The love of God, OR, Love Divine:

Being the subject of these ensuing Meditations.

Collected out of Mr Gorings English Translation, originally penned by Peter Du Moulin, Prea­cher to the Reformed Church in PARIS.

Digested into Divine Poems by William Wood, a Native and free Citizen of the Citie o [...] York, now resient at Ekington in the Countie of Darby.

Printed at York by Tho: Broad for the Author. 1656.

To all that love God, especially the Ma­gistracie, Ministery, and Commonalty of the Honourable Citie of Yorke, and famous Town of Newcastle upon Tyne.

The Prologue.

York gave me birth, Newcastle gave me breeding,
Blest be they both, for love, Law, Cloth and feeding.
Having out liv'd the years of seventy four,
So that my seeing sence can see no more
To Write, or Read, or to discern a Letter,
Yet still to Heav'n I stand oblig'd a Debter.
For lack and losse of this my nat'rall sight,
God gives me better, his internall light,
As Vnderstanding, Will, and Memory,
His love to land, his Name to glorifie.
My heart bethought me what I ought to tender
For Gods great love, 'twas love for love to render;
Therefore on love Divine my meditations
Come next in place, with lovely Contemplations.
W: Wood.

Divine Poems.
Of true and false love.

LOve hath her Objects either false or true,
Which all our spirits restlesly pursue:
That which is pond'rous here in massive things,
Love in our soul [...], the same effect it brings:
As weight bowes earthly bodies to their rest,
True love allures our souls to that is best.
This love is that which gives the soul content,
Which in esteem is super-excellent;
Whereas false love is meer imagination,
Irregular, and wild'ring agitation:
A whirling, gadding, giddy, endlesse motion,
In true love's lore, which hath no spirituall notion;
Such is fallacious love, fil'ld with this dyet
Of ill digestion, breedeth much disquiet,
And's often weary, often doth despair,
Which is no rest, because 'tis clogg'd with care.
De [...]ire doth still continue for a fit,
Like a ti [...]'d horse which often gnawes his bit:
The most desire the thing they least can do,
What they obey it often works their woe:
If we with ease, enjoy that thing we love,
This we distast, and often dis-approve.
That which we covet, and atcheive with gain,
The lucre's often lost, proves void and vain.
For worldly love resistance sets on fire,
And nu [...]st with dolour dan [...]eth our desire.
If g [...]zing man shall fix his wandring eye
On Mundane pleasures, which in hast do flie,
All passe away but as a glimpse of glory,
The richest Ge [...]m is worthlesse, transitory:
Instead of durance, stable, firme content,
A Chain of cares turns to his detriment;
Linked together for his future woe,
For will he, nill he, Providence saith so.
The gravest sweets are sometimes sower and tart,
Befool the gust and fatuates the heart:
Riches and honour vain, and worldly pleasure
Do wast or wain, or's rapt by casuall seizure.
Uncertain are we of this worlds possession,
But sure we are to leave it to succession:
If these by casuall means they do not leave us,
Death shall at last of all our all bereave us:
These are imparted on the wicked train,
For no end else, but to augment their pain.
Man to expose his love to things below,
Is as to chase the wind each where doth blow;
For when these things as good may termed be,
Thei're frail and finite every hour we see.
The mark-man when the fowl in ayre doth flie,
Can take no aim by levell of his eye;
Nor we assurance have in pomp or pleasure,
By our designes to gourmandize base treasure.
For we must search for rest some other where
Then on the earth, in Heav'n, we're sure, 'tis there.
For as the lower Regions in their kind,
Are mixt with vapours, tempests, storms and wind.
But that approacheth nearer Sions hill,
Is calm and quiet, peaceable and still:
So shall our love be restlesle, wanting peace,
Whiles terrene troubles cause this love to cease:
But if in Heav'n she aim to build her nest,
In's precious promises she shall find rest.
And for this cause the Pilot close doth stand,
Near to the Card, to save from shelf and sand
His floating ship, lest that she should be wreck't
By needles point, he doth his course direct.
In semblant sort each faithfull Christians heart,
Amidst confuse afflictions noisome smart,
He shall enjoy those joyes shall never cease,
In that his love aims at the God of peace;
Which is the onely object of our love,
Most absolute the Saints do all approve.
This love can make us lovely, for that she,
Can make us happy in a high degree:
And which alone, and absolutely ca [...]
Most happy make the wretched state of man.
Man's ear, nor's eye, hath heard, nor seen, nor's heart
Can comprehend, what God will hence impart
On those in chief sincerely do him love,
His speechles [...]e mercies that's reserv'd above.
Gods love doth move mankind to admiration.
For that mans soul is made Gods habitation:
His pleasant Palace, which he likes full well,
His Spirits fair Temple, where he loves to dwell.
This Maxime Athens Schooles did first ordain,
That God or nature nothing made in vain.
Mans boundlesse thoughts, surge as the Marine flood,
Nothing can sa [...] it but the Supreame good,
Which here on earth the wisest never found,
Must be in Heav▪n transcending this vast round.
Adde hereunto, that God the world did frame
For mans own use, and man to blesse his name.
Amongst the various formes of every creature,
God made us men according to his feature;
In stature formed staight, erect, upright,
Lovely and comely in his Makers sight:
That he might love his God whose forme he bears,
Lift his desires above the Starry spheares.
Adde that we cannot gain the Spirits perfection,
Untill the Spirit of spirits unite affection;
Which to the creature doth communicate
His vertue, as the Sun in clearest state
Darts forth his beams, and doth his lustre lend.
To lower Lights, which do on him depend.
True love is that which doth transform the Lover
Into the thing beloved, and no other:
Now if a man deform'd in's extern part,
Love a corporeall beauty in his heart;
N [...]'re shall he by that love correct his own
Defectivenesse, which generally is known.
Contrariwise, by loving God we shall
Be like to God, who is our all in all:
As in a mirrour plainly we do see
God face to face, and changed then are we.
Of love 'tis said, that beauty is the first
Hot spark, or flame, that sets this love on thirst,
Considerately we shall discern and see
What we call love, doth not with truth agree:
But such a love that's superficiall,
Which covereth filth, is but extrinsicall.
But God's that light, all beauties doth excell,
Whose radient rayes no mortall tongue can tell,
God being then the first and purest light,
Paternally, of shining Lamps most bright;
By consequence Heav'ns Oracles have proved
That he's the light most worthy to be loved,
Yet humane wisdome, much doth disagree
With that's Divine, it hath no sympathie.
For the Philosophy that's naturall,
With Nat'ralists, is deemed best of all.
Contrarily the Scriptures do decla [...]e,
That nat'rall love with heavenly holds no share:
For since that Sathan hath defac'd the Image
Of God, in Adam, and in Adam's Image;
Man's turned towards the world in his desires,
From heav'n to earth, his groveling thought retires.
Our carnall thoughts, our Mundane base delights,
Hold enmity against the God of spirits.
If any one have grace his God to love,
The gift's not ours, but God's, that dwells above:
Therefore our Jesus saith in's Gospell Law,
None comes to him except his Father draw;
And blessed [...] and [...]
Did pull us out, [...]id [...]us [...]ful [...]:
The sacred verity of this [...] in [...]r [...]'d,
We must love God bee use he lov'd us first,
This also, [...] and firm [...] effect,
Of Gods true love, if [...].
Next under heave [...] [...] w [...] should require,
More then this grace to love with whole de [...]:
For to the faithfull this doth testifie,
That God with's love his soul shall satisfie.
This lov's the very first effe [...] of faith,
Traceth Gods image, as the Scripture [...]
It is the mark and [...],
For they are endow'd wit [...] love and fil [...]ull fear.
This love's the so [...] of vertues, [...] and oth [...]:
Hath soveraign eminen [...] [...] elder brother:
She sits as Judge, our [...] reg [...]leth,
Summs up the La [...], [...] Judg [...] and [...]
This love sustaineth [...] did S [...]ph [...],
A ladder that can each [...] high as Heaven;
She's peace of conscienc [...] y [...]elding that content,
Is superexcellently [...]
Yea it is such I dare [...]ith boldnesse say,
Gives us a [...]aste of Heav'n [...] this our day:
It here begins the u [...]on endlesse [...]st▪
Communion with God amongst the blest.
Our thoughts and muse in this sweet meditation,
Cannot soar up to higher contemplation;
For what is th [...] th [...]n God, that i [...] so gr [...]t,
Or then his love to tell on, o [...] to [...]eat.
The profit likewise surely is no lesse,
Then it is sweet, which no tongue can expresse.
Men are not good, nor bad, because that they
Beleeve and trust, but that they do obey;
'Tis said, they'r good even those that love good things,
None else is such, but God the King of Kings:
Who not alone in goodnesse doth transcend,
But makes there so that love him to the end.
Let's be instructed by Gods holy Spirit,
That's love it self, so shall we heav'n inherit:
And which will form our hea [...] unto the frame
Of reall love and not a love in [...].
Least we should take a love corporeall,
In lew of love that's true and spirituall:
An itching love that is importunate,
A furious heat our brains in [...] [...]ate,
To wit, of vices that's extr [...]mly ill,
For chief vertue [...] which God's [...]ests fulfill:
A brutish sicknesse [...],
For a perfection that's Angell [...].
'Tis doubtlesse [...] of him that shall dispose
Himself, to love his God i [...] one of those,
Neglects all base and by consider [...]ions,
For serving God, with willing inclinations.
Though he incurre the worlds malignant hate,
He's not dejected, nor [...]:
Starts not nor shrinks for all [...] disdain,
This worlds harsh hatred bring [...] th [...]e [...]ndlesse gain.
Earths brittle pleasures Heav'ns afflicting rod,
Do work the weal of them which love their God:
Evills turn blessings, not to on [...], b [...]fall
Whom God shall scourge with stripes corporeall.
The bodies sicknesse proves a speciall cure
Unto the soul, the Magi hold it sure.
Heavens high Phisitian by [...] skill
Can cure with poison, that wa [...] wont to kill:
His strokes are balm, as holy David saith,
Matter of patience for to try our faith.
The passive sufferer meekly bears his Crosse,
And for Gods cause he values not his losse:
The [...]e sufferings are like scarrs upon the face,
And honours man received in bloody chase▪
Conformities unto our Captain Christ,
As Christian soldiers numbred in his list;
And all through under propping of this love,
Tartnesse i [...] temp [...]red that it sweet doth prove;
And maketh us entirely to rejoyce,
Some one will say, and thereto doth assent
Th [...] love of God' [...] a ver [...]ue excellent;
And that to love him we before must know,
What is this duty which to him we owe:
And that our knowledge here is most obscure,
Both dimme and dark, bemisted and impure,
Yet in no wise we must forbear, forget
To study knowledge that's before us set;
Our Ignorance must have no toleration,
Nor cause neglect in God's negotiation.
Of God although our knowledge be but small,
It us incites to love him therewithall:
One glimpse of his most radiant rayes and gleams
Exceeds the Sun with his most splendent beams.
The knowledge, knowing God with dark'ned sight,
Surpasseth nat'rall, and the Gentiles light;
So if a prisoner do in dungeon lye,
And at a think some beam of [...] espy [...],
By that he knows the beauty of the light.
Which comforteth the silly Captive wight.
The petty portion and the [...] of skill
In knowing God, whose fulnesse all things fill;
Sufficient is for to delight our taste
With's excellence, above the Heav'ns plac't:
And with his love our souls so to enflame,
His love alone gives cause to blesse his name.
Besides God's knowledge that's made known to any,
May savingly sufficient be to many:
The debts we owe to God by obligation,
For's goodnesse in his love, [...] admiration▪
Are fully set forth to [...] in his Word,
As sacred Oracles the same record;
Which Paul the convert, preaching hath not spared,
But Gods whole Councell unto us declared.

The fi [...]st degree of the love of God, is, to lo [...] God because of the good which he doth [...], [...]d which [...] to receive of him.

THe first and lowest step, is, God to love,
Mercies received, hereto may us move:
On this degree David did much rejoyce,
Blessed his God, because he heard his voyce;
For so it must be truly [...]nderstood,
God will be lov'd in tha [...] hi [...] doth us good.
It's God that made, preserves, and doth us guide,
Instructs our souls, for bodies doth provide;
Redeems [...]s by his Son, next by his Spirit▪
He sanctifies us, Heaven fo [...] to in h [...] it.
Directs us by his Word him for to serve,
Makes us his friends we shoul'd not from him [...];
Yea, ev'n his children with himself [...],
Such love like this as yet [...] ever none.
Plato in his blind way to God [...] thanks,
For three things, which he harsh [...] in their ra [...]ks.
First, making him no Beast, but made hi [...] [...],
Next, born a Greek, and no [...]:
Yet to his lustre more to make it shine,
He termed was Philosopher Divine.
We that in quainter Schooles have been instructed,
In better wayes of pray [...]e have [...] conducted:
His name of us ought also to be blest,
For three things likewise which are here exprest.
First, that in mercy men he did [...] make,
Next, that of holy truth we do partake;
Thirdly, 'mongst those who Christians called [...]
He makes us faithfull on [...] through his ow [...] [...]
A fourth [...]e'l adds, that by his own dec [...]ing,
He did adopt [...] world had b [...]ing▪
For if a pregnant, woman [...] our bea [...],
Unto the Child which she should shortly rear▪
Her fruit unseen, she sheildeth from all harmes,
What will s [...] do when [...] within her Arms?
So if God lov'd us long before we were▪
Much more when lov'd; and [...]'d; with filiall f [...]ar▪
Now in the rarenesse of thi [...] speciall grace,
The fewer number have the higher place;
The greater is his bounty and his plenty▪
Upheapt with mercies when the most are [...]mpty.
These graces chiefly, they depend on one,
Our reconcilement Jesus made alone.
He is the Conduit pipe by which do flow▪
All graces on the dwellers have below;
Its Jacob's Ladder, which to Heav'ns ascends,
Of enemies 'gainst God, it makes us friends▪
The Angels which ascend and do descend,
(This S [...]ale) our prayer [...] Gods blessings do portend;
Jacob his sleeping at the Ladders foot,
Our Conscience rests most [...]ly doth denote:
Under the shade of Christs [...] intercession,
Doth satisfie [...] for our transgression,
For ere that time on whatsoever side,
Man turn'd his [...] his heart was [...]e [...]fide:
If upon God [...] consuming fire,
Arm'd against sinners, with considerate ire.
If on the Law he saw Gods indignation,
In the sharp sentence of his condemnation.
If on the Heavens, with horror he could say▪
Thence I'm debar'd in that I went astray.
If on the world, he saw himself derest
Of rule o're Creatures, he before possest.
If on himself, he fearfully esp [...]
Thousands extern and Spirit all maladies▪
By signes of Heav'n▪ and Earth [...], he did fea [...]
Approaching v [...]geance to his thoughts appear▪
Then Satan, death, that deep abisse of Hell
Frights him, which pain the losse no tongue can tell.
But now all sorts which look upon their Jesus
With confidenc [...] beholds him who can ease us.
If he behold his God he calls him [...]ather,
Who him adop [...] in Christ that is his Saviour.
If on the Judgement [...] cast his eye,
His Elder Brother [...] in Majesty;
As Judge and Advocate upon the [...]hrone,
Hee'l say more f [...]iends in [...] he Acedeth lo [...]e.
If he think on the Angel [...] he will [...]ay,
These keep me, and defend me in my [...]y.
If on the Heav'n he [...] his speculation,
He will conclude it is my habitation.
If of the Thunder he shall hear the noise,
He will confesse it is his Fathers voice.
If he behold the Law considerately,
He saith that Christ his debt did satisfie,
If he on earth have wealth abound in store,
Hee'l say in glory he shall have much more.
If with adversity he suffer [...]osse,
Hee'l say Christ suffer'd more upon the Crosse.
If he think on the Devill, Death, or Hell,
Saint Paul hath taught him [...]ow his foes to quell:
Where is thy sting (O death) would cause [...] dye,
O grave, where is thy force, thy victory,
Our God be praised and his name adorn,
Who made us triumphant through Christ our Lord.
If these like ang [...]y W [...]ps buzze in our ear▪
Their sting is lost, we [...]ed them not to feard.
If the old Serpent he do prick our Heel,
Christ br [...]se [...] his [...]ead, no anguish we [...]an feel.
Unto the love of God, these obligations
Are common to the faithfull of all Nations.
If each look back upon his time that's gone,
I dare well say of [...]ll there is not one
But grants, besides the [...] that God doth bestow,
Yet private mercies, unto his o'restow.
Freedom from danger [...], bring at despair,
Good chances evidence Gods love and [...]:
Gainfull afflictions, purposes are crost,
Turn to our good, when in the world we're toss'd
Shall it be said, Gods Messings on [...]
Make us not fruitfull, and his i [...] bo [...] vain,
While we do say, God doth us good for this,
That we should love him, is no need of his.
But here's the cause, in that he would [...]s save,
He wills our love, [...] all that he would have;
Besides, if we love him, he is the cause
This love he kindles our [...],
This love's first step, though holy, fit for use,
It but begins, to Heav'nward doth conduce,
For he that loves his God but for repast,
Is like to boyes th [...] pray to break their fust;
But such a love no [...]rth [...] doth [...]
He wrongs his God, and wages makes his end.
If love of God a [...] nought but profit ai [...],
Then above God we striye to build the same,
And make our interest more excellent
Then God [...] high service so [...].
Let him that's come unto this first gradation
Of love, and stands still on this step and station,
Know that it's much that God in us doth pardon,
If that his wrath our self-love do not guerdon:
Wherefore let us advance and mount more higher,
So to the second s [...]ep we shall aspir [...].

The second degree is to love him for his [...] he is [...]

OF love to God this i [...] the [...]
Solely to love him with sincerity.
'Tis not for profit, nor for worldly [...],
It is to love him onely for himself [...].
To wit, all gains [...]
Of benefits, and [...]
Sans hope of guerdom [...] his love as brings.
Saving to love him [...] [...]hings;
Of this love David sp [...]ke with ch [...]full voice,
Saying, let all sh [...] love thy [...] rejoyce,
To love him for his [...]
Because hee's sove [...]igne [...]
Wise in his Councells, in [...],
True in his promise [...] hi [...] trust,
In habits glory over [...]ll do [...]h [...]
To which no [...] can attain.
Soveraign perfection [...] possessing,
The Book o'th [...] p [...]ly doth expresse him,
Whose life's without beginning without [...]ding,
Essentially upon himself depending.
Eternity in him's immutable,
His greatnesse is alike [...].
His power imp [...]ll b [...]sseth [...]ll resistanc [...],
The great Preserved, and the sure assistances.
Who by his word the world did make and frame,
And by his sight [...]e [...]ver [...]eth the same,
And by his will [...]e shall [...]
When he is pleas'd all things [...] consum [...]ate,
Who in one vertue and perfection he
Includes all vertue which in Creatures be;
For these great loves so beneficiall,
So ought our love to be reciprocall.
Christ taught us in his prayer which he did frame,
First, to demand the Hallowing of his name,
And that his Kingdome to us might appear,
Ere we petition him for profit here.
A love that so possest the spirit of Paul,
And Moses also, that neglecting all
Their hope of blisse, they wished to be blotted
Out of lifes book, and for their doom allotted,
The curse of God from's presence to abid [...],
Rather then he should not be glorified.
Wherefore to plant in us this supream love,
Our knowing God, hereto much may us move,
It shall stand need so far as we are able
To know Gods essence, why so amiable.
Beauty is that by nature all affect,
Now light on beauty doth the most reflect,
Without which light all beauties want their rayes,
Are but deformities, as nights to dayes.
And for this cause when God first set his hand
To the Creation of this earths vast strand,
In the begining first he made the light,
Which him resembled, therein did delight.
He is that Sun of Justice doth not set,
Never o'reshaded his pure light to let,
Which doth not onely to the eyes give light,
But also to our eyes he giveth sight.
Guesse at the brightnesse of the King of Kings,
Wher [...] Angels vail their faces with their wings,
Whose eyes are dazled 'fore the glorious Throne,
Where his Majestick brightnesse on them shone.
If at the fight of Christs humanity,
The nat'rall Sun as then shall dark'ned be
As some dark light when brighter doth appear,
His light Divine must needs be much more clear.
If on the life of God we contemplate,
Ours is as dust and dung, so vile of rate,
Mans life's a fluxe, and hath of parts succession,
But God at once hath all his in possession.
He who desires comparingly to know
Gods life from Mans, at Sea doth ebbe and flow,
The Sea with some small Brook he may compare,
At so great distance differently they are.
The Sea is very great, the Brook but small,
Seas keep their bounds, but Brooks keep none at all,
The Sea is owner of her floods in store,
The Brookes have none but from the Seas before.
Gods life and mans are semblant in such sort,
God's infinite, Man's as a moment short:
His life consisteth doubtlesly in rest,
And all at once is instantly possest.
God's all [...]n all, his life depends on none,
Our life, our all is from our God alone,
Earth as it was before doth earth become,
The Spirit Gods gift to him returneth home.
Gods knowledge is a pit that's so profound,
That humane reason cannot reach nor sound;
God knowes all things, ev'n such as yet are not,
Past, present, and to come, he all doth note.
We things alternately do here espie,
But God seeth all at once with his clear eye.
We see things present, why? because they be,
But why things are, is God that doth them see:
For God to see it, is, as if to will,
His wil'ls to do, all this he doth fulfill.
Here for to know things we them look upon,
But God to know things views himself alone,
Because God's absolute and perfect wise,
All Modells are transparent to his eyes.
And in his will, as Judge he doth de [...]e,
And sentence every chance what it shall be.
His holinesse it ought to be admired,
The Saints and Angels have not like acquired:
Ev'n as Gods Word, the highest Heav'n doth call,
The Heav'n of Heav'ns, for it incloseth all,
Others inferior and of lesse degree,
Within the highest that included be.
So God is nam'd by proper appellation,
Holy of holies, in his heav'nly station.
Of Creatures holinesse a quality is all,
But God is sanctity it self substantiall,
God's self is holy, are men or Angells? no,
If they prove Saints, 'tis cause God makes them so.
Justice 'twixt God and Men we ought to know,
Men are deem'd just, because just things they do,
Contrarily in God they are just things,
Being done by him on whom all justice hings.
Wherefore hee's just for this, no other cause,
Working his will prescribed in his Lawes:
Which in his Mandates us he sets before,
Still to obey, observe for evermore.
And to our minde he doth the same impart,
And it engraves within our hidden heart,
He loveth justice, truth, and equity,
He hates the workers of iniquity:
He rootes out lyars, and the men doth hate,
That thirst for blood, he doth abominate
Of his great goodnesse what ought we to say,
Which loves them, hate him, and do go a stray:
By which upon the just and wicked crew,
Daily his Sun doth shine and still r [...]new,
By which he powrs his blessings down in rain
Into their mouthes, which do blaspheme his Name.
In chief this goodnesse that's so infinite,
Shines in his Sonne, his onely dear delight:
This Sonne before all time he did beget,
Eternally he him begetteth yet:
Sonne of his Father, yet of equall date,
Both infinite, and both interminate.
Eternall wisdome▪ word essentiall,
God everlastingly beatificall.
This Sonne whom Esay calls the eternall Father,
Would make himself the Son of man the rather
That we might be Gods children, no [...] [...]orlorn,
He was content in Stable to be born,
That we might have of Heav'n the full fruition,
'Mongst beasts was born in poor and low condition.
He who er'st was, and is of life the bread,
Did suffer hunger, that we might be fed:
He who's the Well of life, he did not shrink
To thirst himself, that we might freely drink.
He who is life it self was pleas'd to dye,
That we might live, and that eternally.
All this for Creatures vile which did rebell,
That he might free them from the jawes of hell:
These are the depths of grace, no bottome hath,
We understand not, we must reach by faith.
These recreate our hearts, cause admiration,
Likewise no lesse, adds to our consolation:
Here are the highest Tests can be exprest
Of Gods great love to man so manifest,
The riches of that grace Angels admir'd,
To pry into have earnestly desir'd.
Now to what end may all these sayings move us,
But to love God, who did so greatly love us;
And to admire the treasures of his grace,
With such like joy as Saints that see his face.
O God since that thy greatnesse hath no end,
Which dust and ashes cannot comprehend,
Thy bounties boundlesse past imagination,
Our Spirits are stopped with this contemplation.
Our words much lower are then is our mind,
Our thoughts beneath the truth are still confin'd:
Of this Gods greatnesse speak we stammeringly,
Our praises thee abase and villifie.
We draw the picture of the Sun most bright,
With a black Coal, the Embleme of the night;
O God raise up our Spirits, and Souls to thee,
And if our knowledge shall too feeble be,
Inflame our love with such an ardent zeal,
As thy pure Word is pleased to reveal.
Thou pleas'd to be our Father by dilection,
O touch our hearts with filliall affection;
Thou that dost daily give us apt occasion
Of loving thee, addict our inclination.
Though we be poor, in means uncapable,
Thou only canst make us most acceptable.
All these and many more considerations
Ingage our love by numerous obligations;
These raise our Spirits, not for our selves (to love,
This God) but for his sake it doth us move.
Our God he duplicates this word, it's I, it's I,
For mine own sake, saith, sinners shall not dye;
His Church he doth resemble to a flock,
Which bears his name, and his peculiar stock,
He safely guards her, both by night and day,
Least she to Sathan should become a prey.

The third degree is, not onely to love God above all things, and more then our selves, but also not to love any thing in the world but for Gods love.

THe third degree it is our God to love,
As both in Heav'n and Earth, all things above,
And in this world what ere our God did make,
Nought must we love but onely for his sake.
This world hath many objects, that we find
From loving them we cannot stay our mind:
Yea, on account it would be reckoned ill,
If we should not hold on to love them still.
A Father loves his Children, and a wife
She loves her husband dearly as her life;
Our allies, neighbours, and our next of kinne,
They ought to share, and have a part therein.
So man may love his Study, House and Health,
Yea, and with all his justly gotten wealth;
Of these who tends a man to dispossesse,
'Twere Barb'rous doctrine wisdome will confesse.
The sacred Scriptures us this truth doth tell,
Who starves his house hee's worse then's Infidell;
For pietie doth not eradicate
These good affections, but agricolate,
And of imperious Mistresses they were,
Makes them but handmaids to Gods love and fear:
No more then Joshua would the Gibeonites kill,
But them subjected for to do Gods will.
For then a Father doth his Children love,
Bringing them up that they fair Plants may prove,
Which in good time may bud, and fructifie,
Gods glorious house to garnish and supplie;
If so remembring he their Father is,
To be more mindfull still that God is his;
Then man doth love his friends as is required,
When they love God, the most to be desired.
So to this end we do not health affect,
Because its pleasant, painlesse in effect;
But rather makes us rigorous to attend
Our high vocation, thats it's proper end.
In l [...]ke sort knowledge, honour we may love,
So that their love from God doth not remove
Our mindes, but rather us the more incite
Unto good works, therein to take delight.
And as there is not any Brook so small,
But in the Ocean at the last doth fall;
So let Gods goodnesse, though but small in shew,
Induce our thoughts his goodnesse to pursue.
Briefly, our lives and neighbourly affections
Shall well be squared out by these directions.
When of Gods love they be both Brooks and Branches,
Our sights reflection on Gods image glances.
Love not the person for his Garments gay,
But inside vertues which his worth bewray:
If yee advance a man for honours sake,
And notice else of him you none can take,
Yee are mistaken, erre egregiously,
That by bare titles yee him dignify;
Which things when as they are from him bereft,
There's nothing lovely in this person left.
Ev'n as a Horse that bears an Idol pack,
He hath no reverence when 'tis of his Back.
Contrariwise, if you a man shall love,
'Cause he beleeves and fears his God above.
Read in Gods Law, to speak the truth addicted,
Just in his acts, relieves the poor afflicted,
Burning with zeal of Gods own habitation,
Such sorts to love you'l never want occasion.
If honour, goods, or life from him's bereft,
His pristine, precious vertues still are left:
And that rare excellence doth still inherit,
Rests in Gods image given by his Spirit.
I know the secrets of mans hidden heart,
To none but God are open and apart,
And often times those friends we vertuous deem,
Do vicious prove, though otherwise they seem.
For he that loves his God should reprehend,
And if he can he should reforme his friend;
Flattery hath ta [...]ne away from friendship true,
All's tearms, save by reproach for to pursue.
To chide ones friend. who ere shall be afraid,
'Tis crueltie, for so the wise hath said;
As when hee's near to drowning thou shouldst fear
To save his life, by renting of his hair.
As Moses rod (whiles such) as rod he used,
But turning Serpent, then the same refused.
Such as the Brain is to the strong tough Nerves,
And veins from out the Liver life preserves.
And as the Heart is to the Arteries,
Such is Gods love to mens societies.
That is, they are but points, which do depend
On God their Center, Alpha, and their end;
This love Divine unlesse it be therein,
Friendships no friendship, at the best 'tis sin.
A conspiration, and a joynt accord
To disagree with God the Soveraign Lord:
Friendships thats fixt on pleasure, or on gain,
Do loose their tast, as these do ebbe or wain,
But friendships grounded on that firm foundation,
The love of God, do alwaies hold their station,
Which love ought to advance it self so high
As friends and foes, shall have a share thereby,
Because amongst these enmities it's clear,
Some marks of Gods own Image yet appear;
For that like Rodds, God holds them in his hand,
Us to correct, and be at his command.

The fourth degree is to hate our selves for Gods sake.

IN this ascension we must climbe yet higher,
For God, to hate our selves, we must aspire;
As there's no love more strong more naturall,
Then is that love, the which self-love we call:
So it's that love, which breeds resistance still,
To be subdu'd, doth alwayes crosse our will.
Such as our Shirt is, which we put off last,
So self-affections cleaves to us full fast:
A combate great by force we here must fight,
Against the roaring Lyon much of might:
It's Sathans last intrenchment and his stay,
From whence Gods power must drive the Fiend away.
None loves God truly, as it is his due,
Hates not his nature, it's desires eschew;
Against these Rebells doth not daily fight,
Untill these mortall foes he put to flight.
Being desirous with firm resolution
To end this warre by death, and dissolution,
And of his blood here to be prodigall,
So that Gods glory suffer not at all;
And of this body to waxe wondrous weary,
As the poor Captives long in prison tarry.
Like to the prisoner looking though the Grate,
Longs for enlargment by his liberate.
Look not for out-let at the prison gate,
But for your freedom when 'tis ruinate.
He with himself holds warre and doth not cease,
He with his God shall have perpetuall peace;
He that himself doth not assume to pardon,
God him remits, with his free grace for guerdon,
He that despiseth life, the same doth hate,
Shall save his life, bought with a precious rate.
We're on the fourth degree, or step of love,
The highest in this life, we Heav'nward move;
'Twas this degree enforced Paul to cry,
Ah, who shall free me from this misery?
Who shall deliver me whiles I have breath.
From this bigge burden, body of this death▪
Of love it was this step, or this degree,
Which caused David in his Soveraignty,
(Having quite quell'd his foes and them supprest,
With wealth and honour dignifide, possest,)
Confesse himself a stranger here to be,
Waifaring through the vale of misery.
In that our Martyrs sufferings were approved,
'Twas God they lov'd, and were of him beloved:
Bodies of brasse, and muscles arm'd with steel,
They did not wear, but had the sence to feel,
For fire and sword, no rackings ought could pain them,
God in their suffering did all times sustain them:
If their thus suffering cause no reformation,
Then doubtlessely they'll serve for condemnation.
Those that to this degree of love attain,
A hard, sharp conflict they must all sustain.
Our flesh is mutinous, and doth rebell,
Rooted in evill, hard for to expell:
I [...] hand or foot, or member that's most dear,
Dismember them, if vicious they appear.
Victorious are we after bonds and thrall,
But we must wrestle though we catch a fall.
As in a crosse-way man is set to stand,
Sometimes the spirit then flesh gets upper hand;
Between the love of God and worldly love,
Some strange suggestions do him try and prove.
How oft i [...] it after Gods love prevailed,
By fresh assaults the faithfull [...]e assailed;
And the fresh forces the Spirit do withstand,
Against Gods fear, and love themselves, do band.
The faithfull being by these appetites,
Beset, with lusts, and such like lewd delights,
Shall feel this love of God within his heart,
Thus speaking, Man, whence is it thou doest start?
O wretched man, whether now wilt thou go,
Doth not God see't, thy inclination know?
Despisest thou his menace and his frown?
Rejectest thou his promises to own?
Forgettest thou thy honoured high vocation?
Dares thou provoke Gods Spirit to indignation?
Why shouldst thou on his Church a scandall bring,
Since Christ thereof is Soveraign, Lord, and King?
Where are the promises which thou hast made him
For guifts receiv'd? as yet thou hast not paid him.
Is this the way to Heaven thou dost devise?
And being fall'n, art thou assured to rise?
And for short pleasures which have lost their tast,
Thy peace of Conscience must it be displac'd?
For pottage wilt thou of thy right bereave
Thy self, and vainly so thy birth-right leave?
At these suggestions will the faithfull stay,
Crosse his desires, and let them bear no sway.
But all's not done, our frailtie's yet not quelled,
Nor froward flesh which hath so long rebelled.
For after these our holy resolutions,
We have great dulnesse, causing diminutions:
And then the Divell doth espy occasion,
Makes a fresh onset, by a re-invasion.
If we be idle, use bad company,
Neglecting pray'r, or duties else of piety:
Then our desires do rouze themselves again,
The Flesh and Spirit for mastery strive amain:
Which makes the faithfull in this restlesse strife,
Desire his death, and's weary of his life,
O wretched nature, it selfs enemy,
Destroyes it self pursuing misery:
O thou corruption that takes root so deep,
O mutinous sedition, that doth keep
In us hostility, and doth not slack,
But us as slaves to Egypt would bring back.
Which like Lots wife, lookes back with her desire
On sinfull Sodom, flaming all with fire,
If we have thoughts, that fixed are on death,
Our flesh will whisper, we may yet long breath:
If we shall hear or read Gods sacred Word,
Threatning our ruine by his glittering sword:
It soothes us up, and doth us so perswade
VVe are secure, to others it is said.
If we Heav'ns glory shall recount, consider,
It will suggest, we shall come early thither.
If thou incited be to help the poor,
I [...] doth suggest, it will impair thy store.
If thy friends frailty thou wouldst reprehen [...],
'Twill over-aw thee lest thou him offend,
Each good affection hath ev'n as it were
Like to a Pot, on either side an ear,
By which the world and flesh take hold upon,
Striving to lett the execution.
Rebekah's steps we next must imitate,
VVho, great with Childe, her God did supplicate,
VVho instantly resolved her request,
Two striving Twinns they did her Womb molest:
A lively figure, not so old as true,
Of man, it represents the old and new:
The old, man's carnall by corrupted nature,
The other new, is the regenerate Creature;
As in a conflict both do daily strive,
And are at odds so long as wee're alive.
Unto Rebekah's suit God did decree,
The old unto they young should subject be:
The flesh unto the spirit must be subjected,
And by that means shall be of God accepted.

The fift degree is that wherewith we shall love God in the life to come.

NOw here remains the last and chief degree,
This highest step is Heav'ns felicity,
VVhich is the love wherewith at last we shall
Love God in's glory that's Coelestiall.
For we love things by nature here below,
According as by science we them know:
VVe therefore shall God love much better then,
VVith love of Saints, and not as mortall men.
Now (as th'Apostle saith) we know in part▪
But then revealed, open, and apart.
As in a Glasse we see, but here obscurely,
But then perspicuously, as Christall purely,
VVhen he in glory shall consummate grace,
Then shall we see as it were face to face,
Our love which here dstractedly doth stand,
And sees far [...] off, shall then see near at hand:
Our love on God shall onely fixed be
Being the obiect of felicity.
As when two swelling Rivers proud and high,
Encountring each other furiously,
They joyn in force, and by their strong invasion
Do make a marvellous flood, and inundation,
So that the love of God and self affection
Are like two Streams on earth, have no connexion,
Which no where else hencforth shall have their meeting,
'Till they in Heav'n each other give the greeting,
When these affections twain shall be commixt,
And in one love are fast and firmly fixt,
For then in loving God our selves may love,
Because that league God doubtlesse will approve,
And dwell in us where he delights to dwell,
Resembling him whose north no tongue can tell.
For Saints and Angels they undoubtedly
Do love themselves with ardent fervency.
Let us forbear to love (untill that time)
Our selves, or ought in us doth not incline
Our hearts, and make them hopefull of this love,
Which is eterniz'd in the Heav'ns above.
But now for that this love, wherewith we shall
Love God in Heav'n, is supernaturall,
Springs from the view, and lovely contemplation
Of his own face, beyond all admiration.
Love is not kindled else but by the sight,
Let's learn what sight this is brings this delight.
Our bodies eyes two wayes discern and see,
Or apprehending what the image be:
For so the bodies to our view exposed,
They are apparent, visibly disclosed.
Or by in letting to our nat'rall sight
The thing we see, which truely is the light,
So do we see the day, no otherwise,
Then that it daily enters in our eyes:
Now God that is the chief supremest light,
In's glory will shew souls that hee's most bright;
For in his Saints he keeps his habitation,
And's in them all in all without cessation.
But in this life we in his works behold
His wondrous workmanship so manifold,
In which he made an abselute impression,
As't were his vertues Picture, past expression.
Therefore as now we see the nat'rall light,
Then shall we see our God with such a sight.
But now we see it not but with these eyes,
The bodies windowes, and no otherwise.
For then the light of God through all our parts
We shall receive, which holifies our hearts,
Ev'n as a man were only eye throughout,
As he should see at once things round about.
This sight of God it will assuredly
Transform us, like himself, in puritie,
For as a mirrour by the Suns reflection,
Shines like the same in clearnesse sans defection:
For God receiveth none to contemplate
His face, save those are in Celestiall estate:
He doth transform them, that the semblant prove
Like to himself, irradiate in love.
As God himself is perfect love and charity,
It man behoves to imitate his paritie;
Upon this view and heavenly radiation,
Should be inflam'd with loves association,
And burn with heat of this hot spirit'all fire,
Whose ardency the Saints in light acquire.
A fire which to the Seraphims gives name,
So call'd because their ardour aye inflame:
The summe of all is their officious love,
Their fervent zeal their service to improve.
Here these degrees and steps of love must end,
For higher Heav'n-ward we cannot ascend:
Of Jacobs ladder this step is the last,
By which we mount where speechlesse joyes are plac't.

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