SOLITUDE IMPROVED BY DIVINE MEDITATION; OR, A Treatise proving the Duty, and demonstra­ting the Necessity, Excellency, Usefulness, Natures, Kinds, and Requisites of Divine Meditation.

First intended for a Person of Honour, and now published for general Use.

By Nathanael Ranew, sometime Minister of Felsted in Essex.

LONDON, Printed by J. M. for Nathanael Ranew and Jonathan Robinson, at the Kings-Arms in S. Pauls Church-yard. MDCLXX.

To the Christian Reader.

PƲrposing some Improvement of Soli­tude in the late mournful year, when death was so largely commissioned to de­stroy by that dreadful Pestilence, I made choice of this excellent Subject of Divine Medita­tion.

The best way of thinking and mind-employ­ing, is this Meditation.

The right Art and Skill of it, is a rare at­tainment.

The due Practice of it, is a most noble self-entertainment.

A pious Heart hath three happy ways of self-entertainment in solitary; three rare ways of being least alone, when most alone.

The first way of self-entertainment, is the Ordinance of reading and searching the Holy Scriptures, the pure, perfect, and infallible Word and Will of Christ concerning us. There Christ hath prepared his rich feast of fat things full of marrow, and his Royal Banquet of heavenly Truths. There he sets forth the great varieties of sure Directions, precious Promises, high Examples, rare Experiences, [Page]and the help of all his holy Ordinances to feed and satiate the hungry and thirsty spirit.

The second way of self-entertainment, is Divine Meditation, by either pondering of spiritual things, for improving knowledge, and exciting practice; or by a weighing all other things whatever, for reducing them to a spiritual end and use.

The third way of self-entertainment, is pri­vate Praying, such as is both bottom'd and bounded by Christs will in his Word; such as is both prepared and assisted, made wise and warm by serious Meditation.

Meditation stands between the two Ordi­nances of Reading and Praying, as the grand Improver of the former, and the high Quick­ner of the latter, to furnish the mind with choice materials for prayer, and to fill the heart with holy fervency in it.

The Naturalists observe, that to uphold and accommodate bodily life, there are divers sorts of faculties communicated, and these among the rest.

  • 1. An attractive faculty to assume and draw in the food.
  • 2. A retentive faculty to keep it, being ta­ken in.
  • 3. An assimilating faculty to concoct the nourishment.
  • 4. An augmenting faculty for drawing to persection.

1. Meditation is as the attractive faculty to help to assume and take in spiritual food. This it doth by helping to act Judgment, Wis­dom, and Faith, to ponder, discern, and cre­dit the things which Reading and Hearing sup­plies and furnishes.

2. It is like the retaining faculty, by assist­ing and corroborating the memory, helping to lock up the Jewels of divine Truths sure in that Treasury.

Meditation makes a rational memory of things, which is the surest.

There is in man a sensitive memory, in which he participates with sensitive Natures, such as beasts, they have a kind of memory. There is also an intellectual or rational memo­ry, wherein man partakes of the like Nature with Angels, they have their faculty of memo­ry. Meditation superadds to the sensitive me­mory, the help also of a rational memory, whereby spiritual things are secured as under double lock: what we rationally remember, is best remembred.

3. It is like the assimilating or digesting power, by helping to concoct spiritual food, and turn it into spiritual nourishment. This it helps to effect, by being instrumental to work things more powerfully on the will, in a free choice, firm purpose, and ready obedience of the excellent Truths of Christ; and likewise [Page]by working on and into the affections of love, joy, and the rest to cleave unto, and be infla­med towards the things of Christ. A spiritual digestion is not by head-work, but heart-work, when the will deliberately and resolvedly chuses, and the affections earnestly embrace heavenly things. Meditation highly conduces to this spiritual digestion by its pondering, proposing, and edging efficaciously, such rea­sons and incentives as work the heart into compliance and obedience.

It is like, lastly, the augmenting and grow­ing faculty, to help the good heart to grow bet­ter, and shoot up higher Heaven-ward. There is one creature, the Crocodile only, which is said to grow all its life time; so must the true Christian do. Natural things grow by new assumed nourishment, acted upon by the inward growing power. The real godly man hath an inward growing power implanted by the new life given to him: But this, as by other means, so by frequent Meditation, is much assisted, and carried on. Meditation waters and cherishes the plants of heavenly graces. It helps them to root deeper, shoot higher, and grow stronger. Such Christians as meditate most, will grow most, be growing to the end.

What in all Christianity is there, that Me­ditation is not a furtherance to?

That saying is excellent, worthy of duest [Page]weighing: Intellectus cogitabundus, est principium omnis boni; The meditating mind is the beginner of all goodness. On a sinners part it is the rise of his initial returning to God, of his first converting, Ezek. 18.28. In the Saints and persons converted, it is their way to progressive converting and renewed repen­tance. Psal. 119.59. I considered my ways and turned, &c. The more consideration, the more conversion. The great inlet of mans first Apostacy (besides infidelity and pride) was his incogitancy. Our first Parents lost all for want of due thinking; not for the want of acting imagination, or any thinking; that could not be; but for want of that consideration which should have been. They did not consider all things to be considered.

The overflowings of impiety, aggravated by impenitency, and mens rushings into sin so ea­gerly and boldly, have been greatly from want of consideration. Jer. 8.6. No man repent­ed him of his wickedness, saying, What have I done? Every one turns to his course as the horse rusheth into the battel. Their not returnings were from neglect of self-reflect­ings. In any Nation when God intends to work great returnings, he stirs up that people to self-bethinkings, 1 Kings 8.47. If they shall bethink themselves. He minds them of considering, to bring them to returning, So a [Page]particular person, when he first comes in to God, he comes first to himself, and that is by consideration and self-bethinking, as the Pro­digal, Luke 15.17.

In Natures Rational, the first mover is the mind by consideration: In grace, the first mo­ver is the mind by holy Meditation. The Chri­stian that would set all the wheels of the soul on going and improve, that would do great things, and have great attainments, great things effected on the heart, and in the life, much light and wisdom, much warmth and fervour, high resolution and courage, large proficiency in godliness, must be much in Medi­tation.

The greatest Scholars of the world have not been only great Readers, but Students much in musing and pondering. The most eminent Saints in all Ages have bin this way excellent, as Job, David, Solomon, and others, in the Scriptures; as Cyprian, Ambrose, Augu­stine, and other Saints in succeeding Ages.

Ʋpon these, and sundry other considerati­ons, this ensuing Treatise was taken in hand.

My purpose at first was only a private piece, for the service of an honourable personage, very exemplary in this pious practice. This occasioned also my taking the greater liberty in the manner of expressions. My intendment once accomplisht, I entertained no thoughts of [Page]a Publication, till some intimate Friends, having the sight of the Copy, importuned me to let it come sorth for the general use; upon which, a Review of the whole being made, with divers Alterations and Additions, to reduce it more to the help of all, I resolved to let it come abroad, though imperfect enough. In the first framing, because I could not make use of my Study usual helps, Sentences, and Quotations (the ordinary trimmings) were wanting. And being not willing to farther trouble my self, make the Treatise swell, and the price rise, I thought it best to let it pass as it is now pre­sented to thy view.

The present Age is full of Books; there be Books too many, and yet too few. Knowledge and wisdom will never in this world arrive at a Nil ultra; yet we must ever tend to perfe­ction, and press hard to the mark. And when so many still write after so many excellent Treatises on the same subject; this ensuing may the better pass in the crowd. Though there be the greater lights of Heaven, the Sun, and Moon, and Stars of the first magnitude, yet the least appearing Star is some lustre to the Heaven, and light to the Farth. Though some pieces of gold Coyn are current, being fair and down weight; yet those more worn and light, may pass in greater payments.

Shall this ensuing Treatise Issue in perswa­ding, [Page]or provoking thee to the due practice of holy Meditation, to make thee a true and real Meditater, or a better and a higher Meditater, to teach thee to take a turn often in the Garden of God, and take the fresh Air of Paradise, to be mentally in serious musings, often mounting up to Heaven, and return more enlarged and inflamed, more wise and warm at the heart: Let me only request this of thee, to improve some of that acquired warmth in thy way of fervent praying, for him that is ever thy Ser­vant in the things of Jesus,

Nathanael Ranew.

THE CONTENTS

PART I.

  • CHap. 1. Of Divine Meditation in general. pag. 1.
  • Chap. 2. Containing a description of Medi­tation. pag. 9
  • Chap. 3. Meditation our duty and obedience. pag. 14
  • Chap. 4. Of the Requisites of Meditation. pag. 16
  • Chap. 5. What the will must intend in Meditation. pag. 19
  • Chap. 6. Of the proper Object of Divine Medita­tion. pag. 24
  • Chap. 7. Of the Requisites in and concerning Medi­tation. pag. 29
  • Chap. 8. More Requisites in Meditation. pag. 32
  • Chap. 9. Of Meditation in applying the mind to a proper Object. pag. 35
  • Chap. 10. Meditation includes an intension and se­riousness of thoughts. pag. 38
  • Chap. 11. Meditation includes a scanning and di­ving of the thoughts into a thing. pag. 42
  • Chap. 12. Meditation includes a dwelling of the thoughts upon a thing proposed. pag. 45
  • Chap. 13. Meditation is an affectionate acting. pag. 48
  • [Page]Chap. 14. Of the Affection of desire acted in Medi­tation. pag. 51
  • Chap. 15. Of the Affection of Love acted in Medita­tion. pag. 52
  • Chap. 16. Of the Affection of Delight acted in Me­ditation. pag. 53
  • Chap. 17. Of other Particulars in some special Scri­pture-expressions. pag. 57
  • Chap. 18. Of the Ends of Meditation. pag. 64
  • Chap. 19. Of Meditation relating to our selves. pag. 69
  • Chap. 20. Of the particular Ends of Meditation respecting our selves. pag. 73
  • Chap. 21. Of producing habitual wisdom by Di­vine Meditation. pag. 77
  • Chap. 22. Meditation kindles and inflames the Af­fections. pag. 81
  • Chap. 23. The end of Meditation in reference to the will. pag. 87
  • Chap. 24. Meditation a grand supporter of a Chri­stian course. pag. 93

PART II.

  • CHap. 1. Of the Kinds of Meditation. pag. 97
  • Chap. 2. Of the way and manner of daily Meditation. pag. 101
  • Chap. 3. Rules about Meditation. pag. 102
  • Chap. 4. Of one chief end of Meditation as to our selves, namely, Salvation. pag. 107
  • Chap. 5. Of things conducing to the chief end. pag. 109
  • [Page]Chap. 6. The Holy Spirit the Applier of Medita­tion. pag. 111
  • Chap. 7. Of Meditation in reference to the Ordinan­ces of Christ. pag. 114
  • Chap. 8. Of Meditation on the Word and Promises. pag. 116
  • Chap. 9. Of the Spirits drawing to Christ by the Promises. pag. 117
  • Chap. 10. Of the things Meditation may best per­form on our part. pag. 120
  • Chap. 11. Some Particulars added to the former general. pag. 124
  • Chap. 12. Meditation on daily self-denial. pag. 129
  • Chap. 13. Of other Particulars to be meditated up­on. pag. 132
  • Chap. 14. Of Meditation on the Lords-day. pag. 137
  • Chap. 15. Of occasional Meditation. pag. 142
  • Chap. 16. Of Meditation on the deceitfulness of the heart. pag. 149
  • Chap. 17. Of Meditation on the four last things. pag. 155
  • Chap. 18. Of Meditation on Death. pag. 160
  • Chap. 19. Of Meditation on Judgment. pag. 171
  • Chap. 21. Of Meditation on Hell. pag. 181
  • Chap. 22. Of Meditation on Heaven. pag. 191
  • Chap. 23. Of Meditation on things providential. pag. 201
  • Chap. 24. Of ejaculatory Meditation. pag. 204
  • Chap. 25. Of the Grounds and Reasons of Medita­tion. pag. 210
  • Chap. 26. Other Grounds of Meditation. pag. 216
  • Chap. 27. Of the ends and uses of Meditation. pag. 219
  • Chap. 28. Of other ends of Meditation. pag. 222
  • [Page]Chap. 29. Of grounds supporting the Duty of Me­ditation. pag. 231
  • Chap. 30. Of solace and spiritual pleasure in Me­ditation. pag. 233

PART III.

  • CHap. 1. Containing the Improvement of the whole Doctrine of Meditation. pag. 242
  • Chap. 2. Another Improvement of the duty of Medi­tation. pag. 245
  • Chap. 3. An Improvement by way of Humiliation unto those that have begun this work of Meditati­on so late. pag. 249
  • Chap. 4. A Reproof to those that are yet to begin this work of Meditation. pag. 252
  • Chap. 5. A Reproof for negligence in this Duty, af­ter experiencing the benefit and sweetness of it. pag. 263
  • Chap. 6. A perswasion to all such who never yet used Meditation. pag. 270
  • Chap. 7. An Exhortation to the Godly, to take heed of neglecting this duty of Meditation. pag. 278
  • Chap. 8. Of the Evidences of Meditation. pag. 290
  • Chap. 9. Directions relating to Meditation. pag. 296
  • Chap. 10. Directions to young Christians newly converted. pag. 312
  • Chap. 11. Further Directions to young Christians in some particular cases. pag. 318
  • Chap. 12. Of Meditation respecting weakness ro im­perfection of Grace. pag. 325
  • Chap. 13. Of Meditation in respect of stirring and [Page]prevailing corruptions. pag. 322
  • Chap. 14. Of Meditation respecting Assaults from Satan. pag. 331
  • Chap. 15. Some Directions for Occasional Medita­tion. pag. 342
  • Chap. 16. Directions for Ejaculatory Meditation. pag. 344
  • Chap. 17. Directions for strong Christians. pag. 347
  • Chap. 18. More particular Directions. pag. 351
  • Chap. 19. More Directions to old Christians. pag. 360
  • Chap. 20. More Directions for setting Meditation on work. pag. 363
  • Chap. 21. Of Meditation respecting those that are called Fathers. pag. 369
  • Chap. 22. Of the particular management of Medi­tation of those called Fathers. pag. 373
  • Chap. 23. The Conclusion exciting every one to a constant daily performance of this excellent duty of divine Meditation. pag. 376

BY reason of the Authors absence from the Press, several faults are escaped, which the Reader is intreated to correct, or candidly pass by.

SOLITUDE IMPROVED IN MEDITATIONS Upon DIVINE MEDITATION.

THat so noble Subject, and necessary Duty, of Divine Meditation, I have now chosen, by Christs assistance, to speak of to you.

Of Meditation in general, according to Scripture-latitude, in the various Kinds and Considerations of it there exprest. My Text therefore, must not be one single Scripture, for the total foundation of what I shall tender, but the universal vote, and passages a­sperst through the Bible: some of which are these you may please to turn unto.

1 Tim. 4.15. Meditate upon these things. There Timothy, and in him, by way of proportion, every person, is commanded Meditation. Psal. 1.2. In that Law doth he meditate day and night. If the blessed man doth so meditate, then all who will be blessed, must do the like.

And Psal. 77.12. I will meditate on all thy works. Both the word and works of God, must be the god­ly mans meditation.

Psal. 63.6. and Meditate on thee, in the night­watches. And Psal. 104.34. My Meditation of him shall be sweet. God must be meditated on, and that Meditation should be sweet.

Obs. From these and the like passages scattered over the Bible, the Observation or Conclusion is this: Pious Meditation is the Duty of every Christian; or, It is the high Institution of Christ, and greatly Incumbent duty of Christians, to exercise themselves much in holy Meditation.

A rare and soul-enriching way, such as none know the sweetness and blessed Incomes of it, but such who exercise themselves in it.

Philosophers tell us, there would be no life or motion in the lower World, if the Sun and Cele­stial Bodies stood still.

Physicians say, if the Heart did not continually beat in the Body, there would be no life and motion in the little World, Man.

And Experience proves, if there were no Springs or Weights in Watches and artificial Engines, they could perform nothing.

What the Sun, Moon, and Stars are to life and motion here below, what the Heart is to the Bodies life and moving, and what the Springs and Weights are to Motions Artificial, that in a high degree is Meditation to spiritual Life and Motion.

Of the various things tendred to us for truths, this is the great Trier, the Percolation and Refiner, the Melioration and Improver. Such things that come to us crude and raw, become mellow and concocted [Page 3]by Meditation. It is the Golden Scale to give Di­vine things their due weight. The Souls Rare Lim­beck to effect the highest Operations, to extract the richest Spirits for Heart use.

Meditation is of that happy Influence, it makes the Mind wise, the Affections warm, the Soul fat and flourishing, and the Conversation greatly fruit­ful. Psal. 119.

Who can but practise it, continue it, contend to larger improvements in this Heavenly Art, that hath once experienced and fed upon the surpassing sweet­ness and refreshments, the unspeakable solaces and ravishments, both had and heightned in it?

To speak of it adequately I cannot, it is such an attainment that none know the All of it. Nothing but progress in the daily practice, can help to com­prehend it. There is still, a plus ultra, a Going and a Knowing further.

I shall speak to four things only concerning Me­ditation.

  • 1. The Precedents upon the File of Scripture, or some rare Examples of the Practice, and but briefly.
  • 2. The Nature, Ingredients, Qualifications, and the several sorts of Meditation: and here I must be something large.
  • 3. The Grounds, and supporting Reasons of it, to manifest it.
  • 4. The diverse Improvements of it to divers sorts of persons.

First, The Precedents on the Sacred File, record­ed Instances in Scripture.

There are among others, four Instances, which I shall single out, four famous, holy, and eminent ones.

The first is that of the godly Patriarch Isaac, Gen. 24.63. Isaac went out, in the Evening, to meditate. God is a most free Agent, as in all other actings, so in conferring his Scripture Honours. He honours whom he pleaseth, and when and how he pleaseth. He is bound to give no account of his matters. And oft we see him in his Goings and Doings, but cannot by searching find him out. Job. 11.7. Divine Sove­raignty and Wisdom, is pleased in the Scripture Re­cords, to fix the first honour, of this practice of Me­ditation, on holy Isaac.

Doubtless, his so excellent Father, holy Abraham, did use to beat this path to Heaven, who walkt so much with God. Doubtless those other Patriarchs and Saints, living before Abraham, travelled much in this heavenly Road. Enoch for his walking with God, so highly honoured, was no stranger to this way. Questionless it was one of his walks. He cer­tainly used to go to Heaven Mentally, before he was translated Personally. He used to ascend up by Medi­tation, before his happy translation. But Isaac is he who first is mentioned, for acting this holy Medi­tating. It may be he exceeded and excelled in this Heavenly Art and Practice; and because it was a Duty performed privately, and that was not known, God would reward and honour him openly, by ma­king it known, and that some hundreds of Years after, by Moses his holy Pen.

It's probable there was something more than or­dinary in it, which occasioned this first Record of Meditation. However, this was the holy pleasure of God so to fix it; to place it first on the File of godly Meditators. Isaac is the first mentioned Meditator in Scripture Records.

Instance 2. The second (which is the fullest to all intents and respects) is that high and noble Precedent of holy David, That man after Gods own heart: among other reasons, I believe, for his beating so much this path to Heaven: for the frequencies of his visits made this way.

He soon became a man of Great Troubles and Dif­quiets: yet then in them, he would resolutely cut out his way, and keep his course of holy Meditati­on; witness those many Psalms penned in and on occasions of his troubles, and stiled his Meditati­ons. He after Sauls death is crowned King of Ju­dah, had his great multitudes of high Employ­ments, was a mighty Warriour, and so must be ex­posed to highest hazards; yet nothing, in no time whatever, should check or retard his course. Though he had his Head full of Thoughts, his Heart full of Troubles, his Hands full of Work, nothing should hinder him in this high Exercise of his so experienced sweet Meditation.

In Psal. 1.2. He makes Meditation the Chara­cter of a blessed man, To meditate in Gods Law day and night. And what he makes a Rule for others, he makes good in his own Example.

Psal. 119.97. O how love I thy Law, it is my Meditation all the day! there's the practice of the first time the day, and a full Example, and Practice, All the day.

And Psal. 119.148. Mine Eyes prevent the Night-Watches, to meditate in thy Word; there's the pra­ctice of the other time mentioned in the Character in Psal. 1.2.

Not a Watch set in the Night, but he had his Me­ditation. O most admirable frame of spirit! [Page 6]A King and a daily Meditator, and a night Medi­tator also!

It was not Family Business, nor State Affairs, not Wars Urgencies and Difficulties, that so could crowd in and impose upon his thoughts, but he would have his spiritual retreats, his soul repasts, in Meditation, mount up to Heaven by it. Trace we him with the Eye of duest Observation over the Book of Psalms, (the Psalms which are the choice and rare Records of his Exemplary this way actings) we find most ex­cellent Patterns, of all sorts, as for this holy Exer­cise: Singular Meditations sometimes of the great Works of God, as Psal. 8. and Psal. 19. and Psal. 104. &c. wherein the Fire kindles and flies up, in the highest strains. His heart, like the most rare and exquisite Engine and Instrument, produces-such raised and sublimated things, that transcend some­times all the strains of Rhetorick and Poetry in the world, as some very learned men observe.

Sometime his Meditations (and there they ply more, as of nearer concernment) are on the Word of God, as Psal. 19. and Psal. 119. &c. and what passages and praises hath he, most high and sweet, and savoury, that what can be fuller and high, for the nature and properties of it!

Sometimes the most blessed God himself is the high subject of his Meditating: and what transcen­dencies of thoughts, what Raptures and Ravish­ments, what Instances of highest Soul transportings hath he this way recorded for us, purposely to put us upon pursuit of the like Glimpses and Tastes, by suitable first breathings and pantings after sweetest communion with him!

It is evident, he was a grand Master in this Art of [Page 7]Meditation, by the so exquisite pieces drawn to the life, and reserved for use and imitation in the Book of Psalms.

3. The third Pattern is that of the so wise Solo­mon, in Ecclesiastes, who gave his heart, as he saith, to seek and search, and to know wisdom, Eccl. 1.13. and v. 17. ch. 2.12. Davids strain of Meditation, proceeds principally on matters in themselves spiritu­al, as God, his Word, and Ways, and sometimes on the Works of God. Solomons more upon things na­tural, and the ways and works of men, Eccl. 1.13, 14. but to demonstrate the insufficiency of all things in the world, and all the works of men, to make up true happiness, without the true fear of God, and keeping his Commandments, Eccl. 12.13.

This is the sum and scope chiefly of that his Book, that Book of most deep and great Considerations, and excellently useful Meditations, for all to obtain wisdom by.

It is (of all) the choicest piece of Scripture, in this kind; it sets us an accurate Copy, of regular and fruitful Contemplation and Meditation, of all things under the Sun, which we should strive to imitate and write after. Chap. 1.14. It is left us thereby to learn from him, the so great Experimenter and Tryer, the wisest and most exquisite weigher of all things, and the Finder of their extream insufficiency and vanity.

To teach every person, by this his so eminent and exemplary acting, his successful searching, to do in the like manner. To infuse his spirit, and lay it asteep strongly and deeply in this Meditation, of Creature vanity, and the vanity of all mens labours under the Sun.

Yea to sink this down to the bottom of the soul, [Page 8]there to fix and root it self; thence as by a most po­tent and predominant principle, to work and act up to more weanedness from things of the world; and to more wariness, of our being ensnared by them.

The fourth rare Instance is of the female Sex, That of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Luke 2.19. But Mary kept all these sayings, and pondered them in her heart. This is the remarkable and special Example of Meditation mentioned (that I know of) in the New Testament: We have none so punctual and plain, which I can remember, as this.

Some signal honour is hereby intended to this so Blessed Virgin, to be so noted, more than others, in the Gospel Records: and thereby held forth, as a pattern, and provocation to all after Ages.

The Scriptures silence, as to other Saints practice in this Duty, is not a Negative or an Exclusive of their doing it: Because it is not said of every one, they Pondered, or Meditated, we must not thence infer they did it not.

David in the first Psalm and second Verse, saith, the Blessed man meditates in the Law of God, day and night. He therefore makes it a necessary Duty, and certain Character of every godly person, in some sincere measure, and constancy performing of it.

As the people of God are all taught wisdom to salvation, so this peculiar wisdom, this way of Me­ditation, of the great concerns of Gods Kingdom, and their most precious immortal Souls, to give things of the highest importance, their due and down weight, their due and down weight in the Ballance of a holy Meditation.

CHAP. II. Of the Nature and Description of this solemn Meditation.

MEditation according to the usual Notion and Acceptation, is taken for any serious or ear­nest thinking of any matter whatsoever, for what end soever, whether it be good or evil. So Medi­tating is used in the Scripture, not only in a good sense, but in an evil sense. So Psal.

But ordinarily it is taken in a good sense, for a ho­ly Mind Exercise, or acting the thoughts in any seriousness upon any matter in a spiritual manner. There is a double kind of Meditation.

1. That which is more set and solemn, when a man is serious in thinking of any thing for some spiritual end, and so as to allow some due space of time for a right performance of it.

2. There is that which is called Meditation of Ejaculation, which, though serious, yet is more short and quick, and sudden, wherein the soul darts up to Heaven, and makes a short visit thither.

I shall begin with the first, that which more com­monly is called Meditation. The other shall follow in its due place.

Therefore having mentioned some Scripture In­stances or Examples of Meditation as to the pra­ctice of it, I shall come to handle the Nature and Description of the set and more solemn Medita­tion.

Here first I will endeavour to present you with [Page 10]the true Picture, and Description of Meditation, in some Scripture lineaments and proportions: and afterward the Explication and peculiar hand­ling of them.

I shall give you the Description in this manner; It is that Ordinance of Christ, and Obedience or Du­ty of a Christian, whereby he acts his spirit into a right pondering of either heavenly and spiritual things, or any other things, in a holy manner, unto spiritual and holy ends and improvements only.

1. Here is the more general Nature founding it.

2. The more peculiar Nature and particular Re­quisties finishing it.

1. The more general Nature, in a double Aspect: The first looks up to Christ, it is his Ordinance, his Institution. The second looks down to man, it is his Obedience, his Duty.

2. Here is the particular Nature and Requisites. Where first

1. The Object. I will consider the Proper Object of this Meditation, in two parts; 1. Things spiritual and heavenly. 2. Things though not in themselves spiritual: yet in a spiritual manner lookt upon.

2. The acting on it. The acting on this Object, by way of right pondering; where many particulars will be opened.

3. The Ends of this Meditation, for only spiritu­al ends, or the ends to be levell'd at, must be spiritual and only holy.

1. The more general Nature of Meditation, we speak to: It's 1. Christs own Ordinance. 2. And then mans Duty and Obedience. It is Christs own Ordinance, as those Scriptures fore-cited, and many [Page 11]other, which will be after-named, prove.

Three things there are in an Ordinance of Christ, which I shall speak of.

  • 1. The Rise and Original, it is heavenly.
  • 2. The Nature, it is spiritual and holy. Yea,
  • 3. The use and end, it is for a help.

1. For the Rise and Original, it is glorious and transcendent: it comes as far as Heaven; it is Heaven-born and bred. It bears Christs Image and superscription, Brings his Broad-seal and Commis­sion, it is one bright beam of Christs Sovereignty, shining down upon us, One holding out of his Gol­den Scepter, for us to touch the top of it. It comes with the King of Heavens Must, it must be yielded to, done as the strict and high Command of the great King of Saints, given in Indispensible Neces­sity: yea with the very same Cogency and Necessity, that Praying, Hearing the Word, or any other most usu­ally yielded to Duty doth.

Commonly (as by our daily practice we prove it) we lay not such stress upon Divine Meditation, as we do upon other Scripture Institutions. As if there were a less weight of Christs Regal Scepter in it. As if it were not so current Coin of his, but ra­ther like some light Gold, which we need not receive, except we please. Whereas this Duty of Medita­tion comes in Christs Name, to every soul; and with a Commission as full and firm, as any other Gospel Command or Duty whatsoever.

2. An Ordinance of Christ is holy. Every Institu­tion is a participation, and carries a stamp and beam of God's glorious Holiness. Not only of his Regal Authority, but of his inconceivable Holiness and Purity: The Holiness of God is, that glorious [Page 12]Attribute of his, whereby being free from all Im­purity, he wills and orders all things for his Name and Glory.

The holiness of an Ordinance, is chiefly that by which it is laid and levelled full at the grand scope and mark of God's highest praise and honour. It must be lookt on, and represented to us, as an Ap­pointment for the most High God, his Highest In­terest. All Religion is principally for living to the Living God, Rom. 6.7. Heb. 9.14. All Ordinan­ces are but the higher and more eminent ways given us, for exalting him. So many ascents and rising grounds, whereby he may mount aloft, and become more transcendently great and glorious. If this be not the predominant Ingredient in our performan­ces, we are quite mistaken; and so take his blessed name in vain. This therefore being the chief thing, this Ordinance of Meditation stands charged with, must accordingly be minded and meant in it, God's Institution of it. First, for his own highest Interest, his intending it first for himself, who so infinitely surpasses all Created Beings and their total Interests, whatsoever they can amount unto. This is the se­cond Considerable, an Ordinance is Holy, chiefly in­stituted for lifting up God.

3. An Ordinance is helpful, for our heavenly help; by Grace and the Lord's Condescension, it is an Appointment and Institution for us. For our chief Interest, the High-way of our Souls help: an In­tendment and a Means to the main Mark of Happi­ness: The singular way of our God's devising: The sweet way of our great Prophets Teaching: Christ's first setting me up a Light, and therewith lending me his hand of help; all Gospel Ordi­nances [Page 13]carry light and help with them: The Scrip­tures call them ways, Psal. 119.3. They are Gods ways, and they are also our ways. They are first the King of Heaven's High-ways, his Institutions and Appointments for us: And they are our ways, our High-ways to travel up to the City of God, Heaven: our ways to walk in to our chief Happi­ness.

I must look upon Christs Ordinances, not as meer Impositions and significations of Christs Sovereignty; not as Burdens and Tasks, the products and effects of severity; but such as are the Demonstrations of his Graciousness and Pity: He sets me, and shews me the way, who justly might leave me to lose my way, and to lose my self; to lose both my Labour and Life, Heaven and Happiness, and that for ever.

These three forementioned Considerations, ah what exteam need hath every one, to give them the keenest edge, to make Meditation more penetrative and powerful? To both facilitate it to us, and fortifie it in our Hearts?

Ah when we are to Meditate, how do we still find our spirits all over-run and tainted with carnal and hellish Repugnancies, and recoilings against it? Rom. 7.21. how biassed and acted with strong di­versions from it? How sunk down suddenly, in dead­ness and flatness in it? How overcome. with faint­ing fits and feebleness in it, from the poysonous Fumes and dangerous Damps, ascending out of the Hell of Corruption, lying at the bottom of our spi­rits? And how still abused by the frequencies of our hearts Deceitfulness and Miscarriages about it? The more high, holy, and conducing any Ordinance of Christ is, the more fearful and sad are the Demon­strations [Page 14]of the Enmity and Hell in our Hearts, act­ing against it. Domine Gehenna sum, Lord I am Hell, said that devout Meditator.

Ah what Floods, what Seas of Considerations have we need of, to quench these Hellish sparks that rise up in our Bosoms? What need of all the Hea­venly fire we can make and kindle, to extinguish this Hellish Fire, that so quickly burns and flames up? As we see the Sun to extinguish the Fire on the Hearth: Celestial Fire our Culinary Fire.

This may suffice for the first thing, Meditation is an Ordinance of Christ.

To come to the Second, it is our Incumbent Duty, our Obedience to the great Law-giver Christ.

CHAP. III. Meditation our Duty, our Obedience.

2. Meditation our Duty. MEditation is not only Christs In­stitution and Ordinance, but every ones Incumbent Duty and Necessary Obedi­ence: not like the Free-will Offering, a matter meerly arbitrary, and as a dealing by way of cour­tesie. Not for a Casting in, as a Redundancy, over and above all other Duties, but is and must be per­formed as a Duty of indispensible necessity, 1 Tim. 4.15. Psal. 1.2.

1. A Duty in reference to Christ. Necessity in refe­rence to Christ himself; an Obedience to his Law, a subjection to his Crown Imperial, an homage and [Page 15]service due to him, as the Sovereign Lord of our Souls, and of that Meditating and pondering faculty he endowed them with.

Meditation is Jesus Christs Reservation in the great Gift and Grant of our Souls Thinking power. He hath endowed us with that so Noble Faculty of minding and musing, and also with a large Mind-Charter, and liberty of thoughts, for our own occa­sions and sober Recreatings, in our Contemplations or Studies. But yet, 'tis always provided, that a holy Tribute, out of the whole of our thoughts, is still duly to be paid in, and that as an acknowledgment both of holding our thinking faculty upon him, (Rom. 11.36.) and our best way of employment of it: and this to be done, in the due seasons, both Ordinary and Ex­traordinary. The neglect of this Duty, is a deny­ing of his Right and Royalty over my thoughts, and over that which is so eminent an Endowment of the Mind, and given in to the Spirit by God, for its chiefly Thinking of him that is so High and Allsufficient, and the surpassing excellent things of God, as being the Souls best acting. Certainly thus the Saints in the Scripture acted highly upon this account, of their paying in the Reserved dues of Christ, their Leige Lord, 1 Cor. 6.20. His Dues and their Du­ties moving strongly, to act highly in this work and way.

2. Duty to my self, and my own Soul Concern­ments, is another great Consideration here.

In all, doing Duty, there's a doing my self right, paying in to my own Soul its due. Neglecting in any kind my Duty, is a wronging my own soul. Prov. 8.36. He that sins against me wrongs his own soul: Performing it is a doing my Soul Right. Yea, holy [Page 16]Duties are the Highest doings of right to our Souls. There's no way of doing better to my self, than go­ing in the King of Heavens High-way. His ways are my Souls best ways, wherein I act best for my self, and when I perform them in them in the best man­ner.

This leads me to the next particular, the Requi­sites, and the Ingredients of this Meditation consi­dered as a holy Duty, which are these next follow­ing.

CHAP. IV. Of the Requisites in Meditation.

THere are these three things I shall mention, as the Requisites for holy Meditation, as a Duty.

  • 1. That I call a Foundation, or Preparative to it.
  • 2. Those things that are for the forming and framing it as to the parts and proportions.
  • 3. The things that finish it up.

1. As to the Foundation or Preparative to it, This must be laid above in Heaven, by the Disposi­tive or Preparative work of fervent Prayer. The foundation of this Soul Affair must be, as a Learn­ed man saith of the Foundation of the World: The Foundation of the World, he saith, is the. Third Heaven, which is of a constant incorruptible Nature, of no pre-existent principles, and so not liable, as other things are, to corruption and resolution: and [Page 17]which as to the convex or outward superficies, or the highest part, is only bounded or terminated by its own limits, or terms of Essence, and Quantity: but in its concave or bollow superficies, or the lowest part, con­tains all inferiour things, and is fixt immoveable. If the Foundation of the great World is laid by the Third Heaven, the Foundation of this great Work of holy Meditation must be laid in Heaven, laid by the Soul's strong mounting up thither, and fixing it self there by fervent Prayer, as the great Prepara­tive to this Meditation. Fervent Prayer: The word in the Hebrew used for Meditation, [...] which sig­nifies also Prayer, Prayer and Meditation being so near a kin, and the one helping mutually the other.

  • 1. To begin with a bringing the Soul into the Glorious and Tremendous Presence of the Great God, and under his so pure and all-seeing Eye.
  • 2. To act the Soul, and lay it as it were asteep in self-abasings and humblings, for its former miscar­riages and failings in, and present unfitness and indi­sposedness for, what is now undertaking.
  • 3. To exercise fresh Self-denyings, as to any suf­ficiency of ability to perform any thing herein ac­ceptably and profitably.
  • 4. To act vigorous and strong recumbencies on Je­sus Christ, for his both Teachings and Touchings of our Spirits, and upholdings likewise in the work.
  • 5. To procure and beget a warm temper in us, such as may make the heart to Glow all the Duty over.

2. As to the forming of the Duty in the Parts and Particulars of it.

1. It must be bottom'd and rise from the Spring and Great Principle of Motion and Action, which [Page 18]is the will; in a both free choice, and firm purpose. A resolvedness, and rooted purpose: Thus David Psal. 119.48. I will meditate in thy Statutes, and verse 15. I will meditate in thy Precepts. The evil heart saith, I will not Meditate: Satan saith (so far as he can hinder) you shall not: And the prophane World saith, you need not. But the holy heart saith, I will Meditate. This is my free and firm purpose, and nothing by Christs assistance shall di­vert me.

The Philosopher saith, that in every virtuous action there must be a choice of Will, it must be [...], be Elective, come free from the Spring of the Will, and run in Resolution: otherwise it is not a virtuous Action.

The Scriptures, for all Religious Actings, call for Willingness; Psal. 110.3. Thy people shall be wil­ling in the day of thy Power; or as it is in the He­brew, A people of willingnesses, thy people: And in di­vers places, call for Readiness in what we perform to God. No work in the World can challenge that intense degree and share of Readiness and Freeness, as Christs work, and such ways as have a clear and lively Stamp of his Royal Will and Command. No higher Character is given in Scripture of a Real God­liness, than freest Choice of Will and Readiness. To Chuse the good part, Luke 10.42. To Chuse the things that please God, Isa. 56.4. and as in abun­dance of places is to be seen.

A Carnal heart acts from Carnal Wisdom, and self-Interest, or from Passion and self-biassing affection, but not from pure freeness and deliberate Choice of Will. That is not the Spring and rise of his Duties, as it is in a good and holy heart. A [Page 19]good heart acts from purpose, a well and deep set purpose: Acts 11.23. with purpose of heart to cleave to the Lord. And Psal. 119.106. I have sworn and I will perform, &c. So the Will, for holy Duties must put forth in Purposes, firm Purposes, varieties of fresh Purposes: Act all the still needful and conducing Purposes, any Duty in any respect calls for. There are many Rare and Rich Attendants and Properties, Ingredients and Excellencies, Divine and Heavenly Beauties, appertaining to holy Duties, which the Will must intend and make its free firm Choice of, which the purposes of the Will must lye level to and make after, as the proper and proportionate Marks and higher Tendencies.

CHAP. V. Of the Purposes for this.

I Shall name Five Particulars for this. There must be,

  • 1. An aim and firm Purpose to make the Duty a Right Work, to make sure it be made true.
  • 2. A free and full Purpose of a Wise Work, to have it a Work of Spiritual Wisdom.
  • 3. A firm purpose for a vigorous and spirited performing.
  • 4. A strong purpose of watching and earnest striving against all Diversions and Interruptions.
  • 5. In a firm purpose of Ʋtmost endeavour of suc­cess, and having the Right and Kindly End and Fruit of the Duty.

1. A right Work.

1. The Wills purpose and intendment must be to make the Duty of Meditation a Right Work; to make sure it be made true and and sincere: John 4.24. Not a Carcase, a Painted piece, without Soul and Substance, a Formality without Power. Not a meer work performed, as it were to flatter God, who looks for a Duty, As they in Psal. 78.86. are said to flatter God with their lips, but their heart was not right with him. We are ready to flatter him (instead of Realities) with our Modes of Meditation, and Fa­shions of Thinkings, with our Formalities, without Realities and Truth, and the work's being sincere. It must not be a flattering of God, but a true pleasing him, from being true it self: It must not be a work dawbed over with the untempered Mortar of our own hearts self-deceitfulness, setting up a thing to shew like it, and be something near it only, and put­ting thereby a Cheat upon our selves. Nor make it a thing only to stop the mouth of our Consciences, keep them from calling on and challenging of us; but to design it strongly and firmly, to purpose, through God, to proffer to and please him with a sincere Work: Gen. 17.1. Walk before me, and be sincere: This must be understood, certainly, of every Walk and Path we go in: Not a walk in some one way, or divers, and not all; but in every walking, since­rity must be a Property, a Qualification design'd, and firmly resolv'd: and we must not be satisfied unless it be Right Meditating, such as Scripture re­quires, and Saints in Scripture practised; yea that they told God himself that they performed, Ps. 119.23. And doubtless David durst not tell the Heart-search­ing God, he Meditated, if he had done it formally and hypocritically, and not been sincere and upright in it.

Again, It must be a wise work.

2. The Intendment of the Will, must be for making this Duty a Wise Work, to make it a Work of Spiritual Wisdom: The Apostle, Ephes. 5.15. says, Be not fools but wise, understanding what the will of the Lord is. And 2 Tim. 3.14. there's men­tion of wisdom to salvation: And Prov. 9.12. Wis­dom is called on for our selves.

1. Wise in respect of God. Certainly, as Solomon did things of great Excellency to shew himself very wise; so when the most High God's Honour is concern'd, and when he will be present at our Per­formances, and comes as it were purposely to them, shall we present him with any foolish piece; not de­sign a wise work, and be seen acting wisely?

2. Wise in reference to our selves. Should we not also strongly purpose to make this Duty a Wise Work, a Work of sure Wisdom for our selves, and lay it ful­ly level to the grand mark of Eternal Salvation for our selves? Solomon, Prov. 17.21. saith, The Father of a Fool shall have no joy: so the Parent of a foolish act­ing, will have no joy: It is the Godly prudent act­ing, whose Fruit is Peace, and which issues in Hea­venly joy. O how sweet and comfortable is that Duty, in which we have acted up to the Rule of sound Wisdom! This is the Second Particular, a Duty must be Purposed and Intended to be a Wise Work.

3. A spirited and lively work. There must be a firm and strong Purpose and Intendment for a vigo­rous and spirited, a lively and warm Work. Rom. 12.11. Fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. In every Du­ty we must have a Purpose of striking fire, of making the heart burning hot: It must not be luke-warm, in an indifferency, that's but lazy; nor Blood-warm, [Page 22]that's but low. But the Souls Purpose and Design must be for highest heat and fervency, greatest vigour and activity. As Artists in some High Operations, endeavours the hottest Fire.

As warmest Preaching and warmest Hearing, as the Disciples hearts burned within them, when Christ opened the Scriptures, Luke 24.32. And so warmest Reading, and warmest Meditating. Da­vid's heart, while he mused, the fire burned, Psal. 39.3. So when we Meditate, we should intend a warm work, to be very warm at the heart.

4. A striving against all lets. In a strong purpose of earnest striving against all lets and interruptions. The whole work of a Christian here, must not only be vigorous and sedulous, but striving and contenti­ous. Luke 13.24. Strive to enter in at the strait Gate. Every single and particular Duty must bear a part of striving to enter in at the strait Gate: For this is to be applied to every particular Duty, though Christ speaks only in General, bidding us strive.

Two things make up the Notion of striving.

1. First Intension and Earnestness.

2. Secondly Contention against Opposition. When a man strives, he acts earnestly: and when he strives after or for a thing, he strives also with that which is against him. Striving is against something, that letts or opposes: In all Soul-work, and peculiarly in this of Meditation, the throng of Difficulties is great, the Oppositions are many, therefore the pur­poses and Resolutions of heart must be strong and high. None ever carry on their work well, Who are not first well resolved, and still renew and link one firm purpose to another, to hold on their course to the last.

5. A purpose for the kindly issuing of Meditation. The Will must purpose firmly, to endeavour still the kindly issue and success of the Duty. Look, saith the Apostle, John 2.8. ye lose not the things wrought: who would set up at the Labour in Vain? Christ's sweet Promise is, Isa. 65.23. The seed of the blessed of the Lord shall not labour in vain. The way among others, of having it performed, is by grounding our endeavours in strong and rooted Resolutions, for that running and pressing on, and looking after our Duties doing; until the work winds up, and issues in the spiritual ends, in the sweet success it is appointed unto: such as encrease of Holiness and Grace, and improvement of Communion with God. Finis Coronat Opus: Success sets the Crown on the head of the Work: Resolve to get the Crown still set on the Head of every Duty, that it shines in the glory of success.

These are the five special Branches, this Root of Resolution should put forth; these, as so many pre­cious corner-Stones, should lye at the Bottom of this Building, the better to bear it up.

These should be, as so many great Arteries branch­ing forth from the Heart, to convey vital spirits into the body of this heavenly Duty of Meditation, and keep it alive, and warm and improvingly a­ctive.

CHAP. VI. Of the proper Objects of Divine Medi­tation.

FRom things of a remoter relation to the sub­ject in hand, I pass to such as are the nearer, the more intrinsical and peculiar. And here comes first to be handled, the Matter, or the Object of this Me­ditation. When the wise King Solomon was to build the Temple, first he is providing the rich and precious Materials, then he proceeds to the framing and fitting of them, and then to erecting and finish­ing that glorious Structure. That which next is to be done, is first to look out the Materials of our work, and then the framing and finishing up, is to follow: The Materials, or objective parts, are far more rich and precious than those of Solomon's Temple. They are, as our Description of Medita­tion holds them forth, either

  • 1. Such as are more properly and purely spiritual and heavenly in their own Nature.
  • 2. Or things considered, in a Spiritual way, and to a Spiritual end and use.

It is not the Consideration of things as to their En­tity or Being, that is Metaphysical: Metaphysicks treat of Entities, of the meer Beings of things. Of the first Being, namely God; and of secondary Beings derived from God the first Being. It is not the Consideration of things as Rational; the Rational respects things have one to another, this is Logical: Logick, that considers respects of things, as [Page 25] Causes, Effects, Subjects, Adjuncts, and the like.

It is not the Consideration of things in their par­ticular Natures, and Natural properties: This, Na­tural Philosophy Contemplates.

It is not the Consideration of things Civil, Moral, or Political: these, Moralists and States-men are ex­ercised about.

Neither is it the consideration of particular Crafts and Trades: this is Mechanical, and but a work prudential, and Humane, not Divine. But this Me­ditation hath Objects of a far higher Sphere and Rank; things of a Divine and Theological Consi­deration.

Nay, nor yet is it the meer Study of things Theo­logical and Divine. A man may be a Student in Di­vinity, beat and busie his Brains, about the high points and Mysteries in it, may read and muse on Matters Divine, and yet not be a Meditator, such as we speak of, not act Divine Meditation. A man may act upon things as Notions, and as matters of Knowledge; or to make up an Universal knowing person, he may act Contemplation for Curiosity: for such an use, as the Heathen man Aristotle made of reading Moses his first Chapter of Genesis; whereof he passed his un­due and heathenish censure, that Moses affirms all, but proves nothing, he read first, and then ponder­ed; and then censured. But he acted not Meditation, not that we speak of: It was not a consideration of spiritual things as spiritual, and for spiritual ends; but only as wise man acts his thoughts, upon things as New, for New notions, and improving Know­ledge. Many thus consider things Scriptural and Divine, study them, as we call it, study Books of Divinity, study things in the Scripture; but they [Page 26]act not the Duty of Meditation. They act upon things as Matters Intellectual and Rational, not as Heavenly and Spiritual. Act for Notion and Spe­culation, and not for Holiness. Act Curiosity, not Christianity.

The right Meditater far transcends any meer Stu­dent, he acts a more Noble part, hath a more Noble and sublime manner of Operation. Aristotles study­ing Moses Writings, and David's Meditating in the Law of God, how far do they differ? So a Heathen's or a Mahometan's, or a Jew's, or any such persons studying matters in the Bible, differs greatly from Meditating in it.

Nay, many Protestants are great Students in Divi­nity, that never Meditated: they dwell upon the stu­dy of it, but touch not with the least of their fin­gers the hard work of holy Meditation.

But to return to our matter in hand, and to speak to this subject of Meditation: Formerly it was said, that Spiritual things, or things in a Spiritual and Heavenly manner considered, are the proper and adequate Object of this Meditation.

And bere, O how large and fair a prospect hath the Spiritual Eye to Expatiate and Recreate it self in! The Infinitely Glorious and All-sufficient God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as the Scripture re­veals: The vast world, the frame of Heaven above, and Earth below, with all the so innumerable things contained in them.

Their sundry Natures, Properties and Ʋses, with the so beauteous and various Excellencies of them. The mighty Sustentations and Preservations of all things Created, as to their Beings, their Faculties, and their Acts.

The most wise, righteous, and holy Governing of them, with a most steady and never erring hand un­to their particular ends; and with a most certain winding them all up ultimately, in the Supream scope of the great Creator and Governour.

Then that peculiar Government of the rational Creatures, Angels, and Men: The unspeakably sad full of some Angels, and all Mankind. The Recovery of some men, and their Eternal Salvation, by Christ the Redeemer, God in our Nature: Here, here is matter of Meditation, The great mystery of Godli­ness, as 1 Tim. 3.16. And particularly, the four last things, as they are called, namely Death, Judgment, Heaven, and Hell.

Besides, there is for Meditation, the whole Book of boly Scriptures, now compleat in the New Te­stament-times: with the Ordinances of Christ, and the Covenant of Grace. And lastly, the Meditation of that so great concern, our own particular Estates, how matters stand with us, and are like to be with us to all Eternity; which Eternity challenges and imposes on every person, the greatest both intensions and frequencies of thoughts. But though this be so great; yet again what is there in all the vast cir­cumference of the whole world? I say, what is there, although never so small, but by a wise and holy heart may be an Object improvable to an excellent use and end? As the Art of Chymistry can extract rare and efficacious Remedies, out of Dungs, Putre­factions, and Poysons.

That Soul must be a pitiful, vain, and barren piece, that wants matter and mind to move and act fruit­fully, in so large a sphere and compass as Meditation hath: It affords the whole latitude of all things [Page 28]properly spiritual: And it comprises likewise all o­ther things, which, in some respect or other, wisdom can improve by this rare Art.

No Artist in any way of Operation, with all his rare Instruments, and efficacious Engines, can ope­rate more eminently than an Artist in this holy kind may do.

Of this the Scriptures give plentiful proof in the many Precedents left us in it for imitation. So we see it in holy David, in many of his Psalms (besides them of the Word of God, his greatest Subject of Meditation, in those made of God's great works) yea the works of his common Providence and Guidance; as the growing of the Grass, and Herbs, and Trees; the singing of the Birds among their Branches, in the waters, the playing of the Leviathan, the innu­merable creeping things in the Seas, and the going of the Ships in them, as Psal. 104. The wise Solomon hath his Meditation of the Horse-leach, with her daughters, Prov. 30.15. The Ant in her Industry, Prov. 26.14. sending the Sluggard (that turns on his Bed, as the Door on the Hinges, that often moves, but never removes,) to her to learn Industry, Prov. 6.6.

Yea sometimes, the most inconfidenable things the Scripture takes notice of, for us to mind the Hairs on the head, which all are numbred; the Sands of the Sea, which though so weak and small, is thereby bridled. The Dust of the Earth, by Gods power, as in a Measure comprehended, Isa. 40.12. And not only God's great works and high actings, but the lowest actions of men, and the meanest actings of the inferiour Creatures, are in Scripture held forth, as occasions for this Meditation, as advantage grounds [Page 29]for the ascending of thoughts, and raising up the Mind Heaven-ward.

All this pains taken by the Spirit of God, in the Scriptures, is to shew what a wise and fruitful spirit may extract, by this holy Art of Meditation; yea, to teach us how constantly thought-busie we should keep our hearts (like that wonder in Nature, the so wise and laborious Bee) still in gathering some Celestial sweetness from every Flower of Scripture or Provi­dence, or any other Object we stay upon.

CHAP. VII. Of the Requisites for Meditation.

FRom the Object and Matter of Meditation, we must next come upon the Requisites and Quali­fications, and the things contained in it, and consti­tuting of it.

Here by the way, there were two sorts of Medita­tion mentioned.

  • 1. That which is set and more solemn.
  • 2. That which is short, sudden, and ejaculatory.

1. The first that, which more properly is called Meditation, is that so frequently we have spoken of in the Scripture, and mentioned in our Divinity-Books, and in Discourses. Meditation in the ordi­nary acceptation of the word, taken for a work of time, seriousness and solemness, that must have a due proportion of Time, Labour, and Diligence, to effect that upon the heart, it is to be used for.

2. There is that which is called Ejaculation, sud­den [Page 30]quick acting, or ascending of the Soul to Hea­ven. This is a holy spark flies up out of the heaven­ly Fire, burning suddenly in the heart, this is but Meditation rather more improperly so call'd. Of this I shall speak something hereafter.

But that we are now to proceed upon, is the Me­ditation more properly so call'd, more set, solemn Meditation, a business of time and seriousness.

There are divers things, I shall mention eight Particulars, or Requisites for this Meditation. There are eight Requisites I shall mention.

1. There's requisite a Holy Awe and Reverence, a putting on a reverential frame of heart sutable to the holiness of the Duty.

2. There is requisite a Retreat of the Thoughts, calling off the mind from all its preceding excursions or engagings otherways.

3. There's requisite, the setting of a strong Guard, and so sure a Watch upon our slippery spirits as we are able, to secure it against all diversions.

4. Meditation, as to the Form and Nature, proper Notion and Essence, consists in Application of the Mind and Thoughts, and setting them upon the Sub­ject or Matter intended to be considered.

5. Meditation, as to the Nature and Essence, con­sists, as in Application of the Mind to, so in the in­tension and due seriousness of thinkings on a fit Object.

6. In a diving and searohing of thoughts, scanning for a best discovery.

7. In a Commoration and due stay of the thoughts upon the work in hand, without precipitation and undue hastening.

8. It's requisite there be an infusing and inter­mixing the life and beauties of such affections as are sutable and proper for the Duty.

1. Meditation it must have the Dispositive and Preparation of Holy Awe and Reverence; a still en­gaging the Spirit to, and imposing upon it, and framing of it, unto all that holy Awe, and highest Reverence, which this so excellent Duty calls for, both in the Entrance, and over all the Performance. I say Highest Reverence, as that which is to be done in the so infinitely pure presence of a God; a God whose eye is observing in a special manner our heart­temper, not only in a Duty performed in his view, but a temper presented and tendered to himself, as an Homage and Honour. As a way of Ingratiating our selves with him, as a way, and one of our sweet­est ways of higher Intimacy and Communion with him.

The Spirit of a Creature perfect, much less of a sinner, it cannot have too strong an Infusion, too deep a Tincture of holy Reverence.

This is the first Requisite, a deep Tincture of holy Reverence contended to.

CHAP. VIII. Of the second Requisite.

THE next Requisite is in sounding a Retreat of the Thoughts, and calling off the Mind from all preingagements, not only Evils and Vanities, but all Business and Duties. Nothing must detain the thoughts, or divert the thoughts, when we design and intend Meditation. God complains of men when Bodies are brought, and Hearts are left out: well may he complain, if we go about Medita­tion, a Mind, a Thought Exercise, if we let the mind and thoughts be sent abroad, and not called home.

The Philosophers say truly, that intention can be only of one thing at one particular individual time. Divinity tells us, there must be no allowance of dis­intention, neither a giving way to a seisure of Im­pertinencies to keep possession of the Mind; that will keep off that which is incumbent, and our pre­sent Duty.

David, Psal. 119.113, says, he hated vain thoughts, when they were Intruders, when they crowded in: much more as they were Excluders, and crowded out good thoughts. Therefore most of all, when they obstructed and interposed at the time of his Medi­tation. Therefore being so rare an Artist in Hea­venly Meditation, he still would shake out and empty the Vessel of his heart of other previous im­proper thoughts. Do, as Nehemiah, when Tobijah had laid up his stuff in the Temple, he throws it all out to make way for the proper Furniture.

Musing in this sort therefore must have its Prepa­rative, its stand, and its retreat off and from all imper­tinent thoughts: a making the Coast clear, a setting the mind free, disburdening and disclogging it: Casting off all weights when we are to run this Race, and mount up the Hill of Divine Contempla­tion. Now is the time, to call to by-thoughts to void the Room, and leave it free for other thoughts to enter.

This is the Second Requisite, a sounding a Retreat to the thoughts from all other things.

3. When Meditation is to be performed, there must be a strong Guard set, a sure Watch kept upon all Avenues and Passages, on all the Inlets and Out­lets of the heart.

As Jehoiada the Priest set a Guard round about the young King, when he was to be Crowned, 2 Chr. 23.7. so when this Duty is endangered, and ready to be hindred from having the Crown of a right per­formance set upon it. The Scripture Rules impose Circumspection, great Caution in all our Concern­ments, but more peculiarly in things pertaining to God, and his Worship, Eccles. 5.1. Take heed to thy foot, &c. so Take heed what you hear. Aud Take heed how you hear. So there must be heed, and a great take heed how we Meditate. The strongest Guard is little enough, yea too defici­ent and weak, for the holiest heart, and the best ex­ercised in this part of Godliness. O how incon­ceivably evil is every heart in its leakings and run­nings out, in its rovings and wandrings, in its slipperiness and inconstancies, and likewise in its sinkings and fallings, instead of keepings up in its heat and heavenly vivacity, and keepings on in any evenness and equality.

No Sieve is more unapt to hold water, no hand more unable to hold Sand, or Oyl poured into it, no bone, which often hath been out of joint, is more apt to dislocate and slip out of place, than is the best heart to slip off, rove, and range from this Duty, in Diversions and Admissions of Impertinencies. When we are most serious and intent, suddenly our carnal Spirits give us the slip, and are gone: Like the Bird if the Cage be but open: Or, the Prisoner if the Doors be not fast and watcht. Or, if the heart get not out in Diversions, it falls flat in Deadness and sudden Coolings: Like the Iron in forging, no longer hot, than the Workman keeps blowing: like melted Metal, which cools as it runs and is pouring forth.

This made David in the Psalms, so often and ear­nestly to call for Quicknings, from the sense of his frequent heart-coolings and sinkings.

The Acting of Meditation must not be going up a Hill of Ice, where footing is both slippery and cold, but like the going up the Burning Mount Etna, where the footing if not firm, yet is that which the Tra­vellers (as they say) feel warm: Or like Moses, Going up the Mount to God, which was steady and earnest till he came to the top: Still a due Guard must be kept about our hearts in this so important soul affair. An Intense care must be used, and a holy fear against all Diversions, all heart-sinkings, and against all Dis­appointments also; that we lofe not the real benefit and comfort of this work.

These three now Explained Particulars, are as Re­quisites or Attendants of Meditation: The next four, are the special things, wherein the Nature and Notion of it consists.

CHAP. IX. Meditation in applying the Mind to a proper Object.

4. MEditation stands in an Application, and bringing the thinking power of the Soul upon the Object, or Thing to be Meditated of. Ta­king that Great Engine of the Spirit, and setting it to act upon some fit subject.

The thinking faculty, is a rare Endowment; an Engine whereby the reasonable Creature can draw up and take in any Object, and act or exercise it self about it, for that use or end we aim at in our think­ing.

In all Meditation, there must be an Applying and Conjunction of the mind and the thing. As Sensi­tive seeing, must have some union, virtual union, with the thing seen: so Intellectual seeing, seeing by the Eye of the understanding, must be, by a bringing the thoughts upon that is to be thought upon. The Scripture hath this Expression, of setting the heart upon a thing, Hag. 1.5. So it is in the Hebrew, that which we Translate Consider your ways, is, put or set your hearts upon, &c. In Consideration or Musing there's not only a taking of the heart and thoughts from foregoing minded Objects; but a putting or setting it on some New thing, setting that on there where it was not set before.

The sinful heart of it self will run any way; up­on Earthly things, upon evil things, or upon Imperti­nent and unseasonable things; not come to, or keep [Page 36]upon that it should intend and mind: Therefore it must be taken as by strong hand, and set upon spiri­tual things, set on Musing and Meditation of hea­venly things. A carnal heart is like the Loadstone, it cleaves to nothing but Steel or Iron, and both of them easily unite: but the heart must be of another property, and act in a higher way. And a good heart, though it thinks too much Earth-ward, runs often wrong; yet it will set it self in its thinkings right, on right Objects, make it self and them to meet and unite. Psal. 119.112. David tells us, how he did, he inclined his heart to Gods Command­ments, both to keep them, and to meditate on them. He took and bent his heart, as a thing bending too much to other things; set his mind on Musing on it. He found his Heart and the Law of God too far asun­der, and so would continue, unless he brought them together and made them one. If he had not brought his heart to the Word, he had never Meditated: The Object cannot apply it self to the Mind, but the Mind must bring it self to the Object. No Holy Duties will come to us, we must come to them. Many in a secret folly and sluggishness, would have things do alone of themselves, without their stirring or act­ing: but they mistake, 'tis something like to Mahomet the Deceiver, who once told the People that were met by his means, to see him have a Mountain, upon his call, to remove and come unto him: but when the Mountain would not come, he boldly then tells them, if the Mountain will not come to Mahomet, Mahomet must or will go to the Mountain. What he did attempt in pretence, and act in impudence, but was fain to go at last to the Mountain, that would not come to him: I say, like to this we are ready to [Page 37]do in slothfulness, we look that Duties should come to us, that they do themselves, and we do nothing: But that which will not come to us, we must go to it: We must bring and set our hearts to this and all other Duties. There must not be a letting the Mind lie still; that so matter of Meditation may come to us, and make us Meditate: But we must bring and set our hearts to Objects of Meditation, and make this Happy meeting, of Excellent Objects, and this ex­cellent Musing power. This is the more to be Con­tended for, in that this work of Holy Meditating hath so many busie Adversaries, but chiefly in the constant progress and carrying of it on.

Ah 'tis extreamly against the grain of a natural heart, to be broken off from its customary wildness, wandrings, and rangings of thoughts.

To cage up it self, and become tame and tuned to serious Musings and Thinkings Heaven-ward. In the best heart, that sin that so easily besets us, it will be ready quickly to interpose, and cut off the Passages, otherwise open.

O how the heart strives to beset and block up all Passages, when we are beginning to enter on this Work! All the whole Garrison of dis-inclinations and repugnancies, the Hellish heart, venoms, and contrarieties take instantly the Alarm, and endea­vour to hinder the hearts conjunction with spiritual Objects by this Meditation. The Soul under its Complications of Lusts and Corruptions, is as if you had a Bowl of many Biasses clapt upon it, all ready to draw diversly, but all from the Duty in hand: And as Natural Corruptions will be acting Contrarieties and Diversions; so old Customary Evils, haunts and wonts will be calling upon us, coming to give us [Page 38]their visits, calling us off to some other way.

Satan also, and the Power of darkness will not be absent at this time, that may turn so much to his prejudice, but he will be sure (if he any way can) to divert thee totally, and cause the whole current of thy thoughts to run out in useless Impertinencies.

Great Circumspection must therefore be still used in our settings upon this Duty: A work well begun is half done. This is the Fourth Requisite, the bringing the Heart and a Spiritual Object to meet, and be brought to the Eye of Consideration.

CHAP. X. Meditation in a serious Thinking.

5. MEditation includes, as an Application, so an intension and seriousness of thoughts.

Serious Objects, and serious work, must have thought-seriousness: an earnestness, and acting the vigour of the thinking power. We can think slight­ly, but this we call not Meditation; but serious and earnest minding must be ever an ingredient of due performed Meditating.

In Scripture it is sometimes exprest by the term of Considering. Psal. 119.95. I will consider thy Testimonies: That is, mind them with a serious and earnest thinking. So Psal. 77.5. I considered the years of old; he acted in not a slight Eying, but serious Musing.

Thus Solomon in his Ecclesiastes, often expresses it, by the term Considering; Eccl. 4.1. I Considered all [Page 39]the Oppressions under the Sun: And v. the 4. I Consi­dered all Travel. Consideration (besides the bring­ing of the Mind unto a thing) includes also serious­ness, an intension of the Mind upon the Object. Sometimes in Scripture it is exprest by the word Pondering, Prov. 4.26. Ponder the paths of thy feet: That is, earnestly mind them. So Luke 2.19. Mary is said to ponder the sayings of Christ in her heart; she made it a work of great seriousness.

There is a slight and easie thinking, an acting of thoughts cursorily, and when a thing is out so soon as in; and the thought off so soon as on: and there is a serious thinking.

The Mind of man hath not only an ability to act, but can put forth an exceeding great seriousness. That as in things Natural they have not only power to act, but can also act intensly and vigorously.

Thus in things Inanimate, as in Fire, how hot and intense may it be? In brute Creatures, how earnestly can they act, when they put forth their strength? As the Horse in running, the Eagle in flying. In things Artificial, to what intense degrees can divers Instru­ments and Engines operate, and discharge them­selves? O what can this Engine of the Mind of man effect? what heights of seriousness can it arrive at? What contributions of earnestness can it pay in, when it is highly concern'd, when it is edged by some real or supposed grand interest; as some weighty Affair, urgent Business, some imminent Danger to be e­scaped, some rare Pleasure, high Preferment, vast sum of Treasure, or such like Engagements? Yea what can the Mind, as to a high seriousness, act sometimes upon Objects totally unworthy of the thoughts? vain thoughts can be very eager and intense.

If we can be so serious in matters inferiour, cer­tainly Divine and Spiritual matters must needs claim a far greater share of seriousness. There should be no earnestness of thoughts on any ground or interest whatsoever, like to this Meditating Earnestness.

There are several spheres of seriousness of thoughts which we may observe men move in, Steps and Ascents of Seriousness.

1. Country-men, in their lower ways, have their plodding seriousness; how earnest do divers of them appear in minding of their Occasions, which they account great?

2. Citizens, in their higher ways, have their high­er and more improved seriousness. O what are the various earnestnesses, how strange and amazing to consider, are the daily beatings of Brains, and intend­ings of Thoughts, on daily occasions by multitudes of persons in avast City?

3. Students and Scholars, in their ingenious ways, what intense and earnest Musings do many of them habit themselves to; and what improved Height­nings of the ways of studying to they contend unto? The highest seriousness makes the best Scholar.

4. Statesmen and Souldiers, what seriousness do their Grand and Important Affairs for the Publick (that lies at the stake to be preserved and advanced) engage and draw forth? How great is the great Po­liticians seriousness about his Designs?

5. Debauchery and Vice hath its sinful seriousness. Sensuality, Uncleanness, contemplative Fornication hath in all Places and Ages given highest evidence of unparallel'd seriousness: what ever hath raised and wound up the seriousness more; as in amorous Poe­try and wanton Romances, and such like filthy [Page 41]writings appears? All sorts of Vices and Lusts, the lower they lie in the sink of the sinful heart, the high­er they act, in saddest seriousness and studyings for carnal satisfaction.

6. The Black Train of Hell and Devils, have their unspeakable heights of Seriousness and Musings for Souls-destroyings.

But whatever Spheres and Heights of seriousness there can be, spiritual things of Right, must chal­lenge of every Christian, a far other and better seri­ousness.

The perfect Rule of Religion obliges Christians to out-do all others in their greatest seriousness.

7. Doubtless the Saints in all Ages have excell'd in this kind. In their Retirements and happy En­gagements between Christ and their Souls.

Such as Enoch, who walkt with God, such as the o­ther holy Patriarchs, such as Job, and other eminent ones. And peculiarly David, that so rare Artist in this way: What may we also say of the Holy Pro­phets, blessed Apostles, glorious Confessors and Martyrs, and the eminent Saints and excellent Lights of the Church? these no doubt have been highly serious, in their Heavenly Meditations.

Certainly the rare Artists of the World, neither Apelles in Painting, nor Phydias in Carving, nor De­dalus in Contriving the Labyrinth at Creet, nor Ar­chimedes in devising his Mathematical Instruments, nor Plato, Aristotle, or any of the great Philosophers did arrive at greater seriousness in study, than the Worthies of Christ in the passages mentioned before, neither than that seriousness of such as lived after the Apostles; as holy Ignatius, Cyprian, Justin Mar­tyr, Ambrose, Austin, and others of the Ancients, [Page 42]rare men in Contemplation: And such as not only the Blessed Reformers abroad, Luther, Melancthon, Bucer, Martyr, Calvin, Zanchy, and others of them were, but such of our own Martyrs, holy Cranmer, Latimer, Bradford, and the rest of that glorious Ar­my; and as many after them, in the several parts of these Nations; one of which would say, he thanked God, that for twenty years together he had studied no­thing but the Bible and his own heart. I believe none of those Philosophers and Artists ever acted any seri­ousness to that height and sweetness, that the holy ones of Christ have done.

But it is time to come now to the next thing.

CHAP. XI. Meditation in a searching and scanning.

6. THis Meditation, besides Application of the Mind to the Object, and intension or seri­ousness on it, includes a searching and scanning, or diving deep, an extension of thoughts, a looking a­bout or endeavour of Comprehensiveness, in respect of the Object, so far as we can. To make as perfect and full a view of it, and to see into the Dimensions and Extents of that we think on. Thus when a man studies a thing, He endeavours an Extensive and a Comprehensive seeing, and having the fullest view. He sets it not before him to see a little, but the most he can.

The Scripture phrase I cited of Proverbs 4.26. and that of Luke 2.29. of Pondering, includes this [Page 43]particular likewise we now are to treat of. In pon­dering there is both first the Minds applying it self to a thing, and the intending its acting, and then this third of an acting, of searching and diving into it, or knowing what we can of it.

Pondering is an Expression taken from Goldsmiths, and Tradesmen, that desire to know the full weight of a thing, and thereby the value or worth for their profit and use: Thus the Merchant weighs his Mer­chandise, the Goldsmith weighs his Silver and Gold, the Jeweller weighs his rich Pearls, Rubies, and Dia­monds, to know them more exactly. There is ex­ceeding great weight and worth in Heavenly and Spi­ritual things: Meditation must hold the scales, to weigh, so well as we can, these so rich and precious things, these Diamonds, and Pearls of Heavenly Treasure: yea weigh them as things that unspeak­ably surmount all other things. As Prov. 2.4. Wis­dom must have a searching for, as for hid Treasures: as the searching for, and searching in the Gold and Silver Mines; in which there is not only great ear­nestness of search, till the Rich Vein is discovered, but being once found, there is a following it with ex­actest Industry, and utmost Curiosity, to find not a part or quantity of the Treasure, but all the Riches scattered over the whole Mine, part after part. A Christian in his Exercise of Meditation, must act the part of the Exquisite Miner, to dig deep, dig over all the Mine, and gather up the Riches of it, the lesser and greater quantities, as they come to view, in the Mines of Spiritual Treasure. Travellers tell us, that in the Persian Gulf at a certain season of the Year, great store of a kind of Shell-fish is to be found near the shore, in which Shell-fish they find [Page 44]the precious Pearls bred in their Shells: But the way of finding them is by Diving, there are men that have an Art of Diving down to the bottom of the Sea, and bringing up their Baskets fill'd with these Shell-fish; the Shells being opened, they find and take out the Orient and Rich Pearls, of several pro­portions, some of them very great and rich; where­by they greatly enrich themselves and those that deal in them. Meditation is the Spiritual Mer­chants Art of Trading for Heavenly Riches, Pearls of great price; but there must be a Diving deep. If we have not this Art of Diving, we shall lose the rich Pearls: the deepest diving down in the practice of Me­ditation, comes up with the Greatest Returns of Soul Enrichments.

Solomon in Eccl. 7.25. hath a very emphatical Ex­pression, to hold forth this we are upon: Our Tran­slation hath it, I Applied my heart, but the Hebrew hath it, I Compassed, and my heart that is Compassed to search, and seek out Wisdom: Or, I and my heart Compassed, so in the Margin we have it. There's Coming upon a thing, and a Compassing a thing, the heart in Meditating is to compass in a thing, as well as it can. They say in Philosophy, that wisdom lies in Perspection, Introspection, and Prospection, that is, in viewing throughly, all over, viewing inwardly; and viewing what may be eventually, what may be the issues of things, it prys into a thing, and looks round about a thing: makes the Mind endeavour an Ex­tensive and Comprehensive knowing, as was said. Me­ditation in Spiritual things, should be like Nehemiah when he came to Jerusalem, and would go view it; He went and viewed first one part, and then another, till he had gone round. So Meditation looks [Page 45]largely, views what it can take in and consider.

As God took Moses to the top of Mount Nebo, Deut. 34.1. shewed him all the Land of Promise, part after part round: Thus when we go up this Mount of Meditation, we must search, view, look round, take in as large a prospect as we can.

This is the Sixth thing Meditating includes as to the Object, a spreading our Eye, looking as largely, and seeing so much as we can, for the Ability and Opportunity is given us.

CHAP. XII. Meditation is a Dwelling of thoughts.

7. MEditation includes a Dwelling or a Com­moration of the Thoughts upon the Ob­ject, drawing out the Golden thread of Holy Think­ing to its due length, giving the mind its full scope and allowance of Abode on the meditated matter. Meditation is in Scripture, and oft particularly in the Book of Ecclesiastes, exprest by the phrase of Considering.

In Consideration, there is, 1. Application of the Mind to an Object. 2. Intension upon it. 3. Pon­dering of, or searching into it. And this 4. thing of Commoration, or the Dwelling of the Thoughts for some due space of time, for viewing and reviewing. For second thoughts, bettering of Thoughts, and bet­ter compleating this great Soul Affair of Meditation. This Meditation needs must have that allowance that all Great Musings and Considerings have. Such as [Page 46] Rare Artists, Exquisite Engineers, Deep Philosophers, and great Statesmen, all Noble and Ingenious ways must have for their times of studyings: they must have their due space of time for thinking, and lengthen out their mindings in that time; to make as we say, no more haste than good speed. A staying a while will make an end the sooner, make the work the surer.

Meditation is not a hasty hurry of thoughts: that's Precipitation, not Meditation. It is not gathering half-ripe Fruit, that which hath not its time for the Influence of Heaven to come down upon it, and its own internal principle and power of its Nature, to produce a kindly maturation, a kindly ripening. We will not have (for want of time) our Bread dough-baked, or meat raw-roasted: knowing that which is not rightly prepared for the body, may breed Distempers, if it bring not Death. It is not the way to thrive, look well, and be strong, lively and chearful: why should we gather our souls pre­cious fruits half-ripe? feed our Souls with dough­baked Bread for want of a little time? Some things must have Infusion for taking forth the Spirits and Tinctures of Colours. Others a due time for per­colation and straining, for a segregating and seperat­ing of the finer parts from the Feculent and Dreggy: And some things a longer space, in a slow and constant Fire in the Operation, or the cost and labour is lost: Intensions for effecting things greatly beneficial and admirable, are most freely allowed a larger proportion of time, both for frequencies and Repetitions of Musing seriously. But O how too ordinarily do the best of Saints fall short of the actings of Rare Artists, in their higher Operations, in their stands and abodes [Page 47]of thoughts for more curious Observations, and n­tellectual satisfactions: Usually we are too hasty and eager to have Duties over. The Soul is in pain till it be delivered of them. In Meditation it is hard (sometimes at least) to take off the thoughts for it, from preingagements of other thinkings, and apply them to the duty. But harder to become duly seri­ous in acting in it, harder yet to Dive and Ponder, and hardest of all to hold up in an abode of thoughts, and dwell long enough, and after views to make reviews, to re-act the same thinkings, to taste things over and over, when the freshness and newness is past, when by long thinking the things before us seem old; we are ready to grow dead and flat in a performance, except we stir up our selves often in it. It is hard to hold on and hold up, unless we hold up a wakeful Eye, a warm affection, a strong and quick repeated Re­solution; yea, and without often lifting up the Soul to Christ, for fresh recruits of strength to hold on. David that so excellent Artist in this way, saith he will Meditate, Psal. 119. often saith he will. Doubt­less he not only said I will, when he was to make his entrance into this hard work; but likewise for continuance in it, to keep up his heart from flaging, till he well ended his work. It is not the Digging into the Golden Mine, but the Digging long, that finds and fetches up the Treasure. It is not the Diving into the Sea, but staying longer, that gets the greater quantities of Pearls. To draw out the Gol­den Thread of Meditation to its due length till the spiritual ends be attained. This is a rare and happy Artainment: This is the Art, but of the ends of Meditation we shall speak hereafter.

CHAP. XIII. Of Affectionateness in Meditation, or the life and lustre of it in the intermixings of sutable Affections.

THree things we proposed in treating of this Divine Meditation.

  • 1. The right Preparative to it, fervent Prayer.
  • 2. The main Foundation of it in the free choice of the Will.
    • 1. To firmly purpose a right work that it be sincere.
    • 2. To purpose and intend a wise work.
    • 3. To design a warm work.
    • 4. To have it earnest against lets and opposi­tions.
    • 5. To have it a successful work.
  • 3. The Forming and Finishing of it. For the Forthing and Constituting of it, which is,
    • 1. By a Reverential frame of heart stir'd up, an­swerable to the Duty.
    • 2. By first sounding a Retreat of the Thoughts from all other Objects.
    • 3. By setting a strong Guard upon our slippery Spirits.

Then as to the constituting the work.

  • 4. By setting the Thoughts on the Object.
  • 5. By seriousness in Thinking.
  • 6. By searching of Thoughts.
  • 7. By a staying and abode of Thoughts.
  • 8. For Finishing the work, by intermixtures of the [Page 49]Life and Beauties of such Affections, as are proper and sutable for the Duty. It must be an affectionate act­ing, warm and zealous, lively and vigorous. So Da­vid's Meditation, Psal. 39.3. while musing the Fire burned. Not only it should be so eventually, but by way of concomitancy; when we Meditate with the Mind, we should be warm at the Heart: The fuel and fire of holy Affections, must come to the offer­ing up this Sacrifice. There must be an Affectionate acting, which brings the life and beauty into the body and face of the Duty.

They say Beauty must have these four things.

  • 1. Perfection or Intireness of parts, no part wanting.
  • 2. Proportions due, no part too great, too little, or unsutable: And proportion of Colour, White and Red in a just proportion.
  • 3. There must be Right Order of parts, that no­thing be misplaced.
  • 4. There must be spirit and vivacity appearing in the Face, as a chief Ingredient or superaddition to all the rest, as that which adds singular grace and lu­stre to all. So besides the parts and chief linea­ments, there must be that which compleats the Beau­ty of Meditation: Those things which are as, not only the Beauteous Colours, but the freshness, liveliness, and spirits aspersed, and appearing over all the Face of this Rare Piece, this Excellent Perfor­mance.

That as the Heart, with its Diffusions of Heat and Spirits in a due proportion, makes a comely, graceful, and lovely Colour, which in Heart-Distem­pers, Faintings, and Sinkings, disappear and va­nish: So the Holy Heart with its Diffusions of [Page 50]heavenly warmth and spirits, heavenly affectionate­ness, makes Meditation comely, beauteous, and lovely.

If Meditation be only Head-work, and not Heart-work, it is like a Picture without life; like a Stu­dent that studies in a meer acting of Wisdom only.

The right and genuine Meditation is an affectio­nate thing: as the Head acts, the Heart glows. The life veins of warm Affections run and disperse them­selves through the whole Duty, and give lustre to it. This we may see in the Meditations of that great Artist in this kind, in holy David you may see a beau­ty and excellency of Holy Affection mixt and inter­woven, like the Gold in the Tissue with the Silk, and sparkling in his this-way-acting. Affections ap­pearing set as so many Rich Stones, Rare Beauties, and Glories among his various Musings.

There are Three sorts of Affections that shine glo­riously in David's, and other holy mens Meditations, left upon Record in Scripture, which needs must be patterns to provoke us to imitation.

  • 1. The Affection of Desire.
  • 2. Of Love.
  • 3. Of Delight. I shall briefly dispatch them.

CHAP. XIV. Of the First Affection, Desire.

1. THat Affection of Desire wound up, and let out to pantings and longings Heaven­ward, and being above, in this Heavenly Exercise of Meditation. David with his Meditat­ing of God and his Word, he tells us what longings and heart-pantings he had. Psal. 119.20. His Soul breaks for desire, which he had to Gods Testimonies: How was this? to have the Book of the Law? no it was to be exercised in it, to an improving of Medita­tion on it. Ps. 1.2. Ah he could not Meditate enough, act freely enough, far enough: The Commandment was so exceeding broad, as he saith, Psal. 119.96. so very broad, and his heart so narrow: Sin so in­compast and straitned him, that his Soul breaks, that he could have no larger thoughts. Such an edge and eagerness of Affection, such a large, strong, and ve­hement desire, should be an attendant, an assistant of Meditation, one strong Feather impt and added to the Wing of Contemplation to make it mount up fast to Heaven.

Ah, say Christian, Lord that my soul could Medi­tate still better, flye farther, mount higher, be more upon the wing, make sweeter and more happy dis­coveries, and prove a greater proficient in this Hea­venly way! Meditate with desires and breakings of Soul, to dart up the highest you can to Heaven, and stay there.

CHAP. XV. Of the next Affection, Love.

2. THe next Affection, which sends a Great Artery of vivifical Heat, a glowing Heat into this Meditation, is that of Heavenly Love, Love to the Duty and the Excellent things to be Meditated upon: Love is the great Heart Fire, made to warm every holy service: Ps. 119.97. O how Love I thy Law, it is my Meditation all the day? Love led him into this pleasant soul walk of sweet Medi­tation, and Love kept him company, kept his heart warm in it. The fulfilling of the Commandment is Love, Rom. 13.10. and Love is the fulfilling of this Commandment of Meditating: It is performed in Love. This Heart vital Heat of Love, must move to and in Meditation: must glow through the whole work all the time of it. Meditation is either of the infinite beauties of the most blessed God, the infinite perfections and surpassing glories of his Essence and Attributes, and of the Three Persons in that Es­sence: or else of the precious Word or Works of God, his general Providence and Government, or his pe­culiar Governing of the reasonable Creatures, espe­cially that so stupendious work of Redemption by Christ, and all those things which are reducible to his praise; which must needs, being so beauteous, have their surpassing loveliness. And therefore there is great reason to act love abundantly towards them: To have Meditation still richly perfum'd with actings of burning love all over it.

O let Love ever come in and act its part in Medi­tation, wherein the Souls Eye is not only glancing, but wishly viewing the surpassing beauteous things of Heaven, or such things as may lead up to Heaven. Ah if I cannot ascend in a Flame of love, yet let me in Meditation flye up in some sparks of Love. If my heart cannot burn in the flame of Love, let it keep warm upon the Embers of Love. Let Love give it a spirit, vigour, and liveliness: As Solomons Temple was inwardly all overlaid with Gold, let this rare work of Contemplation be overlaid and inlaid with Love: Cant. 3.10. as Solomons Chariot in the Canti­cles, the midst of it paved with love; so let this Cha­riot of Contemplation the midst of it be paved with Love.

This is the Second Affection, Love.

CHAP. XVI. Of the last Affection, Delight.

3. THE last Affection, to make a threefold cord, to draw up the heart in Meditation, and that winds the work up higher, and that is a great superadded Beauty and Glory, is the Affe­ction of Delight, Joy and Pleasure.

Meditation must not be a dull, sad, and dispirited thing: Not a driving like the Chariots of the Egyp­tians, when their Wheels were taken off, but like the Chariots of Aminadab, Cant. 6.12. Make me like the Chariots of Aminadab, that ran swiftly: So let us pray, Lord in Meditation make me like the Cha­riots [Page 54]of Aminadab, that my swift running may evi­dence my Delight in Meditating. Holy David makes Delight such an Ingredient or Assistant here, that sometimes he calls this Exercise of Meditation by the Name of Delight, Psal. 119.16. speaking in the foregoing Verse of this Meditation, I will Meditate in thy Precepts; in the 16. verse, I will Delight my self in thy Statutes: which is the same with Medi­tation, only with superadding the excellent qualifica­tion due Meditation should have; This Name is given from this noble concomitant.

As Wisdoms ways are all paths of pleasantness, so this path it hath its pleasantness and sweetness: Con­templation hath its rare and most pleasant walks: No Habitation hath such Rooms, such Galleries within, of pleasure: Nor Gardens without with such Walks and Curiosities: No Situation, or Stand, such Pro­spects and varieties of delightful Eye-Objects as Me­ditation enjoys. All Objects that Nature or Art can present to the Eye, are meer Shadows and Nothings in respect of the rich and rare Furniture the Eye of Meditation is provided with. The Traveller, whose fect and helps have carried him the farthest, whose Eye and Observation hath viewed and taken in never so much variety and Curiosity, that hath recreated, ra­visht, and satiated it self never so largely, with any of the most taking things the whole Worlds fullness comprises; hath not, cannot come neer to, and com­pare with the transcendencies of purest, highest, Soul­refreshing, ravishing Delights, this high Operation and more sublime acting, conveighs and gives in: where the Object is spiritual, the Eye Spiritual, the heart holy and spiritual, and the way of acting up­on this Spiritual Object is Spiritual, as every way or [Page 55]Ordinance of Christ is. Or where the Object is ex­cellent, the faculty exercised on it is excellent: the Medium or way of Applying the Faculty to the Ob­ject is Excellent: There the Delight and Pleasure is most rare and excellent.

There are sundry sorts of pleasures: There are sensitive pleasures of the external Senses, as of Hear­ing, Seeing, Tasting, and the like: These are very various and very great, too often too bewitching and besotting.

There are Phansie, Imagination-pleasures: I say the pleasures of Phansie, which are rare and higher than those of the outward Senses: Imagination and Phansie which is a quick, sudden, short, and shallow apprehension of things (it is not judgment that ponders) but a sudden slight taking in and acting: this is (especially in some sorts of persons) a very high Spring and strong Feeder of Delight or Pleasure; of Pleasures that come like things fresh, quick and spirited to the Body and Senses. Phansies, O how they perfume, like richest scents, please like briskest and most racy Wine! Phansies (though often very fond and vain) yet are great insets of Delight.

3. There are Intellectual Pleasures, Rational Joys and Delights: These are more high, sublime, and re­fined, and therefore more sweet, such as the Plea­sures of understanding new, rare Notions, excellent Speculations, and apprehensions of solid and preci­ous Truths, and the Minds Musings on them, Tast­ing, feeding on them; this in it self is a more tran­scending Delight than the two former; though Phansies weigh more with some, yea, though sensual Pleasures take most with abundance.

4. But there are beyond the former, namely, [Page 56]those that are spiritual Pleasures, Delights found and felt in a holy and spiritual Heart, in one that hath a Principle far above Sense and Phansie, and Na­tural Reason: that a renewed Mind, a Spiritual Un­derstanding, a Wisdom from above only reaches and relishes; and these are best and sweetest, when they are not only taken into the Soul, by an act of appre­hension and conceiving of them, but when they pass into the more inward Room, or Office of the Mind, into the Judgment; when they are there detained in Consideration, and by Meditation give down their de­licious sweetness, like Grapes in the Wine-Press: Me­ditation is such a Soul Engine, such an instrument of such a manner of Operation, that nothing in the World, the highest Objects of Sense, Phansie, or meer Natural Reason, can act with that Complacency and Delight.

Solomon in his Ecclesiastes, that rare Record of his so large and infallible Experience of all things for Pleasure and Delight, tells us he found nothing so sweet, and which he could act upon with that Delight, as when he acted up in Meditation, Eccl. 12.13. Da­vid oft expresses what joy he acted, in this soul-engage­ment: yea tells us as he did, so he will delight him­self in it, and the Heavenly Objects of this Hea­venly work: Heavenly things and a heavenly heart meeting in Meditation, will act and make the purest pleasure.

Meditation therefore must have this Attendant of Delight; which like a flame, like the Chariot of Eli­jah, carries up the soul in musing into Heaven.

CHAP. XVII. Some other particulars added in some special Scripture expressions.

BEsides these three Affections of strong Desire, ardent Love, and holy Delight, that like Heat, and Spirits conveyed from the Arteries (arising in the heart) into all the Body, to adde to and com­pleat what we have in some measure exprest; there are these Three or Four things, I shall a little speak to.

  • 1. Meditation should be a work very savoury on the Palate of the Soul.
  • 2. It should be sweet and pleasing to it.
  • 3. It should be with satiety in it.
  • 4. With an Admiration, as the Crown on the top of it.

1. It should be performed, not as a thing that is dis-relishing, but savoury to the Spirit in the doing: Rom. 8. Those that are after the Spirit, savour the things of the Spirit.

There are some things are unsavoury in themselves, others though savoury, yet not savoury to some Pa­lates. The things of Heaven are none of them in no degree unsavoury in themselves: Meditation is not so in it self, but to a carnal Spirit, it is one of the greatly unsavoury things, greatly displeasing and dis­rellishing: But to the Spiritual man it is not so, but a work singularly savoury, like Isaac's savoury meat, like feeding at some noble Feast, where a good sto­mack, and a right Palate, feed and savour, still sa­vour [Page 58]the delicacies and varieties successively, every thing is savoury. There are some things savoury, as Nature yields them; others, and in great variety, as Art reduces and orders them; and accordingly there are very admirable diverfities of savoury things, which have their degrees of savouriness: What great varieties are there made by Art, from the meanest food, to the highest delicacies? yet in the Gospel Feast of Fat things full of Marrow and Wine on the Lees well refined, in the Feast of all heavenly varieties; Meditation hath more unspeakably rare dainties, than all that Nature or Art can yield. 1 Cor. 2.9. Eye hath not seen, nor ear hath not heard, what God hath prepared for them that love him. Not the greatest of the greatest Princes, not Solomons most Glorious reast, not Assuerus. his Royal Feast, not any of the Persian or Roman Emperours so much spoken of in Histories, could occasion a Feeding with such high savouriness, as may be had in the rich and preci­ous things Meditation hath to feed the Soul with. Therefore, O let Meditation be still most savoury, let every spiritual thing be very savoury; as there are more varieties of Objects, and higher degrees of Excellency in them, endeavour a sutable, an exten­sive, and an enereasing savouring: As men at a Feast pass from the first Dishes to the after Dainties, with a more eager feeding and better relishing. This is the first thing.

As Meditation should be savoury, the soul well relishing of it; so likewise

2. It should be sweet. This I further adde, in that the Spirit of God is pleased to honour this pious expression of the Holy Prophet (by recording it for us) who after a most heavenly Torrent of Elegancy [Page 59]in expressing the surmounting Excellencies of God in the wonderful ways of his workings and go­vernings, says there in the close of Psalm 104.34. His Meditation of God should be sweet. How sweet must Meditation be upon infinite sweetness, and from whom all other sweetness, Creature-sweetness, Word and Ordinance-sweetness, derives it self?

Psal. 119.103. O how sweet is thy Word to my taste, sweeter than Honey to my mouth! This must be chiefly by Meditation: It is that which presses and sucks out the rare sweetness in the Precepts, so Holy and Righteous: in the Promises, so precious: in the incour agements, so high: and in all the ex­cellent things in the so perfect word of Christ. He not only asserts the sweetness he found in Meditation; but is transported with high Admiration: And when he could not speak of it to the height and ful­ness, then (which is our usual manner) when we are at a loss for expression in words of comprehensive­ness, to wrap up our selves in the elegancy and terms of an Interrogation and Admiration; yet not contented with this way, for fuller representing his experimented sweetness, he takes up a comparison, says sweeter than Honey, which in that pure Air of that blessed Land of Canaan, was the most surpassing sweet Honey in the World. Yea, in Psal. 19.10. Sweeter than Honey, and the distilling of the Honey-Comb, which is the sweetest of all others: But this was in holy Meditation, that made the Honey melt in his mouth, and give down its sweetness. Meditation that drives the Hive, drains the Honey, and drops in the delicious sweetness into the Musing Spirit. Lord teach us the way of this Heavenly Art, and make this Honey drop, and the Heavenly Manna of Di­vine [Page 60]Truths fall richly into our hearts. This is the second particular.

3. Meditation may and should be attended with an Heavenly and spiritual satiety: Psal. 63.5. My soul shall be satisfied, as with Marrow and Fatness, when I remember thee on my Bed, and meditate on thee in the Night-watches. His rare hours introduced and made returns of Heavenly satisfaction.

The largeness and excellency of it he sets out by a very sutable expression, satisfied as with Marrow and Fatness, which to the stomack yields the best satisfaction, the speediest and sweetest, the most large and lasting. No food satiates better than Marrow and Fatness. So Isa. 25.6, 7, &c. The Gospel Feast, is a Feast of Fat things full of Marrow. There are the Fat things of a perfect righteousness applyed, of a full pardon obtained, of Reconciliation and Peace with God made, John 1.12. and glorious Adoption conferred through Christ, the Feast of the Feast, together with the satisfaction of the blessed Image of Christ, in the beauteous lineaments of Ho­liness and righteousness, light and life, of all Graces and Excellencies, and all drawn to the life, and wrought up by the Holy Spirits Inhabitation and O­peration, and arising from Believers happy Union and Communion with Jesus Christ and his fulness. And likewise as a glorious superaddition, that of Assurance of a most happy condition, and of the un­changeable love of God, and that blessed Hope of Eternal Life, which strews Sugar, drops unspeakable sweetness and satisfaction upon and into the holy heart, 1 Pet. 1.8. These and sundry others are the fat things full of marrow, and make up the Feast; and are from the actings and industries of this happy [Page 61]way of Meditation: As therefore the Heart is hun­gry and thirsty, in continual Lingrings and Long­ings, and never quiet, Meditation must carry it to this royal Gospel Feast, and thereby meet with a blessed fatisfaction, not being contented with the sight of the Feast and the delicacies of it, without attaining some happy satiety.

The Prophet Isaiah mentions one dreaming of eating, but when he awakes his soul is hungry: If we look not well to it, Meditation may be but such an unprofitable thinking, as when we have ended it, we may miss of this satisfaction, find our souls empty. It must be still so managed, that it prove a help and cure to my Soul's inordinate lingerings, and improve to a spiritual satisfaction.

Plutarch in his Morals tells of one Pythos, who finding a rich Mine of Gold, and out of his eager desire to have the Treasure in the Mine, was so continually attending at the Mine, that he neglect­ed his comings home to his Meals: To confute his covetous industry, his Wife one day (instead of providing him food) prepared nothing but Golden Dishes, with several sorts of Meats cast into the forms of sundry things edible, but all of Gold; whereby he could observe a curiosity of invention, but was disappointed of feeding and satiety. We must not in our Meditation content our selves with feeding the eye for curiosity, but endeavour feeding the Soul unto satiety, heavenly satiety. Ah let my Spirit mind more a fullness of satisfaction, than newness of Notion; carry it from Head-work to Heart-work, from bare speculation, to rare and ra­vishing satisfaction!

This for the third particular, Soul satiety.

4. Admiration. Let me, to set the Crown on the head of the Duty, adde one thing over and above, let Meditation be carried up to admiration; not on­ly should we be affected, but transported, rapt up, and ravisht with the beauties and transcendencies of heavenly things, act Meditation to Admiration, endeavour the highest pitch, coming the nearest to the highest patterns, the patterns of Saints and An­gels in Heaven, whose actings are the purest highest Extasies and Admirations. Thus were these so excel­lent Artists in Meditation, David an high acter of Ad­miration in Meditation, as often we see it in the Psalms, so in Ps. 8.1. and the last Verse, Ps. 31.19. O how great is thy goodness? &c. Psal. 104.24. O Lord how manifold are thy works? &c. And in other places Davids Meditation and Admiration were as his Harp well tuned and excellently played on, in rarest airs, and highest strains; as the precious Gold, and the curious burnishing, or the richest Stone, and the exquisitest polishing and setting of it. So blessed Paul, who was a great Artist in musing, acted high in admiration, his soul was very warm and flaming up in it: It was as a Bird with a strong and long wing that soars and towers up aloft, and gets out of sight.

Thus sundry of the Ancients, as holy Austin, Ber­nard, and others of those, who have recorded their rare hours of Meditations and Transportings of Admiration, liftings out of themselves, and liftings up to Heaven. A precious Minister of Christ oft in his life time would wish, he might die in the heavenly Exercise of singing a Psalm, in which he used to be transported in Meditation and Admi­ration: At length he had, in singing a Psalm, his [Page 63]holy wish, dying in the performance; whereby he was rapt up (after his ravishment, in the Duty) into Heaven, changing his place, but not his work. Ano­ther, a man eminently learned and heavenly, riding with a friend in his Coach, he fell into a rare Con­templation and Discourse of the glory of Heaven, and the beatifical vision; in which he was so highly ravisht, that within a short time he was suddenly taken from this Earth, to take his possession of that Glory he had so before in Contemplation.

Thus I have weakly endeavoured some explica­tion of this happy work of holy Meditation.

It must first be begun with fervent Prayer. It must be founded in a purpose of, 1. A right work. 2. A wise work. 3. A warm work. 4. A strong purpose of earnest striving against all impediments. 5. An endeavour of the kindly issue and success.

It must have likewise,

  • 1. Putting on a holy Reverence and Awe.
  • 2. A Retreat of thoughts from all other Objects than such as we are to muse on.
  • 3. A strong Guard must be set to keep off all diversions.
  • 4. A setting on the thoughts on the Object.
  • 5. A seriousness of thoughts.
  • 6. A searching of thoughts.
  • 7. And then a staying and dwelling of thoughts.
  • 8. An intermixing of heavenly affections, 1. De­sire. 2. Love. 3. Joy. And Meditation should have 1. A savouriness. 2. A sweetness. 3. A satiety. 4. Come up and be carried on with holy admiration.

There remains one thing more to be spoken of in the Description given of Meditation.

CHAP. XVIII. Of the Ends of Meditation.

MEditation we described to be an institution of Christ, and duty of a Christian, wherein the Mind acts upon spiritual things, or other things in a spiritual manner, by a due considering of them, and this to holy ends or spiritual uses only: Now the Ends of Meditation are three.

Three great Ends of our Meditating.

  • 1. Such as refer to the most high God.
  • 2. Such as respect our selves.
  • 3. Such as relate to others.

1. Such as refer to the most high God. Medi­tation is to be the motion of the heavenly spirit, Hea­venward; to carry it up to Heaven and keep it a time there: A looking of the Eye of the mind, and a lifting up of the heart, a making a stay, and taking a spiritual solace in Heaven with God.

All Duties we perform must be done to the living God, Heb. 9.14. to serve the living God. If other­wise, our Duties are but dead works, loathsome as dead Carkasses. A living work must have for its supreme end the living God. God that is the first and best, must have the first aim and levelling to.

They say in Philosophy, the last end must have the first intending: The first looking at, as the first ground and mover to any work. And as they say in Opticks (the peculiar Art that treats about the nature of seeing of Objects) Quod primo radiat, est [Page 65]primo visibile; that which first irradiates, sends forth that which through the Medium first conveys it self to the Eye: This is first visible, and that is light.

The first thing the Eye of Meditation should fix upon, is that which is the light of lights, and that is God, who is all Light, Beauty, and Glory. Me­ditation should be chiefly acted to see God, and to aim at glorifying of God above all, 1 Cor. 10.31. Whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.

The Gentiles wise men, and great Philosophers, because their speculations were not acted to the glory of God, were vain imaginations, Rom. 1.

Whatsoever the aim be, if the glory of God be not the real scope; nay if it be not the master mark, the work is miscarried; and but a ravelling out of Time, a losing of Labour: Meditation must make sure of the right method, and order of aiming the glory of God, like the Sun in the Heavens that out­shines all other Lights below and above, and that which is to be seen before, and above all others; so this must be eyed and aimed at likewise, far before all other.

Three things to be eyed. Ah we should eye, 1. The Infinite Glories and Resplendencies of the Eternal and All-sufficient God. 2. The infinite distances and heights he is in above us. 3. And the infinite Ob­ligations that ever lie upon us, to exalt him beyond all.

As in the making of our whole man, whereby he is total owner of us, and proprietor in us. And in our preserving, whereby we are yet more highly bound. And in the provisions for our Eternal happiness, which is far beyond all the former.

Therefore there's an absolute necessity of this Me­thod [Page 66]and Order, of still first aiming every Duty, and Acting at this grand mark; and then to make it the striving and pressing hard of our Spirits to it. O that in my thinkings, in the ascendings of my thoughts, this glory of the great God may ever still ascend: For no thoughts nor actings can truly ascend, if they go not up to the blessed God and this glory of God; if God goes not up higher in our thinkings, they then go not higher than self, and which is but indeed down­ward, and not upward at all. Nay, 'tis a worse de­scent than that also, 'tis Destruction and Hell-ward whatsoever is Self-ward, and is not to the advance­ing of the great God. Meditation is not only to be acted to God as a Duty, but as this Duty, in its pecu­liarity and propriety, as being a peculiar streight line to God, as a singular way for our taking aim, this high aim at exalting the praises of God.

Thus did that rare mark-man, holy David, as it is admirably conspicuous in the Psalms, in Psal. 103.12. In the very entrance he lays a strict, a repeated command upon his Soul and all that is within him, to bless, and bless, and praise God: Yea not only lays his Meditation level to the mark; but raises up his spirit to take the purest, the fullest aim; this both by a selecting and improving of spiritual reasons, the strongest he could find, and the most quickning Mo­tives he could apply, all that his heart might carry up (in a heavenly flame) the highest praises of God. Thus you shall see him very frequently acting his Me­ditation up with the greatest fervour to this exalt­ing highly of God.

Meditation is a peculiar visit made to the great God; a Mind, a Thought visit, wherein as to a great friend, the Soul, as it were, comes and saith to God, [Page 67]Lord, I come to see thee, I now come purposely to see thee, to spend some fit portion of time with thee, and I come for that high Honour and Observance I am infinitely obliged to tender to thee: Every Medita­tion is giving a fresh visit, and thereby a new tender of highest Honour we own to this best of Friends, This is the first end.

2. The next end, is our highly pleasing of God, which by Meditation we are to intend: God will be both obeyed and pleased with our respecting and acting of every appointed way; Meditation is the best way, the most pleasing way of thinking. Col. 1.11. We are to walk worthy of the Lord to all pleas­ing. Therefore this must be performed to an intend­ed pleasing, a due serious thinking, a pondering and dwelling of the thoughts upon heavenly things, and chiefly upon the infinite Beauties and Excellencies of God who is the perfect Thought and Heart-knower, the exquisite Searcher and Observer of Soul-actings: But then most, when purposely pleasing is designed: This must very highly please him, when we especi­ally design pleasing, with our most wishly eyings of him, yea, to intend the doing our best to please him, and this, O how should it greatly also please us! Da­vid, Psal. 19. last v. prays for pleasing God, Let the Meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord my strength and my Redeemer. So it is not on­ly to be prayed for, but made the holy aim of Me­ditation with our utmost care. Favourites to great Princes, what industries do they use to please them, especially that their thoughts offered in Counsels may be acceptable? Thus, how did Philotas, who was Alexander the Great's Favourite; and Meeenas, Augustus his Favourite? and so among our selves di­vers. [Page 68]But how near goes it to them. if their Coun­sels please not? as with Achitophel when his Coun­sel pleased not Absalom; and on the contrary with Hushai, when his Counsel pleased. So when Ha­mans Counsel was rejected; and how contrary with Mordecai, when his Counsels were resented? Plea­sing of a Prince is a great encouragement: But plea­sing of a God, is a sweet Soul Contentment; it is most worthy striving after: O how unspeakably sweet will the finding and feeling of this, prove in thy heart, when Meditation is performed purposely to please thy God; when it runs in a pure stream, when thy spirit reflecting on its actings in Meditating, makes discovery of this holy aim of high pleasing the most high God? As the Scripture commands pleasing, the Saints are peculiarly commended and greatly ho­noured for it. As with wise and well bred people (obliging and pleasing in good things) great plea­sing is a great praise. As Abel, Enoch, and others from this character of pleasing God. It is a heavenly ambition to earnestly design pleasing, as in all o­thers, so in this walking with God in Meditation.

CHAP. XIX. Meditation respecting our selves.

2. AS there should be such aims relating to the great God, so Meditation must have its ad­vantageous aims respecting our selves.

  • 1. The Grand Scope and End of our own hap­piness.
  • 2. All other Subservient and Excellent Ends.

1. The grand End of our own happiness, and working out our own salvation, is the next spiritual end, that Meditation as a mighty Engine should set on going to effect. It should be sure to be ordered up, and duly aimed at, acted according to the ap­titude and fitness of any way in it, to further this important end: Musing and right Meditation hath a most rare tendency and helpfullness, as to the work­ing out salvation. As it is a sanctified means on Gods part: so it must be an earnestly employed help on our part: We must Meditate ever so that it may help on salvation; we must mean it and level it sure, not any way deceive our selves, but take the best and surest aim. Salvation challenges the best eying, the fullest, steadiest, strongest aiming of every way and help. Soul happiness must not have slender aims, we cannot have aimings too serious and in­tense.

Let my aimings here have the keenest edge of se­riousness, be elevated the highest, made the firmest and the most extensive: Let them take in universally, [Page 70]whatsoever may most instigate to, and quicken in this high operation, proportionate it to this working out salvation, the so great Gospel Salvation.

Thus did the prodigal (who represents the Re­turning sinner) when sensible first of his unspeakable misery; and thence apprehensive of the great ob­tainable Felicity, the so glorious Gospel salvation; never did he so act any thinking, made such warm work of it as now. In like manner the Jaylor, Acts 16. having such a dreadful awakening from sense of a lost condition: O what a pondering of Salvation was that, from a heart so warm'd and edg'd? when Extremity of Misery hath the deepest sense, Meditation of Salvation and Recovery hath the highest seriousness What can have such a thinking, as when one thinks for life, and that eternal? Let Meditation take in 1. Those Considerations that are most awakening, that unspeakable misery comes upon us by sins so innume­rable: As contracting on the person such horrid guilt, and conveying into the heart such hellish filth. Every sin with the aggravations contracting a debt to Divine Justice, and that entered into God debt Book, which we never can pay or get pai [...] without a surety, but must bring destruction in E­ternal fire.

3. Then weigh the great uncertainty of life, and how certain death casts every one upon an Eter­nal state unavoidably, upon inconceivable Eter­nity.

4. Then must be weighed the Mighty Enemies and multitudes of hinderances lying in the way of escaping.

2. Next come the Considerations that are the most highly encouraging to strive to enter in at the [Page 71]strait Gate, such as the Scriptures fullness supplies. O how great and prevalent are those in the Gospel, to wise and warm us, to strengthen and heighten Me­ditation. As Eternal life, which in the believing heart is already begun, with sure promise of carry­ing it on to perfection, by our yet co-working with the holy Spirit of Christ, working in all his, which we must do continually: Phil. 2.12. Work out your own salvation, &c. What may I say of conjunction with God, by union with Christ, by Faith of Com­munion with Christ, in justification and par­don of sin, a most glorious righteousness, reconcilia­tion, adoption, with a sure title to Heaven, and the glorious graces of Christ, his image, holiness, wisdom, life, power, peace passing understanding, joy unspeak­able, with establishment, growth in grace, victory o­ver all Enemies.

Ah what wishly lookings should we exercise daily at this so great salvation, and the transcendencies and perfections of it; and at last such an outlet of all evils, such an inlet of all good, such a Crown of Glo­ry, with all the inconceivable Excellencies of it, and the perfect fruition and vision of God for ever.

I have been longer on this than was my purpose, yet shall crave leave for one thing more, and that which is (after all momentous cousiderations besides) the greatest, of strongest influence and efficacy, that is the vastness, inconceivable vastness of Eternity: Not Eternity meerly in the abstract, only considered in it self, but in reference to misery or felicity. I say, to all other inducements adde Eternity; hang on this great weight of Eternity of Misery and Felicity. Endeavour with thy utmost Art and Industry, by all resemblances, to have che liveliest and most opera­tive representations of it.

Breathe thy soul often by healthful exercise here, breathe thy soul frequently up this Hill of Eternity. whatsoever thou meditatest on, let still this be one Object, entertained in thy serious thoughts, this vast Eternity: Let this have its due time.

2. Holy Meditation hath, besides the former, several other excellent ends to be aimed at and im­proved to. As Artificers do with their Gold, beat it out sometimes to its utmost ductility and exten­siveness: Improve this Gold of precious heavenly Objects, beat them out to the utmost by this Ham­mer, this art of Divine Meditation.

The Art of Medtiation will, like Solomons Temple overlaid with Gold, overlay thy heart with Christs pure Gold, and make it rich and glorious.

Ah therefore Christian, act up thy Meditation to these precious ends, and chiefly lay a mighty stress upon that so momentous thing, Eternity of Son. Misery or Felicity.

So I have at last dispatcht these first things.

CHAP. XX. Of the partieular Ends of Meditation in respect of our selves.

THere be various Ends of Meditation respecting our selves: I shall mention, among others, these seven particular Ends, relating to our own spiritual advantage.

  • 1. For a principal improver of saving Know­ledge.
  • 2. For to make our Knowledge Clear and Di­stinct.
  • 3. To found a Rich Treasury of Truths, and make them sure.
  • 4. And to be an introducer of habitual wisdom, an acquired habit of wisdom, to the first given wisdom, in heart renovation.
  • 5. For a Kindler of Heavenly Fire, and Flame in the heart.
  • 6. For a Mighty Corroborater of holy pur­pose.
  • 7. To be a constant quickner of the Christian course.

1. Meditation is for a Principal Improver of sav­ing and heavenly Knowledge: To set as it were more Lights on the Golden Table in the Temple of the holy heart, to repleuish the Golden Candlestick with more and better Lights, and glorious burning Lamps, to yield clearer light in the dark heart. Psal. 119.97, 98, 99. I am wiser than my Enemies, for thy Commandments are ever with me; thats in [Page 74]Meditation continually, as v. 97. Thy Law it is my Meditation continually, or all the day, v. 99. I have more understanding than all my Teachers, for thy Te­stimonies are my Meditation, and v. 100. I under­stand more than the Ancients, &c. Heres an assertion in a kind of gradation of the successfulness of his ho­ly Meditation, namely understanding, wisdom, and excelling in them: Wiser than his Enemies, yea than his Teachers, yea than the Ancients, that have had longest time, largest opportunities for greatest Know­ledge and highest wisdom.

Meditation is the ground, inlet, and improver of Knowledge. It is not the great and much reading makes the Scholar, but the studying and pondering that is read. It is not the reading much that makes the knowing Christian, but the meditating on what is read: Reading without Meditation is like swallow­ing much meat without due chewing; that makes a lean man, so this makes a lean mind. Many read and hear Much, but understand little; because they bring themselves so little under this Ordinance of Meditation. If thou wouldest be right excellent in Knowledge, be rich in it, and of a higher stature in wisdom than others, as David was; strive to write after his rare Copy in abundant Meditating.

2. Meditation is to make Knowledge clear and distinct. The Apostle, Phil. 1.9. mentions love, its abounding in Knowledge and Judgment, and in other places we have mention of discerning and judging. As to matter of Learning in Arts and Sciences, they have the most clear and distinct heads, have their No­tions most methodical, distinct, and most mellow, who muse most; contrary, those are the weak and easie Scholars that muse least. Divers Christians have [Page 75]their heads full of raw confused things, a company of broken ends, Notions of small use to themselves or others, for want of due digestion in Meditation: Gold Oar without refining and sound hammering is of little use; want of Refining keeps the Metal base, want of Hammering makes it brittle, it will not be burnisht up to a full and perfect brightness, it will not obtain a just firmness: You cannot have so rich Plate or Ʋtensils, no Vessels of it for your special use. The minds of too many Christians lye strewed over with precious truths, but neither clear or distinct: They are like Houses or Closets where the rich things, Furnitures and Rarities lie covered over with dust, or want brightening; or are so dissevered, lie so scattered and out of place, that scarce any thing is for any present use. So there may be multitudes of Notions and Truths in the mind, but are obscure and confused, a dust covers them, a Curtain is drawn too far over them, they are of little use, because Meditation is little used: Me­ditation is that, and must be that which methodizes them, that sets them in order: Meditation brightens them and helps for to make them clear, helps them to a lustre. Clearness, and distinctness will not be had without giving down-weight in due Medita­tion: And without a clear and distinct apprehen­sion of things they are of little light to thee Christi­an; of less influence as to others instigation and in­couragement. A Scholar that hath his Notions raw and obscure can make (at the best) but a Bungler. An Artificer, any Tradesman that hath not his Art, but imperfectly, will make of it but a mean way to live and subsist: he that understands his way in Religion, will prove the wise, warm, and fruitful Christian.

3. Meditation is to be a chief help to the Reposi­tory and Treasury of Truths, to lay and lock up store of precious and useful Truths more sure, to fix the lights of truth firm, make them stand fast in the mind. Serious Meditation is a great advantage to memory, the Souls Treasury, that lays up pre­cious Truths in the close conveyances of the under­standing, and locks the Doors fast: Such as Medi­tate most, will have the surest memory for things heavenly.

Holy David, to lay up and hide the Word in his heart, as Psal. 119.11. did it as, by other, so by the way of Meditation: As in the 15. Verse, by Medi­tation, and v. 97. Continually. As Truths came to him, so made he them sure by Meditating: his Trea­sury and Stock grew richer and were kept the safer. As in Scholars, not the multitude of Books, or great Reading will make a Treasury of precious Notions, and make them sure for use, but the due afforded al­lowance to the clearing and fixing of them by Me­ditation. Christians that Meditate will be rich in knowledge, and keep it sure.

CHAP. XXI. Of the next particular, the fourth end to produce habitual wisdom.

THE next particular end of Meditation is to produce an habitual wisdom, in the Mind of a Christian: To be a moulder and former of the spirit into habitual wisdom, to superinduce upon the first Fundamental (that infused wisdom, given in reno­vation and heart-change) I say to the first saving wis­dom, to superadde and introduce an habitual wis­dom (acquired as they call it) such a wisdom as makes a Christian more knowingly and wisely skillful and ready for his way and work; to be beyond a meer Learner, to prove an Artist for working out his own salvation.

There is an infused knowledge, and an infused wis­dom, a wisdom stampt upon and given into the Mind in its first renovation and conversion, for then a man ceases from being a stark fool for salvation, as the Scripture makes all in the state of Nature, Prov. 1.22. &c. but by conversion and change of heart, and by union with Christ first, and then communion with him, as the wisdom of his members; by this they become wise, by an infused wisdom, whereby they are wise indeed, wise to salvation; wise where­by the right and chief end and happiness is discern­ed, and the right way and means to that end is dis­covered, and both thereupon designed and intended. But this is but a lower measure at first, a Seed, a grain [Page 78]of Mustard-seed, as the Lord compares the state of Grace begun in the heart, Mat. 13.32.

But beside the former infused wisdom there is re­quisite an acquired wisdom, a superaddition to the other: This is a noble help, and an improver of the first; that as to the Eye of Reason and natural wis­dom, Learning and Experience and Exercise brings in an Habitual wisdom, enlarging the Natural. As it is with a Scholar, or an Apprentice to a Trade, First his Tutor or Master infuses principles for the wisdom or skill of his Profession or Trade, where­by he can a little begin to act or work, make tryal, though but in an imperfect manner; but then by minding and musing of his instructions, and by ex­ercise he comes at length to an acquired habit, to act and work knowingly and with facility, because he hath a new wisdom to understand his way. But without minding and musing he would never have had the way, the Art or Trade intended. Meditati­on (beside others) is a singular help to Habitual wis­dom, to attain the Art and Trade of Christianity, Prov. 14.8. It is the wisdom of the wise to understand his way. And Eph. 5.17. Be not fools but wise, under­stand the will of the Lord. Though they were ex­cellent Christians, by the large measure of wisdom they at their first conversion received, yet he calls up­on them to seek for more, to improve the wisdom infused to farther wisdom, to a spirit of wisdom, to an acquired habitual wisdom, to be Artists in their way, and excel in it. Nothing doth so mould the mind into habitual wisdom, as Meditation; nothing so improves and enlarges spiritual understanding, makes to understand our way and rule of walking, as Meditation, as serious and repeated thinkings.

In natural, or any Civil Affairs, wisdom in and about them is not obtained by bare thinkings, slight, short, and transient thoughts, or by seldom, and now and then in a fit to think and away, but by serious thoughts, weighings and ponderings, yea by frequencies and constancies of thoughts and mind­ings. This way of thinking makes a man wise in his way, Trade, or in any business emergent: Its im­possible to be wise with this acquired habit of wis­dom, without taking time, making a stand, an abode of thoughts, and those serious also.

If we are hasty, short, give not due allowance of Time, and down weight of thoughts, serious thoughts, we will not come up to habitual wisdom; nor likewise we shall not act as wise Christians are required to do, if habitual wisdom be wanting: No man can act wisely, or in height or eminency of wisdom, except he act by a perfect principle, as the Angels and Saints in Heaven do, or as a perfect Ar­tist, that hath a perfect skill and hand at some Art or work: The most of good Christians, though they have true saving wisdom for the substance, yet have little, very little wisdom to understand their way, little of this acquired habitual wisdom. This is the reason of their being so frequently to seek, so at a set, and at a loss, not knowing what to do: The want now of this wisdom, is from want of Medita­tion, serious and frequent musing to frame and mould the mind into habitual wisdom, and so increasing in wisdom daily.

That a Christian may be an Artist, and have his Trade, have head and hand adapted and readyed for it, this must be by habit, through custom and use. There are these four special things, excellent advan­tages in a habit among others.

  • 1. It lays in ability for doing.
  • 2. It induces facility in doing.
  • 3. It breeds delight and complacency with doing.
  • 4. It holds up evenness and constancy in doing.

A Scholar or an Apprentice put upon Employ­ment for learning an Art or Mystery: At the first he wants (for the present) the ability to act as an An­tist, a Logician, a Philosopher, or the like, and so the facility, pleasure, and constancy cannot be come at; because they are the higher steps or stories built upon the first, that of ability: But when by time he hath accustomed himself in a way, he comes to an habitual knowledge and skill, and that habit brings ability to do; and with ability goes facility, easiness to act in the art or way; then with facility is pleasure and delight attending, what we do with ease is pleasing. Then what breeds Pleasures, brings also constancy, and doing with evenness and equality. O how desirable is this wisdom in Christianity, how highly is it to be contended for, to have this wisdom, this Art of go­ing to Heaven, of living to the living God, to arrive at a doing with an improved wisdom, a wisdom of superadded ability, with a happy facility of acting, a sweet delight in acting heavenward, and a beau­teous, a glorious evenness and constancy: Not to be and remain still weak in our Trade of godliness, not be to seek so oft, as not knowing our way in divers cases, not to drive so hardly on, not to be so dull and heavy, nor yet so unevenly and brokenly to carry on our work, but with all forenamed advantages, to be daily still experienced to higher encourage­ments.

This is a grand end of Meditation to work up to [Page 81] habitual wisdom, to help a Christian to excel in this soul Beauty of an exquisite Artist and Operatour for Heaven and Eternity.

CHAP. XXII. Of the fifth End of Meditation to kindle and enflame the Affections.

5. MEditation hath not only its excellent ends and uses, relating to the understanding and mind, but also is of singular use relating to the Affe­ctions. Meditation is that which keeps alive the fire on the Altar, and helps to make it burn: It is that which both gathers the sticks, the fuel, and ma­terials for keeping the fire from going out, and that which kindles them, blows upon them, and makes them burn and flame up to Heaven.

In the Levitical Law, the fire upon the Altar must never go out, but it was kept burning by the Priests continual minding it: If they had not minded that fire continually, it would have gone out. The fire in the holiest heart it must be kept in, kept burning continually by Meditation and constant mindings: Me­ditation is a great Heart-warmer, it renews and en­creases spiritual heats, drives away dulness and dead heartedness, brings a new life, strength and vigour in­to the spirit, when it faints and flags.

They say of the Loadstone (that wonder in Nature) when either by carelesness in keeping it, or by some accident it loses its virtue, yet by laying it some good space of time in the filings of Steel, it will again re­cover [Page 82]its virtues; when the spirit of a Christian by not looking well to it, loses of its heavenly heat and liveliness, the way of recovery is by laying it asteep in this so warming and quickning Meditation. O how burning and flaming may we often observe the spirit of the holy Psalmist David, in his acting of Meditation? As Psal. 39.3. My heart waxed hot within me, and while I was musing the fire kindled or burned; Musing made him hot, yea burning hot at the heart. Thus oft in the beginning of a Psalm we find his heart low and discouraged, but as this Mu­sing was acted and heightened, his spirit grew hotter, and at last flies all on a flame, flies up to a very high pitch of heavenly heat. O how do all the consci­entious Practisers of Meditation, ever and anon ex­perience these happy heavenly heats, and heart-en­largements! Ah if all the Saints so glorious heart-quickenings were gathered together, what a rich Chain of Pearls, Pearls of rare Experiences, would they make up of the heart-warming Efficacies of Me­ditation?

Meditation is a mighty Engine to kindle cooling hearts, and make them flame in fervency: The Rule of effecting a business, especially entangled in diffi­culties, is first as they say Removendo prohibens, & applicando promovens. That is, by removing the Obstacles first, and then applying furtherances. Me­ditation is instrumental to heart-warmings and quicknings: First by making a grand inquest into the occasions of heart-coolings, and helping to remove them. Then secondly, by stirring up to the effica­cious means of warmth and quickening; its a rule a­mong the Schoolmen, that every Negative is founded in an Affirmative; that is, every not doing is founded [Page 83]in some positive act of doing something else. And as to the like purpose, we say in Philosophy, The in­tention of one thing is the dis-intending of another: Meditation makes an enquiry, and thereby a disco­very of that which hinders spiritual heat: The ex­tinguishing of fire and heat in Nature, is either by casting on much water, or smothering it, by either throwing on much incombustible matter, or hinder­ing the airs openness, and its free coming to it, which choaks it, or by withdrawing the Fuel upon which it feeds. 1. Meditation finds heart-coolings to proceed from a giving way to and the present pre­vailing of some corruption or lust, that like water quenches the fire. They say that some rich spirits and rare extractions, if taken in some acid or sour Liquor, the sowr Liquor turns the edge of those spirits, and frustrates their operation: As cold clammy humours at the head of the Nerves or Sinews, stop the course of the Animal spirits, and occasion the Numm, or dead Palsey: Or as some cold Poison taken in, quenches the vivifical heat and spirits, endangers if not in­duces death: So a corruption or sin let out and gi­ven way unto, chills, and cools, and quenches the heart-heat, and the longer yielded to, the cooler will the affections grow.

A Sin given way unto, damps the heart-warming Ordinances, quenches the heart-warming spirit, ob­structs thy communion with a heart-quickening Christ. Hoseah— Whoredom and Wine, and new Wine take away the heart: what is there spoken of a more total taking away the heart in evil men, is true of a gradual taking away the heart, the heat and liveliness in godly men.

2. Meditation on due Enquiry finds heart-coolings [Page 84]to arise from Christians smothering their heat with heaping up businesses and troubles upon themselves, launching too far into the Seas of worldly Affairs and over-carings. The thorny ground had the word choaked by cares and affairs of this life: what cares and business doth to the Word, it doth to the hearts warmth; can thou entangle thy self in the matters of the World, and thou wilt cool apace. The far­ther a man Travels from the Sun Northward, the cooler he is: Turn your face from Heaven to the World, go far, and you come to not only cool, but freeze. Or as she in the Roman story that out of a design to enrich her self, contracted with the Ene­my to betray the Castle, for that which the Souldi­ers had on their left arm (meaning their Golden Bracelets) but the Souldiers, instead of their Brace­lets, threw their Shields on her, whereby she instead of being enriched was smothered.

To engage in a throng is the way to be smothered: The world will smother thee if thou engagest too far, it will still cool thy heart-heat, make thee of a warm and lively, a cool dead-hearted Christian.

There is a Fish call'd the Torpedo, if you touch it with your bare leg, or hand, it presently nums that Limb that toucht it: Touch with thy heart upon the world, it will leave it num; there's no such way to keep in thy heat, as to keep out the world, avoid the danger of a Crowd of businesses and cares.

3. Meditation upon searching, discovers the de­cay of heat is from decay in heart-warming Ordi­nances, where the Sun of Righteousness shines warm upon thee, whereby the Soul-heat is both preserved and encreast.

Abatings of heavenly heat, arise from drawing [Page 85]away the fuel of heavenly duties, or thy own re­missness and negligence in them.

If a man shall cast away his Cloaths, leave his food, and decline the means of preserving heat and life, he must needs grow cold, if he be not quickly kill'd. If a man reads not, meditates not, prays not, hears not, or is negligent and formal herein, he must needs like a dying man grow cold: It much depends upon the lively performance of holy duties, that you keep Heart-warm, or that you decay in your fervour by carelesness in the means: Meditation will mind you of this, and put you upon mending it in time.

The Angel of the Church of Ephesus, Rev. 2. for­sook or left his first Love, his Heart-heat; and Christ intimates, he had left off his first works.

2. Meditation is instrumental to spiritual vivacity and warmth, applicando promovens, by helping to apply the things, that recover and promote heat and liveliness. I will name but two things in this, 1. Me­ditation mightily helps here, by being a great in­strument of searching out, applying and working home the Scriptures Heart-warming considerations, such as the quickning Spirit, the inditer of the Scri­ptures, that knows what things are most proper and proportionate for recovering or increasing heat, what he hath left upon record to use in this case.

As consideration is the first mover in the soul, so warm considerations are the first warmers: O what a latitude and fullness hath Meditation to fetch heart-warming considerations from! If the Eye looks up to the Heavens, what abundance of Heavenly bodies, for conveyance of light and heat it soon discovers? [Page 86]But if the eye of Meditation looks into the Scri­ptures, what a prospect of various rare and glorious passages is there to be found of Considerations? Like abundance of richest Spirits, highest Cordials, and preparations of all sorts, in Artists Shops and Closets. O what heart-warming considerations can Meditation fetch and apply from the infinitely blessed God, his infinite Excellencies, Eternal Love, sweetness unspeakable, of the sense of his Favour, and the like: Ah what heart-warming considera­tions from Jesus Christ, to behold him and view him all over, in all he is in his unexpressible Glories? In all he hath done, whereby he hath out done all that ever was or shall be done?

What warming considerations in respect of the Holy Spirit, the grand and mighty applyer of Re­demption, by his habitation and operation? What in respect of the Word, the Precepts, Promises, Threat­nings, and Examples in it of sundry sorts, all for our help and comfort? What of the Covenant of Grace, so sure and sweet? What in respect of our selves, souls state, and all the great concerns of it in salvation? Meditation can never want heart-warm­ing considerations, can bring stores of Arguments of all sorts, and blow upon them, to make the heart kindle and flame, although it was chill and dead, and never so low brought.

Lastly, this Engine of heavenly Meditation pro­duces heart-warmth and vivacity, by taking thee out of the shade and cool, and leading into the Sun­shine of Heart-warming Ordinances, wherein the Sun of Righteousness arises, and shines warm, and his quickning spirit breathes warm upon thee, Rev. 2.5. As a cure of cooling and decaying Love, Christ [Page 87]counsels the Angel of that Church of Ephesus; first to repent, and then to do his first works. Negligence in holy Duties, omission of them, or remisness in them, introduced a cooling of his Love; therefore what was lost by not doing, must be recovered by such a doing as the first was; that his first works done again, might be a rekindler of his first Love: Disuse of Exercise abates the natural heat and vi­gour, but returning to it, will again recover it. Me­ditation when it finds the failure and defect, will provoke and engage to the just Remedy and Re­lief.

I have now dispatcht at length this second End of Meditation, its being for quickning the Affecti­ons. The next follows.

CHAP. XXIII. The End of Meditation in reference to the will.

MEditation, as it is to be a helper to warm the affections, so for a means to strengthen and fix the holy purposes and resolutions of the will: It is not a wavering and weak purpose, or a feeble resolution will serve for a foundation for building so high as Heaven, for carrying on so great and hard a work as soul-saving. The Scripture mentions cleaving to the Lord with purpose of heart, Acts 11.23. Holy David often in the Psalms tells us of his will, his pur­pose of heart, and his heart was fixed, Psal. 119. and Psal. 108.1. Meditation is singularly instrumental here.

1. Of fixing and deeper rooting of the grand ge­neral purpose of pleasing and glorifying God, and working out our own salvation.

2. It's greatly instrumental for corroboration and for strengthening the lesser Roots of derivative pur­poses, that spring from the grand purpose, that are the particular Abettors and Helpers of the main and general forementioned purpose. In every holy heart there is planted at first conversion, that fun­damental and noble purpose of pleasing and glorify­ing God in all things without exception: This pur­pose also must be often renewed, have its reiterations for corroboration. There must be also derivative and subservient purposes, particular purposes, in refe­rence to advancing the main purpose, and the Souls chief end and intendment, purposes for particular soul-concerns, particular Duties either respecting Mortification of particular corruptions, and parti­cular self-denials, or that respect particular graces and duties, in the seasons required for them. Every particular Duty and Soul concern, must have the hand of a peculiar purpose lent it to assist it. Right undertaking, as it must have the mind acted in wis­dom to direct it, so it must have the will acted in pur­pose, deliberate purpose, to effect or endeavour it. Grace in the will must work it into a due purposing for the particular occasion of every particular in­cumbent Duty, Purpose of heart to ground Perfor­mance.

The Scriptures give frequent instances of both ge­neral and particular purposes this way practised. First of the general and grand purpose; thus David very often in the Psalms declares, so Psal. 119.8. I will keep thy Statutes; there's a general purpose [Page 89] superadded to the first purpose that he did when he first gave up his heart in conversion to his God: Thus in the 69. Verse of this Psalm, I will keep thy Pre­cepts with my whole heart; there's another general purpose. And Psal. 116.9. I will walk before the Lord in the Land of the living, there's another of his added general purposes for serving God. Psal. 119.57. Thou art my portion, O Lord, I have said I will keep thy word. There he tells you what he had done in the time past, he had said, as in the former he saith, what he would do for the future.

So in the 106. Verse, he tells you what a purpose he had taken, such as had a confirmation of an Oath, or as some express, it had quasi vim Juramenti, as it were the strength or force of an Oath, yea here tells you what he did in time past, and what he will do for the future: I have sworn, there's the time past: And will perform, there's purpose for the future: A recalling of his old purpose, and a renewing of a fresh purpose to back the old. So others of the Saints in Scripture are to be observed, to accustom themselves frequently to strengthen the first general purpose, with the additions of frequent following purposes. As Jos. 24.

So for particular purposes, for particular coming occasions, we have frequent instances of holy mens practices. In reference to avoiding sin, Psal. 101.3. I will set no evil thing before my eyes. In refe­rence to taking heed to our ways and words, Psal. 39.1. I said I will take heed to my ways, that I sin not with my tongue. In reference to trusting on God in difficulties, waiting upon God, worshipping God, praying, praising, and all sorts of Duties and Graces, Love, Joy, Hope, Courage, Constancy, and the like.

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Purposes and Resolutions general and particular, and the frequent use of them: Linking purpose to purpose, strong purposes are still necessary for every Christian that will work out salvation: Yet all must be done in the strength of Christ, else they will not hold, but wear out, and snap asunder.

Now Meditation is rarely instrumental herein.

1. Instrumental to make our purposes wise, we must ponder and consider before we purpose; rash purposes and more sudden, without due bottoming in a previous Meditating, will prove but miscarryings and abortions. They are like foolish building on the Sand, they soon fail: A purpose, the more delibe­rate, the more durable.

2. Meditation helps to make purposes strong and firm; we have need of strong purposes for the great things of Eternal life: we have strong opposition from corruption within, and temptation without: Meditation helps mightily to strengthen Resolution.

1. By repairing to your spiritual Magazine, and thence fetching forth strong spiritual Arguments to raise strong Resolutions and Purposes. Arguments out of the rich stores of Scripture, of all sorts and natures, to relieve the weakness of the will in pur­posing: Meditation acts a Divine reasoning, disputes you into a purposing, when it shews you have so much for it, and nothing at all against it.

2. Meditation selects and sharpens Arguments, sets home, and improves them upon the conscience, that you must yield, must resolve, and firmly, strongly, in such matters as none can be higher.

O how many strong and unanswerable Argu­ments can Meditation come furnisht with, to di­spute against carnal unresolvedness, to plead for your [Page 91]acting strong Resolutions for any part of an en­joyned Duty? What weight can it put into the Bal­lance to cast the Scale for Gods and your Souls inte­rest? I need not name the heads of Arguments, such as the indispensible necessity of the Precept and means, the great sinfulness of unwillingness, the excellency of the thing, with the sweetness, comfort, confidence, and advantages attending it: But this I shall adde, The excellency of a Christian lies chief­ly in his will; and the excellency of that will is in the height of its purpose and resolution, freest pur­pose and choice, firmest resolution and determina­tion for the work he came into the world to do: And the great Assistant, on our part, of holy resolu­tion is holy Meditation, applying fit reasons to stir up resolution, and instigating to all those ways that breed and cherish it. And this latter is another par­ticular whereby Meditation is a relief and fortifier of good resolutions and purposes.

2. Meditation, I say, is a great strengthener and sta­blisher of holy purposes, both as it is a directive, and instigative; as teaching us what are the ways to help us in purposing, and as instigating and provo­king to the Ordinances and means, that will water the Plants of holy purposes, make them root deep, and shoot up high, flourish and bear fruit. If our purposes are weak; if our hearts in pur­posings are apt to slip out of joint; no sooner set, but as soon slipt, or ready to dislocate and be out of joint; what remedy then have we but consideration or falling to meditate, to make a true inquiry first of the right and proportionate ways of healing this will-malady, this heart-infirmity? 2. And then Meditation instigates to a due use of discovered [Page 92]helps, of infirm and inconstant resolutions, draws you to and through the whole circle of means, pro­vokes you to try every Remedy to cure these abor­tive purposes. It directs and leads you to all the Ordinances of help, to the promises that make over help, to a Christ and all his Fulness of help, to the holy Spirit for his applying effectually of help, to stirring up Faith, to acting recumbencies and restings on Christ in the Promises, to stirring up our selves, to humble our selves for our failings in our purposes, and to strive against them, watch our hearts slipperi­ness, and to labour keeping our resolutions and pur­poses better. In Natures order, doing is upon re­solving, resolving upon considering; so in grace, per­forming is upon purposing, purposing arises from pondering and meditating. The Saints in Scri­pture that acted the highest resolutions, exercised the deepest Meditations, as we see, in that man after Gods own heart. Fits and flashes of Phansie, never breed firm purposings; but such resolutions that lie longest asteep in due preceding Meditation, have the deepest tincture and holding Colour. Longer I have been upon this particular, as a point more ma­terial, because the art of raising and fixing, height­ning and improving holy resolutions, is such a hap­py fruit of Divine Meditation, ordered to that blessed End.

CHAP. XXIV. Of Moditation as a grand supporter of the Christian course.

4. MEditation is for a constant keeper up and supporter of the Christian course, as to the evenness of this Golden thread, without decays, sinkings, stands, and interruptions. 2. As to im­provements and goings on to perfection. 3. And as to conflictings with Enemies and Oppositions.

This was holy Paul's practice, by still taking in the highest provoking considerations, minding and due pondering of them; it made him to labour so abundantly, to press so hard to the mark, forgetting the things behind, and looking to the things be­fore.

He meditated on the Price of the high calling, kept his Eye on the Crown of righteousness, he kept his Eye alway on the stores and varieties of Gospel encouragements.

A Christian of the greatest consideration will ever keep up best his evenness and constancy.

New fresh Meditations are new Soul feedings, new meals, which adde new strength and vigour; they make a Christian like Elijah, when he had eaten, to travel with new strength to Horeb the Mount of God.

There is a Beast in the West-Indies they call Pi­gritia, which signifies sloth, for its strange slow pace, which is going fourteen days a stones cast; [Page 94]and they have contrarily a glorious Bird call'd the Bird of Paradise, that is seen generally flying, and in a very expedite motion.

Divers for running the blessed race of Godliness, go creeping slowly, making little haste or progress, cer­tainly they meditate little. The swiftest of foot in Christs way are the frequent serious Meditaters; Me­ditating makes the Birds of Paradise, the Christi­ans of the perpetual motion. I might adde more to this particular, but I hasten to the next.

CHAP. XXV. Of the End or Ʋse of Meditation in re­ference to others.

3. THe third and last End or Use of Meditation named, was in respect of others: As the former ends were in reference first to God, then towards our selves: So this we come now unto, is in respect of others.

Meditation in reference to others, to persons of all sorts, is to fill the treasure of the heart with good things, and to fit the good man out of the good treasure of his heart, to bring them forth to furnish others, and be serviceable to their spiritual condi­tion. Luke— The good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth good things. He first lays in a good treasure, stores himself with the riches of heavenly treasure, and then brings it out: It is not a work meerly of phansie and imagination, but chiefly of Meditation and Consideration: Imagination [Page 95]takes in varieties of things in a promiscuous manner, without differencing or distinguishing. Imagina­tion makes a collection, Meditation makes a selection and dijudication: Meditation observes what preci­ous things are offered us, and lays them up, and discerns what are not precious, and lays them by; yea by Meditation there is not only an old store laid in, but there will be also an adding of new. It is this rare Art of Meditation that both founds and fills the treasury with old and new: Phansie and Imagination, as it is in divers, may fill the mind with trash but not with Treasure, with things that glister, but are not Gold.

It is this Meditation that makes discerning be­twixt the precious and the vile, that takes up on searching the treasure found and discern'd, and lays it up in the treasury of a good heart: And this is first for the good mans own store and supply, but then it is also for to enable him to bring forth, for others use and help, to bring forth in first discourse, that is spiritual and savoury for the Nature, and that likewise is seasonable and sutable for the occasion offer'd, to bring and shew forth the Apples of Gold in their Pictures of Silver, as Solomon saith of a word spoken in season; likewise to hold forth things that are exemplary as to a fruitfulness in walking, to bring forth the good things of light to shine out, light of precious edifying truths, and light of rich and rare experiences, and to bring out the good things of a heavenly, quickning, comforting, and encouraging Nature. Meditation, as it is the great way of gathering up things that are useful, and filling the heart-treasury; so it is to be the way of direction to open it, and bringing forth in discourse [Page 96]the good things stored up: And by this imparting them to others, we our selves have a double advan­tage often following. 1. A clearer and more di­stinct apprehension; as Silver and Gold brighten by use, not by lying up. 2. A warmer and livelier Af­fection, and when they come forth warmer by dis­coursing, they are the apter to warm others and make their hearts burn within them.

This then is one End, one great and excellent End of this so excellent way of Meditation: That as face answereth to face in water, so heart may answer heart in warmth. When things have been well warmed in the Forge and Furnace first of Medita­tion, and then in our Communication; Fire may kindle Fire, and one warm heart may occasion a­nother. Discourse, that is the meer product and fruit of Phansie and Memory, and hath not some rise and tincture of warm Meditation; some discovery of heart-heat is like flashes of lightning, or the shining of the Moon; they make a shew, but warm not; No body is warmer by the one, no heart is warmer by the other.

CHAP. I. Of the several kinds or ways of Me­ditation.

WE now, from the divers Ends of Medita­tion, proceed to the several kinds, or ways of it.

Meditation is either that which is more set and solemn, or that which is more sudden and short. 1. That which is more set and solemn; and this is either the more ordinary and daily, or that which is extraordinary, upon some more peculiar Occasions, both which the Scriptures hold forth in the record­ed Precepts and Precedents therein.

1. The necessity of daily Meditation. The first way of solemn Meditation, is that which should be daily: That as private Praying and other Duties, are a Christians daily ways of exercising himself in Godliness and walking with God; so holy Medi­tation is one golden path in the great Road to Heaven, one way of breathing his soul daily up the Hill of Eternity, and meeting with God in the Mount.

Psal. 1.2. The holy Prophet makes it a Character of the blessed man, that he Meditates in the Law of [Page 98]God day and night: Where we have held forth, as they say, Gratiam & Gradum, the Grace and the Degree of that Grace; the Grace, he doth Meditate; the Degree, day and night: Thus much hereby must then be implyed, that as it is to be performed often, so it cannot well be performed by the Rule in this Scripture passage, if every day in course there be not something done this way, either more or less; cer­tainly we cannot give God and our souls concerns too much measure.

So Psalm 119. He tells us his daily practice, to Meditate both in the day and night. Now his Ex­ample, being a King and under such varieties of important Affairs; so many and so great as none can have more: And if he had still such cares, troubles, and dangers attending, might not these have ex­cused to some abatement of his constancy? but it did not: This therefore leaves all sorts of persons without excuse, none being able to alledge, that which he could, or not more urgencies of daily occa­sions: There is no doubt, that as it is a work lies up­on every one, so sure as the day returns and the fresh businesses of it; so this Meditating of right doth challenge for it self some fit season and portion of the day, being one of the great businesses for the Souls help.

As no Christian can plead exemption from this daily incumbency, this daily soul affair; so no good prudent Christian can conceive, but he may find out in the revolution of the day, some at least fit oppor­tunity for serious Meditation: Or if not in the day time (the time of action and avocation) yet in the night upon the Bed, the time of rest and freedom. What was said of that great Warriour Hannibal, [Page 99]making his way into Italy over the high rocky Mountains, the Alpes, with Fire and Vinegar, Han­nibal will either find a way, or make one; and is said of Love, It will creep if it cannot go; a good heart will find or make its way over Mountains of Difficulties and Business, to have Communion with Jesus Christ, Cant. 3.1, 2, 3.

Ah it is most sad, if I can allow so many hours in the night for rest and sleep, so many in the day for business and emergencies, so many for eating and drinking, so many for company and discourse, yea so much time for pleasure, play, for trivial things next to nothing, it may be for things worse than nothing, for sins and lusts, and that no part of the twenty four hours must be afforded for serious thinking, thinking of things ten thousand times more momentous and concerning than the total sum of matters, that sweep away and swallow up precious time so much. The good Christian cannot but at least close with the eternal obligation of this duty: And the wise and fruitful Christian cannot but yield some complyance with the practice of it, and let this come in for its due share in the time of the day, as one important bu­siness to be dispatcht, and that must still contribute to the right making of it up, and improvement of it. After some evidence of the equity of this daily Du­ty, I come to speak to the Nature and way of this Meditation. This being of all other sorts the prin­cipal, which therefore challenges a more distinct and careful handling.

If Christians very well understand not this way, or fall very short of the due manner and order of it, the work is neither so pleasant or successful as it might be and should be, and questionless is to Chri­stians [Page 100]such as are the great Artists herein, such as have been well practised and experienced in it. I shall therefore now endeavour to shew the Nature of it, and something of a Method of due proceeding in it.

In general, it is that daily exercise whereby we single out purposely some spiritual or useful matters, to act the searchings and ponderings, which ac­cording to our ability and opportunity of the day we can exercise for our spiritual advantage.

The Mind is a Spring alway running in thinkings, a Wheel alway turning, a Forge alway framing, a Wing ever moving; it is the most active, busie, nim­ble thing in all the world, therefore hath the greatest need to be well lookt unto, to be kept, as Solomon saith, Prov. 4.23. With all keeping keep thy heart; to be guided with the best skill and care, with the steadiest and stiffest rein, like a Horse of highest metal, ready to run away with his Rider; it will run wildly away, and carry the soul into vanity, folly, and self-mischieving. Meditation is a spiritual rein and curb, and the peculiar designed way to re­duce, rectifie, and order it.

To bring the hearts thinking power into the high­est subserviency, the greatest usefulness to the main, to the Souls grand interest: Therefore there is a great necessity upon every good heart, of daily and much Meditating.

CHAP. II. Of the manner and way of daily Me­ditation.

1. EVery Christian is to awake with God in the morning, Psal. 139.13. as David when he awoke was ever with God, at his awaking times in the night, by thinking of God: so chiefly when he awoke last, when the night was past, with all the dangers of it, and the day dawned, then the morning-star of Meditation arose in his heart. The first work in the morning is to awake with God, and the noble think­ing faculty, which upon awaking will instantly a­wake, and begin to stir, begin to act: Let it be a­wakened into this sweet way of self entertainment, by engaging of it in holy Meditation. Look we that the heart be first of all seasoned, sweetned, and perfumed with heavenly thoughts.

1. Begin we with serious reflections upon the great goodness and tender mercies of God in our pre­servations from Satans malice and mischiefs; what affrightments, in noises and appearances, in violence and harms would he exercise, if he were let loose upon us? What other harms from wicked men, usu­ally taking the advantage of the dark and still night, when all are at rest, besides harms from accidental occasions that we are liable to. There is also the great mercy of Beds to lie on, rest without tossings, ease without torments, sleep without holding our Eyes in awaking, having our sleep sweet, awaking with [Page 102] refreshing, having our formerly weary bodies and decayed spirits revived and cheared, and we our selves under a new adaptation and fitness for the suc­ceeding days occasions. There should be also a stand and abode of thoughts upon any thing in the night which is more signal and remarkable, that comes down from Heaven, as a brighter beam of favour to take the Eye with, that is let down as a more pecu­liar hand, to take up our thoughts to Heaven by, that is sent as a more special Love-token, stampt with more legible Characters of the care and kindness of a God towards us.

2. When the nights past mercies have had some due Reflections and Musings, had a down-weight of improvement endeavoured, for warming and en­larging the heart toward our good God: If then it conveniently may be, nothing to the contrary inter­posing, and that justly may hinder, the next thing then for the way of our thoughts should be to look for­ward, to the day coming on, and the spiritual con­cernments of it; or if it then cannot at the present be, yet so soon as we can to set to and engage in this so useful Meditation.

CHAP. III.

HEre the more particular Rules we may use for this daily Meditation, are these following. I say, the Rules we may use for the particulars of dai­ly Meditation, and for Method herein, may be such as these following.

  • 1. Meditation of setting up the Master Mark, the glorifying of the most high God.
  • 2. Next unto it, Meditation of Eternal happiness in the enjoying of God.
  • 3. Meditating then after it of the sure and ade­quate means for attaining them both.

And these are therefore to be Meditated upon.

Meditating on 1. Jesus Christ, the only way to the Father by his work of Redemption.

Meditating on 2. The Holy Spirit the great ap­plyer of Christ and his Redemption.

Meditating on 3. The holy Ordinances of God, the usual ways of the Spirits coming to apply Christ by.

Meditating on 4. The Word of God, chiefly the Promises of the Gospel: These on Gods part.

Meditating 5. On our part, by our use of the Or­dinances, and the Word and Promises, and that Faith and holiness whereby we come to union and communion with God, glorifie him, and obtain sal­vation; Faith as the instrument of receiving Christ, and both Faith and Holiness, or the graces of Christ as our principles of life and power, to live unto God, and growing up to perfection against all oppo­sition.

1. The first thing according to the rule of best wis­dom, which lays the surest foundation in any course, is first to take into most serious consideration, the supream and chief end, and to act a fresh setting up before us, that Master-Mark, and scope of the most high God, and the glorifying of him, to be conti­nued as we can through the whole course of the day; I say, this so high incumbency and duty of looking still at, and levelling all to the glory of God.

Meditation of this glorifying God, for pure, live­ly, and highest advancings of it, this is the Souls best operation, and runs most parallel to the perfect work of Heaven. Heavens higher acting is Contem­plation of the most blessed God, for the most tran­scendent exaltings of his glory: The Rule of Scri­pture is, To do all to the glory of God, 1 Cor. 10.31. And this Rule must therefore have its place and pow­er here; therefore this daily Meditation must take it in, and set it up. It must be every ones wisdom to bottom our day Meditation, with the still eying of, and aiming at the glorifying of the most high God. To begin with the fresh thoughts, and also the warmest frame of Spirit, for farthering the supream end, the glory of God, and with it, as fit to be annext unto it, that which is wrapt up with it, our own Eternal hap­piness. Philosophers and Divines have several Max­ims about the Supream End: To mention some of them to help us here: As,

1. Finis summus, est maxime appetibilis; The chief End is of all things else the most desirable, Psal. 73.25. Matth. 6.9. If (as it is most sure) it be most desirable, then this, as was said before, is the chief point of wisdom, to chiefly eye and aim at this chief End: and then sure it is most proper in the me­thod of our daily Meditation, to mind this one of the first, and how to advance towards it anew, on the opportunity of a new day begun upon us.

2. Secondly, there is another Rule given, which is Finis ultimus praescribit Regulas totius vitae, sed ipsi fini nonpraescribitur; That the last or chief End prescribes or gives the Rules of the whole life, or course, but the last End hath no Rules prescribed to it.

In all cases the End of any thing, that gives the Rules to that thing.

Thus that hath profit and livelyhood for its End, that profit and livelyhood gives the Rules to the Trader, and all his actings are reduced and ordered to profit and subsistence.

That of mens particular or a Nations interest, as it is called. The particular interest of persons in par­ticular: Or the Publick interest and chief good, that gives the Rules to private men, or to States-men; their actings must be to their interest, the chief good or End: So the Souls grand interest, real highest End and Interest, gives all the Rules to all a Christi­ans wise, truly wise actings.

Thus in Phil. 3.13. I press hard to the Mark; first he set up the Mark, or that was set up before him to aim at: And this made him press hard, and run in the right way so earnestly, made him use all the right means, and the due manner for attaining to it.

So this of eying the Supreme End, as the right sure way, as the sure wisdom for a mans self, Prov. 9.12. this should be first taken in, and come under fresh consi­deration. That which gives the first rise to endea­vour, that which must vitally influence, and strongly instigate, yea fix and stablish our whole course.

The course rises or falls, strengthens or weakens, bears up or breaks off in evenness, or unevenness ac­cording to our more or less lively, and fresh lookings at, and ponderings of the chief End.

This we see in all undertakings, the manner, earnestness, and evenness of any course, is from the manner, earnestness, and evenness of mans eyings of his chief aim and interest designed in it.

In a Watch and divers artificial Motions, the even­ness and expediteness of the motion is from evener or unevener, stronger or weaker drawing of the Spring, the first mover. Thus is it in godliness, a Christians motions are answerable to his eyings more or less of the main end: Christians complain of their daily dead-heartedness, and unevenness; it much arises from the so little or listless lookings at the main Mark. Paul lookt earnestly, and he prest hard: In Archery, those who eye the Mark most earnestly and steadily hit the oftenest and fullest. The wisest Christian is the most earnest, equal eyer of the main End. There be many particulars in this head, which ac­cording to prudence and leisure may have their sea­sons of ponderings.

The variety will breed delight, and set an edge upon the Spirit, apt to grow heavy and weary; they are such as these: As the considerations of the most high God, in all his infinite Glories and Perfections: His All-sufficiency, in his Knowledge, Wisdom, Holi­ness, Righteousness, and the rest: But chiefly in his so infinite and unchangeable Love, and Riches of Free Grace: The Infinite obligations, eternally lying up­on us, for glorifying and exalting of him: The in­finite excellencies and fullness of the second Person, and his infinite Love, in undertaking with his Father, to Redeem lost sinners: And the infinite love of the third Person, the Holy Spirit, the applyer of Redemption. Some most serious Meditation of God, and glorify­ing him, to give down into the heart a glowing heat and liveliness, for all the following day, is still fit in some measure to be practised.

2. The next should be some serious musing on that next End, our own salvation and Eternal bappi­ness, [Page 107]farther to be wrought out, to be our day labour, by the opportunity of a new begun day, a day, which will bring us nearer to the Ocean of Eter­nity.

CHAP. IV. Of the next End, Salvation.

NExt to the highest Gods interest, must be mused seriously upon this great soul-interest; Prov. 9.12. If thou art wise, thou art wise for thy self. 2 Tim. 3.1. Wisdom to salvation. This, because self is so near and dear, and the immortal Soul so un­speakably precious, the heart being once stampt with a spiritual high strong self-love, will have a mighty influence of warmth abiding on the Spirit.

Here two things are to be attended and practised. 1. Meditation of Salvation in a more general Notion and Consideration, works little or nothing, but the pondering of particulars in Salvation: It is a Rule in Oratory, and so in Preaching, that for moving and drawing the affections, generals and things in a confused manner spoken, they hit not, work not, draw not. It is the distinct seeing and viewing of particulars which moves and affects to purpose: So Meditation to be effectual must particularize the things comprised, in some sort, in this happiness and salvation: As that so blessed freedom from sin in the guilt, in pardon, and righteousness, from the domi­nion of sin, by power, life, image of Christ, and ho­liness, and the glorious priviledges of a Christian [Page 108]here, and Everlasting Glory hereafter; and such like.

2. There's another Rule among Oratours, that things moving the Affections, they do it either Magnitudine aut Praesentia, by their greatness or ex­cellency, or by their presence or nearness: As the greatness of a person, or the presence of a person; or the greatness of a good or evil, or the nearness and presence of it.

1. The greatness, the surpassing greatness of Sal­vation, as Scripture sets it forth, Heb. 2. That so unspeakable deliverance from such a height, breadth, and length of Misery by sin; and that inexpressible happiness by union with Jesus Christ. The so great things of this glorious state, should fall by our Me­ditation upon the Affections, and daily, like fire from Heaven, kindle them greatly.

2. Things move by their presence or nearness: the remoter the Object is from the Faculty, as the Objects of the External Senses, as Seeing, Hear­ing, and the rest; or the farther a thing is appre­hended to be, as any Place, or Time, or the like, the less it affects: But the presence or propinquity of a thing moves most, as when a Poyson or dange­rous thing is near or present, as an Antidote or a help when near, when Death or Deliverance is at hand, when a Friend is present, or the like, this moves most. So the way of Meditation here, is by representing salvation as present or near, 2 Cor. 6. 1, 2, 3. escaping Hell as now, being put into pos­session of Heaven as now; if I were now dying, and my Soul sitting on my lips, ready to take its flight as now; if now the last Trump were sounding; now Jesus Christ seen coming to Judgment; now the Sen­tence [Page 109]of Absolution passing: Let me thus season and strengthen Meditation by this kind of representation, seeing it as near, as present, now acting, now doing, or now having, and fully possessing this Salva­tion.

CHAP. V. Of the Means conducing to this chief End.

THE next thing in spiritual wisdom, to be the Object of daily Meditation, is to give (as we can) some allowance of serious thoughts, of that which should be the due and adequate means, con­ducing to the chief End, of Eternal life, with the glorifying of God, as formerly we have men­tioned.

1. Christ the way. Therefore the next thing (be­ing the highest and uppermost of all conducing Means to the Supream End) the next thing I say, to be the great Object of Meditation, must be Jesus Christ, our way to the Father, and our highest way of glorifying him: None comes to the Father, saith Christ, but by me, John— Initial coming to God by Faith to Justification, Reconciliation and Union with God is by Christ: All other after comings, and glorifyings of God, are still by Christ, as also all salvation is treasured up in him: so it must be the best way for our Meditations method, to be daily acted in some measure upon our mighty Saviour, our great and only way to our great and chief End, so he calls himself the way, John—

Here what a most glorious and delicious Object hath the Eye of Meditation?

Christ, in Isa. 65.1. calls, Behold me, behold me; ah what a Spirit must that be, that for such an infi­nite Beauty cannot afford one cast of the eye, one wish­ly look in the whole compass of a day; that can look every way freely, fixedly, and unweariedly, but Christward?

The Spouse in the Canticles, her Eye-walk was a­mong the Excellencies and Beauties of her Beloved the Lord Christ, his pure Colours, White and Red, his most rare features and exact proportions of eve­ry part, his Head, Locks, Eyes, Cheeks, Lips, Hands, Legs, and all his glorious perfections, and then addes to fum up all, that he is altogether lovely: So lovely that her Eye affected her heart, and so beloved that she fell sick of love.

Ah when a heart is strongly enflamed with a Love to Christ, the eye will be acted in most wishly look­ings upon Christ; as the love grows, the earnest look­ings will grow.

Here then the Rule is, to Meditate in some due measure on this Glorious Object, so both infinitely excellent in himself, and so mighty a Saviour unto us. His infinite Riches and Preciousness, in his Natures united, in his Offices conferred, in his graces fullness, perfect performances, most perfect Redemption, his infinite love, pity, willingness to save lost Sinners: The so great free offers of himself, and giving himself to us, applying his whole Redemption to us, by his mighty operation in us: Some singular seriousness and rigour of Meditation cannot but daily be due, as that first and chief means to the chief End. Chri­stians that least look at Christ, and least distinctly [Page 111]view him, will make the slowest progress, and such as study him most, will have the easiest and most expe­dite coming up to the main Mark.

CHAP. VI. Meditation of the Holy Spirit, the Applier of Christ and his Redemption.

2. SOme due proportion of Thoughts-seriousness is proper to be daily acted, in reference to the mighty, and only applyer of the work of Christs Redemption, the holy Spirit, and our great daily helper. The Holy Spirit first comes to the Soul and person of a Christian, applies Christ to him, brings Christ into him, makes him his Temple, and an Habitation of God and Christ to dwell in the heart: The Spirit comes, inhabits, sweeps and cleanses; furnishes the heart with light, that was darkness; with truth, that was errour and deceit­fulness; with power, that was weakness; life-warmth and qualifications of heavenly Graces, that was cold, dead, and altogether sinful, and draws the glorious image of Christ upon the Soul: He enlivens, esta­blishes, enlarges, and encourages, and fills the Spirit with peace and joy unspeakable. We act from his blowings on the Gardens of our hearts, then the spices of Graces flow. Cant. 4.16.

The Wheels, Ezek. 10.17. moved from the spirit in them; so a Christian moves or not, as the Spi­rit moves or not. Every day, and for every Duty in the day, there is need of a new blowing of the [Page 112]Spirit, that the Spices may flow: new moving, that the Wheels may move us.

We must neither grieve, quench, or resist the Holy Spirit, Eph. 4.30. 1 Thes. 5.19. Act. 7.51. The Spirit who is our Helper and Applyer farther of Christ, and re­ceiving of his fulness.

If we will act wisely, the Eye of the Soul by Meditation must daily be pondering the necessity of the Holy Spirits Influences, stirrings up, strengthenings, and enlargements: when we neg­lect and slight the Spirit, and so want justly his help, we must needs drive on heavily: But when we mind him and have his assistance, this wings the Soul and makes it to move strongly and nimbly to the main mark.

If the Question were askt, what were the highest thoughts the mind can possibly think, they would be such as these three following.

  • 1. That thought of the so infinite and all ad­mired love of God the Father, in giving freely his Son for Sinners.
  • 2. That thought of that infinite and all amazing love of God the Son, in giving so freely himself for his Fathers Enemies.
  • 3. That thought of God the Holy Spirit's infi­nite love, astonishing love, in so freely giving him­self into such dunghill hellish hearts, to make them his glorious Habitation, his Palace and Solace, to be the mighty heart-helper and Comforter. This Spirit then must not be grieved by the least neglect, but highly and constantly both honour­ed and cherished, with our utmost thought-pre­ciousness and earnestness, that so thinkings may work up to liveliest lookings for him, lookings [Page 113]to listenings for his knockings at the door of our Hearts, listenings for ready lettings of him in; and being let in we may give him the highest and freest Entertainments, with yieldings of the fullest obedience unto him.

It is reported, that formerly, sometimes Travel­lers Sailing by the Coasts of Arabia the happy, have had by the Winds blowing off the Land, such rare rich smells, and perfumes of the precious spices, that (without the Experience of it) it is hardly cre­dible. Sometimes the Holy Spirit so blows on the Garden of a Christians heart, that the Spices in such sort perfume it, with Ravishments of Peace and Joy, that are inexpressible, and then it runs apace to the main mark.

Ah then it must be best to enter on the work of the day, by an early and earnest eying of this glorious Helper, the Holy Spirit, who is sooner ready to lend us his helping hand, then we are ready for it.

CHAP. VII. Of the next particulars, the incumbent Duties of the day.

3. THE Ordinances of Christ are the next ge­neral things Meditation may fix on: The Ordinances are our ways of communion with God, the ways whereby God conveighs himself to us, the King of Heavens high-ways of spiritual Commerce and Trade. The Roads and Paths wherein the Ho­ly Spirit walks, and comes to apply himself to us; and our ways in which we are to go forth and meet him, apply our selves to him, fix an heavenly inter­course and acquaintance with him.

The Winds blow from all the Quarters of Hea­ven, and the Holy Spirit breaths and blows from all his heavenly Ordinances: We may therein look for the breathings of the Spirit, but we must not look for the Holy Spirit out of his own ways.

The Prerogative of the Spirit is, not to be abso­lutely tied to Ordinances; but our liberty, is not to be loosed from them: We are tied to the ways of Christ, which are our warrantable ways for commu­nion, and waiting his Spirits comings and assist­ings.

The Eye of Meditation should act daily in such fresh and vigorous lookings on the Ordinances, as may more highly commeid them, raise their price, represent them more lovely, reduce us to more even­ness in performance, by finding them more easie and sweet in continued use, and exercising our selves in [Page 115]them; and induce still higher admirations, by expe­riencing their help and efficacies. The Ordinances of Christ have their high ratification in the Holy Scriptures for their power and efficacy. The Saints in all Ages, have given their great confirmation, set their probatum est to every of them, by millions of encouraging experiences.

When that Ordinances are more precious, they are the more efficacious: O let our Meditations daily scope be, to make them more precious, that they may prove more efficacious.

Like that eminent pattern, that great Meditater David; that high progress he made in Meditating of the ways of God, set the Price higher, made his heart warmer.

He Meditated and he valued more, admired more, and he acted more eminently, and arrived at last at that pitch, which hath left him on Record in the highest rank of Saints that ever lived. The Ordi­nances therefore are most worthy our daily musing on, as for their own excellency, as the King of Hea­vens high Institutions; so, as the Holy Spirits walks, wherein he comes to meet us, and have communion with us, and apply Christ more unto us.

CHAP. VIII. Of Meditation on the Word of God, and the Promises, whereby the Spirit first is given, and after works.

THE Word of God is that sure wisdom reveal­ed unto us by God, to lead us by his Counsel to Glory: That only infallible Rule given us to walk by: It is the Golden Scepter of Christ, for the Sub­jects of his Kingdom to come and touch the top of: The dear purchase of Jesus Christ for the only Rule of his Redeemed; the breathing and dictate of the Holy Spirit; the high product, and that clearest shining forth of the brightest beams of Infinite Wis­dom, Truth, Holiness, Righteousness, Mercy, Free-Grace, Love, Power, and all Glories and Perfecti­ons of the Author, for the blessed Ends it is be­stowed.

It is the excellent Instrument in the hand of the Spirit, whereby he effects his great Soul-saving work; whereby he brings about that work of won­der, the applying of lost sinners to an All-sufficient Saviour first, by effectual calling, and then applies Christ more and more, building them up more in him unto perfection. If I look for the Spirits ope­ration, I must look for, and apply my self to the help of that rare Tool and Instrument he ope­rates by. Think what an Engine it is, what most admired glorious work he hath effected by it; upon millions of blind Eyes, hard Hearts, Persons impo­tent, [Page 117]Crippled in their Souls, Dead in sins and tre­spasses, at the dreadful distance from God, of Haters and Enemies of him, and all things leading to him; enlightening them, healing them, and reconciling them to himself, and his Word and Ways.

CHAP. IX. Of Meditation of the Spirits drawing to Christ by the Promises.

AS it is the Instrument in the Spirits hand, and without which it would do nothing, could not awaken, humble, and convert the Soul; so it cannot either convert and bring in, or confirm and build up without that most signal sweetest part, the precious Promises; and the Promises would do no­thing out of the hand of the Holy Spirit, and his efficacious managing of them.

The Grounds and Encouragements of all our drawings near to God through Christ by his Spirit in his Ordinances, are the Promises of the Gospel, and the Covenant of Grace.

Sinners must not draw nigh to God, without his Warrant and Command first given.

But a Command will not be yielded to, unless there be the encouragement of a promise of an ac­ceptance and help, in both the first, and all other af­ter approches to God. Psal. 119.49. Gen. 32.9. Exod. 34.6. Num. 14.18.

And the Promises must be managed and ordered by the Holy Spirit, else they will have no vigour [Page 118]or efficacy, as to either initial application of Christ, or to any farther and fuller application of him. Ephes. 1.13. The Spirit is called the Spirit of Pro­mise, as given by the Word of Promise, Gal. 3.2. Received ye the Spirit by the, &c. 2 Cor. 3.38. The Gospel (that is by the Promises of it) is call'd the Ministration of the Spirit; which is not only of the extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit, but the saving ope­rations of it, from its inhabitation.

It is called the Spirit of Promise, as conveying and working all to us and in us by the Promise: Christ and his Grace is not offered by God, nor re­ceived by a Christian, by any man (I mean grown up person) but by the offer of him in a Promise: there is no immediate acting upon Christ, for a first, or after and fuller receiving of him, but by the medium, the way of an intervening Promise. God holds forth, and Faith sees it, and takes Christ offer'd in the Promise, Acts 10.43. To him give all the, &c. As the Spirits humbling, is by his whetting, and setting home by his art, the threatnings of wrath and death Eternal, so the comforts of the Spiritare by his setting home the promises of salvation: And further supplies of Grace are by the promises through the co-operating of the Holy Spirit, bring­ing us to receive farther of Christ his fulness by the promises, that are Yea and Amen in him, 2 Cor. 1.20. But all this farther operation of the Spirit, and receiving more of the Grace of Christ, it is by Meditation and pondering of the Promises.

Fresh receivings from Christ must be founded in fresh Meditation of the Promises.

The more intense and earnest the ponderings of the Promises of growth and encrease are, the larger [Page 119]will your desires, the more earnest your endeavours be after more of Christ.

Christians are sometimes in great haste to believe strongly, but cannot reach it, because they meditate on the Promises slenderly. They make the best work of it, who dwell and act most upon the promises, that still Meditate from promise to promise.

By the Promises, we are made partakers of the Di­vine Nature, 2 Pet. 1.4.

Cleanse our selves from all pollution of Flesh and Spirit, perfect holiness in the fear of God, 2 Cor. 7.1.

There be great varieties of precious promises for Justification, Sanctification, and the rest. There is a transcendent Truth, Goodness, and Freeness in the Promises, great and rich supplies made over to Be­lievers by them: But they will not give down their Milk, without our due mindings and daily Meditat­ings on them: Meditation must press out the Juice and sweetness, gather the rare Honey that is upon these Flowers of precious Promises. If Bones be full of Marrow, it must be gotten out by pains and knocking: The Promises so full of marrow and sweet­ness, must yield it forth by Meditation. Lay sound weight of Meditation on them, to press out the Spi­rit and virtue in them.

If therefore a Christian would daily have his re­course to Christ, if he daily would touch Christ, so as to have virtue go out of him, for healing and help in any kind; bring your Eye to the hand of the Spirit, and to the Promise, which he must be expect­ed to work your coming to Christ by, and fresh re­ceivings of Grace from. Meditate well, that you may speed well: Let the promises mellow in thy heart by Meditation, that thou mayst find how sweet they this way are.

CHAP. X. Of the next thing Meditation may best take in, which is that on my part I am to perform.

5. IF I would perform in the Day what is incum­bent on me to be rightly done, I must Medi­tate of the way where the Holy Spirit may meet and help me; Meditate I must of my necessary put­ting my hand to the work of Christ, and bearing his burden, and the need I have of the Spirits lend­ing his hand to help me, who helps our infirmities: I must eye the Rule of the Word, by which the Spi­rit teaches me, and the precious promises whereby he encourages me.

And in that all my conversation in the Day must be holy and heavenly, comfortable and fruitful, I must meditate of stirring up the grace given me, to act by the help of the Spirit, upon Christ, and to him, for working out my own salvation, and the glo­rifying of God thereby.

This must be (if I consider) the living the life of Faith more peculiarly, and exercising of, likewise; every Holy Grace the work of the day requires: Therefore next, my Meditation may be upon the Graces, that in the Duties of the day, are to be ex­ercised for to be improved.

Without the exercising of these Graces all the conversation is carnal, not spiritual, all Duties are but dead carcasses, and loathsom to God. I must think [Page 121]how my daily course must be a living to the living God; a living peculiarly to him, that dyed for me, and rose again; and a living to the blessed Spirit, that dwells and works in me, and is my mighty helper.

Likewise, I must consider, it must be a living very exemplarily, towards all men, especially the godly, that my light may shine before them, to provoke and profit them all I can.

1. Particularly, I must Meditate of living the life of precious and glorious Faith, the Grace of Graces; Faith as to the whole word of God, all the precepts, promises, threats, and Recorded Examples; acting more peculiarly Faith in the promises, and by the promises on Jesus Christ, acting more on his All-sufficiency to save, and for receiving fresh strength and supplies for the Duties and Occasions of the day ensuing. Likewise through Christ I should think of my access to the Father, of trusting to Gods All-sufficiency, his Wisdom, Truth, Righteousness, Ho­liness, Goodness, Mercy, Love, Free Grace, and all his infinite perfections; with his providence, preserving and governing all things, to the least; and toward my own self in particular, in a most excellent, wise, holy, and righteous manner, to the salvation of his people, destruction of his Enemies, and his own Glory.

2. I may Meditate (at least sometimes) of the other soul-beauties, of heavenly Graces; as of that grand rare grace of Love, holy Love; that which is the fullfilling of the Law, the great Breeder and Feeder of all Obedience.

Love; which daily as a Fire must be blown up, and made to burn afresh in the heart, and enliven the [Page 122]daily course: Ah what a Christian may do, by keep­ing his heart hot and burning in Love!

3. Joy. Meditating of living the life of heavenly peace and joy, rejoycing in the Lord alway: Not liv­ing the life of sadness and pensiveness, most unbe­coming an Heir of Eternal Glory.

4. Hope. Meditate also I may of heavenly Hope, which makes not ashamed, Rom. 5.5. Heb. 6.19. An Anchor sure and firm to ride out all storms: And of all the Graces, as of holy Fear, Humility, Meekness, Pa­tience, Contentedness, Zeal, Courage, Constancy, all the Chain of Graces, mentioned in 2 Pet. 1.5. and other places.

The whole days actings should be considered so, as not to be a complication of vanities, follies, and care­less walkings, but a shewing forth, and shining in the glorious beams of heavenly Graces and Ex­cellencies.

5. Meditate daily I should of the spiritual dan­gers I am surrounded with by spiritual Enemies: That principal and Arch-Enemy the Flesh, that sin which is connatural to me, dwells in me, Rom. 7. and so easily besets me, Heb. 12.1. that is alway pre­sent and too prevalent; the Fountain and Forge of all other sins; the Heart Touch-wood and Tinder for temptation: The ground out of which all the stinking and poysonous weeds of Lust grow up; and that ground and foundation of the deepest tincture and grain Colour of all soul-defiling Habits, and customary sins, that so enslave and lead a sinner captive.

2. Of that so potent Adversary Satan, his subtlety and depths, vigilancy, and unwearied diligence, whet­ted by implacable and improving malice. 1 Pet. 5.8.

3. The World, that Bait for Satans Hook, and great Engine whereby he acts, by the many sweet Allurements on the one hand, and Determents on the other hand.

These I must every day watch and war with.

Therefore, I must daily consider my helpers, God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, 2 Cor. 8.9. Eph. 6.13. The Armour of God I must put on for every part, and my fighting in the strength of Christ, by whom I may be made more than Conquerour, Rom. 8.37.

And for the last general, there must be Medita­tion of the unspeakable preciousness of time, running on without possibility of a stand, or least stay: With the Frailty of life, Psal. 39.4. with the uncertainty of it, and the certainty of death, and unavoidable­ness of that which will cast me upon Eter­nity.

These are the more general things, among which my Meditation may take its walks, and upon which my seriousness may daily sit down to make its spiritual advantage by: I must adde now things more particular.

CHAP. XI. Of some Particulars to be added to the former Generals.

THere are some things in particular I may adde, which may help to direct and quicken a Chri­stian in his daily course.

1. For the Scripture I daily read, or hear, to en­deavour some thoughts which may help to higher quickenings, and heart-enlargings, by farther fresh ponderings of the surpassing Excellencies and mighty Efficacies of the Scripture; to think of a required higher rising estimation, more inflamed affections of Love, Joy, Hope, Longing, and the rest, seen and so ob­servably conspicuous in the Saints in Scripture; to light our Candle by their flame: And the more rooted resolution I should take up and engage in, to be more (by my looking into the Glass of the Word) trans­formed into the image of it, 1 Cor. 3.18.

Of Faith in the Word. I should farther think of that Faith I am necessarily to act, in the truth and certainty, and usefulness of the Word, I now am to be exercised in; and of my mixing of Faith more abundantly with it, Heb. 4.2. As to any Doctrine, Precept, Promise, Threatning, or Examples, and whatever is there related for my use.

Of Wisdom. I should think also of the Wisdom which that I read requires, in selecting that out is most conducible, is my proper portion, and best fitting my souls condition. As Samuel at his Feast, [Page 125]set forth something peculiar for Saul, 1 Sam. 9.23, 24. Joseph caused to be prepared for his Brother Benjamin, Gen. 43.34. God will now be seen, if wisdom be used to hold forth a peculiar prepared portion. Some Eye-salve to annoint mine Eyes, Rev. 3.18. some rich Balm to heal some sore, some corrosive to eat out some proud flesh, some Cordial for a strengthener and chearer, some piece of spiri­tual treasure to enrich me, some rare Jewel for or­nament wanting to me; something there is now in my hand, for my now spiritual advantage, if I can see it; and see it I may, by that which must be the Auxiliary and constant Assistant of my reading, if I would meet with a due profiting, which is my con­scientious and careful pondering, weighing, and weighing this pure Gold, stored up in Christs rich Treasury to make me rich.

Reading brings me Meat, Meditation brings forth the sweetness.

Reading brings the Coals to the Wood, Medita­tion makes the flame.

Reading brings me the Sword of the Word, Me­ditation whets it.

Reading barely, proves pouring water into a Sieve; Meditation is putting Gold into a Treasury, the former lets the Water out, the latter locks the Gold up.

O let me read much, but let me also Meditate much, that Meditation and Reading may be com­mensurate; my Souls digestion proportioned to its Reception, its taking in by Reading; let me Read and Meditate, that I may not have a meagre, lean soul, like them that have an eager appetite, and a weak digestion; but that it may be fat and well-liking, [Page 126]by this good digestion of due Medita­tion.

2. Some lively and vigorous Meditation should be daily performed, in reference to private Prayer; I say for assistance and furtherance of secret Closet-Prayer, that so important and sweet Soul-Exer­cise.

  • 1. Of that importancy and concernment, that the main stress both of the whole work, and like­wise of the hearts after warmth and life in the day, lies greatly on it.
  • 2. Of that heavenly sweetness, that it is the chief way of our private familiarity with God.
  • 3. Of that excellency, that it is our only way of pri­vate speaking unto the great God, of having the high honour and favour of whispering in his ear, ac­cess in private to his bosom and bowels, and the chief way of procuring his private Signet and Seal of blessed assurance of happiness. The way it is of the souls freshest, freest, and most elevated actings; such as oft-times praying in company must not, can­not bear, and the way of strong high Exercise of sundry Graces.
  • 1. It sends private Embassies daily to the King of Heaven by Faith.
  • 2. It carries up daily the soul to Heaven in a Chariot of fire by love; and
  • 3. It leaves continually an Agent in the Court of Heaven by Hope.

Its the great heart-warmer by privacy, giving the greater advantage of importunity, without any check from the presence of others.

The great heart-humbler, Melter down and Re­finer, instrumentally, by actings of sound and [Page 127]kindly Repentance: Making the dross and embasing mixtures of Corruptions and Lusts to pass away, and the heart become purer.

Its the peculiar advantage to learn and act the rare art and secret of wrestling with God, and return­ing with the high encouragements of holy over­comings of him.

It is the way of the rarest hours, highest soul-Raptures, richest pourings in of comforts, and most happy experiencings of the descendings down of Hea­ven in purest, sweetest, largest soul-satieties.

Therefore for richest furnishing us with fittest matter for a best heart frame to perform this daily duty, performing it in the most spiritual and effe­ctual manner, for doing it, as to out-do former, all former doings, we must look to lay the Foundation deeper and larger in better and more suited Think­ings and Meditatings, think to the utmost, to pray to the best. The same word in the Hebrew signifies, as divers of the Learned say, both Meditation and Prayer. First it signifies Meditation, and then by a Metonymy of the Cause for the Effect, it signifies Prayer. To shew what Prayers should be still pre­sented to the great God, such as have some due weight of Meditation, which are made out and made up of Meditation, or have at least the best serious­ness we can. That great man of Prayer, the Psal­mist David, ordinarily calls his Prayer his Medita­tion; and peculiarly his Prayer in the morning (the foundation of the following days work) his Medita­tion, Psal. 5.1, 2. in that excellent and warm be­ginning of that Psalm: Prayer and Meditation, like Hippocrates Twins, born, lived, and died toge­ther; so Meditation and Prayer rise, and warm, and [Page 128]grow servent; or cool, fall, and decay toge­ther: Prayer cherishes Meditation, Meditation feeds Prayer.

O let my Spirit be still warmed, inflamed, and melted down in Meditation, that it may run and flow and flame in this heavenly devotion, and both issue in my daily wiser and warmer working out salvation.

3. My serious and curious Mindings must make sure to single out, and set in full view that or those things I particularly want, and are most proper and necessary for the now, for my souls present state.

There is no godly man, but hath ever something which concerns him most.

Some corruption stirring that must be subdued, some Temptation to be encountred, some Grace to be endeavoured, some comfort or help supplyed.

It may be many things may be the present, if not urgent concerns.

CHAP. XII. Meditation of daily self-denyal.

IN the next place let me Meditate of what I want as to self-denial and Mortification, evidenced by the weeds of corruptions coming up in my spirit, Mar. 8.34. or ready ever and anon to arise and get ground, and all still upon that grand interest of self, or the Reliques of the Roots or Stumps of it: This which hath not been spoken to, this self-inte­rest, the taking of it down in my heart, is one of the greatest concernments Meditation daily should fix upon: Self is the great Hinge the carnal heart hangs and turns upon: There the Center is self, the Circumference self, all the lines are drawn from self and to self.

Self is the great Rival and Competitioner with the infinitely surpassing God, and contends for superio­rity with him, yea self sits in the Throne, wears the Crown, holds the Scepter, and self is the sinners all in all.

  • 1. All positive actings in sensualities, pride, and covetousness, and other evils are but to satisfie self.
  • 2. All negative ways and omittings of good, are but to gratifie self, to ease slothful self, loth to be put to stir, least willing to labour, toil, or strive, least of all to lose, smart, and suffer.

Self claps the great strong Biass on the soul, is the spreading prevailing poyson in it, and empoy­sons it all over.

Self is highest in the estimation, nothing passes at so high a rate, not God himself.

Self is highest in the affection, nothing so near as self.

Self is highest in the purpose and intention, nothing so aimed at as self.

Self in the conversation, it hath the endeavours, earnestness, and equality: It is like the most dange­rous seising, deep rooting, and spreading poyson, of greatest virulency and prevalency: Thus it is in a natural heart. In a holy heart, though the most high God, by the power of Grace, be now highest, really chief, yet that remaining part of self, the pieces left behind, oft as it were do justle him, fre­quently justle him, to get his place and sit uppermost, for what do sins, when our minds, wisdom, desires, and wills, and our ways, when they thwart and cross his mind, wisdom, will, and ways, but as it were justle him, and strive to be uppermost?

Hereby self sometimes (out of carelesness) self it seems to have regained the Throne, and repossest it self of the soveraignty lost.

In the best heart there is so much of this bitter Root springing out, so much of this soul-bane, so much of this Touch-wood, Tinder, Powder to pre­sently take, and instantly blow up, so much of this Idol, this Dagon set so near the Ark, that it hath need of the greatest daily mindings and ponderings, as the greatest Enemy that hath gained the greatest advantage of us, it lies still in our Bosoms: Its like the worm that breeds and feeds of the Bodies own flesh: This of all others is the greatest Idol; I say, self is the greatest Idol that ever was or will be. There's no Image of Jealousie like it in the Eye of a [Page 131]God, therefore no one thing requires a more daily minding, for a daily watchfulness; Mindings for the effectual help and relief against all particular lusts, which are but the lesser Branches of the great Root of self, the Scouts and Forragers sent forth from the Head-quarter of self.

This self it is that is the great correspondent and confederate with Satan; if self were not the ground within, of his attempts from without, he could do nothing.

The Mathematician boastingly said, tell me but where I may place my Engine, and I will shake the Earth. Satan knowing where to place his Engine, knows how to shake us and worst us, if we watch him not, and this self.

I must mind it most, and trust it least; labour the most peremptory and constant denyings of it, and as my highest wisdom, to mortifie particular Lusts that are all fed from this great Root, and likewise to keep off Satan from this advantage ground.

I have it may be enlarged too far upon this: very brief I shall be on those that remain.

CHAP. XIII. Of some other particulars which may be sometimes Meditated upon in the day.

1. A parti­cular sin. IT will be my wisdom to consider that sin or corruption which troubles me most, which out of this spring of self and sinful in­terest is more apt to owse out of my heart, and make a breach in the Banks that Christ by his grace hath made there. That particular evil which is so strong, stirring, and striving, to carry me down the stream and keep me under: I was upright, saith the Prophet, Psal. 18.23. before him, and kept my self from mine iniquity; that sin which had been of pe­culiar prevalence, and would be so again; the sin that had special edge and eagerness, too oft appear­ing and endeavouring it, attempting to make its escape from his watch, his heart-keeping, and appear in act and power.

There is some corruption or evil in every spirit, which like some rank weed in the Garden is still putting up, or ready to put forth, like some leak in a Vessel, ready to run out by it.

This needs a special minding and considering suta­ble to its dangerousness, as that which will be a thorn in the Foot, hinder our going, work disquiet, dash our confidence before God, and weaken our hands from our work.

I must peculiarly consider this daily, that it get not at any time ground of me, but that I gain upon it [Page 133]more, that I watch it, fight it, look that this Gangreen spread not, run not up to my heart, but that I stop and kill it.

Minding it duly will provoke to endeavour a right course, for the just cure and sound healing of it.

Meditation may be also of what other evils are busie in my bosom, what are stirring most, what are getting any ground, and what are losing it.

2. What graces I want, or have most need of, to enable me more to lift up the Name of Christ, sweeten my spirit with peace, ease my course, and render me more serviceable to others.

Every day I should well attend to what Gospel Or­naments and Jewels I ought to put on and wear be­fore others, to make my conversation shine, Col. 3.12. 2 Pet. 1.5, 6, 7.

Pliny reports of Poppaea, the Wife of the Roman Emperour Nero, that when she was to go abroad, she still would be deckt and adorn'd with such abun­dance and varieties of most precious Stones and Jewels, as it dazled the eyes of the Beholders.

And I have read of a like manner, of the Mogul or great Emperour in the East-Indies; who if on some special times he sits out to be seen by the Com­mon people, he puts on such great numbers of Dia­monds, Carbuncles, Rubies, and other glistering and glorious Jewels, as they cannot without great ad­miration behold him, yea can hardly, by reason of the Suns shining and reflections, discern his face, the glory of the Jewels is so great. Christians must con­sider their putting on, and wearing the rich Orna­ments and Jewels of heavenly graces, to shine glori­ously in them, and take the Eyes of all that behold [Page 134]them with the discoveries of the Soul inward Beau­ties of Faith, Love, Hope, Joy, Fear, Humility, Meek­ness, Patience, Contentedness, heavenly mindedness and rest, to the glory of Christ, in whose beams of Beau­ty and Glory they ever should shine.

3. When holy David in his course of Meditation, after matters of his private concernment, closes so ordinarily the whole Meditation, with that grand interest of Zion, the Churches case; may not this be then a Rule to our Meditation, for a high demon­stration of our publick spiritedness, our constant mindings of that superlative and transcendent inte­rest of God in this world, the glory of his great Name in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, and the peo­ple given to him, their peace, prosperity, and glory, and the disappointments of all their Enemies De­signs, which also is an Article in their Heavenly Jointure?

Some other particulars might farther be men­tioned to be taken in by Meditation, such as matters of our callings and daily converse in varieties of Companies and Friends, and how to be right Chri­stian in them, excell in improving them to their proper uses and ends, for the glory of God.

4. Meditation for review of the work of the day. There remains but one thing more to be added, namely, in the close of the day, should be, or is fit to be, that Meditation of review, or that overlook­ing of matters in the foregoing day, to make a happy closing it up, by a fresh humbling our selves, and returning to God, and acting new Recumben­cies on his free, rich grace in Christ, by the precious promises, to sweeten our lying down.

5. And in the Night season, that great time with [Page 135] David and others of the Saints, When I awake, let me be ever with God, and my Meditation of him sweet. Psal. 139. & Psal. 104.

The sum of that hath been mentioned about daily Meditation, is

  • 1. To enter the Duty at our awaking with Re­flections on the matters of the Night past, the pre­servations and comforts especially of that time.
  • 2. To look forward to the incumbencies of the coming day, and how best to redeem it; by En­deavour
  • 1. To act a fresh setting up the supreme end of glorifying God.
  • 2. To have a serious musing on the next end, my own Eternal Happiness.
  • 3. Then to mind the proportionate means to the mark or end I aim at.
  • 1. Therefore first to look wishly at the fullness of Christ, freely offered, as the way to God and hap­piness.
  • 2. To Meditate on our mighty helper the Holy Spi­rit, the great Applyer of Redemption.
  • 3. Meditations on the Ordinances of Christ, the walks and ways the Holy Spirit comes in, and ap­plies Christ to the Soul by.
  • 4. Meditation of the Word and Promises which the Spirit in the Ordinances useth, as the peculiar instruments of drawing the heart to Christ, and of applying him daily more.
  • 5. Meditation of the several Graces to be conti­nually (on the occasions requiring) exercised and improved.
  • 6. Meditation of our spiritual Enemies, the Flesh within, Satan and the World without.

More particularly.

  • 1. Meditating in reference to reading the Holy Scripture, with those graces I am to exercise in my Reading.
  • 2. The Meditation private Prayer calls for, if I pray before reading, or when I can and am any time in the day to pray privately.
  • 3. Meditation of what is the chief grace I am defective in, or the peculiar blessing I want at pre­sent.
  • 4. Meditation of the grand interest of God, as relating to his Church in the world.
  • 5. The Meditation of review, or self-examination in reference to things of the day past.

These heads I have mentioned, not to impose on any, as to matter or method absolutely, but to pro­pose some things, which if not alway necessary, yet that may be performed, in some degree, as abi­lity and opportunity admits.

Divers of the particulars (if daily Meditation be judged necessary by us) I am sure then they inust be judged necessary for such as daily will observe it.

CHAP. XIV. Of the Sabbath, and Lords day.

THere now remains but one thing more to be added to what hath been said concerning dai­ly Meditation, namely, the Meditation relating to that eminent day of God, first the seventh day of the week, now in the New Testament times changed to, and called the first day of the week, and the Lords-day.

1. As to the rise, nature, ends, and advantages the Sabbath in the Old Testament, and the Lords-day in the New, it is the best day that ever the world saw, or shall be seen on this side Hea­ven.

2. It was and is that day wherein the infinite Glo­ries and Excellencies of a God, have shined brighter and warmer on the spirits of men, than in any o­ther days beside; namely his infinite Wisdom, Pow­er, Love, Goodness, Mercy, and Riches of free Grace.

3. The Sabbath, as some judge, had its rise so early as in Paradise, or when man was in state of inno­cency; it must then be of very great Antiquity, and a rarity of great worth. And,

4. Then it must be that only holy day which man in state of innocency had; and possibly, if he had stood, should ever have had afterward.

5. After the first institution it had the most glo­rious and tremendous promulgation and sanction, such [Page 138]a delivery and ratification, as no other Law (except those that were spoken at the same time) ever had, namely, by Gods so wonderful and most astonishing appearance on Mount Sinai, in the sight of six hun­dred thousand persons: There it was one of the ten words spoken by Gods own mouth, by God first spoken in the ears of all that so prepared and a­wakened numerous multitude, and after in the Mount was written with the finger of God, written on the first Table of Stone, before the six Command­ments of the second Table. This Commandment thus written, was with the others reserved in the Gol­den Ark or Chest, made purposely by Moses from Gods Command to keep the Tables, and then by Gods Appointment was to be preserved in the glori­ous Tabernacle made by Moses, and there it was to be with highest honour prefer'd to be kept in the Holy of Holies.

6. Though some yield it not, yet others judge the Sabbath had its change, from the seventh to the first day of the week, by the Lord of the Sabbath, Christ himself, or at least by his Apostles from his Autho­rity.

7. However it be changed, yet it is lookt upon as grounded on that so amazing part of our Redem­ption, Christs so glorious Resurrection on the third day after his Passion.

8. The Sabbath formerly was the Old Testament Churches fixed time, to behold as in a mirrour the glory of God the Creator, his Eternal Godhead, Pow­er, Wisdom, Goodness, and most glorious Excel­lencies, in the so admirable frame of Heaven and Earth, and the so various and curious pieces in it, all most exquisitely wrought and finisht.

It was the peculiar time for setting up the Ladder of the Creatures by Contemplation to climb from Earth to Heaven with.

But now changed into the first day of the week, it is the Christian Churches time for beholding as in a mirrour, the glory more peculiarly of God the Re­deemer; now not in his Humiliation, but in his ap­pearing and begun Exaltation in that his glorious Resurrection from the dead, that his concerned peo­ple might joy with highest and most heavenly re­joycing, for this rising of the Sun of Righteousness, to be under the warmest and most vivifical beams of his infinite love.

9. Let me Meditate of this day, as the time af­forded for largest spiritual advantages, no day being so eminent for me and my Soul as this day.

10. Let me Meditate of this day as that happy season, wherein the Ordinances of Christ do run in a fuller higher, and stronger current.

More is offered me on this great soul-mart day than on other common Market-days, other week­day opportunities; it is the day whereby in some respects I have far better Ordinances, the Publick; in Communion with Christ, in the midst, among those that are gathered together in his Name.

And then by the Publick I have better advantages for the Private, to perform them better. Private Duties having a better time and better helps, I must thereby be minded of my better performance.

11. It is the eminent day of meeting with God in his upper walks of more solemn Ordinances.

12. The day of days for our best speaking with our God, and of highest familiarity with him.

13. It's the great time of our hearing from God, [Page 140]and having him most eminently to speak to us: There be no hearings from God like this days hear­ings, no such voice, no such efficacy can be expected as on this day.

14. It is the day wherein God sits out, and is most to be seen; the great day of seeing Gods goings in the Sanctuary, seeing his Power and his Glory: No such day for this as the Lords own day. Ps. 63.2.

15. A day of feeding more on the Feast of fat things full of Marrow, Isa. 25.6. Of being brought into the Kings Banquetting-House, having the Ban­ner of Christs love spread more amply over us, than at other times, it being the day wherein the highest flamings up of his unspeakable love appeared, in that he not only died, but rose again from the dead, without which all his other labour and sufferings had been lost, and our souls been also lost, 1 Cor. 15.

16. It is a day dropt down from Heaven, may serve to give a taste of the Sabbath and day kept there, and to set a Copy for us here to write after, in our holy restings and actings, attended with hea­venly refreshings.

God that made all things, when he had finished his work, he then rested on the seventh day, and with his example of resting, gave the precept of sanctify­ing the seventh day to the Church of the Old Te­stament.

And the Lord of the Sabbath, Christ Jesus, resting from his work, and rising the first day of the week, gives the Example, and with the Example the Pre­cept of resting and keeping holy the first day of the week to the Church of the New Testament, as some think, which therefore, Rev. 1.10. they say is called [Page 141]the Lords day, as the Ordinance of the Supper is called the Lords Supper, as instituted by him.

17. It is the day of resting the body from labour, of respiteing the mind from worldly thoughts and cares, and of refreshing the spirit with heavenly Man­na, which rains down now on this day more plen­tifully; and with water of life that runs more abun­dantly in the pure Channels of holy Ordinan­ces.

18. Meditated on it should be, as the season of the best reciprocations, mutual actings between Earth and Heaven, wherein the soul hath the advantage of acting higher and more vigorously, to glorifie and please God, Psal. 24.5. and wherein God com­mands the blessing more, and affords assistances more usually than on any other days, as experiences prove.

19. Its a time to come from sweeter and fuller communion with God in Christ (whose blessed day it is) to come with our faces shining and hearts flaming, made better to be on Earth, fitter to live in Heaven: And hereupon

20. To leave upon the spirit a more eager long­ing fully to enjoy the Lord of the Sabbath, and have time turned wholly into Eternity.

These or such like Meditations may be sutable and quickening for improving the great opportunity of this day of Christ, and we cannot think too much, or too seriously for this great occasion.

Having in some measure thus endeavoured to o­pen and illustrate this point of daily Meditation, both that which may be sutable for the six days, and for the Lords day, I pass to the next sort, Occasio­nal Meditation.

CHAP. XV. Of Occasional Meditation, and that which is more extraordinary.

SOlemn Occasional Meditation comes now to be considered, which is the souls taking of time for, and acting Meditation on some particular se­lected subject, either out of the Word of God, or among the Works of God, or somthing providen­tially falling out, or somthing concerning our selves, any thing offering fit occasion for fruitful Medita­tion.

They may be chiefly referr'd to these two heads.

1. Either such things as purposely we (out of va­rieties of subjects before us) do single out for Medi­tation, to help and quicken us in godliness.

2. Or some new fresh thing, which the hand of Gods Providence holdeth forth, for our particular observing and improving.

1. That which we ourselves, out of varieties of subjects, may or do single out for our spiritual ad­vantage.

Here the scope and compass our Eye hath to make its choice of, and fix upon is very large: The Eye in Meditation hath before it the fullest, fairest pro­spect can come in view: Here is a breadth, length, depth, height, a compass and circumference that in point of lawful liberty, you may look from Earth to Heaven, yea through the whole world, in all its vastness, and varieties of objects in it; and beyond [Page 143]them all, unto him that is so infinitely above them all, God himself, in all his so inconceivable exalta­tions and perfections.

O how narrow then must that Spirit be, which shall be straitned and at a loss, for matter to employ and busie its seriousness about?

That hath so large a Field to walk in, and so great varieties, as the vast world, Heaven and Earth, and all things in them; and the infinite God, with so many infinite excellencies as are in him, and yet to seek how to Meditate? Ah how barren, low, and poor must that spirit be which is enriched with so great provisions for mind and thought entertainment, and for times improvement, and yet cannot fruitfully employ it self, on some one thing or other that pre­sents it self to us, and invites our seeing and pon­dering of it.

Although Meditation hath so great a latitude and liberty; a liberty to travel farther, and see more by far than all the great Travellers that have bin in the world: yet spiritual wisdom teacheth us to en­deavour the most advantageous way of engaging our thinking power in Meditation. For the wisdom of this way we now are upon, it needs must lie in that manner and order, as most may conduce to the great and main end of glorifying God, and our own sal­vation. It is most true, that in point of liberty it is my Christian priviledge to take and set before me any profitable subject to intend my thoughts upon, when no particular occasion of Meditation doth otherwise oblige me: I say, when no particular con­trary obligation is upon me, I may chuse to meditate either on this or that useful subject as I please.

I have the whole Creation for my Eye-walk, my [Page 144]Meditation, and spirits recreation: yea, and farther than the whole world extends; I may go to con­template him that is the highest; if I please, like Da­vid and other Saints of God, I may with my Eye walk and look among the Works of God, the so excellent and unimitable pieces of his most admi­rable framing: On all the so stately Fabrick of the world, any of the rare built stories lower or higher, any of the rich Furnitures or exquisite things con­tained in it.

First I may view the lower story wherein I am; fix upon the precious things the Earth hath within, the riches of Minerals and precious Metals, Silver, Gold, and the so useful other sorts; the riches of all sorts of precious Stones, Diamonds, Carbuncles, Rubies, Emeralds, and all the rest.

I may view the innumerable exquisite things up­on the Earth, from the Moss and imperfect Plants, to the Grass made for the Cattel, to all things growing in the whole Garden of Nature, and more peculiarly made for the service of man; among all the Herbs, Flowers, Shrubs, and Trees of all sorts, and see in them the so fair Characters of the infinite Power, Wisdom, and Goodness of the great Creator, writ­ten most legibly on them.

I may Meditate on all sorts of living Creatures, from the least and lowest Mite or Insect, all creeping things, with all Beasts and Birds, that go upon the Earth, wild or tame.

Consider I may their several Natures, Features, and Shapes, Beauties, and Excellencies; and with­all, the serviceableness and usefulness of them, to that poor Clod of earth, man, for whom they are,

I may look to the Waters, Fountains, Rivers, and vast Seas, with the innumerable things and Crea­tures about and in them, Fowls, Fishes, and these of so many Kinds, Forms, and Shapes; all of them the demonstrations of the infinite glories of that unimi­table Artist the great God. My Meditation also may, with the Psalmist, take in the eternal and migh­ty Hills and Mountains, with the Rocks, Sands, and Bulwarks made against the raging Seas, that they re­turn not again to cover the earth, Psal. 104.9.

I may go up to the higher stories of this Fabrick of the World, to the Waters above, to the Clouds and their Bottleings up of Waters in them, and that so great wonder in Nature, the invisible and so powerful Wind, which carries the Clouds from place to place, whereby they at length open, fall down, and water the thirsty Earth with Dews and Showrs; they also serve to purge and purfie the Air we breathe in.

I may eye other sorts of Meteors or Exhalations, and things appearing in the Air, as those fiery and dreadful sometimes impressions, making us to won­der; the falling Stars, flying Dragons, fiery dart­ings of some, and fixing standing brightnesses of o­thers, of several shapes. To all these I may adde that Voice of God, the fearful Thunder, and the con­comitant Coruscations and Lightnings; Lightnings also sometimes alone; all these are mighty and stu­pendious operations of the great God.

Higher yet I may go, to another higher story, that of the Starry Heaven; contemplate the so innumerable Stars of several glories, and wonderful motions & in­fluences, with the beauteous Moon to shine by Night, & her changings, encreasings, and decreasings, and hidings; [Page 146]and that Eye of the World, the most glorious Sun, all so admirably meditated upon by the Psalmist, Ps. 8. Ps. 19. Ps. 104. Ps. 136.

I may go yet one step higher to that third Heaven, the Palace of God, where also Christ is in his humane Nature exalted, and appearing in highest glory: It is also the native place of the glorious Angels, and the place of happy reception, entertainment, and ha­bitation, of the spirits of just men made perfect, Heb. 12.23. But of this more particularly here­after.

But among all, I may more peculiarly muse, and in musing greatly wonder at that one thing, namely Man, Ps. 8. the making of him in so great excel­lency, and all things in the World for his use and service; all for a little speek of dust, with a little spark in it of an immortal soul. O what is man, that a God should be so mindful of him, and do so for him! But O what must man then be, that so little minds God! and what must that man be, that does not, that can­not or rather will not find mind Employment, how to engage and act that rare endowment the thinking power, in the rich and ample provisions purposely made for objects of mind entertainment? All this be­ing then my Eye-scope, and having so great varie­ties of Eye-walks, so large a latitude to exercise my thinkings, so profitably to act this holy Duty of Me­ditation, I am left wholly (if I neglect it) without all excuse.

If I still daily let my thoughts run and ravel out in vanities and impertinencies, and can fix no where usefully for my spiritual good.

But in that multitudes of things may breed con­fusion, prudence must direct to find out the best [Page 147]method and order, that so I may meditate with more ease, pleasure, and advantage. My best Wis­dom therefore is to consider of the fittest way, if not in it self, yet at least for my particular ability and times.

  • 1. As either to meditate of some portion or pas­sage of holy Scripture, some Precept, Promise, Threatning, Direction, Encouragement, or Example, or some Grace, Virtue, Vice, or Sin: And for more delight and help, meditate I may by setting one contrary against another; as one Promise being sin­gled, or some of the Promises, I may turn upon the Threatnings: If I meditate upon a Reward and Blessing given to any, turn I may to the Punishment and Evils that have been inflicted, or are threatned, Reward on Obedience, and Punishment on Disobe­dience.
  • 2. Meditate I may over the heads and chief points of Religion in order, as I can set them; or as some short Bodies of Divinity and Catechisms comprise them.
  • 3. Or something of the Works of the great God, as Creation, that so amazing and utterly inconceiva­ble Work, set out as it is in Genesis the first, and in other Scriptures: Or Providence, God's so strange and admirable preservation and governing of all things in the World, from the greatest to the least in it, and about it, every motion, mutation, and disposing of it to a sure end, his own highest glory.
  • 4. Or something particularly of my own spiri­tual condition, for my more peculiar benefit. As,
    • 1. Something which may make me wiser to sal­vation, and adde to my Treasure of spiritual truths.
    • [Page 148]2. Something may make me warmer, and encrease my heat of holy affection.
    • 3. Or something which may strengthen and fix my souls great purpose of walking with God, and ren­der me a more highly resolved person for Hea­ven.
    • 4. I should as a grand business, the affair of chief concernment, meditate frequently and most seriously about the case of my soul, how in very deed it is, 2 Cor. 13.5. both without any self flattery on the one hand, or self injury on the other hand, Psal. 36.2. Neither making my self and state better than it is, nor worse than it is, Lam. 3.1. That I may not on any mistake be confident, presuming fondly, John 2.4. nor diffident, desponding and discouraged weakly.
    • 5. I must frequently meditate of the evil and most deceitful heart, that arch cheater I continually carry in my bosom, and therefore am never to be se­cure, but alway awakened for fear of its falseness and deceits: Meditate therefore of that so excellent Scripture, Jer. 17.9. The heart, &c. Therefore I shall more largely speak to it.

CHAP. XVI. Meditation should often be of the hearts great deceitfulness.

MEditation should be very frequent of the hearts great deceitfulness. The right and best way of this Meditation, lieth in these four particular paths.

  • 1. In pondering the infallible certainty of it, and particulars in it.
  • 2. Pondering the sad condition every one is under by it.
  • 3. Weighing the sad attendants and conse­quences.
  • 4. The way of deliverance and relief.

1. It is best here to begin with the Meditation of the infallible certainty, of this so superabounding heart deceitfulness.

1. This first is to be minded, as that which is as­serted so by a God, for whom it is impossible to lie, Heb. 6. being infinitely wise, holy, righteous, and good; he affirms it, and that before, and to the very faces of all persons: He hath written, recorded it in his Scripture of truth; he hath commanded all per­sons to read what he hath there recorded; he hath preserved miraculously these Records against all haters and opposers, Men and Devils; and among other ends, that men may have a Glass, a perfect unde­ceiving Glass, to shew men that they never would or could see or believe, if God had not held this [Page 150]Glass to them, and made the true and lively repre­sentation of the hearts deceitfulness above all things by it.

2. These Scripture assertions of the hearts de­ceitfulness, are from that God, who is the only both heart-framer and heart-searcher and knower, Ps. 33.15. having his Eye, omniscient Eye also, every mo­ment and least particle of time upon it, and every where, in every Chamber and corner, every part of it; therefore he must needs know exactly all the hearts deceitfulness, and desperate wickdness. As he made the whole frame of the Soul, and all the facul­ties, the Springs and Wheels of that exquisite frame, so he knows all the foulness and soil of sin which hath fallen in, and which it hath gathered, all its motions irregular, all its stops and stands, all its com­missions and omissions, all its defects of principles, all its corrupt principles: Therefore knowing the both natural powers of the Soul, with all superadded cor­rupt principles evilly inclining, aims and interests bi­assing and leading: he keeping also such an Eye ever upon it; for of the things in the whole world, there's no one thing the Eye of God looks so upon as spi­rits and hearts: He must know the deceitfulness of it, by being the only Maker, and likewise the conti­nual Observer of it; and therefore if he affirms it how deceitful the heart is, it must be so.

3. But besides, there can be nothing in the heart to alter and change it, to restore and raise it from this bad state, but he knows it; his Eye is ever upon the heart, he keeps alway an awakened Eye, that is still watching it, narrowly viewing it; he is the heart continual searcher and tryer, Psal. 7.9. He tries the heart and the reins.

4. He must also be Judge of the secrets of mens hearts, Rom. 2.16. God shall judge the secrets of mens hearts, &c. therefore all deceitfulness of it, there­fore he must know it, and it must be true, Rom. 2.2. The Judgment of God is according to truth, and the Word of truth whereby he will judge.

5. Take in also the recorded demonstrations of it, such as God discovered, foretold, and after came to pass, setting a seal to this infallible truth.

Hazael 2 King. 8.19. was by Revelation from God, told it by Elisha, and with much seeming ab­horrence disclaim'd it, yet instantly is confuted, and had his mouth stopt. The Apostles were told of their forsaking Christ, and Peter of his denying of him, which he would not believe, Mar. 14.50. yet within a very little time appeared: Scripture Re­cords of the hearts great deceitfulness are left us to conclude and confirm us herein. But O how hard is it to see, to believe against our selves! Our own great frequencies of Experiences, the very instances out of the Nurseries of our own hearts; the evil Plants that put forth fresh continually of their fruits deceitful­ness, prove it to our faces, if we make Observations of them as we ought to do. O there's not one day if we are watchful, but is full of sad instances from Morning to Night: At all times we may find our hearts ready to commit cheats upon our selves, and in soul concerns, as to our spiritual Estates, O what grand deceits are we too apt to have therein!

As particularly, in respect of God, how ready to think erroneously of him; as to his omniscience, truth, holiness, righteousness, mercy, free Grace, power, and providence, and such like? As the self condemn­ed Drunkard, Deut. 29.19. says, I shall have peace [Page 152]though I adde drunkenness to thirst: And he in the 50. Psalm v. 21. Thou saidst I was like to thee: so the best are out of predominant corruption, very ready to commit great mistakes and deceits, in re­spect of their own sins, graces, the things of God, and things of the world, there's no end of naming; excellent Treatises are written of this hearts deceit­fulness.

2. Meditation should proceed to the unspeakable sadness of this heart Temper, every one should cry out with the holy Apostle, Rom. 7.24. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this deceit­ful heart! out of the hands of this Deceiver so great and so near, gotten so far within me, and that will be a cursed inmate, so long as this House of the Body stands, and will not out utterly whatsoever hard u­sage it finds!

O how sad is it to have such a self-betraying com­panion, so deeply rooted within me! To have in my own Bosom, such a continual Forge and Fountain, acting and running in so violent Tydes, high Spring-Tydes, ever and anon, carrying me down to that I must so sadly bewail, and smart under!

3. The attendants and consequences of this heart deceitfulness should greatly be pondered, as to be so fooled by my self, by trusting my self, Prov. 28.26. He that trusts his own heart is a Fool: May I not trust my own heart, without having such a Character and Brand upon me? O then what a Fool have I been, and that Millions of Millions of times? O how great a Fool exceeding often, in suffering so notori­ous Cheats to be put upon me? such a Lust or Cor­ruption to clap a Biass on my Heart, and Fool lead me? lead me so far, so deep into the dirt, so far [Page 153]from home, from Heaven, from God, from peace, com­fort, hope, and heart of returning! How many and many ways have I been a fool? yea and still am daily most unwise; he that is so easily and ordinari­ly unwise, must be a fool to purpose. Whosoever shall be but twice or thrice cheated by the same per­son, and not beware, will be accounted no wise man; but for a sinner to be not twice, or thrice cheat­ed, but thousands of times by the same deceitful heart; cheated with the saddest, saddest imaginable deceits, must be unwise indeed. O how sad is it that we cannot by all experiences take heed of this deceit­ful heart!

I can take heed of every one better than my self; it may be I scarce will trust any body in worldly af­fairs, but my self that is worse than any without me, that I will trust, and so be deceived: O let me often think what trusting my own heart is, and needs must come unto.

I had need think well of the foolish Builder, Mat. 7.26. that built his house upon the sand, grounded his hopes of salvation on a false bottom; and of the wise Builder, who built his house on a Rock, by real building, by precious Faith on Christ. And let me likewise meditate often on the ten Virgins, the foolish deceived with a Lamp of outward profession only, and the wise that with their Lamps provided Oyl, of Grace, a heart right-renovation.

4. Meditate, first, on the heart-knower. Against heart deceitfulness, let me as the sure way look up continually to the only perfect heart-knower, to beg most earnestly his help, to shew me my hearts de­ceitfulness.

Secondly, on Christ my wisdom. Let me mind this [Page 154]well, that Christ only must be my wisdom, 1 Cor. 1.31. my teacher, whom I must apply, and rest on pe­culiarly for his wisdom and teachings daily, to ex­tricate and carry me out of the Labyrinths, and many secret windings of my so deceitful spirit.

Thirdly, on the Spirit my helper. And must con­sider the mighty helper, the Holy Spirit, to help me a­gainst my self-deceivings, Rom. 8.26. He helps our infirmities, and he helps against this infirmity of be­ing so ready to be cheated.

Christ by his Spirit, he can and will deliver me if I trust upon him, he hath given me his Word.

Fourthly, the Word. I must meditate on the Word, there are the sure Rules and ways revealed, to shew how to undeceive my self: The Word, Heb, 4.12. is a discerner of the thoughts, and intents of the heart; if I make it my Exercise to meditate in the Word of Christ, he by his Spirit with the Word will teach and help me, if I obey it.

I have endeavoured a little, this being so impor­tant a concernment, to help our Meditation in it; and those that believe and fear their hearts deceiv­ings most, will ever speed best; those that trust their hearts most, will smart most.

CHAP. XVII. Of divers other things for solemn and set Meditation.

6. SOlemn and serious Meditation, a very great and diligent consideration, I should often act in re­ference to that arch Enemy without, namely the De­vil, who though he be an Enemy without, yet gains and maintains all he can, a correspondency with cor­ruption within me.

Satan I must consider as fallen from God, and so from his primitive station and happiness, into dam­nation and Hell, fallen out implacably with God, and for his sake with his best Creature on Earth, man. Out of his implacable hatred, his aim is to drown men in the same Perdition and Hell with himself, 1 Pet. 5.8. He seeks whom he may devour, Rev. 2.24. he hath his deceits, depths, methods, and arts of both tempting and troubling, 2 Cor. 2.11. And these acted with the purest enmity, keenest malice, ut­most vigilancy, and unwearied diligence.

He hath the higher ground of us by far, as being a Spirit, and of the highest rank of Creatures, as to his Nature and Essence, and is thereby most wise and strong and agile: He is immortal, never can dye, nor in any sort decay, as we and other creatures decay in strength, senses, and exercising of our souls facul­ties, understanding, memory and others; as he is ne­ver dying, nor in the least decaying, so he hath been, is and ever will be to the worlds end, trying and [Page 156] tempting. Trying and practising upon the innume­rable sorts of persons, of all Sexes, all Ages, (that are capable in the least degree to be tempted) of all ranks, conditions, relations, in all places whatsoe­ver, through the vast inhabited earth. Job 1.7.

He also enlarges his experiences, puts still fresh on his file; improves continually his arts of deceiving; and doth he not grow more bold, raging, and busie, as his time grows shorter? Rev. 12.12.

Pondered well it should be, that 'tis not one single Devil to tempt us, but there are Legions, very ma­ny of them; and they are all one huge Army of De­vils, under one great Head, The Devil and his An­gels, Mat. 25.41. Rev. 12.7. His Angels are his as­sistants, which constantly and exactly comply and co-operate with him. The Devils never are divi­ded, do not jar and act against each other, but are all of one interest of destroying Souls, and accor­dingly do harmoniously contend.

Oft in Scripture mention is made of Satan and the Devil, as if he were a single one: But this may be to shew their unanimity and unity.

The Scripture hath sufficiently warned us, and re­lated his attempts and prevailings; as first upon A­dam and Eve in their state of innocency and perfe­ction; yet he then (though they knew not only their own happiness, but all their posterities, though never so numerous, lay at the stake) he then by his Ar­tifices, and subtlety prevailed.

After that, upon the second man that ever was, upon the deceived Parents first born Cain, therefore 1 Joh. 3.12. Cain is said to be of the wicked one; and on sundry other wicked all along still the current of time.

Yea prevailed he often hath upon the very best Saints that ever the world had; Job, David, Peter, and others, Job 3.1, &c. 2 Sam. 24.1. Mat. 26.3. he forbears none: Therefore it is very much to be considered, and how he is to be watched and warred with; and the Armour of proof is to be duly minded, and the putting of it on, Ephes. 6.13.

He that hath conquered him, the Lord Jesus, and that hath conquered him for his members; this glo­rious conquest must be meditated upon, as the strongest Cordial in the case; and way of taking it, the Promise, with the way of acting by the Promise, Praying and other Ordinances given for our help, this need be often a great Meditation.

7. That Enemy the World should have its due Me­ditation: Its allurements on the one side, its oppo­sitions on the other: I must meditate on the diver­sities of baits, the latitudes of Pleasures, heights of Honour, heaps of Wealth, 1 Joh. 2.15. Friends, Relations, Company, Converse, Cares, Business, and all my Lets, Diversions, Entanglements, of all the evils; in Troubles, Forcings, Frauds, Plottings, and all ways of ensnaring and ruining me. Also the World (in so many respects being suited either to my natural inclination, or my customary readi­ness for closing with it; or otherwise to my fears and cowardise, softness and fickleness, weakness and weariness to withstand or overcome it) Yet I must consider how the Saints have overcome the world, by acting, as Moses and others, their self-denyal, look­ing to the recompence of reward, looking to him that is invisible, and especially to Jesus, the Author and finisher of our Faith; and by Faith and Pa­tience [Page 158]both enduring and gloriously overcom­ing.

8. Sometimes I may very fruitfully meditate on the wants and weakness of my Grace begun in some measure, 2 Pet. 1.5. its often ebbings and flowings, its stops and stands: A little progress at the best my so carnal heart makes; also of the extream need I have of continual stirring up, and exercising Faith, Love, Hope, Fear, and other Graces, thereby to grow stronger, and put forth vigorously on all occasions; minding also the helps I have in Christs holy Ordi­nances, encouragements in the precious promises, and supplies by the blessed Spirits operations out of the so great fulness of Christ.

9. Oft I should apply my seriousness to that so concerning particular, the continual and fast run­ning out of the golden sands of my time, and spe­cial seasons for working out of my salvation. The time is short, faith the Apostle 1 Cor. 7.29. Psal. 39.5. Behold thou hast made my days as an hand­breadth. Seasons past can never be recall'd, seasons present cannot be stopt from running out: Oppor­tunity is the greatest Talent, as the saying is, as that whereby we employ all other Talents.

Therefore we are so often earnestly call'd upon, for redeeming time, as Eph. 5.16. Redeeming the time. Eccl. 9.10. Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might, for there is no work in the Grave, &c. Though time and seasons, as the course of the Heavens may be made to stop, if the Sun as in Joshua's time, should miraculously stand still, Jos. 10.13. or as in Hezekiah's time go back, Isa. [...].8. yet mens particular time then did not go back, or stand still; so our particular time of life cannot [Page 159]go back or stand still, Job. 9.25. and 14.1, 2. and ver. 5.

Life every moment shortens, and is melting down into its appointed period.

Life is a thing of the greatest contingency and uncertainty, there is no Ensurance Office set up for it.

It passes swiftly without pause or stop, this the Scripture both minds us greatly of, and furnishes us with rare precedents of the Saints serious and moving Meditations about it.

O let me then look on them and do likewise I let me use and improve the patterns purposely there recorded, to help and quicken my forgetful dead spirit.

I next come to speak of the four last things, as they commonly are called, Death, Judgment, Hell, and Heaven.

CHAP. XVIII. Meditation of Death.

THE uncertainty of life last mentioned, leads me to the subject next akin to it, that so conside­rable and consequential point of Mortality, Death, and Dissolution. O that here I could be the highest Artist to speak most fitly and movingly to this sub­ject Death, or at least to do something which might prove effectual to some such proper and proportio­nate way of directing and quickning this so neces­sary and useful Meditation. This is the great mo­mentous and most highly concerning thing, the end and winding up of life, and all affairs and matters relating to it, and that which casts me, and deter­mines my condition for all Eternity in woe or hap­piness. Let me therefore endeavour the best I can at all times to improve my thinkings of it.

1. Let me first begin with the meritorious cause of it: That which Heathens knew not, Nature saw not, Philosophy and Learning could not find out, nor reach; only holy Scripture tells me, and shews it to be that most black inlet sin, Rom. 5.12. Death en­tred into the world by sin, and v. 17. By one mans of­fence death reigned; not only entred, but reigned, hath mastered, and will master all sinners. Sin, that greatest evil in the world, sin the only contrariety to the living God that gave life to man at first, and ever since; sin, that only injury to the blessed God, bred and brought death, the greatest misery to man here; [Page 161] sin that provoked God to pass the sentence; sin oc­casioning the vindictive cause, the Justice of God, to let in death, death with the consequences of it, that would follow without a Mediator that Adam knew not of: Death so considered, is the way of the very deepest revenge a God can take.

But then this black part of it, bodily death, with­out that blacker Train of Hell and Eternity in it, is that which must challenge a very great proportion of ponderings.

2. Let me look at, not only the rise of it, and the bare wrath occasioning the inflicting it, but that so fixt and irreversible sentence, that like the Law of the Medes and Persians cannot be broken, Heb. 9.27. It's appointed for all; the universality of sin hath given death an universal sting; and the Statute of Heaven hath impowered Death's Extensiveness over all, and set a seal of irrevocableness to it as to all men. Therefore it is appointed, I must think, par­ticularly for me; whatever I am, or do, or can in utmost possibility do. I must not once think of ma­king an escape from it.

Yea let me consider, as I must die, so the very Year, Moneth, Day, Hour, and Moment is immutably fixt, and can never be altered, Job. 14.5. the place also where, the means whereby, the manner how, all circumstances about it are unchangeably deter­mined.

3. But how material is that particular of the un­certainty of the time and manner to me? that's a reservation and secret kept in the Lord's own breast, not possibly to be exactly known before, without it be revealed, as Christ of the Great Day of Judgment saith, Mat. 24.36. Of that day and hour knoweth no [Page 162]man. And Verse 42. Ye know not what hour your Lord will come. And 44. In such an hour you think not your Lord comes; so the two latter may be ap­plyed to this of death, when he calls for an accompt of our Stewardships and Talents, and passes parti­cular and personal Judgment.

3. Let me pass next, to the Meditation, serious pondering of the nature of it, and that great dread­fulness of that most terrible of terribles, that King of terrours, Job. 18.14. Here that I may duly look on it, let me look up for a God to teach me, as to number my days, Ps. 90. so to be wise to consider my latter end, to do that hard work, overcome that dif­ficulty of looking Death-watd. Nature abhors the thinking of it, Corruption all it can opposes it; but Grace must bring and fix earnestly and often the Eye upon it, familiarize death to me, let me then Eye my dissolution, the parting of the two nearest, dearest friends, the Soul's taking its sad farewel of its for­mer dwelling; its going, going in an instant out of the Body, and then that which Death doth as an Ene­my to all former Life concerns; and as an entrance upon an Eternal Condition.

1. As an Enemy to all enjoyments how sweet soe­ver: Pleasures all now quenched, Honours now all dasht, Riches and Estate now all lost, Power now utterly ceast.

2. An Enemy to all Relations, Friends, Acquain­tance; now must I shake hands with all nearest and dearest, the sweetest and most helpful Relations.

3. An Enemy to all Imployments, necessary or plea­surable, no Work, no Business, no Invention after it.

4. An Enemy to all Opportunities and Means of [Page 163]Grace, never to read the Bible more, never to hear one Sermon more, never to receive the Lords Supper more, never to make one Prayer, the shortest of one of the fewest words more; and then also when thou art just launching into the length of vast Eternity: But now must be Prayerless and totally helpless, yea now thy Souls condition becomes becalmed, and thou canst not obtain one gale of the Holy Spirit to blow upon thee, and help move thee in any mea­sure.

5. Its an Enemy quickly to the curious frame and so exquisite building of thy body, with all its parts and members, made with such adaptations and su­tableness whatever, with all the Tempers, Qualities, Offices, Abilities, and Actings of it: An Enemy like­wise to all the senses; seeing, hearing, the two disci­plinary, with feeling, tasting, smelling, the so likewise necessary.

6. It is an Enemy and Destroyer of all comliness, and beauty, form and shape: And all these former by being the Enemy and Destroyer of that thy so sweet and precious life; by making that Jewel drop out of the Cabinet of the Body: or rather driving forth thy immortal and invaluable soul, bringing with it a Writ of forcible entrance, coming with an Execu­tion, to turn out that old inhabitant of the body, se­curing it from regaining possession, making it stand empty, and thence exposing the body to rot, ruine, turn to dust, and expose it to Oblivion, as if it had never been.

But then upon thy Souls thus leaving thy Body, immediately and instantly it is cast upon a state of Eternity; of Misery if thou wert not in Christ, or fe­licity if found and dying in him.

When Life ends, Eternity begins: O this all a­mazing Eternity; this so vast and inconceivable Eter­nity, no way to be exprest or set forth, no way to be understood or known, a Glass that is ever run­ning, a Chain that is ever lengthening: who can number the Sands of this Glass, who can reckon the links of this Chain of Eternity, without stop or pe­riod, bound or end? O let me be ever musing of this Ever! have it so full in my Eye, while I have time, this moment of time here, that it may wind up and leave me in possession of most happy Eternity.

But to affect my spirit aright, and be wise in the due managing of this Meditation of dreadful Death, let me look to and ponder the Scripture Commands, for remembring and considering my latter end, and the Arguments strongly inducing to it. How frequent­ly and earnestly is it urged upon all? O let me lay the weight and stress of them close to my heart, not suffering it to put by the thoughts of death, how awk and averse soever my carnal spirit is towards it!

Let me therefore not only muse on the sentence, the peremptory and irrevocable sentence passed upon all in general, and so upon my self in particular, but on it as ready to be executed this hour, yea this mo­ment, for ought I, or any in the world can tell: Ah let me say to my self, the Warrant for my death at this very instant may be sealing, and immediately in a moment put in Execution. Ah therefore should I not still daily represent and realize to my heart, my own particular coming Death! represent it by those frequent Examples the hand of Death brings, and sets full before my face, to force my Observa­tion!

The deaths of both strangers to me, and famili­ars with me, of near Neighbours, dear Friends, sweetest Relations; bereaving me, it may be, of the Father that begat me, the Mother that bare me, the Children of my bowels, the Wife of my bosom, or the Husband that was my guide and stay; or some other very comfortable Relation, and so the comfort of any such Relation ceases.

All Relations are broken, by this Bond-breaker, this Tie-dissolver, Death.

When I see these thus called away, and must be my Relations no more, should not I hear my self call'd upon to come away (shortly it may be) after them?

O but with these near warnings without me, let me take those nearer warnings upon me, and within me, inevitably still seizing me. Let me take those many successive summons given for my own per­sonal change.

Ah how many are those joggings the hand of Death daily gives me, for my awakening into that serious pondering, of that death I either seldom, or slightly mind!

How many strokes may I observe Death daily gives at the Root of the Tree, making, as it were, the Chips flye in my face; making me smart by Pains, Aches, Weakness, Craziness, Failings, and Fallings of the spirits and strength, and increase of Infirmi­ties; by all declaring he is making at me: And how many pieces of my house of Clay may I see crumbling and mouldring away, now one and then another: After the morning of my Age, my Sun soon gets up higher, soon it is noon, afternoon, and night with me.

How soon is the Sun at the height with any in the [Page 166]bright and warm beams of bodily beauty and strength? but how impossible is it for to say effectual­ly to it, Sun stand thou still and go not down, for the least moment? How soon appear, one way or other, the tendencies to death in and upon us?

Decay in Beauty and Comliness. Sometimes, yea ordinarily, when we are in the Flower, presently the Beauty and Comliness begins to blast: The best and fairest Face, as to the pure White and Red, soon ei­ther becomes paler, or higher coloured, after grows darker and deader, still one way or other worse. As to the feature and curious shape of Face and whole Body, soon that likewise changes, either by a con­traction in leanness and thinness, or by an extension in corpulency and grossness: Both the curious and rare Colours and Features change, warning us of ten­dency to the last great coming change. Or sometimes an intimation is given by the Grinders of our food, whereby we live, by the decayings still of the Teeth; the Teeth which are absolutely the hardest and strong­est things about us, these so soon decaying, as it is in most, plainly it demonstrates that the softer and weaker things in and about us, and so the whole frame, will go at last. By this, the soon decaying of the bardest pieces, Death seems to set his black mark on us, we have his mark in the mouth; and by their de­cayings and rottings we touch, as it were, these his warnings continually with our Tongues, thence to mind us of what change is coming.

For when the Teeth fail (the Grinders and Meat Preparers, made to fit meat for the stomach) this causes the stomach to act less perfectly; and on its failing in degree, all the dependencies must needs fail in their Offices.

But if these-Deaths Marks begin not so in some, yet how do we find generally some other marks of de­cay set upon us?

If Death come not early, yet how soon upon most doth he set his mark? most observably on the very top of our Houses of Clay, bringing forth gray Hairs on the highest part, the Head, and turning them whiter every day; Making the Almond Tree to flourish, as Solomon elegantly in Eccl. 12. And in how many E­legancies doth there the Wise man discover and re­present rarely the decays of the Body in old age? all as demonstrations of Deaths being con­tinually busie about us, both to prepare and reduce us to his possession.

What varieties of warnings are given us in the impairings of this or that Member, or of several parts of the Body; by sometimes Sores, Imposthumes, Fistulas, Gangrens, and parts corrupting, shewing a coming dissolution: How many mortal Diseases (besides others shaking the Houses of our frail Bo­dies) I say incurable Diseases, whereby we are told that Death hath us now fast in his hand?

If not so, yet what warnings otherwise are given, in the senses beginning to fail? as our Sight growing dimmer, Hearing duller, and in the rest. And as in the parts more common, so in the noble and prin­cipal parts, in the Liver, Heart, Head, and others; these not performing so perfectly their Offices, whence the spirits, strength, and motion are im­paired, the Flesh wastes, the Skin wrinkles, Memory and Ʋnderstanding likewise decay, and appearances of death come all the Body over; what are all the forementioned and concurrent decays, but a being Death-smitten? a coming out full of the Tokens of [Page 168]Death? What are all these successions of decays, but so many added links of that great Chain Death holds in his hand, and draws us to him by? All Messen­gers that have the sound of their Masters feet, Death behind them.

O how exceeding gracious is God in his Multipli­cations and Connexions of warnings, who might smite every Sinner, without any notice of death given!

Therefore as a piece of highest wisdom, let me strive to represent the possible suddenness of Deaths sad coming upon me; and this by all the ways and inducements I can apply. The Examples, such as are in Scripture, of Abels death, Lot's Wife, Nadab and Abihu, Ʋzzah, Amnon, Abner, Ananias and Sapphira, Herod, and others: And in History and Experience, of so many and so various ways suddenly snatcht away.

Not a Year, or some small portion of time, but it furnishes with fresh Examples: What hath be­fallen others, may befall me, I have no security a­gainst sudden death; but wheresoever, and in what­ever time death may seize me.

If I Travel, a Thief may kill me, my Horse may throw and kill me, the Coach or Carriage I pass in may ruine me; on the Water, I may there be drown­ed; on the Land, and when I am passing in the Streets, some casualty may dispatch me; at home, by some mischance or sudden distemper, something at the Table, Fire, Bed, or other place, within or with­out doors; some Imposthume, Palsey, Apoplexy kills, or some venomous inward vapour may strike me to the heart.

Multitudes of Experiences we continually have: [Page 169]If not suddenly Death seizes, but is a stroke with warning, either shorter or longer, yet it comes at last, in the way, and at a time, or hour I just know not.

My best way therefore is to, frequently in my thoughts, put my self into the condition of a present dying: How it must be with me, let me look on my self how certainly, without flattery, I am prepared to dye! If I have a Christ in my bosom, the Love of God assured, and can dye in the Lord, 2 Cor. 13.5. dye in Faith, and look Death in the face boldly, resign up my soul free­ly into Christs hands, these make for this Agony the highest Cordial; these furnish me with Armour of proof against this Enemy.

But let me then look on my self as having no means farther to preserve me, all Physick, Art, and Experiences withdrawing their usual help, Friends standing about me, pitying, lamenting me, but not able to evidence more than their kind wishes, and I my self perceiving Deaths summons sent me, as to King Hezekiah, but without expecting any Messen­ger after to be sent with better News: Prayers now and all such means also reversed, and proving la­bours lost, I now feeling my decays and hastening away; my disquiets and pains encreasing, strength failing, spirits sinking, heat turned into chillness; Cramps, contractions of Nerves and limbs follow­ing, breath shortening, speech faultring, heart pangs and agonies now multiplying, the whole frame of the body shaking, the Hands snatching, Eye-strings, as they say, breaking; and after many deep heavy sighings and groanings, the Soul comes forth with gaspings, and sitting upon my quivering [Page 170]lips, upon the last gasp takes its nimble flight, leaves its old habitation to rottenness and corruption, and launches forth into an everlasting new condi­tion.

Lord teach me so to number my days, see how frail I am, Psal. 90.12. Psal. 39.1. let me so of­ten realize this dying to my self, in most serious Me­ditation, put my self into this condition of Deaths coming, and acting his part, his utmost on me, that I may both familiarize and facilitate this so dread­ful and difficult work, that I may be greatly desi­rous to be dissolved, and be thereby with Christ, which is best of all; O that I may perform this last work best! which that I may, and make that great Enemy my great Friend, my Losses greatest Gain, let me still mind Christ's healing this bitter water, making it sweet, making this Deaths-day better than the Births-day; let my thoughts be on the Sting's pulling out, that it cannot hurt, if I am Christ's.

Death is ours if we are Christ's, and for our most high advantages, as being the great outlet of all evil and misery, I now shall sin no more, be tempted and ensnared no more, the World shall now be cor­ruptions bait, and Satans Hook no more, Satan shall never throw at me any fiery dart more, God will never desert me, hide his face from me more.

All Miseries, Crosses, Losses, Poverty, Shame, Pain, Sickness, Weakness, Weariness, Faintness, Hunger, Thirst, Cold, Nakedness, Labour, Toil, Cares, Fears, Sorrows, and Disquiets, and whatsoever of this lifes Evils can be named, is at an Eternal end.

And Death becomes the great inlet of all good, to flow in most abundantly; a passage to Heaven, [Page 171]to be possest of a Crown of Glory, to enjoy the in­numerable company of Saints and Angels, to be with Christ, and seeing God face to face, and fulness of felicity for evermore.

CHAP. XIX. Of Judgment after death.

ON the sad parting of those two dearest friends, Soul and Body comes instantly the doom and sentence, Heb. 9.27. the particular Judgment of the person, to pass and be put in execution, to an Eternal Estate, either of Happiness or Misery, im­mediately as to the immortal Soul, and afterward at the General Resurrection of Body and Soul in Conjunction.

This therefore little foregoing Day of Judgment, upon which, by the Bodies mortality and necessity of dying, and the Souls immortality and necessity of not dying, every person comes to be stated in eter­nal misery or happiness unavoidably; is a point of most high consequence, to be well considered, deep­ly weighed, often dwelt upon in our most prudent improvements of retiredness.

A very great frequency, and repetition of our best thoughts and serious ponderings, must be the Tribute of this concern, this vertical point, this [Page 172]Judgment which casts the scales, and makes full weight for misery or felicity for ever; For as the tree falls, so it lies, as Death leaves, Judgment, this parti­cular Judgment, finds us, dooms us irreversibly; there is no bringing a Writ of Errour, no Appeal to be made, no pardon now the Judge will give, no petition he will receive, no stay of proceedings can in the least be granted, or lookt for on any ground.

This to every particulat person in some respect is his great day of Judgment, this disposes and di­spatches, this secures and keeps me for the great ge­neral Assize and Judgment; this is the Foundation that will be the Superstructure, this is secret, that is solemn, this for a private execution, that for one in open view of all.

But this Judgment particular strikes the first stroke of utter undoing, or lends the first hand of help to an eternal saving, and without which the great Judgment doth not proceed.

Ah then well may I afford this Judgment a great frequency, largeness, & seriousness of thoughts, which launches the Ship of my Soul into the Ocean of Eter­nity, which lets my Soul, either presently to sink into the Bottomless Pit, purposely sends it thither, casts it into the Lake of Everlasting Fire, or sends it into Abrahams bosom, into the harbour of eternal hap­piness, and enters this Jewel into the Cabinet of Heaven. Ah how unspeakably considerable is this particular Judgment! The very moment of my death, that is uncertain, and the very next moment after death comes certain Judgment, irresistably, and irrecoverably, and determines our state of Eternity.

CHAP. XX. Of the general Judgment Day.

BUT then particular Judgment foregoing, this is but the foundation and introduction of the following.

The private and partial execution on the Soul se­parate from the Body, shall have a publick and most solemn both manifestation and consummation with it.

1. This day, among other ends, is reserved for the so great and glorious manifestation of the infinite ho­liness and righteousness, grace and mercy, wrath and severity, and other Attributes of God; never in this world having their so full discovery, as now by the intendment and most wise contrivance of a God they shall have, before Angels and Saints, Devils and wicked men.

The Judgment-day, Rom. 2.5. is called the day of the Revelation of the righteous Judgment of God; of that righteousness, that so great and glorious At­tribute so little understood, less considered, so much questioned and cavil'd at, the highest declaration and fullest Revelation that ever was, shall be then made and seen by all.

So the rest of Gods Attributes shall obtain their meridian height, and shine forth in their most per­fect resplendencies.

Therefore it needs must be a very great day when it is so intended, purposely to be the greatest day that ever was or can be.

2. It is also purposely constituted for the highest glory of Jesus Christ, that he may both be admired of Saints and Angels, and magnified in the sight of all wicked men and Devils.

Therefore he now is to appear in the highest glo­ry, splendour, and power: And he being made now the visible Judge, this must be most glorious, in that it is the consummating work of his Mediatory King­dom, preceding immediately his delivering up his Kingdom to God the Father, as the Apostle tells us, 1 Cor. 15.24. For the method and most fruitful way of this so very necessary Meditation, I conceive it may be,

1. To begin with those Scriptures that most clear­ly and distinctly present us with the infallible cer­tainty of this grand point.

2. To then gather up the Remarkable particulars of it in Scripture, as to the Nature, Manner, and the things that both accompany and follow it.

3. How to manage it, to our being best moved and stirred up by it.

1. For the infallible certainty of this Judgment day, let me look out those Scriptures in the Old and New Testament, that speak perspicuously of it, and then labour by Meditation and Prayer to sink deep into my heart, to lay them so strongly to infuse, as to leave a deep abiding tincture upon it.

To be put into a full possession and assurance of Faith, in this so high soul-concernment.

In Jude 14. Enoch the seventh from Adam, that so walked with God, and that was first translated, prophesied of the Lords coming to Judgment.

Job, who is supposed by the Learned to have lived when the Israelites were in Egypt, and before [Page 175] Moses time, in his 19. Chapter, 25, 26, 27. verses, hath a most clear and full assertion of his Redeemers be­ing the last day on the Earth, and seeing him then, &c.

Solomon, Eccl. 12.16. God shall bring every thing to Judgment, every secret thing, good or evil: Dan. 12.2. They that sleep in the dust shall arise, some to shame, others to life.

In the New Testament, out of Christs the Judges own mouth, Math 25.31. to the end. This Doctrine is most fully, with the particulars and manner of it, described, and in the other Gospels often.

So the Apostle of the Gentiles, Acts 17.19. At Athens, the great Ʋniversity of the World, he tells them God had appointed a day to Judge the World in righteousness, and by the man Jesus, &c. Rom. 2.16. In that day that God shall Judge the secrets of mens hearts.

So we must all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ, &c. 2 Cor. 5.10.

2 Thes. 1.7, 8, 9, 10. Christ shall come in flaming fire, to render vengeance to all that know not God, and obey not the Gospel.

And Revel. 20.12, 13. to the end, I saw the dead stand before God, and judged according to their works, &c.

The varieties of places in Scripture, are like ma­ny Candles lighted in one place, like multitudes of Lights in the Heavens, all to give light to us below, that we might have clearest discoveries, firmest Faith, strongest instigations to yield full compliance and obedience, with greatest readiness, pleasure and sweetness.

O I must answer for having the Scriptures, the [Page 176] varieties, perspicuities, convincing Reasons, and per­swading endeavours of the Spirit of God towards me in them and by them.

The more in the Scripture is done for me, the more will be required of me: This for the first.

2. The particulars remarkable to be gathered to­gether, of this day, as the nature, manner, &c.

1. I must meditate of the Person, the so great and glorious Person that shall be Judge, which is God himself, as the Scripture often tells us; as Eccl. 12.16. Rom. 2.16. as was mentioned before, God shall judge, &c. Though this be greatly considerable, un­der which our Faith must be concluded; and this alone well pondered may greatly awaken, awe, and provoke us to all fulness of regard and care: yet the Word tells us farther, it is God, by Jesus Christ, so in Acts 17.19. God hath appointed a day in which he will judge the World, by that man he hath appointed. Hath committed all judgment to the Son.

It is not committed to the holiest man that ever lived, nor to any mighty Angel, it is too high an Honour, too great a Work, for any created Nature, only fit for him that is God and man. For, by being God, there's both an Omniscient, and Omnipotent, an infinitely Holy, Righteous, Good, and Merciful Judge; And by being Man, there's to all mens eyes a visible Judge, that the Scriptures may be fulfilled. And this for the Saints surpassing joy, but the wickeds greater daunting and terrour, let in by the eyes both of the one and other: All must be judged by a Judge their eyes shall behold.

2. For the time of his coming, Mat. 24.42. it cannot, will not be known: At what hour your Lord will come, you know not.

3. For the suddenness and secresie of his coming, 2 Pet. 3.10. The Lord will come as a Thief in the night. Math. 24.44. At an hour you think not your Lord comes.

4. For the place whence he sets out and comes, 1 Thes. 1.16. The Lord himself shall descend from Heaven.

5. It will be in power and great glory, such as never was, and never the like again shall be; never did the Sun of Righteousness ascend to and shine in such a Meridian, such a transcendent height of glory, Tit. 2.3. Looking for the glorious appear­ing.

6. For the company and retinue, it's all the whole Court of Heaven, come to wait on their King of Glory. All the glorified Saints and Angels leave Heaven empty, to make up his Train, thousand of thousands giving their attendance, Jude 8. With thousands of his Saints. 2 Thes. 1.7. Comes with his mighty Angels. Math. 25.31. Cometh, and all his holy Angels with him. O what an unspeakably glo­rious attendance this is!

7. For the dreadfulness of his coming, 2 Thes. 1.7. Christ is revealed coming in flaming fire. 2 Pet. 3, 10. The Heavens shall pass away with a great noise, the Elements melt with fervent heat, the Earth with the works in it burnt up.

8. As a preparative to the Judgment, Christ de­scends from Heaven, 1. with a shout (never was there such a shout made, in all the time the world stood) 2. with the voice of the Arch-Angel, and the Trump of God; the Voice and Trump at Mount Sinai, where six hundred thousand might hear, that was a glorious and most dreadful voice and sound, but no­thing [Page 178]like this. Never such a voice, that which will make the whole world ring, and the dead rise out of their Graves, and with the same bodies, the same numerical bodies, that lived here.

3. Those that are alive, shall be changed in a mo­ment, in the twinckling of an Eye, on the sound of the Trump, 1 Cor. 15.

4. The dead in Christ shall rise first, be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air, 1 Thes. 4.16, 17. O blessed and most joyful meeting of the Saints that were on Earth, now raised, changed, and caught up to meet and see the Lord Jesus their Saviour, and now the glorious Judge, coming to consummate their happiness in soul and body together, to die no more, and to meet with all the Saints and Angels come from Hea­ven, and to be for ever with the Lord, never to be from him again.

5. But others that were wicked and now raised, with the other black Troop that were in Hell, and now have their Souls united to their bodies: All shall be brought before Christ the Judge (according to the opinion of some) sitting on a high Throne in the Air, the Saints and Angels all attending about him.

9. For the manner of these proceedings, alluding to the manner of mens Judicatures, as Revelations, Chapter 20.

1. All persons small and great are brought, and stand before God, that is Christ, God and man.

2. The Books are opened, the Book of Gods Om­niscience, and the Books of mens hearts and con­sciences, not in an imperfect state of ignorance and forgetfulness, but fully prepared for their work [Page 179]of answering at the Tribunal and Bar of Christ.

3. It is a judging men, according to their works, for that hath been done in the body, good or evil, Eccl. 12.16. And a judging every secret thing of mens hearts, Rom. 2.16.

Some conceive, that seeing there will be the Reve­lation of the righteous judgment of God, Rom. 2. there­fore it will have a long time, to judge the cause of every person, in all particulars, that so the righteous­ness of the judgment and sentence of Christ, with the Execution of it, may fully appear, and none to have any least objection against it. But others think there will not be so particular a discovery, and tryal of all things, relating to the Saints, but a more ge­neral one.

However Christians must be diligent to be found of Christ, without spot and blameless, as 2 Pet. 3.14.

10. When the cases of all have been tryed and made to appear, the Sheep having been separate from the Goats, and set at Christs right hand, the Goats on the left; the sentence then passes, that most com­fortable sentence for the Sheep, the Righteous (now so judged by the heart-knowing and most just Judge) Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you. And that terrible sentence on the Goats, now openly convicted, Go ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels. To which the Saints and Angels all give their full approbation, as also to the doom up­on the Devils.

11. Upon which the most righteous execution follows, of both the sentences; for the righteous, and against the wicked ones.

To make all this obtain a more efficacious im­pression daily on my spirit, let me strive to repre­sent this Day as now come, that I hear the Trump sound, see the dead rise, the living all changed in a moment; looking up I see Christ coming in the Clouds, with great glory, Angels and Saints all attending him, Christ placed on the Throne of Judgment; all persons convented be­fore him, and my self among the rest; my case tryed, my works, words, thoughts, and all my secrets judged, and my state for all Etemity de­termined, and now when the World is all on Fire, the wicked sent into that everlasting de­struction, the righteous going with Christ into Heaven and everlasting happiness; what my own particular condition is like to be.

If I can come before Christ, the all-knowing Judge, with confidence and exceeding joy, shall be absolved, and hear that joyful sentence, Come thou blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for thee.

CHAP. XXI. Of Meditation of Hell, and Death Eter­nal therein.

THE very naming of Death is dreadful, Death Eternal is much more dreadful, but a being in Hell, the worst place possible, is most dreadful of all.

Hell, though in the meer mentioning it makes such a jarr upon the spirit of any; though the least touching on it, by a but glancing thought, the least touch be like the needles sharp point to the Apple of the Eye, so acute a pain and smart; yet must the Eye of the soul, by Meditation, not only touch it, but take it close to it, but dwell upon it.

Death natural, in the but very thought, hath a very high attending regret, we cannot endure to look deathward, but O how greatly unwilling to look in the least this sad way, destruction-ward, Hell­ward, toward death Eternal!

The first is tasting Gall, but the second is a drink­ing Poyson: The one hath a deep attending reluctan­cy, the other a double died antipathy. It's the harsh­est task for a sinner, it's a hard for a Saint, to fix willingly, and dwell in Meditation, on so sad and dreadful a subject as Hell is: yet is it that, which must be done, and by a holy wise spirit, may be both confidently and advantageously done. The best Christian on earth will lose nothing by sometimes looking into Hell, and fixing the thoughts there. No [Page 182]man ever yet fled from Hell, but first fixt his thoughts in some proportion on it: No man will flye fast enough from this Pit of perdition, this Lake of Fire, if he do not oft look towards it, and keep his Eye upon it.

Hell and Death Eternal are set down in Scripture, for both evil and good mens flying; but this cannot be compast without frequencies of earnest ponder­ings and meditatings.

For a right proceeding in this Meditation,

1. Let me first look to that which is my infalli­ble rule, the testimony of that God, who founded Hell and laid the corner stone of it; who first threatned and prepared this Prison, this Pit of de­struction; who knows all the large dimensions of it, all things in and about it, and cannot, nor will not, in the least deceive us in it.

He hath given us his Word, to tell us, and that under his own hand, in great numbers and varieties of passages, that we cannot rationally conceive, he would so do, mention and give it so many times under his own hand, were there no such thing, no local Hell, and second Death Eternal.

My way therefore, as a good Christian, is to look up, gather Scripture passages; passage after passage, all over the Book of God, as I find this asserted in them. O shall my lives time ravel out, without a­ny redeeming it, as to this particular, of giving due, down weight of thoughts, frequent serious thoughts, as opportunity can be had, of Death E­ternal in Hell?

I must not only say, there is a Hell: I must not only give it for granted, as most persons do, but I must be concluded under the Scripture Authority; [Page 183]See it and say it, upon due perswasion, upon clear demonstration, demonstration on conclusive argumen­tation, Arguments chosen as so many Arrows taken out of Christs Quiver the Scriptures, levell'd right, flying round up to the mark, and hitting full my unbelieving and recoiling averse spirit, making it fall down under this weighty truth, reducing it through Christs help, to a firm and operative belief, yea so to assent to, and ponder this so high concern, as to work off all my usual wonted easiness and slight­ness of thinkings on this particular: And to arrive at a contrary habitual seriousness, and earnestness of mindings, frequent thinkings; yea let my spirit not rest, till I am reduced to, and improve, under the powerful and prevailing provocations of it, to whatever so great a thing calls for from me.

That I may daily more answer the intendments of a God, in relating this Hell, so plainly and plenti­fully in his Word, for my due notice of it.

My way then must be, a course of serious pon­dering the Scriptures; passage after passage, where­in the second Death and Hell is set forth, in the se­veral Books.

As in Isa. 30.1. Tophet is prepared of old, even for the King, he hath made it deep and large, the pile thereof is fire and much wood, the breath of the Lord like a stream of Brimstone doth kindle it. An ele­gant description in an allusion: So those many clear passages of Christs own mouth set down so plainly, as words can utter.

Math. 5.22. and 29, 30. In that very first Ser­mon of Christs on the Mount, there he mentions Hell-fire, and casting into Hell, three several times. Mat. 11.23. Brought down to Hell.

Luke 16.23. The Rich man is said to be in Hell. Pet.—It's called a Prison, Prisons being the wors: of places, made for securing and punishing. Rev. 20.1. A bottomless Pit. Luke 16.23. A place of torment. Mat—Their worm dieth not, alluding to that worm that breeds in, and feeds on the body, is lying gnawing and cannot be cured.

Their fire goes not out: Fire is the most quick and active, the most tormenting and torturing Element. It's Brimstone that is the fuel, which is a most combu­stible, noisom and suffocating matter.

It's call'd utter darkness: Darkness is a most dread­ful and disconsolating thing, as that of Egypt: For the company, it is only wicked persons perfect in sin, and most wretched Devils, the worst of Crea­tures: Go ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels.

O how hot and scorching must that fire be, that purposely is prepared for utmost torment? Not like Nebuchadnezzars Furnace seven times hoter, but seventy times hoter, that which is incon­ceivable.

In Scripture, Hell or the state of misery, is ex­prest by the terms of second death; death, one death in any kind is very dreadful, above all other things: but after dying a first death, then to come and dye a second death, and this not so easie as dying any bo­dily death millions of times over. If a Malefactor should die the most cruel death, and then be made to live again, and then die that death a second time, yea thousands and thousands of times over, O how sad were the case of that person, that must be so un­der the both fears of that death first, and then the torments and pains! But what is all this to this [Page 185] second death, being under the fullness of infinite wrath, and that for ever?

The inflicter of this misery, is no less than an in­finitely wise, holy, sin hating, and an omnipotent God: acting in the purest and fiercest wrath, en­deavouring the fullest revenge the damned creature is capable of, and for which it purposely is made a vessel of wrath, and that vessel is preared to receive and hold this wrath.

1. Prepared by being widened, extended, as it were, to receive the fulness of wrath. As the Saints shall have their spirits elevated and extended, to the utmost, to be made fit to receive the fulness of glo­ry and happiness: so the damned have their spirits widened and enlarged, their understandings and hearts in the utmost extensiveness, that they be brim­full of wrath.

2. Prepared by being purposely strengthened to the utmost, as Vessels are made strong to hold the strongest Wine or Liquor, to hold and keep in that wrath poured into them.

Were Hell but to have the least torment in the least member, or sensible part, as in the Toe, Finger, or the like for ever: or but one torment in a noble part, Head, Liver, Heart, or a complication of many sad diseases for ever; how intolerably sad were this state? but to have all possible trouble and tor­ment both in body and soul, set on by a God for e­ver: O how unspeakably sad is this?

All the forenamed, this imprisonment, this tor­menting, this worm, this fire, the weepings, the wailings, the gnashing of teeth, is not for an hour, a day, a month, a year, an age, nor a thousand years or ages, or what can be reckon'd, by millions of [Page 186]millions, but for ever; no rest for ever, no ease for ever, no hope of any deliverance, or degree of it for ever: but sorrow, torment, and terrour, sinking in despair and hopelesness for ever, ever, ever.

O then to improve this Meditation, and make it operative upon my spirit, Let me first look upon Hell begun, in that terrour and horrour, the wick­ed instantly upon their raising up from the dead, and changed, are seized with: The hot burning Coals of Hell are thrown into their bosom, fill them up and lie burning and scorching, as they are both bringing to the judgment seat, and are standing be­fore Christ at the Bar, all the time of their arraign­ment. Never did any poor guilty prisoner stand in such a fear as this fear, and were so a­mazed.

2. The then unspeakable shame. Then all the time of their arraignment, and especially on the pro­nouncing of that dreadful sentence which will be passed and executed: O what must be the unspeakable shame, mixt with the continuing and encreasing sad horrour, Dan. 13.

O what must be that shame, when all things pos­sible concur, to load and cover them with shame? never was there nor can be such a shame poured up­on any.

A shame in the greatest concourse, that ever was, or can be; all the Saints and Angels, yea all the wicked and the Devils, every particular ashamed, al­so before all their own company, in this so despe­rate state. 3. And especially a transcendent shame, in respect of the infinitely glorious Judge, the Lord Jesus, despised and sinned so against by so many.

Ah what must be the shame of wicked men, to stand uncover'd, with open faces, to see the so dreadful Judge, looking the arraigned person full in the face, looking with the most wishly Eye, and stern countenance upon, I say, their uncover'd faces? to have all their sins ript up, every one adding still to the shame; but then when the dreadful sentence passes, O what the shame will farther then be?

And yet far more, when the sentence is Exe­cuted, they driven away, and all Devils and men, thrust into the Dungeon of darkness, what an ever­lasting shame will that be? Now, O now to think of all their unexpressible losses, of such a Bill of losses, as never was seen; loss of God himself, his face and communion with him, Father, Son, and Spirit; loss of the company of all the Saints and Angels, lost Heaven, and all its glory lost, and all that happiness that arises from all; such a state as is so good and glorious, to that utmost possibility as the Creature is susceptive of and can have; and for that so all sweetning and satiating eternity: And then, which greatly aggravates the misery, as Christ himself expresses it, Luke 13.28. There shall be weeping and gnashing of Teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all, &c. So to see all the Saints, to see all the godly Patriarchs, Abra­ham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the other.

To see Moses, Samuel, David, and all the holy Prophets, to see all the blessed Apostles, Peter, John, Paul, and all the Disciples of Christ, with all the glorious Martyrs, and Confessors, in all times; and all the innumerable company of Saints, in both former, present, and after Ages; all these known in [Page 188]their times; but neglected, scorned, opposed, per­secuted, and destroyed, yet all these to be taken up with Christ into Heaven; but as other sinners, so thy woful self dying without a Christ, shut out, and have Heaven Gates shut up, lockt and barr'd against thee for ever; and withal also, ah lockt up fast in the Dungeon of darkness, and fill'd up full in soul and body, with unspeakable torment never to end.

And to realize this more, and make it more effe­ctual on thee that art saved, after the Judgment is ended, sentence of condemnation passed, let me imagine my self looking after this Herd of Goats, all driving down headlong to the Lake of fire and Brim­stone, seeing them taken hold of, and haled to the Prison of Hell, and immediately shut in, present­ly seis'd with wrath and torment, fill'd brim full up, with unspeakable woe and torture.

Then could I but go near, lay my ear to the door of this Prison, and listen earnestly, O what would be the dolours, the groanings, cryings, roarings, yellings, shriekings, that so many, & many thousands, altogether tortured, would be heard to make. The noise of a few Prisoners condemning, of Passengers in a Ship drowning, of men in Battel killing and dy­ing, makes a most hideous impression, makes a mans ears to tingle, and his heart to ake and tremble: But, O what is, or can be like unto this hideous noise and cry, of so many innumerable millions, of all sorts and sexes, men and women, under such into­lerable torments? O but might I have liberty and security to make an ocular observation, with my eyes to see the Gates of that horrid place open, to see the lake of Fire and Brimstone flaming, to look in [Page 189]and see the tormented in their so woful condition, most sad postures and behaviours: All the multitudes and throngs of persons, and the persons in particu­lar I desire to see and view. There I might see that first Murderer Cain, appearing in his Chains and Tortures, and on my demanding who he was, he answers, I am that cursed one, that kill'd my righteous Brother Abel; here, here I have bin al­ready, so many thousands of years, and here I must remain to be tormented for ever.

In another place appears another, it may be wicked Saul, that persecuter of holy David; in ano­ther Achitophel, or Haman, Herod, Judas, and abundance of such strewed all over this Prison: Sinners of all sorts, Idolaters, Superstitious, Pro­phane, Wizards, Witches, Swearers, Cursers, Pro­phaners of the day of God, with disobedient to Parents, Murderers, Adulterers, Thieves, Lyars, Covetous, and all others of several Sexes, Ranks, and Conditions.

If I might ask and be answered, upon enquiry, by the persons I see there, would not one come and say, I am such a one, another say, I am such; and so others? Would not one come and shew me, there in such a place are those that were drowned by the Deluge; there are the Sodomites burnt with fire and Brimstone; there's Pharaoh and the Egyptians, those drowned in the Red Sea; there's such and such Enemies and Persecuters of Christ and his Church of old; there are the heathen Persecuters, and the Antichristian Enemies; there such Apostates, such Hypocrites, such loose Christians; in this place such a man or such a woman you knew, and in that place another; there you see them, and in the same sad case with my self?

But should I ask of their several conditions, and what they continually feel, O what doleful Rela­tions would they give in, of the scorchings of that fire, of the gnawing of that never dying worm, of their deepest sorrows, highest fears; and above all, of their overwhelming and unspeakable despairs? Prov. 18.14. Here when God suffers but a spark to flye out of the Furnace of Hell, and fall into a sinners bosom, as Judas, Math. 27.5. O how intolerable doth it prove? But when the whole pile of Hell's fuel and fire shall be laid and fastned on sinners by the hand of an Almighty God; O what must that torment and that despair amount unto, and then when un­der infallible certainty of a lengthening out to all E­ternity?

O let every one Meditate often and most seriously, of this so dreadful state; not be shye of a looking this way, of a looking into this Lake of Fire, and realizing all the so dreadful things comprehended in it: Not contenting thy self with thy yieldings and giving it for granted, and never ponder, never la­bour to any purpose, to be rightly affected, stirred up to take a sure course for escaping it. But let this terrour of the Lord, 2 Cor. 5.11. awaken, provoke, and perswade every one to flye from this wrath to come; and flye to that Christ, make sure of him that only can deliver us.

CHAP. XXII. Of Heaven and Happiness Eternal.

THE last thing I shall mention in this part of solemn and set Meditation, is that of Hea­ven, and Happiness Eternal therein; Hell is not so miserable a state, but Heaven is as transcendently glorious and happy: The one being purposely for demonstration of the fulness of Gods hatred and wrath, the other for the highest manifestation of the riches of Mercy and Free Grace. Yea this being the thing the Lord is so infinitely pleased and de­lighted in, must needs have the fullest and most glo­rious manifestation that is any way possible for a God to make, and his Creatures can be apprehen­sive and receptive of, and therefore the state of Glory must be glorious indeed, Eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entred into the heart of man to conceive, what God hath prepared for such as love him. There he is speaking of things but dispositive to happiness, the blessings of Grace, Peace, Joy, and heavenly Priviledges given in Christ: but then, if happiness only begun, be so glorious, O what is happiness finished up, and consummate?

For our way of proceeding in this Meditation, I conceive it best, by laying a full Scripture ground, in gathering those choice Flowers, springing up thick, in the rich Garden stores of the infallible Scriptures, and are purposely growing there for the hand of faith to gather, and the Eye of our dim weak sight, [Page 192]to be healed and cleared, to believe and see the glo­ry of Heaven by.

It is not a way of meer general thinkings, or that of Phansie or Speculation of our own, but first lay­ing a Scripture, great and firm foundation: And then after to improve those Scripture assertions, by all the ability and help we can, of Reason and Inferences of best Representations and Resemblances, of Ima­gination and Invention.

General apprehensions, and grantings of Scripture truths, deceive and destroy many, when they are rest­ed in: General notions of Heaven and happiness; granting it there is a Heaven and no more, makes many miss of it, miss for want of more distinct ap­prehensions, well grounded believing, and due deep sinking of it to the bottom of the heart, there to lie glowing, to warm and kindle the affections, to provoke into a labouring, a mighty striving to win the Crown of glory.

The way is (as wisdom in all other cases of con­sequence teaches) to come off every day from general confused thoughts of Heaven and happiness, restings on and runnings away with a supposed doing e­nough.

If we still grant there's a Heaven and Happiness, every day to endeavour distincter and clearer thoughts and knowledge.

Generals will not serve, grantings must not be made the enough of a wise Christian, he must have an extensive and enlarging clearness, an encreasing firm­ness of Faith, in the Doctrines, the great points of sal­vation. But we having this so prime an Article of faith, that which hath wrapt up in it so rich a Treasure [Page 193]and preserves, as it were, that so inestimable Jewel of happiness, mans last end; that which is the great foundation and instigation of all a Christians strivings and hopes (for he hath no hope in this life for happiness here.)

This therefore should not be turned off, nor ter­minated (as too oft is done) with a granting or bare assent; but still obtain of us a fuller, firmer, warmer, and more operative seeing and belief.

Now this cannot be, without diligent gathering in, and better still Meditating on particular Scri­ptures, asserting, and clearly manifesting this main Article, and mans chief end comprised in it.

The Jewish Church had this typified in the Holy of Holies, as Heb. 9.3.12.24. Christ is not entred into the holy places made with hands, which were the Figures of the true, but into Heaven it self. This was, that by the visible place, faith might be stirr'd up, to eye and view the invisible typified state of glory.

Psal. 73.24. David tells us of it, and was assu­red to be received up into glory; that is into Heaven in glory. Dan. 12.23. Of them that sleep in the dust, some shall awake to everlasting life, and shine as the brightness of the firmament, and some as the stars for ever.

The Church of the New Testament, in the wri­tings given by Christ to it, have this Doctrine of Heaven and happiness, abundantly and most clearly set forth. The first mentionings of it, are out of the mouth of him, that with the Father and Holy Spirit made it. Math. 5.3. in Christs first Sermon, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the King­dom of Heaven. So verse 10, 12. The persecuted [Page 194]for righteousness, theirs is, &c. verse 20. Mention there is again of it, Verse 34. and v. 45. and 48. Chap. 6. v. 1. v. 9. The first passage in the Lord's Prayer. At least twelve several times in this first Sermon of Christ this Heaven is mentioned. And as in the Gospels, so all the new Testament over, you may, many scores of times, find and see it lying, as a most shining and glorious Diamond in the Mine, or as in a rich Cabinet, for to be viewed and labour­ed for. The multitudes of places, well weighed, must needs hold forth, to all that shut not their eyes wilfully, a Local Heaven, a place of happiness and glory.

It is no Allegorical Heaven, as some have dream'd, or may ignorantly imagine: when it is asserted in so many clear passages, which, all of them, in our reading or hearings, should have their due weight, weight of thinkings, and efficacy on us, for firm be­lieving, and answerable endeavours for not losing, but enjoying it.

For the rank of places, what it hath, the Scri­pture tells us, it is the third Heaven; the first being that where the Clouds are; the second where the glorious Lights, Sun, Moon, and Stars are; this third above them all, call'd therefore the highest Heaven. This third and highest Heaven is most in­conceivably excellent; not made of any preceeding matter, much less of any elementary matter. Some say it was made immediately of nothing, and with it were also made, concreated, the Angels; all at the same instant, Heaven never being empty of In­habitants.

The Sun, Moon, and Stars were made, not the first day, but the fourth day, for Furniture [Page 195]of that Heaven, under the highest Heaven.

2. It is the largest, and most capacious place, as that which comprises or surrounds all the inferiour world, and things in that.

O here, here is Rechaboth, room enough.

In this world, here's crowding, pushing, crushing, of the Saints: The wicked world would quite cast them, every one, out of it, to be left alone and en­joy all, to be let alone, and have none to see and shame them any way: But the Saints shall all be brought at last, into a large place, where none shall molest or trouble them. Heaven is a Rechaboth in­deed, a most large place.

The Globe of the whole Earth and Water, is, as Geographers tell us, at the least, one and twenty thousand and six hundred miles in compass. The Air above encompassing in that, and especially the uppermost part of the Air, must needs be far more in compass than the Earth and Water.

The Moon alone is very great, though something less than the Earth; some of the Planets are judg­ed far greater than the Globe of the Earth. The Sun by some is judged to be one hundred sixty six times greater than the whole Earths Globe; which others make yet far greater: which then must be some millions of miles in compass, according to that ac­count. The fixed Stars, which all are above the highest Planet Saturn, are by the Learned, every of them, judged greater than all the Earth; the least of them eighteen times bigger than the Earth; those of the highest magnitude, and the most glorious brightness, an hundred and eighteen times bigger than the whole Earth. Of these fixed Stars who can tell the numbers of them? those which are [Page 196]reckon'd, are but some hundreds in their Constella­tions. How exceeding then vast must this starry Heaven be, if the Planets and fixed Stars in it, are so great and numerous?

O then how unspeakably vast and large must this third Heaven be which compasses round all the Earth, Air, and the starry Heavens? What a King­dom for Territories is this? What a place for Christ to prepare Mansions for his in? What a place for the all-glorious God and Jesus Christ to keep a Court in highest splendour and magnificence in? And the Lord Jesus the Saviour, that purchased this inheri­tance with his own blood, for him to be ever viewed, loved, admired, glorified by all his Saints to the highest in?

Of all imaginable places, this, this is the place, this is Room, this is a place so large as the hearts of the Saints can wish.

3. As Heaven is the largest for capacity and quan­tity, so is it the best place for quality and excellency. 2 Cor. 12. It is called Paradise by that blessed Paul who was taken up thither, to tell upon his return what a place it was. Paradise mentioned, Gen. 2.8. it was the best place that ever was on Earth; it was the summary of all necessaries and delicacies for Adam, in that perfect state, his accommodations, re­creations, and abundant delight; fit therefore to re­semble the place of glory by. And so our Lord Christ thought, when he calls it by this name of Pa­radise; Luke 23.43. To day shalt thou be with me in Paradise: The best place it was made, because for the best Creature on Earth.

Luke 16. It is called Abraham's bosom: Abra­ham in his time was the most eminent person living, [Page 197]call'd the Father of the faithful: No place for a Child can be so proper, so desirable, pleasing, and contenting as the most loving tender Fathers Bo­som; O how a Child loves the Bosom! O how desirous are the Children of Abraham to be in his Bosom.

In other places, it is a place of glory, riches of glory, a Kingdom, a Crown of glory, an eternal weight of glory; a state where there are Pleasures for evermore, Rivers of pleasures, joys and fullness of joy.

For every Saint the highest entertainments, in all respects; for the Senses.

1. The Ear hath such ravishing Musick and melo­dy, as that best and greatest Consort, of all the in­numerable companies of Saints and Angels, can make.

2. For the Eye, the Palace of Heaven is unspeak­ably beyond all places, prospects, and objects, that Nature and Art could ever yield.

The persons of the Saints, as to the numbers so innumerable, must needs make up the rarest Train and shew (as to their sorts and differences) that ever Eye saw. O what a ravishing sight must that be to see Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the Holy Patriarchs? Moses, Samuel, David, and all the Holy Prophets? Peter, Paul, John, and all the Holy Apostles? All the blessed and glorious Mar­tyrs of Jesus Christ? All his godly and serviceable, painful and laborious Ministers? All the precious Saints, Kings, and Governours, and others that are recorded in the Bible: And not only Men, but ho­ly Women, Sarah, Hannah, Ruth, Esther, and others in the Old Testament; the blessed Virgin, and Eli­zabeth, [Page 198]with the Women that followed Christ, and ministred unto him, Mary Magdalen, Johanna, Su­sanna, Lydia, Dorcas, Priscilla among the Apostles helping them, all the Disciples of Christ which be­lieved in him: with all the eminent godly lights in the Church after the Apostles; and all the Saints in all after Ages to the worlds end?

And then for all this Train, in their sorts and ranks; as to their bodies, to be so all over glorious, to shine as the Sun, and brightness of the Firmament for ever, O what a shew and ravishing entertain­ment is here for the Eye!

But that which is the top and height, and far sur­passing all the other, is that sweetest, most ravishing sight of the most glorious body of Jesus Christ; The highest beauty that ever Eye beheld or saw, far out­shining all others, as the Sun exceeds the Stars: Ah here, here will be a sight indeed.

Ah but then to behold him in his highest discove­ries of his sweetest, loveliest lookings and smilings on all his Saints with him, and upon thee in par­ticular.

To see his countenance compos'd and ordered, pur­posely to beam forth in fullest Manifestations of sur­passing sweetness of most intense affections towards his so dearly beloved Bride, now present with him in the glorious Bed-Chamber to behold him and en­joy perfect communion with him.

3. O but what entertainments are there, as to the soul and spirit, for the faculties of Ʋnderstanding, Will, and Affections? how far transcending those of the Senses? as the beatifical vision, seeing God face to face, with all intellectual satisfaction as to all the truths in the Word of God, all Mysteries, Pro­phecies, [Page 199]and difficulties, and whatsoever may con­duce to the glorious happiness of the Saints: satis­faction also, as to the works and ways of God, Crea­tion and Providence, all the Riddles and dark things so far made known as is needful.

Likewise as to the will and heart, the beatifical fruition, enjoying of God, Father, Son, and Spirit, and his infinite sweetness, to all possible fullness and perfection.

Likewise all happy communion with Saints and Angels, to all delight and pleasure. And for all this both body and Soul are prepared, strengthened, ele­vated, and enlarged to the utmost extensiveness.

As all imperfections and sins are utterly remov'd, so all grace and holiness, light and wisdom, heat and flame of heart communicated, and in a blessed reci­procation, a mutual acting: God the infinitely al­sufficient, communicating himself to the glorified, to their utmost capacity; and they reacting and putting forth their grace and holiness, to their utmost ability: O how unspeakably sweet and satiating must this continual intercourse be?

For the close of all, let me think my self, after a glorious and blessed Resurrection and absolution by Christ at the Judgment day, freed utterly from all evil; feeling likewise my compleat happiness com­ing on so fast in my now passage up to the place of glory; and then instantly finding it finisht, finisht on the first setting my foot, as it were, within the Gate of Heaven. And now I think, what a prepared and furnished place I am in: What company of the Saints, Angels, and Jesus Christ also I have: What fruition of the most blessed God; what sense of the pleasures, joys, satisfactions, and most ravishing sweet­ness, [Page 200]under all security, under that which superad­ded heightens and sweetens all the rest, the Charter of inconceivable eternity: Ah then, let my frequent and intensest thinkings be, not a looking down to Earth, but up to Heaven, breathing my soul up the Hill to this City of God, in contemplating the Glories of it; often let me walk this so pleasant walk. Who will look and pore on a dark Dungeon, that hath the Sun to behold? who will, (that means to hit the mark) look quite besides it? who is it can go to Heaven, that thinks most another way? that hath a down-look, as we say; a Beasts Eye, that hath no Muscle of elevation? Ah such as look most will long most after, labour most for it. O therefore, let my Eye every day be walking to and in this Paradise, so­lace it self in taking a turn still there, be walking in this upper Eye-walk by Meditation, till I come to see God face to face, till I look my self into this Hea­ven I look on.

I have now dispatcht this point of Occasional set Meditation, as to the first branch: Meditation of such things we our selves single out, and set before us, and take some special times for, which were in these particulars.

  • 1. Meditation on some passage or portion of Scripture.
  • 2. Or going over the chief points of Religion in order.
  • 3. Meditating of some of the works of God.
  • 4. Or something of my own spiritual state, to make me more wise or warm, or active for God.
  • 5. Or how the case of my soul stands.
  • 6. Or of my own evil hearts deceitfulness.
  • 7. Of my Enemies, Satan and the World.
  • [Page 201]8. Of my wants and weakness of Graoe.
  • 9. Of the swift passing of time and opportuni­ties.
  • 10. Of the shortness of my life.
  • 11. Of death of the body.
  • 12. Of Judgment after death; and of the Last Judgment.
  • 13. Of death Eternal, and Hell.
  • 14. Of Heaven and Eternal happiness.

These are the heads of this first Branch.

CHAP. XXIII. Meditation on some things providential.

THere is but this one thing (which I will briefly dispatch) remaining yet to be spoken of; and then I come to the last sort of Meditation, that is by a short and more sudden way, Ejaculatory Medi­tation. I say there should be Meditation on something providential, a matter the hand of providence acts or orders, holds forth and offers to our viewing and serious thinkings. The great God, as he always is guiding and ordering all things in all places, in Hea­veu, Earth, and Waters, and among all Creatures, especially the reasonable, and chiefly above all in his Church, and for his Saints, against his and their E­nemies. As he is guiding with his hand, all the con­cerns of particular persons to the supream end, his own glory, and likewise infallibly to the salvation of his Redeemed: so there is ever and anon some­thing observable, particularly providential; some­thing [Page 202]which as the hand of providence holdeth forth, so the heart of prudence and godly wisdom will take up; that purposely it will set it self to see, search, and improve; as it may be something sometime of the Church of God abroad, or some­thing of the People of God at home, or in the place particularly we live in: It may be there is some dispensation, to some of our Relations or Friends, or some matter falls out in our Family, or yet near­er on our person and personal concerns.

There is seldom any space of time, but the great Governour of the World is doing some remarka­ble thing, it may be some admirable and glorious, it may be some amazing and stupendious, it may be some terrible and very dreadful work, if we have our eyes in exercise, and will observe.

Indeed Gods goings sometimes, Psal. 77.19. His footsteps cannot be seen, but are very secret and un­searchable. And there are others of his workings, which are more easie for all to behold and under­stand.

There are varieties of Providences, successively following each others; which we should wait and watch for, which we should take, as they come, fresh and warm out of the Lords hand, and apply them warm to our hearts for a more kindly operation.

Meditate we should upon Providences, while they are just new and fresh, so we shall give them, or rather our selves, the advantage of a more ready and affectionate pondering, a more profitable mind­ing. If I could still improve in Meditation of the Promises, and in a wise, warm, lively also Meditat­ing of providences; in the one see better daily the riches of free Grace, in the other the glorious governings [Page 203]of a God in wisdom, righteousness, and goodness: How would my spirit, under the dews of this fruit­ful Meditation, be shooting up? how would it prosper? They are the highest form Christians, that are arrived here, at the contemplation of the works and great providences of God in the world.

In 1 John 2.13. He writes to some he calls Fa­thers, others young men, others Children. Some by Children understand, such as are (as to Meditation) taken up with the promises, and matters of justifica­tion, pardon, and peace; young men, are such who are gotten farther, and exercis'd about sanctifica­tion, and conquering strong corruptions.

Fathers, that beyond both, are taken up, and ar­riv'd at ponderings, and contemplations of the works and ways of God, and his great actings in the world.

So it is sometimes needful to Meditate on the Providences that are more obliging and engaging, more awakening and inciting, such as are as it were the special hand of the Lord touching us, taking bold of us, framing and ordering things for us. And here there is great reason, our Meditation should be more serious and curious: as wherein we may see Gods so particular goings and workings toward us, and for us.

Psal. 18. All that excellent Psalm over, David there enumerates and records all Gods goings to­wards him. O then with the Psalmist, let my soul meditate on all the works of God; list and file up up the dispensations of his observable providences to­wards others and my self: Meditate on his so mer­ciful preservings, directings, prosperings, and all other sorts and ways of Providence; that I may admire and [Page 204]exalt him, depend, and trust, and wait upon him, and walk so before him, that his ways may ever be mercy and truth towards me.

I have now dispatcht the second branch of Me­ditation on particular Providences; and thereby the second general kind of Meditation; which is, set and occasional Meditation at particular times of lei­sure.

The last sort of Meditation comes now to be handled.

CHAP. XXIV. Of more short and ejaculatory Meditation.

BEsides solemn and set Meditation, there is also that which is sudden and short, wherein the soul acts, as one breaking out of a Throng or Croud, goes aside from disturbances and diversions, or breaks off from some present and too pressing busi­ness, to take breath and respite it self; whereby it makes a stand of thoughts, turns the stream of for­mer thoughts, and like a Bird that was sitting on the ground, rises and mounts up aloft, to sing and sport it self; even so a holy heart, in heavenly mindedness, will get out of the throng of cares and business, will be often breaking off the thread of earthly thoughts, and interpose some heavenly, dart up to Heaven, make a short visit thither, refresh it self with some heavenly dainty; take and taste of the Manna above, look up to God, to Christ, his Spirit, his Grace, his Promises, his Providences and gracious orderings, [Page 205] have a running Banquet of heavenly sweet-meats, when it cannot sit down and feed at large by a fuller set Meditation.

As there are ejaculatory Prayers and wishes, when there is not opportunity for more solemn enlarge­ments; there should be also sudden and short medi­tatings, quick interposings of good and holy thoughts, then when the urgencies of Affairs, incumbrances, diversions and interruptions by company, hindran­ces in any kind, will not admit the opportunity of an abode of serious thoughts; then sudden dartings up the soul to Heaven may be had, be a refreshment; as Jonathans tasting the Honey, with the top of his Rod, when being in pursuit of the Philistines he could not take a full meal. David (that meditated so much) must needs, in respect of his great occasi­ons (Civil, and Military, and Domestick) make much use of this short way of Meditation, when he often could not go the other larger way.

As he was frequent in his sudden short prayings, so must he be much in short sudden meditatings, which were the ground commonly of his prayings.

The Psalms shew his frequent using this short way of meditation and praying: Thus Psal. 15. a Psalm of but five verses. So Psal. 127. a Psalm of five verses: and Psal. 125. the like: and Psal. 123. hath a Meditation of four verses: Psal. 131. is a Me­ditation of three verses: and Psal. 117. is a Medi­tation of but two verses: yet the spirit of God is pleas'd to have it recorded. Many other Psalms we have very short, that were his quick Meditations, left all for teaching us to do likewise, looking on his example.

This Meditation, though of shorter time, yet so [Page 206]far as we can, must have its Regulation and Gover­nance.

1. It should (so near as we can) have its stamp and ingredient of holy reverence.

All thoughts of holy things must not be (how sud­den soever) acts of rashness and over-haste, with­out heed and fear, the name of a glorious God is up­on every Ordinance, that must not be taken in vain.

2. It should be the product and issue of holy linger­ing after God and communion with him; from a thirsting for God to taste a little, when we cannot have fuller draughts of him.

3. It should be the glance of a spiritual Eye, look­ing from love, being enamoured with God and Christ, and heavenly things: Not a looking from Custom, and an use to satisfie conscience, calling for some­thing may look like a Duty; but from the strength and predominancy of the fire of heavenly love: Psal. 119.97. O how love I thy Law, its my Medi­tation all the day: As other, so this sort of Meditation, must have a rise from love. Love breeds longing and looking, it introduces a pleasure in a looking, though but a glancing of the Eye, on the surpassing beauty and loveliness of God and Jesus Christ, and the glorious things of Heaven.

Ah how excellent is this frame of spirit, how sweet and pleasant is it to have the Eye often on these so rare beauties, from being, as the Spouse in the Canticles, both really and deeply in love!

4. It should be aim'd and levell'd at the right mark, pleasing and glorifying God, and for commu­nion farther with him, that he may see how the pulse of our Souls beats, how the Eye looks, how we [Page 207]act, and how our hearts make still their holy escapes from the crowd, and obstructings of occasions, to give him a friendly, spiritual visit, to let him see the fer­vour of our love by endeavours so oft as we can, to do him homage and honour: As when we would shew our high respect and honour to any person, we make the more frequent visits, when we cannot make long stay. So here when throngs of indispensa­ble occasions, hinder the set and larger engagements in Meditation, make we it up in shorter visits, in of­ten thinkings; short visits rightly aim'd bring sweet peace.

Let it not be therefore so hasty, as we observe some Children, call'd to go to a place, that run with­out their errand, to act without aim; right aiming the end lays the foundation of a Dutys excellency: O let my spirit, if I cannot think and dwell long upon heavenly things, through weakness, let it make up the defect by thinking often. Let the dartings up­ward be the livelier and thicker, like a Golden Chain which is very long, though the Links be very little.

O let me trade, drive a quick trade with littles; Light gains make a heavy purse, little frequent tradings will gain me much here.

This short often acting up, will make my heart keep still open to Heaven; keep the path-way thither beaten plain, easie, and so make it pleasant for my spirit to walk in, make this Meditation highly sweet, a rare refreshing.

The frequencies of thinkings heaven-ward, will have this threefold advantage, these three excellent fruits.

1. Frequencies of heavenly thoughts will breed [Page 208]and cherish an habitual heavenly mindedness unto that primitive Grace, that habit of regenerating Grace (which brings a tendency, and bent of soul, making it incline heavenward) it will superadde an habitual heavenly mindedness, a heart peculiarly and power­fully ready, and active heavenward. As an Artist which hath not only reason first to dispose him, fit him for his Trade, but the peculiar habit, a head and hand for it to understand and act as an Ar­tist.

2. The frequencies of heavenly, will thereby be an exclusive and thruster out of earthly thoughts, the right way of a compendious cure: It's not the way so much to stand watching, and striving to drive them away; to be on the defensive barely, but to be on the positive, in acting good thoughts, that will keep out bad. As if Wine first fills the Vessel, there is no room for Water: if a Treasury be full of Gold, there is no room for rubbish.

3. This frequent short darting upward, will end with leaving an after sweetness upon the palate of the spirit; short, when heavenly, will be sweet, as every crum of Sugar leaves some sweetness on the palate; every drop of pure live honey, a delicious af­ter relish, so this short Meditation.

The Manna that dewed down upon the Israelites Camp, lay like small Coriander seeds; which they gathered, ground, and made their Bread of, which had a rare rellish.

This sort of Meditation may gather still some little seeds of heavenly Manna, soul-Bread, with new fresh delicious sweetness following.

The heavenly minded person may, as the manner of some is, go ever with some rich tasted, and sented thing in the mouth.

Whensoever cares and diversions press hard, hang heavy, draw strongly, greatly disquiet, and weary thy spirit; here is an out-let, an escape, a rare way of interposition and soul easing diversion, yea of a short though sweet, and heavenly solace.

It may be lookt on as a shadow, a resemblance of the blessed Apostles sudden carrying into the third Hea­ven: Instantly thou this way art above, though pre­sently below again.

This is far surpassing all the sensual and sinful plea­sures in the world: These short tastes, by giving our worldly occasions the slip, and mounting up to Heaven; These short visits made there, these spiritual short applications made to Heaven, to the blessed God, to Jesus Christ for communion with him and the Father, have more sweet, pure, powerful, and heart elevating joy, than is possible to be had in any carnal or earthly things.

They at the highest, brightest, and sweetest, have something to top, dim, and embitter them, Prov. 14.13. Even in, &c. But every way of godliness, is a path of pleasantness, and sweetness, which none know but such as try it.

I now have (through Christs assistance) finisht this last way of Meditation, sudden and ejaculatory; and so the whole nature and several kinds of Medi­tation, with such things as are comprised in it, accor­ding to my slender ability, and the opportunity I now could have. I am now next to come to the co­gencies and strengths of Reasons, which are for the farther evidencing and supporting of this so important Duty of holy Meditation.

CHAP. XXV. Of the Grounds and Reasons of this so ne­cessary Duty of Meditation.

SO great and necessary a Duty must have its sup­port of strong Reasons to conclude it, and help to bear up the spirit better under the weight of it.

Divine and infinite Wisdom must needs impose and require nothing without great and sufficient Reasons.

I shall therefore endeavour to propose sundry of them in their clearness and strength, as I can in this short intended piece.

The grounds and farther demonstrations of this Meditation, I shall reduce to these four heads.

1. First from the natural order and dependencies of the Faculties of the reasonable soul; and the se­veral principles of Grace given into those faculties, to enable the soul rightly to exercise it self to god­liness.

2. From the transcendent Excellency of Divine mat­ters, which must have their due and full mind­ings.

3. From the use and several ends of Divine Medi­tation.

4. From either the great accruing advantages, or the prejudice upon the due performance, or sinful neglect of this required Meditation.

1. Ground. From the natural order and dependen­cies of the souls faculties, and the graces laid into these faculties, for enabling a Christian rightly to [Page 211]exercise godliness. God as he made man an excel­lent creature for excellent ends and operations, so he hath made the mind and understanding to be the souls eye, guide, and director: The first great Wheel, the first mover, directing and setting the other faculties of the will and affections in going and doing their seve­ral offices.

And because mans nature is corrupted and disabled, of it self alone, to perform things spiritual and ho­ly in a due manner, without a new heart, a new mind, will and affections all sanctified by new principles gi­ven in to them: Therefore he must have a new light and knowledge, for his natural darkness, ignorance and error: A new wisdom, for his natural folly: A new power and goodness of will, for the natural depra­vity: A new stamp of order, power and life in the affections, and holiness in all the heart, for the disor­der and unruliness. The order in both Nature and Grace, is to act from the purpose, intention, and choice of the will, and heat of affections: But first, the will acts from the understanding; that's the Golden Candlestick which holds the Light, and is the spring that brings all motion about, that sets all the wheels of the soul on going: We first must see, and have our guide, before we chuse, affect, or act.

The Will (as they say in Philosophy) is Potentia coeca, a blind faculty. Therefore the understanding must guide at first: Therefore it must first act by thinking, seeing, and shewing, vvhat is to be done; in all rational actings, thinking must be first.

And to come nearer to our purpose, in all works of wisdom, the understanding must act, not hastily, but with heed, not vvith precipitation, but ponder­ing: All heed and pondering requires time for the [Page 212]minds bending it self to a thing, searching into it, staying upon it, by musing and meditating: After due consideration comes the conclusive dictate of the understanding, that this or that is to be done; and before it be done, the Will first spontaneously chuses it, and then doing follovvs upon determining. Novv as things done rationally and rightly, should have, not bare sudden transient thoughts, but ponderings by time taken; Prov. 4.26. a fit proportion of time: Nothing of moment should be done on a bare pre­sent apprehension, unless it hath formerly passed un­der the test of deliberation; so wise persons act still: True it is, vve do many things in hastes and hurries; but this is more like brute creatures than men: It is the order God hath set in Nature, first of all to consi­der, then to act.

All wise doing is vvith a first vveighing: other­vvise it is folly and vanity, vvithout comliness, vvith­out profit: As in Nature God hath set this order, the mind must first move, and vvisdom in the mind vvill first ponder and weigh; not act on slight but pre­cedent serious thinkings: So in Religion, in all the matters of it vve are to perform, first there must be minding: None must ever in Religion say, I mind not what I do: The understanding in spiritual wis­dom, must ponder and consider all things to be consi­dered; and the will then must chuse, and the affe­ctions move by the graces in them orderly; and then the executive power must act, in subordination to the mind guiding, and the will chusing and intend­ing.

As the understanding, will, and affections, are as the several natural links of the soul; so considera­tion (the so noble act of the understanding) is to [Page 213] breed and ground the choices and intents of that Queen regent, the Will, and the orderly motions of her handmaids, the several Affections; and then must follow prosecuting and doing that was pur­posed by the Will, and ponder'd by the understand­ing.

As consideration in things Natural, is funda­mental and necessary to due chusing and doing of all things: so Divine Meditation is fundamental and necessary in some degree to the spiritual actings of the Will, movings rightly of the Affections, and a religious regular performing what was piously purposed, and piously first ponder'd and Medi­tated upon.

All the Graces that make up the Golden Chain; the Graces that are the supernatural soul enoblements, that are planted and reside in a renewed heart by way of principle and habit, are planted and laid in­to the several faculties of the Soul, as their relief and help, to sanctifie them and empower them; some in the mind, and others in the will and affections: These faculties have all their several Golden Links of the Chain of Graces aspersed among them, and laid into them: But as the faculties of the soul are all guided, drawn, and moved by the first Mover, the understanding, and the act of considering: So the graces of the soul, all the Golden Links of the whole Chain of Graces must move by the first Link of the Chain, the light, spiritual wisdom and act­ings of it by this Divine Meditation. This Link must draw first: Spiritual wisdom exercised in this holy way of Meditation, must be a constant foundation and rise to all the Duties of godli­ness.

This should be at the bottom, and a still quickner to all prayings, readings, hearings, and the rest: Nothing is well done, that is not first well thought on, although the Duties of godliness are reciprocally help­ful, mutually lending a hand each to other; as Reading, Hearing, Praying, are to Meditating, and Meditating is to them in different respects; yet Me­ditation should and must help to make us our firm, even footing, and lively walking in Christs ways.

All things from first to last in our way of Religi­on, and walking by that Rule, have their due gui­dance and managings by this helm and hand of Me­ditation.

God every where in Scripture, when he would have those come right and return, that have gone wrong, and such to go on that have well begun, he calls them to consideration and minding their ways; Hag. 1.5. Consider your own ways in your hearts; and again, verse 7. Isa. 46.8. Bring it to mind. Put your hearts upon your ways, in the former; here they must bring their doings upon their hearts, by considering: Ezek. 18.28. He considereth and turneth. Consideration is the rise of returning: Luke 15.17. The Prodigals returning, was upon his considering: common wisdom acting in consi­deration, is the souls helm; and spiritual wisdom, acting in Meditation, is the Christians Helm; as the Word is his compass, and the Gales of the holy Spirit fill his sails, and make him move. We can­not look for a Ship to sail well, without the Helms steering well: Meditations Helm must steer our course; our course to the Harbour of true happiness, must have its rise in due consideration, as the Scri­pture every where shews.

O let me, Lord, keep up ever this right order and method in my walkings; let Meditation be the spring that carries all the Wheels of my spirit right and even; that still pondering all my paths, my ways may be established.

This then I propound, as a principal ground of the necessity of Meditation, that dependance of the Will, Affections, and actings spiritual, on the un­derstanding sanctifi'd, and furnisht with light and wisdom for salvation; which wisdom and light is the guide to, and stirrer up of the will, affections, and endeavours by the means of Divine Medita­tion.

This I have the more now insisted on, in that the great failings of all sorts rise from neglect of this consideration and Meditation, because this con­sideration is no more considered.

All Christians that would have the Will purpose, the Affections move, the executing power endea­vour well, must use the grace of spiritual wisdom, that is the first wheel in the heavenly frame of spirit, and wisdom by the way of Meditation, to set on go­ing all the wheels of other graces disperst through the heart: The Graces planted as principles of spiri­tual life, strength, and motion, and given to animate all operation.

CHAP. XXVI. Of the second ground of this so necessary Duty of Meditation.

HEavenly things should have not only a meer seeing and knowing, but a minding and me­ditating, from their obliging and challenging excel­lencies (Prov. 8.6. and 22.20. Excellent things, have I not written to thee excellent things, saith Solo­mon. Phil. 3.8. For the excellency of the knowledge of Christ, &c.) their so far transcending excellencies, their rare objective excellencies, give me leave to call them so; that is, they are not only excellent things in themselves, though never known or shewn to us, but they are made to be excellent objects for our observation and minding: All made to be mind­ed; but some of them more peculiarly made and prepared, made great, made high, deep, and large, fil'd brim full, yea running over, with both native excel­lency, and likewise sutableness for us, sutableness for our spirits to act and make their chief abode of seri­ousest thoughts upon; for a spiritual and holy eye to fix upon, and be pleased in. As in Philosophy they reason, if there be objectum sensibile, an object of the outward sense (and that which especially is excellent) if there be Odours and rich Scents; if sounds, excellent sounds; or if there be rare Colour, Feature, Motion; and that so excellent object Light, especially such glorious Lights as the several Stars, the Moon, and the most glorious Sun; there must [Page 217]be those Senses of smelling, hearing, seeing, which may perceive their objects and receive the pleasure and benefit of them, otherwise they must be all in vain. If there were no Creatures with any Senses to perceive these Objects of Colour, Light, and the rest, to what end were any of them?

What use would Colour or Light be of, without any eye to behold it? The omniscient God he can­not need it: The Angels and Spirits being without bodies, they do not need it: Creatures blind, and Creatures made without sense; Elements, as Earth, Water, and the other: Elementaries, such as Stones, Metals, Trees, and such like insensitive things, they need it not; neither need any smells, sounds, or tastes, only the sense is suted to the Object, and the Object to the sense: The Object is made or mani­fested and shewn for the sense.

So if there be spiritual Objects, and no spiritual eye fitted for them, and if spiritual Objects be held forth and shewn, and there were never any eying of them, they then in that respect (as to their holding forth) would be in vain: And the spiritual eye would be in vain, as if the eye had no Object to behold, it would be in vain, and as no eye at all.

Therefore doth God in Scripture call so oft for a beholding of the things of Heaven, because of their excellencies purposely shewn for that end: Joh — Behold the Lamb of God. 1 Joh. 3.1. Behold what love the, &c.

Therefore when there are such abundance of spi­ritual and heavenly things, set out in such rare Co­lours and proportions, shining in such high splen­dour and glory: When so many most bright and [Page 218]beauteous, when so great and extensive rarities and excellencies, beam forth and shine so gloriously in heavenly and spiritual things, there then needs must be an Eye, a spiritual Eye, for these so excellent Objects, to behold them and be exercised about them.

Yea, when there is such a height, depth, latitude, and length, and vastness every way, of dimensions of excellency shining in them; and this purpose­ly, that they may be viewed and admired, and also improved; therefore there must be an answerable eying and considering.

  • 1. A real sincere acting of minding and medi­tating, to answer their most real worth.
  • 2. A deep searching of thoughts, to answer their height and depth of excellency.
  • 3. An abode and dwelling and enlarging of thoughts, to answer the latitude and extensiveness of excellency in them, that all their glory and ex­cellency, so near as can be, may be known and tasted.

The excellencies therefore of spiritual things are for eying and pondering, the greatness of their excellencies for great eying and earnest Medi­tating.

Therefore we find that great Artist in Medita­tion, the holy Psalmist, so busying his thoughts and meditating in several things; as about God and his Glory, Greatness, Holiness, Righteousness, Truth, Mercy, Severity, and Power, Psal. 104. Psal. 12.6. About the Word of God, in those shining rays of its infallible Truth, Purity, Perfection, mighty effi­cacy, and glorious excellencies, Psal. 19.7, 8. Psal. 119. And so about the works and ways of God, [Page 219]2 Tim. 3.16. The blessed Apostle Paul was so act­ed in his thoughts about the Word of God and the Gospel, Christ and Free Grace, the fullness of Christ, Ephes. 2.4, 7. the workings of his Spirit, and the whole mystery of godliness, 1 Tim. 3.16. Thus o­ther Saints in Scripture, Prophets, Apostles, and di­vers else.

The wise hearted will have their eyes thus exer­cised, they think bare knowing, without due Me­ditating, is an undervaluing of spiritual things.

CHAP. XXVII. Of the third Ground of this Meditation, as to several ends and uses.

THE third great ground of this necessary Duty is from the Ends, and the great concernments of them, as to all sorts of persons.

1. For a sinners first conversion to God.

1. Meditation is a Duty incumbent on, and high­ly necessary for persons yet strangers to God, to bring them home; Ezek. 18.28. Because he consider­eth and turneth, 1 King. 8.47. If they bethink themselves and turn; returning of the sinners is upon considering and self bethinking; thus the Pro­digal, Luke 15.

No man ever truly converts to God, without some consideration of his Misery, with his abso­lute need of Christ and his Grace, and flying to him.

Although the efficacious drawing of a sinner [Page 220]be Gods work, he awakens, convinces, humbles, and he changes the heart; yet not without the sinners considering, minding, mourning, seeking, and striving. God converts men as reasonable Crea­tures, and conversion is founded on the deepest set reasons, and the strongest working and prevailing arguments in the world. God he awakens, and the sinner looks about and considers, he reasons with himself, as the Prodigal, and out-reasons himself, but by Gods mighty working, keeping down the hearts corruption, and by its quickning the soul with a new living principle, and so he re­solves and returns to God: If more would muse and consider, did do it duly, more, God enabling, would return.

When the one is to be done, the other shall be done, men shall come to consider and pon­der.

2. For all renewed repenting.

There's great necessity of consideration for our renewing our returning continually; for holding up an evenness and constancy of renewed repen­tance. Psal. 119.59. I considered my ways, and turned my feet to thy Testimonies: Fresh godly sor­row, self-loathings, serious returnings, must have new fresh considerings of the sinfulness of sin, and lay­ing loads of aggravations on particular new warp­ings and miscarriages. Especially greater Repent­ings require a deeper and larger foundation in consi­deration, as David did in Psal. 51. that evidences great and deep thoughts of heart.

3. For a vigorous acting of Grace.

For vigorous acting any Grace, Faith, Love, Hope, Fear, Humility, Patience, and others, as is [Page 221]frequently seen in the Saints in Scriptures, what reasons and perswasions, they drew out of the depths of considerations; Job, David, others!

All the heart Graces are stirr'd and acted in some measure by consideration, either of the command enjoyning, the Promise encouraging, threatning aw­ing, examples exciting, arguments in some sort or other inducing and helping.

It is something that works and weighs, is first pondered before the soul acts, or is rightly moved. A Christian acts not as Water or Fire, which move by their own inclination: But as men act in things as men, which is by choice and free election, but upon preceding instigation of Reason and con­sideration.

Grace, though it be a spring of living water, it is not that which runs over of it self: That's for Heaven, where the heart will be full and run alone: It is not like the spring-head of Jordan, that ran of it self, but like Jacob's well, that had always water, but must always be drawn: It must be drawn out by consideration.

Christians mistake and complain oft of their hearts, and would have them like a running Spring, to run, to act alone: when here in the best, though there be water, as in Jacob's Well; yet the well is deep, there must be drawing for every drop, or none will come. Therefore to make it come, the Bucket of Consideration must be letting down, and pulling up, and so pouring forth. What the Apostle said to Timothy, 2 Tim. 1.6. Stir up the gift that is in thee, must be said to all, and done by all, that would do any thing.

Some Horses, we say, go on meer Metal, with­out [Page 222]out provocation of switch or spur; others will go well with some stirring up: So our hearts, if good, will go on in godliness, but not on meer Metal, but with provokings of considerations.

There should be endeavoured the best and strong­est mindings and reasonings, if we would act Gra­ces vigorously and strongly. There's a necessity that strong purposes and resolutions, for believing, trust­ing, loving, hoping, all acting, all enduring strong­ly; be bottom'd in strong mindings and consider­ings: The fuller the consideration, the better the actings of Graces; the stronger the spring in the Watch, the better all the Wheels move.

CHAP. XXVIII. Of other ends of this Meditation.

4. FOR all Duties and holy performances, there is great necessity of Meditation, in some due measure, for a due, wise, warm, lively, and spiri­tual acting them, acting from the right principle of Grace within, by the right rule eying the Word, and to the right mark and end, salvation: Real and vi­gorous performing in this sort must have some good allowance of pondering what we are to per­form.

This is very conspicuous in holy David, so great a performer of holy Duties, Praying, confessing and praising; his prayings, and all things in that way, he calls his Meditation. Certainly, those so excel­lent Psalms of prayings and praisings were no [Page 223]flashes of a meerly raised phansie, or some hasty runnings over of a hot Brain; not an uttering what came next, but the passages so rare, spiritual, and heavenly, and so strongly rational; as they had a touch from Heaven in the Spirits guidance and assistance, so they had a tincture from a wise holy heart within, laying them asteep in consideration, and acting them with it in highest heeds and mind­ings, concurring with their utterings. Things so well spoken, must be well weighed, especially when they also were to be Scripture Records. For holy Prophets and Scripture Pen-men were to use their own natural gifts, and their graces, in their writ­ings, though the Spirit of God infallibly guided, sometimes raised and elevated them above them­selves: Duties of Religion ebb and flow, are more lively, spiritual, and heavenly, or more dead, car­nal, and such as run lower, according to their fo­mentings and feedings from the warm spring of Meditation; thus in our praying and other duties we may daily experience.

Christians complain they are dead-hearted and cold, slight and perfunctory in performances; con­fessions are not accompanied with heart-meltings, shame, and self-loathings; Petitions not with fer­vency, strong cryings, and earnest wrestlings; Thanksgivings not with that flame of love, and joy, and high admirings of the so great goodness, and rich free Grace of God in his ways and dispen­sations toward us; commonly the cause is, the spring of Meditation is stopt, the soul runs not in such a current of considerations and quickning rea­sons as it ought, and used to do.

When any part or member of the body fails in [Page 224]heat, sense, or motion; where there is actio laesa, as the Physicians say, there's principium laesum; that is, where is an action or acting hurt or hindred from its natural and usual way, there the principle and feeder of that action hurt and failing, is hurt and failing it self.

As when failing of sence or motion in an Hand or Leg, it's num or cannot stir; this is from the cold clammy humors lying at, and obstructing the heads of those Nerves that did convey motive or sensitive spirits to that part is num or motionless. Now,

Meditation is a head or rise of motions spiritual, Reasons and Arguments are as the Nerves that con­vey and stir up heat, spirit, and motion into holy performances.

This is one very great cause holy Duties are no more lively and warm, the cure must be in re­moving the obstructions, opening the spring-head of Meditation, making that run fresh and full in such considerations as may warm and quicken: The wisdom of Christians therefore is to take as we said, that great Artists way, the holy Psalmist, that acted godliness so eminently; and among others up­on this eminent acting still of Meditation, he tells how he prayed day and night, and how he still praised and highly rendred his thanksgivings and blessings, and he tells you how, he meditated day and night.

And he tells you his Meditation assisted and con­tributed, as Psal. 5. He tells you his Prayer was his Meditation, because assisted, quickened, and pre­pared by Meditation: If Christians would use to Meditate more carefully and constantly, it would [Page 225]help to keep up better the vigour of Prayer, so would it likewise keep life and warmth in all other holy duties.

No Christians are warmer at the heart, and live­lier in holy services, than those who meditate most; but never expect the one without the other: Keep this Fountain open and still running; this is the water to drive the Mill, the Wind that moves the sails, the spring in the Watch that carries all the Wheels and keeps them going, I speak as to that is to be done on our part, otherwise God does all in all.

5. Meditation is necessary to be an exclusive and keeper out of evil and vain thoughts, and to dis­lodge them; naturally all the imaginations of the heart are evil, and only evil continually, Gen. 6.5.

Vain thoughts lodge and repose, as in a Bed, in a carnal heart: Jer. 4.14. How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? Ephes. 4.17. Walking in the vanity of your minds: The way and walk is in the vanity of the mind. To dislodge these lodgers, and shut them out, is by accustoming and exercising the mind to good thoughts, to be the excluders of bad thoughts. The Learned Sir Fran­cis Bacon observes, as the cures of bodily diseases are by applying things contrary to them, so the de­fects of the mind are helpt by contrary studies: Poe­try makes men witty, History wise, the Mathema­ticks subtil, Natural Philosophy deep, Moral Philo­sophy grave, Logick and Rhetorick able to con­tend, these Arts help the defects of Nature, by working contrary habits proper for the cure of those defects.

So in spiritual distempers and defects, there are [Page 226]sutable cures and remedies, by applyings and act­ings of the contraries: So Rom. 8.13. If ye mor­tifie the deeds of the body by the spirit: All sins, par­ticular sins are mortifi'd by those Graces are con­trary to those sins; so distrust is mortified by holy trusting, passion and wrath by godly meekness, Pride by Humility, worldly affections by heavenly affections still acted, and so evil thoughts by good, roving, wandring, and wild imaginations by God­ly Consideration and Meditation: which accustom­ing our selves unto, will work off customary, vain, and wandring thoughts; a holy principle of Me­ditation, the sinful principle of evil think­ings.

It is not so much the striving and tugging against corruptions to keep them down, though we must both watch and war against them, but the acting of the contrary Grace that best relieves us; to strive after a bare suppressing of sin and of evil thoughts in particular, comes to little.

This is a kind of being only upon the defensive; for an observing and marking the risings and stir­rings of corruption and sins, it may be with a good measure of grief and reluctancy, but this is rather a telling and reckoning the evil thoughts and stirrings, and lying expos'd still to fresh assaults, leaving corruptions opportunity to return so oft as they will, than to abate and suppress them: It can do little unless we go this way to work: The best and nearest way to dislodge and exclude evil thoughts, is by lodging and acting good thoughts, in this way, this ordinance of Meditation, which will keep us: God keeps us, when we keep his and our way: The way when they come, as we should [Page 227]against evil thoughts act detestation, but withal act diversion; act not detestation alone, but diver­sion: Let thy heart both turn inwardly against them, and turn also from them, by turning upon something is both spiritual and seasonable.

So soon as the Poyson of evil thoughts would in­fect, take the antidote, the best preservative of di­version to, and acting of good and holy thoughts, the art of diversion is better than meer acting still of striving and opposition.

Yea, Secondly, Meditation is to be exercised, not only as an exclusive of bad thoughts, but for an in­troductive of good thoughts, good thoughts in a way, for an arriving at habitual heavenly minded­ness; for an introductive of heavenly mindedness, where there was formerly a walking in the vanity of the mind: Gen. 6.5. All the thoughts of the heart evil continually; customarily, habitually evil: for, I say, an introductive to heavenly mindedness; and likewise for an improver of heavenly mindedness daily.

In handling the Explication of the description of Meditation, when the ends of it were mentioned, among other ends, this was one; Meditation must be performed to be a moulder and framer of habi­tual heavenly wisdom, making the spirit of a Chri­stian habitually wise; so I adde now, Meditation is to be performed, to introduce, and after that, im­prove an habitual heavenly mindedness.

It is not only incumbent on thee to shut out evil thoughts, and endeavour good thoughts, to take up the old lodgings of the evil, and so thrust and keep them out, but thou must by Meditation, by constant using it, endeavour habitual heavenly mindedness.

In all truly gracious hearts, a principle that in­clines, that introduces a bent and tendency of soul heaven-ward; but this at the first is a tender bud, it is but weak and inclines weakly, acts feebly in com­parison of after time, when it's grown and strengthened by exercise; when we exercise and use to meditate, this dips and dyes the spirit into the tincture and Grain Colour of habitual heavenly mindedness.

Though the first fundamental inclination, and bent of spirit heaven-ward, must be sought till it be found, the carnal earthly mindedness changed into heavenly; yet this, if we were never so assured of it, must not satisfie; here no Christian must set up: But to the now first principle and the fundamental habit obtained, this superadded acquired habit, should be this second grand endeavour, and inten­sion, first to have the spiritual habit, the new fun­damental heart-tendency, then to have this inclina­tion heightened, ripened, and corroborated, by ha­bit attain'd upon frequencies and constancies of pra­ctice, and using this heavenly meditating. This David, the excellent example of actings in this high-way to Heaven, God says of him, when he was very young, when Samuel came to annoint him, he was one whose heart he lookt on as being principled with piety and real holiness, he had a heart inclined, set for God and things heavenly; but he acted holiness, exercised himself in it, and in this particular way of Meditation, till it ripened and arrived at habitual meditation, from holding up a constancy in it. This may be gathered from the character he gives of a godly man, and from his own still practice; Psal. 1.2. In the Law of the [Page 229]Lord he meditates day and night; when a man be­gins to be godly, hath the principle, this will incline him to begin this godliness, this meditation: But then godly wisdom teaches to practise it, for to use meditating, to get a hand at this rare work, to come to an habitual heavenly mindedness: So David that was so wise, so excellently wise, as Psal. 119.98, 99. he had acted the fundamental principle, Psal. 119.112. He inclined his heart to keep all the Com­mandments alway; and he exercised meditation to babitual heavenly mindedness; for he tells us, Psal. 119.97. Psal. 63.6. he meditated all the day, me­ditated in the night watches; when he still awoke he was ever with God. He gets the habitual heavenly mindedness, and then it was easie, and by being sound easie, it was withal his delight Meditation at first, the burden and yoke of heavenly Meditation, lying on the weak shoulders of the new Convert, with only his new principle of grace begun, is a hard and heavy work; though the spirit be willing, yet to perform it is weak: But when this work is carried on, and daily practised, then by custom and habit (an acquired habit) then it is easie, then 'tis the great soul-solace and delight. David's habitual beavenly mindedness, was the rare product and issue of his meditation; he found it so, and therefore follow­ed the faster: Therefore this ought to be a grand intendment: A heavenly mindedness, when 'tis ha­bitual, when it is corroborated, and of a young ten­der Plant is grown to be a Tree of strength, and yet is growing more; this is a rare excellency, and glori­ously sweet attainment; a heavenly minded man, how excellent is such a one generally in all mens tyes?

This makes a Christian still with God, have his way above, his conversation in Heaven, Psal. 139.18. Phil. 3.20. feed on Manna, fill with peace and joy, overflow and abound in singular fruitfulness towards others.

Out of the abundance of heart-heavenliness the mouth speaks, and the whole conversation shines in an exemplary walking.

Therefore the heart must be meditating upon hea­venly things, that it still may be framing and fixing bigher in habitual thinkings. Meditate thy self in­to heavenly mindedness, that so blessed and glorious frame. To conclude this third Reason: Therefore the Scripture holds forth Meditation in several sorts. 1. Daily doing it in course. 2. Then occasional meditating as a superaddition. 3. And that of eja­culation, or short and more sudden darting up the thoughts to Heav'n, to come in as an Auxiliary & sup­ply, when the other Meditation, more solemn and set, cannot be used; Ejaculations may oft interpose in our course. This is a wedge may be driven in, enter the throng and crowd of occasions; when matters lie before us as tough and knotty pieces of wood, when they will not give way to meditation at large, but hinder it, this wedge may and will ever enter, if we apply it, to keep up the constancy of hea­venly mindedness.

Ah how should my spirit bless abundantly that God, who hath so fully provided for a lying open of [...] way to Heaven, that my soul may mount up [...] so frequently, and be either detained above by [...] Contemplation, or at least to touch at Heaven by [...]

CHAP. XXIX. Of the fourth ground that supports this Duty of Meditation.

4. THE fourth and last ground to support this weighty work of holy Meditation, is the consideration of the great advantages or disadvan­tages, arising from the careful performance, or care­less neglect of it. Every Ordinance of Christ hath holy advantages attending it; those who use them aright, daily experience how good it is to walk in the King of Heaven's high-ways.

1. The first I shall name, is that so glorious ad­vantage of improving our communion and acquain­unce with God, Job. 22.21. 1 Joh. 1.3. No com­munion we can expect, much less can we improve it, out of the use of holy Ordinances, whereby we draw neer to God, and God to us: Although God himself be not so tyed to these ways, but he may come to us, when and how he pleaseth; yet we are tyed to Gods Ordinances, as our ways of acquaintance with him; and when in a holy manner we draw neer to God, he hath promised to command the blessing to us, Psal. 133.5. Psal. 24.5. He shall, &c. Medita­tion being then his Ordinance, it is a way of com­munion, a singular way of acting our spirits to­wards him, of acting our minds and thoughts in a way of reference to him, either more directly or less; sometimes Meditation is acted on his infinite excellencies, in seeing his infinite beauty and loveli­ness, [Page 232]admiring and glorifying him; and by this Contemplation we come to an improvement of our knowledge, to understand more of him, an enlarge­ment of affections, encouragement of our wills, chu­sings of him, and aimings at his glorifying and ex­alting; excciting and stirring up the Graces of Faith, for stronger recumbencies on his All-sufficiency, love to cleave more, humility to stoop and submit more, patience to endure more willingly, and other Gra­ces to act higher in their spheres and ranks; by all in the ways of exercising them, to own him and have him more to be our God. Meditation helps to move and carry the soul, and all that is of it and in it, towards God: And when we act upon him, open the doors of our hearts to him, Rev. 3.20. God he comes in and manifests himself in his Grace, Quicknings, Supportings, Comforts; he sups with us, as Rev. 3.20. and we sup with him, he is pleas­ed and delighted with our Graces exercised towards him, and we sup with him in his manifestations of himself to us, in his helpings of us, gladding and chearing our spirits, ravishing our hearts with the tastes of his love.

CHAP. XXX. Of solace and spiritual pleasure, another end of Meditation.

2. AS it is a way of singular communion with God, so it is for a heavenly walk, of great soul-solace and delight; a path of pleasant­ness, to walk, turn, and recreate thy spirit in; as So­lomon, Prov. 3.17. Her ways are ways of pleasant­ness, all her ways; all the particular paths in those ways, and therefore this way; and it is made pur­posely by Christ, for his people to walk and turn in: One of the stately large high walks in the King of Glories Garden, for thy walk and sweet refresh­ings. Travelling abroad to see sundry Countries, Towns, Cities, and the great varieties of Objects there, is counted a rare sight, a great pleasure and contentment.

Travelling with the Eye of Reason, amongst the great mysteries and rare secrets of Nature; and by searching, curious exquisite searching, to make new, strange discoveries of Natures implanted excellencies; the makings and framings so admirable, the proper­ties and efficacies so strange and amazing in so many sorts of things. This travelling in these close walks, these hidden ways ending in new, rare and useful experiences, is a very singular pleasure to many, but peculiarly to elevated, and re­fined parts and wits. But travelling with a spiri­tual eye, among spiritual, holy, and heavenly Ob­jects, [Page 234]and to see this whole prospect, take a view of all the varieties of heavenly beauties and glories, meeting us in our walk; this is a ravishing solace indeed, beyond all others, as far as Diamonds tran­scend the dirt, or the glorious lights of Heaven do clods of Earth or Dunghils.

In Psal. 119.14, 15, 16. the Psalmist tells what in Meditation-walks he met with, more solace than in all riches, of which he had so great abundance, a Kingdom of his own, and the rich spoils of other Kingdoms also.

Carnal and sensual persons, study sometimes, and act great curiosity to heighten and enlarge plea­sures, and to find out new, rare pleasures, not tast­ed before: Oft they are at a loss, and discomposed, for a not having some new pleasures, as being cloy­ed with the old. But here is a way for a heavenly spirit, of unwearied walking, of ever tasting larger pleasures: Of ever finding fresh and higher, more pure, more permanent pleasures, such pleasures that enlarge the heart, and then enlarge themselves in it; such pleasures that come fuller, fresher, sweeter in, and then there fix and dwell.

Joh. 15.11. Our Saviour tells us of a full joy, and of a remaining joy: who can tell you such hap­py tidings, where else any such joy is to be both felt and fixt? But in such ways where Jesus Christ, the water of life, springs forth and flows; the Saints meet with it, drink of it abundantly; meditate to drink, meditate and drink: They meditate, and in their walking meet with rare, rich things, surpas­sing sweet: Psal. 104.34. David faith his Medita­tion of God was sweet; certainly it was so, and he means unspeakably sweet; meditation on the word [Page 235]and works of God, were abundantly sweet, O how sweet must meditation of God himself be?

Meditation brings in, and gives down sweeter and more surpassing pleasures, than all earthly carnal things can; so much beyond them, as Manna from Heaven is beyond basest bread, meanest fare; as the Wine of Christ's miraculous making, beyond the water it was made of.

Three things especially make pleasures excellent.

  • 1. When the pleasurable things are rich and ex­cellent, as Nature yields them, as rare fruits, rich spices, and the like.
  • 2. When they are rare and excellent, as Art redu­tes them, as Art meliorates and perfects them.
  • 3. When they have a right and curious, an exqui­site receiver, and perceiver: As when purest Foun­tain Waters are fetcht fresh, in a pure clean Vessel, and have a curious Taster: Or as the richest Grape, by the best art, is made into Wine, put into the best Cask, and hath best ordering, and then comes to an exquisite Palate: Or some excellent Flesh or Fish is by the best art prepared, and by the exquisitely right and curious Taster diseerned.

1. Meditation it hath those kinds of Objects, which in their own Nature are most transeendent, purest Springs and Rivers of Water of life, the things most soul-satiating, and unspeakably delight­ing; the most glorious God, the unsearchable riches of Christ, the holy Spirit the great Helper and Com­forter, the pure and perfect Word, the precious pro­mises, heavenly Ordinances, glorious Grace, and eternal happiness. These are in themselves most ex­cellent, and therefore the highest ground for our Meditations walk, for solace, and pleasure, and he highest.

2. They have the most excellent means of prepa­ring and fitting them for a right taste; the Art and skill of the blessed Spirit, 2 Pet. 1.21. Prov. 8.9. by his fitting them, and ordering them to the best su­tableness for us, both for our minds and hearts, un­derstandings to know them, wills and affections to close with them: They are made plain and perspi­cuous, perswasive and operative; they have a suita­bleness conferr'd by an infinite wisdom of a God that knows how best to deliver them, as he hath done it in the Scriptures.

3. They have the best ways of receiving and per­ceiving, namely the highest kind of wisdom, a re­ctified and elevated understanding, with a stamp and rare principle of spiritual judgment, 1 Cor. 2.7. and heavenly mindedness, discerning and savouring of spiritual things, in allowing and approving of them, 1 Cor. 1.15. He that is spiritual discerneth, Phil. 1.1. Approve things that are excellent.

So the Will and Affections they receive, and have the excellent principle of relishing, and savour­ing spiritual things, in chusing and complacency, in love and joy: O how I love thy Law, Psal. 119.97. Thy Testimonies are the joy and rejoycing of my heart, Psal. 119.111. This is from the principle of Grace, that gives in an ability of relishing the sweet and savoury things of Heaven.

But when all these concur, as it is in a holy heart, and in reference to it, the pleasure is most surpassing, far beyond others, where the nature of the plea­sures is lower, the preparation lower, and the re­ceiver and faculty of tasting, of either outward or inward sense, or of a meer natural and carnal heart, in its best wisdom and moral excellencies, is far lower. [Page 237]Meditation is the rare way to soul-solaces, and sweet­est pleasures, as bringing in the most excellent delica­cies, and stirring up the holy heart to act its princi­ples in the Mind, Will, and Affections, of tasting and relishing them, and so to have let in the sweet plea­sures and refreshments of them.

The rarest hours, and richest soul Banquets have been prepared and come to, usually by this way of Meditation: when the spirit goes up to Heaven by holy Contemplation, Heaven comes down to us by rich Consolation. Heavenly comforts meet us balf way, fill us brim full, and sometimes to such runnings over, as we know not how to bear up under the glorious ful­ness of them: Never doth any sensualist or any sin­ner, in his way, taste of such pleasures; Prov.— Meddles not with Saints joy.

It is not possible that sensual and brutish pleasures should be such as intellectual; nor intellectual in meerly sinful spirits, such as spiritual and heavenly Meditation, being a spiritual operation acts higher, returns the purest, highest and most ravishing pleasures. Let the Saints Experience give in evidence; and if sinners try upon heart changing and elevating Grace, they then will find, that no sensual, nor any pleasures of most raised Fancies, or highest notions can hold proportion with spiritual pleasures let into the heart, and tasted from this Divine Meditation.

There are many other high advantages I may add; as particularly,

1. As for brightening and clearing of knowledge, this was mentioned on a former occasion.

2. Meditation serves for improving the judgment; the most judicious Christians are such as meditate most: Persons of a short spirit, whose thoughts are [Page 238]not full length, not well sized, where thoughts touch as a perfect round thing, on a perfect plain; as lightening passes through the Air, and stays no time: Not like the Sun that not only shines but stays, that staying of his light makes the best disco­veries of things; so when things are stayed, and have fuller length of time; this is the way to be a judicious Christian, to attain a spirit of judgment; the shorter you think, the shorter will you be of a ju­diciousness in the things of Heaven.

3. Meditation keeps up and improves an awakened and tender conscience, as bringing in more plenty of light, and acting it more upon the spirit, acting stronger reflections, deeper searchings, fuller disco­veries in respect of the frame of the spirit within, and the conversation without: They that study themselves most, will be most awakened to greater sensibleness, care, and fear, and set the strongest watches upon their deceitful hearts.

4. Meditation makes a Christian keep up his acti­rity and liveliness; the best actings are bottom'd on the heart, put best in frame by raised elevated, and most spiritualized thoughts: It is greatly conducing to greatest growth; souls if we would have them fat and flourishing, Psal. 92. have the Garden of Graces, and the Beds of Spices flourish and flow forth, they must have as the other helps of heaven­ly Ordinances, so the hand of a constant Medita­tion to water them: he that best orders the first Wheel, the first Mover, will have all the follow­ing move more regularly and exactly.

The spiritual disadvantages must needs be great where holy Meditation is neglected and never used, or but seldom, or slightly used. The advantages [Page 239]may be the rule of judging the disadvantages; but I shall in particular mention some of the spiritual disadvantages, and then come to the improvement of all that hath been said.

1. The first disadvantage, and that is a prejudice to purpose a total neglect of Meditation, or an usual doing it slightly and formally, not seriously and di­ligently, is a great and principal ground of mens abiding in a state of vanity, a living wholly to no purpose, but utterly besides the grand end that man was made for, that supream end, the infinitely wise God, the maker of man, and thereby the total and absolute proprietor in, and owner of his all, and that end of living to God, and glorifying him; va­nity, I say, in a wholly missing his end and chief mark: For who can take aim at any mark, that eyes it not, or looks not earnestly and evenly at it; that either looks quite another way, or looks with a regardless eye at the best? The blessed Apostle tells us, he lookt with another eye, Phil. 3.13. with an eye that lookt not off, or lookt easily; but the best mark had the best aim, he lookt for life.

The Scripture calls a sinner a vain man, Jam. 2.20. for his living besides his main end, ever in eve­ry thing missing that chief end; which rises from being wanting in aiming right, and that want of aiming is for want of minding. Never can aim­ing, which is an act of the Will (intending is an act of the Will, aiming is the intending of a mark) never can aiming be right, unless considering or me­ditating be right, be due and earnest, with even­ness and constancy: That heart which comes not to be reduced to minding its chief end, will miss it ut­terly at last.

The reason why there is so much vanity in the best, is partly, yea greatly upon this little minding, this slight, uneven, and seldom looking wishly and well at the main mark of God and happiness.

2. Disadvantage, sinful security, a sleepy soul state, and heart hardning, a sinking and decaying in god­liness, is grounded much upon disuse of medita­ting, especially Meditation of review and self-re­flections.

Jer. 8.6. No man repented, every one rusheth into his course: Not considering, bottoms both sinners, and Saints security, and growings worse.

If faln asleep, if falling and in a declining state, awakening and recovery must be by self-bethinking, 1 King. 9.47. No wise man but hath need of fre­quent reviews, and weighings again over and over, of the best of his doings, much more of the Errata, the Errors of them.

3. Givings way to evil and vain thoughts, will follow your neglect of good thoughts.

The mind will be ever busie, if not in good, then in that is evil; giving way to vain thoughts is ve­ry dangerous; men by giving way to vain thoughts provoke God to leave them, to give them up to a walking in the vanity of their minds, Ephes. 4.17. and at last as to a customary vanity of mind, God may give them up to judicial dis-relishing, and ab­horring holy things, and the thinkings of them, and so perish in them.

O let therefore the good hand of my God, so stay up and act my weak and warping spirit, with the strongest and most efficacious Reasons and induce­ments, in this so greatly important and necessary, so sweet and blessed an Ordinance, this heavenly me­ditation, [Page 241]that I may ever prove a better Artist in it, a better Christian by it!

Having now dispatcht the reasons and grounds of this so great and necessary Duty of Divine Medi­tation, with those things which concern the na­ture, and several ways or sorts of it; I must now come to the fourth and last propounded particular, namely the right improvement of the Doctrine or assertion of the necessity on all, to meditate upon heavenly and spiritual things, to exercise themselves in this so concerning, advantageous, and blessed bu­siness.

CHAP. I. Of the improvement of the Doctrine of Me­ditation, by way first of instruction.

THis being so concerning a work, and having so strong an influence upon the whole course of Christianity; let us now endeavour to beat out this Gold, extend it and make it appliable to the state and condition of all sorts of persons, in all the use­ful ways we can.

1. Inference. Then if Meditation on spiritual things, and earthly in a spiritual manner, in such seriousness, searchings, and dwellings of the thoughts upon them, for such high and holy ends, is so needful for all Christians to exer­cise.

Instruction 1. It serves then to hold forth a light of instruction to all that own the Lord Christ, the Golden Scepter of his Word, and the obligation laid so indispensibly on them, to see how they are call'd upon to own and observe it, to tread and walk continually in this sweet and pleasant path, this so righteous and good way.

Divers there are who call themselves Christians, and would be counted good, if not so good as any, which yet lead a life of inadvertency, and quite [Page 243]overlooking of it, mind not this Meditation; as if it concern'd them not, as if they were not at all ob­lig'd, but free from any such engagement of their thoughts, any employing of their serious thoughts this way.

O how many are there to be found, that never considered what that noble eye of the understand­ing was given for! they use it as if it were made to look only downward, or any other way but upward and heavenward; that lose, contentedly lose, the principal end of that so rare faculty, made most peculiarly to mind and contemplate heavenly beau­ties and excellencies.

What was said by Duke Alva, he did not use to look up to Heaven, this may be said of too many, yea they may say it of themselves, they do not use to look up to Heaven, by meditating on the things above. Ah sad eye, and sad frame of spirit, but saddest state, not to have God, nor the things of God in the thoughts; to have an eye made purposely for them above all, but uses to look from them, not towards them, that fixes on the Earth, that hath their eyes All, and Heaven the allowance of a No­thing.

2. Others mistakingly think Meditation may concern some sorts of persons, but not them; they have no leisure, they have no Learning, as others have.

We read of a King, when a Treatise of happiness was presented unto him, would not look on it, but said he was not at leisure. O how many are there too like him in this, they are not at leisure? They can find time for looking every way, on every thing fond phansie carries them to, but it is for others [Page 244]who have time, and a mind to it, thus to employ it in Meditation.

3. Others there are who think religious serious­ness and musing of things heavenly, the greatest folly, the worst bestowing of thoughts and time, they loath all trouble of consideration this way, li­cense their thinkings to a roving ranging liberty, let their thoughts fly, as Children do their Arrows, any way and every way, but to no certain mark at all; with such any way is vanity, but walking in the va­nity of their minds, Ephes. 4.17. with them no thoughts are savoury, but such as are remotest from Heaven; a seriousness and sixing their thoughts is a fettering to their freeness of phansie; all stay of thoughts is a meer tediousness, and the more spiritual the things are they are perswaded to mind, the more unkind entertainment they meet with.

O that ever that eye, which the great soul-maker bestows, purposely and principally, to act its serious­ness and best mindings, on best things, should be so strangely perverted to an only minding the worst! O what a wonder is it, that the great Gi­ver of this great Talent of the thinking power doth not totally take it away, doth not let it quite quench in a seizing stupidity, and loss of reasons use, as it happens to some by sad Diseases; or that the wild­ness and wickedness of phansie, be not revenged with wildness of phrensie, and striking all such willfully mindless sinners mad, as sometimes some are, and it may be partly on this account!

O let every one take heed of provoking their God, in such a sort, and set themselves to ponder what it is, not only to forget God carelesly, but to refuse to remember him purposely and designedly; purposely [Page 245]to refuse minding those things of Heaven, which like the lights of Heaven, have purposely the greatest [...]stre and glory, that they may have the greatest ey­ [...]gs and lookings upon.

Every one therefore should learn to be conclud­ed under this great truth, under the great necessity and importancy of this Duty, see it most clearly Christs blessed way, for the frequent and constant walk of his thoughts, to improve communion with God, and perfect holiness by.

Lord clear up my Eye to see daily more into the excellencies of this heavenly way, and have my spi­rit lifted up and enlarged in it.

O let me not faint and grow weary, but have the Loins of my spirit girded with strength, my goings held up in this path of pleasantness, unto the end.

CHAP. II. A second improvement of this truth by way of conviction and for deep humbling.

2. Ʋse. LET this serve for conviction and deep humbling of every one for no bet­ter discharging this obedience to the Lord of our spirits, and that thinking power of them. The na­tural faculty for thinking was given by God, chiefly for spiritual objects, and for acting it self in a spiri­tual way; as the bodily eye is given much more for beholding the light of the Sun, than the light of Candles.

That so precious Talent of the thinking power was not lent us by our Lord to embezle and ravel out, but to employ and improve for his best advan­tage; not to be as water spilt upon the ground, not to be as a spring of pure excellent water, which empties it self into some near noisome ditch, or is swallowed up in some Bog or Quagmire; O no, it was given us for excellent ends, to act and be in exercise, to put forth its strength and vigour upon things most excellent and high in themselves, and most sweet and sutable to it.

1. Therefore let every person look back and be greatly humbled for those times of childhood and youth, and that excessive vanity of thoughts, and evils, continually evil imaginations, as Scriptures charge all with, Gen. 6.5. O let us learn much to be humbled, for being so long under the total neglect, and daily exclusion of all thought-seriousness, not at all complying with, but dis-relishing, but refusing, all reducing of the thoughts to any due mindings and ponderings of heavenly things.

In that forecited 6. of Genesis, the Lord when he was threatning the drowning of all the Earth, he saw the wickedness of man was great, and then a­mong others, when he is making a review and looks back to former times, the times of mens youth, he casts, into all, the sum of sins; the youths sins of thoughts, the then evils of its imaginations, with the aggravations; reckons not the ways only, and wildness of youth discovering it self to others, but the evil thoughts of youth, and punishes for them with other sins; I say drowned the world for youth sins, yea youngest times thoughts.

Though youth be least considerable, and youths [Page 247]thoughts least of all considered, yet the holy God puts these mites into the black bill, makes the weights of thought sins to help cast the Ballance, hangs these about the sinners necks to help drown them in the flood.

O let us then look back to them, be duly hum­bled for them; humbled for that All of the evil of imaginations, humbled that there was then no con­sideration, nothing of this so incumbent Duty, this then, even in youth, so needful duty: O what a sad time was that, which did not, would not meditate, that could not, would not spare time; time from plea­sures, play, vanities, and follies; time from very toys, trifles, poor petty despicable things, yet so ea­gerly minding them, and being so taken with them, enslaved, led, and befooled by them.

Ah when the holy God at the great day before all the world, shall bring forth, the eager mindings of youth, the toys, vanities; phansies, and follies of youth, set them all in order, and then shew what the things of Heaven and happiness discovered and tendered are, all the so rare and most inestimable things proffer'd in the Gospel together; I say, when all the trifles and vanities of youth, and the bendings of the mind unto them, wholly to them; and all spiritual things in the Scriptures, in their natures, and heights of excellency, and the not minding, but refusing to mind them, shall be laid together; O what will be the unspeakable shame and confusion, silence and stoppings of the mouths of mindless sin­ners? O what to such as are snatcht away in their youth, in the heights of their minding vanities, and so fond refusals of meditating on spiritual things, as not being at leisure yet, as not think­ing [Page 248]it proper and seasonable to be serious so soon.

Ah then if the case of youth, mindless youth, will be so sad at the great day, when things shall appear as they are, when an infinitely wise and righteous God will make every sin appear in its exceeding great sinfulness; how now should it hum­ble all for their youth regardlesness, refusals to allow time for heavenly thoughts; to let precious youth be so embezled?

If we mind not sins of youth, God may soon make us to possess them, Job. 13.26.

If we are truly humbled for them, this may as it were spare God a labour, save us that heart-smart in troubles and terrors, which like gravel in the tender eye, or smaller motes there, may occasion great pain.

Those little things of youth, and which by many are resolved into nothing, or have a pardon of course: Ah these sometimes God blows into the eye of con­science like clouds of dust, that we may feel how great a weight of trouble, how hot a Hell the least sin can bring upon us.

The least arrow in the Quiver of Gods wrath, dipt in the least measure of its venom, bred by the least sin, can wound, torment, and drink up our spi­rits; O therefore sadly sometimes, let every one look over the time of youth, which so long, for in­tending vanities, dis-intended and considered not things serious and spiritual, but put them by: Put them by as meer niceties and impertinencies, yea as very burdens and yokes; but chiefly having been called so oft upon, by the Word without, and the holy Spi­rits sweet motions, together with the frequent calls of conscience within.

O the time of youth may for ever humble all, cause us to look on it with great self-loathing and heart-breaking, with fresh runnings of the spring of sorrow and shame for our follies and frowardness in refusal of returning, and to cry out with the Psal­mist, Psal. 25.7. Lord remember not the sins of my youth; O give a free and full pardon for that fond time so wasted, without consideration acted up­on any spiritual concernment, to any purpose, but all lost.

CHAP. III. Another particular cause of humbling, for so long neglect of Meditation.

3. improve­ment. FOR humbling greatly every Chri­stian, in that at the best and soonest we began so late this seriousness of thoughts, this Duty of Meditation, which challenges of all the very first consideration and pondering; the very first buddings out, and first blossomings of the consider­ing power, should begin with our spiritual con­cernments, not letting it act blindly, ignorantly, evilly, and impertinently, but knowingly, wisely, and in a right manner; the rule allows not taking the first step, nor any other after wrong. Ah how long hath it been, how long have the best of Saints, the soonest blossoming and ripen'd young Christians, how long was it before consideration and meditation began in their hearts, before the Scepter of Jesus Christ, held forth in the Laws and Commands of [Page 250]Meditation, was attended, would be yielded to? How long e're that any of our fond and froward spirits would cease their vanities and wildness, follies and impertinencies of thoughts? When wis­dom in any one begins to act, then consideration begins; no hopes of young heads, till they begin to put forth and act consideration, then begin they to be wise, or give hopes of a being hereafter wise, when they prove considerate; then begins that which is wisdom for thy self, when thou comest to consider, when thy spirit begins to beat the Golden path of Meditation.

Ah then let it humble us, it was so long before the first and fundamental Meditation or Considera­tion, before that first engaging the heart to serious­ness and a due minding, that initial and introductive considering for true turning to God with the whole heart.

Formerly in one of the grounds of this point we mentioned the necessity of consideration, and pon­dering our unspeakable misery by sin and God's dis­pleasure, in order to conversion to God.

As all that are truly converted are truly humbled, so all truly humbled and converted are made first tru­ly serious and self-bethinking, reduced to this Me­ditation of their inexpressibly miserable condition.

Conversion to God stands as it were on two feet, comes about by a double inlet, of a twofold Consi­deration or Meditation.

1. A serious Meditation of now seen and felt unspeakable misery, that load and burden of sin and Gods wrath laid on, and this must be deep, sink down into the soul and press it, and soak through the soul, in sorrowings, in meltings, in wea­riness [Page 251]of spirit, and in willingness to be eased of the present pressure.

2. Then a most serious Meditation and Ponder­ing of the rich free grace of God the Father, recon­cilable in a full Saviour, offer'd in a free firm Cove­nant and Promise of salvation, to every sinner without exception.

These two great considerations are the founda­tions and inlets of the great heart-mutation and conversion: Therefore these are of the greatest con­cernment of all other considerations; yea these are such considerations, that no other are to be reckon'd upon, till they have been performed effectually.

Ah therefore how exceedingly should this hum­ble all persons whatsoever, for their former so long neglect of this introductive and fundamental consi­deration: Hos. 8.5. God crys out, How long will it be e're they attain to innocency? Ah how long was it with any, with the very earliest self-bethinker, be­fore he used the eye of his mind in consideration? Consideration to view, not that was far off, but that was, of all others, the nearest; to see himself, and himself also in his nearest concern of all others, that eternal condition of his immortal soul.

Ah what an humbling charge should this bring up to every spirit, to every bosom! O how should it shame thee and me, and every one, to think how long it was before we began to do that might be call­ed thinking, before I once began to think to any pur­pose, how long my thinking and considering power was meerly abused by me, was both diverted and de­based by a continual running like Water beside the Mill, ravelling out like a golden Thread, spoil'd as fast as spun, by a neglect of winding up and right [Page 252]using? Ah how sad and self-abasing reflections should this often occasion to us? Ah, think we sad­ly, how long so noble a faculty as the understanding is, how rare an acting the acting of its consideration is, how high a concern eternity of happiness is! how necessary, in order to happiness, conversion is! and how needful consideration to conversion is! And yet to lose all the right and best use of this considering power, this meditating, by ingaging it in impertinencies and very nothings, meer shells and shadows, instead of realities and things of worth, true worth and ex­cellency; to be so long like the Prodigal before we came to our selves, were seen sitting in our right mind, entring upon Meditation for that great soul-affair, Conversion.

CHAP. IV. For humbling those that are totally yet to be­gin Consideration for Conversion.

AH then in the next place, as it was for great shame universally to all persons whatsoever, for so long neglecting consideration, and meditating of their souls condition, and for conversion; so how far more should it humble all, that never as yet so meditated to that great and principal end Con­version, so as Conversion followed Consideration; never had the first corner stone laid of that considera­tion, which bottoms and grounds conversion, that hi­therto have had all their precious thoughts scatter'd [Page 253]in rovings and wandrings of spirit, acted and wasted upon vanities and follies, things that perish, that cannot profit in the day of wrath, that will prove sorrow, shame, and anguish of spirit in the latter end.

Ah how many are there who for improving that great talent of the thinking power, employing it for those so high ends it was peculiarly design'd to and given for, for wisdom to salvation, and glorifying God the giver, that have daily all their thoughts ei­ther vile or vain; that walk in the vanity of their minds, that is, in a constancy and prevalency of mind-vanity, vanity exclusive of good thoughts and all right seriousness, and productive of nothing but the weeds of evil and vain thinkings! The way of their thoughts is a successive taking step after step in vanity, one vain thought follows close, treads on the heels of another for haste; all the walking of that so working, active, busie mind, is nothing but continued vanity. O how sad a frame of spirit is this, how sad a sign and symptom, if not healed by a new frame of heart, symptom of deepest danger of ruine and destruction hastening on apace!

Some-Diseases in that so noble part the head, are most dangerous, the Cure is hard, the Killing quick; when vanity seizes the mind, when men from vain thoughts arising in them, come to allowing of them, and from allowing to a walking in the vanity of their minds, vanity of thoughts becomes an habit, and when it becomes habitual, then the danger is high: All habits, evil habits, are like old rooted Dis­eases, hardly, if ever, cured; O when men walk in the vanity of their minds, God may be provoked to a giving them up to walk on, and so be at last [Page 254]ruin'd utterly for want of a timely returning from it.

O how should this awaken such, that have so this way ravel'd out their youth; it may be, lavisht and lost their best days of riper years, yea peradventure are arrived at an old age, and are old withal in this way of vanity of thoughts! Old and vain is sad to purpose: Ah when younger, when elder, yet never could allow or would find time to become serious: A young head, and a vain head, all wildness is a sad beginning.

A grown man ripened in Reason, but not yet be­ginning, not so far as budding out in consideration, not arrived at the wisdom of minding soul-concerns, that's worse, and a sad sign.

But for a man to have gray hairs here and there, and to be yet to begin wisdom for self, in self-be­thinkings, never to have laid the foundation of me­ditating on the highest soul-affairs, thereby to con­vert, O this is dreadful, sad beyond all; ah to ra­vel out the most, the best, the all almost of thy time, and never, never to interpose one times, one hours, serious Meditation, or never to meditate to purpose, so as to convert to God truly, but be still to begin to return to God, contenting thy self with a just nothing done, of that greatest, and which should never be the last, but first dispatcht, business of all others!

Ah, but what will all prove at last to all younger or elder, if there be a going on without considera­tion, without conversion? young, and strong, and old, are all liable to death, yea to a death that may be on thee suddenly; who can (all things consider­ed) think in any wisdom, he can be so secure, that [Page 255]he needs not yet be ready for dying? Ah, if that black Serjeant of death claps thee suddenly on the shoulder, serves an Arrest upon thee, presently to come away and give up thy account, in what wo­ful case wilt thou then find thy self, what terrour and confusion will instantly seize thee?

It will most certainly come, that thou knowest; but when it will come, that thou canst not know; ah think therefore of it before-hand; make it thy case as now come, and by the symptoms of it had really seized thee, that thou wert now drawing on, hadst but a few hours or minutes to continue in this world, and then be cast upon eternity, be cast upon eternity, and before thou ever hast come to any con­sideration which issued in a real conversion, and thereby to make some sure provision for thy eternal salvation: Ah put this case, this dying case, put it soon enough, and close home to thy bosom, let it stay upon thy heart, let Death as it were lay his cold hand on thee, and conceive that thou feelest it touch thee, and take fast hold of thee to carry thee instantly a­way, and so cut thee off from ever having one op­portunity, the shortest space imaginable, for conside­ration, any possibility of conversion to God more; that time and means must now be no longer, be­cause thou must be no longer in the land of the living.

O but then think, O seriously think what immedi­ately will follow after, ponder thy particular doom, thy souls sentencing to an everlasting state. Think not only of thy souls leaving its old ruined Taberna­cle, but of its launching forth into that Ocean of Eternity.

Think what an Eternity thine Eternity must now [Page 256]be, who wasted all thy time lent thee for Eternity, and that so precious talent of opportunity trusted with thee, to trade for Eternity, for a most happy Eternity, and making that sure, 1 Tim. 6. 2 Pet. 1.

And to affect thee more abundantly, and work upon thy spirit to purpose, think, O think of, be­sides thy own particular day, of that great day fixt & appointed by the great Governour of all the world, for judging of every person, every work of every person, the secrets of that persons heart, yea every secret thing good or evil, Eccl. 12. Imagine then that great and terrible day of the Lord to be come, thou seest the Heavens departing as a scrowl, the Ele­ments melting with fervent heat, the Earth with the works therein burnt up; imagine thou seest the Lord Jesus descending from Heaven with his mighty An­gels, coming with the voice of the Archangel and the trump of God, seest the dead arising, the living all changed in a moment, and all persons whatsoever convented and brought before Jesus Christ the Judge, such a Judge as never any was, in any de­gree to be compared with, so unspeakably excellent and glorious, sitting on his high Throne, in highest and most transcendent majesty and glory, as there cannot possibly be greater.

Among all that are to be judged, imagine thy self there appearing at the Judgment seat to make thy personal answer, and take thy Eternal doom; that presently thou art call'd, come thou sinner, come, hold up thy hand at the Bar, answer for thy self; that thou hearest the Judge call, read the in­dictment, read it aloud, and answer thou sinner to every part of thy charge.

1. First thou that standest here at this Bar to be [Page 257]tryed, thou hast a noble faculty of reason, and un­derstanding, and with it a power of thinking, and meditating given into thy soul, and that, above all others, to meditate of heavenly things; thou an­swerest, it is true, Lord, I cannot deny it.

2. Thou also hadst my Word, a perfect rule, to di­rect thee, my Ministers to perswade thee, my Spirit to draw thee, thine own conscience to call upon thee, which also called loud, often, and earnestly upon thee to consider; yes, Lord, thou answerest, it is most true.

3. Time also and opportunity thou hadst, space sufficient allowed thee to meditate and consider, if thou wouldst have done it; a time of youth, and time enough then, also a time of, it may be, riper years, and old age; a time of many years, great pa­tience, waitings on, and strivings with: True, Lord, thou answerest, I had many opportunities to consi­der.

4. But when thou should have remembred thy Creator in the days of thy youth, thou didst forget him, wouldst not think of him, of his Word, of his ways, thy own state, and thy souls concerns.

Thy first fresh years were spent in walking in the sight of thy eyes, and minding vanities; thou couldst find time enough to think of thy pleasures, thy play, sports, and pastimes, thy excesses, filthiness, loosness, but not of thy God, or thy souls great af­fairs. At such a place, in such a year, such a month, such a day of that month, such an hour, or suchhours of that day (is it not so sinner?) there & then thou wert thinking, musing, devising for such a pleasure, such a sport, such a vanity, and such a wickedness; and the following day, at such a place, and such an hour, do­ing [Page 258]the like; and so day after day thy thoughts were lavisht, lost, let out on impertinencies and meer va­nities, but purposely taken and turn'd from all reli­gious seriousness, all soul-matters: Was not this thy usual way to ravel out that thy youths time in ne­ver minding thy God, and the things are holy; never to consider any thing to any purpose indeed? What say'st thou, sinner, to all this charge of em­bezling that precious time of tender and more pli­able youth? Are not all particulars charged against thee true? Yes, Lord Jesus, I was such a one, as to every particular, and cannot deny any thing charged.

5. Ah, but beyond that time, thou livedst up to riper years, and when the time of fond phansie and folly wore off by the ripening of reason, on thy coming to mans estate, then had you more reason far, more to mind and meditate on the great con­cernments of God and your soul; I then lookt for seriousness, when you now could be serious, and se­rious enough in things of lower concernment, as for your calling and business, for getting wealth, and growing rich, to be great and high, and have abun­dance; ah, how couldst thou studdy, muse, beat thy Brains, in the day, and in the night appointed for rest and sleep, how did thy worldly mindedness act thee? thy mind running, thoughts intending, multi­plying, with all possible earnestness, and eager­ness? Ah, friend, what have been the multitudes of thy musings, day after day, in such and such ca­ses, business, bargains, purchases, and projects? What an engrosser of thoughts hath Mammon been in thy covetous frame of heart, and what a most shameful excluder of good and heavenly thoughts [Page 259]continually? Yea, I have to charge thee farther, be­fore men and Angels, with thy studyings and contri­vances, the deepest and most intense thoughts of heart thou hast had, for credit, applause, and honour, from men like thy self; for rising, growing high, getting power, and being great in the world; O how this, this, friend, provokt and engag'd your thoughts, studyings, plottings, all the soul-earnest­ness that was in thee, to be accounted and ap­plauded, to be great and high? but you never would be half so serious, spend any such proportion of time to get Honour that comes from God, and to be one the Lord commends.

Sinner, is not all this also true? canst thou deny any one part of this charge?

No, Lord, saith the Prisoner, it is all very true.

Over and above, thou hast meditated and devi­sed, and that many and divers ways, for satisfying thy lusts in every way thou likedst, and wert pleased in: Meditated for mischief, taking revenge, which was none of thine, but mine, as now appears; yea, for opposing good causes, persecuting the godly, such as would be upright in their Generation, and not be wrapt up in the wickedness of the times.

Ah what, of all others, what depths and heights of musings and devisings hath thy heart of hatred, thy keenest hellish malice brooded and brought forth against my Saints, these Saints that lived with thee, here they are before thee, see them; there's such a godly painful Minister, and there's another, and there are all the rest you hated and opposed; here, friend, are such Christians you have plotted against, and persecuted so often; there's such that lived in such [Page 260]places about you, there's such who lived in the same Town with you, here's one that lived the very next door to you, here be those who were in the same Fa­mily, of your familiarity, of your daily converse with, and your spiteful opposition to; here's such a fellow-servant, such a Brother, or Sister, such a Child or Parent, such a Husband or Wife, hated and scorn­ed for godliness sake: This, this hath been thy man­ner sinner, from thy very first to the end of thy days, which have not been few; all the thoughts of thy heart evil, all but steps in the long walk of the vani­ty of thy mind.

Thoughts thou hast enough, thy mind that medi­tated enough, was ever acting; busie enough, but bad, thou wouldst not meditate the right way, on the best things, on holy and spiritual things, not in all thy time, so as to convert and turn to God. What say'st thou, wretched sinner, is not this charge, all this indictment, in every particular true, witnessed and proved to thy face? Do not I, the heart-know­ing Judge, know it is every tittle true? and doth not thy own heart, thy own bosom, the Book of thy conscience, shew it to be true, cannot but yield it so? Ah true, true it is, Lord, all in every tittle most true, I cannot deny it, nor will contend to justifie or ex­cuse my self in the least.

7. Then sinner thou acknowledgest thy self, by all that hath been shewn and proved to thy face, and by thy own confession of all, that thou art guilty; what sayst thou therefore to the whole charge? Guilty, or not Guilty? Guilty, guilty, Lord, What hast thou then to alleage, why sen­tence of condemnation should not pass upon thee? Ah, Mercy, mercy, Lord, I beg mercy, I have only [Page 261]mercy to entreat; O pity, pity, mercy I most humbly crave. No, no, it is now no time for mercy, for any pity, time was when thou livedst under the free ten-of it; but now time's past, now go thou cursed wretch, that wouldst never consider, never meditate; go thou foolish sinner, thou lazy slothful sinner, that wouldst not take the pains, and dis-ease thy self so far, as to engage in a little thought-labour; go thou stubborn stout-hearted sinner, that wouldst not stoop to take up this easie yoke, this light burden, of be­ing sometimes rightly serious, of a now and then some few minutes time meditating and ponder­ing matters spiritual and eternal; but only worldly, carnal, and perishing matters, these, these were the things had all thy mindings, all thy seriousness and earnestness, and thy constancies of thoughts; go therefore thou foolish, lazy, stubborn sinner into that place, which is prepared for all such as thou art; Take him away, bind him hand and foot, cast him into utter darkness.

Most just, just and righteous is it, Lord, cry all the Bench of Saints and Angels; full evidence, and his own confession there is, that he would not obey this righteous Law, would not use his thinking power, to think of thee, Lord Jesus, nor the things of thy Kingdom; nay he would not bethink himself, think of his immortal souls highest concerns, but minded wholly other things than the main: O 'tis most righteous, righteous Lord, that thou hast judg­ed thus.

When the sentence is thus pronounced by the mouth of Jesus Christ the Judge; when all that in­numerable company of Saints and Angels have unani­mously (not one dissenting) approved the righteous­ness [Page 262]of the whole proceeding, and just doom and sentence; what then presently follows, but driving away from the face of Christ, dragging and haling to the place of Execution, thrusting into the pit of darkness, a filling up with scalding wrath brim full, and a sealing up, in that woful place and state, for ever and for ever?

Ah, then thou that art and hast never, never been serious in minding the main concerns of thy im­mortal soul, serious in every thing rather than there­in: O look, look to it before it be too late.

Ah, never be quiet, till thy spirit comes to this happy attainment, comes to fix and setle in serious­ness of daily meditating, in walking this way with evenness and constancy, and so make it easie and sweet. Ah never be content, till from mindlesness and disuse of thinking thy thoughts the right way, acting the seriousness of them upon things that challenge it most, till thou comest to thy self, as Luke 15.17. comest to humble thy self greatly, to say with deepest sorrow, self-abhorring and shame, O what have I done? what have I been? how many years have I run out, void of all due consideration? how many and many millions of steps have I taken in the great Road of vanity of thoughts? Ah how near am I come to the end of my days, or how near may my end, for ought I know, be, and so for want of thinking and meditating, I may perish for ever? Ah at how low arate have I set my precious soul, set my body, my whole person, my hopes, my God, his Christ, his Spirit, his Grace, Heaven, happiness, & all my high concerns, that never thought them worth a thought, or a few thoughts in this way, this holy way of Me­ditation? never weighed them so in the Ballance, [Page 263]unless to find them too light, outweighed by every worldly, every bodily and carnal concern? O un­wise, silly wretch, that I have all this time been, that I should deal thus by my self, be so cruel and so heedless, the foolishest adventurer, the most idle slug­gard, to live in a lothness to be at the pains of a sometimes meditating and thinking, though the gains be, or might be, beyond all thoughts.

Ah, now therefore, now, now, if it be not too late, by the Lords help, I will begin to bethink my self, now I will set my self to do my utmost, now to make haste, and use all the means I possibly can to repent and reform, that I may be recover'd from my vanity of mind and conversation, and at last be wise unto salvation.

CHAP. V. Of being humbled for negligence in this Duty of Meditation, after experiencing the fruit and sweetness of it.

ANother improvement of this Doctrine is for due humbling of all such who after experien­cing the success and sweetness of heavenly Medita­tion, both that first soul-seriousness, into which they were drawn, drawn by the Holy Spirit in effe­ctual vocation, and grounding their so happy con­version to God, and believing in Christ; and then likewise after their usual and daily exercising holy Meditation, that whence they have had so sweet Communion with God, those rare hours wherein [Page 264]they have been wrapt up, with that blessed Apostle, into the third Heaven, and tasted of those glorious and soul-ravishing pleasures and joys that are un­speakable.

Ah Christian, to experience so often the surpassing sweetness of this happy way, this path and walk to Heaven, and tread it no more.

  • 1. To fail so frequently in that so needful daily Meditation, do it so little or so slenderly.
  • 2. To take so seldom into that path of Occasional set and solemn Meditation, that also of so great ad­vantage, large incomes of light and wisdom, warmth and quickening, strength and encouragings.
  • 3. And to act no oftner that so easie, quick, and expedite ejaculatory meditating, whereby thy soul may give incumbrances and overcharging business the slip, take breath, ease it self, mount up to Hea­ven, make a short visit, and return refresht, quicken­ed, and enlarged.

A Student never does himself such wrong, as when he reads much and muses little, for then he either receives in, or retains nothing; or cannot manage his Notions: We never order and di­spatch Affairs worse than when we Meditate least.

And so a Christian never loses more labour, does his soul-affairs worse, than when he muses not, and warms not himself by this exercise of Meditation. Divers profess a faculty and ability, as in Sciences and ways of Learning, in Mysteries and ways of Trading and Dealing, yet are but slender proficients, can do little but bungle, because they study and muse no more to know their own way.

Many Christians are but bunglers, to what they [Page 265]might be, make a large disproportion between their profession and their proficiency, their practice and their profit, because they meditate no more to un­derstand their way.

2. The great, not only ignorance, but dead-heartedness and spiritual chilness, with the bro­kenness and unevenness of Christians in their walk­ings, arises much from a negligence in this Medita­tion; either negligence of not doing it, but ceasing sometimes; or negligence of slackness and slothful­ness in ceasing fervency and industry for the manner. Davids manner of meditation, in the fervency and the constancy of it, will keep up Davids affections fer­vent and flaming affections; and Davids constancy and evenness of conversation.

3. Little meditating makes lean Christians, of little life, little strength, little growth, and of lit­tle usefulness to others. Heb. 12.12. There's men­tion of feeble knees, which also occasions the going with no steadiness, and the not making of straight steps.

As it is oft in the body thus, from a failing in the head, obstructions of the Fountain, and feeder of sense and motion; so this among others, this failing in Meditation, is a great occasion (though there be divers other causes) a great ground of Christians weak feet, and going no stronger and steadier: Medi­tation that should influence, stir up strength and motion, is obstructed, disused, and neglected; Me­ditation must still lend a hand of help to every spiri­tual undertaking, first ponder, then proceed: We can perform nothing well in worldly affairs, with­out well considering; so in spiritual matters, what duties can be well performed, what graces rightly [Page 266]exercised, what in all Religion that can be named, can be rightly ordered, if you mind not seriously, consider not before the doing it, as well as mind and attend it in the doing?

Serious thinking is fundamental to all right do­ing; O what are the innumerable advantages that thy constancy in this course would still bring in? and what have been thy losses by neglect, and will daily increase upon thee by it? Ah therefore consi­der, be awakened and strive to be humbled for all thy failings and neglects; especially thy fallings off from, and disusings of this so necessary and excellent Duty; look to thy first beginning in it, and thy making no better entrance into it.

First undertakings, if not so well and through, prove great inconveniences, and if not lookt after and amended, may occasion a less seriousness and care ever after; but however they require a making up and bettering: that which serves a young, weak, and unexperienced Christian, must not serve a grown Christian, one old in his way.

O but be humbled for thy improving no more in this Art of Meditation, for being no better Artist, for having so little of this heavenly habit, and heart-readiness, from thy frequencies and constancies of not only acting, but earnest and vigorous strivings, which intend and strengthen, improve and increase the habit.

Be humbled for no higher attainments in this hap­py way, which we should be most perfect in & ready for; in which we should still have an increasing and heightening complacency and pleasure to per­form, with a striving to do it better, as to heart-readiness, better as to heart-power, and purpose, [Page 267]resolvedness against oppositions and hindrances.

Ah then look, mournfully look we, and with shame and self-abasings, on all and for all our failings, and for all our guilt contracted for this Duty neg­lected.

  • 1. That our progress and improvement hath been so small.
  • 2. Our inequalities and unevennesses so many.
  • 3. Our fallings off and desistings, and lyings so long, or any space of time, before returning and recovering, and by our dis-using, contracting an un­willingness, a spiritual lothness, a doing with more difficulty, or by refusals and denying of doing this Duty, to thereby aggravate our sin.

Therefore, I say, for all these admitted and added, let us be deeply humbled before God, and mourn over so many and great neglects he hath observed in us.

Ah therefore say, I have sinned greatly in what I have done, 2 Sam. 24.10. say, I will do so no more, Job. 34.32. Ah, so to slight, to forget the concerns of God and my soul, to let my eyes be in the corners of the earth, to let my soul lose so its lookings, by eying vanity; to imbezel my precious thoughts upon the by, and overlook the main.

May not my God come and challenge me for great unkindness, unworthiness, and folly? What, thou my child to be so vain and unwise? when thou hast to contemplate thy God, in his infinite all-suffi­ciency; thy Saviour, in all his matchless beauty and fullness; thy Sanctifier, in all his operations and con­solations; thy perfect rule, the Scriptures, with all the treasures of heavenly truths in them; and when thou hast all the excellent and admired works and [Page 268]ways of a God, the condition of his Church and people, thy own souls state, and eternal salvation, to­gether with all such things that continually stand full in thy view.

Ah, to have so many paths for the feet of thy spi­rit to walk in by Meditation, so many rare Objects, for thy Eyes entertainment and employment, and to thy sweetest solace, largest satisfaction, and yet in any degree, to miscarry the golden seasons of this so heart-enriching Meditation.

Ah may not my grieved God, and his grieved spi­rit, grieve and sadden my herein so sinning spirit? may not my neglects of Meditation, not seriously and frequently thinking of him, and such things that nearly, highly concern him, justly occasion my Gods neglecting of me? Neglecting me, by withdraw­ing his hand from his blessed impulses, infusings of heavenly thoughts, judging it not meet to give down good and holy thoughts, into a spirit distem­per'd, diverted, by too usual admittance of earthly, evil, and carnal thoughts, and disuse of holy Me­ditation.

Who will plant the most precious flowers among heaps of poisonous weeds?

Who will mix their richest, purest Wine, with pud­dle, dirty Water; or their Gold and Diamonds among dirt and dung?

Ah, this is the way for my God not only to with­draw himself, but to let Satan the foul Spirit loose upon me, to trouble me, to haunt me, to follow me, with all manner of disquieting and discouraging thoughts, with temptations of injury and stealing, revenge and cruelty, uncleanness and filthiness, and sinful sensualities, and such like evil thoughts a­gainst others.

Ah, may not this neglect of good thoughts and due Meditation, be justly met with, and expose me to the blackest and most horrid thoughts and temptations, such as those of Blasphemy, thoughts as thick as Hail, and that daily haunt me, darting horrour and Hell into my spirit, making my heart to tremble, and my hair to stand upright on my head?

Ah, may I not (if I amend not the sooner) not come to that so sad and dreadful temptation, so contrary to Nature, the temptation of self-destroying, thinking it may be best to be rid of my trouble, though it be so horrid and unnatural, and will ren­der the case so dangerous and dubious?

Yea, may I not have self let loose upon self, my own heart to worry it self, my bosom opened, the Book of my conscience held open before me, and my eye held to a looking continually into it, seeing my sins set all in order before me, making me a magor missabib, fear round about, a terrour to my self?

And to all, may not my God plunge me into the depths of dissertion, set himself against me, let all his waves pass over me, let me see and feel nothing but his wrath and Hell; that I who would not me­ditate as I should, shall now nothing but meditate as I would not, meditate nothing but terrour?

O therefore to prevent all this, or whatsoever may befall me on carelesness and neglect, O let me call to mind my former times, my former tastes and sweet solaces, had in my walking up this bill of Meditation; those rare hours, sweet en­largements, strong consolations, happy and encouraging experiences I had when I kept up my vigour and con­stancy, as in others, so in this blessed way and exer­cise [Page 270]of holy Meditation; and being greatly hum­bled, let me keep closer to, and walk with an evener foot in this heavenly path.

CHAP. VI. A perswasion to all such who never accustomed themselves to this work of Meditation.

IF Meditation be so necessary a Duty, let this then prevail with every one that hitherto hath done nothing in it as yet, or that which hath been to no purpose. O that this sin can be laid to thy souls charge, that yet thou art to begin to meditate of the great things of thy God, and thy own soul. That thou shouldest have so rare a power in thy soul, of thinking and meditating, a power also that is so active and busie continually, and yet never employ­ed aright; so great a Talent entrusted for use, and either hid up in a Napkin, or wasted and ravelled out in vanities, impertinencies, and wicked­ness.

1. Seriously, I beseech thee, consider, thou canst be no good Christian, no truly godly person (what­soever thou or others think of thee) that hast been, and art no complier, but a refuser in this particular. Ah, this strikes thee home to the heart, dashes quite thy confidence and hopes, grounded on thy calling thy self a Christian.

That clear passage proves it undeniably, Psal. 1.2. The blessed man meditates in the Law of God day and night: The least that this place can hold forth, must [Page 271]be a doing this duty in a course and way; he that is a blessed man, is not only one that pretends to Re­ligion, but practiseth and uses Meditation, hath an inward delight in the Law of God, and from delight in it, meditates on it, in a constancy and ordinari­ness; not acts a now and then bare thinking, when others mention it, Ministers preach on it, or in the reading of it; to think of it then when it cannot well be avoided; but a serious and purposely meditat­ing, a keeping up a conscientious and complacent constancy in it.

If therefore continual Meditation of the Law of God, his Word, and the Excellencies in it, be the character of a godly person, think well of it and thy own condition; flatter not thy self with that kind of false godliness, which falls short of the true character of true blessedness.

2. Consider thou canst be no true subject of Jesus Christ, that doest not submit to this Law of Christ, this Meditation: It is in Scripture made one of the imperial Laws of the King of the Church, who gives every subject of his this charge, lays this com­mand indispensibly, and repeats it frequently, records the examples of the Saints, who practised it dili­gently, as David and others; therefore thou dis­ownest this Law, thou disownest the Law-giver Christ, and so he takes it.

3. Ah then what is it that reigns in thy heart, that sits in the throne and sways, but the Tyrant sin, sin that hath dominion over thee, sin that is the great obstruction and hinders thee, sin that is the great Biass of diversion that draws thee quite ano­ther way?

1. It is meerly the vanity of thy mind, in which [Page 272]thou walkest, that keeps thee from walking this way.

2. It is thy sinful folly; the wise in heart will muse and consider, and most consider things of the most concernment, what is it which hath made all the spiritual fools, but sin? The Scripture fool is the sinner, and wherein is the folly seen more, than in not considering things most considerable?

3. Thy not meditating, it is from the tydes and currents of unmortified lusts; lusts in dominion and reign, lusts that ingross thy thinkings, lusts that en­gage and set thy thoughts on work, and intend them.

In every predominant lust there is a predominant scope and tendency, an end and aim that gives the rules and laws; as therefore the lusts aim lies, so all the thoughts and seriousness are levell'd; as the lust-aims and marks are, so are the mindings: If lusts of sensuality, riot, drunkenness, uncleanness, and vo­luptuousness; if these or any of these be predomi­nant, all the strength of the mind and its musings run out at that leak, that passage.

If covetousness and worldly mindedness be pre­dominant, all the studyings and thinkings run down, and are carried away by that outlet.

If pride, vain-glory, and affectation of honour bear sway, then the thoughts and contrivances act up all that way, climb up that Hill.

Thy serving lusts and pleasures, being inslaved by them, is the ground of thy thoughts subserviency to them; they set up an exclusive of good thoughts, shut the door against all godly seriousness, turn the Engine of the thinking power into an instrument and forge, for themselves to act a sinful seriousness, [Page 273]to farther only the satisfying of them.

I have read in Pliny, that the Romans attempting a discovery of some more unknown places of Afri­ca, could not proceed and succeed in it by reason of the innumerable sorts of Serpents and poysonous crea­tures, which filled the Country. Thy heart is like that Country, full of dangerous lusts, which over­run it; there is the true reason why thou wilt not, canst not meditate, because the predominant lusts in it engross and enslave the whole thinking power, lusts rule thy lookings, thy hearts sinfulness hath seised thy seriousness, sweeps all thoughts in to it self and service. One lust shares now one proportion of thoughts, another lust goes away with another part, and so among them all, who take their turns in thy heart, they gather up, and appropriate all thy serious­ness and vigour of thoughts, all that are to any pur­pose; all other thinkings are so short, slight, seldom acted in comparison, that they amount to nothing, millions of them make no more than motes in the Sun would contribute to make a Mountain, because there's commonly nothing of seriousness in them; when they are acted toward things spiritual, they are but smoke or chaff that flies away: And consi­der why lusts have thy thoughts so enslaved to them, it is because lusts and sin have that Empress of thy heart, thy love; for as thy love is, so are thy think­ings; thou pretendest thou lovest God, and with all thy heart, but 'tis no such thing; that which hath the love most, hath the eye most, Ʋbi amor, ibi oculus, as the common saying is; who ever could truly say they loved any person most, and thought of that person least, but of other things every day and hour more?

O consider this well, how evil it is thou medi­tatest not by reason of thy reigning corruptions and lusts that will not let thee meditate; and lusts have thy thoughts from having thy love.

4. Why as to thy own frame of spirit is there a neglect of this holy Duty? it is from sin reigning in the relishing part, the palate of thy soul; sin that takes away thy taste, and makes godliness unsavou­ry: Those that are after the flesh, savour the things of the flesh, Rom. 8.5. Ah, not to meditate from such a sad cause, from a not savouring the things of God! finding no sutableness, no sweetness, no pleasant­ness in spiritual things! none in the Word and ways of God, in the precious promises, heavenly graces, glorious priviledges, given to the Children of God! none in an infinitely sweet and blessed God, Father, Son, and Spirit! none in the things above, but all in the things below, not because they have no savour or sweetness in them, but because thy carnal heart hath no principle of savouring of them!

5. Nay is it not from sin that lodges and breeds in thy bosom a hellish enmity against any thing is holy? Rom. 8.7. The carnal mind is enmity to God, and so against every thing that comes from God. Ah but sinner, this is the blackest thing in thine or any bosom, this is the loathsomest thing in all the world, 'tis the chief feature and lineament in the face of Sa­tan, the most abominable part of Satans heart, and the very worst thing in all Hell; nothing is, or will be more evil in Hell, than their enmity, boiling up, and running over continually against God.

6. But who is he that hath unhinged thy heart, in respect of this Duty of Meditation, that acts thee to this awkness, and bars the door against it? is it [Page 275]not Satan that dwells and rules within? Satan that is thy souls implacable Enemy, and the great adver­sary to this Meditation? And what is his reason of hindering thee, his grand reason, but that he knows this to be the way of coming to a mans self, and con­verting to God?

Of all such things that are dispositive and assisting to Conversion and Faith, Satan is the grand enemy to this consideration and meditating of a mans spi­ritual condition; if thou wilt do Satans will, and gratifie him the best thou canst, if thou wilt give him the best security of utter undoing thy self, let him see and know thou wilt not consider and muse on thy souls concerns, but look quite another way.

7. Whither do thy thoughts sink and soak, but into the base Earth, and in the base things of it; he that looks with his bodily eye, if he looks not up­ward, may look many other ways than downward, right forward, on the right, or left hand; but thy soul's eye, if it look not to things above, it looks downward to the things below, Col. 3.5. the base dry earth drinks up all thy thoughts.

8. When wilt thou begin to think, to think to any purpose indeed, when will that time be? shall it be when thou art most timeless and heartless? when thou hast least leisure, least fitness, bodily fit­ness and disposition, of ease, strength, spirits, and senses? when thou hast least heart-fitness, of desires and willingness, which with time will wear away and be less?

The longer thou disusest thy self to good and se­tious thinkings, the less fit and disposed thou wilt every way be, and the more will vanity of thoughts [Page 276]grow upon thee, dye thy mind into the grain Co­lour of habitual vanity; the more will thy heart grow up and ripen in an aversness from all good thoughts, harden and grow more sinfully and de­sperately set against seriousness, all such meditating as is necessary to true repenting.

9. Wilt thou defer thinking and considering till it be too late, till time and the season of grace shall be no longer, till life, and soul, and Heaven be irreco­verably loft? Wilt thou lose this short time here, till thou comest to an Eternity of time, to think of thy neglects of thinking? to muse when it will do no good, when musing on thy not musing and meditat­ing, will turn into torturing and tormenting thee for ever?

Ah, therefore now while it is call'd to day, now while thinking may do thee good, good to convert­ing and saving; ah now bemoan thy self, and sad, so sad, dreadful, and dangerous state; never rest or be quiet till thou becomest a serious person, one that useth his thinking power to the right end, and in the right manner, to meditate thy self home, as the Pro­digal did home to his Fathers house, to be received with great joy.

1. Consider therefore, this is one part of wisdom indeed, of wisdom for thy self, when thy soul con­cerns have their allowance of due consideration.

2. Never expect a cure of that worm, that Wolf in thy breast, of those gnawing, grinding pains, and terrours of conscience, until thou by consideration come to convert and turn to God.

3. Never wilt thou taste of peace of conscience, joy that is unspeakable and full of glory, until thy thought­vanity be healed, and thou becomest a seriously medi­tating person.

1. Therefore begin at that first Meditation of thy unspeakable misery under sin, Gods wrath for it, death eternal awaiting thee, and which by deaths soon coming may seize thee, and seal thee up in it for ever.

2. Labour, that consideration may rightly issue in an awakening thee out of thy deep security, in a contrition of Spirit, and a right preparative hum­bling, dashing thy pride and carnal confidence.

1. To fear exceedingly, for thy so great misery and danger, by being under so great wrath of a God, and the curse of his Law, Act. 16.29.

2. To sorrow and mourn deeply for this thy mise­ry, thy mirth and laughter being turned into heavi­ness, Jam. 4.9.

3. To despair of help in thy self, see the insuffi­ciency of thy own goodness and righteousness, and of thy own ability of wisdom to devise, will to chuse, or any power of thine to save thee.

4. To come from former carelesness and negli­gence, to an earnest care and desire to be cased and de­livered, Act. 2.37.

2. Then being weary and heavy-laden, endeavour the second consideration of the way of relief and help.

1. By pondering the infinite love of God, his wil­lingness to receive broken-hearted sinners to mer­cy, pardon, reconciliation, adoption, and full salvation.

2. The fullness of Redemption in Christ freely offer'd to all.

3. By pondering the Promises of salvation, righ­teousness, so perfect and glorious pardon, so full of all graces and happiness: Christ must be re­ceived [Page 278]in the Promises, rested upon as sure, good, and free.

4. By earnest, often praying for grace, faith, and other graces, a new heart, and new principles, which will introduce a new power, and make god­liness in all the duties of it, and this of Meditation, sweet and easie.

CHAP. VII. An Application to such as are godly, and have tasted the sweetness of Meditation.

2. Ʋse of exhortation. THE next perswasion and instiga­tion is of all such who from a right principle planted in them by heart-changing grace, and their experience from often and usual practice of Meditation, have tasted the benefit and sweet­ness of it; to take heed of neglecting it, and to endeavour a constancy and improvement in it.

As there is nothing harder than to hedge in the thoughts and govern them, so how hard is it to make them keep and beat this path of Meditation, to have the soul go, as with Hinds feet, most readily and with enlargements of steps in it? The holiest heart is too apt to flag and be weary, in the best path­way to Heaven.

Meditation hath a strong and active Enemy in eve­ry bosom; when any would do this good, evil is present, in backwardness to it, regret and reluctan­ey rises up, puts in a caveat, hangs a weight and clog to hinder, which watchfulness and resolution must [Page 279]spy out and cast off: Cast off every weight, saith the Apostle, Heb. 12.1. Every weight the flesh casts upon a Duty, the spirit must cast off, and then run; sin at all times can easily beset us, and now at this time we may easily find it.

How easily will sin beset us with excuses? how easily with whole Troops of Arguments will it charge us? how easily with swarms of diversione, diverting thoughts, purposes, affections, will it seek to warp us? this thing, and the other, and a third, and a thousand, that flye about as thick in the heart, as motes in the Sun-shine.

1. Meditation is harder than some other Duties of godliness; for in other Duties the body comes in, as an assistant to the soul, and lends a hand of help: As in praying, there may the voice come in, which is a great furtherance, keeping better up the minds in­tention, and keeping better off deadness and distra­ction: In reading, the eye is exercised, and the mind is the better, as to attention and heeding, if not to heat and intention: The eye affects the heart; so preaching hath the ear to convey and make the bet­ter impression: But in Meditation, the soul acts single and unassisted, without a stirring up, or exciting by any sense, or any help from the body, and so it is the harder, as the condition of our Nature now makes it: In the state of imperfection, we need the bodies help to farther the soul in its workings in some sort.

2. Meditation hath least opportunities of coming under observation of others, and thereby less pro­vocation and encouragement for doing well, by ei­ther bad or good, before whom, in other cases, our light should shine, and God by them be glorified.

3. Meditation is hard, in that it is an acting of the quickest faculty, and the most slippery piece of the soul; nothing is nimbler than the thinking power, no act in the world quicker, and of more expedite motion than that of a thought, and nothing sooner slips off the object, or thing acted upon, and makes a way faster to a new, than the thinking faculty; like the Bird put wild into a Cage, the door is no sooner open, but she is gone.

Meditation is harder, being not bare thinking, a flash, a sit for an instant, a touching; but a fixing and stay of thoughts, a detaining them, which o­therwise are as Oyl in a mans right hand, that will not be retain'd: A carnal heart counts all Ordinan­ces, and spiritual engagements, but coming into bonds, tyings with Cords, longs to break them and be free, so doth it by this Cord and tye of Meditation; it's harsh work to the flesh.

O it's a most high attainment, to be able to say, O God my heart is fixed, Psal. 108.1. fixed as to the purpose of heart, the choice and intent of the will, so to have the head, the mind, to cease the rowling, ranging vanity and slipperiness, and to act fixedly in the way of seriousness, not be a light-headed, but a musing man, a person of ponderings, and thought-stayings; like the Bee that lights on the Flower, and stays to have the Honey with her e're she re­moves.

4. Meditation is the harder, in that Satan hath greater power upon, and more immediate passage to the faculty of imagination, than other faculties of the will and affections; he works not so immediately on the will and affections, as upon the imagination, and there he endeavours interruptions by his injecti­ons [Page 281]and suggestions; there he endeavours diversions to think quite another way from the work in hand, and disturbances, casting in by-thoughts, and sun­dry objects of different or contrary nature to the duty we are in.

As Satan fill'd Ananias heart, but first by filling the imagination with thought of covetousness; so he can cast suddenly into the best heart thoughts and apprehensions, when about the best work, to di­sturb and hinder.

Besides, consider his malice is great against Me­ditation, knowing how great advantage comes to us by it, and how much disadvantage to him.

Satan is much prejudiced by ponderings; he ever watches when this work is taking in hand, and therefore Christian, thou hast greater reason of ta­king the greater heed; to watch him that so watches thee, to fight him that fights against thee, and so envies thee the help of this Ordinance, that would not have thee enjoy the freedom of one good, one serious thought, but is casting the dust of evil thoughts in the eyes of our minds, when they are looking up to Heaven, but principally he envies and opposes seriousness, searchings and dwelling of thoughts upon spiritual things.

Satan deals with us here, as deceitful Courtiers and Councellors have done with their Masters, di­verting them from minding their affairs, and all right seriousness, by pleasures, and new devices, un­der the pretence of freedom from incumbrances, and trouble and enjoying themselves; but that hereby they might more securely prosecute & compass their own private interests. Satan had rather we should do any thing than keep up a seriousness in Meditation [Page 282](or any other holy Duties) which may keep us awake and in a watchful posture, against his enterprises.

5. Meditation is the harder, by reason of the ex­emplary mindlesness of so many, we daily meet and converse with, who refuse and slight all seriousness, as unnecessary niceness, or neglect it, out of sloth­fulness, and lothness to trouble themselves.

Bad Examples are very infectious, apt to convey a secret poyson into mens hearts, when they heed them not; by touching this pitch, the best are ready to be defiled.

6. Meditation is like the road or passage, where many things meet us, justle us, and are ready to turn us out of the way; cares they strive to come in, businesses and multiplicity of affairs, sudden emer­gencies, and sundry things, that may attempt to in­terpose; and these, if our watch and guard be not the stronger and stricter, will miscarry the Duty.

Yea sometimes one Duty may drive out another; often we let holy duties interfere, and cross each o­ther, hearing, praying, and the rest, sometimes there's hastening from one to another, sometimes let­ting one detain us so long, that others are cut short, and so helps are turned in part into hindrances, op­portunities for some Duties into obstructions to o­thers, when godly prudence allows every thing its season and due proportion of time.

The external hindrances to Meditation are many from common business, and things of this life; and we often create our own hindrances by our sloth and imprudence, not carefully redeeming and wise­ly ordering our times and opportunities.

Ah then my soul, if Meditation be so high, so hard, as to its spiritual nature, and hath withal such [Page 283]Enemies and oppositions, look to it then I must the more cautiously, but not less resolutely perform it.

The Moralists say, that difficulty is cos virtutis, the incentive and heightener of magnanimity; to a great and heroick spirit nothing must be so great as to outlook it and discourage it: The greater and braver fish swim against the stream; the noble Christian by difficulty and opposition is caution'd, but not cowed out.

If there were nothing to set against and weigh with the former cautions and arguments from Ene­mies and opposition, if no high inducements and advantageous arguments to put into the scale of perswasion, to weigh against such as fill the scale of diswasion, it then might the more reverse and turn the edge of thy courage (yet arguments from evil and mischief, in many cases are sufficient alone) the danger of an armed Enemies approaching, as in Ja­cob's case; the danger of deadly poyson, prepared for thee, or infection coming very nigh thee is enough. But we have encouragements, and those in full mea­sure, pressed down and running over. As Elisha to his servant discouraged, when encompast in Do­than, we have moe with us than against us: What if there be a principle of flesh, that makes opposition; yet thy principle of spirit and grace, is a real ground of hope and help: If thy grace, Christian, be true, though but a grain of mustard-seed, it will live, and hold, and act and grow, act into endeavour and striving till it overcomes: A principle will help thee.

  • 1. Consider, a principle introduces an inclination, a bent and tendency of heart against the inclination [Page 284]and contrary tendency of corruption, Psal. 119.112. and it's a principle must live, and the con­trary carnal principle must die; Rom. 6.11. Reckon your selves dead unto sin, but alive unto God: Sin as to the purchase of Christ is dead in the Saints totally, and it is dead in the habit and root initially and in part, in respect of the communicated and inherent grace of Christ, which upon union with Christ, begins the death of sin in mortification, Rom. 6.
  • 2. A principle, besides inclination and tenden­cy, introduces power and ability; as the Flesh hath its power, so the spirit and grace hath its contrary power.
  • 3. A principle introduces facility; though the Flesh makes Duties hard, yet the Spirit is ready, and makes godliness easie.
  • 4. A principle introduces delight and complacency, the Flesh acts reluctancy, the Spirit delight and plea­sure, Psal. 119.47.
  • 5. A principle works holding on and constancy, Gal. 5. as the Flesh lusts against the Spirit, so the Spirit against the Flesh (Psal. 119.12. last part of the verse) not only begins but holds on; a princi­ple will help you to hold on, for God will hold that on, Phil. 1.6. He that hath begun a good work in you, will finish it to the day of Christ.
  • 6. A principle is blest, by the using of it, with progress and growth; the flesh that shall decrease and waste, but the grain of Mustard-seed shall grow to a great tree, Math. 13.32.
  • 7. A principle shall be crown'd; by contending and striving, with glorious conquest and victory; the Spi­rit wars against the Flesh, and it conquers in the is­sue, by its still warring; judgment is brought forth to victory, Rom. 8.37.

Ah, never be discouraged for any thing within, be very sensible of sin within, and the stirrings of it, but sink not under the sight of it, take thou encou­ragement, Christian, to fight it, and to subdue it; if thy hearts badness appear, its backwardness and crossness to any Duty, know you can get nothing by giving way, but by going on and striving; and use this herein as thy rule, wear out thy own backward­ness to and weariness in a Duty, by doing it in a re­solved constancy, wear out the indisposition to duty, by doing that Duty, and doing it fervently.

2. What if Satan be such an Enemy, yet have we not more and stronger with us than him? we have the holy Spirit that helps to pray, and he will help us to meditate.

If he sees we are labouring to get up the Mount in Meditation, he will give us his hand to help us up; if Satan and all Hell be against us in this or any o­ther Duty, he will be for us, yea, Father, Son, and Spirit are and will be all assistants to us: Do we not use to say, God came in at such a time, in such a Duty? He delights to see how the pulse of thy spi­rit beats heavenward, how the eye of thy soul looks upward, how it fixes its looks of heavenly love upon him; he delights to help up thy heart in its holy Meditation, to help it tower up to Heaven, to taste of those surmounting glorious delicacies, pre­pared for his beloveds entertainment and highest solace.

What others in their exemplary carelesness, hold forth what their mindlesness is, they use; must not have any impression of discouragement, or prove to us any impediment.

It is no staying till we can take every one along [Page 286]with us in our journey to Heaven.

Neither must the example of any, the highest, the greatest, the richest, the wisest, and learnedest, the nearest related, the dearest affected, nor any under any consideration whatever, have that ill influence upon us, either to discourage or divert us, weaken our hands, or hinder our making straight steps in this blessed path of meditating diligently upon hea­venly things.

Neither let the cares and pleasures, business and af­fairs of this world, hinder this soul great affair of serious Meditation in the seasons of it.

The Saints of Christ in all ages have found a way to this duty, as well as others, and that through the throng, and multiplicity of crowding and justling occasions. As it is said of our Lord Christ, in Luk. 4.30. when they of Nazareth, angry with him, thrust him out of the City, and would have cast him down headlong, he passing through the midst of them goes his way; the Saints of Christ have made their way, passing through the midst of businesses and emergencies, troubles, and disquiets. They had a wisdom given them to find out a way, they had a will, a purpose, and resolvedness fixt, so as to o­verlook and overcome obstructions and lets, from throngings of business, and multitudes of still suc­cessively interposing diversions: That holy David who had so many highly urging and pressing occa­sions, as no man now, whatsoever he be, can have more; yet he made his way continually through all the throngings of so high importancies, and most urgent affairs; he had a wisdom given to find a way, and a will to resolve to Meditate, and he did it daily.

Psal. 119.48. He says he will meditate in Gods Statutes; when he so determined, certainly he did it not rashly, and without consideration of his many occasions and weighty affairs, and those great di­versions which he might after meet with at home and abroad, in Peace and War; yet thus he resolves: And Psal. 119.97. he saith it, and to the Lord him­self, that he did it, and all the day; first he saith he will, then saith he doth meditate, and saith it to the all-knowing God.

It therefore hence appears how feasable and pra­cticable this Duty is; notwithstanding cares, business, troubles of all sorts whatever, from the world and living in it, there is an attainable will.

  • 1. A godly heart may come to say I will, may set an universal purpose of heart, a firm purpose, and a purpose of equal extent, to the whole latitude of Gospel Duties, and whatsoever the Word re­quires.
  • 2. And likewise he may have a latitude of wis­dom, to understand his way, every way he is to walk, Prov. 14.8. The wisdom of the wise is to un­derstand his way. Psal. 119.98. Thou hast made me wiser than mine Enemies; and 99. I have more un­derstanding than my teachers: There David disco­vers he had wisdom for his way, and how he arrived at such a height of wisdom, and directs us how to come by it.
  • 3. And as a Christian may come to say he will do such a required Duty, and arrive at the wisdom of doing it, so by grace he may come up to an answe­rable extensiveness of practice and performance, walking in all the ways of the Lord, as Zacharias and Elizabeth, Luke 1.6. David oft professes his both [Page 288]universality, as of his heart-purpose, so of his practice, as the 119. Psalm, and others, abundant­ly shew.

Yet first fixing our purpose in the strength of Christ, then following after the wisdom of our way, ma­king it a grand scope to attain the wisdom, the right and sure wisdom of our soul affairs, to be Artists in Religion; and then falling close to practise what we resolve and understand; this with Christs help will make our work, any work upon our hands to prove easie, Prov. 8.9. They are all plain to him that understands, easie the old Translation hath it: we have a saying in Divinity, Iter ad pietatem, est intra ipsam pietatem, the way to godliness is within godliness; that is, the way to learn it, is to act it, and the way to facilitate and make it easie, is by exercising our selves still in it, setting upon, and keeping up the practice of it: He that doth much in it fervently and frequently, will come to perform with increasing facility: Slack and listless doing, slight and negligent performing may come to loathing and leaving, end with the disadvantage of a far worse temper of heart-aversness than there was at the first.

Formality in Religion ends oft in falling first off from it, and then falling out with it; contrarily do­ing with care and fervency, encreaseth spiritual strength, and the encrease of strength makes the work more easie.

In using to do it earnestly, we arrive at a doing ea­sily: O therefore let every one be highly encouraged to hold up our constancy in this excellent Duty, to walk with an extensive and increasing evenness and equality, in this so pleasant high road to Heaven, [Page 289]both in daily Meditation; in that for the entrance, and that other for the ending of the day; in also the occasional solemn Meditation, that rare way of spiri­tual improvement in wisdom and heavenly warmth; and in that way of Meditation, by short and sudden ejaculations. This threefold cord will draw strongly Heaven-ward, will make thy soul go from strength to strength, from warmth to warmth, from pleasure to pleasure; make thee keep upon the wing, mount up aloft, and not be weary by the successive varieties, and the abundant sweetness flowing hereby into thy bosom; and to winde up this instigation in a word,

  • 1. Is my heart dead at any time and listless, how soon will Meditation quicken it, and reduce it into activity?
  • 2. Is it barren and unfruitful alone or in compa­ny, what rare rich matter can meditating bring in, and spread over the barren soil of my spirit, and make it soon put forth fruitfully?
  • 3. Is it chill and cold, without wonted warmth and vivacity, what fuel can it fetch to kindle a fire on this hearth, fuel from Heaven and Earth, from the Word and Works of God, and all sorts of objects whatever, spiritualizing them for my use, what sparks can it strike, what coals can it kindle and blow up into a flame to thaw my frozen heart?
  • 4. How high a preparative is Meditation to pray­er, to enrich it with choicest materials, to enliven it, and make it burning hot in holy fervency?
  • 5. How rare a dispositive to hearing the Word of Christ, to open the everlasting doors of the heart, to widen the heart for a letting in more freely of heavenly Truths, and increasing the good hearts treasure, to make us swift to hear, to hear with the [Page 290]largest and liveliest affections, readiest purpose, most raised and fixed resolutions, to receive and obey the Word in every thing, most abundant readiness to be moulded into the form of Doctrine that shall be delivered?
  • 6. What an efficacious helper is Meditation to spiritual digestion, and reducing divine Truths into sound and good nourishment, which miscarry in o­thers for want of due meditating?

And what a mighty assistant is it to holy Duties? what is there performed wisely and with vigour, unless directed and assisted by Meditation?

For to make the instigations more full, we may look back to the ends of Meditation, and the afterward grounds were given and enlarged upon, which be­ing many, will be too long to repeat.

Two things only remain to finish this Improve­ment.

  • 1. The Evidences and Characters of a right and due Meditation.
  • 2. The Directions and Rules for the best manag­ing of it.

CHAP. VIII. Of the Evidences of a due Meditation.

FOr the Evidences of a due and right Meditation, it must have the Nature, Properties, and Atten­dants of it; and therefore it is not to be taken up as a custom, as a thing made to stop the mouth of a calling and urging conscience, or a meer acting for Notions, a [Page 291]study and search of Curiosity, to know Novelty, or to know much, and be able to hold discourse with others.

But it must have a higher nature, purer ends, and be performed in another sort, then an only wise or a learned man, yea then any formal Christian can act or compass of himself.

And for the Characters of a right holy Medita­tion, there will be no need to fetch any other lights of discovery, but only to take up and hold those to this intendment, which were opened in the discove­ry of the nature of divine Meditation.

1. As making it our real and high obedience to God, the soveraign Lord of our souls, and to the gold­en Scepter of his Word in that express Law of his, laid upon the thinking power, and grounded upon the high and infinite obligations he hath on us, to impose this thought-tribute, and homage, a pure obedience to him, and doing his will herein.

He that meditates aright, hath been taught and learnt to obey God, to yield it to him as his due. I am under my God, saith the right Christian, and infi­nitely obliged to all which he commands me. This among others, is one of his righteous and holy Laws, one great signification of his Royal will; I must not, will not deny it, dispute it, or put it from me, but comply freely with it.

And this comes from that spring, that root which lyes at the bottom of the heart, that supereminent love to God (the holy hearts chief good) and the great ground of all right obedience.

Rom. 13.10. Love is the fulfilling of the Law, and so is it the fulfilling of this particular Law of ho­ly Meditation, love to God, so infinitely excellent in [Page 292]himself, and who hath so unspeakably loved the holy soul.

Therefore if it be the right and genuine obedience, it hath this high, this warm spring of love running in this channel, this of Meditation, an over-powering constraining love that breeds this thinking, this looking of the soul in Meditation.

O therefore try if this heavenly love hath first been planted in the soil of thy heart, if from a new heart circumcised to love the Lord above all; that thence thou comest to love Meditation, because thou lovest the Law-giver first, who writes his Law, and writes this particular Law in thy heart by love to it, by ma­king thee a lover of Meditation.

2. If Meditation be genuine and right, then is it from a choice of will, wrought up by the power of holy love subduing and mortifying carnal and for­merly predominant unwillingness and stubbornness, reluctancy and refusals of this work, and framing it to willingness, freeness, and fixedness of purpose to do it, and hold it, Psal. 119.48. I will meditate, saith the holy Psalmist; Meditation arose from resolution, from a will fixed, and that arose from love acted, and working the will to resolution. Therefore in the 97. verse of this Psalm, he speaks it to God himself, O how love I thy law! and what fruit doth this noble root of love put forth? it is my meditation all the day: Meditation of the Law proceeds from love to the Law.

Love lay at the bottom, and that engaged the will into a firm resolution to meditate. Never is the will freer, and its purpose firmer, then when love in­clines and engages it. The highest and strongest re­solutions that ever were taken up by any holy heart, [Page 293]were the rare products and sweet fruits of heavenly love, love efficaciously exciting the will, winding it up to the top, and then fixing it fast.

3. Where the work of Meditation is right, the aims and ends of it are pure, spiritual, and holy, it is carried beyond and above self; it is an acting with self-denying: self is neither the total, nor the predominant ingredient in this undertaking.

That which Christ calls for, of denying a mans self, Mark 8.34. in the extent of all Christianity, must particularly be performed in this duty.

Self-seeking must not be uppermost, not the main intent or inducement: For this is the Sphere an un­sound heart moves ever in.

The aim and end in the best natural man is never higher then self, and no other really then self, and that because he chiefly loves himself.

But a right work must be aimed and acted above all to the living God. Therefore Zec. 7.5. God tells them their fasting was not right, because they did it not to God; so is Meditation, or any other duty not right, if it be not to him, aimed above all at his Glory.

In this respect therefore, Religion is in Scripture called Godliness, because it is a frame of spirit acting above all self-ends and inferior respects, unto the li­ving God above all.

So Heb. 9.14. To serve the living God; works not done to the living God, are dead works; a li­ving work is aimed and level'd to the living God.

The end more particularly must be the glorifying God, 1 Cor. 10.31. Do all to the glory of God. If eating, drinking, and such inferior things, then much more holy duties must be done to Gods glory.

There must be an inward powerful principle that can aim so highly, really, and an acting of that principle that God is actually glorified.

It is not enough to say we do, as many erringly affirm, they aim their duties, when they never had first that right principle of Holiness wrought in their hearts. Without the principle of Holiness it is impossible to have holy aimings, holy ends. It's impossible without an eye to see to level at a mark.

Wheresoever there's a right doing, there's a potent elevating principle, that sets the spirit above the pre­dominancy of self-seeking, and acts it into a reality of God-exalting above all, that kindles and inflames the soul into an ardency of desire, love, delight of glorifying God in every undertaking.

This is unspeakably sweet, and heart-gladding; nothing pleases a holy heart more then when the heart below can run in some degree parallel with the hearts of Saints and Angels above, in hallowing and advancing the highest God, and his Name.

Try we therefore if our meditating be a real acting up to the grand scope and highest end, the exalting of God, if his honour be indeed the preponderating inducement and greatest soul-aim.

2. Happiness and our own Salvation was the next aim formerly mentioned, happiness propounded and declared in the Gospel, and no other. To this next subordinate end must all the golden lines of ho­ly duties tend, here they must center. Every right duty must be a real levelling at Gospel-happiness, that which God proffers, and Christ hath purchased.

If Meditation be right, it is a part of true wis­dom for our selves, Prov. 9.12. Wisdom to sal­vation, as really aimed at it, as any marksman aime at his mark,

God, next to himself and his glory, allows and requires to look and seek, labour and strive for eter­nal life and happiness; and all our duties, as they are subservient to his glory, so our own happiness is complicate and wrapt up in it, yet not above it, or equal with it, but next under it. Accordingly there­fore, in this duty, as in all others, our aim at happi­ness must not be a meer self-seeking, it must not termi­nate only in our selves; but our own happiness must be aimed at for glorifying God by it.

We must aim at happiness, and being in Heaven, thereby to be in a most perfect state, that we may at­tain the most perfect principle for the highest exalting of God.

Althugh in Heaven, seeing more, and tasting more, and having the vessels of body and soul filled up with glory and happiness, makes our state more glorious; yet the end of that seeing, tasting, and all enjoyings there, are to put us into a most perfect capacity, highest heart-readiness, and alacrity, upon the most over-powring incentives to lift up to the ut­most the glorious praises of God. This then is a very considerable particular, that besides glorifying God, the supreme end, aiming at our own salvati­tion, must be more then for our selves.

We use to speak of several spiritual ends relating to our own spiritual good, which we are allowed to set up, and seek, and strive after; yet all these must have this reduction, must all have this glory of God for their chief end.

The last end, as hath been said, gives the rules to all both subservient ways and ends.

Therefore in our examination, let us take in all the spiritual ends before spoken of, for heavenly light [Page 296]and larger knowledge, for a spirit of wisdom to be wiser to salvation, to be warmer at the heart, melt off all incumbrances, make up to Heaven better, to fix our resolutions firmer, strengthen our grand pur­pose of still walking with God, to stablish our course, and make straiter steps for our feet, and to press har­der to the mark. Are our spirits acted to these aims, and all those other, Meditation is so excellently and usefully appointed to?

2. Do we meditate in the right way of calling off our thoughts from impertinencies and diversions?

Do we set a strong guard upon our spirits, and watch them diligently?

Do we act Meditation in bending our minds to it, strive to act with all seriousness we can? Do we act searching and pondering, and keep up constancy of thoughts till we both bring our hearts to the heaven­ly temper, and the duty to the kindly issue it should have, and cannot be content with any thing, but that a God who sees our actings will approve of?

CHAP. IX. Of the Directions relating to Meditation. First, for such as would begin.

AFter some Characters given of a right Medita­tion, I shall next speak of Directions or Rules to be observed about it. The Rules must be suited to the several sorts of persons that will set upon this work, or proceed in it with success.

1. If it be a person who would enter upon this [Page 297]way, being sensible of the sin of hitherto neglecting it, and is now willing to be advised how to perform it.

Then consider, it is no undertaking it, or hope of doing it aright, and holding on with constancy, and to the spiritual advantages of it, unless there be an endeavour after a right principle, a living spring within to found and still feed a due performance of this spiritual work.

To undertake it without, thou wilt find it too high and hard, arrive at the best, at a formal doing, a slight and overly doing, and in the end grow weary of it, and cast it off, and so return to it no more.

Therefore thy great intendment, to which thou must bend thy self and whole soul (which should not, must not be given over, until it be effected) is to make sure of a new heart, this will bring in a new power, a new principle, introduce a bent and inclina­tion of spirit, a love unto it, a firm and abiding pur­pose, a rooted resolution for doing it against all diffi­culty and opposition. This will make the duty of Meditation easie, and also sweet; by the pleasure and advantages found in this heavenly way, thou wilt be encouraged to hold on, success will encourage thee, that will sweeten the way to thee, and help to sta­blish thee in it.

Though thou canst not change thy own heart, and make it new, lay in a new principle of Holiness; but it must be God who gives the new heart, Ezek. 36.26, 27. And works the will and the deed of his own good pleasure, Phil. 2.13. Yet as he calls thee to convert, and in order to thy converting, requires thee to consider, and bethink thyself; so is it thy ne­cessary and important duty to consider and ponder deeply and frequently those things, and in that [Page 298]manner & order which are most effectual to that end, & which God uses to set home. For by putting thy self into Gods prescribed way of seriously and frequent­ly considering, thou mayest meet with a help, with God helping at last, who helps them that seek him diligently, and give not over striving.

That relation is remarkable of the bad Son whom his father dying, calls to him, and gets him to make this promise, That every day he should for but one quarter of an hour meditate of some one thing or other, what he would. Accordingly he every day employs a quarter of an hour, or some time in seri­ous thinking: But this at last most happily issues in serious considering his sinful state, and a real convert­ing to God at last.

Thus often it hath come to pass, when persons have set themselves to consider, as God in Scripture ex­horts, it hath ended in a true returning; so the Pro­digal is described, Luke 15. So Ezek. 18.

If thou art very desirous more particularly to be here directed what to do to obtain the right princi­ple, and thence the right way of acting this duty and others in the holy and spiritual required man­ner.

I must not engage far in so large a point, yet if I exceed something, it will, I hope, get pardon. Only I shall mention some particulars more necessary for this so weighty a concern.

If really and in good earnest thou wilt engage, strive to purpose for obtaining a sure principle of per­forming this or any duty aright, a principle of Grace and Holiness, a new heart, and a new spirit.

1. You must go about it with the greatest serious­ness that ever thou canst, and endeavour the firmest [Page 299]and strongest purpose for prosecuting it, till thou hast attained it. But then thou must see thy utter inabi­lity without Gods lending a hand to help thee in so high an undertaking.

It is thou must endeavour, but God he must draw thee. Joh. 6.44. No man can come to me unless the Father draw him. Thou must strive for, but God must give repentance. 2 Tim. 2.25. If God will give repentance. Jer. 31.18. Turn thou me, and I shall be turned. Ezek. 36.26. A new heart will I give you. Yet God must see us, when he calls for return­ing, to endeavour, and strive, and wait for his gi­ving, who works the will and the deed of his own good pleasure.

2. Thou must resolve to sequester thy self at times, at fit seasons from all diversions, not suffering any thing then to interrupt thee: thou must sit alone as Lam. 3.28.

3. Do all thou possibly canst to be awakened out of thy deep security, so long and so dangerously rested in. Eph. 5. Awake thou that sleepest, and stand up from the dead, &c.

For this thou must gather all awakening considera­tions the Scrpitures furnish thee with, concerning the inconceivable misery every sinner is in.

But consider, things spoken in general in Scripture, and not brought and set home on thy self in particu­lar, will not work to an awakening. Neither will thy saying and acknowledging thy sinfulness and misery in general, serve; Generals humble not, Gene­rals hit not home.

A single Arrow or Bullet will not serve against a whole flock of fowls, but scattering shot must be used.

Take therefore all the warmest considerations thou canst, and heap them as coals of fire on thy own head, bring them home to thy own heart, to melt down thy frozen frame of sinful security.

Do all thou canst by the light of the Scripture, and beg, beg most earnestly the light of the Holy Spi­rit to convince thee of thy extreme misery. It is he, Joh. 16.9. That convinces of sin and misery.

Endeavour to thy utmost to rightly found this work by most industrious striving, to see the exceed­ing sinfulness of sin, Rom. 7. the abounding evil in it, Rom. 5. And do this by fullest possible pondering the great transcending evil of the lesser sins, or such as are comparatively small, and we count not great; see it in examples, as Ʋzzas dying by an immediate stroke for but touching once the Ark, 1 Chro. 13.10. The Bethshemites for an only looking but into the Ark; fifty thousand and seventy persons were slain by an hand from Heaven, 1 Sam. 6.19. Adam and all his posterity with him were undone by his eating of a fruit, because forbidden, which in the nature was no immortal thing, as idolatry, murder, &c. but sinful, by a peculiar precept of tryal broken. Yea, if Adam, when he was the representative of all, had sinned the least imaginable sin in one commission, sin'd in one sinful, one vain thought, it had been his own and all his succeeding posterities ruine, nay in the least omission. Though there be many sorts of sins, with sundry measures and aggravations, yet there's none so small, but is crimen laesae majestatis infinitae, is high Treason against an infinite Majesty.

This is a grand intent of God in the whole Bible, and in also his punitive Providences, to demonstrate Gods heart in his dislike and loathing all sin, that it [Page 301]might blot out our mistakes, and reduce us, stamp our judgments and hearts with a suitable impression, a sense of all sin, or whatsoever is but near to it.

Therefore among others, that's very remarkable, Num. 6.9, 10, 11. The Nazarite, not only by pur­posely touching a dead body, or coming to it, was un­clean: But if any dyed suddenly by him, he was to bring his sin-offering and burnt-offering to make a­tonement; which was to manifest by the Type the purity God requires, and his distaste of any the least likeness or nearness to any defilement of sin.

Dwell and dive deep as ever thou canst, into the abounding sinfulness of every the least sin.

Thence reason and ponder with thy self, what is thy unspeakable misery, that art guilty of a whole life­time sins, such an innumerable company of sins, in thoughts, affectings, purposings, speakings, doings; in acts, ways, habits, and all thy heart evil that hath ever dwelt in thee.

And if thou wilt overlook them, and not consider them, thou shalt be judged one day for them all. To methodize this grand Inquiry and Soul-search, and to have the kindly issue in a due awakening, strive to avoid all confusion of thoughts, and to do it di­stinctly, and in the best affecting manner thou canst.

Rules of Art are not here necessary to be used, but the way of thy best skill, by Gods assisting, thou canst take to set an edge, and give more efficacy to this undertaking; thou mayst single out first that sin or lust which dares and pinches thy spirit most; touch first where thou art tenderest and sorest; on that which items thee most, flashes fullest, like Lightning in thy face, makes thy heart oftenest ake.

It's the counsel of some great Divines, to pitch [Page 302]upon some gross sin first; seek ease first where thou art disquieted most, or that is likely to give the first blow. The Scriptures set sinners to consider their doings, especially their ways, which are continued do­ings. These should more humble than meer parti­cular acts; but both acts and ways should be view­ed, as they can be recalled and brought to mind, and then put all into the scale to make down weight, and contribute to fuller awaking.

But above all sinning any, or divers sins, into ways, and then walking these ways into wonts, those worst defilings and soul-enslavings of cursed habits; such as habits of sensualness and intemperance, habitual covetousness and worldliness, habitual pride and pre­sumption, self-exalting, self-seeking, habitual vani­ty of thinkings, and such like. These great chains thou art bound with and enslaved by, Tit. 3.3. Serving divers lusts: Lusts served are sins formed in­to habits.

These old rooted soul-diseases, these heart-gan­grenes should well be eyed, and much awaken thee.

O it's sad to find thy self going to Hell in a custom and by a habit, binding thee and haling thee thither.

To all, as highest aggravations, add the considera­tion of that sin of thy Nature, that emptiness and de­privation of all spiritual life, power, image of God and his glory, conjunction and communion with God and all happiness; with cursed inclinedness to all the sin in kinds and aggravations, that the whole World, Hell, and all, ever acted, or can act for ever.

And that blackest piece of Hell dropt into thy heart, the worst, very worst thing in Satans heart, that enmity and borrid repugnancy, crossness and [Page 303]contrariety to all the extensiveness and dimensions of whatsoever is good, is holy and righteous; yea that highest monstrosity and transcendency of impiety; en­mity to that God that gave at first, and ever keeps up thy being; and which is the height of that height, the utmost venom Hell could hatch, and heart can breed, that horrid enmity to the very Being of God himself. Before Grace, no guilty sinner but wishes God were not, and if he could, would dethrone and destroy God utterly. And above all yet intimated, take in the superabounding sins against the Gospel, ne­glectings and refusings of the only remedy and relief of an undone soul, which is the greatest possible soul-wronging: Prov. 8.36. wisdom affirms it, Sinning against me, saith Wisdom, he wrongs his own soul. All sin wrongs; but the meaning is more: he wrongs with the greatest possible wrong, the highest can be done, to refuse Christs Salvation. And which is yet far exceeding all self-wronging, there sin so touches the very apple of God eye, strikes so provo­kingly at his very heart, and dashes down his most darling design, the utmost and highest that he ever went, or will go; the highest exalting of the riches of infinite free Love and free Grace.

I have heard by a good Hand, that one of the Dukes of Muscovy, while he stood talking with a poor Pea­sant of the Country, pitcht a Spear he held in his hand, upon the poor mans naked foot, there digging with the point of the Spear into it, and the slave (for so they are generally) durst not complain.

O! Gospel-sins dig not into the foot, or hand, or eye of a God (if I may so speak) but into his heart, and the very top and crown of it. Every sin against the Gospel, kicks so at the very bowels of God, so [Page 304]dishonours him in that his tenderest, upper interest, as nothing can higher offend, and therefore not ex­pose to deeper danger.

For farther help, take the Book of Conscience, thy Souls Register, and God Remembrancer. Look o­ver all the black Items there on the File, that it will certainly one day produce, and set before thy face.

For yet surer assistance, take the perfect Rule and Glass of the Law and Word of Christ, therewith duely comparing thy life and frame of heart, that by the Laws coming, sin may the more abound.

O but the Law, not only discovers guilt, but de­nounces a most dreadful curse. Gal. 3.10. Cursed be every one that continues not in all things written in the Law, to do them. And as the Law, so the Gospel curses with a more dreadful curse for not obeying it, in true coming to Christ by Faith. O what a curse must this then be, to be accursed first for original corru­ption in all the hellish wickedness of it: And then to he cursed for all thy innumerable actual trangressions. Accursed for the first act of sinning. Accursed for the next act. And for every new sin to have a new sentence, be under a new curse. For every, every evil thought, every evil affection, purpose, word, work, every commission, every omission, every day, for all the sins of it, to be accursed, from the beginning to the end of it. Really by the curse, to be separated to evil, bound over to death eternal in Hell. How should this startle and awaken thee?

O but there's yet that is more dreadful, to be con­tinually for sin, under the hot displeasure and abiding wrath of a God. Psal. 7.11. God is angry with the wicked every day. Joh. 3.36. He that believeth not, the wrath of God abideth on him. This God, so [Page 305]angry for sin, how infinitely able is he to take re­venge, and how resolved is he, unless thou turn to him? O what is that death eternal, that Hell provi­ded to punish sinners!

How frail is thy life, by which thou art kept from falling into the Lake of fire and brimstone?

How certain is thy death, and how uncertain is thy dying time? It may come in a moment, and then thou art cast upon eternal ruine.

Consider, thy sins, after commission, grow not less, wear not out, are not less dangerous. Sin is the same for substance, though thy sense of them be less; we greatly deceive our selves herein, as if sin, the longer after commission, were less; but the guilt of sin is the same, the defilement the same, the curse against them is in the same force, the wrath, displeasure, and resolution of God to revenge them, full out the very same, and Gods remembrance of them is ever the same. Hos. 7.2. I remember all their wickedness; and how is that? They are before my face. If they are not before thy face, as God can set them, yet they are before his face, Psal. 50.21.51.9. that is, seen and remembred as a thing set full in a mans eye, and his eye full on them.

I have been too bold in thus enlarging. O 'tis hard to awake from the deep sleep of sin. But this must be endeavoured all thou canst, and God he is to be entreated to help and do this for thee. There must be an awakening by conviction really and undeniably, seeing and acknowledging thy most woful condi­tion.

Conviction in the understanding must end in contri­tion, and a working down to the affections: In a fourfold affection, answering a fourfold distemper. [Page 306]1. Upon Fear. 2. Sorrow. 3. Despair. 4. De­sire and care to be eased.

1. To tame presumptuous boldness and confidence in thy coming to fear, that for all thy sin and danger feared not. As it is said in that particular case, Jer. 36.24. Though so great sinners, and so severe­ly threatned, yet were they not afraid, but burnt the Roll. To say we have sinned is not enough, there must be real pungent fear, Acts 2.37. pricked at the heart on sight of the sin of killing Christ, a real and deep fear, to a wounding, piercing the heart and thick skin of security, hindering the feeling of a woful state, coming to be as really sensible as thou dost in assured and great danger, Act. 16.29. the Jaylor came trembling. God by his Spirit, the spirit of bondage, works this fear, Rom. 8.15.

2. There must be a dashing the usually carnal jol­lity and mirth. Jam. 4.9. Let your laughter be turned into mourning, and joy into heaviness: this all the Scripture calls for. A man condemned to dye a cruel death, if perswaded he must dye, will not laugh and be merry, but mourn.

That mirth used at other times, is not to be used now.

3. To dash the deceiving, usual, carnal hopes which are the house built upon the sand. Hopes of salva­tion on no true bottom, but fond phansie, meer ima­gination. There must be despair as to all worthiness and ability in a mans self, or any creature, or in God and Christ hoped, as many do, in a false way, Deut. 29. Psal. 50. Acts 2.37. What shall we do! im­plies, as I take it, (beside other things) despair of what formerly they hoped and trusted on.

4. To curb and cure carelesness and a not desiring [Page 307]any other condition than their present: or an only cold, as it is in many, and a fluctuating desire; there must an edge be set upon desire, an earnest great de­sire to be eased of the trouble and burden of sin and Gods wrath, Acts 16.29. What shall I do? and Acts 2.37. What shall we do? implies an earnest desire to be eased. And accordingly there must be an applying thy self to all the ways thou knowest, and going to others that can advise thee. Praying especi­ally oft, and as earnestly as thou canst. Confessing and bewailing greatly thy present condition. Upon be­ing truly awakened, and thence made really sensible of thy so woful state, weary and heavy laden. After the first dispositive Meditation, and the impressions made on thy heart through the Lords help, then a second Meditation must next be mightily intended, and diligently followed, Meditation on the means and manner of using them, for getting out of thy so sad estate, and coming to a safe and happy. As he, Acts 16. What shall I do to be saved?

Here must be laid at the bottom of this work that so necessary consideration, That none can help himself, and attain the mercy of a God in a meritorious Sa­viour, unless God the Father by his Holy Spirit, the mighty Applyer of Christs Redemption, draw effica­ciously the weary sinner to the soul-easing Saviour, works faith to come, and rests on an all-sufficient Christ.

The first step in this great soul-concern, must be labouring to divert the eye from a total or too much viewing of sin and Gods wrath, and earnestly en­deavour to be duely deeply possest of the infinite mercy, love, riches of free favour in Christ, in whom he is placable, and infinitely willing to shew mercy.

1. Willing, in that he hath, in his abounding wisdom and prudence, contrived the way of Recon­ciliation in Christ, Eph. 1.

2. Willing in infinite love and riches of grace, he appointed his own only Son, anointed him with all fulness of grace, sending him, and causing him to work and procure Redemption perfectly in all re­spects, and then in making the most free, imaginable, and possible proffer and tender of Salvation in Christ.

A discovery and tender in the exceeding great and precious promises, promises that are as so many strong yernings and loud soundings of the bowels of a God to sinners; promises most firmly fixt, as being all the ingrost particulars, and the golden clauses of the Covenant of Grace, signed and sealed with the most precious blood of Christ, and therefore ordered, and in all things most sure.

The Promises and Covenant, are by most highly demonstrating (that hardly to be believed and trust­ed to, by once awakened sinners) that free rich love of God in Christ. by demonstration of it, the intend­ment is sirst, to found and breed faith in weary heavy laden sinners, and after to build it up and perfect it.

Meditation should first fix upon the promises of free justification and pardon of sin; and as humbling arises not from a confused general apprehension of fin, or many sins, but distinct particular viewings of particular evils: so comfortings and coming to re­lief, must be by singling out and pondering the pro­mises of mercy in particular. As a drowning man that scapes by a taking hold on a particular thing, hand, or cord.

But the thing, the greatest and highest for breed­ing [Page 309]and founding justifying faith, is first pondering the infinitely all-amazing and adored free love of God the Father, Joh. 3.10. 1 Joh. 3.1.

  • 1. This is that so rich Mine, out of which the most precious Corner-stone Christ himself was taken.
  • 2. For principally glorifving this riches of free grace, the Earth for a Stage was set up to begin the discovery and revelation of it.
  • 3. The great Assize of the great day of Judgment is chiefly appointed for higher manifestation of it.
  • 4. And the highest Heaven, with the state of Glory there, is purposely founded and conferred on the Saints, for the highest demonstration chiefly of free sa­ving grace; not Angels glorification, but redeemed Saints glorifying, is for free saving graces greatest glo­rifying, and highest exalting.

Dwell here, till largest apprehensions and highest admirations swallow up and drown all thy fears, doubts, and discouragements, raising thy spirit up to hope, trust, and consolation.

But this so infinitely free love of the Father, must be connected with most wishly viewing and most ear­nest pondering the highest proof and evidence of it, in that greatest possible gift, Gods own Son, God in our Nature. Joh. 3.16. God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that, &c. Here after all thy black and sad thoughts and disquiets, is the rich­est, strongest, and surest Cordial for a fainting heart. A Christ in whom all fulness of wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption dwell; That out of his own infinite love, became man, was in the form of a servant, performed the whole Law, pacified the wrath of God, purchased perfect and eternal life, by laying down his life a ransom. 1. A Christ freely offered by [Page 310]God the Father, Isa. 55. Come and buy without mo­ney. 2. Freely offering himself, Joh. 7.37. If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink. 3. Freely offered, and to be taken as the Bride and the Spirit say, Come and drink of the water of life freely, Rev. 22.17. This free grace must be applied by the pro­mises of grace and pardon more especially and first. Christ is not offered by God the Father, and the Lord Christ offers not himself, nor the Holy Spirit offers not, neither draws to Christ, but on the ground of the pro­mise of forgiveness and salvation. Nor can it be ta­ken by man, as a learned Divine expresses it, but me­diante promissione.

The promises particularly must be pondered duely, often and often.

Ponder 1. The goodness of them, they are good, sweet indeed to a needy thirsty spirit.

Ponder 2. The sureness and firmness, by a God that cannot lye, Tit. 1. All yea and Amen in Christ, 2 Cor. 1.

Pvnder 3. The freeness of them. Nothing so free as they that come only from a God, only for his own Name sake.

Ponder 4. The seal of them, in the rare and a­bundant examples recorded for encouragement of sinners of all sorts, received to mercy. So 1 Tim. 1.16. I, saith the Apostle, was received for a pattern to them that hereafter should believe to eternal life.

The promises must be pondered, prayed often over, as those which are for the wounded, weary, and hea­vy laden, to breed faith; not only to feed it, but found, and feed it also; to begin, and to build it up. Never leave pondering the promises, Gods love, and Christs fulness offered in them, until pondering comes [Page 311]to hope, hope to thirsting, thirsting to highest prizing, prizing to selling all, and buying the Pearl, till thou comest to renouncing thy own righteousness, thou casts thy self upon God in Christ, by the promise first rested on, promise leading to Christ first, and to God by Christ; and not only Christ for justification as thy Priest that purges guilt, and makes atone­ment, but as thy Prophet and King for light and ho­liness, for a new heart, a new principle, a new wisdom and power, a quickning power, from Union and Communion with Christ, Rom. 6. by the inhabita­tion and operation of his Spirit; by faith, that hand that receives all from Christ; when by faith thou art justified and sanctified, and receivest by influence from Christ a living principle. Now thy heart is put upon the right hinge, for rightly performing holy duties, praying, reading, hearing the Word: And now thou canst meditate aright, in a holy and happy manner, with wisdom and some skill, choice of will, complacency, and constancy. And now Meditation will prosper in thy hand. Now as Davids blessed man, thy delight will be in the Law of God, and in that Law thou wilt meditate day and night. I have been longer herein by much, then was my intend­ment; come we to the next Directions.

CHAP. X. Of Directions for Meditation, respecting such as are young Christians newly converted.

OUr next Work, after Directions to those that de­sire to successfully practise holy Meditation, having formerly neglected it, is to treat of the Di­rections for young Christians, who are but entered up­on their way, how best to order their right princi­ple received, to their best advantage in this way of Meditation.

1. Here, as the Rule of learned Physicians is, in curing of diseases, that universals are first to be in­tended: So first your Rule is (to enter and engage your selves into that great Road, and most ordinary work incumbent, of daily Meditation) herein to contend and strive after an habitual holy frame, to habit thy self as thou art able, to the right daily Me­ditation.

1. Habit and accustom thy self to the mornings Meditation, in awaking so still with God, in serious thinkings of, and admirings his goodness and mercy in the night past.

Begin to accustom thy self to first looking up to God, and that most seriously and earnestly, that so near as may be, God ever may be the first in thy thoughts. Psal. 139. When I awake, I am ever with thee. And Psal. 5.1. & 3. Give ear unto my meditation— In the morning, O Lord, will I direct or set in order, as the word properly signifies, and look up. He awaked into Meditation, and acted that Meditation, in lifting up his heart in praying. To [Page 313] improve holy thoughts and holy desires, Gods being ever the first in our thoughts on awaking, is certainly more his due and proper right, than any other things in the world.

It is also the very best thought-bestowing, the best laying out our precious thoughts for our own profit; best as to the help and furtherance of grace; best for fresh incomes of sweet peace.

When first we act Heaven-ward, we act freest and freshest, when the spirit acts upward, before lusts and corruptions are stirring, before Satan begins to in­terpose, and before the world comes in to us, to hang on its weights upon our hearts.

It is far more acceptable to the Majesty of the high God, to have the first visit and homage; likewise more beneficial to our selves, to get the start of other things, to give our hearts first a heavenly seasoning.

The vessel will be the sweeter, and retain an after better savouriness for the coming day, when this is well and seriously done. Visit God early, and he will visit us early. This awaking will occasion the Holy Spirits awaking and blowing on the garden of thy heart for the spices to flow.

2. Come then to that Meditation relating to the duties of the succeeding day, this then must be well attended for making a good entrance into this new course of Meditation.

1. Here to strive after the true wisdom of this way, to be an Artist in some measure, a wife Meditater. At the first we cannot be too wise, nor understand too well a way new begun. Nor never can we here be so wise for doing any part of our spiritual work, but we may learn more.

2. To have a due temper of warmth, fervour, and [Page 314]vivacity, this must be minded, Rom. 12.11. Fervent in spirit. To begin a course dully, act easily, and not earnestly, this wrongs thee much, it hinders the otherwise obtainable faeility of doing, with that rare sweetness attending a holy seriousness, and the rich improvement of the main stock, that stock of grace given for increasing. A habit comes not up by re­miss actings, but by earnest actings. Cold water cannot be made boiling hot, and kept so, by adding luke-warm water, but water very hot. Easie actings will disintend and abate the habit, where attained; and hinder the attaining, where aimed at. Easie en­deavours will setle in a spiritual laziness, set up at a formality; but equal and earnest, will itroduce a strong habit and high.

Get the habitual fervency by daily actings of heat, and being fervent in every doing. So when the Apostle urges fervency of spirit, he means a ferven­cy in all serving the Lord at all times.

3. As you must do this in reference to daily Me­ditation in the general way of it, so habit and accu­stom thy self to meditating of thy chief and supreme end.

To a due and earnest meditating of God, and glo­rifying him; for this gives the Laws and Rules to all thy course. If the question were, What is the best thought arising any time in any heart, it is that which is of God, the glorifying of him.

The purest highest thoughts of a God exalting him, must needs excel all other thoughts, more than the Sun excels all candles or least lights whatsoever.

Use thy thoughts with David and other holy men of God, to bear strongly, and act ardently upon this. This lays the foundation daily deeper of thy self-deny­ing, [Page 315]Mark 8.34. that so hard and tough work.

Self would not rise up and float so high in any good heart, if glorifying the infinitely better God were more meditated daily upon, and had its more due and down weight in the scales of the Christians thoughts, had more serious musing upon.

4. Habit thy self, gain upon thy self as to serious daily Meditation on the next end and scope, thy own eternal happiness and salvation.

Let not this so momentous concern want its weight in thy daily meditating; let it have still some at least serious pondering: and this not only at thy first entrance upon this way of daily meditating, then when thy fears and feelings of wrath remain fresh in memory. But here is the Art and frame to be endeavoured, to grow up in more habitual seri­ousness of musing on this great salvation.

This was the blessed Apostles way; he not only at first when Christ humbled him, began it, to meditate how to be saved, but eyed it daily, accustomed him­self into serious, more serious minding it, Phil. 3.13. I forget things behind, and press to the mark. He kept his constant aiming, and aimed better, still more ful­ly, and therefore the act being stronger, the habit must be more intended.

The habit of meditating here, should not sink and be in a consumption, decline, and grow weaker, or but keep up alive; but it should root deeper, put forth stronger, shoot up higher to the mark. Salva­tion should have quicker and more lively impressions on us, like the natural motion, though slack at first, yet quick at last.

That's more natural and genuine which grows still stronger, like rich wine more strong and spirit by keeping close.

5. Contend to habiting thy self to ponder those particular means making up to the grand ends of glorifying God, and thy happiness in enjoyment of him for ever. Namely,

1. Accustom thy self to as high and transporting thoughts of Jesus Christ, his fulness of grace freely offered, and thy daily putting him on more, and growing up in him. And this by Meditation of the precious Promises and the Faith, whereby thou must through them, receive from Christ, and live by it.

2. So accustom thy self daily to Meditation of the Holy Spirits dwelling and operating in every good heart, without whose assistance thou canst not perform any good; therefore must not be neglected, grieved, quenched, resisted, but prayed for and cherish­ed, earnestly expected, and highly entertained.

3. Accustom thy self to some seriousness of thoughts of the Ordinances of Christ, the ways of our Communion with God (we have no other means for it) and the walks wherein the Spirit comes.

4. Use to cast a wishly eye on all such conducing things, formerly mentioned, as thou canst have op­portunity.

5. Look to well enter into, and fix upon the Medi­tation, daily examination, of review, looking over mat­ters of the day, and if hindered at any time, help it by after-industry. I say the Meditation of Review in the close of the day, to see, and judge thy self as to thy hearts frame, and thy carriage in the time of the day.

This at the first is like the working with an Awk­hand; this must not be slubbered over, slightly done. But being harsh and unpleasant work at first, thou must so manage it in care and constancy, that thou [Page 317]mayst gain a hand at it, it may become easie and pleasant. Suarez a Jesuit says of himself, that his times of self-reflection, and examining his conscience for matters of the day, were the sweetest part of all the day.

Thy Rule must be to perform this work, so as it proves easier and sweeter, and thereby thou impro­vest in it.

The more impartial and sincere you are in it, the sweeter you will find it. The more accurate and ex­quisite your inquiries and heart-searchings are, and the more impartial towards your self, the sweeter peace, the higher boldness and confidence will thy heart be filled with. For this brings in the clearer evidence of thy sincerity, thy impartiality.

Nothing perfumes the spirit of a Christian with sweeter peace and more heavenly joy, than a clear discovery of the hearts uprightness and integrity, which by searching our hearts, and impartially judging them, we attain. As Psal. 26.1, 2. David prays, Judge me, O Lord, for I have walkt in mine integrity. And Psal. 139.23. Search me, and see if any way of wickedness be in me. This came from his own first impartial searching, and finding his sincerity. Ʋsual and diligent self-searching brings in, and keeps up a setled peace and confidence, by a mans being daily more assured of sincerity and heart-uprightness.

Be careful therefore and diligent in this self-searching.

CHAP. XI. Of the Directions for particular Cases of young Christians, how they should do therein.

BEsides these more general things, last mention­ed, I must next come to the Rules of Medita­tion, as to thy particular case and condition.

Here, that thy Meditation must pitch upon, will be either,

  • 1. The Case of thy assurance, either wanting, and not yet attained, or else weak and feeble.
  • 2. It must be something relating to sanctification, thy weak grace, and many imperfections here, the purging of thy heart from divers evils, subduing of new rising and stirring corruptions; some particu­lar sin that haunts and troubles thee; some tempta­tion which follows thee; some cross or affliction lying heavy upon thee: or any other particulars wherein thou art concerned, here to meditate how to have help the best and speediest.

1. That is a principal point of wisdom, to study and ponder the case of thy peace and assurance of Gods love and favour, if not yet obtained; or but enjoyed in a small measure, accompanied with di­vers doubts and fears; to meditate how best thou mayst come to assurance, and be strong and stablisht in it.

How to have thy good condition made out to thee, and thy fears, discouragements, and doubts may seatter and be driven away.

Here thou must be willing to take pains, and re­solve [Page 319]to exercise very humble patient waiting, Psal. 27.14. Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, he shall strengthen thy heart; wait, I say, on the Lord. Psal. 130.4. There is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayst be feared. 5. I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait. 6. My soul waits more than they that watch for the morning. I say humble patient waiting, until by fre­quent ponderings and searchings, thou art replenisht with such a furniture and treasury of Scripture­grounds, Gospel-reasons, and inducements; and these so full and clear, as thy heart now changed by the gracious help of the Holy Ghost, who assures by the Gospel-promises, arrives at the skill and wisdom, as to be able to answer thy own cavilling doubting spirit; and to repel the false reasons that Satan uses to hinder thy peace and assurance. Assurance is chiefly bottomed on our sanctification assured. So Divines say, assurance of Election, Justification, Per­severance, and Glorisication, cannot be without assu­rance of Sanctification, this being the ground of our assurance in the other four.

In particular thou must labour to draw forth out of the sure Word of Christ, the infallible Characters & clear descriptions and evidences of the new creature, and of sincerity of grace; then meditate and ponder so duely upon these sure evidences and right Scri­pture-descriptions given of the new Creature and sincerity of grace, as to come to as clear and distinct an understanding of what is held forth to thee as thou canst. I pass divers things might be mention­ed, and shall touch on the following.

1. As that change and renewing of the mind and judgment, which in respect of sin, is to have it out of measure sinful, Rom. 7.13. The greatest evil in [Page 320]all the world, as that only contrariety and emnity to the greatest good, namely the infinitely blessed God, his insinite holiness and purity, and all his so infi­nitely glorious Attributes; yea his very Being, with his Soveraignty and Government; all his most ho­ly, righteous, and good Laws, and Word, the signifi­cation and demonstration of his Soveraignty over us, and of his will concerning us. Hereby likewise manifesting the extreme injuriousness and unrighte­ousness in sin, in regard of God, whom upon infi­nite and indispensible obligations we are engaged perfectly to obey.

And as the abounding sinfulness of sin must be seen, so as the judgment disallows all known sin, the very least; so there must be an universal liking, and an allowance of all good, of all known Truths, and all known Duties; Truths as revealed by God, and to be believed by us; and Duties commanded by God, and to be performed by us.

2. In seeing the fulness, 1 Pet. 2.7. of beauty and excellency, with the mightiness of Christ to save in all respects, all that come to God by him by faith, with the vanity of all earthly things to make us hap­py, and the excellency of Grace, Holiness, Faith, Love, and the other required heavenly graces and soul-abilities and beauties above all other endow­ments. This is the first part, the first right change of the mind and judgment, 1 Cor. 2. Whereas the natural man knows not the things of God, nor can he, because they are spiritually discerned.

2. The next part of the new Creature, is that change and new heavenly frame of that noble facul­ty the will, Rom. 7.18. To will is present. Oft in the Psalms David mentions his will, his choice, his [Page 321]curpose, his firm and rooted resolution, Psal. 119.8. I will keep thy statutes. Vers. 30. I have chosen the way of truth. Vers. 106. I have sworn, and will per­form to keep thy righteous judgments. Isa. 56.4. That abuse the things which please, Gods own description of a gracious frame of spirit, by a gracious choice. Contrary, a sinful unconverted heart is described by thusing things that are sinful and provoking. I say the change of the will is a high evidence of sincerity, a chusing of God for our God, chusing of Christ, his offered grace, above all him to our Righteousness and Justification, our Wisdom, our Sanctification; so coming to, taking of, trusting on him, is an act of the will, in chusing him, a chusing the holy ways of God universally, Psal. 119. Respect to all thy com­mandments. This not so much in knowing, as pur­pose of heart for keeping all.

To add but one thing more. The new Creature is principally seen in a new will, and a new will in a new aim, altering utterly that old, sinful, carnal aim, of carnal self, and satisfying of it, sinfully aiming at only or chiefly self, and satisfying self in worldly and carnal things. This Idol Self, the grand aim is ta­ken down, is no more the souls Master-mark, that gave all the Laws, made every thing serve to it, and end in it; eyeing of self chiefly, aiming at, seeking and striving most for self, is changed; and there's a new Master-aim, a new mark to which it designs, and principally drives at, God and his glory, serving and pleasing him. This evidently appears in the Saints in Scripture. They exalt God, called such as seek God, serve God, live to God, to Christ, Psal. 22.26. Psal. 24.6. This the generation of them that seek him, and deny themselves: Rom. 6.11. Alive [Page 322]unto God, 2 Cor. 5.15. Live not to themselves, but to him that dyed for them.

  • 1. Universal allowance of all known good in the mind.
  • 2. Universal abhorrence of all known evil; chusing all good, and an universal purpose of will, to please God in all things, are the things the sincerity of them stands of those two noble faculties renewed.
  • 3. A real change of the corrupt, carnal, and dis­orderly movings of the affections, to a making them holy and heavenly, to setting them on the things above, and taking them off really the things below, from their usual sway, rule, violent running to car­nal and earthly things, and from their customary and predominant deadness, flatness, and remissness to and in spiritual and heavenly things.

A change really upon the great and leading affe­ction, love the great weight that carries all; Amor meus est pondus meum, as the devout Ancient said. My souls love is my souls weight, the strong biass that still leads it. Hence arise the other holy affecti­ons, they are acted from love, desire, delight, sorrow, fear, hatred of all known evil, Psal. 97.10. Ye that love the Lord, hate evil, Psal. 119.104. I hate every false way. A Character it is of a wicked man, he abhors not evil, Psal. 36.4. But a holy heart when it comes even new out of the furnace, is new cast, new made, it's stampt with predominant love to God and his ways, and with new self-loathing and sin-abhor­ring, Ezek. 36.26. A new heart will I give you. Vers. 36. Then shall ye remember your evil ways, and shall loath your selves in your own sight for your ini­quities and for your abominations. I shall add no more particulars. The truth and sincerity of this [Page 323]whole work wrought first in thee really, and then known, must be the ground for evidencing of thy assurance, which must be done by comparing the pattern of the new Creature, described in the infalli­ble Word of Christ, and the copy of it drawn in thy heart.

Such serious searching and due meditating with praying and other ordinances, must be on thy part; thou must, 2 Pet. 1.10. Give all diligence to make thy calling and election sure. But withal there must be a due consideration, and praying for the evidenc­ing and sealing Spirit of Christ the Comforter, and diligent still attending upon those ways and means of grace the Holy Spirit uses to come and seal and comfort in.

I know other things might be mentioned, especially in a purposely handling this Doctrine of Assurance. The manner of Gods working in such as are effectu­ally drawn to Christ, differs in circumstances, and in the sensible perceivings of it, accordingly as God pleases to work: and assurance, as the Spirit pleases, is given in a different way.

But trying by this change upon the heart in a re­newing the mind, subduing, and turning that great wheel of the soul, the refractory and stubborn will, changing the main aim from self and the creature to God in Christ. Really plucking up the affections root­ed in the earth, and finding them set upon things above; an evident change and turning the grand affection of love out of its old channel, and a placing it upon God, his Word, ways, and people, the Saints above all other things: when these things freely gi­ven thee of God, and by the Spirit of God received, are made known to be in thee, 1 Cor. 2.12. this is a [Page 224]right assurance. O pray, pray for this sealing and assuring Spirit, this will help thee against the fears, doubts, deceits of thy own heart, and Satans me­thods, and clear up thy good condition to thee.

This assurance attained, the next Meditation must be of the best ways of keeping and preserving it, which must be endeavoured; yea, of thy growing up to the riches and fulness of assurance, to a Pleropho­ry, as it is called. The preserving of assurance, and growing up in it, 2 Pet. 1.10. must be by care and di­ligence used about it, and used for exacter walking in all Christs ways. Endeavours of mortifying thy corruptions, combating with Satan and the world, and getting victory, Rev. 2.17. To him that over­cometh, I will give him a white stone with a new name. The white stone is thy Justification, the new name is Adoption of Sons, both assured upon victory ob­tained.

There must be a tender care of obedience to and compliance with the Holy Spirit, and of not grieving of it. Eph. 4.30. Grieve not the holy Spirit of God whereby ye are sealed to the day of redemption. If thou wouldst have the Holy Spirit a sealing Spirit, thou must not be a Griever of that Spirit, by any or­dinary neglectings and ilightings of it, or by contrary walkings to it; wilful and presumptuous evils espe­cially provoke and grieve, and will hinder assu­rance. Psal. 85.8. God will speak peace to his Saints, but let them not turn again to folly.

This in David, Psal. 51.8. Make me to hear joy and gladness, that the bones thou hast broken may re­joyce. Some Saints by their falls have felt it long, it may be ever after, as great bruises in the body. Others upon care and fruitfulness, have kept their [Page 325]peace and assurance long, it may be to the last.

CHAP. XII. Of the next Meditation, namely, how weak and imperfect thy Grace is.

THis is a Meditation very necessary for making thee very humble, greatly fearful and careful, and highly to provoke thee to contend to a growth and strength of grace, to be rooted and stablisht daily more.

When a soul comes to look and search into him­self, sees what little grace he hath, what abundance of corruptions, and in what power they shew them­selves. When he finds how he is assaulted by Satan, and ensnared by the world, and things of it, he sees how necessary it is to consider what in this case he is to do. This therefore after assurance in some de­gree obtained, and how to keep and increase it, may well be the matter of Meditation.

Meditate then of thy grace received, the weakness and imperfection of it, and how to help and streng­then it, especially thy Faith, that great fundamental Grace, that serves as the eye to see Christ, the foot to come to him, and hand to take him, lean upon, and to take and receive from him.

In the case of weakness of grace, thy Meditation must be upon that purposely conferred fulness, Cor. 1.19. that fountain-fulness, which is in Christ [...] whom by faith thou art united, engraffed into [...] to partake of the sweetness of this Vine, Joh. [...] of the fatness of this Olive, 1 Cor. 1. [...]. [...] [Page 326] made to us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification. 1. Me­ritoriously, so he hath purchased these. 2. Effica­ciously, he imparts and communicates these. Joh. 15.5. Without me ye can do nothing, without first a real ingraffing into Christ, Joh. 15.4. without a vital influence from him, and without a new continual act­ing trust, and recumbency on him. But Phil. 4.13. I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me. Consider thou must, that he will help thee: If Christ did first help thee, when thou wert a stranger and ene­my to him, now much more will he help thee, being reconciled: If when thou hadst no union, wert no member of his, he made thee a member; much more being a member will he supply life, strength, and growth to make thee a perfect member: he must make his body in all the members perfect at last. They must grow therefore, that he may be a head perfected, in all his members perfection.

The way Christ will teach thee, seeking to him. The work Christ will work for thee, trusting in him.

2. Then as thy Meditation must be of Christ the Well of living waters, and his fulness, so (because the Well, though a living Spring, yet it is deep) how to come at it, how to draw. The next Meditation therefore must be of our means vouchsafed us to draw, and of particularly that, by which all the Saints, in all Ages, have drawn out of this Well of Salvation, and received grace for grace.

Therefore this Meditation must be of that precious powerful Faith, whereby Christ is received; initial­ly, by our first union and communion with him; and received also gradually daily, and for our build­ing up to perfection in him, Meditation must be, as of Faith, to fetch supply from Christ.

3. So of the way Faith hath to act, namely, by the precious Promises of Sanctification, in which Christ assures thee, he will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoaking flax, Matth. 12.20.

That the Kingdom of Heaven at first is as a grain of mustard-seed, but it becomes as a great tree, Matth. 13.31, 32. That the good work in any heart God will finish to the day of Christ, Phil. 1.6.

Thou must repair to the rich Treasury of the Gos­pel, gather up the Pearls of Promises scattered all over it, string them up in Meditation, and ponder their infallible Truth, abundant Goodness, and most tran­scendent Freeness.

4. Next thou must meditate duely of the way for the full Breasts of the Promises, to give down into thy longing spirit, their sweetness and help. This is by Christs appointed Ordinances, praying, and the rest, wherein thy Faith must act upon the Promises, and by them upon Jesus Christ; and so, though that Well be deep, Faith is thy Bucket, the Promises the Chain, the Ordinances the Hands to let it down, and draw it up, filled with living water for thy thirsty soul to drink.

CHAP. XIII. Of Meditation of Corruptions stirring, and oft prevailing.

THis Meditation must proceed upon the Pro­mises of sin-subduing and mortifying. Mich. 7.19. He will subdue our iniquities. Rom. 6.14. Sin shall not have dominion over you; for ye are not under the law, but under grace. A man under the Law, it gives no strength against sin, Rom. 3.20. It discovers sin, and irritates sin, Rom. 7.8, 9. but gives no strength to subdue it. But being under Gospel-grace, that gives power to mortifie sin. Those that are Christs, have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, Gal. 5.24. They are dead to sin, Rom. 6.2. by Christ, purchasing the total mortification, and dead by an Initial and begun sanctification, that from being implanted into Christs death, and his sin-killing grace, sin receives its deaths wound, and shall bleed to death upon it. But this by apply­ing frequently the promises of mortification, exer­cising Faith by them, exciting Faith to rest on them. Let us therefore, as for other cases, so for this, gather up variety of promises of sin-subduing.

Let thy eye in Meditation go from promise to promise. First, set one promise before thee, and dwell upon that, look to Christ in that, and thence draw help from him, resting on him, for making it good to thy souls case, and then go to, and dwell upon another, ponder that, and rest again upon Christ in that promise, and so successively upon others.

Thou hast great varieties of Promises, that thy eye in Meditation might be more delighted in walk­ing in this Garden of Christ, among these pleasant sweet flowers; and that Faith might by the variety feed more to the full upon them.

In the case of a particular corruption, sometimes, yea, it may be often too hard for thee. Thy now Meditation must pass in a more particular manner.

In great pondering of the sinfulness of this sin, as the Scripture in the divers passages of it, sets it forth, in the kind and nature, in the degrees, aggravations, and abounding sinfulness of it.

1. In the terrible threatnings denounced against it, which discover Gods not dealing tenderly, and handling it as it were gently. What David said of Ab­salom in his rebellion, & warring against him openly, Deal for my sake gently with the young man Absalom, 2 Sam. 18.5. that we are ready to do, with apply­ing the Threatnings to our corruptions, loth to ap­ply him too hot, and too home, and let these Corro­sives continue their time, because of their smart and pain: But we should both get store of threatnings, give them all the edge we can, apply them close, and let them stick fast, and stay their just time, to issue in due fear and awakning, and make thee more willing to forego thy sin.

The Threatnings of the Law, and Word of Christ are of great necessity, and use for godly spirits, so God and the Saints in Scripture used them for humblings, awaknings, and reformings.

2. This sins sinfulness in Examples. In the Ex­amples of severity, recorded both of wicked and godly persons, Gods severity to them, yea Examples of sometimes high and amazing severities against [Page 330]sins lookt on as low and little in their nature, God cannot over-punish any the least sin here. The high­est severity is lower, and far beneath the Hell due for the least sin. O let Meditation apply all the Engines, discharge all the great and small shot, give it all the broad-sides, and Thunders of Threatnings of wrath, death, and Hell, spit flames of fire in the face of this sin; get all the strongest Arguments, highest Incentives, with all possible means and ways to help in this case.

When a Ship hath sprung a Leak; when the Sea hath made a remarkable breach, men presently run, study, and apply all possible ways of stopping it.

When thy soul hath sprung a leak, that will cer­tainly sink thee, without due help, in time used.

When the Sea of sin hath made a dangerous breach, speedily use all effectual means to heal it. Faithful Physicians, when a Patient is endangered by that dis­ease which is a case of great difficulty, how do they study and strive, with utmost Art and industry, to cure it? When it is a great Soul-case, of most dan­gerous distemper; when a Tendency to great mis­chief; when a high Disadvantage to peace, comfort, strenght, growth, fruitfulness, there should be both hastening and heightning, utmost intending of thoughts, care, industry in all possible ways. Do it to save heart-smart and hazard. Do it to save God a labour of using sharper means, sad, soaking, long, and abiding trouble to make thee consider, make thee willing to part with that member, that right foot, or hand or eye, whatever it be. Ah! but above all, take that highest inducement, and strive to be the great­est, most industrious and exquisite Artist, in selecting sweetest, strongest, and most efficacious Gospel-argu­ments [Page 331]for aggravating thy sin, and loosning thy heart, unsoddering it from that sin that cleaves so fast.

And let the Master-piece of all be the deep and great ponderings of the so astonishing and amazing coming, and humblings of the Lord Christ, all his abasings, the deepest that ever were; all of especi­ally his sufferings, his agony, apprehension, and by betraying, his arraignment, condemnation, derision, buffeting, spittings on, scourging, and crucifying, with the weight of the wrath of God, and his with­drawing for a time, and then giving up the ghost. All these unparallel'd Sufferings from most inconcei­vable love. Lay this great abasing home to greatly humble thee; This soul exceeding heaviness, to work thee to suitable sorrow; this Blood so precious, to warm thy heart, to melt it, and work it to willing­ness, to leave this sin, that more peculiarly spilt it; this blood of God, and his life that he laid down for it; to thy free laying down of it, of this peculiar Christ­killing sin.

CHAP. XIV. Of Meditation, in respect of Temptations and and Assaults by Satan.

4. THere is thy Meditation and considering, [...] reference to thy case, as tempted, [...] be thou art under sad Temptations, [...], dreadful and horrid things injected, [...] heart ake and tremble, that arnaze and confound [Page 332]thee, that haunt thee, that thou hast no freedom or quiet, that storm thee so violently, thou knowest not what to do.

After peace and assurance is obtained, and power also in some good degree gained, the Lord some­times lets Satan loose, in several ways, he in infinite wisdom judges fittest for most holy purposes, as re­ferring to himself and his own glory, for most gra­cious ends, as respecting his own children, their spi­ritual great good. If thy case be thus to be tempted, it may be very sorely assaulted: Consider that now thou art not to be scared and disturbed, as at a strange thing, unusual with Gods Children, though new to thee.

Thou art not to be sadned and dejected with sor­row and discouragement, not disturbed and con­founded, as neither heart, nor head, resolution or reason, grace or experience, counsel, or any thing can help, and be effectual.

1. But now, one excellent and proper way in this case of sudden disturbances, from sudden as­saults, is a turning from thy imaginations, thy sudden and short thoughts that are raising hurries, violent passions, and disturbances in thee; to endeavour se­rious and deliberate thinkings, to do what in us lyes, to check imagination and phansie, and hasty appre­hensions thence flashing, and flying like sparks from a blazing matter; and to let the Sun-shine of reason, serious and religious reason, put out the fire and can­dles of phansies and imaginations; to quench and slack their heat and haste. There is nothing our foolish hearts are apter unto, then these short sudden thoughts, flashes, and hastiness, without heedings and stay.

Hastiness of thinking comes on us as Lightning sometimes on the dry thatcht house, sets it instantly on fire, and comes as Lightning with an after Thun­der-clap, strikes all into fears and confusion, shivers and scatters all confidence and consideration, into such confusedness and discomposure, that nothing at that time will prevail with us. Like the Sea, when a strong wind hath raised the billows high, it rages and roars, and cannot suddenly rest.

The way in all cases of troubles by sudden appre­hensions and short thoughts, is to help our selves by thoughts of depth and length. Depth of seriousness, things soaking first into thy mind. Length also of abode and staying with thee a fit space of time, that allowance of time which a serious and weighty thing ought in full to have.

Thus the relief of Temptations working discom­posing impressions, from Satans sudden and thick dartings, and our sudden receivings in imagination and short thinkings, and thence coming quick upon the minds, passions, and affections, must be ejected by contrary seriousness, and time-taking in thinking.

Until we can in some sort cease to be sudden, short, and hasty in our apprehensions, until phansie and imagination sway less, and judgment in seriousness and pondering prevail more, that we are habited and accustomed to wisely weigh things that come into our minds, Satan will be too hard for us, by ma­king our hastiness our hurt.

This was one reason of Davids miscarriage, when he under temptation in Psal. 116. he tells us, vers. 11. He said all men are lyars. But he found the reason, it was in his haste. His being fail'd by the tempta­tion, was by the haste of his spirit in imagination, [Page 334]thought too short, too sudden, and passion was stirred too soon. He did not ponder what promise was, and the experiences he had to stay him. Thus the blessed Apostle Peter, whom Satan winnowed; he came thick with his darts of temptation, Peter was too short in consideration, which made him so sudden in fear, and that occasioned his fall. If he had used such consideration, as led him to repent afterward, had used consideration in the time of tentation, he had not been led into it.

Thus Divines give the account of that fall that ruined Adam and all his posterity. He did not due­ly consider; he acted imagination and incogitancy, not wisdom and prudent pondering.

This was one way the Apostle used in the case of temptation by affliction, Heb. 12.3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. They considered not, but were too hasty, too forget­ful, and therefore so discouraged at the Cross. There­fore he endeavours to bring them to consideration, to extinguish short apprehension and sudden thoughts which occasioned fears and discouragement.

This is a right way to relieve disquiets from any sudden imaginations, and from the subtil quick dartings of Satan. Let that which comes suddenly be thought on seriously, viewed over and over.

Creatures apt to start and fright, as Horses young and of high metal, we bring them close to the things they fright at, make them look on them oft, and touch them, that time and looking may teach them not to start. If temptations were entertained not with sudden short thoughts and imagination; but with abode and seriousness of thoughts in considera­tion, this would much advantage us in times oftem­ptation, and disappoint Satans designs.

2. And this leads us to another effectual way, and in part illustrates the former particular, namely, that help of diverting the mind, earnestly striving when suggestions and injections charge thee, to think quite another way. Take in good thoughts, and be as earnest and intent as thou canst, that Satan may see thou art not at leisure, haft no mind to parley with him, there's no room for such a guest, the door is barred against him.

This is a good Rule in Reason, to make a diversion of the thoughts; when any thing troubles us, and proves a disturbance, a diversion is the cure. When Satan comes, thou hast ways enough for thy thoughts to divert by things of excellency in abundant variety, to entertain and detain with the highest pleasure and satisfaction, thy most serious thoughts.

3. But another help, and that our Lord Christ hath taught, when Satan would tempt him: flye up to Heaven by prayer, Mark 14.38. Pray that ye en­ter not into temptation. When Hell rises up, arms and charges against thee, this is ever a ready help, to flye up to heaven, to charge him, complain of him, and call for the help that's stronger than Satan, the mighty Spirit of Christ, against that malicious Spirit. Prayer is a both rare diversion of thoughts, and a piece of Artillery that will do execution most effectu­ally, and never fail, if in faith and fervency. He fears nothing more than prayer, and feels nothing more. If he can discourage prayer, he triumphs. But as our Lord, when in an agony he prayed more fervently, and had an Angel sent from Heaven to strengthen him: So if thou art in an agony, a sad buf­feting of Satan, pray more fervently, and an Angel from Heaven, yea the God that is the strengthner will help against this Angel from Hell.

Meditation in this case of Temptation must be ordered by Scripture-rules, by having such apprehen­sions of Satan and his temptations, as the Scriptures (which hold forth the sure Notions and Considera­tions of things concerning our spiritual state and affairs) as that teacheth. Ah! when we are guid­ed by our own Notions and conceits, Satan will be too hard for us by his subtilties, methods, depths, and deeeits, which he hath and practiseth. He can out­wit us, far out-reason us, when we have never such parts and perfections of reason and learning, and all humane accomplishments.

But when we take the Scriptures for our only rule, then have we the most sure and supereminent wisdom, the infinite wisdom of a God against the narrow wis­dom of a creature, the infallible wisdom of a God a­gainst the falshoods and lyes of a creature. Eph. 6.16. The Apostle bids take the shield of faith to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. No shield is proof, and large enough to cover us, and quench his fiery darts: But that of the Doctrine of Faith in the Scriptures, held forth by the grace of Faith in the holy heart; this will do it.

This was the way the Captain of our Salvation used when Satan so boldly tempted him. He might have dealt divers ways with him, and at first sight dasht him. He might have told him, it would be utterly in vain to tempt him; It was impossible for him to prevail; chid him for his audaciousness, to as­sault the Son of God. Reasoned with him, and dis­puted him quite down. Ruled him, and commanded him out of his presence so pure and glorious, as he so often afterward rebukt him, restrained him, and dispossest him out of so many.

But he only lookt to the Scripture, used and held forth the Scripture, and nothing is recorded else. Three darts the Devil throws, three different tempta­tions he uses. Those three some of the Learned, (which in 1 Joh. 2.16. are called the All in the world) 1. Sensuality, in that, Make these stones bread, to feed thee. 2. Pride, in that, Cast thy self down, to presume proudly. 3. Covetousness, in that, All these will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. He tempts him to covet all the Kingdoms of the world, contrary to contentedness with his present poor condition. But the three darts of temptation are quencht with the using a threefold Scripture; so Satan is disappointed, and goes away shamefully beaten. Beaten by only using this Weapon of the Word. The Word must be thy help in all cases of temptation.

1. The Word as thy only sure directive and guide for all right conceiving of Satan and his temptings.

We must not mis-apprehend, mis imagine Satan and his workings. As we must not frame any false ima­ginations of the most blessed God, so we should not frame in our minds any false imaginations of Satan and his temptings of us. But this we do, and must do, when imagination goes alone, and takes not the Rule of Scripture, but takes the fond and feeble principles of a dark and deceitful, and of a dastardly and slothful spirit, loth and unfit to combat. The Notions and discoveries of Scripture are our sure way of help.

1. As what the Scripture infallibly manifests Satan to be; as to his nature, he is a Spirit, but not a God. He is exceeding wise by nature, crafty and very sub­til by long improved experience, but infinitely (O [Page 338]Christian) below thy God. Though he hath a depth of policy; yet he hath not the Master-reach.

Though he hath a very extensive and an abound­ing experimental knowledge in many things, and knows men, and much of particular persons, can look far into them, yet hath he not the advantages which the Heart-maker, and the Heart-scarcher, Jer. 17.10. and the Heart-knower, 2 Chron. 6.30. the only Heart-knower. He cannot see with any direct look­ing on, and into any heart; but he sees by an indirect eying, guessing and gathering by circumstances, and going by consequences, and not by infallible argu­ments. Both indirectly and imperfectly also it is he knows any heart, and the workings of it.

2. As to his power, though he be mighty in strength to make impressions upon elementary natures, and things belonging to men, as houses, goods, cattel, any enjoyments of such a sort; and upon bodies and lives of men, when God pleases to permit him, as we have it most evidently in the 1. & 2. of Job; yet he hath not such power to work upon the souls of men, as to destroy them, or to disturb them, or to discern and discover their hearts, their thinkings, affectings, aimings, or any actings of the reasonable soul. Nei­ther can he hurt the soul, either to destroy it, or to defile it, or to force it, to think, or affect, or purpose. He can force no man to sin, in the least commission of evil, or omission of good.

He cannot perswade, terrifie, or trouble, without first our giving leave, and giving way. He gets ground by our first giving ground; he leads when we let him fasten his chain, and draws when we suf­fer our selves to be drawn. Jam. 1.14. Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust, and is enticed.

Satan casts forth the bait, but we first catch it be­fore he catcheth us; he cannot make us take in the bait, no more than the Fisher can force the fish to bite and swallow his bait; he tenders only, and the fish takes it of its own accord.

Satan can throw his dart, but it cannot enter, unless we will; if we will yield, and not encounter with our arms, but walk unweaponed, and not fight.

3. Though Satan hath the greatest gall, deepest, and most highly improved hatred, of an irreversible edge, boiled up to the highest Hell-dyed implacable­ness; yet this Serpent is not so formidable, as the in­finite love of God to thee is comfortable. What can his malice weigh against the goodness of thy God that endureth continually?

4. Though Satan be unweariedly busie and sedu­lous, yet he is not, cannot be so industrious, careful, wakeful, working for thee, and disposing all things for thy greatest good, Rom. 8.28. as thy God is. He never can out-do thy God, his doings against thee, can­not out-do thy Gods doings for thee: No not in any heat or height of any temptation.

When he tempts thee, buffets thee, haunts thee, he must not be lookt upon as one at full liberty to do what he lists. He is not the Ruler of all things, governs not the world by himself alone. But he is under thy God then when he tempts thee; yea, thy God governs the very temptation. Satan can cast out no more of his serpentine venom than thy God permits. He casts not out one drop or the least quantity, without thy Gods first giving way.

5. As thy God governs by still giving Satan leave, and limiting him when he tempts, as he limited him in Jobs case; so his letting Satan tempt, is not for [Page 340]him to have his will, but that thy God may have his own holy will, both to teach thee, and better thee much, to support, encourage, and yet humble much thy spirit, that thy God sees is needful for thee.

Though temptations are like fire to melt the me­tal, yet not to mar, but mend it, to purge it, cast it into a new mould, that it may be polisht and bright­ned, and so fitted more for thy Gods praise.

Though the best Physicians sometimes use severe and sharp remedies; yet the trouble, pain, sickness caused by Evacuations, Corrosives, Causticks, Cut­tings, and such like, are not intended for themselves, but for recovery, soundness, strength, and the good of the Patient, though at present he may not so like or believe it. So is it in thy Gods suffering thee to be tempted sorely, and long buffeted; and this must be considered and believed. Thy Gods suffering thee to be tryed, is only for gracious ends, which after the temptation is well over, will clearly be seen, and thankfully acknowledged.

Ah! thou wilt say, I could not have been without this temptation, or these tryel, in this nature, manner, me sure, so sharp, so long, so many. Never had my experiences been so rich, my Faith and trust, love and cleaving, hope and waiting, humility, patience, courage, contentedness, and other graces so appear­ed, so improved, acted so high, to the praises of God, and reflected and brought in such peace and joy to my own bosom. Ah! how out of this evil God hath wrought my good? Out of this roaring Lyon this eater brought meat, out of the strong sweetness, as Samson of the honey found in the Lyon he vanquisht, Judg. 14.8.

6. Though Satan be such an enemy, and his mo­lestations [Page 341]so great; yet Meditation must gather up the reliefs and encouragements the Scripture supplies thee with. All discouragement arises much from a single, or too much pondering and poring on a pre­sent evil, without a due looking to the means of re­lief, escaping, or enduring. Therefore Meditation here must, [...]. Eye God as well as Satan, his love, faithfulness, pity, power, and all things making for comfort. 2. The purchase of Christ buying victory by his blood. 3. The presence and help of his Spi­rit against the evil Spirit, and the defence he will be sure to make of his own house and Temple, and the things of it, to save it from harm.

7. Lastly, thy Meditation must look up, and la­bour to write after the copies of the Saints, that have couragiously combated, and gloriously conquered, es­pecially upon thy Captain General, who overcame not by his meer infinite power; but by means at hand, and ready always in thy power. By the Scripture I have singled out a few things on this oc­casion; whole books, some less, some very great have been written very learnedly and experimentally of the Doctrine of Temptations, wherein large dire­ction and help may be had for such as are tempted; but I have rather exceeded already, and therefore will add no more in this particular.

CHAP. XV. Some Directions as to occasional and set Meditation.

SOme Directions might be next inserted, con­cerning that Meditation used on special occasions, and which is more therefore solemn, and at larger leisure. As in the Law, besides the daily Sacrifices, there were particular solemn times, where the work was much more; more Sacrifices offered, more Rites observed, and time spent in those Services was more. This Meditation must be performed according to the nature and scope, and such Rules as best godly wisdom can suggest for it.

1. As choice of the fittest season and opportunity, doing it when we are freest from avocations, and fittest as to frame, temper, and strength of body; when we are liveliest and freshest, and not sunk, ty­red, dispirited; that the good and lively present temper of body may the better help and assist the soul, and the soul thereby more orderly and vigo­rously, more intensly and deliberately act.

2. Chusing the fittest place, is a prudence and great advantage for avoiding disturbance and inter­ruptions; and to have the golden thread of Medita­tion run smoothly on without breaking from any di­versions. We must in faithfulness to our own spiri­tual interest; wisely watch, and strongly resolve to put by every thing that may divert or disquiet us in our now intended Meditation.

A darksom place, or that is purposely made some­thing [Page 343]dark for avoiding distractions from the eye, and to be better composed, more serious and intent, is a good furtherance to Meditation, if we are not timorous, and apt to fright. Isaac, Gen. 24.63. went out in the evening to Meditation. It may be the duskishness of the time might be part of his purpose, because he could less see about, which the lightsom­ness of the day would not so suit.

All things which prevent scatterings of the thoughts, and abate seriousness, which may conduce to intending the mind, and quicken to the duty in hand, should so well as we can, be considered and applied, until by frequent practice, we get a hand at this work, that thou provest an Artist in it, and arrivest at a heavenly habit, to work readiness, easiness, and constancy in doing it.

The Prophet, Psal. 108.1. saith, His heart was ready, so the old Translation hath it; the new Translation, My heart is fixed. The word in the Hebrew signifies first ready or prepared. Then se­condly it signifies fixed. We first fit, prepare a thing, sharpen it before we drive it into the ground, and then drive it in and fix it. So act seriously and of­ten, that thy heart may be ready, and may also be fixt, and this by a habit which brings readiness and fixedness, as in other holy duties, so in this of Medi­tation.

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CHAP. XVI. Of Directions, in reference to short and ejaculatory Meditations.

1. HEed here must be taken, that neither these short and quick actings of the soul in ejacu­lations Prove exclusive of the more serious and solemn, or take off from it, from either the daily Meditation, or the solemn occasional formerly spoken of: Nor that we lay more stress upon these short and frequent dartings up of the heart, than upon our daily Medi­tation, or the other; that this short thing be not made to stand for all, or almost all else meditating.

The heart of the best person, is a deceitful and slippery, an inconstant and fickle, a dull and slothful piece, under a lothness to do good, especially that which is high and hard, that comes not off easily, and that which must have time, a space, and good pro­portion of time. This we are ready, at least in our hearts, to call tedious, and think too long; al­though there be but bare allowance of so much time as the very necessity, for the well-doing the duty re­quires. As naturally a slightness and shortness to have a serious duty quickly over, pleases much; so a tang of this, yea too much of this carnal hastiness is in the best. Any spiritual performance we would oft have over before it be on, and get into the heart, before it be warm in the heart, kindle it, quicken it, draws it up to Heaven, and hath its efficacy and real ends.

Things that are hard, and work trouble, we are ready quickly to call tedious, and because other occa­sons [Page 345]may call loud, our corruption present hath an itch for any duties being over, ended so soon as be­gun.

Therefore thou must look this short, sooner over work, get not ground of the other more serious and solemn Meditation; that a help convert not it self into a hindrance; that it justle not out the solemn, or rob it of its due.

Holy duties are to be all Links of the same golden Chain, Pearls all strung upon the same silken thread; the greater must not keep off the less, nor the less the greater: Both must have their just allowance of place, come all upon the thread, make up the chain entire, and be all our helps in their connexion. Holy duties must not clash, not be their own hinderers by opposition, one set against another; or derogating one from another. But as the noble parts in the bo­dy, and the meaner parts, have all their several pla­ces, offices, uses for the good of the whole; yet with their diversity act not contrariety, but a sweet harmo­nious subserviency mutually to each other, and to the whole.

2. Neither must this sort of Meditation be slight and remiss, grow into, and setle in a meer customari­ness and formality. It must not on the one hand shut out the more solemn Meditation; nor on the other hand fix in an easie and slight performing. But must have its true and spiritual, warm and lively acting with reverence, care, pure aiming, to have heart, for the shortness of time, to ascend up to Hea­ven, making a short visit, for meeting with some soul-refreshing, by a sight and taste of the pleasures and delicacies set ready for all that travel this road of heavenly Meditation.

We must look it be a right work, how short so­ever; that it be the use of our spiritual Archery, from a right principle, to take a true aim at the mark, flye round up to it, by acting spiritual skill and strength, some wisdom and warmth, as the nature of the work will admit.

That it be not a flash, a fit of phansie, a meer cu­stom which calls on us, and carries us, but a spark of the holy heart-fire within flying up to Heaven.

3. This being a short visit made to Heaven, a journey of less charge and labour, and of a quick dis­patch. It therefore should be done the oftner, and with greater frequencies.

From friends that are near, we expect more fre­quent visits. Common and easie things we look to be done more constantly to us. What thing in the world is so cheap as a thought? What is so short, and of so quick a dispatch?

A thought-visit is the easiest visit. God expects of us it should be frequent, very oft; and reason urges to a greater frequency, for making up that which this sort of Meditation must want of the more set and solemn.

As they say of gold, that it is found either in the Oar mixt, or in the lump and small pieces (Pipins as they call them) but purer, or else in sand and small dust, very pure and good. But the small golden sands, when they are many gathered, and put toge­ther, may make so large quantities for use, as that is found in the Oar, or lump and greater pieces.

Many golden sands of precious ejaculations will amount to much, and help to make a Christian rich at last. Though great gains in trade fill the purse sooner, when ordinary; yet light gains when thick, [Page 347]will make a heavy purse also at last. I will add no more Directions for younger Christians in their Me­ditations, having already exceeded. Now we must come to Directions for others.

CHAP. XVII. Directions for more grown and elder Chri­stians.

1. YOu must daily contend to better establishment and confirmation in this way and work of Meditation, Psal. 119.15. I will meditate in thy precepts; and vers. 18. I will meditate, &c. David had formerly meditated, accustomed himself to this rare practice, was not now to begin to resolve or do. Therefore his meaning must be a fixing his re­solution and purpose stronger. The Apostle Paul often for the establishment of those he wrote unto, prays earnestly, 2 Thes. 2.17. Stablish you in every good word and work, in every duty of godliness.

The best Christians, and most establisht in their way, have always need of more establishing, as to their graces and frame of heart; so to their duties and whole course of godliness. There must be an earnest care and striving, as you have begun and practised, so to be stablished. Not to begin, and then draw back, nor yield to do with a weakness, weariness, and un­evenness; but here to say as David oft, O God my heart is fixed, I will meditate. Meditation is nea­venly, but hard in it self, comes off sometimes har­der. The best heart is a slippery piece, that some­times [Page 348]not only flags and falls low, but sometimes al­so fails; the purpose within, and the practice with­out may have their stops and faltrings: The Watch may want a winding up. There may be failure in the practice, from a failing in the purpose, a fit of dying away may come upon thee, if there be not a constant care of stability.

A good mans heart must be like Solomons Temple with the two Pillars set up in it, Jacin and Booz, establishment and strength.

2. As thou must endeavour establishment, so strive for improvement. Growth is necessary both in Graces and Duties, as the Scripture shews.

1. There must be care to improve in the Art and skill of holy Meditation. To understand thy way better, Prov. 14.8. The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way; not only with an initial under­standing it, but a progressive understanding of it. Not only to know in the same degree, and to be always alike at the last as at the first, but to understand far better.

As the wise Artificer that contents not himself with the same measure of skill in his way, but to be a better Artist, proceed to a perfection.

If a Christian be trading for Heaven in good ear­nest, he will strive every way to excel.

Not like a Bungler, that does in a poor pitiful manner, just to live and no more; but as an Artist, and man of ingenuity, to live plentifully.

I must study how to study better, to comprehend the whole wisdom of my way, to live more fruitfully to others, serviceably to God, comfortably to my own bosom.

Not to only just so much skill as will serve to get creeping, but for flying to Heaven.

2. To learn how to kindle a fire in my heart, and do my work warmer.

Strive to more affectionate Meditation.

To have things have a quicker passage from the head to the heart.

That the spiritual things meditated on, come sooner to my heart, kindle it quickly, and make me all on fire. Bom. 12.11. Fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.

It is not to be taken only for real fervency, but growth. He would not have them no warmer and fervent at last than at first: So Meditation should heap hotter coals upon thee, make thy fire a flame.

This by Meditations applying warmer, and more heart-quickning reasons and arguments.

We call motives (reasons for doing a thing, a duty of Religion) Incentives. Meditation should strike fire, and blow it up into a flame.

Strive to have Meditation more heart-warming; not only to have it more notional, but cordial; not only a shining, but a burning light, as it was said of John Baptist.

That's Meditation to purpose, when the head moves the heart, brings in light and heat also. The Moon-light is pleasant, but the Suns is best, because chiefly it is with vivifical heat, it is the worlds warm­er. Therefore see, search in Meditation for such things, and manage them in such a manner, as may warm thee at the heart most, make thee daily warmer.

1. Warmer in that grand affection, that strong spring of spiritual operation Love; love to the work of Meditation, love to heavenly and spiritual things, the lovely, beauteous, and glorious things which [Page 350]Meditation brings and sets before thee, to highly treat and entertain thee. Principally most inflamed love to the highest beauty and glory, for whom most peculiarly that best affection, the best piece of thy heart was made, the most blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

2. Warmer in ardency of desire, to keep in and improve in this heavenly way of Meditation, Psal. 119.20. My soul breaketh for the desire it hath to thy judgments; which soul-breaking was for look­ing into them by reading, reading for meditating to present and supply new heavenly matter, that he might exercise himself there by Meditation, know Gods will, and be better affected, more resolved and enlarged. That desire so earnest was greatly (among others) to be at that his rare mind-exercise of Medi­tation, the best way of thinking that possibly can be, none like this; this had this holy mans chief heart­workings; nothing had that share of constant seri­ousness; here were his longings to breathe his soul up this hill; he grudg'd the time that gave stop or interruptions to this best thought-work.

3. Warmer should Meditation be, as to delight and complacency, to not only burn and be fervent in love and desire, but to flame up in joy and delight; more generally, men like a fire, best when it flames. The holy Prophet, Psal. 119.47. I will delight my self in thy Commandments. Meditation in the word is the holy hearts walk of pleasure, a broad large walk, Psal. 119.96. Thy Commandment is exceed­ing broad, so our new Translation; exceeding large, so the old. We so far live a duty, as we act de­light. When David saith he will delight, he meant not the mixture of a meer drop, or smallest spark of [Page 351]delight should be stirred up; but a great, yea grow­ing delight. Delight in Meditation should not on­ly live and have a being, some moving; but should thrive and grow. As every Ordinance should prove a still greater pleasure: So Meditation should prove a more refreshing soul-eye walk, an ascent from de­light to delight, to higher delight, till we come to the top in ravishments and highest attending admi­rations.

CHAP. XVIII. Directions more particular.

1. WHatever thou meditatest upon, let it not be only an intuition, or dying a thing, or a meer recognition or remembrance. Or if divers things come before thee, let not thy work be a bare enumeration, or as it were a telling them over, to be able to say, I have thought of such and such things in particular; but let it be a review with something that new is, with some new considerations, as thou art able.

Something fresh, which may bring the better sa­vouriness and sweeter relish, that may set a better edge, and quicken things more upon thee.

Meditation, though it be not for feeding phansie with curiosities; yet should be so ordered, as to sea­son and sweeten, suit and prepare things to more spi­ritual delight, and to a larger perceiving of that extensive and abounding savouriness and excellency in holy things.

Every Meditation should endeavour a more exqui­site preparation, better still reducing things that we ponder, both to spiritual advantages, with spiritual pleasure accompanying.

To do this most easily and effectually, our way is to improve and quicken Meditation by our gathering up the graciously afforded varieties of Scripture-passa­ges relating to those things Meditation is to be upon, gather the varieties of Scripture-passages about that particular subject you mean to meditate on.

The Scripture in the diversities of passages about particular subjects, is like a rich banquet, where are set before thee great varieties of rarities: There are all manner of subjects. All the credenda and facienda, all things to be believed and practised in order to salvation. There are great varieties of heavenly Truths, for knowledge and wisdom, and right be­lieving. Great varieties of Precepts, Rules, and Di­rections for due practice. Many Promises and ma­ny Threatnings to back the Precepts; sundry Pat­terns and Precedents to assist them, and make them (and thereby) the Precepts more effectual on us.

Oft in Scripture the same things are expressed in a various manner, in a different, a new mode and fa­shion, in new trimmings as it were, and new dressings, to both edifie and also please us. Variety in expres­sion carries oft variety of Notion, holds forth some­thing more to be learnt, and affords something that may gratifie our spirits, as to pleasure and delight.

So the lame thing hath it may be varieties of Ar­guments and Reasons for conviction and demonstra­tion, Inducements to perswade and lead.

Arguments and Inducements, with the highest Art of Reasoning, with the best improvement of Rhetorick and Perswasion.

Thus if thou meanest to meditate upon God, or Jesus Christ, or the Holy Spirit, upon Faith, or Love, or any Grace, upon any duty, any sin, any affliction: Thy way is to see what the Scripture hath and holds forth in the several passages of it; as concerning Faith, of the Nature of it, of the effects and proper­ties of it, priviledges coming by it, reasons to perswade to believe, to live by Faith in all conditions; how great variety of expressions have you for all things relating to Faith, so of other particular subjects?

By this variety taking up one expression after ano­ther, at such times as you can best, how may thy Me­ditation be carried on with great delight and to great advantage?

This is one excellent way to order and improve thy Meditation, take varieties of Scripture-passages about any particular subject thou wilt meditate on.

1. For Scripture-expression hath a bottom and foundation of sure and infallible truth, which comes from God that cannot lye; your Meditation goes on sure ground.

2. Scripture-expressions are suited for us by the so infinite wisdom of a God, who knows how best to declare his own mind, and how best to convey and teach it to our capacity and condition. None can speak so to me as God in the Scripture doth.

3. Yea Scripture-expressions are sanctified by God, to enable us to sanctifie him in this and all other duties. This therefore is our best way to feed on these rarities, this rich banquet of so great varie­ties, when we are to meditate. Hereby we may ever have matter abundantly to meditate; never be to seek, and for the manner, perform it with great [Page 354]delight and pleasure, which will otherwise be a weariness.

This certainly was the way of the highest Artists in Meditation, David and other holy persons upon Re­cord in Scripture. They could not but see the same things to be repeated, yet oft in a various way of expres­sion; therefore must conclude, that the holy Inditer had his wise intendment in so various expressions. Therefore their godly wisdom must teach them when they meditated, to go in that way the Spirits con­descending intent led them: So let it be thy Rule, for thy help for to make thy Meditation pleasurable and profitable together.

I will mention some Instances.

The Grace of Faith is thus variously exprest.

By trusting in God, Prov. 3.5. Trust in the Lord with all thy heart. Isa. 26.4. Trust in the Lord Je­hovah; and in other places, Psal. 37.5. By rowling our way on God.

By taking hold of Gods strength, Isa. 27.5. and divers others: In reference to Christ, by seeing the Son, Joh. 6.40. Coming to Christ, Matth. 11.28. And believing on and in Christ often. Love of God, Deut. 30.6. Love thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul. Deut. 6.5. Love thy God with all thy heart and soul; and a third is added, With all thy might. Mark 12.10. Christ adds to the three for­mer, With all thy mind. Certainly these varyings had their intent; were that when we meditate of these or other graces, we should furnish our Medi­tation, and improve by them.

Thus things cited in Deuteronomy are variously ex­prest from those very passages and particulars in the former Books: So the Chronicles express differently [Page 355]things in the Kings, and the Four Evangelists vary the expressions of the same things, both the matters hi­storical and doctrinal; and all the Scripture over, this is practised. Variety of expression calls for observa­tion, and holds forth oft some peculiar Notion and In­struction.

Let this therefore be thy Rule in Meditation.

2. Be sure frequently and earnestly to meditate both of thy supreme and chief end, and of the proper and proportionate means thereto conducing. But do daily something more to purpose in that great Meditation of the supreme end, as wisdom teaches, and being that in its nature which deserves the high­est and first things; that also which gives Rules to all thy other actings and endeavours, that glorifying & exalting God above all. Do very much in collecting together, spreading before thee, well considering, acting the most vigorous and intense Meditation of all such things which may reduce thee to higher appre­hensions, warmer affections, firmer resolutions, and more earnest and even contendings for glorifying him that is God, and there is none beside him; for him that only gave thee thy all, body, soul, life, and only preserves thy all. That gave his only Son to death, to save thy souls life. His Spirit to draw thee to Christ, or thou hadst never come. To dwell and work in thee, and do all for thee, as to applying Christ, and all fellowship in Christ, and with him, and hath so infinitely obliged thee. Therefore how sinful, how unworthy to not honour and glorifie him, how unkindly he takes it, and how it grieves him? Let Meditation gather up, and indusstriously strive to improve all it possibly can.

Ah! how that holy Apostle was looking and [Page 356]striving this way, how near was this glorifying God to his heart, how much in his eye and endeavour, how oft is he speaking of it? How earnestly doth he provoke all he had to do with, to it? 1 Cor. 10.31. Whatsoever ye do, if eat or drink, do all to the glory of God; acting all to it, must imply an always minding of it.

3. Lay sound stress likewise in Meditation as to that thy next chief end self-saving, to have more se­rious thoughts and industrious pressings on hard to work it out, and make thy calling and election sure. To work it out against all difficulties and oppositions, look more earnestly up to Heaven, and into Heaven. And it is good when thou thinkest of Heaven; be then so bold with thy self, and faithful to thy self, as to lead thy thoughts to think of Hell, and ponder that place and state, taking often the weight of the crown of glory, the worth of the Jewels of that Crown, and think in greater earnestness of the Riches of that Kingdom of Glory, thy own unspeakable happi­ness, with that rare, rich, annexed Jewel Eternity. The losing of it, is from not looking on it; most losing it, from looking aside to the world. The best go but slowly to Heaven, because they mind it so remissly, and move so easily. A way, the best way to be the best Marksman at Heaven, should be every Christians great study. This is wisdom for thy self to meditate, study thy self into the Art of winning the Crown of Glory. Weigh Hell and Heaven, unspeakable, insufferable, and eternal, eter­nal torment and wo, with inconceivable and eter­nal, never fading happiness and highest glory. Re­present more effectually, see, feel more sensibly the fearful and woful case of a damned soul, realize it [Page 357]with the best industry and Art thou canst use; and be not so sinfully soft, nice, and tender of touching, or of dwellings and searchings by this way of thoughts; force thy self to feel the pains and scorchings of this Hell prepared, and the fulness of Gods wrath pour­ed out; and then represent and realize to thy self happiness and glory, with thy utmost ability and in­dustry, as if thou sawest it in all the fulness, tasted it, and wert feeding to the full at Christs Table in his Kingdom.

There are strange Artifices to get Crowns and Kingdoms. Ah! act Meditation into an ever­growing, more covetous of the gain, ambitious of the honour, contentious for to have the victory over all difficulties in the way of this most transcendent Crown of Glory.

The wise Merchant seeks and buys the Pearl, Mat. 13.46. The wise Meditater weighs, strives for, and wins the Crown.

3. Improve Meditation all you can, as to the grand and most principal means, be very high and hard Stu­dents for that excellency of knowledge, the knowledge of Christ, and him crucified, and better applying of him. To see daily more what a way Christ is to the Father, what fulness dwells in him, Col. 1.19. how freely he is offered, how mighty and ready he is to save to the uttermost. Uttermost of guilt, by righte­ousness and forgiveness; of wrath, by reconcilia­tion; of shame and vileness, by dignity and adopti­on through his blood. To the uttermost of dark­ness, by being our light; uttermost of our errours, by being put on as truth; uttermost of folly, by be­ing applied as our wisdom; uttermost of corrupt affections and carnal aims, choices and distempers [Page 358]of will, and finfulness of the whole soul, by being our sanctification. 1 Cor. 1.31. Yea to the uttermost f all misery, and to perfect felicity. Strive to me­ditate better, to have Meditation issue in a growing knowledge of Christ, sweeter savour, stronger recum­bencies on him, larger receivings from him, more in­timate fellowship with him, and a more worthy walk­ing of him.

4. Let thy Meditation be more improved in that particular of the great Applier of Christ to thee, and mighty Helper of thee, the holy Spirit; how to better entertain him, and by obeying, please and de­light him, and not grieve him; that he always may be ready to assist, enlarge, and comfort thee, seal thee, and shed abroad the love of God in thy heart.

5. Strive after a better meditating on all the pre­cious promises, so as more to strengthen Faith, heighten Hope, and have the fuller Communion with Christ by them.

6. So meditate of the Ordinances, as they be more highly valued and endeared, and be more in­strumental for thy meeting with God in them, and commanding his blessing by them, of light, warmth, strength, and encouragement.

7. Mightily contend to exacter musings and pon­derings of thy hearts great wickedness and deep de­ceitfulness. Make Meditation a better clue and thread to lead thee into all intricacies and windings of that maze and labyrinth wherein thou art so rea­dy to be lost, and art often lost. To know it more perfectly in all its cheats and deceits, but with an earnest looking up to God the heart-searcher, to manifest thy self unto thy self.

So for the methods and dephts of Satan thy un­wearied [Page 359]enemy, which will not be understood un­less studied and minded much. 2 Cor. 2.11. We are not ignorant, saith the Apostle, of his devices. He was not ignorant this way, this must be knowledge, by minding and studying of them. Though God teacheth, yet not without our endeavour, setting our thoughts to search and find out his practices and subtilties. If we are careless herein, God may in­stead of helping us against him, let him loose upon us, to act his frauds and fury, that our buffetings may awaken us into mindings of him, and endeavours of being acquainted with his devices.

Meditate therefore more to be an experienced skil­ful Artist here, and grow more cunning to see into his practices.

8. Meditate more of that enemy the world, that makes the baits for covering Satans hooks, without which he could not so catch, as oft he doth; neither could we be so catcht from our own corruptions, if things of the world did not occasion our deceivings. The fuel and tinder is without, the spark and fire is within; the lust is within, but the bait is without. Jam. 1.14. Every one is tempted, when he is drawn away by his own concupiscence and enticed. If the bait were nothing to us, there would be no catch­ing of us; if the world were vanity, all things as crucified to us, having no beauty and loveliness in them, there would be no danger. Meditate to a discovery more of the worlds vanity, and that insuf­ficiency in every thing but God, to make us happy; and to thereby a weanedness of heart from those things that will neither fill or fix, satisfie us, or stay with us.

CHAP. XIX.

But more particularly.

1. THou must earnestly act and strive to improve thy Meditation on those things which con­cern thee in thy rank and age of Christianity.

There are some Babes, little children in godliness, others are young and strong men, others are fathers, so 1 Joh. 2.12, 13, 14. The strong men must act according to their age and rank in Christianity, not as babes or little children; the strong Christian must not, does not look to little childrens lessons, return thither, and strive to no more. Heb. 5.12. To use milk, stick at barely the Principles of the Oracles of God and Doctrine of Christ, Chap. 6. v. 1. But uses strong meat, takes forth the higher lessons in Religi­on, beyond children. The Apostle saith, The word was in them, and they had overcome the wicked one. They were (besides knowledge of the Principles) improved to such knowledge of the Word, higher knowledge, that they knew what was proper of the Word, and how to use it, as fitted them, to combat with Satan, and overcome him. The strong Chri­stian must be busied in higher matters; therefore must act Meditation higher, study and learn those lessons, not of the lower forms, but above them. To learn the Horn-book or Primmer, and keep there, learn no further, cannot become a grown man. A Christian beyond a Babe, must feed above a Babe, a younger one, feed on strong meat, must meditate higher, of growing in grace, mortifying corruptions which are [Page 361]rising up; overcoming temptations when they as­sault, come it may be thick and fierce. Afflictions that may charge smartly, and all such lessons which Scholars of a higher form in Christs School, are usu­ally set to learn and take forth. These thou must make thy study, thy peculiar Meditation, for finding out the best way of proceeding in these duties.

The young weak Christians, Christ sets not them so high and hard tasks at their first entrance into his School, Joh. 16.12. I have many things to say, but ye cannot bear them now. Higher matters of know­ledge, harder matters of practice; but stronger Chri­stians must have stronger meat, and stronger exercise also than Children and Novices. And this for Christs higher glory, the stronger Christians greater improvement and encouragement. This must be thy now-way of Meditation, how to act higher in thy now higher rank. In a word, that thy knowledge, wisdom, strength, courage, all thy graces may be felt more vigorous and improving, be more evident and shining, and Christ in them for his glorifying.

2. Meditation, let it be managed for the best thou canst, as to all particular cases, and there ply most where thou hast most pressing need. Thus David and other holy ones of God endeavoured the exer­cise of Meditation to that particular case which then concerned them, to beat out their best way of help, as oft in the Psalms and other places, Psal. 23. Psal. 52. of Doeg, Psal. 63. Psal. 77. Psal. 142. Parti­cular cases had their particular Meditations, as the titles of these Psalms, or their matter shews.

In a particular case, thou now (it may be) art put upon something new to thee; here Meditation should be used and continued for, and until a right [Page 362]and sure way be discovered for thy best help; the true and sure Scripture-way the Saints have gone and found relief in: As what Abraham in his tryals did, what Jacob, what Job, what David, what many others in the Old and New Testament did, our bles­sed Lord, his Apostles and Followers did.

As in cases of diseases, dangers, troubles, a wise man will study the right means and manner how to be helpt. Thus in all cases, especially new tasks, tryals, troubles, and dangers, Meditation should be exerci­sed according to the Scripture-directions and ex­ples left us.

If the very particular case, or kind of difficulty be not to be found in Scripture, then you must by your Meditation gather your direction by the Rule of Pro­portion. Look what was like it, look if there be not the same in kind; yet what is to be found as high and great, not inferior to thy case, if not higher.

1. Thy particular case, it may be, is some prevail­ing corruption, or that which stirs and much trou­bles thee, which Christ suffers thee to be disquieted by, sometimes overcome with, to shew thee what is in thy heart, to humble thee, and what need thou hast of his Spirit and Grace to help thee. Thus it was with Job, David, Jeremy, and others.

2. Some buffeting it may be of Satan, 2 Cor. 12.7. Paul had it; so it may be thy temptation is high, it may be horrid against God, unnatural against others, against thy self. This Christ in his wisdom permits, for learning thee to be a good Champion for him, and to experience his succouring and supporting of thee.

3. Or it may be some sore and sharp affliction, [Page 363]some sudden surprisal, which must add to it, as a quicker fire, to refine thee the better.

4. It may be the case of desertion, God withdraw­ing, hiding his face, leaving thee in the dark, as was Davids case, Psal. 51.12. Restore to me the joy of thy salvation; of Asaph, Psal. 77.7. Will the Lord cast off for ever, Psal. 88. Hemans case. Look out and weigh what in these cases the Saints did, and beat out thy way so well as thou canst.

CHAP. XX. Divers farther Rules.

OTher Particulars yet may be added to the for­mer; as,

1. Thy setting Meditation on work for wisdom in that great concern, of keeping thy heart with all diligence, Prov. 4.23. The Art of Heart-keeping, one of the greatest skills; therefore for the attain­ing, it must have great study to be in some degree a Master in this Art, and be better in it. 1. Medita­tion to learn, thought-government. Other lessons formerly took thee up more than keeping thy heart, than governing thy thoughts, which among other means must be, by 1. Considering the excellency of the thinking faculty in it self. 2. The uses it is for. 3. The poyson of sin that hath gotten up to thy head, and is occasioning such vain and vile thoughts, such wildness, rovings, inconstancies, and readiness to multiply and fix upon either bad or by-things. 4. The necessity of reducing them, dislodging them, those vain and vile imaginations. Jer. 4.14. How [Page 364]long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee? saith God to the Jews. They should neither lodge, as in wicked men, neither enter or stay in a good heart. 5. There should be a coming to have, and improve in thee an habitual heavenly mindedness.

Strong Christians must have a power and rule over their thoughts, and not be satisfied without it in some sort, remembring Gods pure omniscient eye upon all the thoughts, Rom. 2.16. and his judging hereafter of them at the great day. 6. Thoughts are the souls inlet into the affections and will, the rise of willing and affecting, and through them of acting and doing. They are very quick and nimble, yet can be very deep, intense, and serious; great reason therefore thou hast to study, to meditate, to contend to the due regulation of them.

2. Thy Meditation must engage in that hard les­son, the way of ruling thy spirit, as to the affections, pondering and beating out, how to govern them. Among the Heathens, the Philosophers and wise men had very rare Rules and excellent Sayings about the right ordering the affections: But while they beat the bush, they lost the bird. They had not the Word of God, they knew not Christ, nor sancti­fying Grace, whereby the wisdom and only right principles of governing these so unruly affections, can be attained, and they tamed and tuned.

1. The task is, how to take them off where they are misplaced, and set them on right objects, off the things below, and upon the things above, where they are both rectified and elevated, and truly eno­bled.

2. As how to take them off wrong objects, so to take them down, when they are too hot, high, violent, eager, to turn their edge.

3. To stir them up, and make them move, that either would not move, or but slowly, move lazily, and not with that due, earnest and expedite quick motion when they ought to do it.

These comprise the whole Irregularity of the affe­ctions. The true and sound cure must be well stu­died: Although such as are Christs have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, Gal. 5.24. Quoad animi propositum & cordis purificati principium, as to the inward living principle, and the real heart-pur­pose, initially and gradually, in little degree (for that which is in no degree begun, is not a grain of mustard, is nothing at all.) Though those that are in Christ have crucified, as we said, their carnal affe­ctions in some degree: Coming in of Christ and Grace into the heart, gives the carnal affections a deadly dash, like the taking of some incurable poy­son given to kill gradually. The first taking gives the advantage for deaths seizing; yet this is not enough, as experience sadly shews: there must be a studying and great pondering, how to rule the daily discovered unruliness of the affections, and how to cure them, which is not the Philosophers way, nor the wise moral mans way, which is to curb and mo­derate them; but the Scriptures directed and com­manded way; and therefore the Christians way that he must use, and that is to crucifie and mortifie them. Col. 3.5. Mortifie your affections that are on the earth. The Art and sure way for carnal affections, as so, and then to study to order these affections which are noble natural plants, and dispositions of heart, that they may be acted by graces principle on, and for things heavenly, with a real warmth and a growing fervency.

3. Strongly thou must resolve, and most exqui­sitely endeavour to study and meditate for the go­vernment of thy will. The will in its nature and rank is a most noble faculty, the Empress of the soul, the spring of action, the weight and biass for motion, the door that opens and admits in chusing, or shuts out in refusing; that which sets up the mark and aim, every end and interest, and likewise makes choice or rejections of the means to the end. In its cor­rupt and carnal state, it is the wickedest piece in every person; it sets up the greatest Idol in the world; Self, in the Throne above God. Nothing in Scri­pture hath so great, frequent, and high complaints and charges brought in by God against it, that which is the most hellish and devilish piece in its repugnancy, contrariety, stoutness, and stubbornness against God, and whatever is holy; and the hellish hold-fast of evil, chiefly when it receives the grain-colour and scarlet-tincture of habit by customary sinning.

In hearts changed by grace, it is in a great measure still carnal, and accordingly in part hath all the fore­mentioned wickedness, and is ready to act it, if it be not the better watcht and ordered continually.

Being then in the best men so evil, it needs the best study, the most serious and constant Meditation to find the best way for it, to rule this unruly will. 1. Especially as to base self-aims, in which it is the most slippery, and soonest swayed, hastily burried, and entangled. 2. And as to the cursed contrariety and hellishness against the Law, will, ways of God, and God himself.

The Art of ruling this Ruler in chief, is well worth thy chiefest Meditation; the wretchedness of it will disquiet; the pliantness and obedience, holiness and [Page 367]purity of its aims, choices, and refusals will comfort most, as carrying highest evidences of thy sincerity.

4. Meditation hath great need to act its part in­dustriously and accurately, as to know how to govern the tongue, that rare instrument, called by David, Psal. 188.1. his glory. But by sin, called by the Apostle, Jam. 3.8. An unruly member, full of deadly poyson, that sets on fire the course of nature, is set on fire of Hell, vers. 6. David prays for a watch before his mouth, Psal. 39.1. I said I will take heed that I sin not with my tongue, and keeping his mouth with a bridle. To refrain evil words, requires care; to re­frain vain and idle words, requires a curiosity and ex­actness.

Study this Art, not as Pythagoras the Philosophers Scholars, that had their quinquennium silentium, first spent five years in his School to learn silence, but all a mans life is too little. But there's more to be learnt than just silence, and that is savouriness of speaking. Prov. 10.20. The tongue of the just is as choice silver; the heart of the wicked is little worth: then and therefore the tongue of the wicked is little worth, because the heart, out of whose abundance the mouth speaketh, is little worth.

Study the Art of savoury speaking, by getting three things. 1. A good treasure in thy heart. 2. A wis­dom to discern times of speaking. 3. A true, godly, humble boldness to speak, and not be ashamed, Psal. 119.46. I will speak of thy testimonies before Kings, and will not be ashamed.

Meditate for the true Scripture-way for speaking.

5. Meditate how as to fill up with heart-beauties of graces within, knowledge, wisdom, holiness, and every particular grace, so to have a fruitful, shining, [Page 368]exemplary conversation suitable to thy rank and sta­tion in Christianity.

How to walk worthy of the Lord to all well-plea­sing, Col. 1.11. To all fruitfulness in every good work, in all conditions, and in all relative duties, as husband or wife, parent or child, master or servant, and the rest. It is hard to be good indeed, harder to be growing better; hard to become and suit a change in condition never under before, hard to come up to relative duties, and be Christian in them, and so good as a well-grown Christian should be. Some are very heedless here, they too little mind a proportio­nate growth herein, as in other parts of godliness; but this must be minded. Meditate universal growing, how to honour thy longer standing in godliness, by shooting up and spreading out more.

6. Lastly, Make it thy great study, how to have suitably to thy rank in godliness a richer treasury and stock of experiences, useful and rare experiences for thy own and others advantage; make Medita­tion a great observer, a diligent gatherer, a careful layer up of experiences choice and precious, to have a large treasury, to bring out of it new and old.

CHAP. XXI. Directions to Christians of the uppermost Rank.

3. FOr such as are Christians of the highest form in Christs School, such the Apostle in this, 1 Joh. 2.13. calls Fathers; not for their long living here, or being long Christians, visible Members of the Church, as for great growth and improvement in real godliness; much Knowledge, Wisdom, Expe­rience, Faith, Love, and Eminencies of Christianity: their Meditation like the highest Artists, must be act­ed higher.

1. The Meditation of such as are fathers, should carry higher in all the ways, and concerning all the several points and particulars formerly exprest, and relating to all persons in general, in all the sorts of Meditation.

1. In the daily Meditation, to be more eminently exercised and constant, in drawing out a thread of far exacter evenness and equality, without such fre­quent breakings off, and inconstancies that younger Christians more unprincipled and unpractised, weak­er ones not so enricht with a stock of grace, usually fail in.

2. In this daily Meditation, to be more excel­lently skilful and wise, like an old eminent Artist that takes up his work, and performs it with rare skill and dexterity, and little or no study, acting out of a habit excellently, without being to seek, raw at his work, or awk-handed, as imperfect Artists are. An [Page 370]old Bungler is a shameful sight; but an old rare rea­dy Artist is glorious.

3. To be more abundantly warm and affectio­nate, acting with greater fervour, in a stronger stream of purer love, higher flame of all holy affecti­ons, aims more spiritual, and richer proportions of all the ingredient assistant graces required. You must be herein (as a Meditation so important) an out-doer of such, as are in the ranks below thee; and of thy own former attainments and actings, making sure to do in some degree suitable to thy longer standing, and larger opportunities of being a most high proficient in this daily duty.

2. Thy Meditation more peculiar and occasional (which in a more fignal manner thou sometimes chusest to exercise for thy souls refreshing and en­largement) must have a more accurate management in thy hand; it should be a singular acting, thy right hand should have her rare cunning.

O what work, what rare spiritual and heavenly work doth the holy Psalmist David (old in this so excellent and sweet way of Meditation, this his pe­culiarly set and selected solemn Meditation) doth he make of this way of meditating in several of the Psalms he hath left us on Record! In his younger times, the times when he first gave up his heart to God, he soon learnt to excel in this Art of Medita­tion. He was the sweet singer of Israel, but withal a rare practitioner of heavenly Meditation. Not as the too usual way of the world, whose musick is oft a rather memorizing the Heathen Gods and God­desses, or that ravels out in meer wanton fancies, but keeps not any due bounds, nor hath any right ten­dency. But his way and excellency was in Psalms [Page 371]and Hymns and spiritual songs, for making melody in his heart to the Lord. Not for the Temple only, but for his private recreation. This we have appearing, Psal. 59. When Saul sent, and they watch the house to kill him, mentioned 1 Sam. 19.11. So Psal. 34. When David changed his behaviour before the King of Gath, mentioned in 1 Sam. 21.13. Thus Psal. 52. Of Doegs wickedness, recorded 1 Sam. 22.9. So Psal. 57. & 14.2. When David was in the cave, re­corded 1 Sam. 24.3. Psal. 56. compared with 1 Sam. 21.11. On which occasion also the fore­cited 34. Psalm was made, and Psal. 63. that so rare affectionate one, and many others, which in his way of occasional meditating, he penned when a very young man. Six years he was banished by Saul, or thereabout, forty years he reigned; was thirty years old when he began to reign; therefore he must be between twenty four and thirty, a young man, when he penned the Psalms about Sauls persecutions. Thus as he recreated himself with all sorts of Musick, so he rarely improved it by exercising himself in a way of holy Meditation, reduced his Harp, Lute, and all others to heavenly use; so after when he made musical instruments for publick Worship in the Tem­ple, by Gods prescription, he meditated Psalms for that Musick, assisted by Gods inspiration. But as all a­long his time he acted Meditation, and by time ex­celled more in it; so (pardon this long digression) he came not short of his former actings when he was old, yea when very old.

O what rare pieces are those last Meditations in 2 Sam. 22. Psalm. 18. It hath a twice recording for the more full commending to serious considering of all that read the Bible.

And the next Chapter, 2 Sam. 23. When he was to dye; after all his meditatings and songs, we have his last Meditation, set intended Meditation, his Swan-like song, purposely left in the first part of that Chapter. He goes not out as a candle in a stink, but like a rich perfume cast upon fire, in a most sweet and heavenly rapture. The best wine should be at the last. Certainly no old Christians should live, act, or perform at the same rate a younger Christian, a weak, and but little grown person doth; but do higher, rarer things, be ever upon, not only doing, but self out-doing; not only on endeavouring some­thing, but excelling, still contending to self-excelling. Last works more than first, Rev. 2.19. that is better than first. The formal Christian in a sort may do more; the right fruitful Christian does better last; not more only in number, but in weight, in intrinsick inward excellency, a better way, a better wisdom, warmth, delight, evenness, exactness in all duties, and this Meditation does become the old aged fa­thers, their crown of glory is their exceeding them­selves, and evidencing of it.

3. In your short sudden ejaculations you should strive to excel.

1. How thick should these heavenly sparks flye up from thy heart, not as sparks from a common fire, but like sparks out of a burning flaming furnace, like David, Psal. 139. When I awake, I am ever with thee. So night and day, all the day thy Meditation should be carrying thee upwards; make many mountings up to Heaven.

2. How quick and expedite should this flight to Heaven be, not slow, but nimble, as the flight of lon­ger and stronger winged Eagles. Thou shouldst have [Page 373]less weight hanging on thee. Heb. 12.1. Casting off every weight. The weakest must begin to cast off; the stronger must have cast off more; the old Christian must have cast off most weight, have most strength, therefore may mount up quicker and higher.

How pure and spiritual should thy short thoughts be, like the sparklings of the purest and strongest wine long close kept. Yea, thou shouldst be able to draw with the threefold cord of daily, occasional, and eja­culatory Meditation (these interwoven together Me­ditations) draw more strongly off things below, in fuller diversions, higher despisings of all empty vani­ties, and draw more vigorously upward. The setting thy affections on things above, thy eminent acting and fixing them, should be by an eminent first using and habiting thy spirit to heavenly mindedness. The strongest, steadiest, and most improved affections arise from exacter and more earnest Meditations. The deeper the foundations of thoughts, the higher the stories of thy affections mount up.

CHAP. XXII. The particular managing of this Meditation.

IN particular thy Meditation should so be mana­ged, as to the matter of knowledge and wisdom, as to render thee the highest Artist in thy trade of godliness.

1. To be full of knowledge above the weaker Christians, Rom. 15.14. I am perswaded you are [Page 374]full of knowledge. The young Christian must get knowledge; the strong must have much more: But the old Christian must be very full to be a teacher of others, Heb. 5.12.

2. To have meditated so, as to arrive at much wisdom, to understand thy way, and order it best.

A wise Christian is a person of great excellency; it is very highly extolled in the Scripture.

This David, though not presently, yet attained in time, as Psal. 119.99, 100. I have more understand­ing then all my teachers: I have more wisdom then the ancients.

3. To have the richest treasury of heavenly truths, the fullest stores of precious experiences, Meditation is the greater gatherer of them, and the improver of them on all occasions.

It becometh not a Christian of long standing to be poor and unfurnished of holy experiences.

The Psalmist we may see drawing forth his expe­riences, and telling them to others, Psal. 3.4, 5. I cryed, and he heard; Psal. 18. almost all the Psalm, he puts all the pearls of deliverances (experiences that way) on one silken thread of this one Psalm toge­ther. So Asaph, Psal. 77.6. I call to remembrance my song in the night, what joy he formerly felt, though now he wanted it: Thus oft the Saints in Scripture. The Apostle, 2 Cor. 1.10. Who hath delivered, and doth; he had his experiences rea­dy.

4. More peculiarly your great exercise (which others cannot so well reach) is to be much implied in the deepest Mysteries, the highest points of Faith, and the hardest matters of practice. I mean not so much such sorts of difficulties in Divinity, those [Page 375]which great skill in the Tongues and Arts will re­quire, and that must have long time, much study, which the necessary occasions of very many cannot admit, and are not necessary for every man to un­derstand.

But such higher matters of godliness, as may more, Jude 20. edifie you in your holy faith, increase your obedience to a more fruitful and exact walk­ing, Eph. 5.15. See ye walk circumspectly, accu­rately, or exactly, the word is; thus, the higher con­templations of the Nature of God, his Attributes, and Titles, the Works of God, Creation and Provi­dence, his wise, righteous, and holy Administrations and Government.

1. Government in the whole world, and all things in particular in it to the least circumstance, the falling of a hair from the head.

2. Government, and that so rare and admirable towards the rational creatures; but most observable astonishing towards his Church and his dear Saints. This, as some of our Divines say of Gods Government of the world and matters in it, is to be one of the great Meditations of Christians, that are by the Apostle called Fathers, who having obtained formerly much acquaintance with other truths, of more necessary use for their then rank and standing, now are to busie themselves in these high Mysteries for further­ing Faith and Godliness.

The Mysteries in the two Books of Scripture and Nature, are the two Tropicks or Lines between which thy Meditation should move and bound, run its course, and keep within this compass, which is useful and safe.

In sum, let thy Meditation be improved all thou [Page 374] [...] [Page 375] [...] [Page 376]canst for the setting up of the main mark, for the fullest aiming at it, the hardest pressing toward it, with all contendings for an excellency of wisdom, eminency of holiness, exemplariness of conversation and exact walking, together with all industriousness after that peace which passes all understanding, joy unspeakable and full of glory, the establishings and heightning of them, with longings and hastnings after that appear­ing of the Lord, and crying, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly.

Conclusion. Now this so highly important duty of holy Meditation, having been as to the nature, kinds, necessity, and excellency so fully discovered and demonstrated; the great sinfulness of neglect­ing it evinced; the dangers following the neglect manifested; the practice with such high induce­ments, and powerful Scripture-arguments urged home; and the way respecting all sorts of persons in so many Rules and Directions cleared.

Application general. Then all who know these things are utterly inexcusable, that know these so greatly necessary things, and will not comply with the careful practice of them. Ah! therefore let eve­ry one most earnestly beg it of God, to write this his Law of holy Meditation in his heart; to give the right wisdom to understand the way of it, the firm purpose and resolution constantly to perform it, yea, the practice of it with sweetest solace and highest de­light. Let me say to my soul, Necessity is laid upon me. It is an Imperial Law of the great King of Heaven; if I do it not, great guilt will be contract­ed, great wrath of a God will be kindled, my soul will deeply be wronged. If I have not, act not good thoughts, my heart will act evil thoughts, will fill [Page 377]with evil thoughts, will fix and habit it self in them, be quite over-run with them.

I shall have a spirit stained, deeply dyed into habi­tual vanity of mind; yea, I may be given up to judi­cial penal vanity of thoughts. It may be to terri­fying and most affrighting thoughts. That I which would not be brought to think of the threatnings of a just God and his terrible Curses; That would not meditate of that greatest of evils sin, of my heart and life-sins, shall have all my sins set in order before me, held and kept staring me continually in the face. That I who would not meditate of the most blessed God, his Christs fulness, his Spirits sweetness, his Heaven and everlasting Happiness, shall now have represented to my thoughts, and be made to see Sa­tan, Hell, and eternal Death continually before me. Yea, to be under such amazements and terrours, to be so haunted and followed, that at last it may be in­supportable, and quite overwhelm me.

O therefore let me not so sin against my own soul, and for ever undo my self by wilful or heedless ne­glecting this duty, which lies so indispensibly upon me, and may be so advantageous to me!

O how many are continually guilty of self-destroy­ing, for want of a timely self-bethinking? By a slight­er thinking, for want of serious thinking? By a too short thinking, for want of the necessary allowance of time and space for thinking? By a too seldom think­ing, and not using due frequency of thinking? By acting meer phansie and imagination, and not wise consideration? Adams first state was good, yet muta­ble; but it was not a sin or imperfection to be mu­table. And though this mutability of his will was a ground of his fall; yet it was his incogitancy was [Page 378]the first blamable cause, he fell by acting sudden, too hasty imagination, and not due consideration, he con­sidered not all things to be considered. Thus ever since, the falls of sinners are generally more by incogitancy, haste, and hurries of fancy and imagination, want of consideration (though there be sins also of delibera­tion, not precipitations, but presumptions.)

When God reduces a sinner, he brings him from swaying phansie and carelesness to considerateness, Ezek. 18.28. Because he considers and turns; he breaks the reeden Scepter of phansie and inconsidera­tion, and brings in, and sets up the golden Scepter of wise consideration. So Acts 2. Men and brethren, what shall we do? Acts 16.30. Sirs, what must I do to be saved? But O what pity is it that any soul should perish, for want of a little thinking? Shall I suffer my self to be of that simple sort, and to be car­ried away in that crowd to utter ruine? If I ne­uer yet walkt in this heavenly thought-way, the great­er reason I have to hasten into it.

But if I have tasted, tryed, and found the surpas­sing sweetness and advantages of it, have I not high encouragement to make a farther progress still in it?

And if by long beating this path, I have largely experienced the most abundant pleasantness and sweetness, have I not then greatest inducement to go on the more both evenly and earnestly? Ah! then, my soul, consider with thy self the liberties, the latitudes, the pleasures, and satieties which thy eye may still expatiate and recreate it self in, by this rare Art of Divine Meditation.

Look to thy ways, thy eye-ways, their varieties and excellencies, which are so many, and of that [Page 379] transcendency, that there never were, nor can be any so various and spacious, of that delicacy, beauty, and glory.

The wise and holy heart hath far the advantage of all the great Scholars and Artists, all the highest Nobles and Princes, he hath better walks and rarer eye-entertainments in his happy way of Medita­tion.

Ah! then, my soul, how canst thou in the least sort be slothful and backward to this so pleasant performance, and soul-enriching way, this so easie ascent to Heaven, by the paths and steps purposely made thee to mount up thither?

See what plenties of rare provisions are made to entertain and take up thy thoughts; What multi­tudes of fittest objects; What sweet and precious things lie full before thee, to give thee a full em­ployment, at all times, and with a very great variety, to be a preventive of weariness and cloying, and in­troduce a more fulness of satiety and delight.

Thou hast that great Book of the whole Creation, all the several, most stupendious and glorious Works of God, to take and look over all the guilded leaves, and there to meditate on wonder after wonder.

Thou mayst carry thy eye over all the Earth full of Gods Riches; descend into the bowels of it, meet with all the hid Treasures and Rarities lockt up in the Makers rich Cabinet there below: Thou mayst go upon the so large extended Waters, through the paths of the Seas, see the things of excellency in the one and other. Thence thou mayst ascend up the steps and stories of the Air and Firmament, the glo­rious Heaven beyond it, with the so glorious Lights of such astonishing magnitudes and motions, orders, [Page 380]and influences. Thence then mount up thou mayst to the highest Heaven, that most holy place, the Worlds most glorious piece and fabrick, that Palace of the King of Glory, with all his so glorious Reti­nue and Attendants of millions of millions of most happy Saints and Angels.

O what an ample provision is this for my spirits particular help and solace, my eye-accommodation and recreation? Yea, how unspeakably gracious must I have declared my God to be towards me; had I only been favoured with the ten thousand part of the things my Meditation can recreate it self upon?

Ah! but, my soul, thou hast more graciously af­forded thee by thy God another book, that richest Treasure of most infallible, necessary, and saving Truths; there may I most highly meditate and sa­tiate my self with that highest Mystery of godliness, all the wonders concurring and meeting to make it up; and among them, that most especially of the so astonishing, so all-amazing Mystery of God manife­sted in the flesh. The very highest thought-walk given for a created Nature to take its most ravishing solace in. Not only for sinners redeemed by the Lord of Glory; but those of that uppermost rank of Nature that never needed a Saviour from sin; yet being mutable creatures, might all have fallen. But in Christ their Head, being given in their election to him, and thence preserved by him. These blessed Angels have this Mystery of Godliness, this Lord of Glory Jesus Christ, their Head of continuation of happiness, the most transcendent object of their highest contemplation and admiration.

O what an account then shall I render to my [Page 381]God, if I do not design and endeavour Meditation in some good degree proportionate, and answering the so inconceivable eye-obligation and engagement herein lying on me.

But O my soul, this is not all, thou hast yet ano­ther Book besides that of the Creature, and the other of Scripture; the book of thy own self, state, and heart, wherein with singular advantage thou mayst constantly busie thy thoughts most seriously. And if thou art Christs Temple, knowest his dwelling in thee, thou mayst find it like the so glorious Temple of Solomon, built of costly stones of spiritual excel­lencies, over-laid with that pure gold of inward Holiness and Sanctification throughout. Having in it that fire of heavenly love descended on it, burn­ing in it; the Altar for offering thy self by Christ in thee a whole burnt-offering; the golden Altar Christ for the perfuming of all thy services to ascend as Incense up to God, and be pleasing, most sweet, and acceptable with him. There you may find the golden Lamps with the seven glorious lights, the Lord of light, thy wisdom, making thee light and shining in heavenly knowledge and wisdom. Nay, there may be found the golden Ark with the Testi­mony, the Law by the finger of Christ written on the fleshly tables of thy heart, and the Mercy-seat or Propitiatory, whereby thou art made to God a friend by Christ who is the Propitiation, residing in the Temple, the hidden man of thy heart; the Che­rubims of glory cover thee, and thy whole man made the Temple of the Holy Ghost dwelling and working in thee.

O what precious matter of Meditation may thy own glorious state, and the beauties of Graces and [Page 382]Holiness, the new creature formed in thee, after the image of Christ, and the Spirit of life and power, to the highest praise of the infinite love of the most blessed God, afford thee; even that God who in riches of free grace hath thought upon, and from all Eter­nity chosen thee to be a vessel of glory and ho­nour?

O how many and many rare objects, as have been formerly exprest, are given and set before thee to improve Meditation upon? And to and above all, if there be not enough, large enough, high enough, sweet enough, and satisfying; thou hast to search and dive farther into the infinite power of the All­sufficient God, especially his infinite loveliness and sweetness, to take thy highest solace, fullest satisfa­ction in.

Ah! then my soul, lift up to the utmost thy self in most glorious praises unto thy God, who hath ap­pointed such a way as this of heavenly Meditation, to hedge in thy thoughts, wildness, and wandrings; to help up thy thought, otherwise earthliness: Bless him with all that is within thee for vouchsafing and sanctifying so happy a way for thy both thought-imployment and improvement. Bless him with all heart-enlargements thou canst for making thee so spacious and large walks.

Most highly rejoyce in him who hath afforded thee so transcending, pleasant, and delightful walks for thy thoughts to take their happy turns in.

Say unto thy God, O what is man that thou art so mindful of him? so mindful of that silly mind of man, as to prepare and fit for him such blessed mind-walks, and these in so great variety of excellency, spiritual excellency for such pure pleasure, and ravishing de­light.

O then my soul, never deny the doing of this work, never defer the doing to a better time, when time is now.

O be not heartless and listless, dead and dull, not uneven and inconstant in the fervent performance of it.

O daily contend to higher excellency in this hea­venly Art, to have the wings of thy spirit longer and stronger, to soar a higher pitch, to take a more nimble flight, and make larger returns of blessed advan­tages, in peace, joy, satisfactions of ravishments and highest raptures of spirit, and by this assent of holy Meditation, mount up still higher and higher till thou touchest Heaven it self, till contemplation ends in vision and fruition of the most infinitely glo­rious God himself. Vision is accompanied with plenary and most perfect satisfaction, perfect happi­ness for ever. To which most unspeakably glorious God, the most infinitely highest Beauty and Excel­lency for the eye by contemplation to act and dwell upon; the Father, chiefly in his infinite riches of free Grace; the Son, in his infinite fulness of Re­demption; the Holy Spirit, in his most glorious In­habitation and Application of that Redemption, be Honour, Glory, and everlasting Praises of Saints and Angels for ever. Amen.

Soli Deo gloria.

FINIS.

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