THE BREATHINGS OF THE Devout Soul.

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LONDON, Printed, 1648.

THE BREATHINGS OF THE Devout Soul.

I.

BLessed Lord God; thou callest me to obedience; and fain would I fol­low thee: but what good can this wretched heart of mine be capable of, except thou put it there? thou know'st I cannot so much as [Page 2] wish to think well without thee; I have strong powers to offend thee; my sins are my own; but whence should I have any inclination to good but from thee, who art only, and all good? Lord, work me to what thou requirest, and then require what thou wilt.

II.

Lord God, whither need I go to seek thee? Thou art so with me, as that I cannot move but in thee. I look up to heaven; there I know thy Majestie most manifests it self; but withall, I know that being here thou art never out of thy heaven, for it is thy presence onely that makes heaven: Oh give me to en­joy [Page 3] thee in this lowest region of thine heavenly habitation; and as in respect of my natu­rall being, I live and move in thee, so let me not live and move spiritually, but with thee, and to thee.

III.

Whither now, O whither do ye rove O my thoughts? Can ye hope to finde rest in any of these sublunary con­tentments, Alas? how can they yeeld any stay to you, that have no settlement in themselves? Is there not e­nough in the infinite good to take you up; but that ye will be wandring after earthly va­rities▪ Oh my Lord, how justly mightest thou cast me off with scorn, for casting any [Page 4] affective glances upon so base a rival? Truly Lord, I am ashamed of this my hatefull inconstancy; but it is thou only that must remedy it; O thou that art the father of mercies pity my wildnesse, and weak distractions: Take thou my heart to thee, it is thine own; keep it with thee, tye it close to thee by the cords of love, that it may not so much as cast down an eye upon this wretched and per­ishing world.

IIII.

Lord, I confesse to my shame, thou art a great loser by me; for, besides my not improving of thy favors, I have not kept even-reckon­ings with thee; I have not [Page 5] justly tallied up thy inesti­mable benefits: Thy very privative mercies are both without, and beyond my ac­count; for every evill that I am free from, is a new blessing from thee; That I am out of bondage, that I am out of pain and misery, that I am out of the dominion of sin; out of the tyranny of Satan, out of the agonies of an af­flicted soul; out of the tor­ments of hell: Lord, how unspeakeable mercies are these? Yet, when did I bless thee for any of them? Thy positive bounties I can feel, but with a benummed and imperfect sence. Lord, do thou enlarge, and intenerate my heart; make me truly sen­sible, as of my good received; [Page 6] so of my escaped evils; and take thou to thy self the glory of them both.

V.

Ah my Lord God, what heats and colds do I feel in my soul? Sometimes I finde my self so vigorous in grace, that no thought of doubt dare shew it self; and me thinks I durst challenge my hellish enemies; another while I feel my self so dejected and heart­lesse, as if I had no interest in the God of my salvation, nor never had received any cer­tain pledges of his favour: What shall I say to this va­rious disposition? Whether, Lord, is it my wretchednesse to suffer my self to be rob'd of thee, for the time, by temp­tation? [Page 7] or whether is this the course of thy proceedings in the dispensation of thy graces to the sons of men; that thou wilt have the breathings of thy Spirit, as where, so how, and when thou pleasest? Surely, O my God, if I did not know thee constant to thine everlasting mercies, I should be utterly dishearten­ed with these sad intervals; now, when my sense failes me, I make use of my faith; and am no lesse sure of thee, even when I feel thee not, then when I finde the clearest evidences of thy gracious pre­sence. Lord, shine upon me with the light of thy counte­nance (if it may be) alwaies; but, when ever that is clou­ded, strengthen thou my [Page 8] faith; so shall I be safe, even when I am comfortless.

VI.

O my God, I am justly ashamed to think what favors I have received from thee, and what poor returns I have made to thee: Truly Lord, I must needs say, thou hast thought nothing either in earth, or in heaven too good for me; and I, on the other side, have grudg'd thee that weak [...] and worthless obedi­ence which thou hast requi­red of me: Alas, what plea­sure could I have done to thee who art infinite, if I had sa­crificed my whole self to thee, as thou commandest? Thou art, and wilt be thy self, though the world were not; [Page 9] it is I, I only that could be a gainer by this happy match; which in my own wrong I have unthankfully neglected; I see it is not so much what we have, as how we imploy it: O thou, that hast been so bountiful, in heaping thy rich mercies upon me, vouchsafe to grant me yet one gift more; give me grace and power to improve all thy gifts to the glory of the giver; otherwise, it had been better for me to have been poor, then ingrate­ful.

VII.

Ah Lord, What strugling have I with my weak fears? how do I anticipate my evils by distrust? What shall I do when I am old? How [Page 10] shall I be able to indure pain? How shall I pass through the horrid gates of death? Oh my God, Where is my faith that I am thus surprized? Had I not thee to up-hold, and strengthen my soul, well might I tremble and sink un­der these cares; but now, that I have the assurance of so strong an helper, as com­mands all the powers of hea­ven, earth, and hell, what a shame is it for me to give so much way to my wretched infidelity, as to punish my self with the expectation of future evils? Oh for the victorie that overcomes the world, even our faith; Thou1 Joh. 5. 4. O God, art my refuge and Psal. 46. 1. 2. strength, a very present help in trouble; therefore will I not [Page 11] fear though the earth be remo­ved, and though the moun­tains be carried into the midst of the Sea.

VIII.

Lord, I made account my daies should have been but an inch; but thou hast▪ made them a span long; havingPsal. 39. 6. drawn out the length of a cra­zie life beyond the period of my hopes: It is for some­thing, sure, that thou hast thus long respited me from my grave, which look't for me many years ago: Here I am, O my God, attending thy good pleasure; Thou know'st best what thou hast to do with me; Dispose of me as thou wilt; Only make me faithfull in all thy servi­ces; [Page 12] resolute to trust my self with thee in all events; care­full to be approved of thee in all my waies; and crown my decayed age with such fruits as may be pleasing to thee, and available to the good of many; Lastly, let me live to thee, and die in thee.

IX.

How oft, Lord, have I wondred to see the strange carriage of thine administra­tion of these earthly affaires; and therein to see thy marvai­lous wisdome, power, good­ness, in fetching good out of evill! Alas, we wretched men are apt enough to fetch the worst of evils, out of the greatest good, turning the grace of thee our God into wan­tonnesse: Jude 4. [Page 13] but how have I seen thee, of liveless stones to raise up children to Abraham, of sinners to make Saints? out of a desperate confusion to fetch order; out of a bloudy war, an happy peace; out of resolutions of revenge, love; out of the rock, water; out of a persecuter, an Apostle? How can I be discouraged with unlikelihoods, when I see thee work by contraries? It is not for me, O my God, to examine or pre-judge thy counsailes; take what waies thou wilt, so thou bring me to thine own end; all paths shall be direct that shall leade me to blessedness.

X.

How many good purposes, [Page 14] O my God, have I taken up, & let fall to the ground again without effect? how teeming hath this barren womb of my heart been of false concepti­ons? but especially, when thy hand hath been smart and heavy upon me in mine af­fliction, how have I tasked my self with duties, and re­vived my firme resolutions of more strict obedience, which yet upon the continuance of my better condition, I have slackened? Lord, it is from thee that I purposed well; it is from my own sinfull weak­ness that I failed in my per­formances; If any good come me, the will and the deed mustProv. 16. 1. be both thine; The very pre­parations of the heart are from thee; and if I have devisedProv. 16. 9. [Page 15] my way, it must be thou that directest my steps: O God, do thou ripen and perfect all the good motions that thou puttest into my soul; and make my health but such as my sickness promised.

XI.

Every man, Lord, is un­willing that his name should dye; we are all naturally ambi­tious of being thought on when we are gone; those that have not living monuments to perpetuate them, affect to have dead; if Absolon have not a son, he will yet erect a pillar: yet when we have all done, time eates us out at theEccles 2. 16. last; There is no remembrance of the wise more then of the foole for ever; seeing that which now [Page 16] is, in the daies to come shall all be forgotten. O God, let it be my care and ambition, what ever become of my memory here below, that my name may be recorded in Heaven.

XII.

Thy wise providence, O God, hath so ordered it, that every mans minde seeks and findes contentment in some thing; otherwise it could not be (since we must meet with so frequent crosses in the world) but that mans life would be burdensome to him; one takes pleasure in his hauke or hound; another in his horses and furnitures; one in fair buildings; another in pleasant walks and beautiful gardens; one in travailing [Page 17] abroad; another in the en­joying of the profits and plea­sures of his home; one in the increase of his wealth; another in the titles of his honor; one in a comfortable wife, another in loving and dutiful children; but when all is done, if there be not som­what els to uphold the heart in the evil day, it must sink. O God, do thou possesse my soul of thee; let me place all my felicity in the fruition of thine infinite goodness; so I am sure the worst of the world hath not power to ren­der me other then happy.

XIII.

O Lord God, under how opposite aspects do I stand▪ from the world? how vari­ously [Page 18] am I construed by men? One pities my condition, ano­ther praises my patience; One favors mee out of the opinion of some good that he thinks he sees in mee; another dislikes me for some imagined evil: What are the eyes, or tongues of men to mee? Let me not know what they say, or think of me, and what am I the better or worse for them? they can have no influence upon me without my own apprehension: All is in what termes I stand with thee, my God; if thou be pleased to look upon me with the eye of thy tender mercy and com­passion, What care I to be unjustly brow-beaten of the world? If I may be blessed with thy favour, let me be [Page 19] made a gazing-stock to the world, to Angels, and to men.

XIV.

Speak Lord, for thy ser­vant heareth: What is it which thou wouldst have me do that I may finde rest to my soul? I am willing to exer­cise my self in all the acts of piety which thou requirest; I am ready to fast, to pray, to read▪ to hear, to meditate, to communicate, to give alms, to exhort, admonish, reprove, comfort where thou bid'st me; and if there be any other duty appertaining to devoti­on, or mercy, let me serve thee in it: But, alas, O my God, howsoever I know these works are in themselves well­pleasing [Page 20] unto thee, yet as they fall from my wretchedness, they are stained with so many imperfections, that I have more reason to crave pardon for them, then to put confi­dence in them; and if I could performe them never so ex­quisitely, yet one sin is more then enough to dash all my o­bedience. I see then, O Lord, I well see there is no act that I can be capable [...]o do unto thee, wherein I can finde any repose▪ it must be thine act to me, which only can effect it; It is thy gracious word, Come Matth. 11. 28. unto me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest; Lo this rest must be thy gift, not my earning; and what can be fi [...]er then gift? Thou givesh it then, but to [Page 21] those that come to thee; not to those that come not; To those that come to thee laden and labouring under the sense of their own wretchedness; not to the proud, and care­less; O Saviour, thy sinner is sufficiently laden with the burden of his iniquities; lade thou me yet more with true penitent sorrow for my sins; and inable me then to come unto thee by a lively faith; Take thou the praise of thine own work; Give me the grace to come; and give me rest in coming.

XV.

O blessed Saviour, What strange variety of conceits do I finde concerning thy thou­sand years raign? What [Page 22] riddles are in that prophesie; which no humane tongue can aread? where to fix the begin­ing of that marvailous millen­ary, and where the end; and what manner of raign it shall be, whether temporal, or spi­ritual; on earth, or in heaven; undergoes as many constru­ctions, as there are pens that have undertaken it; and yet (when all is done) I see thine Apostle speaks onely of the souls of thy martyrs, raigning so long with thee; not of thy raigning on earth so long with those Martyrs; How busie are the tongues of men, how are their brains taken up with the indeterminable constru­ction of this enigmaticall truth? when, in the mean time, the care of thy spirituall [Page 23] raign in their hearts, is neg­lected; O my Saviour, whiles others weary themselves with the disquisition of thy perso­nall raign here upon earth for a thousand years; let it be the whole bent and study of my soul, to make sure of my per­sonall raign with thee in hea­ven to all eternity.

XVI.

Blessed be thy name, O God, who hast made a good use even of hell it self; How many Atheous hearts have been convinced by the very operations of Devils? Those which would with the stupid Saducees, perswade themselves there are no spirits; yet when they have sensibly found the marvellous effects wrought [Page 24] even by the base instruments of Satan; they have been forced to confesse, Doubt­less there is a God that rules the world; for so great pow­ers of evill spirits must neces­sarily evince the greater pow­ers of good; It is of thy wise and holy dispensation that thy good Angels do not so fre­quently exhibite themselves, and give so visible demon­strations of their presence to thy Saints, as the evill Angels do to their Vassals, though they are ever as present, and more powerfull; What need they; when thou so mightily over-rulest those malignant spirits, that thou forcest from them thine own glory, and advantage to thy chosen? Lord, how much more shall [Page 25] all thy other creatures serve to thy praise, when thy very hellish enemies shall proclaim thy justice, goodness, omni­potence.

XVII.

Speculation, O Lord, is not more easie then practice is difficult; how many have we known, who, as it was said of the Philosophers of old, know how to speak well, but live ill; How many have written books of Chymistry, and given very confident di­rections for the finding out of that precious stone of the Phi­losophers, but how many have indeed made gold? Practice is that which thou, O God, chiefly requirest and respectest; who hast said, [Page 26] If ye know these things, blessed are ye if you do them; Knowledg puffeth up, but love edifieth: O1 Cor. 8. 1. Lord do thou enlighten mine eyes with the knowledg of thy will; but above all, do thou rectifie my affections, guide my feet into the wayes Psal. 119. 112. of thy commandements; ap­ply my heart to fulfill thy sta­tutes alway; and Prosper Psal 90. 17. thou the work of my hands upon me, O prosper thou my handi­work.

XVIII.

How oft have I wondred, O Lord, at the boldness of those men, who knowing they must shortly die, yet dare do those things which will draw upon them eternity of torments? What shall I [Page 27] say, but, The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God; Sure­ly, men love themselves well enough; and would be loth to do that, which would pro­cure them an inevitable mise­ry and pain; Did they there­fore believe there were ano­ther world, and that they must be called to a strict rec­koning for all their actions, and be doomed to an everlast­ing death for their wicked deeds, they durst not, they could not do those acts which should make them eternally miserable: Let me say to the most desperate ruffian; there is poyson in this cup, drink this draught and thou diest; he would have the wit to keep his lips close, and cast the potion to the ground; [Page 28] were it not for their infideli­ty, so would men do to the most plausible (but deadly) offers of sin. O Lord, since I know thy righteous judg­ments; teach me to tremble at them; restrain thou my feet from every evill way; and teach me so to walk, as one that looks every hour to ap­pear before thy just, and dreadfull Tribunal.

XIX

The longer I live, O my God, the more do I wonder at all the works of thine hands: I see such admirable artifice in the very least and most despicable of all thy creatures, as doth every day more and more astonish my observation: I need not look [Page 29] so far as Heaven for matter of marvaile (though therein thou art infinitely glorious) whiles I have but a spider in my window, or a bee in my garden, or a worm under my feet: every one of these over­comes me with a just amaze­ment; yet can I see no more then their very out-sides; their inward form which gives them their being, and operations, I cannot pierce in­to; the less I can know, O Lord, the more let me won­der; and the less I can satis­fie my self with marvailing at thy works, the more let me adore the majesty and omni­potence of thee that wrough­test them.

XX.

Alas, my Lord God, what poor, weak, imperfit services are those (even at the best) that I can present thee withal! How leane, lame, and ble­mished sacrifices do I bring to thine altar! I know thou art worthy of more then my soul is capable to perform; and fain would I tender thee the best of thine own: but, what I would that I do not; yea,Rom. 7. 15. cannot do: Surely, had I not to do with an infinite mer­cy, I might justly look to be punished for my very obedi­ence: But now Lord my im­potence redounds to the praise of thy goodness; for were I more answerable to thy justice the glory of thy mercy would [Page 31] be so much less eminent in my remission, & acceptance; Here I am before thee, to await thy good pleasure; thou knowest whether it be better to give me more ability, or to accept of that poor ability thou hast gi­ven me; but since, when thou hast given me most▪ I shall still, and ever stand in need of thy forgiveness; Let my hum­ble suit be to thee alwaies▪ ra­ther for pardon of my defects, then for a supply of thy graces.

XXI.

O my God; how do I see many profane and careless souls spend their time in jolli­ty and pleasure▪ The harp and Jsa. 5. 12. the Viol, the Tabret and the pipe, and wine are in their feasts; Whiles I that desire to [Page 32] walk close with thee, in all conscionable obedience, droop and languish under a dull heaviness, and heartless dejection: I am sure I have a thousand times more cause of joy and cheerfulness, then the merriest of all those wilde and joviall spirits; they have a world to play withall, but I have a God to rejoyce in; their sports are triviall and momenta [...]ie; my joy is se­rious, and everlasting: One▪ dram of my mirth is worth a pound of theirs▪ But, I con­fesse, O Lord, how much I am wanting to my self in not stirring up this holy fire of spirituall joy; but suffering it to lie raked up under the dead ashes of a sad neglect: O thou, who art the God of [Page 33] hope, quicken this heavenly affection in my soul; and fill Rom. 15. 13. me with all joy and peace in be­lieving; make my heart so much more light then the worldlings, by how much my estate is happier.

XXII.

What shall I do Lord? I strive and tug (what I may) with my naturall corruptions,Ephes. 6. 12. and with the spirituall wick­ednesses in high places which set upon my soul; but some­times I am foyled, and go halting out of the field; it is thy mercy that I live, being so fiercely assaulted by those principalities, and powers; it were more then wonder if I should escape such hands without a wound: Even that [Page 34] holy servant of thine who strove with thine Angel for a blessing, went limping away, though he prevailed; what mervail is it that so weak a wretch as I, striving with ma­ny evill Angels for the avoi­dance of a curse, come off with a maime, or a scar? But blessed be thy name, the wounds that I receive are not mortall; and when I fall, it is but to my knees▪ whence I rise with new courage and hopes of victory; Thou who art the God of all power, and keepest the keys of hell and death, hast said, Resist the De­vill, and he will flee from you; Lord, I do and will by thy merciful ayd still and ever re­sist; make thou my faith as stedfast, as my will is reso­lute; [Page 35] Oh still teach thou my Psal. 144▪ 1. hands to war, and my fingers to fight; arme thou my soul with strength, and at last according to thy gracious promise, crown it with victory.

XXIII.

Oh Lord God; how am­bitious, how covetous of knowledg is this soul of mine? as the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the eare filled Eccles. 1. 8. with hearing; no more is the mind of man with understan­ding; yea, so insatiable is my heart, that the more I know, the more I desire to know; and the less I think I know: Under heaven there can be no bounds set to this intellectuall appetite: O do thou stop the mouth of my soul with thy [Page 36] self, who are infinite; Whom P [...]. 73. 25. have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee: Alas, Lord, if I could know all creatures, with all their forms, qualities, workings; if I could know as much as inno­cent Adam, or wise Solomon; Yea more, if I could know all that is done in earth or hea­ven, what were my soul the better, if it have not attained the knowledg of thee: Since, as the Preacher hath most wisely observed, In much Eccles. 1. 18. wisdome is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledg, in­creaseth sorrow; Oh then, set off my heart from affecting that knowledg whose end is sorrow; and fix it upon that knowledg, which brings e­verlasting [Page 37] life: And this is Joh. 17. 3. life eternal, to know thee the only true God; and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.

XXIV.

O my God, what mise­rable uncertainties there are in these worldly hopes! But yesterday I made account of an eminent advantage of my estate, which now ends in a deep loss. How did we late­ly feed our selves with the hope of a firme and during peace, which now shuts up in too much bloud? How confidently did I relie upon the promised favour of some great friends, which now leave me in the suds, as the scom of (a mis-called) for­tune? In how slippery places, [Page 38] O Lord, do our feet stand? If that may be said to stand which is ever sliding, never fixed; And not more [...]ippe­ry, then brittle; so as there is not more danger of falling, then of sinking: With thee, O God, with thee only, is a constant immutability of hap­piness; There let me seek it, there let me finde it; and o­ver-looking all the fickle ob­jects of this vain world, let my soul pitch it self up­on that blessed immortality which ere long it hopes to en­joy with thee.

XXV.

Lord God, What a weari­some circle do I walk in here below; I sleep, and dress, and work, and eat, and work a­gain, [Page 39] and eat again, and un­dress, and sleep again; and thus wearing out my time find▪ a satiety in all these, troublesome; Lord, when shall I come to that state, wherein I shall do nothing but injoy thee; do nothing but praise thee; and in that one work shall finde such infinite contentment, that my glorifi­ed soul cannot wish to do any other? and shall therein alone bestow a blessed eternity?

XXVI.

O God, how troublesome and painful do I find this Sun of thine, whose scorching beams beat upon my head? and yet, this excellent crea­ture of thine is that, to which, under thee, we are beholden [Page 40] for our very life; and it is thy great blessing to the earth, that it may enjoy these strong and forceable rayes from it; Oh, Who shall be able to en­dure the burning flames of thy wrath, which thou in­tendest for the punishment, and everlasting torment of thine enemies? And if men shall blaspheme the name of thee the God of heaven, forRev. 16. 9. the great heat of that benefi­ciall creature, what shall we think they will do for that fire which shall be consu­ming them to all eternity? Lord keep my soul from those flames, which shall be ever burning, and never, ei­ther quenched, or abated.

XXVII

Which way, O Lord, which way can I look, and not see some sad examples of misery: One wants his limbs with Mephibosheth, ano­ther his sight with Bartimeus, a third with Lazarus wants bread, and a whole skin; One is pained in his body, another plundred of his estate, a third troubled in minde; one is pined in prison, another tor­tured on the rack, a third lan­guisheth under the loss of a deare son, or wife or hus­band; Who am I Lord, that, for the present, I enjoy an im­munity from all these sor­rows? I am sure none grones under them that hath deser­ved them more: It is thy [Page 42] mercy, thy meer mercy, O my good God, that any of these calamities have faln beside me; Oh make me truly thankful for thine infi­nite goodness; and yet onely so sensible of thy gracious in­dulgence this way; as that when any of these evils shall seize upon mee, I may be no more dejected in the sense of them, then I am now over­joyed with the favor of their forbearance.

XXVIII.

O blessed God, what va­riety of gifts hast thou scatte­red amongst the sons of men? To one thou hast given vi­gor of body, to another agi­lity, beauty to a third; to one depth of judgment, to ano­ther [Page 43] quickness of apprehen­sion; to one readiness and ra­rity of invention; to another tenacity of memorie; to one the knowledg of liberal arts, to another the exquisiteness of manuary skill; to one worldly wealth, to another honour; to one a wise heart, to another an eloquent tongue; to one more then enough, to another content­ment with a little; to one valour, to another sagacity: These favors, O Lord▪ thou hast promiscuously dispersed amongst both thy friends, and enemies: but oh, how transcendent are those spiritu­al mercies which thou hast reserved for thine own; the graces of heavenly wisdome, lively faith, fervent charity, [Page 44] firme hope, joy in the holy Ghost and all the rest of that divine beauye. For any com­petency of the least of thy common blessings I desire to be thankful to thy bounty; (for which of them, O God, can I either merit or requite?) but oh for a soul truly and eagarly ambitious of those thy best mercies; Oh let me ever long for them, and ever be insatiable of them; Oh do thou fill my heart with the desire of them, and let that desire never finde it self fil­led.

XXIX.

How comfortable a style is that, O God, which thine Apostle gives to thine Heaven, whiles he cals it the inheritance [Page 45] of the Saints in light? None can come there but Saints; the [...]oomes of this lower wo [...]d are taken up, common­ly, with wicked men, with beasts, with Devils; but into that heavenly Jerusalem no unholy thing can enter; Nei­ther can any Saint be exclu­ded thence; each of them have not only a share, but an entire right to thy glory: And how many just titles are there, O Saviour, to that re­gion of blessedness; It▪ is thy Fathers gift, it is thy pur­chase, it is thy Saints inheri­tance; theirs only in thy right; by thy gracious adoption they are sons, and as sons,Rom. 8. 17. heires: co-heirs with thee of that blessed Patrimony; so feoffed upon them, so posses­sed [Page 46] of them, that they can never be disseized: And▪ Lord, how glorious an inhe­ritance it is! An inherit [...]nce in light: In light incompre­hensible, in light inaccessible: Lo, the most spirituall of all thy visible creatures is light; and yet this light is but the effect, and emanation of one of thy creatures▪ the Sun; and serves only for the illumi­nation of this visible world; but that supernal light is from the Al-glorious beams of thy Divine Majesty, diffusing themselves to those blessed spirits, both Angels, and Souls of thy Saints, who live in the joyful fruition of thee, to all eternity: Alas, Lord, we do here dwell in darkness, and under an uncomfortable [Page 47] opacity, whiles thy face is clouded from us with mani­fold temptations there above, with thee, is pure light, a con­stant noon-tide of glory; I am here under a miserable and obscure wardship; Oh teach me to despise the best of earth; and ravish my soul with a longing desire of being possessed of that blessed inhe­ritance of the Saints in light.

XXX.

What outward blessing can be sweeter then civill peace? What judgment more heavy then that of the sword? Yet, O Saviour, there is a peace which thou disclaimest; and there is a sword which thou challengest to bring▪ Peace with our corruptions is warr [Page 46] [...] [Page 47] [...] [Page 48] against thee; and that war in our bosomes, wherein the spirit fighteth agains [...] the flesh, is peace with thee O let thy good Spirit raise and foment this holy and intestine war more and more within me. And as for my outward spirituall enemies; how can there be a victory without war; and how can I hope for a crown without victory? O do thou ever gird me with strength to the battle; inable thou me to resist unto bloud; make me faithfull to the death, that thou maist give me the crown of life.

XXXI.

O Lord God; how sub­ject is this wretched heart of mine to repining, and discon­tentment? [Page 49] If it may not have what it would, how ready it is (like a froward child) to throw away what it hath. I know and feel this to be out of that naturall pride which is so deep rooted in me; for could I be sensible enough of my own unworthinesse, I should think every thing too good, every thing too much for me: my very being, O Lord, is more then I am ever able to answer thee; and how could I deserve it when I was not? but that I have any helps of my wel-beeing here; or hopes and means of my being glorious hereafter, how far is it beyond the reach of my soul? Lord, let me finde my own nothingness; so shall I be thankfull for a little, [Page 50] and, in my very want, blesse thee.

XXXII.

Where art thou, O my God? whither hast thou withdrawn thy self? it is not long, since I found thy com­fortable presence with my soul; now I misse thee, and mourn and languish for thee: Nay, rather, where art thou O my soul? my God is where he was; neither can be any other then himself; the change is in thee, whose inconstant disposition varies continually, and cannot finde it self fixed upon so blessed an object. It will never be bet­ter with me, O my God, un­til it shall please thee to sta­blish my heart with thy free Ps. 51. 12. [Page 51] Spirit; and to keep it close to thee, that it may not be carried away with vain distractions, with sinful temptations: Lord my God, as thou art alwaies present with me, and canst no more be absent, then not be thy self; so let me be alwaies with thee, in an hum­ble, and faithful acknowledg­ment of thy presence; as I can never be out of thine all­seeing eye; so let mine eyes be ever bent upon thee who art invisible; Thou that hast given me eyes, improve them to thy glorie and my happi­ness.

XXXIII.

My bosome, O Lord, is a Rebeccaes▪ womb, there are twins striving within it; a [Page 52] Jacob and Esau, the old man and the new: whiles I was in the barren state of my [...]nre­generation all was quiet with­in me; now this strife is both troublesome, and paine­ful; so as nature is ready to say, If it be so, why am I thus? Gen. 25. 22. But withal, O my God, I bless thee for this happy un­quietness; for I know there is just cause of comfort in these inward struglings; my soul is now not unfruitful, and is conceived with an holy feed which wrestles with my natural corruptions; and if my Esau have got the start in the priority of time; yet my Jacob shall follow him hard at the heele, and happily sup­plant him▪ And though I must nourish them both, as [Page 53] mine, yet I can, through thy grace, imitate thy choice; and say with thee, Jacob have I lo­ved, and Esau have I hated; Blessed God, make thou that word of thine good in me, That the elder shall serve the younger.

XXXIV.

Alas, my Lord God, how small matters trouble me? every petty occurrence is rea­dy to rob me of my peace; so as, me thinks, I am like some little cock-boat in a rough Sea, which every bil­low topples up and down, and threats to sink: I can chide this weak pusillanimity in my self; but it is thou that must redress it: Lord, work my heart to so firme a setled­ness [Page 54] upon thee, that it may never be shaken; no not with the violent gust [...] of temptation; much lesse with the easie gales of secular mis­accidents: Even when I am hardest pressed, in the mul­titude of the sorrows of my heart, let thy comforts re­fresh my soul; but for these sleight crosses, oh teach me to despise them, as not worthy of my notice, much less of my vexation: Let my heart be taken up with thee, and then, what care I whether the world smile or frown.

XXXV.

What a comfort it is, O▪ Saviour, that thou art the first fruits of them that sleep: Those that die in thee, do but sleep: [Page 55] Thou saidst so, once, of thy Lazarus; and maist say so of him again; he doth but sleep still▪ His first sleep was but short, this latter, though long­er, is no less true; out of which he shall no less surely awake at thy second call, then he did before at thy first; His first sleep and waking was sin­gular, this latter is the same with ours; we all lie down in our bed of earth, as sure to wake, as ever we can be to shut our eyes; In, and from thee, O blessed Saviour, is this our assurance; who art the first fruits of them that sleep: The first handfull of the first fruits was not pre­sented for it self, but for the whole field, wherein it grew▪ The vertue of that oblation [Page 56] extended it self to the whole crop: Neither didst thou, O blessed Jesu, rise again for thy self only, but the power and vertue of thy resurrection reaches to all thine; so thy1 Cor. 15. 23. chosen Vessel tels as: Christ the first fruits, afterwards they that are Christs at his coming▪ So as, though the resurrection Act. [...]4. 15. be of all the dead, both just and unjust; yet to rise by the pow­er of thy resurrection, is so proper to thine own, as that thou, O Saviour, hast styledLuk. 14. 14. it the resurrection of the just; whiles the rest shall be drag'd out of their graves by the power of thy God-head to their dreadful judgment: Al­ready therefore, O Jesu, are we risen in thee: and as sure shall rise in our own persons; [Page 57] The Loco-motive faculty is in the head; Thou who art our head art risen, we who are thy members must, and shall follow: Say then, O my dying body, say boldly unto Death, Rejoyce not over Micah 7. 8. me, O mine enemy, for though I fall, yet I shall rise again: Yea, Lord, the vertue of thy first fruits diffuseth it self, not to our rising only, but to a bles­sed immortality of these bodies of ours: for, as thou didst rise immortall and glorious, so shall we by, and with thee; Who shalt Phil. 3. 21. change these vile bodies, and make them like to thy glorious body. The same power that could shake off death, can put on glory and Majesty: Lay thee down therefore, O my [Page 58] body, quietly and cheerfully; and look to rise in another hue; Thou art sown in cor­ruption, 1 Cor. 15. 42, 43. thou shalt be raised in incorruption; thou art sown in dishonour, thou shalt be rai­sed in glory; thou art sown in weaknesse, but shalt be raised in power.

XXXVI.

In this life, in this death of the body; O Lord, I see there are no degrees, though differences of time; The man that dyed yesterday is as truly dead, as Abel the first man that dyed in the world▪ and Methuselah that lived nine hundred sixty nine years, did not more truly live, then the childe that did but salute, and leave the world; but in the [Page 59] life to come, and the second death, here are degrees; de­grees of blessedness to the glorified, degrees of torments to the damned; the least whereof is unspeakable, un­conceivable: Oh thou that art the Lord of life and death, keep my soul from those steps that go down to the cham­bers of death; and once set it (for higher I dare not sue to go) but over the threshold of glory and blessedness.

XXXVII.

O Lord my God, I am as very a Pilgrime as ever walk­ed upon thy earth; Why should I look to be in any better condition then my neighbours, then my fore­fathers? Even the best of [Page 60] them, that were most fixed upon their inheritance, were no other then strangers at home: It was not in the pow­er of the world to naturalize them, much less to make them enroll themselves free-Denizons here below; they knew their country, which they sought, was above; soHeb. 11. 13, 14, 15. infinitely rich, and pleasant, that these earthly regions which they must pass tho­rough, are, in comparison, worthy of nothing but con­tempt.

My condition is no other then theirs; I wander here in a strange country; What wonder is it, if I meet with forrainers fare, hard usage, and neglect? Why do I in­termeddle with the affaires of [Page 61] a nation that is not mine? Why do I clog my self in my way with the base and heavy lumber of the world? Why are not my affections home­ward? Why do I not long to see and enjoy my fathers house? O my God, thou that hast put me into the state of a Pilgrim, give me a Pil­grims heart; set me off from this wretched world wherein I am; let me hate to think of dwelling here; Let it be my only care how to pass through this miserable wilderness to the promised land of a blessed eternitie.

XXXVIII.

One Talent at the least, O Lord, hast thou put into my hand; and that sum is great [Page 62] to him that is not worth a dram; but, alas, what have I done with it? I confess I have not hid it in a napkin; but have been laying it out to some poor advantage; yet surely the gain is so unanswer­able, that I am afraid of an Audit▪ I see none of the ap­proved servants in the Gospel brought in an increase of less value then the receit; I fearLuk. 19. 16. 17, 18, 19. I shall come short of the sum. O thou, who justly holdest thy self wronged with the style of an austere master, vouchsafe to accept of my so mean improvement; and thou, who valuedst the poor widows mites above the rich gifts cast into thy Treasurie, be pleased to allow of those few pounds that my weak in­devors [Page 63] could raise from thy stock and mercifully reward thy servant, not according to his success, but according to his true intentions of glorify­ing thee.

XXXIX.

What a word is this which I hear from thee, O Saviour; Behold I stand at the doore and knock! Thou which art the Lord of life, God blessed for ever, to stand and knock at the door of a sinful heart! Oh what a praise is this of thy mercy and long suffering? What a shame to our dull neglect and graceless ingrati­tude?Ps. 40. 1. For a David to say I waited patiently upon the Lord; Truly my soul waiteth upon Ps. 62. 1. God; it is but meet and come­ly; [Page 64] for it is no other then the duty of the greatest Mo­narchs on earth, yea, of the highest Angels in Heaven to attend their Maker; but for thee the great God of Heaven to wait at the door of us sin­ful dust and ashes, what a condescension is this, what a longanimity? It were our happiness, O Lord, if upon our greatest suit and importu­nity we might have the favor to entertain thee into our hearts; but that thou shouldst importune us to admit thee, and shouldst wait at the posts of our doors, till thine head Cant. 5. 2. be filled with dew, and thy locks with the drops of the night, it is such a mercy, as there is not room enough in our souls to wonder at. In the mean [Page 65] time what shall I say to our wretched unthankfulnes; and impious negligence? Thou hast graciously invited us to thee, and hast said; knock and it shall be opened; and yet thou continuest knocking at our doors, and we open not; willingly delaying to let in our happiness; we know how easie it were for thee to break open the brasen doors of our brests, and to come in; but the Kingdome of Heaven suffers not violence from thee, though it should suffer it from us; Thou wilt do all thy works in a sweet and gra­cious way; as one who will not force, but win love; Lord, I cannot open unless thou that knock'st for en­trance, wilt be pleased to in­able [Page 66] me with strength to turn the key, and to unbolt▪ this unweldy bar of my soul. O do thou make way for thy self by the strong motions of thy blessed Spirit, into the in-most rooms of my heart; and do thou powerfully in­cline me to mine own happi­ness: els, thou shalt be ever excluded, and I shall be ever miserable.

XLI.

In what pangs couldst thou be, O Asaph, that so woful a word should fall from thee, Hath God forgotten to be graci­ous? P [...]. 77▪ 9. Surely, the temptation went so high, that the next step had been blasphemie; Had not that good God, whom thy bold weakness [Page 67] questions for forgetfulness, in great mercy remembred thee and brought thee spee­dily to remember thy self and him, that which thou con­fessest to have been infirmity, had proved a sinful despair: I dare say for thee, that word washed thy cheeks with many a tear, and was worthy of more; For, O God, What can be so dear to thee as the glory of thy mercy? There is none of thy blessed attributes which thou desirest to set forth so much unto the sons of men, and so much abhor­rest to be disparaged by our detraction, as thy mercy: Thou canst, O Lord, forget thy displeasure against thy people; thou canst forget our iniquities, and cast our sins [Page 68] out of thy remembrance; butMicha. 7. 18, 19. thou canst no more forget to be gracious, then thou [...]anst cease to be thy self; O my God, I sin against thy justice hourly, and thy mercy inter­poses for my remission; but oh keep me from sinning a­gainst thy mercy; What plea can I hope for, when I have made my Advocate mine e­nemy?

XLI.

How happy, O Lord, is the man that hath thee for his God? He can want nothing that is good; he can be hurt by nothing that is evill; his sins are pardoned, his good indeavors are accepted; his crosses are sanctified; his prayers are heard; all that he [Page 69] hath are blessings, all that he suffers are advantages; his life is holy, his death com­fortable, his estate after death glorious; Oh that I could feel thee to be my God; that I could enjoy an heavenly communion with thee▪ In vain should earth or hell labour to make me other then blessed.

XLII.

How just a motion is this of thine, O thou sweet, singer of Israel; O love the Lord, all Psal. 31. 23. ye his Saints; Surely they can be no Saints that love not such a Lord; Had he never been good to them, yet that infinite goodness which is in himself, would have com­manded love from Saints: [Page 70] Yet, how could they have been Saints, if he had wholly kept his goodness to himself? In that then he hath made them Saints, he hath com­municated his goodness to them, and challengeth all love from them; and being made such, how infinitely hath he obliged them with all kinds of mercies? How can ye choose O ye Saints but love the Lord? What have ye, what are ye, what can ye be, but from his meer boun­ty? They are sleight favours that he hath done you for the world; in these his very ene­mies share with you; How transcendent are his spirituall obligations! Hath he not given you his Angels for your attendants; himself for [Page 71] your Protector; his Son out of his bosome for your Re­deemer; his Spirit for your Comforter; his heaven for your inheritance? If gifts can attract love; O my God, Who can have any interest in my heart but thy blessed self, that hast been so infinitely munificent to my soul? Take it to thee, thou that hast made and bought it; enamour it thoroughly of thy goodness; make me sick of love; yea let me die for love of thee, who hast loved me unto death that I may fully enjoy the perfecti­on of thy love, in the height of thy glory.

XLIII.

Lord, how have I seen men miscarried into those sins, the [Page 72] premonition whereof they would have thought incredi­ble, and their yeildance there­to, impossible? How many Hazaels hath our very age yeilded, that if a Prophet should have fore-told their acts, would have said, Is thy servant a dog that he should do 2 Kings. 8. 13. these great things? Oh my God, why do not I suspect my self? What hold have I of my self more then these o­ther miserable examples of humane frailtie?

Lord God, if thou take off thy hand from me, what wickedness shall escape me? I know I cannot want a temp­ter; and that tempter cannot want either power, or malice, or skill, or vigilance or baits, or opportunities; and for my [Page 73] self, I find too well, that of my self I have no strength to resist any of his temptations: O for thy mercies sake, up­hold thou me with thy migh­ty hand; stand close to me in all assaults; shew thy self strong in my weakness: Keep Psal. 19. 13. back thy servant from presump­tuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me; then (onely) shall I be upright, and shall be in­nocent from the great transgres­sion.

XLIV.

It is thy title, O Lord, and only thine, that thou givest songs in the night: The nightJob 35. 10. is a sad and dolorous season; asEccles. 11. 7. the light contrarily is the image of cheerfulness; like as it is in bodily pains and aches, [Page 74] that they are still worst to­wards night; so it is in the cares and griefs of mind; then they assault us most when they are helpt on by the ad­vantage of an uncomfortable darkness: Many men can give themselves songs in the day of their prosperity; who can but howl in the night of their affliction; but for a Paul andAct. 16. 25. Silas to sing in their prison at mid-night; for an Asaph to call to remembrance his song in Ps. 77. 6. the night, this comes onely from that Spirit of thine, whose peculiar style is the Comforter: And surely, as mu­sick sounds best in the night, so those heavenly notes of praise which we sing to thee our God in the gloomy darkness of our adversity, cannot but [Page 75] be most pleasing in thine ears: Thine Apostle bids us (which is our ordinary wont) when we are merry to sing, when af­flicted, to pray; but if when we are afflicted we can sing, (as also when we are merriest we can pray) that ditty must needs be so much more ac­ceptable to thee, as it is a more powerful effect of the joy of thy Holy Ghost; O my God, I am conscious of my own infirmity; I know I am natu­rally subject to a dull and hea­vy▪ dumpishness, under what­soever affliction; Thou that art the God of all comfort, re­medy this heartless dispositi­on in me; pull this lead out of my bosome; make me not pa­tient only, but cheerful under my trials, fill thou my heart [Page 76] with joy, and my mouth with songs in the night of my tri­bulation.

XLV.

It is a true word, O Lord, that thy Seer said of thee long ago; The Lord seeth not as man 1 Sam. 16. 7. seeth: Man sees the face, thou seest the heart; man sees things as they seem, thou seest them as they are; many things are hid from the eyes of men, all things lie open and displaid before thee. What a madness then were it in me to come disguised into thy presence▪ & to seek to hide my counsels from thine al-seeing eyes? I must be content, Lord, to be deluded here by fair appea­rances; for I may not offer to look into the bosoms of men, [Page 77] which thou hast reserved for thy self; it is only the out-side that I can judg by; Yea, O God, if I shall cast my eyes in­ward, and look into my own brest, even there I find my self baffled at home; The heart of man is deceitful above all things; who can know it? None but those piercing eyes of thine can discover all the windings and turnings of that intricate piece. What would it avail me, O Lord, to mock the eyes of all the world with asemblance of holiness, whilst thou shouldst see me false and filthy? Should I be censured by a world of men, when I am secretly allowed by thee, I could contemn it, yea glory in their unjust reproach; But if thine eye shall note me guil­ty, [Page 78] to what purpose is all the applause of men? O thou that art the God of truth; do thou open, and dissect this close heart of mine; search every fibre that is in, or about it; and if thou findest any ill blood there, let it out; and if thou findest any hollowness, fill it up; and so work upon it, that it may be approved of thee that madest it; as for men, it shall be alike to me whether they spend their breath or save it▪

XLVI.

Lord God, What a world of treasure hast thou hid in the bowels of the earth, which no eye of man ever did, or shall, or can see? What good­ly plants hast thou brought [Page 79] forth of the earth, in wilde, unknown regions, which no man ever beheld? What great wits hast thou shut up in a willing obscurity, which the world never takes notice of? In all which thou shewest, that it is not only the use and benefit of man which thou re­gardest in the great variety of thy creation, and acts of ad­ministration of the world, but thine own glory, and the ful­filling of thine own good pleasure; and if onely the An­gels of heaven be witnesses of thy great works, thou canst not want a due celebration of thy praise; It is just with thee, O God, that thou shouldst regard only thy bles­sed self, in all that thou doest, or hast done; for all is thine, [Page 80] and thou art all: Oh that I could sincerely make thee the perfect scope of all my thoughts, of all my actions; that so we may both meet in one and the same happy end, thy glory in my eternall bles­sedness.

XLVII.

Indeed, Lord, as thou saist, the night commeth when no man can work; What can we do, when the light is shut in, but shut our eyes, and sleep? When our senses are tyed up, and our limbs laid to rest, what can we do, but yeeld our selves to a necessary repose? O my God, I perceive my night hastening on apace, my Sun draws low, the shadows lengthen, vapours rise, and [Page 81] the air begins to darken; Let me bestir my self for the time; let me lose none of my few hours▪ Let me work hard a while; because I shall soon rest everlastingly.

XLVIII.

Thou seest, Lord, how apt I am to contemn this body of mine; Surely when I look back upon the stuffe whereof it is made, no better then that I tread upon; and see the loathsomness of all kinds that comes from it; and feel the pain that it oft times puts me to, and consider whither it is going, and how noisome it is above all other creatures upon the dissoluti­on; I have much adoe to hold good terms with so [Page 82] unequal a partner; But on the other side; when I look up to thy hand, and [...]e how fearfully and wonderfully thou hast made it▪ what infi­nite cost thou hast bestowed upon it, in that thou hast not thought thine own blood too dear to redeeme it▪ that thou hast so far honour'd it, as to make it the Temple of thy holy Ghost; and to admit it into a blessed communion with thy self; and hast de­creed to do so great things for it hereafter; even to cloath it with immortality, and to make it like unto thy glorious body; I can bless thee for so happy a mate; and with pati­ence digest all these necessary infirmities; and now I look upon this flesh, not as it is, [Page 83] withered and wrinkled; but as it will be, shining and glo­rified. O Lord, how vile so ever this clay is in it self; yet make mee in thine interest and my hopes so enamoured of it, as if I did already finde it made celestial. Oh that my faith could prevent my change, and anticipate my ensuing glory.

XLIX.

Lord, what a dreadful fa­vor was that which thou shewedst to thy Prophet Elijah, to send a fiery chariot for him, to conveigh him up to Heaven! I should have thought that the sight of so terrible a carriage should have fetcht away his soul before­hand, and have left the body [Page 84] groveling on the earth: But that good Spirit of thine, which had fore-signified that fiery rapture, had doubtless fore-armed thy servant with an answerable resolution to expect, and undergoe it: Ei­ther he knew that chariot, how ever fearful in the appea­rance, was onely glorious, and not penal; Or els he cheerfully resolved that such a momentany pain in the change would be followed with an eternity of happiness: O God, we are not worthy to know whereto thou hast reserved us: Perhaps thou hast appointed us to be in the number of those, whom thou shalt finde alive at thy second coming; and then the case will be ours; we shall pass [Page 85] through fire to our immorta­lity: or, if thou hast ordained us to a speedier dispatch, per­haps thou hast decreed that our way to thee shall be through a fiery triall. O God, what ever course thou in thine holy wisdom hast determined for the fetching up my soul from this vale of misery, and tears, prepare me thoroughly for it; and do thou work my heart to so lively a faith in thee, that all the terrours of my death may be swallowed up in an assured expectation of my speedy glory: and that my last groans shall be imme­diately seconded with eternall Allelujahs, in the glorious Chore of thy Saints and Angels in Heaven. Amen.

Amen.

FINIS.

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