces, his Work, and his Servants, and whatever of God I see in the World, and that this is a love of God in his Creatures, Word and Works; yet that I have no more desiring and delightful Love of Heaven, where his Loveliness will be more fully opened to my Soul, and that the thoughts of my speedy appear­ing there, are no more joyful to me, than they are, is my sin, and my calamity, and my shame: And if I did not see that it is so with other of the Servants of Christ, as well as with me, I should doubt whether affections so unproportionable to my Profession, did not signifie unsoundness in my belief. It is strange and shameful that one that expecteth quickly to see the glo­rious World, and to enter the Holy Celestial Society, should be no more joyfully affected with these hopes: And that I should make any great matter of the pain and langishing and perishing of the Flesh, when it is the common way to such an end? O hateful sin that hath so darkned and corrupted Souls, as to estrange and undispose them to the only state of their hoped happi­ness: Alas, what did Man when he forsook the Love and Obedience of his God? How just it is that this Flesh and World should become our Prison, which we would make our home, and would not use as our Lord appointed us, as our Servant and way to our better state? Though our way must not be our home, our Father [Page 210] would not have been so strange to us in the way, if we had not unthankfully turned away from his Grace and Love.

§ 9. It is to us that know not the Mysteries of In­finite Wisdom, the saddest thought that ever doth pos­sess our Minds, to consider that there is no more Grace and Holiness, knowledge of God, and communion with him in this World! That so few are Saints, and those few so lamentably defective and imperfect! That when the Sun shineth on all the Earth, the Sun of Righteousness shineth on so small a part of it, and so few live in the Love of God, and the joyful hopes of future Blessedness; and those few have so low a measure of it, and are corrupted and troubled with so many contra­ry affections. Infinite goodness is not undisposed to do good▪ He that made us capable of Holy and Heavenly affections, gave us not that Capacity in vain. And yet, alas, how little of God and Glory taketh up the Hearts of men!

But Man hath no cause to grudge at God! The Devils before their fall were not made indefectible! Divine Wisdom is delighted in the diversity of his Works, and maketh them not all of equal ex­cellency. Free will was to act its part! Hell is not to be as good as Heaven! And sin hath made Earth to be next to Hell! So much Sin, so much Hell! What is sin but a willful forsaking of God? And can we for­sake him and yet love him and enjoy his love! God's Kingdom is not to be judged of by his Jail, or Gibbets. We willfully forsook the Light, and made the World a Dungeon to our selves! And when recovering Light doth shine unto us, how unthankfully do we usually entertain it! We cannot have the conduct and com­fort of it while we shut our Eyes and turn away. And what though God give not to all men an overcoming measure, nor to the best so much as they desire? The Earth [Page 211] is but a spot or point of God's Creation; not so much as an Ant hillock to a Kingdom, or perhaps to all the Earth: And who is scandalized because the World hath an heap of Ants in it, yea, or a Nest of Snakes, that are not men! The vast unmeasurable Worlds of Light which be above us are possessed by Inhabitants suitable to their Glory! A Casement or Crevise of Light, or a Candle in this darksom World, is an unspeakable Mercy! yea, that we may but hear of a better World, and may seek it in Hope! we must not grudge that in our Prison we have not that presence of our King, and pleasures of the King­dom, as innocent and free Subjects have hope of Pardon, & of a speedy deliverance are great Mercies to Malefactors.

§ 10. And if my want of the Knowledge and Love of God, and joyful communion with the heavenly So­ciety, by my Prison and as the Suburbs of Hell, should it not make me long for the Day of my Redemption, and the glorious liberty of the Sons of God? My true de­sires of deliverance, and of Holiness and Perfection, are my Evidences that I shall obtain them. As the Will is the Sinner, so it is the obstinate continuance of a Will to sin, which is the bondage, and the cause of con­tinued sin: And a continued Hell, is continued sin, as to the first part at least: Therefore they that con­tinue in Hell, do continue in a sinning Will, and so continue in a Love and willingness of so much of Hell. So far as God maketh us willing to be delivered from sin, so far we are delivered: And our initial imperfect deliverance is the way to more. If pains then make me groan for ease, and sickness make me wish for Health, why should not my remnants of Ignorance, Unbelief, and Strangeness to God, occasion me to long for the Day of my Salvation? This is the greatest of all my troubles: And should it not then be the greatest [Page 212] wearying burden from which I should earnestly desire to be eased: As Grace never doth hurt efficiently, and yet may be ill used and do hurt objectively (as to them that are proud of it) so sin never doth good effi­ciently and of itself, and yet objectively may do good: For sin may be the Object of Grace, and so to use it is not sin. My unbelief, and darkness, and disaffection, and inordinate love of this life, do of themselves most hin­der my desires of deliverance and of a better life; but ob­jectively what more fit to make me a weary of such a grievous state? Were my unbelief and earthly mind predominant, they would chain my affections to this World; or if I were constrainedly weary of a miserable life, I should have no comfortable hopes of a better. But as it is the Nature of my sin to draw down my Heart from God and Glory, it is the nature of my Faith, and Hope, and Love to carry it upward, and to de­sire the heavenly Perfection: Not to love Death, but to love that which is beyond it. And have I been so ma­ny years in the School of Christ, learning both how to live and die, begging and studying for this Grace, and ex­ercising it against this sinful Flesh, and shall I now after all find Flesh more powerful to draw me downward, than Faith, Hope and Love to carry my desires up to God!

§ 11. ‘O God forbid! O thou that freely gavest me thy Grace, maintain it to the last against its Ene­mies, and make it finally victorious! It came from thee; it hath been preserved by thee; it is on thy side, and wholly for thee; O let it not now fail, and be conquered by blind and base Carnality, or by the temptations of a hellish conquered Enemy! without it I had lived as a Beast, and without it I should die more miserably than a Beast! It is thine Image which thou lovest; it is a Divine Nature, and heavenly [Page 213] Beam; what will a Soul be without it, but a Dun­geon of Darkness, a Devil for malignity, and dead to Holiness and Heaven? without it, who shall plead thy Cause against the Devil, World and Flesh? without thy Glory Earth is but Earth; without thy Natural Efficacy, it would be nothing; without thy wise and potent Ordination, it would be but a Chaos; and without thy Grace, it would be a Hell. O ra­ther deny me the Light of the Sun, than the Light of thy Countenance! Less miserable had I been with­out Life or Being, than without thy Grace. Without thee and my Saviour's help I can do nothing; I did not live without thee, I could not pray or learn with­out thee; I never could conquer a temptation without thee; and can I die, or be prepared to die without thee? Alas! I shall but say as Philip of Christ, I know not whither my Soul is going, and how then shall I know the way. My Lord having loved his own in the World, did love them to the end. Thou lovest fidelity and perseverance in thy Servants, even those that in his sufferings forsook him and fled, yet are commended and rewarded by Christ, for continuing with him in his temptations, Luk. 22. 28. And wilt thou forsake a sinner in his extremity, who consent­eth to thy Covenant, and would not forsake thee? My God, I have often sinned against thee, but yet thou knowest I would fain be thine: I have not ser­ved thee with the resolution, fidelity and delight, as such a Master should have been served, but yet I would not forsake thy service, nor change my Master or my Work; I can say with thy Servant Paul, Act. 27. 23. that thou art the GOD WHOSE I AM, and WHOM I SERVE; and O that I could serve thee better! For to serve thee, is but to Receive thy [Page 214] Grace, and to use it for my own, and others good, and so to glorifie thee, and please thy will, which being LOVE it self, is pleased best when we receive and do most good. I have not loved thee as Infinite Good­ness, and Love it self, and fatherly Bounty should have been loved; but yet I would not forsake thy Family; and nothing in this World is more my grief than that I love thee no more; forsake not then a sin­ner that would not forsake thee, that looketh every hour towards thee, that feeleth it as a piece of Hell to be so dark and strange unto thee, that gropeth, and groaneth, and gaspeth after thee; feeling to his grea­test sorrow, (though thou art every where) that while he is present in the body, he is absent from the Lord. My Lord, I have nothing to do in this World, but to seek and serve thee; I have nothing to do with a Heart and its affections, but to breath after thee? I have nothing to do with my Tongue and Pe [...], but to speak to thee, and for thee, and to publish thy Glory and thy Will? What have I to do with all my Reputation, and Interest in my Friends, but to increase thy Church, and propagate thy holy Truth and Service? What have I to do with my remain­ing Time, even these last and languishing hours, but to look up unto thee, and wait for thy Grace, and thy Salvation? O pardon all my carnal thoughts, and all my unthankful neglects of thy precious Grace, and Love, and all my wilful sin against thy Truth and thee! and let the fuller Communications of thy forfeited Grace, now tell me by experience that thou dost forgive me! Even under the terrible Law thou didst tell Man thy very Nature, by proclaiming thy Name, Exod. 34 6, 7. The Lord, the Lord God, mer­ciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in [Page 215] goodness and Truth, keeping mercy for thousands, for­giving iniquity, and transgression and sin; and is not the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed in the Gospel for our more abundant Faith and Conso­lation? My God, I know, as I cannot Love thee ac­cording to thy Loveliness, so I cannot Trust thee ac­cording to thy Faithfulness: I can never be suffici­ently confident of thy alsufficient Power, thy Wisdom, and thy Goodness. When I have said, as Psal. 77. 7. Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be fa­vourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his Promise fail to Generations? hath God for­gotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his ten­der mercies? Conscience hath replied, that This is my infirmity? I never wanted comfort, because thou wantedst mercy, but because I wanted Faith and fit­ness to receive it, and perceive it. But hast thou not mercy also to give me, even that Fitness, and that Faith? My God, all is of thee, and through thee, and all is to thee, and when I have the felicity, the Glory of all for ever will be thine. None that trusteth in thee (according to thy Nature and Promise) shall be asha­med: If I can live and die in Trusting in thee, surely I shall not be confounded.’

§ 12. Why then should it seem a difficult Que­stion, how I may willingly leave this World, and my Soul depart to Christ in Peace. The same Grace which regenerated me, must bring me to my desired end, as the same Principle of Vegetation which causeth the Bud must bring the Fruit to sweet maturity. 1. BE­LIEVE and TRUST thy Father, thy Saviour, and thy Comforter. II. And HOPE for the joyful enter­tainments of his Love, and for the blessed state which he hath promised. III. And long by LOVE for nearer [Page 216] Union and Communion with him; and thus, O my Soul, thou mayest depart in Peace.

I. How sure is the Promise of God? How suitable to his Love, and to the Nature of our Souls, and to the operations of every Grace? It is initially performed here, whilst our desires are turned towards him, and the heavenly seed and spark is here ingenerated in a Soul that was dead and dark, and disaffected. Is it any strange thing for Fire to ascend? yea or the fiery Prin­ciple of Vegetation in a Tree, to carry up the earthy matter to a great procerity? Is it strange that Rivers should hasten to the Sea? Whither should Spirits go but to the Region, or World of Spirits? and whither should Christ's Members, and holy Spirits go, but to himself, and the heavenly Society? And is not that a more holy and glorious place and state, than this be­low? Earth is between Heaven and Hell; a place of gross and passive matter, where Spirits may indeed operate upon that which needeth them, and where they may be detained a while in such operation, or as in­corporated Forms, if not incarcerate Delinquents; but it is not their center, end, or home. Even sight and reason might persuade me, that all the noble Invisible powers that operate on this lower World, do princi­pally belong unto a higher; and what can Earth add to their Essence, Dignity or Perfection?

§ 13. But why, O my Soul, art thou so vainly so­licitous, to have formal, clear, distinct, conceptions of the Celestial World, and the individuation, and opera­tions of separated Souls, any more than of the Angels? While thou art the formal Principle of an animated Body▪ thy conceptions must be but suitable to their present state and use: When thou art possessed of a better state, thou shalt know it as a possessor ought to do: [Page 217] For such a knowledge as thou lookest after, is part of the possession: And to long to Know and Love, in Clearness and Perfection, is to long to possess. It is thy Saviour and his glorified Ones, that are comprehensors and possessors! And it is his knowledge which must now be most of thy satisfaction. To seek his Prerogative to thy self is vain usurping arrogance? Wouldst thou be a God and Saviour to thy self? O consider how much of the fall is in this selfish care and desire to be as God, in knowing that of Good and Evil which be­longeth not to thee but to God to know. Thou know­est past doubt that there is a God of Infinite Perfection, who is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him: Labour more to know thy duty to this God, and abso­lutely Trust him as to the particularities of thy felicity and reward. Thou didst trust thy Parents to provide thee food and raiment, when thou didst but dutifully obey them: Though they could have forsaken thee or killed thee every hour, thou didst never fear it. Thou hast trusted Physicians to give thee even ungrateful Medicines, without enquiring after every ingredient, or fearing lest they should wilfully give thee Poyson! I trust a Barber with my Throat: I trust a Boatman or Shipmaster with my life: Yea, my Horse that might cast me; because I have no reason to distrust them, (saving their insufficiency and uncertainty as Creatures.) If a Pilote undertake to bring thee to the Indies, thou canst trust his conduct, though thou know thy self, neither the Ship, nor how to govern it, neither the way, nor the place to which thou art conveyed. And must not thy God and Saviour be trusted to bring thee safe to Heaven, unless he will satisfie all thy enquiries, of the individuation and operation of Spirits? Leave unsearchable and useless Questions to him that can easily [Page 218] resolve them, and to those to whom the knowledge of them doth belong. Thou dost but entangle thy self in sin and self-vexation, while thou wouldst take God's work upon thee, and wouldst know that for thy self, which he must know for thee: Thy knowledge and care for it, did not precede nor prepare for thy Gene­ration; nor for the motion of one Pulse or Breath, or for the Concoction of one bit of all thy Food, or the continuance of thy life one hour; supposing but thy care to use the means which God appointed thee, and to avoid things hurtful, and to beg his Blessing. The command of being careful for nothing, and casting all thy care on God, who careth for us, obligeth us in all things that are God's part; and for our Souls as well as for our Bodies: Yea, to Trust him with the greatest of our concerns, is our greatest duty; supposing we be careful about our own part, viz. to use the means and obey his Precepts. To dispose of a departing Soul is God's part and not ours! O how much evil is in this di­strustful self-providing Care! If I did but know what I would know about my Soul and my Self; and if I might but choose what condition it should be in, and be the final disposer of it my Self, O what satisfaction and joy would it afford me? And is not this to be part­ly a God to my self? Is he not fitter to know and choose, and dispose of me, than I am? I could Trust my self easily, even my Wit and Will in such a Choice, if I had but power. And cannot I trust God and my Redeemer, without all this care, and fear, and trouble, and all these particular enquiries? If you are convoy­ing your Child in a Boat, or Coach, by Water, or by Land, and at every turn he be crying out [O Father, whi­ther do we go? Or what shall I do? or I shall be drowned or fall;] Is it not rather his Trust in you, than the par­ticular [Page 219] satisfaction of his ignorant doubts, that must quiet and silence him? Be not then foolishly distrustful and inquisitive? Make not thy self thy own disquieter or tormentor▪ by an inordinate care of thy own secu­rity. Be not cast down, O departing Soul, nor by un­belief disquieted within me: Trust in God, for thou shalt quickly by experience be taught to give him thanks and praise, who is the health of my countenance and my God.

§ 14. O what clear reason! What great experience do command me to Trust him? absolutely and implicitly to Trust him, and to distrust my self.

1. He is Essential Infinite Perfection, Power, Wis­dom and Love? There is in him all that should invite and encourage rational trust, and nothing that should discourage it.

2. There is nothing in any Creature to be trusted, but God in that Creature, or God working in and by it. Distrust him and there is nothing to be trusted: Not the Earth to bear me, nor the Air to breath in, much less any mutable Friend.

3. I am altogether his Own: His Own by right, and his own by devotion and consent: And shall I not trust him with his own.

4. He is the great Benefactor of all the World, that giveth all good to every Creature, not by con­straint, nor by commutation, but as freely as the Sun giveth forth its light: And shall we not trust the Sun to shine?

5. He is my Father and special Benefactor; and hath taken me into his Family as his Child: And shall I not trust my heavenly Father?

6. He hath given me his Son as the great Pledge of his Love: And what then will he think too dear for me? Will he not with him give me all things, Rom. 8.

[Page 220] 7. His Son came purposely to reveal the Fathers un­speakable Love, and purpose to save us: And shall I not trust him that hath proclaimed his Love and Recon­ciliation by such a Messenger from Heaven.

8. He hath given me the Spirit of his Son, even the Spirit of Adoption, which is the surest Character of his Child, the Witness, Pledge, and Earnest of Heaven, the Name, and Mark of God upon me, HOLINESS TO THE LORD; and yet shall I not believe his Love and Trust him?

9. He hath made me a Member of his Son, and so far already united me to him: And will he not take care of the Members of his Son? Will he lose those that are given him? Is not Christ to be trusted with his Members.

10. I am his interest and the interest of his Son: Freely beloved; dearly bought! For whom so much is suffered and done, that he is pleased to call us his peculiar Treasure. And may I not trust him with his dear bought Treasure.

11. He hath stated me in a relation to Angels, who rejoiced at my Repentance, and to the heavenly Socie­ty which shall not miss the smallest part: Angels shall not lose their joy, nor ministration.

12. He is in Covenant with me; even the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: He hath given me many great and precious Promises: And shall I fear lest he will break his Word or Covenant?

13. My Saviour is the forerunner, entred into the Holiest, and there appearing and interceeding for me: And this after he had conquered Death, and risen again to assure me of a future life, and ascended into Heaven to shew us whither we must ascend; and that after these comfortable words, SAY TO MY BRETHREN, I ASCEND TO MY FATHER AND YOUR FA­THER, [Page 221] TO MY GOD AND YOUR GOD, Joh. 20. 17. And shall I not follow him through Death, and trust such a Guide and Captain of my Salvation?

14. He is there to prepare a place for me, and will take me to himself? And may I not confidently ex­pect it.

15. He told a Malefactor on the Cross, that he should that day be with him in Paradise, to tell be­lieving Sinners what they may expect.

16. The Church by the Article of his Descent in­to Hell, hath signified their common belief, that his separated Soul, had its subsistence and operation, and did not sleep or perish, to tell us the Immortality of se­parated Souls.

17. His Apostles and other Servants have on earth served him all with these expectations.

18. The Spirits of the perfected Just are now in possession of what I hope for! And I am a follower of them who by Faith and Patience have attained the pro­mised Felicity! And may I not trust him to save me who hath already saved Millions in this way? When I could trust a Ferriman to pass me over a River, that had safely passed over Thousands before me: Or I could trust a Physician who cureth all that he under­taketh of the same Disease.

19. I must be at his disposal whether I will or not: I shall live while he will, and die when he will, and go whither he will: I may sin and vex my Soul with fears, and cares, and sorrows, but I shall never pre­vail against his will.

20. Therefore there is no Rest for Souls but in the Will of God: That will created us, and that will did govern us, and that will shall be fulfilled on us. It was our Efficient and our Regent Cause, and it shall be our [Page 222] End. Where else is it that we should rest? In the will of men, or Angels, or in our own wills? All Creatures are but Creatures: And our own Wills have undone us: They have misgoverned us, and they are our greatest Enemies; our Disease, our Prison, and our Death, till they are brought over to the will of God: Till then they are like a Foot out of joint; like a Child or Sub­ject in Rebellion! There is no rectitude or health, no order, no peace or true felicity, but in the Conformity of our wills to the will of God. And shall I die in di­strustful striving against his will, and desiring to keep up my own before it.

21. What abundant experience have I had of God's fidelity and love? and after all this shall I not trust him? His undeserved Mercy gave me being, it chose my Parents; it gave them a tender love to me, and desire of my good; it taught them to instruct me early in his Word, and to Educate me in his fear: It chose me suitable Company and Habitation: It gave me betimes a teachable ingeny: It chose my School-masters: It brought to my Hands many ex­cellent and suitable Books: It gave me some profitable publick Teachers: It placed me in the best of Lands on Earth; and I think in the best of Ages which that Land had seen: It did early destroy all great expectati­ons and desires of the World, teaching me to bear the Yoak from my youth, and causing me rather to groan under my infirmities, than to fight with strong and po­tent Lusts: It chastened me betimes, but did not de­stroy me. Great Mercy hath trained me up all my daies, since I was Nineteen years of Age, in the School of Affliction, to keep my sluggish Soul awake in the constant expectations of my change, and to kill my Pride, and overvaluing of this World, and to lead all [Page 223] my studies to the most necessary things, and as a Spur to excite my Soul to seriousness, and especially to save me from the supine neglect and loss of time: O what un­speakable Mercy hath a life of constant but gentle Chastisement proved to me? It urged me against all dull delays, to make my Calling and Election sure, and to make ready my accounts as one that must quickly give them up to God. The Face of Death, and nearness of Eternity, did much convince me, what Books to read, what studies to perfer and prosecute, what Company and Conversation to choose! It drove me early into the Vineyard of the Lord; and taught me to preach as a dying Man to dying men: It was Divine Love and Mercy which made Sacred Truth, so pleasant to me, that my life hath been (under all my infirmities) al­most a constant recreation and delight, in its discove­ries, contemplation, and practical use: How happy a Teacher have I had? What excellent help, and sweet illumination? How far beyond my expectation hath Divine Mercy encouraged me in his Sacred work? How congruously did he choose every place of my Mi­nistration, and Habitation to this day, without my own forecast or seeking? When and where since he first sent me forth, did I labour in vain? How many are gone to Heaven, and how many are in the way, to whom he hath blessed the Word which in weakness I did by his Grace and Providence deliver? Many good Christians are glad of now and then an Hours time, to meditate on God's Word, and recreate themselves in his holy worship; but God hath allowed and called me, to make it the constant business of my life. My Library hath afforded me both profitable and plea­sant company and help, at all times, when ever I would use them. I have dwelt among the shining [Page 224] Lights, which the Learned, Wise, and Holy men of all Ages have set up, and left to illuminate the World. How many comfortable Hours have I had in the Socie­ty of living Saints, and in the love of faithful Friends? How many joyful Daies have I had in the solemn As­semblies, where God hath been worshipped with seri­ousness and alacrity, by concordant though imperfect Saints. Where the Spirit of Christ hath manifested his presence, by helping my self and my Brethren in speak­ing, and the People in ready delightful hearing, and all of us in loving and gladly receiving his Doctrine, Covenant and Laws? How unworthy was such a sin­ful Worm as I (who never had any Academical helps, nor much from the Mouth of any Teacher) that Books should become so great a Blessing to me, and that quite be­yond my own intentions, God should induce or constrain me to provide any such like helps for others? How unwor­thy was I to be kept from the multiplied snares of Sects and Errours which reigned in this Age, and to be used as a means for other mens preservation and reduction: And to be kept in a love of Unity and Peace: How unworthy was I that God should make known to me so much of his reconciling truth, while extreams did round about prevail, and were commended to the Churches by the advantages of Piety on one side, and of worldly Prosperity and Power on the other? And the God should use me above thirty Years in so comfortable a work as to plead and write for Love, Peace and Concord, and to vouchsafe me so much success therein as he hath done, notwithstanding the general prevalency of the conten­tious military Tribe. Mercy I have had in Peace, and Li­berty in times of Violence: And Mercy I have had in Wars, living two years in safety in a City of defence in the very midst of the Land, (Coventry,) and seeing [Page 225] no enemy while the Kingdom was in Wars and Flames; and only hearing of the common Calamities round about: And when I went abroad and saw the effects of humane folly and fury, and of God's displeasure, he mercifully kept me from hurting any one, and be­ing hurt by any: How many a time hath he preserved me by Day and Night, in difficulties and dangers, from the Malice of Satan, and from the Wrath of Man, and from accidents which threatned sudden Death: While I beheld the ruines of Towns and Countreys, and the Fields covered with the Carkasses of the slain, I was preserved and returned home in Peace. And O how great was the mercy which he shewed me, in a teachable tra­ctable, peaceable, humble, unanimous People? So many in number, and so exemplary in quality; who to this Day keep their Integrity and Concord, when violence hath separated me from them Twenty two years: Yea, the like Mercy of acceptance and success beyond my expecta­tion, he hath shewed me every where I have had oppor­tunity of free ministration; even where there were many Adversaries I have had an open Door, in the midst of hu­mane Wrath and Rage, he hath preserved my Liberty beyond expectation, and continued my acceptance and success. When I might not speak by Voice to any single Congregation, he enabled me to speak by Wri­tings to many; and for the success of my plainest & popular writings, which cost me least, I can never be sufficiently thankful: Some of which he sent to preach abroad in other Languages in forreign Lands. When my Mouth with Eighteen hundred or Two thousands more had been many years stopped, he hath since opened them in some degree; and the sufferings intended us by men have been partly put by, and partly much alleviated by his Providence, and the hardness of our Terms hath not so much hind [...]ed the success of faithful Labours as we [Page 226] feared, and as others hoped it would have done. I have had the comfort of seeing some Peace and Concord and Prosperity of Truth and Piety kept up, under the utmost opposition of diabolical and humane Power, Po­licy, and Wrath: When I have been sent to the common Jail for my service and obedience to him, he hath there kept me in peace, and soon delivered me. He hath made the Mouths of my greatest Enemies who have studied my defamation and my ruine, to become my Witnesses and Compurgators, and to cross their own designs: How wonderful is it that I should so long dwell in so much peace, in the midst of those that seemed to want neither Power nor Skill, and much less Will, to tread me down into contempt and misery? And O how many a danger, fear and pain hath he delivered this frail and languishing Body from? How oft hath he succoured me, when Flesh, and Heart, and Art have failed? He hath cured my consuming Coughs, and many a time stayed my flowing Blood; he hath eased my pained Limbs, and support'd a weary macerat'd Skeleton: He hath fetcht me up from the Jaws of Death, and reversed the Sen­tence which men have passed on me: How many Thou­sand weary days have been sweetned with his pleasant work? And how many Thousand painful weary Nights have had a comfortable Morning? How many Thou­sand strong and healthful Persons have been taken away by Death, whilst I have been upheld under all this weak­ness? Many a time have I cryed to the Lord in my trouble and he hath delivered me out of my distress? I have had Forty years added to my Daies, since I would have been full glad of Hezekiah's promise of Fifteen? Since the day that I first preached his Gospel, I expected not of long time to live above a Year; and I have lived since then Forty years; when my own [Page 227] Prayers were cold and unbelieving how many Hundreds have prayed for me: And what strange deliverances, encouraging Fasting and Prayer have I oft had, upon their importunate requests? My Friends have been faithful, and the few that proved unfaithful have pro­fitably taught me, to place no confidence in Man, and and not to be inordinately affected to any thing on Earth; for I was forsaken by none of them, but those few that I excessively valued and overloved: My Re­lations have been comfortable to me, contrary to my deserts, and much beyond my expectations: My Ser­vants have been faithful: My Neighbours have been kind: My Enemies have been impotent, harmless or profitable: My Superiours have honoured me by their respectful words, and while they have afflicted me, as supposing me a remora to their designs, they have not destroyed, but protected me! To my inferiours God hath made me in my low capacity somwhat helpful? I have been protected in ordinary health and safety, when the raging Pestilence came near my Habita­tion, and consumed an Hundred thousand Citizens! My dwelling hath been safe when I have seen the glory of the Land in flames, and after beheld the dismal ruines! When violence separated me from my too much beloved Library, and drove me into a poor and smoaky House, I never had more help of God, nor did more difficult work than there! What pleasant re­tirements and quietness in the Countrey have been the fruits of persecuting Wrath? And I must not forget, when I had more publick liberty, how he saved me and all my Hearers, even by a wonder from being buried in the ruines of the Fabrick where we were; and others from the Calamitous, Scandal, and Lamentati­ons, which would else have followed: And it is not a Mercy to be extenuated, that when the Tongues and [Page 228] Pens of all Sects among us, and of pro [...]d self-exalters, and of some worthy Pious differing Brethren, have been long and vehemently bent against me, when my in­famy hath been endeavoured by abundance of Volumes by the backbiting of angry dividers of all sorts, and by the calumniating accusations of some that were too high to be gain-said, and would not endure me to an­swer them and vindicate my innocency; yet, all these together were never able to fasten their accusations, and procure any common belief, nor to bring me un­der the designed contempt, much less to break my com­forts, encouragements or labours.

These, all these, and very many more than these, are my Experiences of that wondrous MERCY which hath measured my Pilgrimage, and filled up my daies. Never did God break his Promise with me! Never did he fail me nor forsake me: Had I not provoked him by rash and wilful sinning, how little Interruption of my peace and comforts, had I ever been likely to have had. And shall I now distrust him at the last? Shall I not Trust, and quietly Trust, that Infinite Wisdom, Love, and Power, whom I have so long trusted, and found so good?

Nature teacheth Man to love best those Animals that are tame and tractable, that trust us and love us, that will come to our hands and love our Company, that will be familiar with us and follow us; be it Horse or Dog, Beasts or Birds: But those that are wild and live in Woods, and fly from the Face of Man, are ta­ken to be the Game and Preys of any one that can catch and kill them. And shall my foolish Soul thus wildly fly from the Face of God? Shall his Children be like the fearful Hare? Or like a guilty Cain? Or like an unbelieving Sadduce, that either believeth not, or hopeth not for, the forgiveness of sin, and the life Everlasting? Doth not the Spirit of Adoption incline [Page 229] us to love our Fathers presence, and to be loth to be long from home? To distrust all Creatures, even thy self, is not unreasonable; but to distrust God hath no just excuse. Fly from Sin, from Satan, from Temp­tations, from the World, from sinful Flesh and Idol-self: But fly not from him that is Goodness, Love and Joy itself: Fear thine Enemy, but Trust thy Father: If thy Heart be reconciled to Him and his Service, by the Spirit, he is certainly reconciled to thee through Christ▪ And if he be for thee, and justifie and love thee, who shall be against thee, or condemn thee, or separate thee from his Love? If thy unreconciled will, do make thee doubt of his reconciliation, it's time to abhor and lay by thy Enmity: Consent, and be sure that he con­senteth: Be willing to be his, and in Holiness to serve him, and to be united in joyful Glory to him, and then be sure that he is willing to accept thee, and re­ceive thee to that Glory. O dark and sinful Soul! how little dost thou know thy Friend, thy Self, or God, if thou canst more easily and quietly trust thy Life, thy Soul and Hopes to the will of thy Friend or of thy self (if thou hadst power) than to the will of God? Every Dog would be at home and with his Master; much more every ingenuous Child with his Father: And tho Enemies distrust us, Wife and Children will not do so, while they b [...]lieve us just. And hath God ever shewed himself either unfaithful or unmerciful to me?

‘To thee, O Lord, as to a faithful Creator I commit my Soul, 1 Pet. 4. 19. I know that thou art the faith­ful God who keepest Covenant and Mercy with them that love thee, and keep thy Commandments, Deut. 7. 9. Thou art faithful who hast called me to the com­munion of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, 1 Cor. 1. 9. Thy faithfulness hath saved me in and from temp­tation, 1 Cor. 10. 13. It hath stablished me and [Page 230] kept me from prevailing evil, 2 Thess. 3. 3. And if will keep my Spirit, Soul and Body to the coming of Christ, 1 Thess. 5. 23, 24. It is in faithfulness that thou hast afflicted me, Ps. 119. 75. and shall not I trust thee then to save me? It is thy faithful Word, that all thine Elect shall obtain the Salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal Glory, and if we be dead with him, shall live with him and if we suffer we shall al­so reign with him, 2 Tim. 2. 10, 11, 12.’

‘To thee, O my Saviour I commit my Soul; it is thine own by Redemption; it is thine own by Cove­nant? It is marked and Sealed by thy Spirit as thine own: and thou hast promised not to lose it, Joh. 6. 39. Thou wast made like us thy Brethren, that thou mightest be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for our Sins: By thy Blood we have boldness to enter into the Holiest, even by the new and living consecrated way! Cause me to draw near with a sincere Heart, in full assurance of Faith, by thee that art the High Priest over the House of God: For he is faithful that has promised life through thee, Heb. 10. 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. Thy Name is Faithful and True, Rev. 19. 11. and Faithful and True are all thy Promises, Rev. 22. 6. & 21. 5. Thou hast promised Rest to weary Souls that come to thee, Matth. 11. 28. 2 Thess. 1. 7. I am weary of suffering and weary of sin; weary of my flesh, and weary of my darkness, and dulness, and distance, and of this wicked blind, unrighteous, and confounded World! And whither should I look for Rest but home to my heavenly Father and to Thee? I am but a bruised Reed, but thou wilt not break me: I am but a smoaking Flax, but thou wilt not quench what thy Grace hath kindled; but thou in whose Name the Nations trust, wilt bring forth judgment un­to [Page 231] Victory, Matth. 12. 20, 21. The Lord redeem­eth the Souls of his Servants, and none of them that trust in thee shall be desolate, Psa. 34. 22. Therefore will I wait on thy Name, for it is good, and will trust in the Mercy of God for ever, Psal. 52. 8, 9. The Lord is Good; a strong-hold in the day of trou­ble, and he knoweth them that trust in him, Nah. 1. 7. sinful fear is a snare; but he that putteth his trust in the Lord shall be set on high, Prov. 29. 25. Bles­sed is the Man that maketh the Lord his trust, and re­specteth not the Proud and such as turn aside to lies, Psal. 40. 4. Thou art my hope, O Lord God, thou art my trust from my youth [...]: By thee have I been holden up from the Womb, my praise shall be con­tinually of thee: Cast me not off now in the time of Age; forsake me not when my strength faileth, O God, thou hast taught me from my youth, and hi­therto have I declared thy wondrous works: Now also when I am old and gray, O God, forsake me not, Psal. 17. 5, 6, 9, 17, 18. Leave not my Soul destitute; for mine Eyes are toward thee, & my trust is in thee, Psa. 14. 8. I had fainted unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the Land of the Living: Even where they that live shall die no more.’ The Sun may cease to shine on Man, and the Earth to bear us; but God will never cease to be Love, nor to be faithful in his Pro­mises. Blessed be the Lord, who hath commanded me so safe and quietting a duty, as to trust him, and cast all my cares on him, as on one that hath promised to care for me!

11. And blessed be God who hath made it my Duty to HOPE for his Salvation: HOPE is the Ease, yea, the life of our Hearts that else would break, yea, die within us. De­spair is no small part of Hell. God cherisheth Hope as he is the lover of Souls: Satan our Enemy cherisheth Despair, when his way of blind Presumption faileth. As Fear is a [Page 232] foretast of Evil, before it is felt; so Hope doth anticipate and foretast Salvation before it is possessed. It is then worldly Hypocrites Hope that perisheth, for all that Hope for true or durable Happiness on Earth, in the pleasures of this perishing Flesh, must needs be deceived. But happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose Hope is in the Lord his God, which made Heaven and Earth, which keepeth Truth for ever, Ps. 146. 5, 6. Wo to me, were my Hope only in the time and matters of this fleshly life, 1 Cor. 15. 19. But the Righ­teous hath hope in his Death, Prov. 14 32. And Hope maketh not ashamed, Rom. 5. 5. Blessed is the Man that trusteth in the Lord, whose Hope the Lord is, Jer. 17. 7. Lay hold then, O my Soul, upon the Hope which is set before thee, Heb. 6. 18. It is thy firm and stedfast Anchor, v. 19. without it thou wilt be as a shipwrackt Vessel. Thy foundation is sure; it is God himself: Our Faith and Hope are both in God, 1 Pet. 1. 21. It is Jesus our Lord who is risen from the Dead, and Reigneth in Glory Lord of all, 1 Tim. 1. 1. Yea it is the Christ who by Faith doth dwell with­in us, who is our Hope of Glory, Eph. 3. 17. Col. 1. 27. In this Hope which is better than the Law that Mo­ses gave, it is that we draw nigh to God, Heb. 7. 19. It is the Holy Ghost that is both our Evidence and the Efficient of our Hope, Gal. 5. 5. Rom. 8. 16, 23. By him we hope for that which we see not, and therefore wait in Patience for it. v. 24, 25. By Hope we are saved: It is an encouraging Grace, which will make us stir, when as despair doth kill endeavours: It cureth sloth, and makes us diligent and constant to the end, and by this doth help us to full assurance, Heb. 6. 11, 12. It is a desiring Grace, and would fain obtain the Glory hoped for. It is a quieting and comforting Grace, Rom. 15. 4. The God of Hope doth fill us [Page 233] with Joy and Peace in believing that we may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost, v. 13. Shake off despondency, O my Soul, and rejoice in hope of the Glory of God. Rom. 5. 2. Believe in Hope, though dying Flesh would tell thee that it is against Hope, Rom. 4. 18. God that cannot lie, hath con­firmed his Covenant by his immutable Oath, that we might have strong consolation who are fled for refuge to the Hope which is set before us, Heb. 6. 18. What blessed preparations are made for our Hope? And shall we now let the Tempter shake it or discou­rage it? The abundant Mercy of God the Father hath begotten us again to a lively hope, by the Resur­rection of Christ, to an Inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away reserved in Hea­ven for us, 1 Pet. 1. 3. Grace teacheth us to deny un­godliness and worldly Lusts, and to live soberly, righ­teously, and godly in this World, as looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the Great God and our Saviour, Tit. 2. 12, 13. We are renewed by the Holy Ghost and justified by Grace, that we should be made Heirs according to the hope of Eternal life, Tit. 3. 6, 7. We are illuminated that we may know the hope of Christ's calling, and what is the riches of the Glory of his Inheritance in the Saints, Eph. 1. 18, 19. The Hope that is laid up for us in Heaven, is the chief Doctrine of the Gospel, which bringeth Life and Immortality into clearer Light, Col. 1. 5. 2 Tim. 1. 10. It is for this hope that we keep a Con­science void of offence, and that God is served in the World, Act. 24. 15, 16. & 26. 7. wherefore gird up the loins of thy Mind: put on this Helmet, the hope of Salvation, 1 Thes. 5. 8. and let not Death seem to thee as it doth to them that have no hope, 1 Thess. 4. 13. The love of our Father and our Saviour have given us [Page 234] everlasting Consolation, and good hope through Grace [...] to comfort our Hearts and stablish them in every good word and work, 2 Thess. 2. 16, 17. Keep therefore the rejoicing of Hope firm to the end, Heb. 3. 6. continue grounded and settled in the Faith, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, Col. 1. 23. 1 Pet. 1. 13. And now Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee, Psal. 39. 7. Uphold me according to thy Word, that I may live, and let me not be ashamed of my Hope, Psal. 119. 116. Though mine Iniqui­ties testifie against me, yet O thou that art the hope of of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble, be not as a stranger to my Soul (Jer. 14. 7, 8.) Thy Name is called upon by me, O forsake me not, v. 9. Why have our Eyes beheld thy Wonders, and why have we had thy Covenant and thy Mercies, but that we might set our hope in God, Psal. 78. 5, 7. Remember the Word to thy Servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. Psal. 119. 49. If thou Lord shouldst mark Ini­quity, O Lord, who should stand? But there is for­giveness with thee, that thou maist be feared: I wait for the Lord; my Soul doth wait, and in his Word do I hope: I will hope in the Lord, for with him there is Mercy and plenteous Redemption, Psal. 130. 3, 4, 5, 7. For he taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his Mercy, Psal. 147. 11. Though Flesh and Heart fail, the Lord is the Rock of my Heart; he is my Portion, saith my Soul, therefore will I hope in him: The Lord is good to them that wait for him; to the Soul that seeketh him: It is good that I should both hope, and quietly wait for the Sal­vation of the Lord: It is good for me that I have born the Yoak in my Youth, and that I keep silence and put my Mouth in the Dust, if so be there may be [Page 235] hope, Psal. 73. 26. Lam. 3. 24, 25, 26, 27, 29.

God need not flatter such Worms as we, nor pro­mise us that which he never meaneth to perform: He hath laid the rudiments of our hope, in a nature capa­ble of desiring, seeking, and thinking of another life: He hath called me by Grace, to actual desires and en­deavours: And some foretasts he hath vouchsafed: I look for no Heaven, but the Perfection of Divine Life, Light, and Love in endless Glory with Christ and his holy Ones: And this he hath begun in me already: And shall I not boldly hope when I have the capacity, the promise, and the earnest and foretast? Is it not God himself that hath caused me to hope; was not Nature, Promise, and Grace from him? And can a Soul miscar­ry and be deceived, that departeth hence in a hope of God's own causing and encouraging? Lord, I have lived in hope? I have prayed in hope: I have labour­ed, suffered and waited in hope: And by thy Grace I will die in hope? And is not this according to thy Word and Will? And wilt thou cast away a Soul that hopeth in thee, by thine own Command and Operation▪ Had Wealth and Honour, or continuance on Earth, or the favour of Man, been my reward & hope, my hope & I had died together: Were this our best, how vain were Man? But the Lord liveth, and my Redeemer is glorified and interceedeth for me! And the same Spirit is in Heaven, who is in my Heart; (As the same Sun is in the Firma­ment which is in my House:) And the Promise is sure to all Christ's Seed: And Millions are now in Heaven, that once did live and die in hope; they were Sinners once as now I am: They had no other Saviour, no other Sanctifier, no other Promise than I now have, con­fessing that they were Strangers here, they looked for a better Countrey, and for a City that had Foundati­ons, [Page 236] even a heavenly where now they are: And shall I not follow them in hope that have sped so well? Hope then O my Soul unto the end, 1 Pet. 1. 13. From henceforth and for ever hope in the Lord, Psal. 131. 13. I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more; my Mouth shall shew forth thy Righ­teousness and Salvation, Psal. 71. 14, 15. The Lord is at my right Hand; I shall not be moved: My Heart therefore is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my Flesh also shall dwell confidently and rest in hope; for God hath shewed me the path of Life; in his presence is fulness of joy, and at his right Hand are pleasures for evermore, Psal. 16. 8, 9, 10, 11.

III. What then remaineth, O my Soul, but that in TRUST and HOPE thou LOVE thy God, thy Sa­viour, thy Comforter, the Glorious Society, thy own Perfection in Glorious, Endless, Heavenly Life, and Light, and Love, and the Joyful Praises of Jehovah, better then this burden of painful and corruptible Flesh, and this howling Wilderness, the Habitation of Serpents and untamed Bruits, where unbelief and murmuring, Lust and Folly, Injustice and Uncharitableness, Tyranny and Divisions, Pride and Contention, have long pro­voked God, and wearied thee? Where the Vintage and Harvest is Thorns and Thistles, Sin and Sorrows, Cares and Crosses, manured by manifold Temptations! How odious is that darkness and unbelief, that unholi­ness and disaffection, that deadness and stupidity, which maketh such a work as this, so reasonable, necessary, and pleasant a work, to seem unsuitable or hard! Is it unsuitable or hard to the Eye to see the Sun and Light? Or by it to see the beautified World? Or for a Man to love his Life or Health; his Father or his Friend? What should be easier to a Nature that hath rational [Page 237] LOVE, than to Love him, that is Essential LOVE it­self: He that loveth all, and giveth to all the Loving faculty, should be loved by all: And he that hath spe­cially loved me should be specially loved by me?

Love is the Perfection of all thy Preparations: It de­sireth to Please God; and therefore to be in the most pleasing state, and freed from all that is displeasing to him; which is not to be hoped for on Earth: It de­sireth all suitable nearness, acquaintance, union and communion: It is weary of distance, estrangedness, and alien society, and affairs: It taketh advantage of every notice, intimation, or mention of God, to renew and exercise these desires: Every Message, and Mercy from him is fewel for Love, and while we are short of Perfection stir up our desires after more! When Love tasteth of the Grapes it would have the Vine: When it tasteth of the Fruits it would dwell where they grow, and possess the Land! Its thoughts of Proximity and fruition are sweet. No other Person or Thing can satisfie it. The Soul is where it loveth: If our Friend dwell in our Hearts by Love; and if fleshly Pleasure, Riches, and Honour, do dwell in the Heart of the Vo­luptuous, the Covetous, and the Proud, surely God and our Redeemer, the heavenly Society, Holiness, and Glory, do dwell in the Heart which loveth them with a fervent Love! And if Heaven dwell in my Heart, shall I not desire to dwell in Heaven? Light and Light, Fire and Fire are not more inclined to uni­on then Love and Love; Gracious Love, and Glori­ous Love: Would Divine Original, Universal LOVE, communicate and pour out itself more plentifully upon my Heart, how easy would it be to leave this Flesh and World? And to hear the Sentence of my departure to my God? Death and the Grave would be but a Tri­umph [Page 238] for victorious Love: It would be easier to die in Peace and Joy, than to rest at Night, or to come home from my Travel to my beloved Friends, or to go when I am hungry to a Feast: A Little Love hath made me study willingly, and preach willingly, and write willingly, yea, and suffer somwhat willingly; and would not more make me go more willingly to God? Shall the imagination of House, Gardens, Walks, Libraries, Prospects, Meadows, Orchards, Hills, and Rivers, allure the desires of deceived Minds? And shall not the Thoughts of the heavenly Mansions, Society and Delights, much more allure and draw up my desires? The reading of a known Fiction of a Ci­vitas Solis, an Utopia, an Atlantis, &c. hath pleased many: But if I did believingly hear of such a Coun­trey in the World, where men did never die, nor were sick, or weak or sad, where the Prince were perfectly just and pious, wise and peaceable, devoted to God and the publick good; and the Teachers were all wise ju­dicious men, of Universal certain knowledge, perfectly acquainted with the Matter and Method of Natural and Theological Truths, and all their duty, and all of one Mind, and of one Heart, and Tongue and Pra­ctice; loving each other, and the People as themselves, and leading the Flocks heavenward through all temp­tations, with triumphant hopes and joy; where all the People perfectly obeyed God, their Commanders and their Teachers, and lived in perfect Love, Unity, and Peace, and were daily employed in the joyful praises of God and hopes of Glory, and in doing all possible good to one another, contending with none through ignorance, uncharitableness or pride, nor ever re­proaching injuring or hurting one another, &c. I say, if I knew or heard of such a Countrey, should I not [Page 239] love it before I ever see it, and earnestly desire to be there? Nay, do I not over-love this distracted World, where Tyranny sheddeth streams of Blood, and layeth desolate Cities and Countries, and exposeth the misera­ble Inhabitants to lamentable Distress and Famine; where the same Tyranny sets up the Wicked, re­proacheth and oppresseth the Just and Innocent, keep­eth out the Gospel, and keepeth up Idolatry, Infidelity, and Wickedness in the far greatest part of all the Earth; where Satan chooseth Pastors too often for the Churches of Christ, even such as by Ignorance, Pride, Sensuali­ty, Worldliness, and Malignity, become Thorns and Thistles, yea, devouring Wolves, to those whom they should feed and comfort; where no two Persons are in all things of a Mind; where Evil is commended, and Truth, and Goodness accused and oppressed, be­cause mens Minds are unacquainted with them or un­suitable to them: And those that are the greatest pre­tenders to Truth, do most eagerly contend against it and oppose it; and almost all the World are scolding or scuffling in the Dark: And where there appeareth but little hopes of a remedy: I say, can I love such a World as this? And shall I not think more delightfully of the In­heritance of the Saints in Light, and the uniting Love and joyful praises of the Church triumphant and the heavenly Chore?

Should I not love a Lovely and a Loving World much better than a World where there is comparatively [...] little Loveliness or Love? All that is of God is Good and Lovely: But it is not here that his Glory shineth in felicitating Splendor: I am taught to look upward when I pray, and to say, Our Father which art in Hea­ven: God's works are amiable even in Hell; and yet though I would know them, I would not be there: [Page 240] And, alas, how much of the works of Man, are mixed here with the works of God? Here is God's Wisdom manifest; but here is Man's obstinate folly: Here is God's Government; but here is Mans Ty­ranny and Unruliness: Here is God's Love and Mercies; but here are m [...]ns Malice, Wrath and Cruelty, by which they are worse to one another than Wolves or Tigers, depopulating Countries, and filling the World with Bloodshed, Famine, Misery, and Lamen­tations; proud Tyrants being worse than raging Plagues; (which made David choose the Pestilence be­fore his Enemies pursuit:) Here is much of God's beau­teous order, and harmony: But here is also much of Man's madness, deformity and confusion. Here is much historical Truth, and some Civil and Ecclesiastick Justice; but, alas, with how much odious false­hood, and injustice is it mixed? Here is much precious Theological Verity: But how dark is much of it to such blind and negligent and corrupted minds, as every where abound: Here are wise judicious Teachers and Companions to be found; but, alas, how few in com­parison of the most? And how hardly known by those that need them? Here are Sound and Orthodox Ministers of Christ: But how few that most need them know which are they, and how to value them or use them? And how many Thousands of seduced or sensual Sin­ners are made believe that they are but Deceivers, or as they called Paul, pestilent fellows, and movers of Sedition among the People: And in how many parts of the World are they as the Prophets that Obadiah hid in Caves, or as Micatah, or Elias among the Ly­ing Prophets, or the Baalites? Though such as of whom the World is not worthy. (And is that World then more worthy of any love than Heaven?) There [Page 241] are Worthy and Religious Families which honour God, and are honoured by him: But, alas, how few? And usually by the temptations of Wealth and Worldly In­terest, how full even of the sins of Sodom, Pride, Ful­ness of Bread, and abundance of Idleness, if not also Un­mercifulness to the Poor: And how are they tempted to plead for their sins and snares, and account it rustick Ignorance which contradicteth them: And how few Pious Families are there of the greater sort that do not quickly degenerate, and Posterity by false Religion, Errour or Sensuality, grow most contrary to the minds of their Pious Progenitors? There are many that edu­cate their Children wisely in the fear of God, and have accordingly comfort in them: But how many are there that having devoted them in Baptism to God, do train them up in the service of the Flesh, the World, and the Devil, which they renounced, and never under­stood, or at least intended, for themselves, or Children, what they did profess: How many Parents think, that when they offer their Children to God in Baptism with­out a sober and due consideration of the nature and meaning of that great Covenant with God, that God must accept and certainly regenerate and save them? Yea, too many Religious Parents forget, that they themselves are Sponsors in that Covenant, and under­take to use the means on their part, to make their Children sit for the Grace of the son, and the Com­munion of the Spirit, as they grow up, and think God should absolutely sanctifie, keep and save them at Age, because they are theirs and were Baptized, though they keep them not from great and unnecessary temp­tations, nor teach them plainly and seriously the mean­ing of the Covenant which was made for them with God as to the nature, benefits or conditions of it: How [Page 242] many send them to others to be taught in Grammar, Logick, Philosophy, or Arts; yea, and Divinity, be­fore their own Parents ever taught them, what they did with God in Baptism, what they received? And what they promised and vowed to do? They send them to Trades, or secular Callings, or to travel in forreign Lands, among a Multitude of Snares, among tempting Company, and tempting Baits, before ever at home they were instructed, armed, and settled against those Temptations which they must needs en­counter, and which if they overcome them, they are undone: How ordinarily when they have first negle­cted this great duty of their own for their fortification, do they plead a necessity of thrusting them out on these temptations, though utterly unarmed from some Pun­ctilio of Honour or Conformity to the World, to avoid the Contempt of worldly men, or to adorn their (yet naked) Souls, with some of the Plumes or painted Trifles, Ceremonies or Complements, which will ne­ver serve instead of heavenly Wisdom, Mortification, and the Love of God and Man: As if they were like to learn that fear of God in a croud of diverting and tempting Company, Baits and Business, which they never learnt under the teaching, nurture and dai­ly oversight of their religious Parents in a safer station: Or as if for some little reason they might send them as to Sea without Pilot or Anchor, and think that God must save them from the Waves: Or as if it were bet­ter to enter them into Satans School or Army, and venture them upon the notorious danger of Dam­nation, than miss of Preferment and Wealth, or of the Fashions and Favour of the Times? And then when they hear that they have forsaken God, and true Religi­on, and given up themselves to Lust and Sensuality, [Page 243] and perhaps as Enemies to God and good men, destroy what their Parents laboured to build up, these Parents wonder at God's Judgments, and with broken Hearts lament their infelicity, when it were better to lament their own misdoing, and it had been best of all to have prevented it.

Thus Families, Churches and Kingdoms run on to blindness, ungodliness and confusion: Self-undoing and serving the malice of Satan, for fleshly Lust, is the too common employment of Mankind: All is wise, and good, and sweet which is prescribed us by God, in true Nature or Supernatural revelation: But folly, sin, and misery, mistaking themselves to be Wit, and Ho­nesty, and Prosperity, and raging against that which no­minally they pretend to and profess, are the ordinary case and course of the most of men: And when we would plead them out of their deceit and misery, it's well if we are not tempted to imitate them, or be not partly infected with their Disease, or at least reproached and oppressed as their Enemies: Such a Bedlam is most of the World become, where madness goeth for the only Wisdom, and he is the bravest Man that can sin and be damned with reputation and renown, and successfully drive or draw the greatest number with him unto Hell: To which the World hath no small likeness, forsaking God, and being very much forsaken by him.

This is the World which standeth in competition for my Love, with the Spiritual blessed World: Much of God's Mercies and Comforts I have here had: But their sweetness was their taste of Divine Love, and their tendency to heavenly Perfection. What was the end and use of all the Good that ever I saw, or that ever God did for my Soul or Body, but to teach me to Love him, and to long for more? How many weaning [Page 244] experiences? How many Thousand bitter or contem­ning Thoughts have I had of all the glory and pleasures of this World? How many Thousand love tokens from God have called me to believe and taste his Good­ness? Where ever I go, and which way soever I look, I see VANITY and VEXATION written upon all things in this World, so far as they stand in competiti­on with God, and would be the end and portion of a fleshly Mind: And I see HOLINESS TO THE LORD written upon every thing, so far as it declareth God and leadeth me to him as my ultimate end. God hath not for nothing engaged me in a War against this World, and commanded me to take and use it as mine Enemy: The emptiness, dangerousness, and bitterness of the World, and the All-sufficiency, Trustiness, and Goodness of God have been the Summ of all the ex­periences of my life? And shall a worldly backward Heart overcome the teachings of Nature, Scripture, the Spirit of Grace, and all Experience? Far be it from me!

But, O my God, LOVE is thy great and special gift: All Good is from thee: But LOVE is the God­like Nature, Life, and Image: It is given us from the Love of the Father, the Grace of the Son, and the quickning, illuminating and sanctifying Operation of the Holy Spirit: What can the Earth return unto the Sun but its own reflected Beams? (If those.) As how far soever Man is a Medium in Generation, Nature and that Appetite which is the moving pondus in the Child is thy work; so whatever is Man's part in the Mediate work of Believing and Repenting, (which yet is not done without thy Spirit and grace,) certainly it is the bles­sed Regenerator which must make us New Creatures by giving us this Divine Nature, holy LOVE, which is [Page 245] the holy Appetite and Pondus of the Soul. Come down, Lord, into this Heart, for it cannot come up to thee. Can the Plants for Life, or the Eye for Light, go up unto the Sun? Dwell in me by the Spirit of Love, and I shall dwell by Love in Thee. Reason is weak, and Thoughts are various, and Man will be a slippery uncertain Wight, if LOVE be not his fix­ing Principle, and do not incline his Soul to Thee! Surely through thy Grace I easily feel, that I love thy Word, I love thy Image, I love thy Work, and O how heartily do I Love to Love thee! And long to Know and Love thee more! And if all things be of Thee, and through Thee, and to Thee, surely this Love to the Beams of thy Glory here on Earth, is eminently so! It's Thee, Lord, that it meaneth! To Thee it look­eth: It's Thee it serveth! For Thee it mourns, and seeks, and groans! In Thee it Trusteth! And the Hope, and Peace, and Comfort which sup­port me, are in Thee! When I was a returning Prodi­gal in rags, thou sawest me afar off, and mettest me with thy embracing, feasting Love: And shall I doubt whether he that hath better cloathed me, and dwelt within me, will entertain me with a Feast of greater love in the heavenly Mansions, the World of Love?

The suitableness of things below to my fleshly Na­ture, hath detained my affections too much on Earth! And shall not the suitableness of things above to my Spiritual Nature, much more draw up my Love to Heaven. There is the GOD whom I have sought and served: He is also here; but vailed, and but lit [...]le known: But there he shineth to heavenly Spirits in heavenly Glory. There is the Saviour in whom I have believed: He hath also dwelt in Flesh on Earth: B [...]t cloathed in such meanness, and humbled to such a Life [Page 246] and Death, as was to the Jews a stumbling Block, and to the Gentiles matter of reproach: But he Shineth and Reigneth now in Glory, above the malice and con­tempt of Sinners. And I shall there Live because he liveth; and in his Light I shall have Light. He loved me here with a Redeeming, Regenerating and preserving Love: But there he will love me with a perfecting, glorifying joyful Love. I had here some Raies of heavenly Light: But interpositions caused Eclipses and Nights, yea, some long and winter Nights: But there I shall dwell in the City of the Sun, the City of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, where there is no Night, Eclipse or Darkness! There are the heavenly Hosts whose holy Love and Joyful Praises I would fain be a partaker of? I have here had some of their Loving assistance, but to me unseen, being above our fleshly way of Converse. But there I shall be with them, of the like Nature, in the same Orb, and of the same Tri­umphant Church and Chore! There are perfected Souls gathered home to Christ: Not, as here, striving like Esau and Jacob in the Womb, not yet as John when he leaped in the Womb, because of his Mothers joy; nor as wrangling Children that are hardly kept in the same House in Peace: Not like the Servants of Abraham and Lot, like Paul and Barnabas, like Epi­phanius and Chrysostom, like Luther and Carolosta­dius, like Ridley and Hooper, or the many striving Parties now among us; nor like the Disciples striving who should be the greatest: Not like Noah's Family in a wicked World, or Lot in a wicked City, or Abraham in an Idolatrous Land, nor like Elijah left alone, nor like those that wandred in Sheep Skins and Goat Skins, destitute, afflicted, and tormented, hid in Dens and Caves of the Earth; not like Job on the Dunghil, or [Page 247] like Lazarus at the rich Man's Doors: Not like the Afri­can Bishops whose Tongues were cut out; nor like the Preachers silenced by Papist imposers, (in German) by the Int [...]rim or elsewhere;) Nor like such as Tzegedine, Peucer and many other worthy men, whose maturest Age was spent in Prisons: Not as we poor bewildred Sinners, feeling evil, and fearing more, confounded in folly, and mad contention, some hating the only way of Peace, and others groping for it in the dark, wan­dring and lost in the clearest Light, where the illumina­ted can but pitty the Blind, but cannot make them willing to be delivered: What is Heaven to me, but GOD? GOD who is LIFE, and LIGHT, and LOVE, communicating himself to blessed Spirits, perfecting them in the Reception, Possession and Exercise of LIFE and LIGHT, and LOVE, FOR EVER. These are not the Accidents, but the Essence of that God who is Heaven and All to me; should I fear that Death which passeth me to Infinite Essential Life? Should I fear a darksom passage into a World of per­fect LIGHT? Should I fear to go to LOVE itself? Think, O my Soul, what the Suns quickening Light and Heat is to this lower corporeal World? Much more is GOD, even Infinite, LIFE and LIGHT and LOVE to the blessed World above: Doth it not draw out thy desires to think of going into a World of LOVE? When LOVE will be our Region, our Company, our Life: More to us than the Air is for our Breath! than the Light is for our sight; than our Food is for our Life, than our Friends are for our So­lace: And more to us than we are to our selves, and we more for it as our ultimate end, than for our selves. O excellent Grace of Faith which doth foresee, and blessed Word of Faith that doth foreshew, this World [Page 248] of LOVE! Shall I fear to enter where there is no WRATH, no fear, no strangeness, nor suspicion, nor selfish separation, but LOVE will make every holy Spirit as dear and lovely to me as my self, and me to them as lovely as themselves, and God to us all more amiable than our selves and all: Where LOVE will have no defects or di­stances, no damps or discouragements, no discontinu­ance or mixed disaffection; but as LIFE will be with­out Death, and LIGHT, without Darkness, (a per­fect everlasting Day of Glory,) so will LOVE be with­out any hatred, unkindness, or allay. As many Coals make one Fire, and many Candles conjoined make one Light, so will many living Spirits make one Life, and many illuminated Glorious Spirits, one Light and Glory, and many Spirits innaturalized into LOVE, will make one Perfect LOVE of GOD, and be LOVED as One by God for ever: For all the Body of Christ is One; even here it is One in initial Union of the Spirit, and Relation to One God, and Head, and Life, 1 Cor. 12. throughout. Eph. 4. 1. to 17. and shall be presented as beloved and spotless to God, when the great Marriage Day of the Lamb shall come, Eph. 5. 24, 25, &c. Rev. 21. & 22.

Had thou not given me, O Lord the LIFE of Na­ture, I should have had no conceptions of a Glorious everlasting Life: But if thou give me not the Life of Grace, I shall have no sufficient delightful inclination and desire after it. Hadst thou not given me Sight and Reason, the Light of Nature, I should not have thought how desirable it is to live in the Glorious Light and Vision; but if thou give me not the Spiritual Illu­mination of a seeing Faith, I shall not yet long for the Glorious Light, and beatifical Vision. Hadst thou not given me a Will and Love which is part of my very [Page 249] Nature itself, I could not have tasted how desirable it is, to live in a World of Universal, perfect, endless LOVE: But unless thou also shed abroad thy LOVE upon my Heart, by the Spirit of Jesus the Great Me­dium of LOVE, and turn my very Nature or Inclina­tion into Divine and Holy LOVE, I shall not long for the World of LOVE. Appetite followeth Nature: O give me not only the Image and the Art of Godliness; the approaches towards it, nor only some forced or un­constant acts; but give me the Divine Nature, which is Holy Love, and then my Soul will hasten towards thee, and cry, How long, O Lord, How long! O come, come quickly, make no delay. Surely the fear of dying intimateth some contrary Love that inclineth the Soul another way; and some shameful unbelief and great unapprehensiveness of the Attractive Glory of the World of LOVE: Otherwise no frozen Person so long­eth for the Fire, none in a Dungeon so desireth Light, as we should long for the heavenly Light and Love.

God's Infinite Essential SELF-LOVE, in which he is Eternally delighted in himself, is the most Amiable Object, and Heaven itself to Saints and Angels: And next to that His Love to all his Works, to the World, and to the Church in Heaven speaketh much more of his Loveliness than his Love to me. But yet due Self-love in me, is his work, and part of his natural Image; and when this by sin is grown up to excess, (through the withdrawing of a contracted narrow Soul, from the Union and due Love to my fellow Creatures, and to God) I must also, I cannot but, enquire after God's Love to me, and by this my desires must much be moved: For I am not so capable of ascending above Self-interest, and Self-love, as in the state of Glorious Union I shall be. I am glad to perceive that others do love God; and [Page 250] I love those most that I find most love him: But it is not other mens love to God that will be accepted by him instead of mine: Nor is it God's Love to others (which yet rejoiceth me) that will satisfie me without his love to me. But when all these are still before me, God's Essential Self-love and Delight, his Love to his Creatures, especially the Glorified, and his Love to me also, even to me a vile unworthy Sinner; what then should stay my ascending Love, or discourage my de­sires to be with God?

And dost thou doubt, canst thou doubt, O my Soul, whether thou art going to a God that loveth thee? If the Jews discerned the great love of Christ to Laza­rus by his Tears, canst not thou discern his Love to thee in his Blood? It is never the less but the more obliging and amiable, that it was not shed for thee alone, but for many. May I not say as Paul, Gal. 2, 20. I live by the Faith of the Son of God, that hath loved Me, and given himself for me! Yea, it is not so much I that live, as Christ Liveth in me? And will he forsake the Habitation which his love hath chosen? And which he hath so dearly bought! O read often that triumphing Chapter, Rom. 8. and conclude, What shall separate us from the Love of God? If Life have not done it, Death shall not do it. If leaning on his Breast at Meat, was a token of Christ's special love to John, is not his dwelling in me by my Faith, and his living in me by his Spirit, a sure token of his love to me: And if a dark saying, [If he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?] raised a report that the beloved Disciple should not die, why should not plain Promises assure me that I shall live with him that loveth me for ever? Be not so unthankful, O my Soul, as to question doubtingly whether thy heavenly Father, and thy Lord [Page 251] doth love thee? Canst thou forget the sealed Testimo­nies of it? Did I not even now repeat so many as should shame thy doubts? A multitude of thy Friends have loved thee so entirely, that thou canst not doubt of it? And did any of them signifie their love with the convincing evidence that God hath done? Have they done for thee what he hath done: Are they Love itself; Is their love so full, so firm and so unchangeable as his? I think the sweetlier of Heaven because abundance of my ancient Lovely and Loving Holy Friends are there, and am the willinger by Death to follow them. And should I not think of it more pleasedly because my God and Father, my Saviour, and my Comforter is there? And not alone, but with all the Society of Love. Was not Lazarus in the Bosom of God himself? yet it is said, that he was in Abraham's Bosom; as the Pro­mise runs, that we shall sit down with Abraham, Isa­ac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of God. And what maketh the Society of Saints so sweet as holy Love? It is comfortable to read that, To love the Lord our God with all our Heart, and Soul, and might, is the First and great Commandment; and the Second is like to it, To Love our Neighbours as our selves. For God's Commands pro­ceed from that Will which is his Nature or Essence, and they tend to the same as their Objective end. There­fore he that hath made Love the Great Command, doth tell us that LOVE is the Great conception of his own Essence, the spring of that Command; and that this commanded imperfect Love, doth tend to perfect hea­venly Love, even to our communion with Essential Infinite Love. It were strange that the Love and Goodness which is equal to the Power that made the World, and the Wisdom that ordereth it, should be scant and backward to do good, and to be suspected [Page 252] more than the Love of Friends! The remembrance of the holiness, humility, love and faithfulness of my dearest Friends of every Rank with whom I have con­versed on Earth, in every place where I have lived, is so sweet to me, that I am oft ready to recreate my self with the naming of such as are now with Christ: But in Heaven they will love me better than they did on Earth; and my love to them will be more pleasant: But all these Sparks are little to the Sun.

Every place that I have lived in was a place of Di­vine Love, which there set up its obliging Monuments. Every Year and Hour of my life hath been a time of Love: Every Friend, and every Neigbour, yea, every Enemy have been the Messengers and Instruments of Love. Every state and change of my life, notwith­standing my sin, hath opened to me Treasures and Mysteries of Love. And after such a life of Love, shall I doubt whether the same God do love me? Is he the God of the Mountains and not of the Valleys? Did he love me in my youth and health? And doth he not love me in my Age, and Pain, and Sickness; Did he love all the Faithful better in their life than at their Death? If our hope be not chiefly in this life, neither is our state of Love, which is principally the heavenly endless Grace. My groans grieve my Friends, but abate not their love. Did he love me for my strength, my weakness might be my fear: as they that love for Beauty, loath them that are deformed, and they that love for Riches, despise the Poor: But God loved me when I was his Enemy to make me a Friend, and when I was bad to make me better: What ever he taketh pleasure in, is his own gift. Who made me to differ? And what have I that I have not received? And God will finish the Work, the Building, the Warfare [Page 253] that is his own. O the multitude of Mercies to my Soul and Body, in Peace and War, in Youth and Age, to my self and friends, the many great and gracious de­liverances which have testified to me the Love of God! Have I lived in the experience of it, and shall I die in the doubts of it? Had it been Love only to my Body, it would have died with me, and not have accompanied my departing Soul: I am not much in doubt of the truth of my Love to him: Though I have not seen him save as in a Glass, as in a Glass seen I love him: I love my Brethren whom I have seen, and those most that are most in Love with him: I love his Word, and Works, and Ways, and fain I would be nearer him, and love him more; and I loath my self for loving him no better. And shall Peter say more confidently, [Thou knowest that I love thee] than [I know that thou lovest me?] Yes, he may; because though God's Love is greater and stedfaster than ours, yet our know­ledge of his great love, is less than his knowledge of our little love; and as we are defective in our own Love, so are we in our certainty of its sincerity. And without the knowledge of our Love to God, we can never be sure of his special love to us. But yet I am not utterly a stranger to my self: I know for what I have lived and laboured in the World! And who it is that I have desired to please. The God whose I am, and whom I serve hath loved me in my youth, and he will love me in my aged weakness. My Flesh and my Heart fail: my pains seem grievous to the Flesh: But it is LOVE that chooseth them, that useth them for my good, that mo­derateth them, and will shortly end them. Why then should I doubt of my Fathers Love? Shall pain or dy­ing make me doubt? Did God love none from the beginning of the World, but Henoch and Elias? And what am I better than my fore-Fathers? What is in me [Page 254] that I should expect exemption from the common lot of all Mankind? Is not a competent time of great Mer­cy on Earth, in order to the unseen felicity all that the best of men can hope for? O for a clearer, stronger Faith, to shew me the World that more excelleth this, than this excelleth the Womb where I was conceived! Then should I not fear my third Birth day, what pangs soever go before it; nor be unwilling of my change! The Grave indeed is a Bed that Nature doth abhor: Yet there the weary be at rest: But Souls new born have a double Nature that is Immortal, and go to the place that is agreeable to their Nature; even to the Region of Spirits, and the Region of Holy Love. Even passive Matter that hath no other Natural motion, hath a Natural Inclination to uniting, aggregative mo­tion. And God maketh all Natures suitable to their proper ends and use: How can it be that a Spirit should not incline to be with Spirits? And Souls that have the Divine Nature in holy Love, desire to be with the God of Love? Arts, and Sciences, and Tongues become not a Nature to us; Else they would not cease at Death: But holy LOVE is our New Nature, and therefore ceaseth not with this bodily life. And shall acciden­tal love make me desire the company of a frail and mu­table Friend? And shall not this ingrafted inseparable love, make me long to be with Christ? Though the love of God to all his Creatures will not prove that they are all Immortal, nor oblige them to expect another life, that never had Capacity or Faculties to expect it; yet his love to such as in Nature and Grace are made capable of it, doth warrant and oblige them to believe and hope for the full Perfection of the work of love. Some comfort themselves in the love of St. Pe­ter, as having the Keys of Heaven: And how many [Page 255] could I name that are now with Christ, who loved me so faithfully on Earth, that were I sure they had the Keys and Power of Heaven (and were not changed in their Love) I could put my departing Soul into their Hands, and die with joy. And is it not better in the Hand of my Redeemer, and of the God of Love, and Father of Spirits? Is any love comparable to his? Or any Friend so boldly to be trusted? I should take it for ungrateful unkindness in my Friend, to doubt of my love and trustiness, if I had given him all that he hath, and maintained him constantly by my kindness! But O how odious a thing is sin! Which by destroying our love to God, doth make us unmeer to believe and sweetly perceive his Love? And by making us doubt of the Love of God, and lose the pleasant relish of it, doth more increase our difficulty of loving him! The Title that the Angel gave to Daniel [A Man greatly beloved of God,] methinks should be enough to make one joy­fully love and trust God, both in life and death. Will Almighty LOVE ever hurt me or forsake me? And have not all Saints that Title in their degrees? What else signifieth their Mark and Name, HOLI­NESS TO THE LORD? What is it but our separa­tion to God as his peculiar beloved People? And how are they separated but by mutual love, and our for­saking all that alienateth or is contrary? Let Scorners deride us as self flatterers that believe they are God's Darlings (and wo to the Hypocrites that believe it on their false Presumption;) without such belief or ground­ed hopes I see not how any Man can die in true Peace. He that is no otherwise beloved than Hy­pocrites, and Unbelievers, must have his portion with them: And he that is no otherwise beloved than as the ungodly, unholy and unregenerate, shall not stand [Page 256] in judgment, nor see God, nor enter into his Kingdom. Most upright Souls are to blame for groundless doubt­ing of God's Love; but not for acknowledging it, rejoicing in it, and in their doubts being most solicitous to make it sure: Love brought me into the World, and furnished me with a Thousand Mercies! Love hath provided for me, delivered me, and preserved me till now! And will it not entertain my separated Soul? Is God like false or insufficient Friends, that forsake us in adversity!

I confess that I have wronged LOVE by sin; by many and great unexcusable sins! But all save Christ himself were sinners, which love did purifie and receive to Glory! God who is rich in Mercy for the great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins hath quickned us together with Christ (by Grace we are saved) and hath raised us up together in hea­venly places in Christ Jesus, Eph. 2. 4, 5, 6. O that I could love much that have so much forgiven! The glorified praised him who loved us, and washed us from our sins, in his own Blood, and made us Kings and Priests to God, Rev. 1. 5, 6. Our Father that hath loved us, giveth us consolation and good hope through Grace, 2 Thess. 2. 16. I know no sin which I repent not of with self-loathing! And I earnestly beg and la­bour that none of my sins may be to me unknown. I dare not justifie even what is any way uncertain; though I dare not call all that my sin which siding men of dif­fering judgments on each side passionately call so: While both sides do it on contrary accounts, and not to go contrary ways is a Crime. O that God would bless my accusations to my illumination, that I may not be unknown to my self! Though some think me much better than I am, and others much worse, it [Page 257] most concerneth me to know the Truth my self, flattery would be more dangerous to me, than false accusations, I may safelier be ignorant of other mens sins than of my own. Who can understand his errours: Cleanse me Lord from secret sins (and let not ignorance or errour keep me in impenitence;) and keep thou me back from presumptuous sins, Psal. 19. 12, 13. I have an Advo­cate with the Father, and thy Promise, that he that confesseth and forsaketh his sins shall have Mercy. Those are by some men taken for my greatest sins, which my most serious Thoughts did judge to be the greatest of my outward duties, and which I performed through the greatest difficulties, and which cost me dearest to the Flesh, and the greatest self-denial and patience in my reluctant Mind: Where-ever I have er­red, Lord, make it known to me, that my confession may prevent the sin of others; and where I have not erred, confirm and accept me in the right.

And seeing an unworthy Worm hath had so many Testimonies of thy tender love, let me not be like them, Mal. 1. 1, 2. that when thou saidst, I have lo­ved you, unthankfully asked, Wherein hast thou loved us, Heaven is not more spangled with Stars, than thy Word and Works with the refulgent Signatures of Love. Thy well beloved Son, the Son of thy Love, undertaking the Office, Message and Work of the greatest Love, was full of that Spirit which is Love, which he sheds abroad in the Hearts of thine Elect, that the Love of the Father, the Grace of the Son, and the communion of the Spirit may be their hope and life. His Works, his Sufferings, his Gifts, as well as his comfortable Word, did say to his Disciples, Joh. 15. 9. As the Father loved me, so have I loved you: conti­nue ye in my love. And how, Lord, shall we con­tinue [Page 258] in it, but by the thankful belief of thy love and loveliness, desiring still to love thee more, and in all things to know and please thy Will! Which thou knowest is my Souls desire!

Behold then, O my Soul, with what Love the Fa­ther, Son, and Holy Spirit have loved thee, that thou should be made and called a Son of God, redeemed; regenerate, adopted into that Covenant-state of Grace in which thou standest: Rejoice therefore in hope of the G [...]ory of God, Rom. 5. 1, 2. being justified by Faith, having Peace with God, and access by Faith and Hope that maketh not ashamed; that being re­conciled, when an Enemy, by the Death of Christ, I shall be saved by his life. Having loved his own, to the end he loveth them, and without end: His Gifts and Calling are without Repentance: When Satan, and thy Flesh would hide God's love, look to Christ, and read the golden words of Love in the Sacred Go­spel; and peruse thy many recorded experiences, and re­member the convictions which secret and open Mercies have many a time afforded thee! But especially draw nearer to the Lord of Love, and be not seldom and slight in thy contemplations of his Love and Loveliness; Dwell in the Sun-shine, and thou w [...]lt know that it is light, and warm, and comfortable. Distance and strange­ness cherish thy doubts: Acquaint thy self with him, and be at peace.

Yet look up, and oft and earnestly look up, af­ter thy ascended glorified Head, who said, Tell my Bre­thren, I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God! Think where and what he is, and what he is now doing for all his own; and how hum­bled, abased, suffering Love is now Triumphant, reg­nant, glorified Love; and therefore no less than in all [Page 259] its tender expressions upon Earth. As Love is no where perfectly revealed but in Heaven, so I can no where so fully discern it, as by looking up by Faith to my Fa­ther and Saviour which is in Heaven, and conversing more believingly with the heavenly Society. Had I done this more and better, and as I have persuaded others to do it, I had lived in more convincing delights of God's Love, which would have turned the fears of Death into joyfuller hopes, and more earnest de­sires to be with Christ, in the Arms, in the World, in the life of Love, as far better than to be here, in a dark, a doubting, fearing World.

But, O my Father, Infinite LOVE, though my Ar­guments be many and strong, my Heart is bad, and my strength is weakness, and I am insufficient to plead the cause of thy Love and Loveliness to my self or others: O plead thy own cause, and what Heart can resist? Let it not be my word only, but Thine that thou lovest me, even me a Sinner; speak it as Christ said to Lazarus Arise: If not, as thou tellest me that the Sun is warm, yet as thou hast told me, that my Parents and my dearest Friends did love me, and much more powerfully than so. Tell it me, as thou tellest me that thou hast given me life, by the consciousness and works of life: That while I can say, Thou that knowest all things, Knowest that I love Thee; it may include, [therefore, I know that I am beloved of thee;] and therefore come to thee in the confidence of thy Love, and long to be nearer in the clearer sight, the fuller sense, and joyfuller exercise of Love for ever. Father, into thy Hand I commend my Spirit: Lord Jesus receive my Spirit! Amen.

A Breviate of the Helps of Faith, Hope, and Love. A Breviate of the proof of Supernatural Revelation, and the Truth of Christianity.

1 TIM. 3. 16.‘Without Controversie, great is the Mystery of Godliness, God was manifested in the Flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of Angels, preach­ed to the Gentiles, believed on in the World, received up into Glory.’

THese are the Creed, or Six Articles of the Gospel, which the Apostles preached.

§ 1. I. God manifested in the Flesh of Jesus, is the first and great Article. Believe this and believe all: No wonder that believing that Jesus Christ is the Son [Page 261] of God is so often made in Scripture, the description of saving Faith, the Title to Baptism, and Pardon, and Salvation, the Evidence of the Spirit, &c. He that truly and practically believeth that God came in Flesh to Man, and that Christ is the Fathers Messen­ger from Heaven, must needs believe that God hath a great value for the Souls of men and for his Church, that he despiseth not even our Flesh, that his Word is true and fully to be trusted, that he who so wonderfully came to Man, will certain­ly take up Man to him: Who can doubt of the Im­mortality of Souls, or that Christ will receive the departing Souls of the Faithful to himself, who believ­eth that he took Man's Nature, and hath glorified it now in Heaven, in union with the Divine? Who can ever have low Thoughts of God's love and Mercy who believeth this? And who can prostitute his Soul and Flesh to wickedness, who firmly believeth that he took the Soul and Flesh of Man, to sanctifie and glorifie it.

§ 2. II. The holy Spirit is the Justification of the Truth of Jesus Christ. He is Christ's Advocate and Witness to the World. He proveth the Gospel by these five ways of Evidence. I. By all the Prophesies, Types and Promises of Christ in the Old Testament be­fore Christs coming. II. By the Inherent impress of God's Image on the Person and Doctrine of Christ: VVhich Propria luce sheweth itself to be Divine. III. By the concomitant Miracles of Christ: Read the History of the Gospel for this use, and observe each History. IV. By the subsequent gift of the Spirit to the Apostles and other Christians, by Languages, wonders and multi­tudes of Miracles to convince the VVorld. V. By the undeniable and excellent work of Sanctification on all true Believers through all the VVorld, in all genera­tions [Page 262] to this day. These five are the Spirits VVitness which fully justifieth the certain Truth, that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

§ 3. Quest. But how are we sure who our selves never saw the Person, Miracles, Resurrection, Ascension of Christ, that the History of them is true?

Answ. 1. We may be sure that the Spectators were not deceived. II. And that they did not deceive them to whom they reported it. III. And that we are not deceived by any miscarriage in the historical Tradition to us.

§ 4. I. It was not possible that men that were not mad, that had Eyes and Ears, could for three Years and a half believe that they saw the Lame, the Blind, the Deaf, and all Diseases healed, the Dead raised, Thousands miraculously fed, &c. and this among crouds of People that still followed Christ, if the things had not been true: One Man's Senses may be deceived at some one instance, by some deceitful accident: But that the Eyes and Ears of Multitudes should be so oft deceived many years in the open Light, is as much as to say, No Man knoweth any thing that he seeth and heareth.

§ 5. II. That the Disciples who received the Apo­stles and Evangelists report of Christ were not deceived by the Reporters, is most evident.

For, 1. They received it not by hearsay, at the se­cond hand, but from the Eye and Ear Witnesses them­selves, who must needs know what they said.

2. They heard this report from Men of the same Time, and Age, and Countrey, where it was easy to examine the case, and confute it, had it been false.

3. The Apostles appealed to crouds and Thousands [Page 263] of Witnesses, as to many of Christ's Miracles, who would have made it odious, had it not been true.

4. They sharply reproved the Rulers for persecuting Christ, which would provoke them to do their best to confute the Apostles for their own justification.

5. Christ chose men of no great human Learning and Subtility, but common, plain, unlearned men, that it might not be thought a deceit of Art.

6. Yea, he did not make much more known to them before his Death, than the bare Matters of Fact which they da [...]ly saw, and that he was the Christ, and Moral Doctrine; his Death, Resurrection, Ascensi­on, and Kingdom of Heaven they knew little of be­fore: But experience and the sudden coming down of the Spirit suddenly taught them all the rest.

7. They taught not one another, but were every one personally taught of God.

8. And yet they all agreed in the same Doctrine, when they were dispersed over the World; and never differed in any one Article of Faith.

9 They were men that had no worldly Interest, Wealth or Dominion to seek.

10. Yea, they renounced and denied all worldly Interest, and sealed their Testimony by their Sufferings and Blood; and all in hope of a heavenly reward which they knew that Lying was no means to obtain.

11. Had they plotted to cheat the World (for no­thing) the sin is so heinous that some one of them would have repented and confest it, at least, at death; which none of them did, but died joyfully as for the Truth.

12. Paul was converted by a Voice and Light from Heaven, in the presence of those that travelled with him in his persecuting design.

[Page 264] 13. But yet it is a fuller evidence that the Doctrine which they delivered as from God, beareth a Di­vine Impress, that as the Light, it is its own Evidence.

14. And for the more infallible conviction, they that testified of Christs Miracles did the like themselves to confirm their Testimony, they spake with Tongues which they never learnt: They healed all Diseases; even the shadow of Peter, and the Clothes that came from Paul, did heal men. They raised the Dead: And they that in all Countries converted the Nations by their own Miracles, attesting the Miracles and Resurrection of Christ, must needs compel the Spectators to believe them.

15. Yet, more than all this, those that believed them were presently enabled to do the like in one kind and degree or other. The same extraordinary gift of the Spirit fell upon the common multitude of Believers by the laying on of the Apostles hands. So that Simon Magus would fain have bought that Power with Mo­ney. And when men witnessed Christ's Miracles, and wrought the like themselves, and those that believed them had and did the like, (either Healing, Tongues, Prophesie or some wonders,) it was sure an infallible way of testifying.

16. When wrangling Hereticks quarrelled with the Apostles, and would draw away Disciples to themselves by disparaging them they still appealed to the Miracles wrought by these Disciples themselves, or in their sight; as Gal. 3. 1, 2, 3, 5. And as Christ, when the Jews said he did all by Beelzebub, when he cast out devils, askt them [By whom do your Children cast them out?] Which had it been false, would have turned all the People from them.

17. Their adversaries were so far from writing any Confutation of their Testimony, that they confest the [Page 265] Miracles, and had no shift but either to blaspheme the Holy Ghost, and say that they were done by the De­vil; or else by persecution and violence to oppress them. As if the Devil were Master of the World, and could reme­dilesly deceive it against God's will, or God himself would send or suffer a full course of Miracles remedilesly to de­ceive the World, which is to make God like the Devil: Or as if the Devil were so good as by Miracles to promote so holy and amiable and just a Doctrine as that of Chri­stianity, to make men wise, and good, and just, and kill their sin. So that this blasphemy of the Holy Ghost, makes Satan to be God, or God to be Satan.

18. All the cruelty, powers, Learning and Policy of their Adversaries was not able to stop the progress of this Testimony, much less to prevail against it.

III. It is then most certain that the first Witnesses were not deceived by Christ, nor Believers after deceived by them: The next Question is, whether we be not deceived by a false historical Tradition of these things. Had we seen them all our selves, we must needs have believed; but at this distance we know not what misreports may interven: what Eye-sight and hearing was to them, that Tradition is to us. Now the Question is, Is it cer­tainly the very same Fact and Doctrine which they re­ceived, and which we receive?

And here let it be premised that there is no other way of assurance than that which God hath afforded us, that the reason of Man could have desired.

1. If we would see God, and Heaven, and Hell, this is not a way suitable to the state of Probationers that live in Flesh on Earth. Angels live by vision and frui­tion of Glory: And Bruits by sense on sensible things: But reasonable Travellers must live by reason, and by believing certain Revelation.

[Page 266] 2. If God will send his Son from Heaven to ascer­tain us, and we will believe no more than we see our selves, then Christ must dwell on Earth to the end of the World, & he must be in all places of the Earth at once that all may see, and he must die and rise again before all men in all Ages: And how mad an expectation is this?

3. Or if all that deliver us the History must work Miracles before our Eyes, or else we will not believe them, it is still most absurd. Will you not believe that the Laws of the Land are genuine, or that ever there were such Kings as made them unless he that tells it you work Miracles? Shall not Children believe their Pa­rents, or Schollars their Tutors, unless they work Miracles.

3. I must premise that there is three sorts of Tradi­tion, I. Such as depends on the common Wit and Ho­nesty of Mankind: And this is very much to be su­spected, wickedness, folly and lying being grown so common in the World.

II. Such as depends on the extraordinary skill and ho­nesty of some proved men: And this deserveth much belief; but it is but an uncertain humane Faith.

III. Such as depends on Natural Necessity, and can­not possibly be false; we have both these last to as­certain us of the Gospel History.

This resteth on a distinction of the Acts of Mans Will: Some of them are mutably free; and these give no certainty: Some of them are naturally and immuta­bly necessary, and Man can do no otherwise, and these give even natural Infallible certainty: Such are, To love ones self, to love fel [...]city; to hate torment and misery▪ &c. And to know that which is fully manifest to our sound Senses, &c.

When men of contrary Interests and temper, all con­fess the Truth of known things, about which their [Page 267] Interests stand cross, it is a Physical evidence of Truth:

On this account mens agreement about Natural No­tices is infallible.

It seems strange that all the World from Adam's time are agreed which is the first, second, and third, &c. day of the Week, and not a day lost till now. It could not be otherwise, Because being a thing of Na­tural interest and notice, if any Kingdom had lost a day by over sleeping, or had agreed to falsifie it, all the rest of the World would have shamed them.

Thus all Grecians, Latines, Englishmen, &c. agree about the sense of Words; for if some would pervert them, the rest would detect it.

Thus we are certain that the Statutes of the Land, are not counterfeit: For men of cross interests hold their Lands, and lives by them; and if some did counterfeit them, the rest would by interest be bound to detect it.

Arg. 1. There can be no effect without an ade­quate cause. But in Nature there is no cause that can make all men agree to assert a known falshood, or de­ny a known Truth, against all their known interest: therefore there can be no such effect.

Arg. 2. A necessary cause will necessarily effect: But where mens known Interest obligeth them to agree of a known Truth, this is a necessary cause of certain credibility: therefore it hath a necessary effect.

You know who were your Parents, and when and where you were Born, &c. by such Tradition in a low­er Degree. This dependeth not on pretended Autho­rity, nor on meer honesty; but on natural necessity.

Having premised this, I come to prove that we have such Tradition of Physical infallible evidence, that the Faith of the present Church in the Essentials is the same which the first Churches received infallibly from the Apostles.

[Page 268] 1. The World knoweth that ever since Christ's As­cension all that believed in him, were Baptized (as all Abraham's Covenanting seed were Circumcised:) And what is Baptism, but a Profession of Belief in Je­sus Christ as dead, risen and glorified; and a devoting our selves in Covenant to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? All that ever were Christians by solemn Vow profest this same Faith: And this is such a Tradi­tion of Christianity as humane Generation down from Adam is of the same humanity in the World.

2. They that were Baptized were Catechized first; in which the three Articles of Baptism were opened to them, of which Christ's Death, Resurrection and As­cension were part: And this hath been an undeniable Tradition of the same Faith.

3. The Summ of the Christian Faith was from the beginning drawn up in certain Articles called the Creed, which expounded the three Baptismal Articles; and all Churches on Earth had the same in sense, and most in Words; and all at Age that were Baptized, professed this Creed: Which is as full a Tradition of the same Belief in Christ's Birth, Death, and Resurrection, Ascension and Glory, as Speaking is a Tradition of the same humane Nature.

4. Before Christ's Ascension, he instituted the Of­fice of the Sacred Ministry, which Friends and Foes confess hath continued ever since: And what is this Ministry, but an Office of publishing the Gospel of Christ, his Life, Death, Miracles, Resurrection, Grace, &c. What else have they done in all Ages in the World? So that the Office is an undeniable Tra­dition.

5. Christ and his Apostles instituted the Weekly Celebration of the Remembrance of his Resurrection on [Page 269] the Lord's days: Friends and Foes confess the History, that the first Day of the Week hath been kept for such Memorial ever since, through all the Christian part of the World: Which proveth the uninterrupted belief of Christ's Resurrection, as a Notorious Practical Tra­dition.

6. Christ and his Apostles ever since his Resurrection instituted Solemn Assemblies of Christians to be held on those Days, and at other Times: Once a Week was the least through the Christian World: And what did they meet for but to Preach, hear and profess the same Christian Faith?

7. It was the constant custom of Christians in their Assemblies, and their Houses, to sing Hymns of Praise to Jesus Christ, in remembrance of his Re­surrection, &c. Pliny tells Trajan that this was the practice by which Christians were known by their Per­secutors: Which is a Practical Tradition.

8. Jesus Christ instituted, and all Christians to this Day have constantly used, the Sacrament of Christ's Sa­crifice, called the Eucharist; to keep in remembrance his Death till he come, and profess their Belief that he is our Life. And as the constant Celebration of the Passover with all its Ceremonies, was a most certain Tradition of the Egyptians Plagues, and Israelites deli­verance, more than a bare written History would be; so hath the Lord's Supper been of the uninterrupted belief of the History of our Redemption by Christ.

9. The Church hath from the beginning had a con­stant Discipline, by which it hath kept it self separate from Hereticks, who have denied any Essential Article of this Faith: Which is a sure Tradition of the same be­lief.

10. None question but Christians have from the be­ginning [Page 270] been persecuted for this same Faith; and in Persecution made Confession of it: Persecutors, and Confessors then are both the Witnesses of the Continu­ance.

11. When ever Hereticks or Enemies have written against Christians, their Apologies and Defences shew that it was this same Faith that they owned.

12. Most of the adverse Hereticks owned the same Matters of Fact.

13. The Jews were long before in Possession of the Books of the Old Testament, which bear their Te­stimony to Christ.

14. The Books of the New Testament have by certain Tradition been delivered down to this present Day, which contain the Matters of Fact, and Doctrin, the Essentials, Integrals and Accidents of the Faith.

15. No Enemies have written any thing against the Matter of Fact, of any Moment.

16. Yea, the Jews and other bitterest Enemies con­fess much of the Miracles of Christ.

17. Martyrs have cheerfully forsaken Life, and all in confessing it.

18. God by his wonderful Providence hath main­tained it.

19. The Devil and all the Wicked of the World are the greatest Enemies to it.

20. The Holy Ghost hath still blest it, to work the same holy and heavenly Nature, and Life in all sin­cere and serious Believers.

Quest. This proveth infallibly the Tradition of the same Faith in the Essentials: But how prove you that the same Holy Scripture is delivered as uncorrupted?

Answ. All the Bible is not brought down so un­changed as are the Essentials of our Religion: When [Page 271] there were no Bibles but what Scriveners wrote, no wonder if oversight left few Copies without some of their slips. There are hundred of various Readings in the New Testament; and of many no Man can be certain which is true: But none of them are such as make any difference in the Articles of our Faith, or Practice, nor on which any point of Doctrine or Fact dependeth.

And the words are necessary but for the Matter, which they do record.

And, 1. All Ministers, and all Churches constantly used this same Scripture publickly, and privately, as the Word of God; so that it could not be easily altered.

2. They all knew that a Curse is pronounced against every one that addeth or diminisheth: Which must needs possess them with fear of corrupting it.

3. They took it to be the Charter of their own Sal­vation.

4. The work of the Ministers was to expound it, and preserve it against Corrupters.

5. These Ministers and Churches were over much of the World, and could not agree together to corrupt it: And if some did it, all the rest would soon detect it.

6. Heresies and Quarrels were quickly too rife among them: So that cross Interests and Animosities would soon have fallen upon the Corrupters.

7. Some Hereticks made some adding and corrupt­ing attempts, which the Church presently condemned and turned it to their shame.

8. In all the Disputations then managed, the same Scriptures were appealed to.

9. The Translations into various Languages shew that the Books were the same, without any Momentous difference.

[Page 272] 10. To this Day when Sin and Tyranny have torn the Church into many Factions, they all receive the same Canonical Scriptures, except that some receive more Apocryphal Writings, which yet make no alte­ration at all of our Gospel Faith.

Quest. But doth not this laying so much on Tradition favour Popery?

Answ. No: The difference is here; 1. Papists are for Tradition as a supplement to the Scripture, as if this were but part of the VVord of God; and 2. They plead for a peculiar power of being the Keepers and Judges of that supplemental Tradition; which other Churches know nothing of.

But we, 1. Plead for the Infallible, Practical Tra­dition of the Essentials of Christianity by itself, and in the Creed, &c. which is less than the Scripture. 2. And next for the certain Tradition of the Scripture itself, un­corrupted in all that Faith depends on: which Scrip­ture is the compleat Record of God's VVill and Law, containing more than Essentials and Integrals.

So much of God, 1. Manifested in the Flesh, 2. Ju­stified in the Spirit.

III. He was seen of Angels; that is, Angels were the Beholding, Witnessing, and admiring Servants of this great Mystery, God manifested in the Flesh.

1. Angels preached Christ at his Incarnation.

2. Angels ministred to Christ in his Temptations, Agonies, &c.

3. Angels were Preachers and VVitnesses of his Re­surrection.

4. Angels rowled away the Stone, and terrified the Souldiers.

[Page 273] 5. Angels preached his return to them that gazed up at his Ascension.

6. Angels opened the Prison Doors and set the im­prisoned Apostles free once, and Peter alone afterwards.

7. Angels rejoice in Heaven at the Conversion of all that Christ brings home.

8. Angels disdain not to be the Guardians of the least of Christs Disciples.

9. Angels are protecting Officers over Churches and Kingdoms.

10. Angels have preached to Apostles, and been the Messengers of their Revelations.

11. Angels have been the Instruments of Miracles, and of destroying the Churches Enemies.

12. Angels will ministerially convoy departed Souls to Christ.

13. Angels will gloriously attend Christ at his re­turn, and sever the Wicked from the Just.

14. Angels will be our Companions in the heavenly Chore for ever.

Therefore, 1. We should love Angels. 2. And be thankful to God for them. 3. And think the more comfortably of Heaven for their Society: 4. And Pray for the benefit of their Ministry on Earth, especially in all our dangers.

IV. The Fourth Article is [Preached to the Gentiles.] The Jews having the Covenant of Peculiarity, were proud of their Priviledge, even while they unworthily abused it: And despised the rest of the World, and would not so much as eat with them, as if they had been God's only People. And indeed the rest of the World was so corrupted, that we find no one Nation that as such re­nounced [Page 274] Idolatry, and was devoted in Covenant to the true God alone, as the Jews were. Now that God should be manifested in Flesh, to reconcile the Heathen World to himself, and extend greater Priviledges in­definitely to all Nations than ever the Jews had in their state of Peculiarity, this was a Mystery of God­liness, which the Jews did hardly yield belief to.

And that which aggravateth this wonder is, 1. That the Gentile World was drowned in all Idolatry and Unnatural Wickedness, such as Paul describeth, Rom. 1. &. 2. Eph. 2. & 3. 18, &c. 2. And that God should suddenly and freely send them the Message of reconci­liation, and be found of them that sought him not, is that wonder, which obligeth us Gentiles who once lived as without God in the World to be thankful to him.

V. The Fifth Article is [Believed on in the World.] The effect of the Gospel on the Souls of men in their Effectual Faith, is one of the Evidences of the Chri­stian Truth.

I told you before that the Fifth Witness of the Spi­rit on the Souls of all Believers, I reserved to be here mentioned. Here, 1. It is a part of the wonder that Christ should be believed on in the World, even with a common Faith. For, 1. To believe a mean Man to be the Mediator between God and Man, and the Saviour of the World, yea, one that was Crucified as a Male­factor: this must needs be a difficult thing.

2. The very Jewish Nation was as contemptible to the Romans, being one of their poorest subdued Pro­vinces, as the Gentiles were to the Jews: And Christ was by Birth a Jew.

[Page 275] 3. The Greatness of the Roman Empire then, ruling over much of the World, was such, that by Preaching, and not by VVar, to bring them to be Subjects to a Crucified Jew, was a marvellous work; and so to bring the Conquered Nations to become Christ's Volun­tary Subjects.

4. The Roman and Greek Learning was then at the height of its Perfection: And the Christians were de­spised by them as unlearned Barbarians: And that Learning, Arts and Empire, should all submit to such a King and Saviour, was certainly a work of Superna­tural Power. Christ did not levy Armies to overcome the Nations, nor did Victory move them; but the Victors and Lords of the VVorld, and these no Fools, but the Masters of the greatest humane VVisdom, were Conquered by the Gospel, preached by a sort of inferior men.

5. And this Gospel which Conquered them was still opposed by them, and the Christians persecuted as a sort of hated men, till it overcame the Persecutors.

It's true that Heathenism hath the greatest part of the VVorld, and Mahometans have as much as Christians: But one sort got it by the Sword, and the other by the Doctrine, and Holy lives of a few unarmed inferiour men.

II. But I use this of the Extent of Faith, but as a probable, and not a cogent Argument: But the main Argument is from the Sanctifying effect of Faith.

I know it will be said, that many or most Christians are as bad as other men.

But it's one thing to be of a profest Religion, because it is the Religion of the King and Countrey, and therefore maketh for men's worldly advantage, and they hear little said againft it: This is the case of most in the [Page 276] World, Christians, Mahometans and Heathens: And it's another to be a serious Believer, who upon trial and consideration chooseth Christianity.

And it is notorious that such serious Christians are all Holy, Sober, and Just, and so greatly differing from the corrupted World, as fully proveth that God owneth that Gospel which he maketh so effectual to so great a change.

Here consider, 1. What that change is; 2. How hard and great a work it is: 3. That it is certainly a work of God. 4. That the Gospel is the means by which God doth it.

1. The nature of this Holy work on all serious sin­cere Christians, is, It sets all their Hopes and Hearts on the promised Glory of the Life to come, and turns the very nature of their Wills, into the predominant Love of God and Man, and of Heaven and Holiness: It mortifieth all fleshly Lusts, and Subjects Sense to Rea­son, and Faith, the Body to the Soul, and all to God: It sets a Mans Heart on the sincere study of doing all the good he can in the World, to Friends, Neighbours and Enemies; especially and most publick good; to live soberly, righteously and godly is his delight: Sin is his chief hatred; and nothing more grievous to him than that he cannot reach to greater Perfection, in Faith, Hope, Obedience, Patience, and in heavenly Love and Joy: It causeth a Man to contemn Wealth, Honour, and fleshly Pleasure, and Life, in comparison of God's Love and Life everlasting; this change God's Spirit worketh on all true Believers.

Those that are ungodly, have but the Name of Christians; they never well understood what Christiani­ty is; nor ever received it by a true belief. But all that understandingly and seriously believe in Jesus Christ are sanctified by his Spirit.

II. And this is a greater work than Miracles; in ex­cellency and difficulty.

[Page 277] 1. It is the very Health of the Souls: It is Salvation itself: it maketh Man in his measure like to God, and is his Image: It is a heavenly nature, and is the earnest and preparation for Heaven: It delivereth Man from the greatest evil on Earth, and giveth him the firmest peace and joy, in his peace with God, the pardon of his Sins, and the hope of everlasting Glory.

2. It's easy to discern how great a work this is, by the deep roots of all the contrary Vices, in the corrup­ted Nature of Man: Experience assureth us that Man by vitiated Nature is proud, and ignorant, and savou­reth little but the things of the Flesh, and worldly In­terest, and is a Slave to his Appetite and Lust: His bo­dily Prosperity is all that really hath his Heart: Yea if God restrain them not, all wicked men are bitter Enemies to all that are truly wise and holy, even among Heathens and Insidels, if any be but better than the rest, the wicked are their deadly Enemies. There is so visible an Enmity between Godliness and Wicked­ness, the Seed of Christ, and of the Serpent in the World as is a great confirmation of the Scripture which describeth it. And it is not the Name of Chri­stians that altereth mens Nature. We here that have Peace from all the World, are under such implacable hatred of wicked men, that call themselves Christians, that so many Bears or Wolves would be less hurtful to us.

3. And the universal spreading of this wickedness over all the Earth, in all Ages and Nations, doth tell us how great a work it is to cure it.

4. And so doth the frustration of all other means, till the Spirit of God do it by setting home the Gospel upon the Heart. Children will grow up in VVickedness, against all the Counsel, Love, Correction of their Pa­rents: [Page 278] no VVords, no Reason will prevail with them, more than with drunken men or beasts.

5. VVe find it a very hard thing to cure a Man of some one rooted sin: much more of all.

6. The common misery of the VVorld proclaimeth Man's Vice, and the difficulty of the cure: How else comes the VVorld to live in self-seeking, falshood, fraud, malice, and in bloody VVars, wors [...] than VVolves and Serpents against each other.

7. Lastly, VVhere God cureth this by true belie­ving, it's done with the pangs of sharp repentance, and a great conflict before God's Spirit overcometh.

III. It is evident then that this Sanctification of Souls is an eminent work of God himself: 1. In that it is yet done on so many of his chosen ones in all Ages and Places.

2. In that as hard as it is, he usually turneth the Hearts of Sinners to himself, in a very little time: Somtimes by one Sermon.

3. It is a work that none can do but God, who hath the power of Souls.

4. It is a work so good that it beareth God's own Image: It is but the writing of his Law and Gospel on mens Hearts: None is so much for it as God. Satan ap­parently fighteth against it with all the power he can raise in the VVorld. Mark it and you will find that most of the stir that there is in the VVorld, by false Teachers, and Tyrants, and private Malice, is but Sa­tans VVars against Faith and Holiness, and Love: Certainly it is not he that promoteth them.

IV. And it is evident in Experience, that it is the Gospel of Christ which God useth and blesseth, to do this great sanctifying work on Souls. Among Christians none are converted by any other means And God would not bless a word of falshood and deceit to such great [Page 279] and excellent effects: All that are made holy and hea­venly and truly conscionable among us, are made so by Christ's Gospel: And all the wicked are Enemies to the serious practice of it, or Rebels that despise it. The effects daily prove that God himself owneth it as his Word.

If you say, There are as good men among the Hea­thens and Mahometans, as holy heavenly, and just:

I answer, It is none of my business to depretiate other men: But I can say, 1. That I have lived above Sixty seven years, and I never knew one serious holy Per­son in England that was made such by the Writings of Heathens or Mahometans. 2. Many excellent things are in the Writings of some Heathens, Plato, Cicero, Hierocles, Plu­tarch, Antonine, Epictetus, and many others. But I miss in them the expressions of that holy and heavenly frame of mind and life, and that Victory over the Flesh and World, which Christianity containeth.

3. Christ is like the Sun, whose Beams give some light, before it is seen its self at its rising, and after it is set. The Light of Jews and Heathens, was as the dawning of the Day before Sun rising: And the light among the Mahometans is like the Light of the Sun which it leaveth when it is set.

Doubtless the same God who hath used Mahometans to be his dreadful Scourge to wicked Christians, who abused the Gospel by a false Profession, hath also used them to do abundance of good against Idolatry in the Heathen World: Where-ever they come, Idolatry is destroyed. Yea the corrupt Christians, Greeks, and spe­cially Papists, that worship Images, Angels, and Bread, are rebuked and condemned justly by Mahome­tans. But, O that they who have Conquered so far by the Sword, were Conquered by the Sacred Word of Truth, and truly understood the Mystery of Redemption, and the Doctrin of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

[Page 280] Obj. But they think us Idolaters for saying that Christ is God, and believing the Trinity.

I. As to the Trinity; it is no contradiction that one Fire or Sun should have Essentially a Virtue or Power to Move, Light, and Heat: Nor that one Soul should have a power of Vegetation, Sense and Reason; Nor as Rational, to have a peculiar power of Vitality, Intellection and Free-will. Why then should the Trinity seem incredidible?

II. We do not believe that the Godhead hath any change, or is made Flesh, or the Manhood made God; but that the Godhead is incomprehensibly united to the humane Nature by assumption, so as he is united to no other Creature, by and for those peculiar Operations on the humanity of Christ, which make him our Re­deemer.

They that well think that God is All in All things, more than a Soul to all the World, and as near to us as our Souls to our Bodies, in whom we live, and move, and have our being, will find that it is more difficult to ap­prehend, how God is further from any Soul, than that he is so much One with Christ: Save that different Ope­rations of God on his Creatures are apparent to us.

By all this we see that every sanctified Christian hath the certain Witness in himself that Christ is true: He is truly a Physician that healeth, and a Saviour that sa­veth all that seriously believe and obey him, The Spi­rit of God in a New, and Holy, and Heavenly Na­ture of Spiritual Life, and Light, and Love, is the Witness.

VI. The Sixth Article in my Text is [Received up into Glory.]

[Page 281] That Christ after Forty Days continuance on Earth, was taken up into Heaven in the sight of his Disciples, is a Matter of Fact of which we have all the foremen­tioned infallible proof, which I must not here again repeat.

And, 1. If Christ were not glorified now in Heaven he could not send down his Spirit with his Word on Earth, nor have enabled the first Witnesses to speak with all Tongues, and heal the Sick, and raise the Dead, and do all the Miracles which they did. A dead Man cannot send down the Holy Spirit in likeness of Firy cloven Tongues, nor enable Thousands to do such VVorks; nor could he do what is done on the Souls of serious Believers in all Ages and Nations to this Day. He is sure alive that makes men live, and in Heaven that draws up Hearts to Heaven.

2. And this is our Hope and Joy: Heaven and Earth are in his Power. The Suffering and VVork which he performed for us on Earth was short, but his heavenly Intercession and Reign is Everlasting. Guilty Souls can have no immediate access to God: All is by a Mediator: All our receivings from God are by him: And all our services are returned by him, and accepted for his sake. And as he is the Mediator between his Fa­ther and us, his Spirit interceedeth between him and us: By his Spirit he giveth us Holy desires and every Grace: and by his Spirit we exercise them in returns to him.

And our glorified Saviour hath Satan, and all our Enemies in his Power: Life and Death are at his com­mand: All Judgment is committed to him: He that hath redeemed us is preparing us for Heaven, and it for us; and receiveth our departing Souls to his own Joy and Glory. He hath promised us that we shall be with him where he is, and shall see his Glory. He that is our [Page 282] Saviour will be our Judge. He will come with Thou­sands of his Angels to the confusion of wicked Unbe­lievers, and to be glorified in his Saints. He will make a New Heaven, and a New Earth in which Righteousness shall dwell. Angels and Glorified Saints shall with Christ our Head, make one City of God, or holy Society and Chore, in perfect Love and Joy to praise the blessed God for ever.

I. The differences between this World, and that which I am going to.

I. THis World is God's Footstool. That is his Throne.

II. Here are his Works of Inferiour Nature and of Grace. There he shineth forth in Perfect Glory.

III. Here is gross Receptive Matter moved by In­visible Powers. There are the noblest efficient communicative Powers moving all.

IV. This is the Inferiour, subject, Governed World. That is the Superiour Regent World.

V. This is a World of Trial, where the Soul is his that can win its consent. That is a World where the Will is perfectly de­termined and fixed.

VI. Satan winning mens Consent, hath here a large Dominion of Fools: There he is cast out, and hath no Possession.

VII. Here he is a [...] and Troubler of the Best: [Page 283] There he hath neither Power to Tempt or Trouble.

VIII. This World is as the dark Womb where we are regenerated. That is the World of Glorious Light into which we are born.

IX. Here we dwell on a World of sordid Earth: There we shall dwell in a World of Celestial Light and Glory.

X. Here we dwell in a troublesom, tempting, perish­ing Body. There we are delivered from this burden and pri­son, into glorious liberty.

XI. Here we are under a troublesom Cure of our Maladies. There we are perfectly healed, rejoicing in our Physicians praise.

XII. Here we are using the Means in weariness and hope: There we obtain the end in full fruition.

XIII. Here sin maketh us loathsom to our selves, and our own annoiance. There we shall love God in our selves, and our Perfected selves in God.

XIV. Here all our Duties are defiled with sinful im­perfection. There perfect Souls will perfectly love and praise their God.

XV. Here Satans temptations are a continual dan­ger and molestation. There perfect Victory hath ended our temptations.

XVI. Here still there is a remnant of the Curse, and Punishment of sin:

Pardon and Deliverance are perfected there.

XVII. Repenting, Shame, Sorrow, and Fear are [Page 284] here part of my necessary work.

There all the troublesom part is past, and utter­ly excluded.

XVIII. Here we see darkly as in a Glass, the Invisi­ble World of Spirits:

There we shall see them as Face to Face.

XIX. Here Faith, alas, too weak, must serve in­stead of sight.

There presence and sight suspend the use of such believing.

XX. Desire and Hope are here our very Life & VVork.

But there it will be full felicity in fruition.

XXI. Our Hopes are here oft mixt with grievous doubts and fears.

But there full possession ends them all.

XXII. Our holy Affections are here corrupted with Carnal mixtures.

But there all are purely Holy and Divine.

XXIII. The coldness of our Divine Love is here our sin and misery.

The Perfection of it will be there our perfect Ho­liness and Joy.

XXIV. Here though the VVill itself be imperfect, we cannot be and do what we would.

There VVill, and Deed, and Attainment will all be fully perfect.

XXV. Here by Ignorance and Self-Love I have De­sires which God denieth.

There perfect Desires shall be perfectly fulfilled.

XXVI. Here pinching VVants of somthing or other, and troublesom Cares are daily burdens.

Nothing is there wanting, and God hath ended all their Cares.

XXVII. Sense here rebelleth against Faith, and Reason, and oft overcometh.

[Page 285] Sense there shall be only Holy, and no Discord be in our Faculties or acts.

XXVIII. Pleasures and Contents here are short, nar­row, and twisted with their contraries.

There they are objectively pure and boundless, and subjectively total and absolute.

XXIX. Vanity and Vexation are here the Titles of transitory things.

Reality, Perfection, and Glory are the Title of the things above.

XXX. This VVorld is a point of God's Creation, a narrow place for a few Passengers.

Above are the vast capacious Regions, sufficient for all Saints and Angels.

XXXI. This VVorld is as Newgate, and Hell, as Tyburn: some are hence saved, and some condemned.

The other VVorld is the Glorious Kingdom of Jehovah with the Blessed.

XXXII. It was here that Christ was tempted, scorned and crucified.

It is there where he Reigneth in Glory over all.

XXXIII. The Spiritual life is here as a Spark or Seed. It is there a glorious flame of Love, and Joy, and the perfect Fruit and Flower.

XXXIV. VVe have here but the first Fruits, Ear­nest, and Pledge.

There is the full and glorious Harvest and Per­fection.

XXXV. VVe are here Children in Minority, little differing from Servants.

There we shall have full possession of the Inheri­tance.

XXXVI. The prospect of Pain, Death, Grave, and Rottenness, blasteth all the Pleasures here.

[Page 286] There is no Death, nor any fear of the ending of felicity.

XXXVII. Here even God's VVord is imperfectly understood, and Errours swarm even in the Best.

All Mysteries of Nature and Grace, are there un­veiled in the World of Light.

XXXVIII. Many of God's Promises are here unful­filled, and our Prayers unanswered.

There Truth shineth in the full performance of them all.

XXXIX. Our Grace is here so weak, and Hearts so dark, that our sincerity is oft doubted of.

There the flames of Love and Joy leave no place for such a doubt.

XL. By our unconstancy here one Day is joyful and another sad.

But there our Joys have no interruption.

XLI. We dwell here with sinful Companions like our selves in Flesh.

There holy Angels and Souls with Christ are all our Company.

XLII. Our best friends and helpers are here in parst our hinderers by sin.

There all concur in the harmony of active Love.

XLIII. Our Errours and Corruptions make us also hurtful and troublesome to our Friends.

But there both Christ and they forgive us, and we shall trouble them no more.

XLIV. Selfishness and cross interests here jar, and mar our conversation.

There perfect Love will make the Joy of every Saint and Angel mine.

[Page 287] XLV. A militant Church imperfectly sanctified here liveth in scandal and sad divisions.

The glorious Church united in God in perfect Love, hath no contention.

XLVI. Sin and Errour here turn our very publick Worship into jars.

The Celestial harmony of joyful Love and Praise is to Mortals unconceivable.

XLVII. VVeak, blind and wicked Teachers here keep most in delusion and division.

There glorious Light hath banished all Lies, de­ceit and darkness.

XLVIII. The wills of blind Tyrants is the Law of most on Earth.

The Wisdom and Will of the most holy God, is the Law of the heavenly Society.

XLIX. Lies here cloud the Innocency of the Just, and render Truth and Goodness odious.

All false Judgments are there reversed, and Slan­der is silenced, and the Righteous justified.

L. Government is here exercised by terrour and violence.

But there God ruleth by Light, Love, and ab­solute Delight.

LI. Enemies, Reproach, and Persecution here an­noy and tempt us.

All storms are there past, and the Conquerors crowned in joyful Rest.

LII. The Glory of Divine Love and Holiness is clouded here by the abounding of Sin, and the greatness of Satan's Kingdom upon Earth.

But the vast glorious heavenly Kingdom, to which this Earth is but a Point and [Page 288] Prison will banish all such erring Thoughts and Glorifie God's Love and Goodness for ever.

LIII. This is the World which as corrupted is called an Enemy to God and us, and which as such we renounced in Baptism, and must be saved from.

That is the World which we seek, pray and wait for all our lives, and for which all the tempting Vanities of this must be forsaken.

LIV. This Body an World is like our riding Clothes, our Horse, our Way, and Inn, and travelling Company: All but for our Jour­ney homeward.

The other is our City of Blessedness and Ever­lasting Rest, to which all Grace inclineth Souls, and all preser [...] Means and Mercies tend.

LV. The very ignorance of Nature and Sensible things, makes this life a very Labyrinth, and our Studies, Sciences and Learned Conver­sation to be much like a Dream, or Popet Play, and a Childish stir about meer Words.

But in Heaven an Universal knowledge of God's wonderful Works will not be the least of the Glory in which he will shine to Saints.

LVI. Distance and Darkness of Souls here in Flesh, who would Fain know more of God and the heavenly World, and cannot, doth make our lives a burden by these unsatisfied desires.

There Glorious Presence and Intuition giveth full satisfaction.

LVII. Our sin and imperfection here render us un­capable of being the Objects of God's full complacential Love, though we have his [Page 289] benevolence which will bring us to it.

But there we shall in our several measures per­fectly please God, and be perfectly pleased in God for ever.

LVIII. All things here are short and transitory, from their beginning, posting towards their end, which is near and sure, and still in our Eye: so short is time, that Beings here are next to nothing; the Bubble of worldly Prosperity, Pomp and fleshly Pleasure, doth swell up, and break in so short a Moment, as that it Is, and and Is not almost at once.

But the heavenly substances and their work, and Joys, are crowned by Duration, being assuredly EVERLASTING.

Such, O my Soul, is the blessed Change which God will make.

The Reasons and Helps of my Belief and Hope of this Perfection.

1. NAtural Reason assureth me that God made all Creatures fitted to their intended use: Even Bruits are more fit for their several Offices, than Man is. He giveth no Creature its faculties in vain: What­ever a wise Man maketh, he fits it to the use which he made it for. But Man's Faculties are Enabled to think of a God, of our relation and our duty to him, of our hopes from him, and our fears of him: Of the state of our Souls related to his judgment; of what will befall us after Death, reward or punishment, and [Page 290] how to prepare for it: This Nature, and its faculties, and powers, are not made in vain.

II. Reason assureth me that all men are bound by Nature to prefer the least probability of a Life of Ever­lasting Joy, before all the Prosperity of this World; and to suffer the loss of all this short Vanity, to escape the least possibility of endless misery: And Nature hath such notices of Rewards and Punishments after Death, that no Man can say that he is sure there is no such thing. From whence it followeth that all men are bound by the very Law of Nature to be Religious, and to seek first and most their Salvation in the Life to come. And if so, It's certain that there is such a thing to be obtained: Else God had made the very Nature of Man to be deceived by itself, and to spend the chief part, yea all his life, through labour and suffering for that which is not; and so made his greatest duty to be his greatest deceit and misery: And the worst men should be least deceived. But all this is not to be imputed to our wise and good Creator.

III. The universal sense of Moral Good and Evil in all Mankind, is a great evidence of another life. The vilest Atheist cannot abide to be accounted a Knave, a Lyer, a bad Man; nor will equal a vicious Servant with another. All would be thought good who will not be good. And doth not God make a greater dif­ference than Man? And will he not shew it?

IV. The World is actually ruled much by the hopes and fears of another life, and cannot well be ruled without it, according to the Nature of Man: But the Almighty, most Wise and most Holy God, needs not, and will not rule the World by meer deceit.

V. The Gospel of Christ hath brought Life and Im­mortality into a clearer Light than that of Nature. [Page 291] And it must be by believing in Christ that we must have our full satisfaction. O what hath God done in the Wonders of Redemption to make us sure? And against the doubts that are apt to rise from some hard particular Text of Scripture, it must be considered, I. That Christ and his Apostles did put the ascertaining Seal of the many uncontrolled Miracles to the Gospel Doctrin, primarily; which Doctrin, 1. Was delivered and sealed Eight years before any of the New Testa­ment was written, and almost Seventy before the last. 2. And Christ did not speak in the Language that the Gospel is written to us; so that being but a Translation as to his own Words, the Matter is the thing first sealed.

II. And that it was the two Legislator-Mediators, Moses and Christ, who came with the great stream of uncontrolled Miracles; It being necessary that men should have full proof that a Law or Doctrin is of God, before they believe it: But the Priests and Prophets af­ter Moses, and the Preachers and Pastors of the Chri­stian Church, who were not Commissioned to bring men any New Laws or Gospel, but to proclaim and teach that which they received, needed no such New Testimony of Miracles.

III. The Belief of every particular Priest or Prophet after Moses, or every Pastor after Christ and his Apo­stles, was not of the same degree of necessity to Salva­tion, as the belief of the Law and Gospel itself. There­fore though all the Holy Scripture be true, the Law and the Gospel must be much differenced from the rest.

IV. The History of the Law and Gospel have full ascertaining historical Evidence; or else there is none such in the World. Therefore the Doctrin must be true.

[Page 292] V. The Prophesies fulfilled prove the Gospel true.

VI. And the Divine Impress on the whole.

VII. And the sanctifying work of the Spirit wrought by it, in all Nations and Ages, on serious Believers, is a constant Divine attestation.

VIII. And as my Faith hath so sure a Foundation, it confirmeth my Faith and Hope that it hath been so long and great a work of God by his Word and Spirit on my Soul, to raise it to believe, and love, and de­sire that Holy state of Perfection and Fruition which I hope for: That which hath made me so much better than I else had been, and turned my Heart and Life, (though imperfectly) to things above the Pleasures of the Flesh, must needs be of God: And God would never send his Grace to work my Heart to Deceit and Lies, and give me such Graces as shall all be frustrate: His Spirit is the Earnest and first Fruits of Glo­ry.

IX. And all the course of Religious and Moral duty which he hath commanded me, and in which he hath employed my life, were never imposed to deceive me; I am sure by Nature and Scripture that it is my Duty to love God and my Neighbour, to desire Perfection, and to serve God, and do good with all my time and power, and to trust God for my re­ward, believing that all this shall not be in vain; nor that which is best be made my loss. O blessed be God for Commands and Holy Duty: For they are equal to Promises: Who can fear that he shall lose by seeking God?

X. As God hath sealed the Truth of his Word as aforesaid, so he hath by an instituted Office and Ordi­nance, sealed and delivered to my self, his Covenant [Page 293] with the gift of Christ and Life, in Baptism, and the Lord's Supper.

XI. He hath given me such a love to Holy Things and Persons, that I greatly long to see his Church in perfect Light, and Love, and Concord: Oh how sweet would it be to see all men Wise, and Holy, and Joyfully praising God: Every Christian longs for this: And therefore such a state will be.

XII. I have found here the great benefit of the Love and Ministry of Angels, such as is described in Psal. 91. They have kept me Night and Day; which confirmeth my hope, that I shall dwell with them; for I love them better than men, because they love and serve God better.

XIII. That low communion which I have here with God by Christ and the Spirit, in his answer to my Pray­ers, Supports, Comforts, Experiences, tends to more.

XIV. The pleasure which I have by Love in think­ing of the happiness of my many, many, many holy departed Friends, and of the Glory of Christ, and the heavenly Jerusalem, is sure some hopeful approach to­wards their state.

XV. When I see the Fire mount upward, and think that Spirits are of a more sublime and excellent Nature than Fire. And when I see that all that is done in this World, is done by Spiritual unseen powers, which move this gross and drossie Matter, it puts me past doubt that my Soul being a Spirit, hath a vast and glo­rious World of Spirits to ascend to. God hath by Na­ture put into all things an aggregative uniting inclina­tion. Earth hath no other natural motion. The as­cent of Fire tells us its Element is above: And Spirit [...] naturally incline to Spirits, and holy Spirits peculiarly are inclined to the Holy.

[Page 294] XVI. I am sure, 1. By understanding that I un­derstand, and by willing that I will, &c. 2. I am sure by these Acts that I have the power or faculties to do them. For none doth that which it cannot do. 3. And I know that it is a substance that hath these powers: For nothing can do nothing.

My Soul then being certainly an intellective, Voli­tive, Vital substance; 1. I have no reason to think that God who annihilateth not the least Sand, will an­nihilate so noble a substance.

2. Nor that he will destroy those Powers which are its Essential form, and turn it into some other thing.

3. Nor that such Essential powers shall lie as dead unactive, and so be continued in vain.

4. There remaining therefore nothing uncertain to natural Reason, but the continuance of Individuation to separate Souls. 1. Apparitions, and Wirches cases have put that out of doubt, notwithstanding many Fables and Delusions. 2. Christ hath put it more out of doubt. 3. While substance, faculties and acts con­tinue, it is the errour of our selfish state in Flesh, which maketh any fear too near a Union which shall end our individuation. The greatest Union will be the greatest Perfection, and no loss to Souls.

XVII. God's wonderful Providences for the Church and single Saints on Earth, are such as tell us of that love and care, which will bring them afterwards to him.

XVIII. The Nature of God taketh off the terrour of my departure much: I am sure I shall die at the will, and into the Hand of Infinite Essential Love and Good­ness: whose love should draw up my longing Soul.

XIX. I am going to a God whose Mercies have [...]ong told me, that he loveth me better than my dear­est [Page 295] Friend doth, and better than I love my self, and is a far better chooser of my lot.

XX. As he hath absolute right to dispose of his own, so indeed the fulfilling of his Will, is the ultimate end of all things, and therefore most desirable in itself And his will shall be fulfilled on me.

XXI. I go to a glorified Saviour who came down to fetch me up, and hath conquered and sanctified Death, and made it my Birth-day for Glory, and taketh me for his dear bought own and interest, and is in Glory ready to receive his own.

XXII. I go to that Saviour who on the Cross com­mended his Spirit into his Fathers Hand, and taught me with dying Stephen to say, Lord Jesus receive my Spirit.

XXIII. I go no solitary untrodden way, but follow all the Faithful since the death of Abel to this day, (save Henoch and Elias) who all went by Death into that glo­rious World where I shall find them.

XXIV. I have so long groaned under a languid Body, and in a blind, distracted, and by Man uncurable World, where Satan by Lies, Malice, and Murder reigneth in—alas how many, and specially am so weary of my own darkness and sinful imperfection, that I have great reason to be willing of deliverance.

XXV. I have had so large a share of Mercies in this World already, in time, and manifold comforts from God, that reason commandeth me to rest in God's time for my removal.

XXVI. I shall leave some fruits not useless to serve the Church when I am gone: and if good be done, I have my end.

XXVII. When I am gone, God will raise up and use others to do his appointed work on Earth: And a [Page 296] Church shall be continued to his praise: And the Spirits in Heaven will rejoice therein.

XXVIII. When I am gone, I shall not wish to be again on Earth.

XXIX. Satan by his temptations and all his instru­ments would never have done so much as he doth in the World to keep us from Heaven, if there were not a Heaven which Conquerors obtain.

XXX. When darkness and uncertainty of the man­ner of the action and fruition of separated Souls would daunt me, it is enough to know explicitely so much as is explicitely revealed, and implicitely to trust Christ with all the rest: Our Eyes are in our Head; who knoweth for us? Knowledg of Glory is part of fruition: And therefore we must expect here no more than is suited to a life of Faith.

XXXI. All my part is to do my own duty and then trust God; obeying his commanding will, and fully and joyfully resting in his disposing and rewarding will. There is no rest for Souls but in the Will of God, and there with full Trust to repose our Souls in Life and at Death, is the only way of a safe and comfor­table departure.

XXXII. The glorious Marriage day of the Lamb cannot now be far off, when the number of the Elect shall be compleat, and Christ will come with his glori­ous Angels, and will be glorified in his Saints, and ad­mired in all Believers, and there shall be a New Heaven, and a New Earth wherein dwelleth Righteousness, and that Kingdom shall come, where that which God hath prepared for them that love him, Eye hath not seen, Ear hath not heard, nor hath it entred into the Heart of Man to have a formal, full conception of it.

Come Lord Jesus; come quickly, Amen.

[Page 297] Fear not then, O my Soul, to lay down this Flesh: Mercy hath kept it up for my preparing work; but, O what a burdensom and chargeable a Companion hath it been! Is it better than the dwelling place of perfect Spirits? O what are my groans and all my cold and faint Petitions, and my dull Thanksgiving, to their har­monious joyful Praise? If a Day in God's Courts be better than a Thousand, what is a Day, yea, what is Ever­lastingness in the heavenly Society and Work; O how hateful a thing is darkness and unbelief, when the rem­nants of them thus stop poor Souls in their ascent: And make us half unwilling to go home? What! unwilling to be with my glorified Lord? Unwilling to be with Saints and Angels, who are all Life, & Light, and Love? Unwilling to see the Glory of Jehovah? O foolish sin­ful Soul! Hath Christ done so much to purchase the heavenly Glory for thee, and now art thou unwilling to go into the possession of it? Hast thou been seeking, and praying, and labouring, and suffering so many Years, for that which now thou seemest scarce willing to obtain? Dost thou not judge thy self unworthy of Eternal Life, when thou no more desirest to enjoy it? All this is long of thy too much adherence unto SELF and SENSE: Thou art still desiring sensitive satisfacti­on, and not content to know thy part, wouldst know that for thy self, which Christ knoweth for thee: As if thou couldst better trust thy self than him? Fear not, weak Soul, it is our Fathers good pleasure to give thee the Kingdom: Trust infinite Power, Wisdom, and Love: Trust that faithful gracious Saviour who hath so wonderfully merited to be trusted: Trust that pro­mise which never deceived any one? and which is con­firmed [Page 298] by so many Miracles, and by the Oath, and by the Spirit of God. Whenever thou departest from this house of Flesh, the Arms of Mercy are open to embrace thee, yea, Essential transcendent Love is ready to re­ceive thee: The Spirit of Love hath sealed thee to that blessed state? Christ will present thee justified and accepted. Most of my old holy familiar Friends are gone before me, and all the rest that died since the World began. And the few imperfect ones left behind, are hasting after them apace, and if I go before will quickly overtake me: Though they weep as if it were for a long separation, it is their great mistake: The gate of Death stands all Day open, and my sorrowful Friends are quickly following me, as I am now fol­lowing those for whom I sorrowed. O pitty them who are left a while under the temptations, dangers and fears which have so long been thy own affliction? But be not afraid of the Day of thy deliverance, and the bosom of everlasting Love, and the Society of the wise, and just, and holy, and of the end of all thy troubles, and the entrance into the Joy of thy Lord, and the place and state of all thy hope. O say, not notionally only as from argumentative conviction, but confidently and with glad desire and hope TO DE­PART AND BE WITH CHRIST, IS FAR BET­TER than to be here.

But, O my God, I have much more hope in speak­ing to thee, than to my self. Long may I plead with this dark and dull, yet fearful Soul, before I can plead it into joyful hope and heavenly desires, unless thou shine on it with the light of thy Countenance, and Thou whom my Soul must Trust and Love, wilt give me Faith and Love themselves. I thank Thee for con­vincing Arguments: But had this been all the strength [Page 299] of my Faith and Hope, the tempter might have proved too subtile for me in dispute. I thank thee that some experience tells me, that a holy Appetite to heavenly Work, and a love to the heavenly Company and State, doth more to make me willing to die, and think with Pleasure of my change, than ever bare Arguments would have done. O send down the streams of thy love into my Soul, and that will powerfully draw it up by longings for the near and full fruition. O give me more of the divine and heavenly Nature, and it will be natural and easie to me to desire to be with Thee! Send more of the heavenly Joys into this Soul, and it will long for Heaven, the place of Joy. I must not hope on Earth for any such acquaintance with the World above, as is proper to the enjoying state. But if the Sun can send its illuminating, warming Rays, to such a World as this, according to the various dispositi­on of Recipients; doubtless Thou hast thy effectual, though unsearchable, waies, of illuminating, sanctify­ing, and attractive influence on Souls. And one such Beam of thy pleased Face, one Taste of thy complacen­cial Love, will kindle my love and draw up my desires, and make my pains and sickness tolerable; I shall then put off this cloathing with the less reluctancy, and willingly leave my Flesh to the Dust, and sing my Nunc dimittis, when I have thus seen and tasted thy Salvation. O my God, Let not thy strengthning com­forting grace now forsake me, lest it should overwhelm me with the fears of being finally forsaken. Dwell in me as the God of Love and Joy, that I may long to dwell in Love and Joy with Thee for ever. As Grace abounded where sin abounded, let thy strengthning and comforting Mercy abound, when weakness in­creaseth, and my necessities abound. My Flesh and my [Page 300] Heart [...] faileth, but Thou art the strength of my Heart and my Portion for ever. This short life is almost at an end: But thy loving kindness is better than life: I know not with what pains thou wilt further trie me: But if I love Thee, thou hast promised that all things shall work together for my good. The World that I am going to by Death is not apparent to my sight. But my life is hid with Christ in God; and because he liveth we shall live; and we shall be with him where he is; and when he appeareth we shall appear with him in Glory; and shall enter into our Masters joy, and be for ever with the Lord, Amen.

What sensible manifestation of his Kingdom, Christ gave in his Transfiguration.

§ 1. Our Lord who brought Life and Immortali­lity to Light, well knew the difficulty of believing so great things unseen: And therefore it plea­sed him to give men some sensible helps by demon­stration. In Mat. 16. & 17. 1, 2. &c. Mark 9. 1. Luk. 9. 28. he promised some of his Disciples a sight of his Kingdom as coming in power; or such a glimpse as Moses had of the Backparts of God's Glory: This he performed first in his Transfiguration, as afterward in his Resurrection, Ascension, and sending the holy Ghost to enable them with power, to preach and work Mi­racles, and convert the Nations.

§ 2. By the Kingdom of God, is meant God's Go­vernment of his Holy ones by a heavenly communica­tion [Page 301] of Life, Light and Love initially on Earth, by Grace, and perfectly in Heaven by Glory. A special Theocracy.

§ 3. For the understanding of this we must know, that when God had made Man good, in his Image, he conversed with him in a heavenly manner, either im­mediately, or by an Angel speaking to him, and tel­ling him his will. But Man being made a free self-de­termining Agent, he was left to choose whom he would follow: And hearkening unto Satan, and turning from God, he became a Slave of Satan, and gave him advantage to be his deceiving Ruler: Not that Man's rebellion nullified God's Power, or disposing Govern­ment, or took Man from under Obligation to Obedi­ence: but that forsaking God he was much, though not wholly forsaken by his special fatherly approving Government, and left to Satan and his own will: But the eternal Word interposing for Man's Reprival and Redemption, undertook to break the Serpents Head, and to conquer and cast out him that had deceived and captivated Man: And choosing out a special Seed he made them a peculiar People, and set up a heavenly Prophetical Government over them, himself by hea­venly Revelation making their Laws, and choosing their chief Governours under him, from time to time, and would not leave it to blind and sinful Man to make Laws or choose Princes for themselves, but would keep them in a special dependance upon Heaven. But the carnal Israelites having provoked God by odious Ido­latry to deny them much of the benefit of Government (save when they repented and cryed to him for help) they thought to amend this by choosing a King like other Nations, and ending their dependance on hea­venly Revelation and choice for Government: And so [Page 302] Theocracy was turned into a more humane Regiment, and God more cast off: Though yet he would not quite forsake them. And the rest of the World was yet more left under the power of Satan and their own corrupted mind and will. So that Satan hath both an In­ternal Kingdom in wicked Souls, and a visible Politi­tical Government of the wicked Kingdoms of the World, ruling them by men that are ruled by him. And as Christ came to cast him out of mens Hearts by his sanctifying conquering Spirit, so also to cast him out of the Political Government of the Kingdoms of the World, and to bring them under the Laws, and Offi­cers, and Spirit of Christ, and rule them by heavenly Power and Love as his own Kingdoms, that he may bring them to Perfection in one Celestial Kingdom at last. And in this sense we pray, Thy Kingdom come.

§ 4. To make men believe that he is the heavenly King sent from God to cast down Satans Kingdom, was the great business of the preaching of the Gospel: This he would demonstrate, as by all his Miracles which shewed him to have the Victory of Devils, and to be the Lord of Life, so also by visible Apparition in Glory. And as it is said, 1 Joh. 5. 7, 8. that there are three Witnesses in Heaven, and three on Earth, so here Christ would have three heavenly, and three earthly Witnesses of his Transfiguration. From Heaven he had the Witness, 1. Of a Voice proclaiming, This is my be­loved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear him. 2. Of Moses the chief Lawgiver. 3. And of Elias the chief Prophet; to tell us that the Law and the Prophets, are his prognosticating Witnesses: But [Hear him] no­tifieth to us, that Christ and his Gospel are to be heard above the Law and the Prophets, and to teach [Page 303] us more than they could teach us: The Law was gi­ven by Moses, (with its types and shadows,) but Grace and Truth (the substance so typified) are by Jesus Christ.

§ 5. Light and Glory are often of the same significa­tion. Christ was transfigured into a lucid glorious ap­pearance of Body: He tells us by this, that he would have us have some sort of Idea of his Kingdom, fetcht from sense, many Apparitions of Angels have been in lights. Christ appeared to Saul in a visible light, Act. 9. So did he to John, Rev. 1, &c. God and the Lamb are the Light of the New Jerusalem. It is an inheritance of the Saints in Light.

Some seem to me to think too basely of Sense, and too far to separate it from Intellectual Spirits both as to Power, Act, and Object: And all because they find it in lower Creatures. They might accordingly deny substantiality to Spirits, because Bruits are substances: The higher have all the Perfections of the lower, either formally or eminently. It is not a Spirits Perfection to be insensible, or to have nothing to do with sensible things, but to be eminently sensible, and to be Supe­riour Agents on lower sensibles. GOD IS LOVE: And LOVE is Complacency: And a high degree of Complacency is Delight or Joy. So that God is Essen­tial Infinite Joy: But without that drossie quality which is proper to Souls in Flesh, and all that Imper­fection which belongs to Creatures. Can we tell what it is to enter into our Masters Joy, or Joyfully to love and praise him, without any sense: I rather think that as vigorous Youth maketh men capable of more delight than decrippt, languid, [...]ainful Age and Sickness, so Heaven shall by perfecting our Natures, make them capable of unconceivably more joy than any on Earth is capable of. [Page 302] [...] [Page 303] [...]

[Page 304] And as we shall have Sense in Exaltation as to power and act, so we shall have sensible Objects. God himself delighteth in all his works; and so shall we: we must not on pretence of taking the heavenly Jerusalem to be meerly Spiritual, deprive our selves of all the sensible Idea's of it which God's description offereth to u [...] Light is sensible: Christ glorified there is sensible: Moses and Elias were sensible to Peter, James, and John. Lazarus and Abraham were sensible to the Man in Hell, Luke 16. Stephen saw Heaven open and Christ sitting at the right Hand of God: And all Eyes shall see him at his glo­rious return. Heavenly Glory is not enjoyed only by meer THINKING and knowing, nor as in a Dream: but by the most eminent Intellectual sensation exalted and invigorated.

§ 6. Say not then, O my Soul that this Kingdom of Glory is so far above thee, that thou canst have no Idea of it: Think not that it is therefore unmeet for thy desi­ring and joyful hopes, because thou canst not know what it is: Hast thou no conception of the difference be­tween Light and Darkness? If thou hadst been but one Year kept in absolute darkness, wouldst thou have no desiring thoughts of light? The Blind think them­selves half dead, while they are alive. Indeed the Fa­culty and Object must be suitable: Light may be too great for our weak Eyes, as heat may be torment in an unsuitable degree: but when our Souls are perfected, they will be suitable Recipients of a more glorious Light than we can here endure: Moses is not there covered in a cleft of the Rock, because he could see but as the back parts of God's Glory. We must see here but as in a Glass: but there as Face to Face. Though these Or­ganical Eyes as Spectacles shall be laid by, we shall have Media more perfect suitable to our perfect state.

[Page 305] And as I can think of Heaven as a Region of glori­ous Light, so can I think of it as a place and state of Life and Love: I know somwhat of the difference of Life and Death; and that a living Dog is better than a dead Lyon. And I have felt what it is to love my Friends, and thence to desire their near communion as my delight. And can I then have no Idea of that World, where Life, Light and Joyful Love are the very Element of Souls, as Water is to the Fishes.

And as I can have some Idea of that state in general, so may I of the state of the perfected Spirits of the Just which are there. They are con-natural to their pro­per Element. They are Essential created Life, Light, and Love. And they want not substance to be the Ba­sis of those formal Powers, nor Objects on which to exercise them. Think not then that Heaven is so far unconceivable as not by any Idea to be thought of: If we have no Conception of it, we can have no desires of it, and no delightful hope. What can we conceive of more certainly, than of Life, and Light, and Love; of a Region, and of Persons essentiated of these? Do we not know what Knowledge is? and see what Light is? and feel what Life and Love are?

But it's true that our Conceptions hereof are lamen­mentably imperfect; and so they must be till Possession, Fruition, and Exercise perfect them. Who knoweth what Light or Sight is, but by Seeing; or what Knowledge is but by knowing? Or what Love, and Joy are but by loving and rejoicing? And who knows what Perfect Sight, Knowledg, Love, and Joy are, but by perfect Seeing, Knowing, Loving, and Re­joicing? No Man by an intuitive or immediate percepti­on: But some abstractive Conceptions of it we may have by reasoning deduction, from that poor Degree [Page 306] which we here in the Kingdom of Grace pos­sess.

Can I perceive substantiality in the dark terrene ap­pearances, which are but mutable lifeless matter agitated and used by invisible Powers and shall I think of those unseen powerful substances as if they were less substan­tial for being Spiritual, or were not Objects for a knowing Thought. Are the Stars which I see less sub­stantial than a Carkass in a darksom Grave? The Lord that appeared in shining Glory, hath Members in their measure like himself; and hath promised that we shall shine as Stars in the Kingdom of his Father: If some degree of this be here performed in them who are called the Children of Light, and the Lights of the World, how much more will they shine in the World of Light. They that call Light a quality or an Act, must confess it hath a substance whose quality or act it is. Alas, what a deceived thing is a sensual Unbeliever; who spendeth his Life in the pursuit of fugitive shad­dows, and walketh in a vain shew, and thinks of Spiritual glorious substances, as if they were the no­things or delusions of a Dream?

§ 6. Christ, Moses and Elias here visibly appeared as three distinct individual Persons: This tells us that it is a false conceit that Death ceaseth Individuation, and turneth all Souls into one: (of which before:) Perfect indivisible infinite Unity is proper to God: From this One is multiplicity. Reason forbids us when we see the numberless individuals in this World, and see also the numerous Stars above, to imagine that all the Worlds above us have so much of Divine Perfection, as to be but one undivided substance, and to have no multiplicity of Inhabitants. Yea, some of those Sadduces hold that the Stars are Worlds inhabited as the Earth is. And [Page 307] why then should they think whither soever Souls go, that they cease their individuation) When they go among individuals? But Christ hath confuted them even to Sense. Moses is Moses still, and Elias is Elias still: And all our Friends that are gone to Christ, are the same still that they were, and may be called by the same Names. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are the same in Heaven; and Lazarus was Lazarus in Abraham's bosom. When we lay by Flesh, and are uncloathed, we put not off our personality: Every one shall re­ceive his own reward, according to what he hath done in the Body, when every one must give account of his own works and talents.

Why then may I not with distinct conceptions and joyful desires look after the Souls of my departed Friends, that are now in the Celestial Kingdom? Though malignity hath scorned me for naming some few in my Saints Rest, being such as the Despisers hated; yet I forbear not on such accounts to Solace my self by naming more, but because they are more than it's fit to number. In all places where I have lived, how many excellent Souls (though here they were not perfect) are gone to Christ? How sweet is the remembrance of the communion which I had with many of them in Shrewsbury and other parts of Shropshire? Of ma­ny at Dudley and the adjoining parts: Of Mul­titudes at Kiderminster, Bewdley, and other parts of Wor­cestershire: Of abundance at Coventry, and other parts of Warwickshire: And of many where I have sojourned in other parts of the Land: And above all in London, and the adjoining parts? As Mr. How hath elegantly ex­prest it in his excellent Character of my excellent and dear Friend Mr. Richard Fairclough: What a Multitude of Blessed Saints will arise at the last Day out of London? [Page 306] [...] [Page 307] [...] [Page 308] and this Earth is as it were hallowed with the Dust and Relicts of so many blessed Souls. But it's Heaven that is spangled with these Spiritual Stars: The place ho­noured with them, and they with it, and all by Christ. We are like Infants, or Lambs, or other young ones, that cry for their Dams if they be but out of sight; though they are never so near, if they see them not, they cry as if they were not, or had forsaken them. As Christ told his Disciples, that it was needful for them that he departed from them, and yet their Hearts for this were sorrowful, till the Holy Ghost came upon them, as better than Christ's fleshly presence, to prepare them joyfully to follow him; so we think of our Friends as almost lost to us by separation, till the hea­venly Spirit tell us where they are, and prepare us to desire to be with them.

§ 6. Elias hath a Body now in Heaven; and so hath Henoch: But can we think that only two or three that are there with Christ do so much differ from all the rest, as to have Bodies when the rest have none? Is there such a dissimilitude of Saints in Heaven? What are two or three in such a Society? Doubtless their Bodies are not corruptible Flesh and Blood, but such Spiritual Bodies as all Saints shall have at the Resurrection. But are they in Heaven such visible and shaped Bodies as they appeared on the Mount? The same difficulty poseth us about the risen Body of Christ: He would not have Mary touch him because he had not yet ascended to his Father? He could appear and vanish from their sight at his pleasure: And yet Thomas handled him, and felt that he had Flesh and Bones: That Body of Flesh ascended visibly up toward Hea­ven: And yet it is not Flesh and Blood in Heaven, but a Spiritual Body: For it is not worse than he will make [Page 309] his Members. What shall we say to these things? We must say, That we are not capable of knowing them, but have Reason to be thankful that we may know so much, more necessary for us: But yet it seem­eth probable that the Bodies of Christ, and Henoch, and Elias were changeable according to the Region in which they were to be: Christ could take up a Body of Flesh and Blood, and immediately change that state of it into a pure incorruptible Spiritual Body, as it en­tered into the incorruptible Spiritual Region: And so God did by Henoch and Elias: As Paul saith, that we shall not all die (those that live till Christ's appearing) but we shall all be changed. And yet if Elias have business on the Mount, he can put on the cloathing of a grosser Body to be so seen of men, and can lay it by or return to his more invisible Spiritual state when he returneth to the place from whence he came. And no wonder, when Angels (and the Ancients say, Christ before his Incarna­tion) assumed Bodies suitable to their several businesses on Earth; yea, such as could eat and drink with men; when yet they dwelt not in Heaven so coursly cloathed.

§ 7. But how came Moses to have a Body on the Mount, who is said to have been buried, and therefore took none with him into Heaven? We must still remem­ber that we enquire of things above our certain know­ledge: But in humble conjecture we may say, That it's no more impossible for Moses to assume such a Body as he appeared in on the Mount, for that occasion, than for Angels to appear in humane shapes; and departed Souls too, as many Apparitions have told men. And if bad Souls can do it, why not good ones when God will have it? The Tradition seemeth but a Jewish Dream, that God kept the Body of Moses uncorrupted in the Grave; and that this was it that the Devil is said to strive for against Mi­chael, [Page 310] that the Body might be corrupted. (And say others, that at this Transfiguration it rose again.) There need no such conceits to our satisfaction. The Soul of Moses could assume a Body.

§ 8. But still the dissimilitude of Henoch and Elias from all the Saints in Heaven, is an unresolved diffi­culty. If we knew that God would have it so, it might satisfie us. But there is a symmetry in the Body of Christ. And it's like that the same Region hath Inha­bitants of the same Nature. What shall we think then? That Henoch and Elias at their entrance into those Re­gions laid by their Bodies, and became such as Abraham, and other holy Souls? Why are they taken up to be so laid by? (The corruptibility no doubt they did lay by.) God knoweth: but its much unknown to us. Or shall we think as all those Fathers cited by Faustus Regiensis, and as Dr. More, and some of late, that all Spirits are Souls. and animate some Bodies; and so that all in Heaven have some Bodies: If so, what Bodies are they? And how differ they from the Resurrection state? As the Soul here operateth in and by the Igneous Spirits in our Bodies, it may be so lodged in these as to take some of them with it at Death, as the life of a dying Plant, yet dieth not in the Seed. And a Man may be said to go unclothed to Bed, though he put not off his shift or nearest Garment, and to be clothed again when he puts on the rest: And at the Resurrection, as there will be a New Heaven and Earth, so Spirits now in Heaven may have much more delightful business on the New and Righteous Earth, than now they have, and therefore may have use for an additional Body, as much differing from what they have now in Heaven, as the New Earth, and their employment there require; and as the Seed doth differ from the Plant. And Spirits being commu­nicative [Page 311] will be more happy by more communication. As God delighteth to do good to all his works, so the Souls now confined to Heaven, will delight to be em­ployed in doing good to the New Earth, and to ani­mate the Bodies suited to such work. Though now they have use for no other than such Spiritual lucid Re­ceptacles as are fit for the Regions where they dwell. And it will be no debasement or dejection for a Spirit now in Heaven to animate a Body at the Resurrection fit for the New Earth; no more than it was to Angels to speak to Adam, and to Moses, to Abraham, Jacob, Manoah, and others; or then it is to the Sun to en­lighten and enliven things on Earth.

It is a foolish thing to think as some do, that de­parted Souls will be as dormant, and unactive, as in Apopletick or Sleeping Persons, for want of Orga­nized Bodies to act in. Spirits are Essentially Active, Intellective, and Volitive: And will God continue such Essential Powers in vain? Moses and Elias wanted not Bo­dies: And those in Heaven can praise Jehovah and the Lamb with holy concordant Love and Joy; whether in any sort of ethereal Bodies or without, we shall shortly know.

§ 8. It is said that Moses and Elias talked with Christ: This sheweth that Christ hath familiar commu­nion with the Blessed. He that would come into Flesh on Earth; and live with Man in an humbled state, and refused not familiar converse with poor men and wo­men, and would eat and drink with Publicans and Sinners, will not refuse everlasting near familiarity with the glorified: If the Church be his dearly beloved Spouse, and as it were one with him, as his Body, surely he will be no stranger to the least and lowest Member of it.

§ 9. But what was it that they talkt about? Luk. 9. 31. saith, They appeared in Glory, and spake of his [Page 312] decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. This was not to make it known to Christ, who came into the World to die for sin: What then was it for? Did Christ tell them of it, as not knowing it before? That is not likely neither. Did he need their comfort, as Angels in his trials ministred to him and strengthned him? The particular uses of this speech we know not? But in general we know it was somwhat preparatory to his great Sufferings and Death.

And must Christ's Sufferings and Death have such preparation, and must not mine have much premedita­tion, and do I not need the consolatory messages of God? Carnal men would rather have chosen pleasanter discourse, than the talk of Sufferings and Death. But that which must be undergone, and requireth greatest strength, must be forethought of, and requireth the most preparing Thoughts. It's worse than madness to be surprized with Sufferings and Death, before it's seriously forethought of? So sharp a trial and so great a change, require the greatest preparation. He that can refuse to suffer and die, may refuse to talk or think of it. If Christ must have men from Heaven to talk with him of his Cross, what cause have we to study the Cross? Even all our lives to foresee it, and by obedient consent to submit unto it, and take it up to follow Christ, and even to determine with Paul to know nothing in the World but Christ and him Crucified, that is, to take this for the only needful and excellent Learning: But, alas, how senslesly is Death and Suf­fering talkt of till it comes! We are to learn how to suffer when suffering is upon us; and to learn how to die till Nature or the Physician pass the sentence of Death on us at hand. And it is God's Mercy to some of us to make our sufferings long, that we may have [Page 313] a competent time of learning. As we learn to write by writing, and to discourse by discoursing, and every Art and Trade by practice; even so by suffering we learn to suffer. And the Lesson is very hard: Malefactors suffer without Learning, whether they will or not, but to suffer Obediently with Child-like affections is the Lesson to be learnt. O little, too little do many honest Christians think how much of their most excellent Obe­dience consisteth in Child-like holy Suffering. There­fore they little expect it, and provide for it: And then they are overwhelmed with the unexpected sur­prizal when it comes. Even in the sufferings which men bring on the Faithful for Righteousness sake, how many shrink and shift off their duty, or venture on forbidden things for safety, because they were not prepared for it: The loss of goods or imprisonment and want, seem to many almost unsufferable trials: But I can tell such by some experience, that bodily pain and torment is a far greater trial, which none of them is secured from; and requireth greater strength of Faith, obediently to accept it at the Hand of God. And others can tell them, that the violence of temp­tations, and the terrours of God on a wounded Con­science, and troubled Soul, are yet far harder than all these. And these are the saddest because they make the mind unfit at present to improve them, and to refer them to Holy Ends and Uses. Christ in all his Agony, and even when he cryed out on the Cross, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me, had his Intellectuals free and perfect, to know the Nature, the Reason, the uses and end of all his Sufferings: But so have not ma­ny poor distressed, troubled, distracted Souls. O how great a part of Christianity is it, to understand and rightly bear the Cross? Most of our care is how to [Page 314] escape it, or to be delivered from it, rather than how obediently to bear it.

§ 10. Experience of a suffering painful state, is a great help to our understanding of the Gospel: It ta­keth off from me the scandal of Christ's Cross, and helpeth me to perceive the great use and reasons of it, when I am under sufferings. O what need have I of such an example as Christs. All the parts of his suffer­ing are as useful to teach me how to suffer as the Ten Commandments to teach me what to do. That he was put to fly from proud domineering Pharisees, false Teachers and worldly Rulers, and to converse most with the Poor in Wildernesses or obscure various places? That he was hated and persecuted for doing good, and accounted a Sinner for neglecting mens Ce­remonies, and Traditions: That he was hardly believed even by them that saw his Miracles: And his own Disciples were so slow in learning; and that in his suffering they all forsook him and fled, and one de­nied him with Oaths and Curses. All these are in­structing Instances; That Christ's natural (though sin­less) aversation to Death and Suffering, and his fear, should be so powerful, and the sense of God's punishing Justice so terrible, as to make his Soul sorrowful even to the Death, and cast him into an Agony, where he swate Water and Blood, and to pray thrice that the bitter Cup if possible might pass from him, which he came into the World to drink; all these also are teach­ing parts of the Sufferings of Christ; That Rulers, and Priests, and Souldiers, and the Rabble should agree to Scorn him; Cloth him in derision, Spit on him, Buffet him, Scourge him, make him their Jeast that came to save them; that they should make a Sinner of him that never sinned, but came to destroy it and save [Page 315] men from it; yea, to make him no less than a Decei­ver, a Blasphemer, and an usurping Rebel against Cae­sar, and write this last as his Accusation on his Cross, thinking to leave his Innocency no Vindication or De­fence; for the Lord and Saviour of the World to un­dergo all this, is very instructing to a suffering Believer: That he should as such a Malefactor be reviled on a Cross, and numbred with Transgressours, and his side be pierced, and he there cry out to his Father as for­saken by him: That thus dying he was buried, and his Soul went to the place of separated Souls, and yet in­to Paradise; they are excellent Lessons which may be learnt from all this.

I am not to suffer for others, nor to make God's Ju­stice a satisfying Sacrifice for sin, as Christ did: But I must suffer God's Fatherly Corrections, and the casti­gation of paternal healing Justice: I must be saved as by Fire, and pass through this Purgatory that I may be refined: I must suffer from Christ and for Christ; for my sin, and also for Righteousness sake: And I must with a filial Justification of God's Holiness and chastening Justice, bear his indignation because I have sinned against him: I am predestinated to be conformed to Christ's Image, in suffering and in sanctity, Rom. 8. 30. &c. Yea, I must count all things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I must not refuse to suffer the loss of all things, and count them Dung that I may win him, and be found in him—and not only know the power of his Resurrection, but also the fellowship of his Suf­ferings, and be made conformable to his Death, Phil. 3. 8, 9, 10. Paul rejoiced in such infirmities, and in his Sufferings for the Church, filling up that which was behind of the afflictions of Christ in his Flesh, Col. 1. [Page 316] 24. Peter bids us Rejoice in as much as we are partakers of Christ's Sufferings, that when his Glory shall be re­vealed, we may be glad also with exceeding Joy, 1 Pet. 4. 13. If we suffer with him, that we may also be glo­rified with him: Rom. 8. 17. It is a great gift to suf­fer for his sake, Phil. 1. 29. It is for the Kingdom of God that such suffer, 2 Thess. 1. 5. It is happiness and joy to suffer for Righteousness sake, for well doing, 1 Pet. 2. 10. & 3. 14, 17. & 4. 15, 16, 19. Mat. 5. 10, 11. It is the sufferings of Christ that abound in such that their consolations may abound, 2 Cor. 1. 5.

But, alas, I suffer much more for my own sin, than for Christ and Righteousness. But even this also by the Cross of Christ is sanctified, and made a great remedy against my Sin. As Christ suffered for our sins, and yet merited by his Suffering; so if we accept the ca­stigatory punishment, and Exercise Repentance, and Mortification in our suffering, and an obedient submis­sion to the Rod, God will take this as acceptable Ser­vice, and bless it to our further good.

§ 11. But how is it that Christ is said, to learn obe­dience by the things that he suffered, and so to be made perfect? Heb. 5. 8, 9. was he unlearned and imperfect be­fore? He had no culpable imperfection. But his satisfacto­ry mediation was imperfect till it was all performed: It was not perfectly done; and when it was done he there­by was constitutively made a perfect Mediator: as he said upon the Cross, It is finished: And as his humane Nature received additional acts of knowledge, as he grew up and conversed with more Objects, and so is said to increase in Wisdom (as Adam knew the Creatures when he saw them;) so he had a new acquaintance with Obe­dient suffering, when he was under the experience of it; and is said to learn it, in that he now exercised it.

[Page 317] And should not my suffering be God's School; should I not learn obedience by it? Surely, as it smart­ly tells me of the evil of former disobedience, so it calls me to remember in whose hands I am, and with whom I have to do, and what is my duty in such a state? God can do no wrong to his own: He will do nothing fi­nally hurtful to his Children. In all our afflictions he is said to be afflicted, to signifie that he afflicts not willing­ingly, or without our provocation. Justice is good, and holiness is good; and it's good for us to re­pent and be weaned from the Flesh and World: And all good must be loved, and the means as such: Sharp Heart-breaking Sermons are unpleasing to Na­ture; and yet to be loved for their use. And afflictions are God's powerful Sermons: The proud and hardened are forced to hear them, who scorn and prosecute Preachers for speaking the same things: And shall Be­lievers under sufferings be untaught. Words are but Words, but stripes go by forcible sense unto the Heart: Obedient submission to the greatest pains, is a serious acknowledgement of God's Dominion, and of his Wis­dom and Love, and the certain hopes of a better life. Impatience hath in it somwhat of Atheism, or Blasphe­my; God is not duely acknowledged and honoured. Job's Wife would have had him thus purposly provoke God, to end his misery by Death: As if she had said, Speak no more well of him, by whom thou sufferest so much, nor honour a God that will not help thee: But Patience saith, Mic. 7. 7. I will look unto the Lord; I will wait for the God of my Salvation: my God will hear me.

Impatience sheweth a misunderstanding of God's dealing with the afflicted; but patience yieldeth, be­cause it understandeth whence all comes, and what [Page 318] will be the fruit and end. A Man that is let Blood for his life, is not impatient with the Chyrurgion; but a Beast will strive, and a Swine or Child will cry.

Our burdens are heavy enough of themselves: Impa­tience maketh them heavier, and is more painful than the thing which we suffer: Some have gone mad with crosses which oft to another would have been light. Patience is our cordial and nepenthes: yea, the Health of the Soul by which it is able to bear its infirmities. In our patience we possess our Souls, Luk. 21. 19. whatever else we lose, we lose not our selves. He that keepeth his Faith, and Hope, and Love by patience keepeth his Soul. But the impatient lose themselves; as if their other losses were not enough. A poor Man singeth that gets his living only by his Day-labour: When a Lord or Knight would be tormented with sorrow, if he were reduced to his degree. Striving under our yoak and burden maketh it Gall the more: And we cannot so hopefully or comfortably pray for deliverance from the pain which we make our selves, as from that which God layeth on us: Though also there, we must pray for the Grace that must save us from our own impa­tience.

Patience preventeth many sins; which impatience causeth: Hard thoughts of God, if not hard and un­seemly Words; Job sinned not nor charged God foolishly: Impatience tempteth men to think that Piety and Prayer are in vain, and to condemn the Generati­tion of the Just, and to leave off Duty, and say, Why should I wait on God any longer; yea, and to venture on false and sinful means, in hopes of deliverance and ease.

Were it to men, we have much to allay our impa­tience: But against God impatience hath no just ex­cuse. [Page 319] Infinite Power, Wisdom, and Goodness can do nothing that deserveth blame: We have God's Pro­mise that All things shall work together for our good: And is he not to be trusted? Or is the means of our good to be accused?

Impatience, is unseemly for them that believe that heavenly Rest and Glory are at hand; where all their pains and sorrows will end. Were a Man on the Rack, and were sure to have all that he desired after it, he would the more easily endure it. Why else did the Martyrs so patiently suffer? It's incongruous to complain of any thing that brings a Man to Hea­ven.

Christ was himself Innocent, and yet accused not God for his sufferings. But we suffer justly for our faults; and it's so much less than they deserve, that the sins which we suffer most for are said to be forgiven us, in that the everlasting punishment is forgiven: Should we so often sinfully please the Flesh, and yet must it not smart? Shall we so often grieve the Spirit of God, and not be grieved? Shall we lose our time, neglect our duty forget our home, fall in love with the World, and yield to temptations, and defile our Souls with filth and vanity, and must not correction tell us of our sinful folly? If we suffer for our faults and bear it patiently, it is not thanks worthy, 1 Pet. 2. 20.

Our merciful Father doth use to shame us for our impatience, by the blessed end of our Afflictions. The End that God made with Job shewed the reasonable­ness of his Patience: When our afflictions are over, do not all Believers see cause of thankfulness for them, and say, It is good for me that I was afflicted? The pain is past, and the benefit remaineth. And if all that's past was Mercy to us, why should we much fear that [Page 320] which is to come. Heaven will end all, and shame im­patience for ever.

Our patience is much of our perseverance: What a deal of labour do those impatient men lose, that learn and pray, and are somwhat Religious, and have not patience at the last assault to bear the trial, but fail when they seemed to be near the Crown?

Hold out then poor desponding Soul: Lift up the Hands which hang down, and the feeble Knees, and run with patience the Race which is set before thee, looking to Jesus who for the joy that was set before him, endured the Cross. God will not deceive thy hopes! Sin hath brought pain and death on Man; but Christ hath sanctified it, and is the Lord of Life. Yet a little while, and the heavenly Possession shall turn thy sorrows into everlasting Joy, and thy moans and groans into thanks and praise, and there shall be no more sickness, pains or death. O foolish unbelieving Hearts that cry out of suffering, and fear deliverance; that would fain be free from all affliction, and yet fly from the only state of freedom: That are impatient under their calamity, and yet afraid of passing to the only rest.

§ 12. But it is neither Pain alone, nor Death alone that will sufficiently try our strength and exercise our Faith and Patience. It must be Great Pain (and often Long) in order to a certain or expected Death. These two conjunct were the Case of Christ. The torment of his Agony, Scourging, Crucifying, Piercing and Desertion, and the certainty of Death that followed. Great pain with hopes of recovery and ease, may be born even by a worldly Man: Because there is still the worldly hope of better; and so there is no denial of All, while Life it self is not denied: We must re­ceive [Page 321] the Sentence of Death in our selves, if we will find that we trust in God alone, and trust him as one that raiseth the Dead, that is, for another and better life.

As long as a Man hath any hope of life and ease, a Man's Faith is not tried to the uttermost, by actual for­saking all. And yet an easy Death alone, doth not fully try a Man: For they that know that all must die, may submit to this, who cannot bear long pains before it. But great and long pains, and the Sentence of Death together are the trial.

And if God will so try me, why should I repine? Flesh will groan, but the Mind may obediently sub­mit. It is but Flesh: that Flesh that hath tempted and imprisoned my Soul. I have too much loved it, and am too loth to leave it? And is it not Mercy from God to make me weary of it? God is engaged against Idols; that is, all that is loved and pleased before him: and if any thing, that's likest to be this Flesh. It's corrupti­bility tells us that both its pleasure and its pain will be but short. Long pain is usually tolerable: And into­lerable pain will conquer Nature and not be long. The Grace of Christ is sufficient for us, and his strength is manifested in our weakness, when he will not take the Thorn out of our Flesh, though as Christ and Paul did, we pray thrice or oftner.

And to be impatient with Death is to repine that we are born Mortal men; and to fly from Heaven and all true Hopes, and all the Felicity purchased by Christ? And is this renouncing the World, and trusting Christ for Life everlasting? And why fear we that which endeth all our pains and fears? A true Believer never suffereth so much, but his Mercies are far more and greater than his sufferings. His Soul is united to Christ: His hopes of Heaven have a sure Foundation: He is sealed up to [Page 322] Glory: Rest and Joy are near at hand. And former Mercies should not be forgotten: And should not such men patiently endure? O what a shameful contradicti­on is it, to choose Heaven as our only Portion, to be­lieve in Christ for it, and to seek it as the business of all our lives, and yet to be loth to die, that we may obtain it, and to fly with fear from that which we so seek and hope for? What a contradiction is it to call God our God and Father, the God of Love, and to call Christ our Gracious glorified Redeemer, and yet to Fly from his pre­sence with distrustful fear? Almighty love may correct us, may kill us, but it cannot finally hurt true Believers.

So much of Moses and Elias discourse of the Sufferings and Death of Christ.

§ 13. Sure it is not true that the Souls of the Fathers before Christ's coming did not enter into Heaven, but lay in some inferiour Limbus? For Moses and Elias came from Heaven; their shining glory shewed that, and their discourse with Christ, and the Voice and glo­ry that went with them. And it is not to be thought that they were separated from the rest of the Souls of the Faithful, and with Henoch were in Heaven by them­selves alone, and the rest elsewhere. Though it's said that God's House hath many Mansions, and there are various degrees of Glory, yet the blessed are all Fellow-Citizens, of one Society, and Children in one Family of God. And they that came from East and West, shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of God; and Lazarus is in Abraham's bosom, and the believing Thief with Christ in Paradise.

§ 14. It seems that Moses and Elias appeared thus, to fore shew the Resurrection of Christ, and of the Faithful, and to make it easier to the three Disciples to believe it. Why should they doubt whether Christ [Page 323] should rise, when they saw Moses that was risen before him: And why should they doubt of the Resurrection of the Faithful and the Glory following, when they saw these glorified Saints? Some think that this Apparition was for the strengthening of Christ himself, whose humane Nature had use for such Ministry also of Angels: But it's more certain that it was for the strengthening of the Disciples Faith, and of ours by their Testimony. As it's said, Joh. 12. 30. This Voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.

§ 15. It is much worth our noting, in what a Communion this Specimen of the Kingdom of Heaven was represented in the holy Mount. Here was a Voice of God and a glimpse of his Glory: Here was our Re­deemer in a glimpse of his Glory: Here was a Moses, and Elias in a glimpse of their Glory: And here were three beloved Disciples, yet in the Flesh, and in weak­ness of Faith which needed such confirmation, God our Father, and our Saviour, the Saints of Heaven, and those on Earth, are all of one Society or Kingdom, there is a near relation, and a near communion among them all. When the Eternal Word disdained not so wonderful condescension, as to come to us in the form of a Servant, even of a poor despised Crucified Man, it's less wonder that Moses and Elias should come down as his Witnesses and Servants Heb. 12. 23, &c. The heavenly Jerusalem, and City of the Living God, of which we are Enrolled Burgesses or Heirs, hath many parts: There is the Assembly of the first Born, and innumerable Angels, and the Spirits of the Just made perfect, and Jesus the Mediator of the New Cov [...]nant, and God the Judge of all. O what holy, glorious, joy­ful Company shall we have above? Christ and his An­gels will not despise the least of Saints.

§ 16. But what was the Introduction to this Appa­rition [Page 324] and Transfiguration? It was Christ's praying; Luk. 9. 28, 29. He went up into a Mountain to pray: and as he prayed he was transfigured: Surely, this is written to invite and encourage us to pray. We are in greater need than Christ. It's folly in Unbelievers to think Prayer vain, because God is unchangeable. We are not unchangeable: And the exercise of Faith, de­pendance on God and true desires, being the Conditi­ons required in a due Receiver, maketh those Blessings become our [...]s, which else we had been uncapable of God who commandeth fervent Prayer, hath promised to answer it. Though we must not think to be the Rulers of the World, nor have whatever our Flesh or solly doth desire, because we ask it earnestly; yet true Prayer is the appointed way for obtaining what we need, and is best for us, and we are fitted to receive. And as Christ had this wonderful return to his Prayers, his Servants have experience that their choicest Mercies for Soul and Body, have come this way.

§ 17. Though the three Disciples were admitted to this glorious Society, how different was their case from that of Christ, and Moses, and Elias? In the beginning of the heavenly concourse, they were asleep with hea­viness: Even while this glorious Company stood near them: Alas, such is our infirmity in Flesh, and such a Clog are these earthly Bodies to us, that when God is present, and Heaven is before us, and we have the greatest cause to watch and pray, a heavy, weary, slug­gish Body, even fettereth an active Spirit, and we sleep or turn away in wandering Thoughts, when we should seriously converse with Christ and Heaven: Alas, what unworthy Servants hath our Lord! Are such as these meet for his work, his Love, his Acceptance, or his Kingdom? But, O how merciful a Saviour have we, [Page 325] who taketh not his poor Servants at the worst, but when they after served him thus in his Agony, he gently rebuketh them; Could you not watch with me one Hour: and that with an excuse, The Spirit is wil­ling, but the Flesh is weak.

§ 18. It is a matter of great Moment to understand in what cases this excuse will hold, and our weakness will not make the willingness of the Spirit unacceptable to God. If a Drunkard, Fornicator, or other Sensua­list should say, My Spirit is willing to leave my sin, but my Flesh is weak, and in temptation doth prevail, Video meliora probo (que), &c. This excuse would not prove God's forgiveness. If a Man live in known sin, which he could forbear were he truly willing, and say, To will is present with me, but to do I am unable; it is not I but sin that dwelleth in me; this would be but a frivolous excuse: And yet to the sleepy Disciples it was a good excuse; and I think to Paul, Rom 7. where then is the d [...]ffe­rence? There are some acts of Man, which the will hath not power to rule, and some that it can rule: The will hath not power always to keep a sleepy Man awake: This sleep might be of the Flesh without any will at all: And this excuseth from all guilt: There are some acts of Man which the will cannot rule, but by a great degree of power and endeavour: As per­haps with much ado by preventing and resisting dili­gence the Disciples might have kept awake: In this case their sleep is a fault, but a pardoned fault of weak­ness. Some Persons are liable to inordinate Fear and Grief, which so surprizeth them by the Constitution of their Bodies, that the greatest unwillingness would not hinder them. And some could do more to resist these passions than they do, but very hardly with the great­est diligence. These are accordingly excusable in de­gree. [Page 326] Paul would have perfectly obeyed God's Law, and never have sinned: But there is no Perfection in this Life: Meer Imperfection of true Grace which is predominant in the will, doth not damn men. But there are acts which are so subject to the will that a sincere will, though imperfect, can command them: He that doth these (or doth the contrary) it is not because he sincerely would and cannot, but because he hath but uneffectual wishes, and is not sincerely willing, if he know them to be what they are. Especially if they be materially great sins which he yieldeth to, which true Grace more strongly resisteth than it doth an idle word, or thought, or action. In short, all omissions or com­missions in which the will is positively or privatively guilty, are sinful in some degree: but only these do damn the Sinner, which are inconsistent with the predominant Love of God, and Heaven, and Holiness, in the Soul.

§ 19. When the Disciples awaked they saw these glorious ones in converse! Did they hear what they said, or did Christ after tell them? The la­ter is most probable: Doubtless as Moses tells us how God made the World, which none could tell him but by God's telling them first; so the Apostles have writ­ten many things of Christ, which they neither saw nor heard, but from Christ that told it them by Word or Inspiration. How else knew they what Satan said and did to him in his Temptations in the Wilderness, and on the Pinacle of the Temple? How knew they what his Prayer was in his Agony? And so in this instance also. But Christ's own testimony was enough to put them out of Doubt, to them that daily saw his confir­ming Miracles.

§ 20. How great a difference was there between Mount Sinai and this Mount? When, God delivered [Page 327] the Law to Moses, that Mount was terrible in Flame, and Smoak, and Thunder, so that the People trembled and fled: But now here is nothing but Life, and Light, and Love from Heaven. A merciful Redeemer whose Face shined as the Sun, with heavenly Company, ap­pearing nearly to the Disciples, pittying and bearing with their heaviness and infirmity, strengthning their Faith and Hope, and proving to them a Resurrection and a heavenly Kingdom, by a visible Apparition of some of its Possessors. This was not a frightful, but a con­firming delectable sight: The Law in terrour was by Mo­ses, but Grace and Truth, Peace and Pleasure are by Christ.

This was an inviting and delighting▪ and not an af­frighting Apparition: Was it not a shameful infirmity and a sin, that Peter should deny Christ after such a sight as this; and the rest of the Disciples forsake him and fly? What! after they had seen the Kingdom of God come in Power, and Christ's Face shine as the Sun in its brightness? Could they forget all this? Or could they doubt whether he or his Persecutors were the stronger, and liker to prevail at last? O how frail, how uncertain, how bad a thing is depraved Man?

But though Christ found them asleep, and though he foreknew that they would forsake him, he forsook not them, nor used them as they deserved, but com­forted them with a glimpse of Heaven. For he died for his Enemies.

§ 21. But this was but once in all the time of his abode among them. It was an extraordinary Feast, and not their daily Bread: They had Christ still with them, but not transfigured in Glory, nor Moses and Eli­as in their sight: We are too apt to think that if God give us a joyful extraordinary glimpse of Heaven, we must have it always; or that he forsaketh us, and cast­us [Page 328] off when he denieth it us! O that we were as desi­rous of Holiness and Duty, as we are of the Joy which is the reward! But our Father, and not we, must be the chooser both of our Food and Feast. Moses did not dwell on Mount Nebo, that he might still see the Land of Promise: It was enough to have one sight of it be­fore his death. As Flesh and Blood cannot enter in­to Heaven, so it's little of Heaven that entereth into it.

§ 22. When the Disciples awake they see his Glory, and the two men that stood with him: It must not be a sleeeping but an awakened Christian, that will have a sight of heavenly Glory! As we must love God with all the Heart, and Soul, and Might, all must be awa­kened in seeking him, and in attending him, before we can have a joyful foretast of his Love. Carnal se­curity, supine neglect, and dull contempt, are dispo­sitions which render us uncapable of such delights. Heavenly joys suppose a heavenly disposition and desires. Angels sleep not, nor are clogged with Bodies of Clay: Earth hath no Wings; It must be holy vivacity that must carry up a Soul to God, notwithstanding the fetters of Flesh. It is with each others Souls in the Body that we converse together on Earth. And it is not sluggish, but lively Faith, and fervent desire that must converse in Heaven, with Moses and Elias, and our living Head.

§ 23. But how did Peter know Moses and Elias, whom he had never seen before? Perhaps glorified Saints do bear each one his notifying Signature, and need not names and sound of words to make them known: Perhaps Christ told the Disciples who they were that talked with him: Perhaps he made them know it by Inspiration, as Prophets have their know­ledge. Any of these ways God could notifie them: It [...] not needful that we know which of them it was. But [Page 329] that they were known is certain. We shall be no Strangers to any Saints in Heaven; and therefore not to our old acquaintance. Whether we shall have any greater love to them, or delight in them, for old ac­quaintance sake, or because they were instruments of our good on Earth, I know not: But I know that our love to them with whom we had Holy comfort on Earth, may well render Heaven more familiar to us now, and more suitable to our desires: O how great a number of my godly Friends are there? They are so many that I cannot make a Catalogue of their Names; but the Memory of abundance of them doth delight me. And when we meet there we shall be far better known to each other, then we were to the most intimate on Earth.

O let Christians now so converse together, as re­membring that they must meet in Heaven, where all that was secret will be brought to light. If we now put on any Vizor, and seem better than we are, if we hide any sin or base corruption; if we by fraud or falshood deceive our Friends, all this will be opened when we meet in Heaven. It is a daily grief and shame to my Soul, to think of the sins that I have com­mitted against some that are now in Heaven, which I ei­ther excused, extenuated or hid: And to think how much evil they will know of me there, which on Earth they knew not by me. But God who pardoneth them, will cause his Servants there to forgive each other; but the detected sin for all that will be an odious shame­ful thing. Lying and Hypocrisie are there no cloak, but an aggravation of the shame. If we cannot confess and take shame to our selves by repentance upon Earth, how shall we appear in the open light, and see the Faces of those whom we wronged: What diminution it will make of our joy, I know not; but it must needs [Page 330] be a dishonour to have been false to God or Man. And especially when we meet where sin is perfectly hated, to think how we either sinned together, or that we temp­ted and ensnared one another in any sin; how it will affect us then I do not fully know, but it is now to me a far greater grief to think of any in Heaven whom I tempted or wronged, than it was while they lived with me on Earth. And I think there is somwhat of this Nature common to good and bad: Even the Con­sciences of wicked men do haunt them for notable in­juries to others, especially concealed ones, and especial­ly for persecuting the Servants of God, when they are dead, more than while they lived. In so much that (though I doubt not of real Apparitions) I am ready to think, that some that say they are haunted by the sight and the voice of such as seem to them to be de­ceased Persons, are rather haunted by their own Con­sciences, which strongly represent those Persons to their imaginations.

But on the other side, it is a great delight to me, to think of the good which I received from many that are now in Heaven: Of the profitable Sermons which I heard from some, and the profitable conversation which I had with others: How oft we sweetly consult­ed together of the things which concern everlasting life? How many days in publick and private we spent in preparation and in some prospect of the Blessedness which now they enjoy? And it is not a small Mercy to me, that I can think of Multitudes now in Heaven of whose Conversion and Salvation God hath made my weak endeavours a prosperous means. O what a Mer­cy is it to think on, that while I am yet compassed with temptations, and languishing in weakness, and groan­ing in pain, and worst of all burdened with a dark and [Page 331] sinful Soul, so many are past all this with Christ, by means of any help which he sent them by my labours? It hath oft humbled me greatly to read in the lives of such men as John Janeway, and Joseph Allen, how much of their proficiency they ascribed to my Writings, and how far they over-went me, and left me quite be­hind them in Holy delights and praises of God! But how much more am I below a Multitude now in Hea­ven, who called me Father here on Earth.

And if here I must rejoice with them that rejoice, as well as mourn with them that mourn, why should I not much more rejoice with all the blessed Society above? And more familiarly with my old Acquain­tance, Pupils, and dear Friends? My Love should be most to the best; and therefore more to them than to any other of my Friends: And therefore my Union with them being closer, and their Felicity far greater, I should think with more Joy of them, than of any left behind. They are safe in the Harbour, past all our dangerous storms and waves. And though they know or will know more of my sins than they did on Earth, and hate them more, yet they that feel the comfort of the Pardon of their own, will imitate God in pardon­ing me, and rejoice in God's forgiveness of me. Though their vile Bodies lie like common dust, how much better do they now know the love of God, the Mysteries of Grace, the heavenly Glory, the state of Spirits in the City of God, than I do who was wont to preach it to them. God that sent down Moses and Elias, to shew that Saints in Heaven, and on Earth have communnion, will bring me and my Friends now in Heaven together again into a far sweeter Communion than ever we had here.

§ 24. It is no great wonder that Peter should be transported with this glorious sight; and greatly de­lighted [Page 332] with this heavenly Communion, and say, Ma­ster, it is good for us to be here. Would not a sight, a glimpse of Heaven, have transported any Holy Soul? Yea, even those that now lie in tears and fears, and are overwhelmed with doubts and troubles? When they are groping after God, and groaning on their Knees because they feel more of his frowns than of his love, if then they had such a sight as this, what a change would it make upon them? Perhaps you'll say, that the doubt of their own sincerity might still deprive them of the Joy. No: This sight would ba­nish doubts and troubles: It is a communication of Love, and such as will fully convince the Communicants.

Without such a miraculous glimpse of Glory, God sometime giveth some of his Servants such a Mental illu­stration, and inward glimpse and taste of Heaven, as greatly overcometh all the fears of Pain and Death; such many old and later Martyrs have had: It was a strange word of the godly Bishop of St. Davids, Mr. Farrar, to his Neighbours, [If I stir in the Fire, be­lieve not my Doctrin:] and accordingly he stirred not. If he had not had some Prophetical Inspiration, this could not have been justified, from being a presumptu­ous tempting God: And Mr. Baynam's case was a meer wonder, who in the Flames called to the Papists to see a Miracle, professing to them that in the Fire he felt no more pain, than if he had been laid in a Bed of Down or Roses.

I am just now reading in Melch. Adam's Lives of the German Philosophers, the Life of Olympia Fulvia Mo­rata, which ended with some such experience. In ma­ny Ages there hath been some one rare Woman who hath excelled men in the Languages, Philosophy and other humane Learning: Such a one was this Olympia [Page 333] Fulvia Morata of Ferrarrie: She married Andr. Gund­ler a Physician: She removed with him into Germany; being by the way convinced of the Guard of Angels by her young Brothers falling out of a high Window on cragged Stones without any more hurt than if it had been on the soft ground: In Germany she thus wrote to Anna Estensis a Guisian Princess ‘[As soon as by the singular goodness of God, I was departed from the Italian Idolatry, and came with my Husband into Germany, it is incredible how God changed my Soul (or mind) which being formerly most averse (or abhorring) to the Divine Scriptures, am now delighted in them alone, and place in them all my Study, Labour, Care, and Mind: And as much as possible contemn all the Riches, Honours, and Pleasures, which formerly I was wont to admire.]’ But the Cross presently following (in God's usual Method,) her Husband and She were by Soul­diers stript naked save the shift next the Body, and narrowly scaping with life, were put so to wander from place to place, none daring to entertain them, even when she was sick of a Feaver: till at last they found liberal entertainment; in which she shortly fell into a mortal Disease, of which she died: And in her last Sick­ness, and after much torment of Body, near Death she pleasantly smiled: Her Husband asked her the Cause; who said, I saw a certain place which was full of a most clear and beauteous Light: Intimating that she should be quickly there, and saying, I am wholly full of Joy: And spake no more till her Eye-sight failing; she said, I scarce know any of you any more: But all things else about seem to be full of most beauteous Flowers; which were her last words, (having a long time professed that nothing seemed more desirable to her than to be dissolved and to be with Christ, in all her sickness magni­fying his Mercies to her.

[Page 334] Many have thus joyfully laid down the Flesh to go to Christ: What wonder then if Peter was loth to lose the pleasure of what he saw.

Two things are necessary to great and solid joy: First, That the Object be truly and greatly amiable and delectable; and Secondly, That the apprehensions of it be clear and strong: As to the first, we have so great and glorious things to delight us, as would feast our Souls with constant Joy, were not the Second, alas, much wanting. What Man could choose but be even in Peter's rapture continually, if he had but ascer­tained heavenly Glory, apprehended by him in as sa­tisfactory a manner as these sensible things are? If I lay in Prison, yea, or in torment of Colick, Stone, or any such Disease, and had but withal such apprehensi­ons or sight of assured Glory, surely the pain would not be able to suppress my joy. What a mixture, what a discord would there be in my expressions? Torment would constrain my Flesh to groan; and the sight of Heaven would make me triumph. I cannot but think how this great discord would shew the difference be­tween the Spirit and the Flesh: What a strange thing it would be to hear the same Man at the same time crying out in pain with groans, and magnifying the love of God with transporting joy! But we are not yet fit for such joyful apprehensions; our weak Eyes must not see the Sun, but through the allaying Medium of a hu­mid Air, at a vast distance, and by the Chrystalline hu­mour and organical parts of the Eye. Fain we would get nearer, and have sight or clearer apprehensions of the Spiritual Society and glorious World; We study, we pray, we look up, we groan under our distance, darkness, and unsatisfying conceptions: But yet it [Page 335] must not be: We must be ripened before the Shell will break, or the dark Womb will deliver us up to the Glorious Light. But Christ vouchsafed that to his three Apostles, which we are unworthy of, and yet unfit for. O happy sight! O happy men! It is incon­gruous to say, What would I not give for such a sight? Lest it should savour of Simon Magus folly: And I have nothing to give. But it is not incongruous to say, What would I not do? And what would I not suffer for such a fight? Yea, Christ puts such kind of Questi­ons to us; O that I had better answered them! in the Hour of Duty, and in the Hour of Temptation! When he asked, Can ye drink of the Cup that I drink of, and be Bap­tized with the Baptism, that I am Baptized with? I have been ready with James and John to say, I can; but when the trial comes (as they after in his suffering forsook him and fled,) how insufficient is my own strength to per­form my promise? When he imposeth on me, the de­nying of my self, forsaking all, and taking up the Cross and following him, I yielded and covenanted by Vow to do it: but it was, By the help of the Holy Spirit which he promised to give me. I stand, Lord, to my Covenant: Help me to perform it; and give me, though not his present sight, yet some of Peter's Men­tal apprehensions, and a glimpse, a taste of that which transported him with delight. Let who will (or who Thou wilt) take the Riches, and Grandeur of the World: O give me some delightful taste of that which I am made for, redeemed for, and which thy Spirit hath long taught me, to seek and hope for, as my All.

§ 25. Peter was not weary with the sight of this heavenly Apparition: Why should I be weary of the believing contemplation of greater things? Though [Page 336] sight affect us more sensibly than meer believing and thinking, yet these have their happy Office, which may be effectual: And Christ who thus appeared in Glory to Peter, hath said, Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed: And Peter himself saith of them that see not Christ, that They rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of Glory, in believing. Oh how unexcusable am I for every weary Prayer or Meditation of such a Glory? and for yielding to Satan and a back­ward Heart, which have oft made me shorten these sweet employments, when I had time, and leave, and need to lengthen them: What! aweary of communion with Christ! Aweary of speaking to my heavenly Fa­ther, for endless Blessedness, upon such joyful terms of Hope as he hath given me? Aweary of the Thoughts of the City of God, the heavenly Society and Work? Aweary of exciting Divine Love, and exercising it in Divine Praise, which are the works of Angels, and all the hea­venly Host? O how justly might God be as it were aweary of me, and of my weary Services; yea, of the best that I can offer him, which hath in it so much to give him cause?

§ 26. Peter did not fly from this glorious Prospect; but would fain have had more of it, and have dwelt upon the Holy Mount. And when God will call me to a more glorious Vision, and Fruition in Heaven, shall I draw back and be unwilling to go? Was that Mount a better place than Heaven? Is not Christ now to be there seen in greater Glory? Is the Jerusalem above, the Glorious Company of Saints and Angels, no better and more desirable a sight, than Moses and Elias were on the Mount? Alas, when we have read, and heard, and thought, and talkt so much of Heaven, and done, and suffered so much for it, that yet we [Page 337] should draw back with fear and unwillingness to go to it? O what lamentable weakness of Faith, and power of Flesh, doth this discover: when I read Peter's words [It's good to be here:] I am grieved that I who dwell in a World so near like Hell, among the implacable haters of Holiness and Holy Peace, and in a painful tired Body, and who have thought, said, and written so much of Heaven, do yet say with no stronger desire and joy: It is good to be there: When I see all natural Appetites desire earnestly their proper food, and even the Bruits desire their beloved company, shall my holy Appetite be so dull and indifferent: Lord quicken it by the fuller communications of thy Spirit, and save me from this hated dangerous disease.

§ 27. But Peter spake he knew not what, when he talkt of building Tabernacles on Earth, for the fruiti­on of that which is proper to Heaven. Alas, this is our common malady and folly: We would have Christ in the Splendour of his Glory: but we would have him here: We would see Moses and Elias, if they will come down to us: We would have that in the Flesh, which Flesh and Blood cannot possess. O if we knew in what Land, what City, what Countrey, what pri­vate House, we might live in the least glimpse of the heavenly Glory, how joyfully should we run to such an Habitation? Merchants make towards the most gainful place for trade: Poor men enquire after the most fertile and delectable Countries for Plantation! Gentlemen delight themselves with a sweet and plea­santly seated Mansion: But if Saints on Earth could find a place where they could see what Stephen, or Paul, or these Apostles saw, and have a little of Heaven with­out dying and putting off this Body, what a desirable dwelling would that seem to them. And yet, alas, [Page 338] how cold are our desires to the time and place where we shall have much more? We have Christ on Earth, in the manner and measure that we are capable. We have here some communion with Heaven, as verily (though not so sensibly) as our Eye hath with the Sun: God will not deny Believers their Title, their Earnest, and some first Fruits: But when we would have our All or our Best on Earth, or that on Earth which is proper to Heaven, we know not what we desire or say.

Are we vile dirty Sinners in Flesh now fit for hea­venly sights or joys? Or is this World a place for building Tabernacles, where we may see the Lord, and take up our rest? What! in a world of Tempta­tions of wickedness, of sufferings, where we are daily wre­stling for our lives, and fighting not meerly) against Flesh and Blood, but against Principalities and Powers, and the Rulers of the Darkness of this World, even Spiritual Wickedness (or wicked Spirits) in high Places (above the greatest men that are their Servants,) Eph. 6. 12. But that which is of the Earth is earthly: Our earthly part would have an earthly Felicity: But when we know that it is corruptible and a dying thing, and that we have here no continuing City, both Faith and Reason bid us seek for one to come. The unfaithful Steward had so much Wit as to make sure of another Habitation, when he knew that he must be no longer Steward.

God hath so constantly confuted and befooled me, by his marvellous Providence, when ever I have said, Soul take thy ease, and have thought of building Ta­bernacles on Earth, as hath convinced me, that such folly is not the least part of the danger of a Soul, from which his Mercy did so watchfully save me: If a little Health and Ease, or a pleasant Habitation, or beloved Company and Friends, have but flattered me into [Page 339] earthly delight and hopes, and made me say, It's good to be here; I never was long without some pains, and dangerous sickness, or some loss or cross in Friends, or some removal by personal or publick changes, to tell me, that I knew not what I said; and that rest and happiness are not here: As the laborious Ants and Bees are long gathering a heap of Treasure, and fur­nishing a Hive with Winter Provision, and a contemp­tuous foot soon spurneth about the one, and the chief owner of the Hive destroyeth the other; so (while I neglected Wealth and Honour) when I have but trea­sured up the choicest Books, and taken pleasure in my Work and Friends, God saw that such pleasure needed an allay, and hath taken away Books and Friends to­gether, or driven me oft from them and my Habitation, to tell me sensibly that I have higher to look, and fur­ther to go; and that Moses and Elias appeared not to turn Earth into Heaven, and make me think that now I am well, but to invite my Soul to their Celestial Habi­tation. When Christ hath comforted me by hearing Prayers, by great deliverances, by wonderful success of my defective labours, by comfortable Friends, by publick Mercies, it was not by making my condition pleasant, to keep down my desires from Heaven, but to draw them thither by such foretasts. Contentment with our Condition, as without more of the World, is a great duty: But to be content with the World, or any thing on Earth, without more holiness and com­munion with God, and without a part in the heavenly Perfection, is a heynous and pernicious sin.

But, alas, it is a far worse mistake than Peter's which deceiveth the greatest part of men. They say indeed as he, It's good to be here, (till melancholy or misery make them intollerable to themselves.) But it is [Page 340] not because they have seen a glimpse of Heaven on Earth, or tasted the sweetness of Holy society and work, but because their Bodies are in Health, their Purses full, their Appetites pleased, and their inferiours do their wills and honour them. This is all the Heaven that they love, and to leave all this is the Death which they abhor and fear. And they will not hear God, and the experience of all Mankind befooling them, till near the Night that their Souls shall be required, and then, Whose will all their Treasure be?

§ 28. But yet it was a greater part of Peter's dotage, to think of Tabernacles for Christ, Moses, and Elias, and of detaining of heavenly Inhabitants upon Earth: If you should offer the lowest Saint in Heaven an earthly Kingdom in exchange for his Condition, with what disdain would he despise the offer? Christ's King­dom was not of this World, nor would Moses and Elias change their lot with Alexander or Caesar. Poor trifles allure us, and seem somwhat to us (as toys to Children) while we are dreaming in the Flesh; but if once we be delivered and see what the Celestial Glory is, what a change will it make upon our judgments. We fear now in the dark to go unto that World of Light, and are loth to put off the rags of Flesh, and to depart from a known though a dirty falling habitation: But if we get to Heaven we shall be loth to return to Earth again, and to be so coursly cloathed: When once we are there, a World would not hire us to come back into this corrup­tible Body, till God will make it Spiritual and Incor­ruptible. Our Friends whose Death we passionately lamented, would be loth now to change their company for such as we are, or their abode for such a wicked World as this, or their work for the best of ours on Earth: No wonder that departed blessed Souls appear not to their friends on Earth: Most Apparitions are of Devils, or [Page 341] miserable Souls, to whom it is no loss, or condescension Were I once in Heaven, could I possibly be willing to be turned again into a Bedlam World, and laid under the Feet of blinded pride and raging madness, and live among Sodomites (called Christians) whose God is their Belly, and who glory in their filthiness and shame, and mind nothing with love but earthly things, and are bitter Enemies not only to the Cross, but to the Government of Christ! Would I be again among Dogs and Swine? Yea, Devils in Flesh, who hate and persecute the Regenerate Seed, and all that will not receive their mark, and be as mad & bad as they? would I again be groaning here in pain, or tired with a weary Body, and more with a feeble sinful Soul, weak in Fai [...]h, Cold in Love, of doubtful Hope, and im­perfect Duty. Would I be here again in the prospect of a Grave, with fear of dying; as strange as now to the heavenly Felicity? Lazarus will not come from Abraham's bosom, for the rich Man's Wealth and Belly-pleasure, no not to warn his sensual Brethren. Had Peter seen Heaven as he saw the Glory on the Mount, he would never have made so blind a motion, for Christ, Moses, and Elias to continue there, who have so much better a habitation.

§ 29. But this glorious Apparition was but short: As the Glory of God's back parts to Moses, which did but pass by. Presently a cloud cometh, and separateth the company, and ends the pleasant sight. When Christians receive some extraordinary sense of the Love of God, some sweet foretasts of promised happiness, they must not look that this should be ordinary, or al­ways so! When some fervent Prayer is extraordinarily answered, and a Sacrament sweetned with unusual drops of heavenly sweetness, or a holy Discourse or Meditation hath raised us higher than ever before, we must not expect that this should be our constant diet, [Page 342] and God should thus feast us all the Year. The times of fasting also have their turn. Moses did not dwell on Mount Horeb, nor Mount Nebo or Pisgah, from whence he saw the Land of Promise: God's Children do not always laugh and sing: while they have their sinning times, they will have their suffering and crying times. How suddenly doth the Lark come down to the Earth, who before was soaring out of sight, and singing pleasantly in the higher Air, as if it had been a­spiring towards the Sun. A luscious diet is not best for such as we, that have so many corruptions to be cured by cleansing means: Cordials must not be all our Phy­sick; unwarrantable expectations of greater or more continued Joys then we are meet for, is injurious both to God and to our selves. Desires of more we may and must have: But those desires must look up to Heaven where indeed they may be satisfied.

30. The joy of these Spectators was turned into Fear (saith the Text) when they entered into the Cloud. No wonder: The change was sudden and great; from a sight of the Kingdom of God in Power, unto a dark Cloud! Just now they seemed almost in Heaven, and presently they knew not where they were: From glo­rious Light, to a kind of Prison of obscurity.

Such changes here we are liable to. The same Soul that lately tasted of transporting joy, may lie in terrour, hardly resisting temptations to despair: The same Per­son that was confident of the Love of God, may be quickly not only doubting of it, but sinfully denying it: The same that had assuring evidence of sincerity, may shortly conclude that all was but Hypocrisie. The same that was triumphing in the sense of Love, may cry out, O miserable Man that I am: And the same that magnified the Grace of Christ, may say, The day of Grace is past [...] Especially if either the Tempter get the [Page 343] advantage of a Melancholy Body, or of casting the Soul in to renewed guilt of some wounding sin, or into impatient discontents with the things that befal it in the World.

There is a stability in the Essentials of Holiness: It's Life eternal that is here begun: But, alas, the degrees of Grace, the exercise of it, the evenness and integrity of our obedience, and accordingly our Comforts, are lamentably liable to change. Even as all worldly things are mutable to the ungodly, though their harden'd Hearts are too little changeable. Expecting nothing but joy from God, or expecting more than we are meet for, maketh our dejections the greater and more grievous. None are cast lower with terrour, trouble, and almost despair, than some that have been most transported with joy: When some other Christians of an even con­versation, have an evenness and constancy of Holy Peace, though no such joys.

§ 31. The Cloud separated the Company, Moses, and Elias are seen no more; no nor the Glory of Christ: But yet Christ is not separated from them: His ordinary presence still abideth with them. Christ doth not leave the Soul, when extraordinary joys do leave it: It loseth not his saving Grace, nor the pre­sence of his Spirit, as oft as it loseth heavenly delight. Desire sheweth Love to him, and to his Holiness: And he never forsaketh those that love him: As long as the Soul breatheth after Christ, and after more communion with God, and conscious of its imperfection would fain be perfect, and resolveth to continue waiting for increase of Faith and Holiness in the use of the means which Christ hath appointed, it is not forsaken. Christ by his Spirit dwelleth, and worketh in that Soul. It may enter into a Cloud, and Christ may be unseen, and seem quite lost, but the Cloud will vanish, and he will appear; and he will first find us, that we may seek [Page 344] and find him. If he appear to us, but as in his humili­ation, and as crucified, and thereby humble us, and crucifie to us the World and the Flesh, with the Af­fections and Lusts thereof, and cause us but to seek first his Kingdom and Righteousness, he will raise us higher, and shew us his Glory, when Grace, and Con­quest, and Perseverance have prepared us: We are in a cloudy World and Body; and our sins are yet a thic­ker Cloud, between God's glorious Face and us: But as God is God, and Heaven is Heaven, so Christ is Christ, and Grace is Grace, when we see it not, but fear that we are undone, and entring into outer darkness: And at Sun rising all our darkness, & all our doubts & fears will vanish.

§ 32. Luke 9. 15. There came a Voice out of the Cloud, This is my beloved Son; hear him: Had I heard such a Testimony from Heaven, would it not have set my Faith above all doubts and unbelief? For the Voice that thus owned Christ and his Word, might embolden me fully to trust all his Promises, as it bind­eth me to obey his Precepts.

God's Love is effective and communicative; and as his Life and Light cause Life and Light, so his Love causeth Love; and Christ that is called his Beloved Son, is likest him in Love: None loveth us so much as God our Father, and his Beloved Son, who is also as God Essential Love. And shall I think with cold or little Love, of such a God, and such a Saviour? It is as un­reasonable to fly from God or Christ, as fearing that he wanteth Love, to a capable Soul, as to fly from the Sun, as wanting heat or light. O what an unruly fro­ward thing is the corrupted Soul of Man? When we think of God's judgment, and how we are in his hands as to all our hopes, for Soul & Body, we fear and are un­comfortable, lest he have not so much Love and Mercy, as should cause us confidently to trust him: We could trust [Page 345] some Friends with Life and Soul were we in their power: but infinite love itself, and a loving Saviour we can hard­ly trust; so far as to quiet us in Pain or Death: And yet when Christ to cure this distrust, hath manifested his Love by the greatest Miracles that ever God shewed to mortal men, even by Christ's Incarnation, his Life, his Works, his Death, Resurrection, Intercession, and the advancement of humane Nature in him above An­gels, the greatness of this Incomprehensible Love, oc­casioneth the difficulty of our believing it; as if it were too great and wonderful to be credible: Thus dark and guil­ty Sinners hardly believe our Fathers Love, whether it be exprest by ordinary, or by the most wonderful effects.

§ 33. As Christ is called the Son of God, so also are all his Members: We have so far the same title, that we might partake of the same comforts: He is God's only Son by Eternal Generation, and the hypostatical union upon his miraculous conception: But through him we are Sons by Regeneration and Adoption. And shall not the love of such a Father be trusted, and the presence and pleasing of such a Father be desired? If Manoah's Wife could say, If he would have killed us Re would not have accepted a Sacrifice of us; I may say, If he would have damned me, or forsaken my departing Soul, he would not have Adopted me, nor made and called me his Son Christ was made his Incarnate Son, that we might be made his Adopted Sons: And we are made his Adopted Sons, for the sake and by the Grace of Christ his Natural Son.

§ 34. The Command [Hear him] is Relative as to Moses and Elias: 1. Hear him whom the Law and the Prophets typified and foretold, and were his Ser­vants and Preparatory Instructors▪ to lead us to him. 2. Hear him before Moses and the Prophets, where his Coming and Covenant abrogateth the Law of Moses, and as a greater Light he obscureth the less: He hath [Page 346] revealed more than they revealed; and the same more clearly: Life and Immortality is more fully brought to light by him: His Gospel is as the Heart of the Holy Bible: We use the Old Testament Books especially as the Witnesses of Christ.

§ 35. And whom should we hear so willingly, so obediently as Christ? Abraham sent not Dives's Bre­thren to the King or to the High-priest to know what Religion he should choose, or what he should do to escape Hell torments: But it was Moses, and the Prophets that they must hear. But God from Heaven hath sent us yet a better Teacher, and commanded us to hear Him: Moses was faithful in God's House as a Servant, but Christ as a Son: His Authority is above Kings and High-priests; and they have no Power now but from him; and therefore none against him, or his Laws: All com­mands are null to Conscience which contradict him: The examples in Da. 3. & 6. and of the Apostles tell us whether God or Man should be first obeyed. Therefore it is that the Bible is more nec [...]ssary to be searcht and learned than the Statute Book or Canons: Were Man to be heard before Christ, or against him, or as necessarily as he, why have we not Law Preachers every Lord's day to expound the Statutes, and Canons to all the People? And why are they not Catechized out of the Book of Canons, or Law, as well as out of the Bible.

And sure if we must hear Christ and his Gospel before Priests or Princes, or before our dearest friends, much more before our fleshly Lusts and Appetites, and before a profane and foolish Scorner, and before the temptations of the Devil. O had we heard Christ warning us, when we hearkned to the Tempter, and to the Flesh, how safely had we lived, and how comfortably might we have died!

§ 36. But this word [Hear him] is as comfortable as obligatory. Hear him Sinner, when he calls thee to [Page 347] repent and turn to God, Hear him when he calleth thee to himself, to take him for thy Lord and Saviour, to believe and trust him for Pardon and Salvation. Hear him he when calleth, Come to me all ye that are wea­ty and heavy laden: Ho, every, every one that thirsteth come! whoever will, let him drink of the Water of Life freely. Hear him when he commandeth, and hear him when he promiseth; and hear him before the worldly wise when he teacheth us the way to God. Hear him, for he knows what he saith: Hear him, for he is true, and faithful, and infallible: Hear him, for he is the Son of God, the greatest Messenger that ever God sent! Hear him, for he purposly came down into Flesh, that he might familiarly teach us: Hear him, for none else in the Word hath made known the things of God like him, and none can do it. Hear him, for he meaneth us no hurt: He is our dearest Friend, and Love itself, and saith nothing but for our Salvation, and promiseth nothing but what he will perform. Yea, Hear him, for every Soul that will not hear him shall be cut off.

Hear him therefore, if he contradict thy fleshly Ap­petite; Hear him, if great or small, if any or all shall be against it. Hear him if he set thee on the hardest work, or call thee to the greatest suffering: Hear him, if he bid thee take up the Cross and forsake all and follow him in hope of a reward in Heaven: Hear him if he call thee to lay down thy Life; for none can be a loser by him.

Hear him now in the Day of Grace, and he will hear thee in the day of thy Extremity, in the day of Dan­ger, Sickness, Death, and Judgment, when the World forsaketh thee, and no ones hearing else can help thee.

§ 37. But, I was not one that saw this Vision: Had I seen it my self it would have satisfied me and confuted [Page 348] all my doubts. Answ. But it is the will of God that the Ministry and Testimony of Man, shall be a means of our believing: It's Faith and not Sight that must be the ordinary way of our Salvation. Else Christ must have shewed himself and his Miracles, Resurrection, and Ascension to every one in the World that must believe in him: And then he must have been visible at once in every Kingdom, Parish, and Place on Earth, and continued so to the end of the World; and must have died, risen and ascended many Millions of times, and in every place. They that will put such Laws on their Lawgiver before they will believe in him, must be saved without him, and against him if they can. This is more unreasonable than to tell God that you will not believe that there is a Heaven or Hell, unless you see them. But God will have us live and be saved by believing, and not by sight. And he will use Man for the Instruction and Salvation of Man, and not send Angels with every Message.

§ 38. But, Why did Christ shew this Vision but it Three of his Disciples? Answ. He is not bound to tell us why: But we may know that a sight of heavenly Glory is not to be ordinarily expected on Earth? Why did God shew the back parts of his Glory to none but Moses, no not to his Brother Aaron? Why did he speak to him only in the Bush and in the Mount? Why did he translate none to Heaven without dying but Henoch and Elias? Why did he save but Noah and Seven with him in the Ark? These are not things or­dinary, nor to be common to many.

§ 39. But by this it appeareth that even among his Twelve Apostles, Christ made a difference, and pre­ferred some before the rest: Though he set no one over the rest in any Governing Authority, yet some [Page 349] of them were qualified above the rest, and esteemed, and used by him accordingly. Peter is called the first, and it seems was qualified above the rest, by his more fre­quent speaking and familiarity with Christ, and his Speeches and Miracles after the Resurrection. Though yet the Faction that said, I am of Cephas, or I am of Paul was rebuked as Carnal; so far was Christ from directing the Churches to end all difference by obeying Peter as their Supream Ruler. James and John are called the Sons of Thunder: They had some more emi­nent qualification than the rest: So that James was the first Martyred Apostle, and John the Disciple whom Jesus specially loved. Ministers of the same Office, and Order may much differ in Gifts and Grace, in la­bour and success, and in God's acceptance and reward, and in the Churches just esteem and love. All Pastors were not such as Cyprian, Basil, Gregory Nazian­zene, Chrysostome, or Augustine. And the rest must not envy at the preference of Peter, James, and John. Andrew seems to be Peters Elder Brother, and knew Christ before him, as Aaron was Elder Brother to Mo­ses; and yet must give God leave to choose to give pre-eminence to whom he will.

§ 40. But, Why did not these Three Apostles tell any of this Vision till after Christ's Resurrection? Ans. Christ did forbid it them. And it was according to the Me­thod of his Revelation. He would make himself known to the World by degrees; and more by his Works than by bare Words: And these works were to be finished, and all set together to be his convincing Witness to the World. And the chief of these were his Resurrection, Ascension, and sending down the Holy Ghost: The Apostles could not say till then, [Jesus is risen, ascended and hath gi­ven us the Seal of the Spirit: therefore he is the Son of God. [Page 350] Christ first preached Repentance like John Baptist: And next he told them that the Kingdom of God (by the Messiah) was come and was among them. And then he taught them to believe his Word to be sent from God, and to be true: And he taught them the Doctrines of Holiness, Love and Righteousness towards men: And he wrought those Miracles which might convince them that what he said or should say, deserved their belief: But yet before his Resurrection his Apostles themselves understood not many of the Articles of our Creed; they knew not that Christ was to die for sin, and so to redeem the World by his Sacrifice; nor that he was to Rise, Ascend, and Reign, and Intercede in Glory. And yet they were then in a state of Grace and Life, such as Believers were in before Christ's Incarnation. (And sure no more is required of the Nations that cannot hear the Go­spel.)

But the Resurrection was the beginning of the proper Gospel State and Kingdom, to which all before was but preparatory: & then by the Spirit Christianity was form­ed to its setled Consistence, and is a known unalterable thing.

And it is a great confirmation to our Faith, that Christ's Kingdom was not settled by any advantage of his personal Presence, Preaching and Persuasion, so much as by the Holy Ghost in his Apostles and Disciples, when he was gone from them into Heaven.

§ 41. But how are we sure that these three men tell us nothing but the Truth? Ans. This is oft answered elsewhere. The Spirit which they spake and work' [...] by, was Christ's Witness and theirs. They healed the Sick, raised the Dead, spake various Languages which they never learnt; and Preached, and Recorded that Holy Doctrin committed to them by Christ, which it­self [Page 351] contained the evidence of its Divinity and of their Truth: And Christ then and to this Day hath owned it by the sanctifying Efficacy of the same Spirit, upon Millions of Souls.

How Holy a Doctrin doth Peter himself deliver as confirmed by this Apparition? 2 Pet. 1. 16, 17, 18. We have not followed cunningly devised Fables, when we made known to you the Power and Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were Eye Witnesses of his Majesty: For he received from God the Father, Honour and Glory, when there came such a Voice to him from the excellent Glory, This is my beloved Son in whom I am well plea­sed: And this Voice which came from Heaven we heard when we were with him in the Holy Mount. The words [In whom I am well pleased] are only here and in Matthew: Mark and Luke omitting them, tell us that the Evangelists undertook not to recite all that was said and done, but each one so much as seemed ne­cessary for him to say.

§ 42. And now what remaineth, O my Soul, but that thou take in the due Impression of this Apparition, of the Glory of Jesus and his Saints; and that thou joyfully obey this heavenly Voice, and Hear the Be­loved Son of God in whom the Father is well plea­sed.

I. As we that are Born in another Age and Land, must know what Christ said by the transmission and certain testimony of them that heard him, infallible Tra­dition by Act, Word, and Record, being our way of notice, as immediate sensation was theirs, so even the glorious Apparition itself may be the mediation of their infallible Record, be partly transmitted to our Imagi­nation. An Incorporate Soul is so used to a mixed way of knowing by imagined Idea's received by sense, [Page 352] that it would fain have such a sort of knowledge of se­parated Souls and other Spirits, and of their glorious state and place and work, and is hardly fully satisfied without it: Seeing Christ hath partly condescended to this our culpable weakness, lose not the help of his con­descension. Let this clear description of the heavenly sight, make it to thee partly as if thou had been one of the three Spectators: till thou canst say, Methinks I almost see the Face of Christ shine as the Sun, and his rai­ment whiter than the Snow; and Moses and Elias (no doubt in some degree of glory) standing with him: Me­thinks I almost hear them discoursing of Christ's Death, and Man's Redemption: And by this sight I partly con­ceive of the unseen heavenly Company and State: Me­thinks I see the Cloud receive them, when Peter had been transported with the sight: and I almost feel his pleasant raptures, and am ready to say as if I had been with him, It is good for us to be hear: Methinks I almost hear the heavenly Voice, This is my beloved Son, Hear him. And shall I yet doubt of the Celestial Society and Glory? Had I once seen that, what a sense would it have left up­on my Heart, of the difference between Earth, and Hea­ven, Man and God, Flesh and Spirit, Sin and Duty? how thankfully should I have thought of the work of Re­demption and Sanctification?

And why may I not accordingly put my self as into the case of them, who saw all Christ's Miracles and saw him risen and ascend towards Heaven? Or at least of all those ordinary Christians who saw all the wonders done by the Reporters of these things? I can easily receive a pleasing Idea of some forreign happy Countrey, which a Traveller describeth to me, though I never saw it; and my Reason can partly gather what great things are, if I see but lesser of the same [Page 353] kind, or somewhat like them. A Candle sheweth some­what by which we may conceive of the greatest flame. Even Grace and Gracious actions do somewhat notifie to us the state of Glory: But the sight on the Mount did more sensibly notifie it.

Think not then that heavenly contemplation is an impossible thing, or a meer dream, as if it had no con­ceivable subject matter to work upon; the visible things of Earth are the Shaddows, the Cobwebs, the Bubbles, the Shews, Mummerries, and Masques: and it is loving them and rejoicing and trusting in them, that is the dream and dotage. Our heavenly Thoughts, and Hopes; and Business are more in comparison of these, than the Sun is to a glow-Worm, or the World to a Mole-hill, or Governing an Empire to the motions of a Fly. And can I make somwhat, yea, too much of these almost no­things; and yet shall I make almost nothing of the active, glorious unseen World; and doubt, and grope in my Meditations of it, as if I had no substance to ap­prehend? If invisibility to Mortals were a cause of doub­ting, or of unaffecting, unsatisfying Thoughts, God him­self who is All to Men and Angels, would be as no God to us, and Heaven as no Heaven; and Christ as no Christ, and our Souls which are our selves would seem as nothing to themselves; and all men would be as no men to us, and we should converse only with Carkasses and Cloaths.

Lord shine into this Soul with such an heavenly po­tent quickening Light, as may give me more lively and powerful conceptions of that which is all my hope and life. Leave me not to the exercise of Art alone, in barren notions; but make it as Natural to me to love Thee and breath after Thee: Thou teachest the young ones both of men and bruits, to seek to the Dam for food and shelter: And though Grace be not a [Page 352] [...] [Page 353] [...] [Page 354] brutish Principle, but work by Reason, it hath its Na­ture and Inclining force; and tendeth towards its Ori­ginal as its End. Let not my Soul be destitute of that holy Sense and Appetite, which the Divine and Heavenly Nature doth contain. Let me not lay more stress and trust upon my own Sight and Sense, than on the Sight and Fidelity of my God and my Redeemer. I am not so foolish as to live as if this Earth were no bigger than the little of it which I see: Let me not be so much more foolish as to think of the vast and glorious Regions, and the Blessed Inhabitants thereof, and the Re­ceptacles of justified Souls, as if they wanted either substantiality or certainty, to exercise a heavenly con­versation here, and to feast believing Souls with joy, and draw forth well grounded and earnest desire, to depart and be with Christ.

§ 43. II. Hear then, and Hear with Trust and Joy, the tydings and promises of him, whom the Voice from Heaven commanded Man to hear. He is the glorified Lord of Heaven and Earth! All is in his power. He hath told us nothing but what he knew, and promised nothing but what he is able and willing to give. Two sorts of things he hath required us to Trust him for: Things notified by express particular Promises and things only generally promised and known to us.

1. We may know particularly that he will receive our departing Souls, and justifie them in judgment, and raise the Dead, and all the rest particularly promised. And we know in general that we have a heavenly City and Inheritance, and shall see God and be with Christ in everlasting Happiness, Loving and Praising God with Joy in the perfected glorious Church of Christ. All this therefore we must explicitely believe. But it's lit­tle that we know distinctly of the consistence and ope­rations [Page 355] of Spirits and separated Souls as to a formal or modal conception; a great deal about the place, state and mode, their acting and fruition is dark to us; but none of it is dark to Christ: Here therefore an implicite Trust should not only bound and stop our selfish and over bold enquiries, but also quiet and comfort the Soul, as well as if our selves knew all.

O my Soul, abhor and mortifie thy selfish Trust, and unbelieving thirst to have that knowledge of Good and Evil thy self, which is the Prerogative of thy Lord and Saviour. This was the sin that first defiled humane Nature, and brought calamity on the World. God hath set thee enough to learn: know that and thou knowest enough. If more were possible, it would be a perplexity and a snare, and he that encreaseth such knowledge, would encrease sorrow: But when it is both unprofita­ble and impossible, what a sin and folly is it, to wast our time, and tire and deceive our Minds, in long and troublesom searches after it; and then disquietly to mur­mur at God, and the Holy Scripture, and die with sad distrustful fears, because we attain it not: When all this while we should have understood, that this part of knowledg belongs to Christ and the heavenly Society, and not to sinful Mortals here; and that we have with­out it as much as may cause us to live and die in Holi­ness, Safety, Peace and Joy, if we can but Trust him who knoweth for us. Christ perfectly knoweth what Spirits are, and how they act, and whether they have any corporeal Organ, or Vehicle, or none: and what's the difference between Henoch and Elias, and those that left their Bodies here; and what a Resurrection will add to Souls, and how it will be wrought, and when; and what is meant by the Thousand year previous Reign; and who they be that shall dwell in the New [Page 356] Earth, and how it will be renewed! All the dark pas­sages of Scripture and Providence he can perfectly re­solve: He knoweth why God leaveth the far greatest part of the World in Satan's slavery, darkness and wickedness, and chooseth so few to real Holiness: And why he maketh not men such as he commandeth them to be; and why he leaveth serious Christians to so much weakness, error, scandal and division. These and all other difficulties are fully known to Christ. And it is not the Child, but the Father, that must know what food and cloathing he should have, and the Phy­sician that must know what are the ingredients of his Medicines, and why.

Lord open my Eyes then, to see what thou hast re­vealed; and help me willingly to shut them to the rest; and to believe and trust in Thee for both: Not to stagger at thy sealed Promises, nor selfishly to desire particular knowledge, which belongs not to me, as if I could trust my self, and my own knowledge, and not Thine. Lord teach me to follow Thee, even in the dark as quietly, and confidently, as in the Light, (ha­ving the general Light of thy Promise of Felicity.) I knew not the Mystery of thy Conception, Incarnation, or the way of the workings of thy Spirit on Souls. No wonder if much of the Resurrection and unseen World be above my reach; much more that thy Infinite Ma­jesty is Incomprehensible to me: How little do the Bruits that see me know of my thoughts or me. I have no adequate knowledge of any one thing in the World, but somewhat of it is unknown. O blessed be that Love and Grace that hath given me a glorified Head in Hea­ven to know all for me which I know not: Hear and Trust Him living and departing. O my Soul! who hath told thee that we shall be with him where he is, and [Page 357] shall behold his Glory, and that a Crown of Salvation is laid up for us, and we shall Reign with him, when we have conquered and suffered with him, and hath bid us live in joyful Hope of our exceeding eternal hea­venly Reward, and at our Death to commend our Spi­rits into his hand: Receive us Lord according to thy Promises, Amen.

SHORT MEDITATIONS ON ROM 5. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.
Of the shedding abroad God's Love on the Heart, by the Holy Ghost.

EXperience of the want of this Effusion of God's Love, and some small tast of its Sweetness, make me think the thoughts of this very suitable to one expecting Death.

The words contain a golden Chain of highest Bles­sings on all true Christians.

I. They are supposed to have Faith; that is both a general Trust to God's Revelations and Grace, and a special Trust in Jesus Christ, as given by the Father's Love to be the Redeemer, to Justifie, Sanctifie and Glo­rifie his People: I have oft proved this justifying Faith to be no less then our unfeigned taking Christ for our Saviour, and becoming true Christians, according to the Tenor of the Baptismal Covenant: As to the Acts, it is formally Trust: One in three: The Understand­ings [Page 359] Assenting Trust; the Wills consenting Trust; and the executive Powers Practical, Venturing, Obey­ing Trust.

II. All true Believers are justified: Even all that con­sent to the Baptismal Covenant, and choose God to be their God, and Christ to be their Saviour, and the Ho­ly Ghost to be their Sanctifier, and give up themselves to him by true resolution, as their only Ruler, Hope and Happiness; though this be done with so great weakness, as endeth not all doubts, nor quieteth the Mind.

To be justified is not to be accounted such as have no sin, but, 1. To be made such by Pardon through Christ's Merits, and by true Faith, as God will take by special love and favour unto life. 2. To be accounted such by God. 3. To be virtually Sentenced such by the Law of Grace and Faith, and to be just in Law­se [...]ce. 4. At last we shall be judged such by publick Sentence. 5. And be used as such.

Not justified by the Law of Innocency or of Moses, but by Christ's Law of Grace.

Not justified perfectly till the time of Perfection: Much punishment on Soul and Body, is yet to be taken off: And more sins daily to be pardoned; and we be­fore the World to be sentenced as just to life everla­sting.

III. The justified have Peace with God. They are re­conciled, and in a state of love and friendship. It sig­nifieth mutual Peace; but with great inequality: God's Love and favour to us is the stable, constant part: Our consent also and acceptance of his terms of Peace is con­stant in its truth: But our sense of God's Love, which is the Peace possessed by the Soul, is weak and unconstant, and too oft quite lost or obscured by ignorance, mistake, and f [...]r: But it must be known that this is a discased state, [Page 360] unnatural to the Believer as such; as it's unnatural for a Woman married to a faithful Husband to lie in terrour, thinking that he will kill her, or doth not love her, or for a Child to think the same of a loving Father. Faith of its own nature tendeth to the Souls Peace and Joy, in the sense of God's love. And how is Christ offered to us but as a Saviour to bring us by Grace to Glory? And he that accepteth him as such (whereby he is justified) doth sure believe that he is offered as such: For none can accept what he thinks not to be offered: And this implieth some hope at least, that Christ will be such to us: And did Faith work strongly and kindly, its effect would be a constant joyful state of Soul, as pleasant Health and Mirth is to our Natures. All our distrust­ful fears, and griefs, and disquietments of Soul, are for want of more Faith, as Sickness, and Pain is for want of the Vital causes of Health.

IV. This Peace with God is only [through our Lord Jesus Christ.] Though it be a vain dream to think by justifying Faith, is meant Christ only, and not Faith: Yet it is no other Faith, but the foresaid Believing Trust on Christ: Therefore as Faith is our part, so it supposeth Christ and all the works of his Office (and Righteousness) on his part as its Object. Christ is the purchasing cause: But our Trust and Acceptance is that which is pleasing to God, and chosen by him to be our part, without In­nocency, or keeping the Jewish Law.

Since Man once sinned, God's Justice and Man's Conscience tell us that we are unfit for God's acceptance or communion immediately, but must have a suitable Mediator. O blessed be God for this suitable Mediator. Without him I dare not pray, I cannot hope, I dare not die; God would else frown me away to misery. All the hope of Pardon and Salva [...]ion that I have; all the [Page 361] access to God, and the Mercies and Deliverances that I have received, have been by this Author and Finisher of our Faith: Into his conducting hands I give my Soul, and into his preserving hands both Soul and Body, and into his receiving hands I commend my departing Soul.

V. v. 2. [By whom we have access by Faith unto this Grace wherein we stand;] That is, into this state of blessed Christianity, Peace with God, and the fol­lowing Blessings. As it is by Marriage that a Wo­man hath right to her Husbands Estate and Honours; and by Inheritance that a Child comes to his Father's maintenance and Land: This is no diminution to God's Love. To say, It is all by Christ is not to take it as ever the less from God the Father; it is more to give us Christ and Life in him, than to have given us life without a Christ. Joh. 3. 16. 1 Joh. 5. 10, 11, 12. As God is never the less the Giver of light to the Earth, forgiving it them by the Sun. Second causes diminish not the Honour of the first.

VI. [And rejoice in hope of the Glory of God.] Here is, 1. The beatifical Object: The Glory of God. 2. The beatifical Act, [Rejoice,] 3. The mediate causing Act, [Hope:] all presupposing Faith and Justification.

2. The Glory of God, is that glorious appearance of God to Man (and Angels) which maketh happy. 1. The mind by beholding it. 2. The will by loving it, and receiving the communications of Love. 3. The executive powers by joyful praise, &c.

2. Though some foretasts are here, it is yet said to be hoped for; and we hope for that which is not seen. When Faith is said to be that which we are justified or saved by, it includeth hope, though more precisely taken they are distinct. We are saved by hope. The same word is oft translated [Trust] and [Hope.] And Faith is [Trust:] to Trust Christ for Salvation, includeth [Page 362] hoping that he will save us. But Hope is denominated from the Good hoped for, and Faith from the Cause by which we hope to obtain it.

Hope doth not necessarily imply either certainty or uncertainty: It may stand with both in various degrees.

3. Rejoicing is made by God the very naturally de­sired state of the Soul: It is when natural the pleasant efflorence of the Spirits, or their state of Health.

It is Pleasure that is the Spring or Poise of all motion sensitive in the World: Trahit sua quem (que) volisptas. Appetite or Will is the Active Principle, and congrucus Good, or delectable, is the Object. The World is un­done by the seduction of false deceitful Pleasure, and men are blessed only in true and durable pleasure. And though we that made not our selves, are not so made for our selves, as that our Pleasure or Felicity in God, should be so high in our desire, as God himself, who is the ultimate Object of our Love; yet seeing such an Object he is, and the Love of him (and received from him) is our Felicity, these are never to be separated.

What have I to rejoice in, if this hoped Glory, be not my joy? All things else are dying to me. And God himself is not my Felicity, as he afflicts me, nor as he giveth me the transitory gifts of Nature, but as he is to be seen in Glory. If this be not my joy, it's all but vanity. What then should all my thoughts and labour aim at more (as to my self) than to hope for, and foretast this Glory. No sin lieth heavier on me, than that my hopes of Glory raise me to no high­er joy, and that the great weakness of my Faith, ap­peareth by such dull thoughts of Glory, or by with­drawing fears. Sure there is enough in the Glory of God, soundly believed and hoped for, to make a Man rejoice in pain and weakness, and to make him long to [Page 363] be with Christ. I live not according to the Nature of Christianity, if I live not as in peace with God, and in the joyful hopes of promised Glory.

VII. [Not only so, but we glory in Tribulation.] Glory is so Transcendent, and Tribulation so small and short, that an expectant of Glory may well rejoice in bodily sufferings. It is Tribulation for Christ and Righteousness sake, that we are said to Glory in: The rest for our sins, it's well if we can improve and patient­ly bear. Yet in them we may rejoice, in hope of Glory, though we glory not of them. O if all the painful languid Daies, and Nights, and Years that I have had, as the fruit of my sin, had been sufferings for that which I am now hated and hunted for, even for preaching Christ when men forbid me, how joyfully might I undergo it: But yet even here, approaching Glo­ry should be my joy. Alas, my groans and moans are too great, and my joy too little.

VIII. [Knowing that Tribulation worketh Patience.] That which worketh Patience is matter of Joy: For Patience doth us more good than Tribulation can do hurt; Why then do I groan so much under suffering, and so little study and exercise Patience, and no more rejoice in the exercise thereof?

IX. [And Patience, Experience.] It is manifold and profitable Experience, which patient suffering brings. It giveth us experience, as of Natures weakness, and the great need of Faith: So of the Truth of God's Promises, the love and tenderness of Christ, the accep­tance of our Prayers; and the power of the Spirits aid and grace. O what abundance of experiences of God and our selves, and the vanity of Creatures had we wanted, if we had not waited in a suffering state: Alas, how many Experiences have I forgotten!

X. [And Experience, Hope.] A bare Promise should [Page 364] give us Hope: But we are still distrustful of our selves and of all the clearest Evidences, till experience help us, and set all Home. O what an advantage hath a Chri­stian of great and long experience for his hope and joy! And yet when notable experiences of God's Providence are past and gone, an unbelieving Heart is ready to question whether the things came not by meer natural course; and like the Israelites in the Wilderness, dangers and fears bear down even long and great ex­periences: This is my sin.

XI. [And Hope maketh not ashamed.] That is, true Hope of what God hath promised shall never be disappointed. They that trust on deceitful Creatures are deceived, and ashamed of their Hope: For all men are Lyars, that is, untrusty; but God is true, and ever faithful: O what a comfort is it that God com­mandeth me to trust him? Sure such a command is a virtual Promise, from him that cannot fail that trust, which he commandeth. Lord help me to trust thee in greatest dangers, and there to rest.

XII. [Because the Love of God is shed abroad upon our Hearts, by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.]

It is the Love of God shed abroad on our Hearts by the Holy Ghost, which must make us rejoice in hope of the Glory of God, even in Tribulation.

Here I must consider, I. What is meant by the Love of God. II. Why, and how it is shed abroad on the Heart by the Holy Ghost.

I. By the Love of God is meant the Effects of his Love; 1. His special Grace: 2. The pleasant gust or sense of it.

II. God's Love thus shed on the Heart, pre-suppo­seth it exprest in the Gospel, and Providence, and con­tains all these particulars.

[Page 365] 1. The sanctifying of the Soul by renewing Grace. This is the giving of the Spirit, as he is given all true Christians.

2. Herein the Holy Ghost makes us perceive the ex­ceeding desirableness of the Love of God, and maketh us most desire it.

3. He giveth the Soul some easing Hope of the Love of God.

4. He quieteth the doubts, and fears, and troubles of the Soul.

5. He raiseth our Hopes by degrees to confident as­surance.

6. Then the thoughts of God's love are pleasant to the Soul, and give it such delight as we feel in the love and fruition of our most valued and beloved friends.

7. The Soul in this state is as unapt to be jealous of God or to question his Love, as a good Child or Wife to question the Love of a Parent or Husband, or to hear any that speak evil of them.

8. This then becomes the habitual state of the Soul, in all changes to live in the delightful sense of the love of God, as we do live in pleasure with our dearest Friends.

O blessed state, and first fruits of Heaven! and hap­py are they that do attain it! And though lower de­grees have their degree of happiness, yet how far short are such, in goodness, amiableness and comfort, of those that are thus rich in grace.

This presupposeth; 1. Knowledge of God and the Gospel. 2. True belief and hope. 3. A sincere and fruitful life. 4. Mortification as to Idol, worldly vani­ties. 5. A conviction of our sincerity in all this. 6. A conclusion that God doth love us.

But yet it is somewhat above all this. A Man may [Page 366] have all this in his Mind and Mouth, and yet want this gust of effused Love upon his Heart. These are the way to it, but not itself.

This is the greatest good on this side Heaven: to which all Wealth and Honour, all fleshly Pleasure and long Life, all Learning and Knowledge, are unworthy to be once compared: Briefly,

1. It is the flower and highest part of God's Image on Man.

2. It is the Souls true communion with God, and fruition of him, which carnal men deride. Even as our Eye hath communion with the Sun, and the flourish­ing Earth enjoys its reviving heats.

3. It is that which all lower grace doth tend to, as Childhood doth to Manhood: And what is a world of Infants comparatively good for?

4. It is that which most properly answereth the de­sign of Redemption and the wonders of God's love therein: And all the tenor of the Gospel.

5. It is that which is most fully called, The Spirit of God, or Christ in us: He hath lower works, but this is his great work by which he possesseth us as God's most pleasant Habitation: For we have not received the Spirit of Bondage again to fear, but the Spirit of Power and Love, and a sound mind, 2 Tim. 1. 7.

6. It is only that which all men in general desire I mean, the only satisfying content and pleasure that Man is capable of on Earth! All men would have quieting and constant Pleasure; and it is to be found in nothing else, but the effused love of God.

7. It is that which will make every burden light; and all affliction easy: When the sense of God's love is still upon the Soul, all pain and crosses will be but as Blood-letting by the kindest Physician, to save the Pa­tients [Page 367] life. God will not be suspected or grudged at in suffering; his love will sweeten all.

8. It will overcome abundance of Temptations, which no mens Wit, or Learning, or knowledge of the words of Scripture, will overcome. No Arguments will draw a loving Child or Wife, from the Parents or Husband that they know doth love them. Love is the most powerful Disputant.

9. It puts a mellow pleasant sweetness into all our duties: When we hear the Word, or receive the Sa­crament, it is to such a Soul as pleasant Food to the most healthful Man: When we pray or praise God, it comes from a comforted Heart and excites and increaseth the comfort it comes from. O who can be backward to draw near to God in Prayer or Meditation, who tasteth the sweetness of his Love. This is Religion indeed, and tells us what its life, and use, and glory is: This is the true walking with God in the best degree: When the Soul liveth in the taste of his Love, the Heart will be still with him, and that will be its Pleasure: And God most delights in such a Soul.

10. This is it that putteth the sweetest relish on all our Mercies: Deny God's love, and you deny them all. If you tast not his love in them, you taste little more than a Beast may taste: Poor Food and Ray­ment is sweet with the sense of the Love of God. Had I more of this, I should lie down, and rise, and walk in Pleasure and content: I could bear the loss of other things: And though Nature will feel pains, I should have Pleasure and Peace in the midst of all my pains, and groans. This is the white Stone, the New Name: No Man well knoweth it who never felt it in him­self.

1. There is no dying comfortably without this ex­perienced [Page 368] taste of the Love of God. This will draw up the desires of the Soul: Love tasted, casteth out fear; though God be Holy and Just, and Judgment terrible, and Hell intollerable, and the Soul hath no distinct Idea of its future state out of the Body, and though we see not whither it is that we must go, the taste of God's love will make it go joyfully, as trusting him; as a Child will go any whither in his Father's power and hand.

But all the knowledge in the World without this, quiets not a departing Soul. A Man may write as ma­ny Books, and Preach as many Sermons of Heaven as I have done, and speak of it, and think of almost no­thing else, and yet till the Soul be sweetned and com­forted with the Love of God shed abroad on it by the Holy Ghost, death and the next life will be rather a Man's fear, than his desire. And the common fear of death which we see in the far greatest part even of godly Persons, doth tell us, that though they may have saving desires, and hopes, yet this sense of God's love on the Heart is rare.

What wonder then if our Language, our Converse, our Prayers, have too little savour of it, and in compa­rison of joyful Believers duties, be but like green Ap­ples to the mellow ones.

My God, I feel what it is that I want, and I perceive what it is that is most desirable: O let not guilt be so far unpardoned, as to deprive my Soul of this greatest good, which thou hast commended to me and command­ed, and which in my languishing and pains I so much need. Did I beg for Wealth or Honour, I might have it to the loss of others: But thy Love will make me more useful to all, and none will have the less for my enjoyment: For thou Lord art enough for all; Even as none hath the less of the Sun-light for my enjoying it. The least well [Page 369] grounded hope of thy Love is better than all the pleasures of the Flesh: But without some pleasant sense of it, alas, what a withered languishing thing is a Soul; thy loving kindness is better than life; but if I taste it not, how shall I here rejoice in God, or bear my hea­vy burdens?

O let me not be a dishonour to thy Family, where all have so great cause to honour thy bounty by their joy, and hopes: Nor by a sad and fearful Heart, tempt men to think that thy love is not real and satisfactory; I can easily believe and admire thy Greatness, and thy Know­ledge: Let it not be so hard to me to believe and taste thy Goodness and thy Love: Which is as necessary to me.

If there be any thing (as surely there is) in which the Divine Nature and Spirit of Adoption consisteth, as above all the Art and Notions of Religion, which are but like to other acquired Knowledge, sure it must be this holy Appetite and Habitual Inclination of the Soul to God by way of Love, which is bred by an internal sense of his Loveliness, and Loving inclination to Man: which differenceth a Christian from other men, as a Child differs towards his Father, from Strangers or from common Neigbours. Till the love of God be the very state or nature of the Soul, (working here to­wards his Honour, Interests, Word, and Servants) no Man can say that he is God's habitation by the Spirit: And how the Heart will ever be thus habited, with­out believing God's Love to us, it's hard to con­ceive.

Experience tells the World how strongly it constrain­eth Persons to love one another, if they do but think that they are strongly beloved by one another. In the love that tends to marriage, if one that is inferior do [Page 370] but know that a Person of far greater worth doth fervently love them, it almost puts a necessity and con­straint on them for returns of Love: Nature can scarce choose but love in such a case. Love is the Loadstone of Love. A real taste of the Love of God in saving Souls by Christ and grace, is it that constraineth them to be holy; that is, to be devoted to that God in Love.

III. But this must as necessarily be the work of the Holy Ghost, and can be no more done without him, than the Earth can be illuminated, and the Vegetables live without the Sun. But all the approaches of the Holy Spirit suffice not to produce this great effect, and give us the Divine holy Nature.

The same Sun shine hath three different effects on its Objects.

1. On most things (as Houses, Stones, Earth,) it causeth nothing but the Accidents of Heat, Colour, and Motion.

2. On some things it causeth a seminal Disposition to Vegetable life, but not Life itself.

3. In this disposed matter it causeth Vegetable life itself.

So doth the Spirit of God, 1. Operate on Millions but lifeless Accidents, as the Sun on a stone Wall. 2. On others Dispose and prepare them to Divine Life. 3. On others (so disposed) it effecteth the Divine life itself: When holy Love is turned into a habit like to Nature.

That none but the Holy Ghost doth make this holy change, is evident: For, the effect cannot transcend the causes; 1. Nature alone is dark, and knoweth not the attractive amiableness of God, till illuminated; nor can give us a satisfactory notice of God's special Love to us.

2. Nature is Guilty; and Guilt breedeth fears of [Page 371] Justice; and fear makes us wild and fly from God, lest he will hurt us.

3. Nature is under penal sufferings already; and feeleth pain, fear, and many hurts, and foreseeth Death: And under this is undisposed of itself, to feel the pleasure of God's Love.

4. Nature is corrupted and diverted to Creature va­nity, and its Appetite goeth another way, and cannot cure itself, and make itself suitable to the amiableness of God.

5. God hateth wickedness and wicked men; and meer Nature cannot secure us that we are saved from that enmity.

Diligence may do much to get religious Knowledge, and Words, and all that which I call the Art of Religion: And God may bless this as a preparation to holy Life and Love: But till the Souls Appetite incline with desire to God and Holiness, Divine things will not sweetly relish.

And this is a great comfort to the Thoughts of the Sanctified, that certainly their holy Appetite, Desire, and Complacency is the work of the Holy Ghost. For, 1. This secureth them of the Love of God, of which it is the proper token.

2. And it assureth them of their Union with Christ, when they live because he liveth, even by the Spirit, which is his Seal and Pledge. 3. And it proveth both a future life, and their title to it: For God maketh not all this preparation for it by his Spirit, in vain.

But, alas, if it were not a work that hath great im­pediment it would not be so rare in the World: What is it in us that keepeth the Sun of Love from so shining on us, as to revive our Souls into Holy contentments and delight.

[Page 372] It must be supposed, 1. That all God's gifts are free, and that he giveth not to all alike: The won­derful variety of Creatures proveth this. 2. The rea­sons of his differencing works are his own will, and in­feriour reasons are mostly unknown to us, of which he is not bound to give us an account.

3. But yet we see that God doth his works in a causal order, and one work prepareth for another; and he maketh variety of capacities, which occasion variety of receptions and of gifts; and he useth to give every thing that, to which he hath brought it into the next capacity and disposition.

And therefore in general we may conclude that we feel not God's Love shed abroad upon the Heart, be­cause the Heart is undisposed, and is not in the next disposition thereto: And abused free will hath been the cause of that. That we have Grace is to be ascribed to God: That we are without it is to be ascribed to our selves.

1. Heinous guilt of former sin may keep a Soul much without the delights of Divine love: And the hei­nousness is not only in the greatness of the evil done materially, but oft in our long and willful committing of smaller sins against Knowledge and Conscience, and consideration. The Spirit thus grieved by hardened Hearts, and willful repulses, is not quickly and easily a comforter to such a Soul; and when the sinner doth repent, it leaveth him more in uncertainty of his sinceri­ty, when he thinks, I do but repent, purpose and promise now; and so I oft did, and yet returned the next temptati­on to my sin: And how can I tell that my Heart is not the fame, and I should sin again if I had the same temp­tations. O what doubts and perplexities doth oft will­ful sinning prepare for.

[Page 373] 2. And sins of omission have here a great part: The sweetness of God's Love is a reward which sloathful Servants are unmeet for. It follows a [Well done good and faithful Servant:] There is needful a close attendance upon God, and devotedness to him, and improvement of Gospel Grace and Revelation, to make a Soul fit for amicable sweet communion with God: All that will save a Soul from Hell will not do this.

He that will taste these Divine Love-tokens must, 1. Be no stranger to holy Meditation and Prayer, nor unconstant, cold and cursory in them; but must dwell and walk above with God. 2. And he must be wholly addicted to improve his Masters Talents in the World, and make it his design and trade on Earth to do all the good in the World he can. And to keep his Soul clean from the flesh and worldly vanity: And to such a Soul God will make known his Love.

3. And, alas, how ordinarily doth some carnal a [...] ­fection corrupt the appetite of the Soul? When we grow too much in love with mens esteem, or with earthly Riches, or when our Throats or Phantasies can master us into obedience or vain desires of Meat, Drink, Recreation, Dwelling, &c. the Soul loseth its Appetite to things Divine; and nothing relisheth where Appetite is gone or sick: We cannot serve God and Mammon, and we cannot at once taste much pleasure both in God and Mammon. The old austere Christians found the mortification of the fleshly Lusts, a great advantage to the Souls delight in God.

4. And many errours about God's nature and works much hinder us from feasting on his Love.

5. And especially the slight, and ignorant thoughts of Christ, and the wondrous workings of God's Love in him.

[Page 374] 6. And specially if our belief itself once shake, or be not well and firmly founded.

7. And our slight thoughts of the Office and Work of the Holy Ghost on Souls, and our necessity of it, and our not begging and waiting for the Spirits special help.

8. And lastly, our unfaithful forgetfulness of mani­fold experiences and testimonies of his Love, which should still be as fresh before us.

Alas, my Soul, thou feelest thy defect, and knowest the hinderance, but what hope is there of remedy? Will God ever raise so low, so dull, so guilty a Heart, to such a foretast of Glory, as is this effusion of his Love by the Holy Ghost? The lightsom Daies in Spring and Summer when the Sun reviveth the late naked Earth, and clothes it with delectable beauties differs not more from Night and Winter, than a Soul thus revived with the Love of God, doth differ from an unbelieving formal Soul.

Though this great change be above my power, the Spirit of God is not impotent, backward, barren or in­ex [...]able. He hath appointed us means for so high a state; and he appointeth no means in vain. Were my own Heart obedient to my commands, all these following I would lay upon it: Yea I'll do it and beg the help of God.

I. I charge thee think not of God's Goodness and Love as unproportionable to his Greatness and his Knowledge: Nor overlook in the whole frame of Hea­ven and Earth, the manifestation of one any more than of the other.

II. Therefore let not the the wickedness and misery of the World tempt thee to think basely of all God's [Page 375] Mercies to the World; nor the peculiar priviledges of the Churches, draw thee to deny or contemn God's common Mercies unto all.

III. I charge thee to make the study of Christ, and the great work of Man's Redemption by him, thy chiefest Learning, and most serious and constant work; and in that wonderful Glass to see the Face of Di­vine Love; and to hear what is said of it by the Son from Heaven; and to come boldly as reconciled to God by him.

IV. O see that thy repentance for former sins against knowledge, and Conscience, and the Motions of God's Spirit, be sound and throughly lamented and abhorred, how small soever the matter was in itself That so the doubt of thy sincerity keep not up doubts of God's acceptance.

V. Let thy dependance on the Holy Ghost as given from Christ, be henceforth as serious and constant to thee, as is the dependance of the Eye on the light of the Sun, and of natural Life upon its heat and motion. Beg hard for the Holy Spirit, and gladly entertain it.

VI. O never forget the many and great experiences thou hast had, (these almost Sixty years observed) of marvellous favour and providence of God, for Soul and Body; in every time, place, condition, relation, company or change thou hast been in: Lose not all these Love-tokens of thy Father, while thou art beg­ging more.

VII. Hearken not too much to pained Flesh, and [Page 376] look not too much into the Grave; but look out at thy Prison Windows to the Jerusalem above, and the heavenly Society that triumph in Glory.

VIII. Let all thy sure notices of a future life, and of the communion we have here with those above, draw thee to think that the great number of Holy Souls that are gone before thee, must needs be better than they were here; and that they had the same Mind, and Heart, and Way, the same Saviour, San­ctifyer and Promise that thou hast; and therefore they are as Pledges of Felicity to thee. Thou hast joyfully lived with many of them here; and is it not better be with them there? It is only the state of Glory foreseen by Faith, which most fully sheweth us the greatness of God's Love.

IX. Exercise thy self in Psalms of Praise, and daily magnifying the Love of God, that the due mention of it may warm and raise thy love to him.

X. Receive all temptations against Divine Love, with hatred and repulse: Especially temptations to unbelief: And as thou wouldst abhor a temptation to murder, or perjury, or any other heinous sin, as much abhor all temptations which would hide God's Good­ness, or represent him to thee as an enemy or unlovely.

Thus God hath set the Glass before us, in which we may see his amiable Face. But, alas, Souls in flesh are in great obscurity, and conscious of their own weakness, are still distrustful of themselves, and doubt of all their apprehensions, till over-powering Objects and Influences satisfie, and fix them. For this my Soul with daily longings doth seek to thee my God [Page 377] and Father: O pardon the sin that forseits Grace: I am ready to say, Draw nearer to me, but its mee­ter to say, Open thou my Eyes and Heart, and remove all impediments, and undisposedness, that I may believe and feel how near thou art and hast been to me, while I perceived it not.

XIII. It is God's Love shed abroad on the Heart by the Holy Ghost, which must make us Rejoice in hope of the Glory of God: This will do it, and without this it will not be done.

This would turn the fears of Death, into joyful hopes of future life. If my God will thus warm my Heart with his Love, it will have these following effects in this matter.

I. Love longeth for union, or nearness, and fruition: And it would make my Soul long after God, in glori­ous presence.

II. This would make it much easier to me to believe that there is certainly a future blessed life for Souls; while I even tasted how God loveth them? It's no hard thing to believe that the Sun will give light and heat, and revive the frozen Earth: Nor that a Father will shew kindness to his Son, or give him an inheri­tance. Why should it be hard to believe that God will glorifie the Souls whom he loveth? And that he will take them near himself: And that thus it shall be done to those whom he delights to honour.

III. This effusion of Divine Love would answer my doubts of the pardon of sin: I should not find it hard to believe that love itself, which hath given us a Savi­our, [Page 378] will forgive a Soul that truly repenteth, and hates his sin, and giveth up himself to Christ for Justification. It's hard to believe that a Tyrant will forgive, but not that a Father will pardon a returning prodigal Son.

IV. This effusion of Divine Love, will answer my fears which arise from meer weakness of Grace and Du­ty: Indeed it will give no other comfort to an un­converted Soul, but that he may be accepted if he come to God by Christ, with true Faith and Repen­tance, and that this is possible. But it should be easie to believe that a tender Father will not kill or cast out a Child for weakness, crying or uncleanness: Divine Love will accept and cherish, even weak Faith, weak Prayer, and weak obedience and patience which are sincere.

V. This effused Love would confute temptations that are drawn from thy afflictions; and make thee be­lieve that they are not so bad as flesh repesenteth them: It would understand that every Son that God loveth, he chasteneth, that he may not be condemned with the World, and that he may be partaker of his Holi­ness, and the end may be the quiet fruit of Righteous­ness; it would teach us to believe that God in very faithfulness doth afflict us; and that it is a good sign that the God of Love intendeth a better life for his be­loved, when he trieth them with so many tribulations here: And though Lazarus be not saved for his suffer­ing, it signified that God who loved him, had a life of comfort for him, when he had his evil things on Earth. When pangs are greatest, the Birth is nearest.

[Page 379] VI. Were Love thus shed on the Heart by the Holy Ghost, it would give me a livelier apprehension of the state of Blessedness which all the faithful now enjoy: I should delightfully think of them as living in the joyful Love of God, and ever fully replenished therewith. It pleaseth us to see the Earth flourish in the Spring; and to see how pleasantly the Lambs and other young things will skip and play: Much more to see Societies of Ho­ly Christians loving each other, and provoking one another to delight in God: O then what a pleasant thought should it be, to think how all our deceased god­ly Friends, and all that have so died since the Creation, are now together in a World of Divine perfect Love! How they are all continually wrap't up in the Love of God, and live in the delight of perfect Love to one another.

O my Soul, when thou art with them, thou wilt dwell in Love, and feast on Love, and rest in Love; for thou wilt more fully dwell in God, and God in thee: And thou wilt dwell with none but perfect Lovers: They would not silence thee from praising God in their Assembly: Tyrants, Malignants, and Persecutors are more strange there (or far from thence) than Toads, and Snakes, and Crocodiles are from the Bed or Bed­chamber of the King. Love is the Air, the Region, the World they live in: Love is their Nature, their Pulse, their Breath, their Constitution, their Complexi­on, and their work: It is their life, and even them­selves and all. Full loth would one of those Spirits be, to dwell again among blind Sodomites, and mad self-damning Malignants upon Earth.

VII. Yea, this effused Love will teach us to gather [Page 380] the Glory of the Blessed from the common Mercies of this life: Doth God give his distracted malignant Enemies, Health, Wealth, Plenty, Pleasure, yea, Lordships, Dominions, Crowns, and Kingdoms, and hath he not much better for beloved holy Souls.

Yea, doth he give the Bruits, Life, Sense, Delight and Beauty, and hath he not better things for men? for Saints?

There are some so blind as to think that Man shall have no better hereafter, because Bruits have not, but perish. But they know not how erroneously they think. The sensible souls of Bruits are substance: And there­fore are not annihilated at death: But God put them under us, and made them for us, and us more nearly for himself. Bruits have not Faculties to know and love God, to meditate on him, or praise him, or by moral agency to obey his Precepts: They desire not any higher felicity than they have: God will have us use their service, yea, their lives and Flesh to tell us they were made for us. He tells us not what he doth with them after death: But whatever it is, it is not annihila­tion, and it's like they are in a state still of service unto Man: Whether united or how individuate we know not: Nor yet whether those Philosophers are in the right, that think that this Earth is but a small Image of the vast superiour Regions, where there are Kingdoms answerable to these here, where the Spirits of Bruits are in the like subjection in aerial Bodies, to those low rational Spirits that inhabite the Aerial Regions as in Flesh they were to Man in Flesh. But it's enough for us that God hath given us Faculties to know, love, praise, and obey him, and trust him for Glory, which he ne­ver gave to them, because they were not made for [Page 381] things so high. Every Creatures Faculties are suited to their use and ends:

And Love tells me that the blessed God, who giveth to Bruits that life, health, and pleasure which they are made and fitted for, will give his Servants that hea­venly delight in the fulness of his Love and Praise, and and mutual joyful Love to one another, which Nature fundamentally, and Grace more immediately hath made them fit for.

Blessed Jehovah, for what tasts of this effused Love thou hast given me, my Soul doth bless thee, with some degree of gratitude and joy: And for those fur­ther measures which I want, and long for, and which my pained languid state much needs, and would raise my joyful hopes of Glory, I wait, I beg, from day to day. O give me now at the Door of Heaven, some fuller taste of the heavenly Felicity: Shed more abroad upon my Heart, by the Holy Ghost, that Love of thine, which will draw up my longing Soul to thee, rejoicing in hope of the Glory of God.


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