Fox's Time and End of Time.

A GLIMPSE OF Eternity.

Very Useful To Awaken Sinners, and to Comfort Saints.

Profitable to be Read in Families, and Given at Funerals.


These shall go away into Everlasting Pu­nishment, but the Righteous into Life Eternal, Mat. 25.46.

The Third Edition, with Amendments.

LONDON, Printed for Thomas Parkhurst, at the Bible and Three Crowns at the lower end of Cheapside, and G. B. at the Bible under the Gate on London-Bridge. 1683.

To the Reader.

BEing importuned to peruse this Book, in order to another Impression, I have read it over with the greater Dili­gence; and the more I read, the more I must needs say I am delighted with it; not only for the Excellency of the Subject, but also for the accurate handling of it. If the Books penn'd by the Jesuit Drexelius, and by Cardinal Bona, treating of Eternity, put into an Eng­lish Dress, have found much acceptance, me­thinks this Choice Discourse, written in our Mother-Tongue, by an Eminent Protestant Divine, should be greedily perused, and hearti­ly embraced by all sound Protestants: Since such will be more apt to confide, that the Noti­ons are Orthodox, when Communicated by an able Teacher of their own Profession, who paints for Eternity, in a more excellent Sense than Zeuxis did, giving Life to each Head from the Infallible Oracles of God, and embellishing the Whole not by Engrav'd Pictures, but perti­nent and delightful Enlargements from both Divine and Humane Story; apt Resemblances, and acute Sentences, still consonant to the Gra­vity of the Matter. Here's a Method very easie and natural, a Stile not mean nor swel­ling; here are Explications clear and full, [Page] Arguments strong and conclusive, Cautions judicious and necessary, Lamentations and Ex­postulations pathetical, Exhortations lively and pertinent, Motives powerful and suasive, Directions proper and advantagious, and all correspondent to the Subject. 'Tis true, we here below are but of yesterday, and know nothing, our days on earth being a shadow; yet considering God is from everlasting to everlasting, we are concerned to walk in the way everlasting, having this everlasting Consolation and good hope through Grace, that He will save us with everlasting Salvation. His Strength is ever­lasting, and so is his Mercy; which may excite us to go up the Hill, and take a Pisgah-sight of the heavenly Canaan; which is so surpassing, that the most refined Souls here, after all their diligent Searches and Researches, can get but a Glimpse or Glimmering of it; which He who inhabits that pleasant Seat, is alone able to de­scribe. But since we breathe after it, we ought with all modest inquisitiveness to consider the Import of those Notices we have of that Un­changeable State, which flows from the Being of God, (who is the Eternal) [the I AM] or most properly, Eternity it self, even as un­bounded Space doth from his Omnipresence. Eternity we may get some Prospect of by the Glass of the Scripture, as a mode of Being connoting a changeless and endless Duration, it being like one great smooth Sea, without [Page] any curl of change. Time notes the coming of things into Being, and so implies a change: The best Temporals are but as the finest Pi­cture upon Ice, which melts away with the Thawe: But all will be fix'd in the unmovable State of Eternity. Whatever in this lower State seems firmer than other, comes nearest to resemble it, as the lasting Hills, before which the Almighty was, and after them will be, without variableness or shadow of turning. All Ages of Time are comprehended in Eter­nity, as Drops encircled in the Ocean. It con­cerns therefore every created Immortal Being to take all advantages in this alterable State, of minding that unchangeable Misery or Felicity which abides us all, that we may not slide una­wares into an unalterable State of endless Torment, but, by getting an Interest in the Blessed Jesus, when we are dislodg'd these cum­bersom clayie Cottages, enter into his Joy, even that entire duration of endless Delight. Our Author hath put one of the best Perspe­ctives into our hands; That we may use it for the End to which it is design'd, is the heartiest Prayer of him who recommends it to the Chri­stian Reader.

R. A.


THe Introduction.
  • Chap. I. Of Eternal, Invisible Things. The first Argument from God.
  • II. Of the Meritorious Causes, and the Nature of Hap­piness and Punishment, and the Immortality of Man.
  • III. Of Scripture-proofs of Eternal Happiness, consisting in Sight, Love, Joy, Praise; with created Accessories: and Eternal Misery, expressed by Wrath, Worm, Fire, Prison, Darkness, Burning, Torment.
  • IV. Of the Sublimeness of Eternity, as transcending all Expression, Knowledge (of it self, or Measure) and all Imagination.
  • V. Of the Importance of Eternity, from the Endlesness of it. Considering God will not, nothing else can put an end to it.
  • VI. Of Eternity without succession, or without consum­ption.
  • VII. Of Eternal Happiness and Misery, without inter­mission, and without mixture, in Heaven or Hell.
  • VIII. Of Lamentation for those at ease, and careless of Eternity, from three several Aggravations; with Expostulations.
  • IX. Of Caution to prevent Mistakes about the Adversity of the Godly, & the Prosperity of the Wicked in this state.
  • X. An Exhortation to Restrain from Sin, and Redeem Time.
  • XI. An Exhortation to look on Eternal Things, by our Meditations, Expressions, Affections of Desire, Hope, Love, Delight, and Endeavours.
  • XII. Of looking to Eternal Things as our End; enforced by eight several Arguments.
  • XIII. Of Motives drawn from other Things, other Men, our selves, and the unspeakable Benefits of a Prospect of Things Eternal.
  • XIV. Of various Considerations, to move us to make Pro­vision for Eternity.
  • XV. Of Directions to help us in looking after Eternal Blessedness: With Answers to some Objections, and Cautions.

A Glimpse of Eternity.

2 Cor. 4.18.

The things which are not seen, are Eternal.


IN the eighth, and some following Verses, are re­corded the Sufferings of Paul, and other Apo­stles and Believers; they were troubled on every side, perplexed, persecuted, cast down: And this hath been the continual Lot of Gods people; though some times have been more favourable, yet there is scarce any time in which they have wholly been free from Sufferings. When the rage of Persecution by the Roman Emperours was allayed, and some pleased themselves because the Emperours were turned Chri­stians, Augustine tells them, the Emperours indeed were turned Christians, but the Devil was not turned Christian; and as long as there is a Devil in Hell, and Wicked men on Earth, all that will live godly in Christ Je­sus, shall suffer Persecution. Christ the Head of the Church, whom Bernard calleth the Bridegroom of Bloods *, espoused his Church to himself upon the Bed of his Cross, his Head begirt with a Pillow of Thorns, [Page 2] his body drencht in a bath of his own blood; and if the head was crowned with thorns, it is unsuita­ble that the feet should tread upon Roses; if they called the Master of the house Belzebub, much more those of his houshold.b Christ himself drank of the brook in the way, c and all his followers must drink of the same cup that he drank of: But though this hath been the Lot of all Believers, yet the dreggs of this cup have been usually prepared for the Dispensers of Gods Word,d the Stan­dard-bearers of this bloody band; as if to Preach, were nothing else but to stir up the rage of men. e There is no rank, or sort of men that hath been exposed to so much contempt, and suffering; If I were (saith Jerome) a Basket-maker, or a Garland-wea­ver, or any low Trade, that would make me sweat for the bread I eat, no man would maligne me, no man would traduce me; but now I give my self to the study and interpretation of Scripture, now I am a Preacher, a Writer, I am blotted with the obloquies of men.

As long as Christ was working at his Fathers Trade, and was employed, as Justin Martyr expres­seth it, in making Beadsteads and Ploughs, f no man opposed him; but when he was Baptized, and went out to preach the Gospel, presently he is tempted by Satan, and persecuted by wicked men: as long as the Apostles were mending their Nets, and following their fishing trade, none troubled them; but when of fishers, they were made fishers of men, they are forthwith made a spectacle to the world, and Angels, and men; and so the Apostle expresseth it, verse 11. We which live, are alwaies delivered to death for Jesus sake; there were but few of them left alive, but were by the rage of Tyrants [Page 3] put to cruel deaths; those that survived, though they had not yet resisted unto blood, yet daily ex­pected when they should be offered up as a bloody sacrifice, and were at present under great suffer­ings: bearing about in their bodies, the dying of the Lord Jesus, ver. 10. But did they hereupon repent of their engaging in the work of the Lord, or sink down under discouragement and dispondency of Spirit? Nothing less; ver. 16. for which cause we faint not, * the word signifieth to shrink back; as cowards in warre; to sink down as a Porter un­der an overheavy burden. As one man, by the help of an Engine is able to lift up a heavy weight, which ten or twenty men might in vain attempt by their own strength: so the Apostles went chearfully under that pressure of Affliction, which would have sunk the stoutest spirits, not supported by Divine Grace. For which cause we faint not; if you would know for what cause, what it was that supported them: there are two causes rendred, one respect­ing the Corinthians, to whom he writes, that is partly laid down, ver. 12. So then, death worketh in us, but life in you: we dye, that you might live by our death; we suffer, that you may be strengthned by our sufferings; and partly, verse 15. All things are for your sakes, all the streights we are put to, turn to your advantage; if we dye, it is to confirm you by our sufferings; if God shall deliver us, and restore us again to you, it is for his glory, and your good, that the a­bundant grace might by the thanksgiving of many, re­dound to the Glory of God: and that is one cause why he fainted not; he counted not his life dear to him, so as he might be helpful to their Faith. The other cause respects the Apostles themselves; their great sufferings made both for their present spiritual good, and for their future happiness.

[Page 4]1. Their present Spiritual Good: The cold Blasts of Persecution beating upon the outward Man, by a Spiritual Antiperistasis, augmented the Heat of Grace within, for which cause we faint not; for though our out­ward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day: He was three times beaten with Rods, five times re­ceived he forty stripes save one*. But as they say the Bear is made fat with blows, and the Ass battens with pricking and beating; so it was in a spiritual sense with our Apostle, he was once stoned, but by those stones he was knocked nearer to Christ the corner-stone: he thrice suffered shipwrack, but, like Noah's Ark, was lifted up nearer to Heaven, by those floods of great waters; he was in Journeyings often, but every time his salvation was nearer than before.

2. Their future happiness, verse 17. Our light afflicti­on, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. For Affliction, there is Glory; for light affliction, a weight, an ex­ceeding, a far more exceeding weight: for short afflicti­on, that lasts but for a moment, an eternal weight of Glory. And this it was they had chiefly in their eye: so in this Verse, While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. Things seen, and not seen, are, I conceive, the same with what elsewhere he calleth things present, and things to come a, and things above and things on the earth b, and things of the life that now is, and of that which is to come c: and so the Apostle explaineth himself in the following words, the things that are seen, are temporal; but the things that are not seen, are eternal.

The whole Verse falleth under a twofold Conside­ration.

[Page 5]1. Relative, as they are a Reason why they fainted not under their present troubles; as Moses chose ra­ther to suffer affliction with the People of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin, because he had an eye to the recompence of reward 1: and our Saviour Christ, for the joy that was set before him, endured the Cross, and despised the shame 2: so the Apostles having their eye upon things invisible, and eternal, made light of all their present Sufferings and Persecutions.

2. Absolute, and so they shew what the Apostles made their Aim and End: that is implied in the word [...], which signifieth to look, as the Archer doth at the Mark he shooteth at. There were some things they made their great business, which was the mark they shot at, the great End they propounded to themselves: and what they were, is first speci­fied, then more fully explained.

First, Specified, and that

1. Negatively, what they look'd not at, things seen 3, the things of this Life, which are things visible to the eye 4.

2. Affirmatively, shewing what were those things which they made the matter of their choice, the great objects of their desires and endeavours, things not seen 5, the things of another Life, which are objects of faith, and not of sense, things not visible to these fleshly eyes, onely apprehended by faith, which is the evidence of things not seen 6. And that these are meant by things seen, and not seen, the Apostle, secondly, further explaineth, in the following words, the things that are seen, are temporal; but the things which are not seen, are eternal: which are not onely exegetical, ex­plaining what is meant by things seen, and not seen; but, as the word [for] implies, contain the reason why they aimed at one, and not the other; the things [Page 6] that are seen, are temporal; all the visible things of this life; whether prosperous, as health, liberty, riches, honour, and the like; or adverse, as sickness, po­verty, persecution, death, they are for a while, (u) for a short season, so the word is else-where ren­dred(w); therfore saith the Apostle, we look not at them, we make them not our aim, we trouble not our selves much about them, they are things of a higher nature we look at, such as neither eye hath seen, nor ear heard of; and these are such as are durable; the things which are not seen, are eternal: And here there are two things I shall speak to.

1. That the things not seen, the things of another life, are eternal: Or thus, that the condition of man after this life, is an eternal condition.

2. That That which puts the weight upon things not seen, and rendereth them proper Objects of a Christians aim, and choice, is because they are eternal. I shall speak to these distinctly in the Doctrinal part, and then joyn them together in the Application.

CHAP. I. Of Eternal, Invisible things, the first Argument from God.

I begin with the first:

1. THat the vnseen things of another life, are Eter­nal; the condition of man after this life is an eternal condition. After a few daies are spent, we must all enter upon that long day that hath no evening, that infinite duration, that hath no end, that unlimited Eternity, which alwaies hath been, and is, and shall be the same for ever and ever: when man dyes he goeth to his long home, [Page 7] (x) the body goeth to the Grave, which the Scrip­ture calls its house, or home; the Grave is my house, (y) All the Kings of the Nations lye every one in his own house, (z) and this is a long home, being to lye there till the Heavens be no more; (a) and Solomon saith, of these daies of darkness in the Grave, that they are many. (b) But the soul goeth to a longer home, the home of Eternity, as the Septuagint reads it; be­lievers go to their home, their Country, their Fa­thers house: Wicked men go to their home, their own place, as it was said of Judas (c); both Saints and Sinners, when they go hence, enter upon a new, but never ending condition: whether Death lands them upon the desired haven of rest, and happiness, or casts them upon the black shore of misery, and torment; whether they be received in­to Heaven, or doomed to Hell; whether they rise to the resurrection of Life, or the resurrection of Con­demnation, they are equally put into an endless ever­lasting condition, the one riseth to everlasting life, the other to shame and everlasting contempt. (d) The latter go away into everlasting punishment, the other into life eternal. (e) The truth of this I shall demon­strate from these following Arguments.

1. From God, it is true, God enjoys all happiness in himself, and can receive no addition thereunto from the creature; all his happiness is in himself, in the injoymeut of himself, in the contemplation of his own perfection; he was as happy, before Heaven or Earth, Angels, or Men were made, as he is now, and would be so, were all creatures re­duced to their first nothing; as Seneca divinely, if the world were consumed, all the Angels anni­hilated, and nature cease to be, yet being left to him­self, [Page 8] he enjoyeth all in himself: but though he be in himself God over all, blessed for ever, yet it pleased God, for the manifesting the Glory of his Attributes, to make a world of Creatures, and, among others, Angels and Men, upon whom he imprinted some more conspicuous Characters and Draughts of his own Perfections; and among others, made them parta­kers of his own Immortality, that upon them he might manifest the Glory either of his Mercy, or his Wrath. What if God willing to shew his wrath, and make his power known, indured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction? and that he might make known the glory of his mercy on the vessels of mercy, which he had before prepared unto glory *? To this purpose, though he made both righteous, yet he left both to the freedom of their own will, that if they did well, they might do it out of choice and good-will, not of neces­sity; if they did ill, it should be by their own de­fault: And though God was no ways the cause of ei­thers sin, nor ordained either to punishment with­out reference to their sin; yet he foresaw they would abuse their free-will, by sinning against him, and by sin make themselves obnoxious to his wrath; and accordingly ordained, that those Angels that stood, and those of Mankind that after their Fall would accept of a Mediator, should live eternally with him­self in Glory and Happiness. On the other side, that those of the Angels who left their first habitation, and those of the Sons of men who rejected the help of a Mediator, should for ever feel the weight of his displeasure. So that to deny the eternal condition of Man after this Life, is quite repugnant to that great Design of God, whereby he appointed both Angels and Men to be, for ever, either the perpetual Objects of his Free-grace, or the everlasting Monu­ments of his justly deserved Wrath.

But to improve this Meditation a little further: We read of worlds in Scripture, by which he made the worlds 1. By faith we understand that the worlds were made by the word of God 2.

Though some think it is spoken in the plural Num­ber, after the Jewish mode, who used to mention a three-fold, an inferior, a middle, and a superiour World, as Camero observeth: and others conceive, that by Worlds may be meant the Age or World of the Jew­ish Church under the Law, and the Christian Church in the times of the Gospel, called the World to come 3: yet I see no cause why by Worlds we may not under­stand the present World4, and the future World; or, as they are distinguished5, this world, and the world to come: this World is but of short continuance; The fashion of this world passeth away 6; the World to come is a World without end: this World is like a Comet, that blazeth for a time, and then disappeareth; the World to come is as a Fixed Star, or rather as the Sun, that faithful Witness in Heaven, that rangeth about the Firmament with a glittering perpetuity: this world is but a Tent or Tabernacle, set up for a time, but e're long to be taken down, the Stakes thereof to be removed, and the Cords broken; the world to come is a Mansion, or place of abode: In my Fathers house are many Mansions 7. This World was set up as a Stage for Men to act their Parts on for some few thousands of Years, and then must become Fuel to the Fire; the world to come is that great lasting Theatre, on which God will eternally display the glory of his several Attributes. Concerning the duration of this World, there is a great dispute, whether there shall be only a renovation, or a total annihilati­on, at the Day of Judgment: but concerning the world to come, and the Inhabitants of it, Angels and [Page 10] Men, there was never any question made by any sober Orthodox Divine, howsoever the Scripture is most clear for it,(n) The Children of this world marry, and are given in marriage, but they that shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the Resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: Nei­ther can they dye any more, for they are equal to the Angels, and are the Children of God, being the Children of the Re­surrection. Both these worlds God made to shew the Glory of his Attributes, God hath much glory from this world; The Heavens declare the Glory of God, and the Firmament sheweth his handy-work (o), he hath shewn much of his Power in making; of his Providence, in sustaining; of his Wisdom, in governing this world; but the magnifying of those two great Attributes, his Mercy and his Justice, is chiefly re­served for the world to come; all those temporal mercies in this life conferred upon men, are but the blessings of the Foot-stool, no way comparable with the blessings of the Throne; Riches and Ho­nour, the two great things that are so ambitiou­sly pursued by the men of the world, they are but Wisdoms left-handed blessings(q), not to be compared with that length of daies, that eternity that is in Wisdomes right-hand, and which all the Children of Wisdom partake of in the life to come. Some report that Joseph in that great Famine, cau­sed a great deal of Chaffe to be cast into the River Nilus, to let the Neighbouring Nations know what plenty of Corn they had in Aegypt: all the good things of this life, are but as Chaffe, which God scattereth abroad in the World, to let men know what a better, and more induring substance he hath provided for his own People: and what is he Chaffe to the Wheat, saith the Lord (r)? Seek first [Page 11] the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and these things shall be added unto you (s). A Metaphor taken from bargainers;(t) those that buy cloth, have usually some over-measure given in; those that buy fruit, pay nothing for paper and pack-thread; such are these temporal things in Gods esteem. Luther calls the whole Turkish Empire but a crust which God casts to the Dogs under his Table; and miserable is that man, that hath no other portion but in these things; the great mercies God intends for his People are reserved for the life to come, that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace. (u)

On the other side, the great Executions of Gods wrath upon wicked men are reserved for another World; therefore it is called the wrath to come (w); all the punishments of this life are but as flea-bites, the Father saith(x) but toys and merriments, to future torments; Nazianzen saith, the Worst temporal punishments are but(y) the smoaking of Gods wrath; and what is the smoak to the fire? We read,(z) that Moses, took handfuls of Ashes out of the furnace, and sprinkled them toward Heaven, and they became boils upon man and beast: all those plagues inflicted in this life, are but as a handful of Ashes taken out of the furnace of Gods wrath. The destruction of Sodom with fire and brimstone from Heaven, was the saddest and strangest Judgment that ever was in­flicted upon any, yet our Saviour saith,(a) It shall be more tolerable for Sodom at the day of Judgment; the Sodomites, though then destroyed, are reserved to a more grievous destruction; those showers of brim­stone, that fell upon Sodom, are but heat drops to those storms of wrath, which shall then, and thenceforth for ever beat upon them: It was the in­vention [Page 12] of some of the Ancients, that there are three sorts of Thunderbolts in Heaven; the first to warn, not to hurt; the second to hurt, but not quite to destroy; the third to ruine, and lay all waste; the two first sorts of Thunderbolts God often in this life dischargeth upon wicked Men, but the third and worst is reserved for another life, when all the Artil­leries of Heaven are shot off, when all the Fountains of Gods Wrath are broken up, and all the Vials of his Displeasure poured out upon the People of his Curse. By all this it appeareth, that there is but little either of Gods Mercy or Justice shewed in these temporary Rewards and Punishments; the great Ma­nifestation of these two great Attributes is reserved for the life to come, when God will shew the Riches of his Mercy upon the vessels of mercy afore-prepared unto glory; and the greatness of his Wrath upon the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction; and yet even then, and there, in nothing will the greatness of his Mercy and Wrath so much appear, as in the eternity of those Rewards and Punishments then dispensed: So that to deny the eternal State of Man after this Life, is a brutish confining the eternal Decrees, and great­est Workings of God, to the narrow compass of this present World, and in a manner to deny there is any world to come, at least, such as is described in Scri­pture.

Having proved this from the great Design of God, in making Angels and Men; I shall further evince it from the Attributes of God, which are eternal, like himself; The mercy of God is an everlasting mercy 1, it endureth for ever 2; The wrath of God is an abiding wrath 3, therefore called everlasting burnings 4. Now these Attributes must produce suitable acts; as mercy is shewed in acts of mercy, and wrath in acts of ju­stice: [Page 13] and these acts must have suitable objects; for although the immanent acts of God, such as abide in him, of which number are his eternal Decrees, do not necessarily require the praeexistence of any objects, I mean in regard of a present existence 1, but only in re­gard of the knowledge 2 and foresight of God; yet his transient acts, or those that pass from him, as re­warding, which is an act of mercy; and punishing, which is an act of justice; these necessarily suppose some ob­ject upon which they are terminated. Now as there are no Creatures besides Angels and Men, that are capable of merit, or demerit, which might make them capable of rewards, or liable unto punishments; so there is no Creature else which is immortal, and so capable of eternal happiness, or eternal misery.

And therefore it will follow, that these, I mean Angels and Men, must for ever remain either the perpetual objects of Gods free grace and mercy, or the everlasting monuments of his wrath and displeasure: And therefore the Scripture determines these upon their proper objects, 3 The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, upon them that fear him: And on the other side,4 He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.

CHAP. II. Of the Meritorious Causes, and the Nature of Happiness and Punishment, and the Immortality of Man.

A Second Argument may be taken from the Merito­rious Causes both of the Happiness of Heaven, and the Punishments of Hell. 1. The Meritorious Cause of the Happiness in Heaven, is the Merit and [Page 14] Suffering of Christ. The coming of Christ into the world, and suffering for us, that he might thereby free us from the wrath to come, and entitle us to eter­nal happiness, is that great design which the whole Tri­nity have been thansacting from all eternity: so Wisdom tells us.(l) That from everlasting he was as one brought up with the Father, rejoycing always be­fore him: Rejoycing in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights were with the Sons of Men. And to the like purpose the Apostle,(m) That God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself: Of all those works of God, ad extra, such as con­cern the creature, this is the most sublime and glo­rious, (as one saith excellently) neither the Creation of all things out of nothing, which was the begin­ning of the works of God, and put an end to that long Sabbath, that had no beginning; nor the Re­surrection from the dead, and Restoration of all things, the last work that shall go before that ever­lasting Sabbath, which shall have a beginning but no end; neither that first, nor this last; though ad­mirable works, and worthy of the Author, may be compared with this; It is the master-piece of Gods works, that great work in which he hath broken up all the depths of his mercy, in which he hath displayed all the banners of his Love, and ex­hibited the largest draughts of his power, wisdom, love, and mercy: The whole Scripture, (n) [saith An­halt, who was both a Prince, and Preacher] is no­thing else but the swadling bands of the Child Jesus. All the Types, Ceremonies, Washings, Sacraments, Sacrifices, and whatsoever else we read of under the Law, were but as leaves that promised this great fruit; as hands in the Margin pointing at [...]his truth; as lines ending in this centre, they [Page 15] all had their accomplishment in this great Mystery, God manifested in the flesh: The Gospel is nothing else than a Declaration of these glad tydings, which is the summe and substance of both Testaments, briefly. If the Scripture be a ring of Gold, which God hath sent his Church as a token of his love, Christ is as the Diamond in this Ring, that chiefly makes it so valuable: if the Scripture be as the field mentioned in the Gospel, Christ is the one pearl of great price hid in it, which the wise-man selleth all he hath to purchase: if the Scripture be a preci­ous box, Christ is the Oyntment contained in it, filling the whole world with a precious savour. But to apply this to the present purpose; if there be no eternal condition of man after this life, what need was there of Christ coming and suffering? What other end might God have in that grand de­sign? No wise man will undertake any great ex­pensive business, but propound some end proportio­nable to the pains he takes, and the expences he is at; much less the only wise God: this great work will evince at least, that there is a future con­dition of man after this life, and I think also the eternity of that condition; this the Scripture makes the end of his coming (o) God have his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life; The end of his suffering, that they which are called might receive the Promise of an eternal inheritance; the end of that Power which God gave him, as a reward of his suffering,(p) Thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him (q).

But if the coming and suffering of Christ con­sidered simply in it self, will not conclude the E­ternity of our future condition, it may farther be evinced from this following consideration; Christ [Page 16] being God as well as Man, his Merits and Sufferings must needs be of infinite worth and value, and so, con­sequently, meriting an infinite happiness. It would be inconsistent with the wisdom of Christ, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom, to pay an infinite price for a finite purchase; nothing short of an infinite happiness can bear any suitable proportion with the infinite price Christ paid. Now Man being but a Creature, and so finite, is not able at once to grasp and comprehend an infinite happiness; though the happiness purchased be objectively infinite, because God, who is infinite, is enjoyed in Heaven, yet it is not infinite in regard of man, whose Nature and Ca­pacities are finite and limited; and because the hap­piness enjoyed is not infinite intensively, in regard of the greatness, it must be infinite extensively in regard of the duration and continuance; what is wanting in the one, is made up in the other: Eternity is put into the scale to make up the weight, otherwise there would be no proportion between the price and the pur­chase; which is not to be imagined of God, who doth all things in order, weight, and measure.

2. The like is to be said of Sin, which is the merito­rious Cause of the Sufferings in Hell: Sin is objectively infinite, as being committed against an infinite God, and consequently deserving an infinite punishment; which because it cannot be infinite in regard of in­tensiveness and greatness, being inflicted upon a finite Creature, therefore it is requisite that it should be infinite in regard of the extensiveness or continuance; because the punishment the creature can bear, comes short of the demerit of sin; so, as he cannot pay the whole debt at once, he must lye in Hell till he hath paid the uttermost farthing. And as there is an infinite­ness, so there is an eternity in Sin, not onely an objective eternity, as being committed against the eternal God, and consequently demeriting an eternal punishment; but there is in a sort a further eternity in sin: Gre­gory [Page 17] saith, there is an infinite eternal malice in sin, so as if wicked men should live eternally, they would sin eternally: and it is but just, that they should never want punishment, who, if they had been suffered, would ne­ver have wanted sin. That wicked men do not sin eternally, is only because they are hindred by Death; should they live for ever, they would sin for ever. What Luther in humility spake of himself, I have no other name than Sinner, Sinner is my name, Sinner is my firname, this is the name by which I shall be always known; I have sinned, I do sin, I shall sin in infinitum, may be more justly spoken of obdurate sinners, whose hearts are fully set in them to do evil. Let none think, if wicked men were suffered to live longer, they would bethink themselves, and break off their sins by repen­tance; the men of the Old World lived many of them eight or nine hundred years, yet they were so far from repentance, that, as the Father saith, they made no other use of that space given them for repentance, than to patronize their wickedness and impiety. The like would be done by other wicked men, if they might live as long, or a far longer time: and in evil, as well as good, God looketh more at the Will, than at the Deed. What lets us (saith Seneca) to call Lucius Scilla Tyrant, though he gave over killing, when he had no more enemies to kill? And what lets him to be a sinner still, who leaveth not sin, till sin leave him? He that doth not sin because he cannot, doth sin, although he doth not; that he doth not sin eternally, is onely be­cause he is prevented by death: A Postiller sets it out by this Comparison; A company of Gamesters, who are resolvedly set down to play, when their candle is burnt out, that they have no longer light, are forced to give over; whereas if their light had lasted, they would have plaid longer, till perhaps s [...]me had lost all their money: So it is with wicked men in regard of sin.

Yet further, beside this potential Eternity in sin, whereby men would sin always, if they might live [Page 18] alwaies; there is a further, an Actual eternity in mens sins; though Death puts an end to mens lives, yet not to their sins; Hell is as full of sin, as it is of punishment; Though the School-men deter­mine, that after this life, men are capable neither of merit nor demerit, and therefore by their sins do not incur a greater measure of punishment, yet they grant that they sin still; though when the creature is actually under the sentence of Condemnation, the Law ceaseth as to any further punishment, yet there is an obligation to the precept of the Law still; though man be bound only to the curse of the Law, as he is a sinner, yet he is bound to the precept of the Law, as he is a creature: so that though the demerit of sin ceaseth after death, yet the nature of sin remaineth; though by sinning they do not in­cur a higher and greater degree of punishment, yet as they continue sinning, so it is just with God there should be a continuation of the punishment already inflicted.

3. A third Argument may be taken from what the Scripture speaketh of the happiness in Heaven, and the torment in Hell; both which are described to be incomparably and unconceivably great. In Heaven there is fulness of happiness, In thy pre­sence is fulness of joy; (u) though it be not a redun­dant overflowing fulness, as Christs is, of whose fulness we receive, as well happiness for happiness, as grace for grace; yet it is the highest fulness the crea­ture is capable of; being not only a fitting congruous fulness; as we say a house, well stored, is full of houshold-stuff; such a fulness as the Saints par­take of in this life: But an equal fulness, as when a vessel is full of water, that nothing can be added to it; and so full it can scarce properly be said to be, if it were fading: and therefore the [Page 19] Psalmist having said, in thy presence is fulness of joy, he adds, and at thy right hand, there are pleasures for evermore.

Again, it is described to be a perfect happiness; we read of the Spirits of just men made perfect (z), perfect in happiness as well as holiness, which per­fection excludes all imperfection; When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away (a): Though the Saints in heaven have a Negative imperfection, because there are some per­fections in God, which being incommunicable, they are not capable of, yet they have no Privative im­perfection; they want nothing which may con­duce to their happiness in their kind: whereas if their happiness were not eternal, there were some­thing, nay, the chief thing wanting to the perfecti­on of it.

The Apostle in the verse before the Text, cal­leth it, a far more exceeding weight of glory. The A­rabick Version renders it, It worketh for us a weight of glory, in the most eminent and largest degree, and measure: The Siriack reads it, An infinite glory: Haymo, A greatness of Glory, beyond all bo [...]nds and measure; yet none of these reach the height of the Apostles Rhetorick, (c) neither is any translation able to express it; now thus it could not be, unless it were eternal: therefore that is put into the scale to make up the weight; a far more ex­ceeding, and eternal weight of glory.

Again, it is described to be a satisfying happi­ness. I shall be satisfied when I awake, with thy like­ness (d). They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house (e); but satisfie it could not, un­less it were eternal; there is, as in every creature, so in man especially, a twofold desire; a desire of [Page 20] Perfection, and a desi [...] of Perpetuity; a desire to advance his Being to the highest degree of Perfecti­on and happiness he is capable or; [...]d a desire to perpetuate this happiness. And [...] impossible he should receive full content, till be [...] these desires are satisfied; though in Heaven th [...] Saints have a present freedom, from all the ev [...]l that can possibly fall within the compass of their fea [...]s; and an actu­al enjoyment of all the good, that can fall within the compass of their hopes; yet if they had no as­surance of the perpetuity of this, they must needs be restless and unsatisfied.

Yet further, the greatness and perfection of this happiness, must necessarily exclude all such things as are inimical to it; I shall name only two: Fear; Perfect love casteth out fear (f): and Sorrow; They shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away (g), Whereas if this happiness were not eternal, there would be cause for both; first, the Saints would be in fear of losing this happiness; and where there is fear, there is Torment, in that fore-named Text; and this fear must needs be productive of sorrow; were it not for the eternity of this happiness, it would be hard to say, whe­ther there would be the more joy or sorrow in Hea­ven; we may probably think, there might be as much sorrow arising from the fear of their future loss, as there is joy from the apprehension of their pre­sent enjoyment, and that there should be either fear, or sorrow in Heaven, is not only contradicto­ry to the fore-named Text, but utterly inconsi­stent with the blessedness of that estate. In summe, if we Believe what the Scripture speaketh of the greatness of this happiness, we must needs grant it to be eternal; And this Aquinas maketh Use of, [Page 21] as the strongest Argument to prove the eternity of this happiness.

The like is to be said of the torments of Hell, which could not be so grievous as they are descri­bed, if they were not eternal; were they to last a thousand thousand years, there would be some hopes they would end at last, and this hope will admini­ster some kind of ease, and comfort; when some thousands of these years were expired, it would be some comfort that there were so many already past, and by so many the fewer yet to come; and so forward; the further decreasing of the time would add a proportionable encrease to their hope and comfort; whereas that Cup of Wrath, the Dregs of which they shall wring out, and drink, is with­out mixture, * without any mixture of hope, ease, comfort, or any thing which might alleviate their misery; and that which chiefly maketh it unca­pable of these, is the eternity of this misery; it must be indeed confessed, that the Torments of Hell are intensively most grievous: Bernard saith that the least punishment in Hell is more grievous, than if a Child-bearing woman should continue in the most vio­lent pangs and throws a thousand years together, with­out the least ease or intermission. An ancient writer, mentioned by Discipulus de tempore, goeth much further, affirming, that if all the men which have been from Adams time till this day, and which shall be till the end of the world, and all the Piles of grass in the world, were turned into so many men to [...]ugment the number; and that punishment inflicted in Hell upon any one, were to be divided amongst all [...]hese, so as to every one might befall an equal part of that punishment: yet that which would be the portion but of one man, would he far more grievous than all [...]he cruel deaths, and exquisite tortures, which have [Page 22] been inflicted upon men ever since the world began: But though they be thus dreadful in themselves, yet that which mainly, and indeed infinitely adds to the greatness of them, is, because they are eternal; as one said: If Hell were to be indured but a thousand years, methinks I could bear it; but for ever, that a­mazeth me. Bellarmine [i], out of Barocius, tells of a learned man, who after his death appeared to his friend, complaining that he was adjudged to Hell-Torments, which, (saith he) were they to last but a thousand thousand years, I should think it tolerable; but alas, they are eternal. And as it is the eternity of these sufferings which chiefly maketh them so great: so the greatness of them proveth them to be eternal: otherwise they could not be so great as they are described.

4. A fourth Argument to prove the point, may be taken from man himself, who is[k] an immortal Creature[l], God created man to be immortal, and made him an Image of his own eternity; though he be not eternal and immortal as God is, who is therefore said only to have immortality [m], and therefore Divines distinguish between the eternity of God, and the sempiternity of man; God is a whole eternity, both backwards and forwards, from everlasting to everlasting; man's onely a half eterni­ty, forwards, but not backwards: to, not from e­verlasting. God's is a simple eternity, he can no way cease to be: man's only in some respect, because he may be annihilated by God's power. God's is an uncreated, man's a created eternity; God's cau­sal, man's derived: God's independent, being onely from himself: man's dependent and limited: but though he be not eternal as God is, he is truely and properly an immortal Creature. There are two es­sential [Page 23] parts of man, the soul and the body, and in regard of both these, he is immortal: First, the soul is an immortal substance, and that not only by the grace, and favour of God, as the body of Adam was in the state of innocency, and as the bodies of the Saints shall be at the Resurrection; but, by its own nature, having no internal prin­ciple of corruption, so as it cannot by any thing from within it self cease to be: neither can it be annihilated by any thing from without (r). Fear not them which kill the body, but are rot able to kill the soul. Gregory observeth, there are three sorts of Created Spirits: the first of those whose dwell­ing is not with flesh, or in fleshly bodies, they are the Angels; the Second of those which are wholly immer­sed in flesh, the souls of beasts, which rise out of the pow­er of the flesh, and perish together with it, the third is of those which inhabit bodies of flesh, but neither rise out of the Power of the flesh, nor dye when the body dyeth: and these are the souls of men; when the body returneth to the earth, as it was, the Spirit shall return to God who gave it (s). From this immor­tality of the Soul, we may inferr the eternity of mans future condition. The soul being immortal, it must be immortally happy, or immortally miserable. I shall not stand to enumerate those many arguments that are brought to prove the souls immortality; but whatsoever Arguments are, or may be used to prove this, they will all undeniably conclude the eternity of mans future estate.

A further proof of it may be taken from the body, which though it be subject to death, yet not to disso­lution. Simo Stenius, Professor of the Greek Tongue at Heidelberg, being visited by the Minister, lying upon his Death-bed, amongst other Discourses, the Minister asked him, if he desired with Paul to be dissol­ved, [Page 24] and to be with Christ? rendering the word after the vulgar Translation; he answered with some kind of indignation, that that was not the proper signifi­cation of the word(u) used by the Apostle, which properly signifies to depart, to be unloosed, not to be dissolved. Death is only a change, not an annihilati­on; After a Creature is once in being, it is never wholly annihilated. Birth is a River (saith) Heracly­tus) which never drieth up, but is continually supplyed by an accession of fresh waters; though the Body be subject to death, and after death to a thousand trans­mutations; as men cast away at Sea, may be devou­red by Fishes, those Fishes after eaten by men; pos­sibly, some of those men devoured by wild Beasts, those Beasts by Dogs, those Dogs eaten up by Worms, those Worms consumed to dust, that dust scattered upon the Earth; yet after all these revolutions, and transmutations, there is something remaining, and God is able to make those dispersed pieces of dust, like those scattered bones, Ezek. 37. to come together one to a­nother: take twenty several sorts of seeds, and mingle them together in the same vessel, a skilful Gardiner is able to sever them one from another: mingle the filings of Steel or Iron with so much dust, that the filings are not perceived, yet by the help of the Load-stone you may separate the filings from the dust, according to their first quantity: They say, some ex­act Chymists are able, out of the same herb, to draw out the several elements by themselves. That men can do this, it is because God teacheth them; as the Pro­phet speaketh of the Husbandman(w), And he that teacheth men knowledge, shall not he know (x)? He that first made man out of nothing, can much more repair him, out of that something yet remaining. Augustine [Page 25] hath a good meditation to this purpose; Think, (saith he) with thy self, how old thou art, whether twenty, or thirty years old, before that time what wast thou? Where wast thou? In the Grave whither thou goest, there will be dust, or ashes, or something to be found toward a man, whereas before that time, there was neither dust, nor Ashes, nor any thing to be found to­wards thy Nativity. God who at first made the body out of nothing, can and will remake it out of something pre-existent; and when it is thus re-made, it shall be made Immortal, and incorruptible: So the Apostle,* It is sown in corruption, it shall be raised in incorrup­tion; This corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality: We read, Levit. 14. If the Plague of Leprosie were in a house, they must scrape the walls, and pull out the stones, and plaist­er, and put other plaister in the room; but if the Leprosie brake out again, they must pull down the house with the stones, timber and morter thereof. There is in every man, the fretting Leprosie of sin: In the work of Conversion, God as it were, takes out the Timber, and Stones, and putteth others in their room, while he worketh a thorow change in the soul; but still the Leprosie of Sin continueth, till at last, God sends Death, which pulleth down the house, with the timber and stones, and thereby takes away both the Leprosie of sin, and that mortality and corrup­tion which sin bringeth: As a Watch, being battered, or clogged with dust, is taken in pieces; pulled joynt from joynt, and wheel from wheel, to the end it may go better than before; or, as some goodly Sta­tue of Brass, being defaced, is taken down, pulled in pieces, put into the Fire; but all this is, that it may be put together again, and made a more goodly work manship: Or, if we arise and go into the Pot­ter's-Field, and behold his workmanship; is not the [Page 26] Vessel made of Clay, that was marred in the hands of the Potter? * yet he either maketh it the same Ves­sel, so as nothing is wanting but its former deformity; or if he pleaseth, a m [...]re honourable vessel than before; In like manner, the body being by Adam's sin made liable to Death, and Corruption, God seeth good to take it in pieces by death, that being put together a­gain at the Resurrection, it might be freed from this corruptibleness, and put into an estate of immortality, and incorruption: To what end is the Body made thus immortal, if not to continue in an eternal, immor­tal condition?

From all this we conclude, if man be an immortal Creature, both in regard of his Soul, which is immor­tal in its own Nature, and in regard of his Body, which shall be made Immortal by Gods Power; his future condition must of necessity be immortal and eternal; whether he be admitted into Heaven, or doomed to Hell, his condition is eternal and everlasting.

CHAP. III. Of Scripture-Proofs of Eternal Happiness, Consisting in Sight, Love, Joy, Praise; with created Accessories: and Eternal Misery, Expressed by Wrath, Worm, Fire, Prison, Darkness, Burning, Torment.

HAving endeavoured to demonstrate the point from Arguments, I proceed to prove it from Scripture; though it be unusual in the method of Preaching, to bring Arguments before Scripture-proofs; yet it is fre­quent in Argumentation, to reserve the strongest Proof till last. Ruffinus reporteth, that at the Coun­cil of Nice, a Godly man of no great learning, was the means of Converting a learned Philosopher, whom the [Page 27] Bishops with all their Arguments could not perswade; the person brake forth into this speech: Against words I opposed words, and what was spoken, I over­threw by the art of speaking; but when instead of words, power came out of the mouth of the speaker, words could no longer withstand truth, nor man oppose the power of God: Possibly what is spoken by way of Argument, may not be so convincing to some, who will seek to elude the strength of one Argument by another, whereas proofs from plain places of Scripture silence all cavils and exceptions; that therefore I have reserved for the last proof. There is a twofold Eternity, one of Happiness, the other of Misery; the Scripture is abundant in the proof of both: I begin with the Happi­ness of Heaven. The Schoolmen distinguish of a two-fold happiness; one they call the essential happiness, which they make to consist in the enjoyment of God; the other accidental, consisting in the enjoyment of those glorious things, which God, together with him­self, giveth unto his people. Others say to the same purpose, that there is an uncreated reward, which is God himself, I am thy exceeding great reward (a); and a created reward, consisting in those good things which God hath created to make his people happy; both these the Scripture describeth to be Eternal.

1. The great Happiness in Heaven consists in the enjoy­ment of God: God is the happiness of the Saints in Heaven, not only Efficiently, as he is the author of it: nor only finally, as he is the end of it: but ob­jectively, as being the object of this blessedness: he is both the Giver and the Gift: the Rewarder, and the Reward: the Crowner, and the Crown: it is God who both bestoweth the happiness, and is himself the happiness of the Saints, Whom have I in Heaven but thee (b)? God shall be all in all (c): as this will hold [Page 28] in some other particulars, so in this; and as their great happiness consists in this, that they have God for their Reward and Portion; so this is said to be eternal, Thou art the strength of my heart, and my Portion for ever (d). But this will further appear, if we consider what ways, or in what manner God may be said to be en­joyed by the Saints: all generally agree, that the great happiness consists in the enjoyment of God; but there is a great dispute amongst the Schoolmen, about the way, namely what act, or operation of the Soul it is, by which God is more chiefly enjoyed. The Tho­mists contend for the understanding, affirming that it chiefly consists in the sight, and knowledge of God: The Scotists would have it consist in the love of God; a third sort, place it in that delight and complacency the Soul takes in God: But after we have scanned all the Arguments brought by each party, it will be hard to determine, to which of these it is more chiefly to be referred; it is not to be doubted, but it consists in all these; and though any one of these singly, much more all joyntly, make for the greatness of this hap­piness; yet that which is the Crown, and Zenith of this happiness, is, because it is eternal; as appeareth from Scripture, in the fore-named Particulars.

[1.] Much of Heavens happiness consists in the sight of God; which is therefore termed the Beatifi­cal Vision, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God (e): When he shall appear we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (f). It is disputed whether we shall see God in his essence, or only some beamings forth of him; if in his essence, whether the Divine essence shall be immediately represented to our sight, or whe­ther there be a light of Glory, strengthning and ena­bling the sight to behold him; if so, whether that be an uncreated light; to wit, that infinite splendour and brightness streaming from God himself; of which [Page 29] the Psalmist speaketh, in thy light we shall see light (g), or whether it be a created light; created by God to this purpose; whether this sight be only mental, as most determine; or whether the bodily eye shall be so strengthned and elevated, as to see God, as may be Problematically argued from two Texts; the one Text is, As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness (h): where the Prophet seems to speak of a further sight he should have of God, when he awaked at the Resur­rection; whereas that mental sight, he should have before his awaking. The other Text is, Now we see through a glass, darkly, then face to face; now we know in part, then shall we know as we are known (i): Ei­ther the latter clause must be only an exegesis, an ex­planation of the former, which is not so likely; or else there must be some difference between seeing and knowing, which is the sight of the mind; but these disputes I wave, as not so pertinent to the present purpose; whatsoever sight it be, it will be a blessed one, the chief reward of the blessed; and that which chiefly makes it so, is because it is for ever, what our Saviour speaketh of the Angels, that they always be­hold the face of his Father, (k) at all times, and through­out all times, may be as truly spoken of the Saints, who in respect of immortality, are said, to be equal to the Angels; (l) as they shall always be with the Lord, (m) so they shall always see his face, and be everlastingly sa­tisfied with his likeness.

[2.] From the sight of God, I come to the love o [...] God, which followeth upon the other: our love o [...] things, is usually proportionable to the knowledge we have of them; things not at all known, are not at a [...] loved, things but in part known, are but in part lov­ed; [Page 30] here we know God but in part; we see parts of his ways, but how little a portion is heard of him [o]! We do not see a thousandth part of that beauty, nor taste a thousandth part of that sweetness that is in him; and that is one reason why our love to him is so weak; wereas in Heaven, when we shall see God in all his beauty, when that Sun of Righteousness shall appear in all his glory, displaying on every side the rayes of his Divine perfections, Oh what loves, what ardent and tenflamed affections, will the sight of God produce in us? when we shall see him as he is, we shall love him as he is; when we shall see him face to face, we shall love him heart to heart; our love will be every way proportionable to our sight, and know­ledge; as we shall see him eternally, so we shall love him eternally: Nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God [p], it is true both of Gods love to us, and ours to him, but the latter (say our Annotators) seemeth better to agree with the antecedents: Charity never faileth; Prophecies, and Tongues, and some kinds of Knowledge cease, but Charity never [q]: and in this respect chiefly it is preferred to Faith and Hope, when Faith is turned into fruition, and Hope into possessi­on; Charity is in its greatest lustre.

[3.] Others place happiness chiefly, in that joy and delight the Saints have in the enjoyment of God; and this followeth upon the former, as their love is proportionable to their knowledge, so their joy to their love; as their knowledge and love is full and perfect: so their joy so full, as that it cannot enter into them, but they enter into it, Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord [s]: If in this life when they see him not, yet believing, they rejoyce with joy unspeakable, and full of Glory [t]; Oh what joys, what extasies, what ra­vishments of Spirit, must needs flow from that full and [Page 31] perfect sight, and enjoyment of God, in Heaven? God will be as a deep Sea of blessedness, saith Nazianz. [u] a Sea that hath neither bank, nor bottom, the Saints as mystical fishes, solacing themselves in those Crystal streams; yea God will be as their great Shep­herd, carrying them into his green pastures, and lead­ing them beside the still waters, and they like sheep, feeding among the Lillies of his Divine Perfections: God as that great Master of the Feast, setting them at his own Table, and himself coming forth to serve them:[w] they as chearful guests, filling and satisfy­ing themselves with the fatness of his house: God as a great Load-stone, saith Salvian, perpetually draw­ing by the powerful attractives of his love and sweet­ness; the Saints as the Iron clinging to him by an in­separable love and union. All these resemblances shew what unspeakable joy and delight the Saints shall have in their enjoyment of God; but that which will make their joy most full, will be the eternity of it, there­fore these two are joyned together, In thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand are pleasures for e­vermore [x]; this joy, these pleasures will hold pa­rallel with eternity; and last as long as God himself, Everlasting joy shall be upon their heads, [y] Your heart shall rejoyce, and your joy no man taketh from you. [z]

4. To these three ways of Injoying God, I shall add a fourth thing, praising God: which must necessa­rily result from all these: It being impossible, but they who see God in his infinite beauty, sweetness, and other perfections must needs love him, and re­joyce in him, and break forth into his praises. It is a Tradition of some of the Jewish Rabbins, that when God had finished the work of Creating the World he demanded of the Angels (then in glory with him) what they thought of that work? And one of them, [Page 32] after he had highly praised that goodly workman­ship: yet desired, that one thing might be added, to set a seal upon the rest: Being demanded wha [...] that was? Answered: To have a powerful harmoni­ous voice Created, which being mounted upon the Chariot of the Air, and carried upon the wings o [...] the Wind, might continually sound forth the Prai­ses of God, for that incomparable work: Could w [...] suppose their Fantasie to be a Verity, it had been a motion not unbeseeming an Angelical Spirit: and i [...] God might be thought so worthy of praise for the work of Creation, how much more for that grea [...] work of Glorification? And this is indeed the grea [...] work of those heavenly Inhabitants: In that Templ [...] doth every man speak of his honour, and in thi [...] consists much of their happiness: It would indeed be a blessed thing, but to hear the Hallelujahs, and Triumphant Songs of those Heavenly inhabitants: If a man could but a while lay his ear to Heaven, and hear that ravishing Musick, which for its loud sound­ing is compared to the voice of many waters, and the voice of thunder (a); and for its sweetness and deli­ciousness, in the same verse, compared to the voice of Harpers, Harping with their Harps: I may apply that, Blessed is the People that know the joyful sound they shall walk, Oh Lord, in the light of thy Countenance in thy name shall they rejoyce all the day (b). But Oh [...] how much more blessed to bear a part in those Hea­venly Songs and Benedictions: to stand continually before the Throne of God, singing Blessing and ho­nour, and praise, to him that sitteth on the Throne and to the Lamb: but that which chiefly maketh it so blessed and desirable a thing, is, because this bles­sing and praising God, is not only for a time, but for ever, and ever. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house they will be still praising thee (c); The Septuagint read [Page 33] it, they will praise thee for ever, and ever (d); and so both the Arabick and Aethiopick Versions.

Plato affirmeth, that upon every one of the Hea­vens, is placed a sweet singing Syren, Carolling out a most pleasant and harmonious Song; which being eight in number, according to their supposed num­ber of the Heavens, do make an excellent song, con­sisting of eight parts. Macrobius saith that this Syrens song, is a Psalm, composed in the praise of God; affirming that the word Syren signifieth a finger to God. Others affirm, that without any such help of Syrens, the Heavens themselves make a most sweet harmony, by their proper motions. It was not only the opinon of Pythagoras, and some other Phi­losophers, but of divers learned Christians, as Bede, Bee­tius, but especially, Anselme: Some of them con­tend, that it is a thing unlikely, that such a vast Fa­brick should be whirled about with so swift a motion, without noise; and if there be any noise, it must be rather like the sound of sweet musick, than harsh and confused, like the creeking of a Cart: Might we sup­pose all this to be as they have conceited; this would last no longer than the Heavens themselves, and the time is coming when these Heavens shall be no more (e), but when the Heavens shall be dissolved, and this supposed Harmony cease, there will not be an end of the praises of the Saints; they will be still praising God, even for ever, and ever; as God deserveth an eternity of praises, so he hath given them an eternity to praise him in; And from one Sabbath to a­nother, shall all flesh come to worship before God (f), from eternity, to eternity, they shall be sounding forth the praises of the great Creator.

Besides, this essential happiness consisting in the enjoyment of God, there is, (as they call it) an acciden­tal [Page 34] happiness: consisting in the enjoyment of those glorious things created by God to make his people happy: of which the Apostle speaketh:(i) Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entred into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. Now whereas this is in Scripture set forth by several expressions and comparisons, you shall find, they have all the Epithet, or Addition of E­ternal, or everlasting; as If it be called a Kingdom, an(k) Everlasting Kingdom(l), if a Crown, that Crown is said to be incorruptible, not to fade away (m), If it be called Glory, it is an eternal Glory (n), an eternal weight of glory; Is it called an Inheritance? it is an eternal Inhe­ritance,(o) an Inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, that fadeth not away (p), Is it called Salvation? it is an eter­nal Salvation(q), Is it sometimes called life? it is else­where said to be eternal (r), If joy, it is an everlasting Joy(s), If a House, it is an House eternal in the Hea­vens(t), If a Habitation, it is an everlasting Habitation.(u) But not to enlarge further, these, and whatso­ever other expressions the Scripture maketh Use of, to set forth the Saints happiness; have, if not in the same, yet in some other place, the Addition of Eter­nal.

2. Neither is the Scripture less copious in setting forth the eternity of the sufferings in Hell; it would be too long to insist upon those several Texts which Eminently proclaim and ring the doleful knell of the everlasting miseries of damned Souls, only you may observe (in the several titles and expressions, [Page 35] by which they are set forth) this, that they are eter­nal, is still annexed.

Sometimes the punishment of Hell, is called the Wrath to come [w], sometimes, the Wrath of God [x], This is the sad condition of those Wretched creatures, they lie under the wrath of a justly incensed God: but that which makes their Condition most sad, is, because this Wrath is an abiding Wrath [y], compa­red to a stream of Brimstone [z], It is a fearful thing (saith the Apostle) to fall into the hands of the living God [a], it is indeed a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a just God, who can as well cease to be God, as to be just; whose Justice obligeth him to revenge every sin committed against him: A fearful thing to fall into the hands of an Almighty God, who is able to revenge the wrongs which are done him by daring mortals; but of all, it is most fearful to fall into the hands of the living God, as it is a great happiness to Believers, that they have such an High-Priest, who ever liveth to make intercession for them [b], So this is the great misery of wicked men, they fall into the hands of God, who for ever liveth to revenge himself upon them.

Sometimes it is called a Worm, which is nothing else but the stinging and corroding of Conscience, which is one of the greatest punishments in Hell; as every man here hath the chiefest hand in his own sin, so he shall have hereafter in his own Punishment; though the Devil hath a hand in tempting men, and one man tempts another: yet every man is his own chief Tempter: Every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lusts and [c] enticed; though Satan tempted Ananias, yet Peter layeth the blame upon Ananias himself, Why hath Satan filled thy heart [Page 36] to lie to the Holy Ghost? (d) and as thus in the Temptation, so in the Punishment: though the Devil b [...] commissionated by God, to torment wicked men and probably one wicked man shall help to tormen [...] another, yet every man will be his own greatest Tormentor, when he shall consider on the one side, the punishment of loss; what a great happiness he hath for eve [...] lost, when the understanding shall be enlarged, to ap­prehend the greatness of his loss; when Conscienc [...] shall be awakened to apply this loss to himself; Thi [...] loss is my loss, I am the man that have seen Affliction when the thoughts that are now taken up about othe [...] things, shall be wholly intent upon this loss; whe [...] he shall further consider, upon what fair terms Salv [...] tion was offered; how much time he had to wor [...] out his Salvation; what variety of means, and help God afforded him: For what petty, inconsiderabl [...] things he lost it; when besides this punishment [...] loss, he shall find by sad experience, what before h [...] would not believe; what a dreadful place Hell is what a fearful thing it is, to fall into the hands of t [...] living God: When he shall further Consider, ho [...] often he was warned, to flee from the wrath to come▪ what means and helps God afforded him, to escape the damnation of Hell; and that nothing could prevail [...] upon him: When he shall further Consider, that he himself was the cause of his own ruine; that he lyeth down upon a bed of his own making; that he is fettered in cords of his own twisting; that he walks but in the light of his own fire, and in the sparks of his own kindling; when he shall add this to the former, that his condemnation was through his own choice: God set before him life, and death, and he chose his own delusions. Oh! the rendings, and tearings of Conscience; which must needs result from these, and the like sad reflections; which suc­cessively [Page 37] pressing upon the soul, like the impetuous waves of a raging Sea, one after another; must needs afford everlasting matter for this Worm to feed on. These considerations will be as the Wood, Con­science as the Worm, those as Fuel; this as the Flame; the one as Tow, the other as a Spark; they shall both burn together, and none shall quench them: For this is that which will make this worm most unsuffera­ble; because it is a never dying worm (e).

Sometimes it is called fire, a Furnace of Fire, a Lake of Fire(f), All which speak it terrible; but that which makes it most terrible, is, because it is an un­quenshable Fire(g), an Everlasting Fire[h], Fire here must be fed with continual supplies of Fuel, or else it goeth out; but this by the breath of God, which like a stream of Brimstone kindleth it [i], So that look how long God liveth, so long this fire burneth. Wicked men shall burn in an eternity of Fire, to, and [if possi­ble] beyond an eternity of duration.

Sometimes it is called a Prison [l], and wicked men are said to be bound hand and foot [m]. We read of a Prison amongst the Persians, which was deep, and wide, and dark, and only one hole at the top; into which the Prisoners let in, could no way get out: therefore was called by them Lethe, forgetfulness; Such, and far more grievous, is the Prison of Hell, out of which there is no redemption: they are lying Histories, which tell us, that Trajan was delivered out of Hell, by the Prayers of Gregory; and Falconella, by the Prayers of Teclaes: No, he that goeth this way, never turneth again; nor ever taketh hold of the paths of life: The Prisoners here are not Prisoners of hope, as we said of the Jews, in their captivity in Babylon [n], and may be said of other Prisoners; but are Prisoners of despe­ration: [Page 38] being once doomed to these Prisons of Fire they must continue for ever, Fettered under Chains o [...] darkness: lying there like a wild Bull in a Net: in vai [...] roaring, and begging for mercy, through the grate [...] of their eternal Dungeons: Agree with thine adversar [...] quickly, whiles thou art in the way: lest at any time, th [...] Adversary deliver thee to the Judge, and the Judge deliver thee to the Officer, and thou be cast into Prison: Ver [...] ly, I say unto thee, thou shalt by no means come out thence till thou hast paid the uttermost farthing (o).

But that I may contrive a large Picture, in a smal [...] Ring: to use Philoes expression, and contract the Images of great things into a little Glass:

Is it called Darkness? Do wicked men go from one darkness to another, from inward, to outward darkness? That Darkness is said to be Eternal, For whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever (p): Is it cal­led Death? The wages of sin, is death: it is a death tha [...] never dieth (q): Death shall feed on them, the Arabic [...] readeth it, shall be fed with them (r): Death like a hungry Vulture, shall not cease to feed on them to all Eternity.

Is it called burning? do wicked men go from Burn­ing to Burning, from burning in Sin to burning in Hell? from burning in Flames of lust, to burning in Flames of Torment? these burnings are for ever, wh [...] shall dwell with everlasting burnings (ſ).

Lastly, It is sometimes called Torment, as it is said of the rich man, that he was in torments, so as he cryeth out, I am tormented in this flame: that which makes these torments more tormenting, is, because they are Eternal. They shall be tormented day and night, for ever and ever: and The smoak of their torment ascendeth up, for ever and ever (u).

CHAP. IV. Of the Sublimeness of Eternity, as Transcending all Ex­pression, Knowledge (of it self, or measure) and all Imagination.

HAving dispatched the first Doctrine, That things wich are not seen, are eternal: I proceed to the second.

Doct. 2. That which puts the greatest weight upon things not seen, and makes them the proper objects of a Christians aim, and choice, is, because they are eternal: Though if these, and things seen were weighed toge­ther, there were many other considerables, that would give the precedence to things not seen: yet that which Chiefly casts the scale, and maketh things not Seen to preponderate, is, because they are Eternal. This the Apostle layes down as the Reason why they [...]ooked at these, not at the other, because the other are temporal, but these eternal; it is Eternity that main­ [...]y makes the difference, and puts an infinite weight upon the unseen things of another life: so that I am here to speak of the grand importance and concernment of Eternity. But I shall say of this, as Bonaventure did upon another subject, I am not worthy, not able so much as to unty the shooe-latchet of so great a Mystery. It [...]s a mystery of a sublime and transcendent nature, as I shall shew in Three particulars.

1 It transcendeth all expression; all that is, or can be spoken of it, falls short of what it is in its self; what Augustine saith of God, that St. John himself doth not speak of God, as God is, may not improperly be spoken of Eternity: could I speak with the tongue of men and Angels, I were not able rightly to express it: when we speak of it, we speak as we can, not as it is: as children when they begin to speak, lispe and stam­mer, speak half words, and broken sentences, so it is [Page 40] with us; when I was a Child I spake as a Child, saith the Apostle[x], It is spoken of that imperfect know­ledge we here attain unto, which as it holdeth good in other things, much more in this of Eternity; saith Drexellius, whatsoever is spoken of Eternity, is fa [...] lesse than it is; we are hardly able to say what time is▪ the Philosopher defines it to be the measure of motion, o [...] motion according to the former and latter parts of it but others find fault with this, affirming, that time i [...] the measure of Rest as well as Motion; the Platonist [...] say, that Time is Eternity limited: but this is to set out that which is obscure by a greater obscurity, for we have a more clear notion of Time, than of Eternity; they speak more properly, that say, it is a continued flux o [...] minutes, hours, days, months and years, from the beginning of the world to the end of it; yet some think this doth not fully express it. Eusebieus saith[z], that part of time which is called [...], or the present time, cannot be comprehended, much less time future, or time past, for that is not, and this is past; then adds, the present time passeth away more swiftly than either word or thought: neither can it be taken for an in­stant, for either we must necessarily expect things to come, or consider things past, and an instant flyeth away as swift as thought: Augustine strugleth about it as a Bird in a string, he saith he knoweth it, yet confes­seth he knows it not, he knoweth enough to hold his peace, but knoweth not enough to speak; and if it be so hard to say what time is, much more to describe Eternity: and so Eusebius infers from what he had said of Time; therefore man cannot comprehend Eternity and E­verlastingness: the highest Oratory, the loftiest strains of Rhetorick are not able to reach it; they say, a fair face is seldome drawn but with disadvantage: the Painter going about to draw the Picture of Helena, as not being able to express her beauty to the life, drew [Page 41] her face covered with a Vail, leaving the beholder to [...]onceive what he was not able to express, the like are [...]e forced to do, when we speak of Eternity. The [...]ruth is, when we would speak of it, we can do it no [...]ther way but by improper locutions: when the Sun [...]iseth red, and soon after looketh black, or pale, or [...]ollow, we use to say it is a sign of rain; whereas pro­ [...]erly the Sun is neither red, nor p [...]le, nor black, nor [...]ubject to any vicissitude, or change of colours, having [...]o other colour than its own perpetual brightness; yet [...]hus we use to speak, because it seems so to us by rea­ [...]on of the vapours interposed between that and our [...]ight, which make it to appear to us of those colours. [...]n like manner when we speak of Eternity, we often [...]all it the times and ages of Eternity, whereas properly [...]here is no such thing in it: we say when thousands [...]f years and ages are past, Eternity is the same it was [...]efore, whereas properly nothing can be said to be [...]ast in Eternity, as shall be shewed after, but thus we [...]spe and stammer when we speak of it: thus by a [...]ndescention (c) to things that fall under our concep­ [...]ion, we would relieve our selves in speaking of it.

2. It transcends all our knowledge and understanding; here is a Two-fold knowledge we have of things, a [...]nowledge of the thing it self, and of the measure of [...]: Neither of these wayes are we able to come to distinct knowledge of Eternity.

[1.] Not of the thing it self; what the Ancients said [...]f the fountains of Nilus, that Nature made them ra­ [...]her to be sought after, than to be found; may be more [...]ruly said of Eternity, it is a path which no Fowl know­ [...]th, which the Vultures eye hath not seen, the Li­ [...]ns whelp hath not trodden, the most piercing eye is [...]ot able to dive into it, the knowledge of it is too won­derful for us, we cannot attain unto it: a mans eye is [...]ble to look upon twenty Candles lighted up together [Page 42] in a Room, but looking a while upon the Sun will dazzle the sight; if a man falleth into a River, though it be deep and broad, he may make shift to swim out, but if he be cast away in the midst of the Sea, after he hath a while struggled for life, and wrestled with those impetuous waves, he must unavoidably sink, and yield to the fury of the merciless waves: in like man­ner, the Understanding may keep footing while it wades in the shallows of time, though extended to an [...] hundred thousand years, but soon will be swallowed up in stupor and amazement, when it cometh to lanch forth into that deep sea of Eternity; as when we cast a stone into the water, one circle begets another, and the latter is still bigger than the former: so in Eterni­ty, one deep calleth upon another; it is a wheel with­in a wheel, there is difficulty after difficulty, one my­stery folded up in another; it is a great Maze or La­byrinth full of infinite windings and turnings: after al [...] our searchings and indagations, we may well lose ou [...] selves, but can never retreat when our thoughts are seriously engaged in it, much less find any bound that may set limits to our meditations▪ it is a Well which being both deep and dark, there is no seeing to the bottom of it; we may say of that, as the wo­man did of Jacobs well, the well is deep, and we hav [...] nothing to draw with: it is an overflowing, and ever flowing Fountain, which is neither spent nor draw dry, but bubleth forth into a continued stream, which is alwaies running, and will be running throughout all ages and generations: it is [...]boundless Sea, the further we enter into it, the deeper we find it: the eternal happiness in Heaven is a deep Sea, where the streams of life are ever flowing, and re-flowing, by a continued succession. Hell is a deep sea of wrath and vengeance▪ having neither bottom nor bank; no bottom for any anchor of hope to fix on: no bank that might set any limits to the inundations of Gods displeasure; it is a Sun that never sets, a Day that never ends, a Taper that [Page 43] never burns out, an End that hath no end, an infinite unlimited duration, where millions of years are but so many Cyphers, signifying nothing; it is a thing of the most amazing consideration, able to swallow up our thoughts in stupor and astonishment.

[2.] There is a knowledge of the measure of them; and that is done, either by Numeration, by which we count how many things are; or by ponderation, by which we try how weighty things are; or by mensuration, by which we find out the dimensions of things: but by none of these are we able to come to a clear knowledge of eternity.

The first way of knowing is by numbering: thus we count how many years have been since the birth of Christ, the Flood, the Creation of the world; Some undertake to tell how many Barly-corns would reach from Earth to Heaven: but who is able to rec­kon the years and ages of Eternity. Suppose, saith à Lapide, ten hundred thousand millions of millions of millions of years; add to these, all the thoughts of Angels, and men, from the first moment of their Being to eternity; all the motions, mutations, changes, of the several Crea­tures, and things in the World; and add to them, all the numbers of Arithmetick, and fill with them, so many numberless volumes of Paper, as would reach from Earth to Heaven, you are not yet come to the end, not to the mid­dle, scarce to the beginning of Eternity: and then adds, how long shall eternity endure? For ever; when shall it end? never; So long as Heaven is Heaven, so long as Hell is Hell; so long as God is God; so long shall be eternity: So long shall Heaven contain the Saints, and Hell torment the wicked; there is no number, ei­ther numbring or numbred, which is able to set it forth: no number numbring, as when we say, hundreds, or thousands, or millions. Boëtius saith well, a minute and a thousand years, hold better proportion than a thousand years and Eternity; an easie Arithmetician will tell you how many minutes there are in a thou­sand [Page 45] years, but none can tell how many thousands or millions there are in Eternity; the vastest numbers that can be reckoned, are but so many cyphers, signi­fying nothing; and as no number numbring can reach it, so no number numbred: as when we say, so many as there are stars in Heaven, or piles of grass upon the earth, or drops of water in the Sea, any one of these would amount to a vast unconceivable number, but none of these will hold parallel with eternity; nay put all these together, and a thousand times more, you are not able to measure the duration of Eternity.

[2] By Ponderation; and that is done either by the help of artificial weights, when we put the thing we weigh into one ballance, and the weight by which we weigh it in the other: or else it is done without the help of such artificial weights: when we poyse things in our hands, or lift them up at the Arms end, as Porters do their burdens, to know their weight, but there is no way by which we can find out the weight of eternity; God is said to weigh the mountains in scales, and the bills in ballances (e), but there are no scales or ballances by which we can find out the weight of an everlasting condition. When we would know the weight of things, we usually put something as heavy in the other end of the ballance, but what may be laid in the ballance to preponderate Eternity? The weigh­tiest things that can be brought, are to it but as the drop of a bucket, or the small dust of the ballance.

[3] By Mensuration, by which we find out the height, length, breadth and depth of things; but neither thus can we find out the dimensions of Eternity. God is said to measure the waters in the hollow of his fist, to mete out the Heavens like a Span, to comprehend the dust of the earth in a measure, but who beside God himself who inhabiteth Eternity, is able to measure the height, or span the breadth, or fathom the depth of an infinite eternity? there is neither measure that can reach it, nor any [Page 46] thing to be measured that is commensurate to it. Astrono­mers find out imaginary lines, by which they measure the Heavens, and the Earth. Mathematicians have their Jacobs staff, whereby they take the height of the sun and stars. Mariners have their Plummet, by which they sound the depth of the Sea, but there are no Engines or Inventions by which we may reach the height, or sound the depth, or measure the length of an infinite unlimited Eternity; I may say of it as Zophar doth of God,* It is as high as heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than Hell, what canst thou know? the measure thereof is longer than the earth, or broader than the sea. By all this it appeareth that Eternity tran­scends all our knowledge and Understanding; the knowledge of it is too wonderfull for us.

3. Yet further, Eternity transcends our conception and imagination: we are not able to think or ima­gine what eternity is, whether the eternity of happi­ness in Heaven, or misery in Hell. [First,] we are not able to conceive what are those unseen eternal things in Heaven: the temporal things in this life are more in imagination than in reality, they come abundantly short of what we imagine to be in them; men at a distance think there is a great deal of happiness and content in these things, that they should live most contentedly if they had so much of Revenues coming in yearly, or such and such places of preferment, but if at any time such men do attain to what they so am­bitiously desire, they find in the issue, that there is not that happiness in these things that they fancied; that all these are but like the fruit of Sodom, that seem to the eye to be beautifull apples, but being touched turn to ashes; like Oramazes his egg, in which, the Enchanter boasted, was included all the happiness in the world, but being broken, there was nothing in it but wind and emptiness; or like that feast which Corn. [Page 46] à Lapide, reports* was made by a Magician in Germany, to which he invited many Noble Persons, who while they sate at Table, received good content, and fared deliciously to their thinking, but when they were departed, found themselves as hungry as if they had eaten nothing at all. Suppose there were somewhere about the Country an exceeding high Mountain, and that there went a common report as once about Olympus, that it were the goodliest place that ever eye beheld; and that all the Country being possest with such an opinion, should flock thither in great multitudes, eve­ry one contending who should get up soonest; one man being more strong and nimble, gets up before the rest, and finding nothing there answerable to the common report and his own expectation, looking down, and [...]eeing the rest scrambling to get up, tells them, Sirs, you are all miserably deceived, here is nothing of what [...]ou expect; there is nothing here but ashes, and smoak, [...]nd stench. Most men are strongly perswaded that [...]here is a great deal of satisfaction to be had in the [...]iches and preferment of the world, else they would [...]ot hew their way to them through so many rocks of [...]ifficulties, and swim to them through so many seas [...]f blood, as if they would climb up to them upon the heaps [...] dead bodies; whereas Solomon, who stood up­ [...]n a higher Rise of ground, and saw further than a­ [...]y one of the sons of men, as having a larger con­ [...]uence of all earthly enjoyments, and the largest [...]eart to find out that good that was in them, and [...]ade this his great business; using these things not [...] a sensual, but a critical way, that he might find [...]t what good thing there was under the Sun; yet af­ [...]r all his experience finds himself, and accordingly [...]oclaimeth to all the world that all is vanity, and [...]nity of vanities; the good that is in these tempo­ [...]l things is more infancy than in reality, they come [Page 47] far short of what we imagine to be in them, whereas the not seen eternal things laid up in Heaven, are beyond what we can imagine or conceive of them, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entred into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him (i); God saith, As far as Heaven is a­bove the Earth, so far are my thoughts above your thoughts (k). There is sca [...]ce any thing, as one(l) observeth, more vast than the thoughts of man: though the world be a vast thing, yet thoughts are beyond it; we may imagine a thousand worlds, yet God is there said to be as far above our thoughts, above that model we can draw of him in our thoughts, as heaven is above the earth. When we have thought what we can think of the goodness and mercy of God [for that is the thing there more properly spoken to] God is as much more merciful above what we can think, as hea­ven is above earth; and as this will hold in o­ther respects, so more especially in regard of that eternal happiness which God hath in Heaven provided for his people; when we have thought what we can of it, it is as much above our thoughts as heaven is above earth, Now are we the Sons of God, but it doth not appear what we shall be (m), saith the Syriack Ver­sion, it is not hitherto revealed: therefore it is said to be a Life hid with Christ in God. It is said(o) That Christ shall come to be glorified in his Saints, and to be admired in all them that believe; the glory then be­stowed on them will be so far surpassing their former apprehensions, that it will be a matter of admiration to the Saints themselves. On the other side, the eter­nal punishments in Hell are beyond all we can imagine or conceive; here many times the fear we have of temporal sufferings is worse than the sufferings them­selves: many in this respect deal with themselves, as [Page 48] Parrhasius the Painter dealt with his slaves, who pu [...] them to real exquisite tortures that he might bette [...] express but the feigned tortures of Prometheus; s [...] many, out of a fear and fore-sight of some suppose [...] evils, which possibly never may befall them, tormen [...] themselves with needless fears, and cast upon themselves the gall and bitterness of a thousand real vexations: or if these evils do befall them, they do no [...] prove so great as they fancied; the fear of a Prison or other sufferings, is many times worse than th [...] thing it self. Saunders, and some other Martyr thought beforehand they could not burn, they could never endure the fire; yet when it came, endured it wit [...] much courage and constancy: whereas the eterna [...] punishment in Hell, and the wrath of God there inflicted upon the Children of disobedience, is commensurate to our greatest fears, Even according to thy fea [...] so is thy wrath (p), the wrath of God is every wa [...] proportionable to the fear men have of it, and not only so, but is beyond what we either fear, or ca [...] know. In the beginning of that verse, who knowet [...] the power of thine anger, who is able to conceive wha [...] Gods wrath will be when it is poured out to the utmost; when he shall cloath himself with vengeance when he shall stir up all his wrath, and revenge himself for all the wrongs offered him by daring sinners God asketh,(q) Hast thou entred into the treasures [...] snow, or hast thou seen the treasures of hail, which I h [...]v [...] reserved against the time of trouble, against the day o [...] battel and war? but who hath entred into those treasures of wrath, or seen those treasures of fire, which God hath reserved against the day of wrath, and perdition of ungodly men.

CHAP. V. Of the importance of Eternity, to the endlesness of it. Considering God will not, nothing else can, put an end to it.

HAving thus treated of the Sublimeness and trans­cendency of Eternity, I shall now shew of what unspeakable importance, and concernment it is; it was the saying of Chrysostome, that if he had a mountain for his Pulpit, and the whole world for his Auditors, he would preach upon that Text, Oh ye sons of men! how long will you love vanity *? neither indeed can any Preacher improve his time and pains to better pur­pose, than by seeking to take off mens love from these vain temporal things, and stirring them up to the pur­suit of things eternal. Eternity is a thing of that in­finite concernment, that never can there be enough spoken, or written of it; it comprehendeth all the good that can possibly fall within the compass of our hopes, and all the evil that may fall within the com­pass of our fears; as in some Maps you may see a model of the whole world drawn into a small com­pass: so the whole world to come, and whatsoever is considerable in it, is all comprehended under this word (Eternal). As nothing is more desirable than Heaven, nothing more formidable than Hell, so nothing in Heaven so desireable as the eternity of its happi­ness; nothing in Hell so dreadfull as the everlastingnes [...] of its misery; as Heaven is the treasury of all desirable good, and Hell the store-house of all imaginable evil; so that which is most considerable in both, i [...] the Everlastingness of them; Eternity is that which make [...] good things infinitely more good, and evil things incomparably more evil; Eternity is the very Heaven of Heaven [Page 50] and the Hell of Hell; Heaven would be no Heaven i [...] comparison, and hell in a manner no hell, if it wer [...] not for this Eternity; it would be a kind of Hell t [...] the Saints in Heaven, to be in fear of losing it, and in a manner a heaven to the damned in hell, to be in hopes of being delivered from it: although there be many things concur to make up the happiness o [...] the Saints in Heaven, and the misery of the damne [...] in Hell, yet this of eternity weigheth more than al [...] the rest; Were all other things considerable in both put into one end of the ballance, and this of eternity in the other, it would out-weigh all the rest.* Those that had gotten the Victory over the Beast, are said to sing the song of Moses the Servant of God. Some by this Song of Moses, understand that Song recorded Exodus 15. And that Song concludeth with a decla­ration of Gods eternity, ver. 18. The Lord shall reign for ever, and ever; Or, if it may be thought to refer to the 90th. Psalm, which is a Prayer of Moses, the man of God; the former part of that Psalm setteth forth at large Gods eternity; but whether either of these, or whatsoever else is to be understood by the Song of Moses, I doubt not but Eternity maketh up one part of that Song; nay, is the Elah, the highest strain in that Triumphant Song. On the other side, could we lay our ears to Hell, and hear the language of those wretched miscreants, it is probable that the E­ternity of their sufferings would still come in, as the sad burthen of their fruitless lamentations; that [...]; the proper language of Hell, is as if they should say, not ever, Lord, not ever ; but all in vain: they would not here endure the thoughts of eternity; and therefore they shall have it alwaies written before them, in the place of their thraldome; that, which way soever they turn their eyes, they might be terri­fied with the remembrance of their miserable, most [Page 51] miserable immortallity. I might be more large in shew­ing the grand importance of Eternity: but it is an Hebrew Proverb, that a man should not put his cattel into a place, where there is no hedge to bound them; that therefore I may set bounds to my Meditations, I shall shew of how great concernment this Doctrine of Eter­nity is, from these following considerations: in which I shall be more short, because they are so fully hand­led by a more skiful builder(u).

1. Eternity is without any end, or conclusion: that is the proper import of the word Eternal: There is no end of the joys of Heaven.(w) They who convert ma­ny to righteousness, shall shine like the stars for ever, and ever; upon which saith Drexellius, observe the argumentation of it, by the iteration of the same word, for ever, is as much as Eternal, or without an End: but as if that were not enough, he doubleth it: for ever and ever: and yet the vulgar Latin expresseth it more fully, to perpetual Eternities: it is not eternity in the singular number, which yet were enough to describe it to be endless: but eternities, in the plural; as if he should say: If you fear Eternity may have an end, after that, there would be other Eternities to succeed; neither doth it rest here, in saying eternities, in the plural number, or only add to these a finite term, but an infinite; to perpetual Eternities: and if one eternity be without end, what is ten, an hundred? &c. yet if so many Eternities could be imagined, so long shall the Saints continue in glory, and happiness: to which nothing can put an end, and period.

First, God will not: Gods end in making man, was, that he should be the everlasting monument either of his free Grace, or his just Displeasure: and certain­ly, God will not cross, and null his own Design: he hath from the beginning written their Names in his Book of Life: and what he hath written, he hath writ­ten: [Page 52] It is no way to be imagined, that God should make any to be vessels of honour, and mercy; and then dash them in pieces, like the Potters vessel; that God should receive them into his evelasting arms, and then throw them out of his Embraces: Gods love, like himself, is unchangeable, having loved his own, that were in the world, he loveth them to the end (x); which is the same with Eternally, as the Learned observe: and so the Aethiop. Version renders it; he loved them for ever; and as God will not put an end to their happiness, so nothing else can.

1. Man cannot: The rage of Tyrants may cut a­sunder the thread of their Temporal life, which might have been spun out longer in a Natural course; but are not able to take away their Eternal life, I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand (y). And yet that he may give stronger assurance, (if stronger may be gi­ven) he addeth, My Father which gave them me, is stronger than all, and no man is able to pluck them out of my Fathers hands.

2. The Devil cannot: Though he got into earthly Paradise, and by tempting Adam to sin, prevailed so far as to dispossess him of it; yet he can never come into that Heavenly Paradise: he was long since thrown out, and his place no more found in Heaven; Hea­ven is guarded from the intrusion of those Apostate Angels; not only by the power of God, who cast them out of their first Habitation, and shut them up under chains of darkness: but by its own inaccessable, and impenetrable Nature. We often read in Scripture, of the opening of Heaven (a), from which some gather, that Heaven is impenetrable to any Creature, but by a Miracle opened to Elect Angels and Saints: The De­vils, though Spirits, and therefore are able to pass through the hardest stone walls, are no more able to [Page 53] pass through them, than to pass out of their own Na­ture, and Being; and this is mentioned as a ground of joy in Heaven: The Accuser of the Brethren is cast down (b).

3. Sin cannot: Heaven is a Holy Habitation, a Land wherein dwelleth Righteousness (c), not harbouring any sin, which might dispossess the Saints of the blessed­ness they enjoy: There shall that be fulfilled, The ini­quity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found (d).

4. Death cannot: I am perswaded that neither death nor life shall be able to separate us from the love of God (e); Death is so far from separating from God's Love, and that Happiness, the fruit of his Love; that next to Jesus Christ, it is the Believers greatest friend: putting him into an everlasting possession of his desi­red Happiness.

On the other side, There is no end of the sufferings of the damned in Hell: Some indeed have contend­ed for it; Origen thought, that after a thousand years both Devils and Men should be released out of Hell-torments: After him the Hereticks, called the Aniti (f), broached the same Doctrine: Others, that Angustine speaketh of, contended; that not all, but some should be delivered out of their sufferings; some, that all Christians: some, all Catholicks: some, those that had received the Sacraments of the Faith: some, those only who persevere to the end in the Catholick Faith: others, those who were addicted to works of Mercy, and Charity: But who are these, who darken Counsel by words without knowledge? These fond con­ceits are solidly refuted by Aquinas, and others, who prove by undeniable Arguments, that these sufferings, if nothing else, yet Death puts an end to them: in the Grave the Prisoners rest together, and those who [Page 54] are weary are at rest: but Death shall not put any end to Hells punishment; it is a death, that never dy­eth; an end, which hath no end; a defect, without any defici [...]ncy. It is a death, that ever liveth: an end, which never beginneth; a defect, which never fail­eth: we may well say of it, as one doth, Oh killing life! Oh immortal death! If it be life, how doth it kill? if death, how doth it indure (h)? It is neither death, nor life: for both these have something of good in them: Oh how happy would those poor miserable creatures think themselves, if there might be any end of their misery! they shall seek for death, and dig for it as for hid treasures, but all in vain: They shall seek death, and shall not find it, and desire to die, and d [...]ath shall flee from them (i); They shall study plots and me­thods to dispatch themselves: they shall cry to the Mountains to fall upon them, and (if possible) to crush them to nothing: they shall desire, that the Fire that burns them would consume them to nothing: that the Worm which feeds on them, would gnaw them to no­thing; that the Devils which torment them, would tear them to nothing: They shall cry to God, who first made them out of nothing, to reduce them to that first nothing, from whence they came: but he who made them, will not have mercy on them: he that formed them, will not shew them so much favour: When the Angel pleaded with God in behalf of Jeru­salem, Zech. 1.12. How long, wilt thou not have mer­cy on Jerusalem, against which, thou hast had indigna­tion these threescore and ten years? It is said, the Lord answered the Angel with good words, and comfortable words (k): When the Souls under the Altar cryed, How long, Lord, holy, and true, dost thou not avenge our blood upon them which dwell upon the Earth (l)? An­swer was returned how long they must stay, and in [Page 55] the mean time were given them long white Robes; but when those poor Creatures in Hell shall cry out, How long, Lord, how long wilt thou torment the work­manship of thy hands? how long will it be e're thou put an end to our misery? There is no answer to be ex­pected, which might give them any hopes of the end­ing of their suffering: God here often called to them: How long, ye sim [...]le ones, will ye love simplicity? How long shall thy vain thoughts lodge within thee *? but they turned a deaf ear to Gods call, and therefore it will be just with God, when they cry how long? not to hear them, but to laugh at their destruction, and mock when their fear cometh: And that these sufferings are without any end or expiration; this, above all other things torments the damned, and drives them to de­spair; were there to be any end of their mis [...]ry, though after the vastest tract of time, there would be some hopes, they would end at last. Some of the Ancients have well improved their Meditations, in setting forth this; One thus, If they were to end after a little Bird should have emptied the Sea, and only carry out her bill full once in a thousand years. Another thus: If the whole world, from the lowest Earth, to the highest Hea­vens, were filled with grains of Sand, and once in a thousand years an Angel should come, and fetch away only one grain; and so continue till the whole heap were spent. A third to this purpose: If one of the damned in Hell should weep, after this manner; that he should only let fall one tear in a hundred years, and these should be kept together, till such time as they should equal the drops of water in the Sea, how many millions of ages would pass, before they could make up one River, much more a whole Sea? and when that were done, should he weep again after the same manner, till he had filled a second, a third, a fourth Sea, if then there should be an end of their miseries, there would be some hope they [Page 56] would end at last; but, that they shall never, never, never end, this is that which sinks them under horror, and despair, and fetcheth from them yellings and howlings, able to rend Rocks and Marbles asunder.

CHAP. VI. Of Eternity without succession, or without consumption.

ETernity is without succession, it is all together: this is one difference betwixt Time and Eternity; Time is a continued flux of hours, days, months and years, so that in time there is a Succession, there is time past, present and to come: time present putteth an end to that which is past, and this is soon swallow­ed up in time future; but it is otherwise in Eternity: There is no Succession, no time past, or to come: it is a duration always present, there is no yesterday, nor to morrow: it is one perpetual to day, no beginning and ending; it is all beginning, and always but begin­ning, there is no priority, or posteriority, no First or Last, it is all together, and at once; no whence, or whither, no term from which, or unto which [...] it is One standing flow without any flux, one indivisibl [...] point. God being Eternal, there is no difference o [...] time with him, one day with him is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day (c), Time to come is to him as it were past, A thousand years in his sight is but as yesterday, and as a watch in the night (d). Time past is to him as present, therefore Christ tells the Jews, Before Abraham was, I am (e), He doth not say, before Abraham was, I was, but I am, being the Everlasting Father (f), so many hundred years past were as present to him, and so it is in Eternity▪ Though to us who live in time, and motion, a thousand [Page 57] years are neither more nor less, yet in Eternity a thousand years, and one day are all one: Some of the School-men express it by this similitude: a man that stands upon a Plain, and seeth an Army marching, seeth but a little of it at a time, first one Troop, then another, some before, others behind, some coming, some going, others gon: whereas a man that stands upon the top of a Hill, seeth all the Army at once, though possibly one part may be many miles di­stant from another: In like manner to us, who stand in the low Valley of time, there is a flux and succession, and so a difference between time past, and to come: whereas in Eternity there is no difference, no yesterday, or to morrow; they are the same, they are all present; and as in Eternity all time is together, if I may so speak, so all things else, are possessed to­gether. Boetius saith, it is an interminable possession, perfect, and all together; all things in Eternity are collected into one: the Eternal happiness in Heaven, is as if the quintessence of several dishes of meat served up at a great Feast could be collected into one morsel: as if the virtue and spirits of all the precious liquors in the world, could be contracted, and put into one glass: there shall be as much happi­ness enjoyed at once, as shall be through that infinite duration which hath no end; and yet which makes it so wonderfully wonderful, there is such a sweetness, and pleasant variety in the happiness enjoyed, that after millions of years it will be as fresh and desira­ble as at the first enjoying it. So in the eternity of Hell-sufferings, all miseries are collected into one; it is as if all the evils in the world could be put toge­ther, and endured at once: as if all the malignity of the several venomous creatures in the world could be squeezed into the same cup: so in Hell, whatsoever flaming of Gods wrath, whatsoever scorchings of that unquenchable Fire, whatsoever gnawings of that never dying worm, whatsoever other sufferings are [Page 58] to be endured throughout all Eternity, they are all en­dured the same moment, and article of time; and yet (which is as strange) when all this hath been endured the vastest tract of time, the enduring of it will be as grievous, and unsufferable as it was at first.

3. Eternity is without any wasting or spending: while we are here, every part of time already spent, cuts off so much of the time remaining. * The days of our years are threesco [...]e and ten. When a man hath lived Thirty or Forty years, there are so many years less to come, and so it is with all things either enjoy­ed, or endured in this life. A man that takes a lease for one and twenty years, when seven or twice se­ven of these years are expired, there are so many years less remaining; a man that is committed to pri­son for so many moneths, or years; when he hath endured that punishment half of that time, he hath so much the lesser time to endure it; but it is other­wise in Eternity, after millions of ages are past (if [...] may speak so improperly) there is not one moment, nor, (if it could admit of a division) one thousandth part of a moment wasted, or elapsed, or a thou­sandth part of a moment less to come; what some speak of a great Lake near Manubria, that it is always full, put never so much water in it, it never run­neth over, take never so much out of it, it continueth full, may be said of Eternity; it is neither encreased by addition, nor diminished by substraction; add ne­ver so many thousands of years to it, it is still the same it was before the addition, take as many from it, it is still as much as it was before the substraction; the total sum, saith Drexellius, is neither more nor less, but what it was in its self, to wit, Eternity: as it admits of no Succession, so neither of any Wasting or impairing: Some obscure footsteps of this we have here, Dost thou not see the Heavens, (saith Chrysostom) [Page 59] how fair, how spacious, how bespangled with divers Constellations; how long they have lasted? and yet this long duration of time hath brought no old age upon them, but they still retain the beauty and glory they had at first. To the same purpose Alstedius, Such is the duration, and unmoveable stability of that heavenly Palace, that being created above five thousand six hun­dred years since, yet it so continueth to this day, that we can espy nothing in it of change or waste, or disorder; The Sun, that faithful witness in Heaven, is in conti­nual travel and motion, fetcheth large circuits, cour­seth about the world, yet there is no wasting either in its substance or qualities; his substance is the same, his light as clear, his heat as cherishing, influence as operative, motion as swift as ever it was; doth the Psalmist compare the sun to a Bridegroom comming out of his Chamber, and a Giant rejoycing to run his course? This Bridegroom is still as fair and beautiful, this Giant as strong, and vigorous after the great labour, and constant revolutions of above five thousand years; The like is to be observed in the Sea; all the Rivers run into the Sea, From the place from whence they came, thither they return again (k): Though it continually [...]endeth forth abundance of Rivers, and hath done so from the Creation, yet it continueth as full as it was at first; as it sends out some, it receiveth in other waters. After they have incircled the earth, and glided along through their several channels, they at [...]ast empty themselves again into the Sea,; so that it [...]s both as full and large as at first. If it looseth in one place, it gaineth in another: and if after so long a [...]ract of time there be no sensible decay in these great master-pieces of Nature, much less in Eternity, where all things continue in the same state and degree.

There is no wasting in the eternal happiness of the Saints, Provide your selves bags which wax not old, a [Page 60] treasure in the Heavens that faileth not, it is an inher [...] tance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not awa [...] [l] An incorruptible Crown; [m] A Crown of glor [...] that fadeth not away, [n] It is spoken of Moses, as [...] thing extraordinary, that after an hundred and twen [...] years, his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abate [...] (o) and that of the Israelites in the Wilderness, wa [...] as strange; that after forty years, their cloaths a [...] shooes, waxed not old. But what is recorded as [...] strange unwonted thing in them, holds true in Heaven; the Saints shall ever see God, and yet their sigh [...] never wax dim; shall be cloathed with the Garmen [...] of Salvation, and those Garments never wax old. [...] bel hath been in Heaven five thousand years and up­ward, and were there so many thousands to be d [...] ducted from his future happiness, it would be som [...] dimunition to it; but this adds much to his happiness that after so long a tract of time, he is not one wh [...] nearer the expiration of his happiness.

On the other side, there is no wasting in the eterna [...] punishments in Hell; Drexellius makes this observation from those words of our Saviour,[p] If a man abi [...] not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, a [...] they are burned; Where he observeth, the words [...] not run in the future tense, he shall be cast forth and shall be cast into the fire, and burned: but all [...] the present tense; he is cast forth, is withered; m [...] cast them into the fire and they are burned. This (sait [...] he) is the state and condition of the damned; they are burned, that is, they are alwayes burning when a thousand years are past, as it was at first so it i [...] still; they are burned: after a thousand, thousan [...] years more, as it was before, so it is still; they an [...] burned. If after millions of years, the question wer [...] [Page 61] asked; What is now their state and condition? what do they? what suffer they? how doth it fare with them? There can be no other answer returned, but they are burned; continually, and eternally burning. The Apostle saith of the Sodomites, that they were set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire; it was many hundred years before the Apostle wrote this, that they were doomed to those prisons of Fire; yet all that time before, they had been burn­ing; at this day, they are still burning: and so shall continue burning to all eternity. All the burnings they have already endured, deduct nothing from their future sufferings, nor in the least abate the tale of their ensuing calamities; but they have as much to suffer, and (if I may so speak) as long a time to suffer in, as when they went first to their own place.

CHAP. VII. Of Eternal Happiness and Misery without intermission; and without mixture in Heaven or Hell.

4. ETernity is without any interm [...]ssion: There is no intermitting in time; in the days of Joshua, when the Sun and Moon stood still; and some say, there was the like pause in the Stars; yet time did not stand, but posted on its wonted course: in the daies of Hezekiah, when the Sun went backward ten degrees, yet time went on; the men then living, were not the younger for that retrograde motion: and if there be no intermissions in time, much less in eternity, and this undeniably followeth, upon what was before spoken; for if there be no succession in eternity, but what­soever good is enjoyed in Heaven, and whatsoever suffe­ring is endured in Hell, be all at once it will thence follow, that there is no interruptions in the happiness of the one, nor any intermissions in the punishment of the other.

[Page 62]1. There is no interruption in the happiness enjoyed i [...] Heaven; and this adds not a little to the greatness o [...] it. The best enjoyments in this life, are often inter­rupted; yea, even the spiritual enjoyments of Belie­vers; God is often as a stranger in the Land of their souls; and as a Wayfaring-man, who tarrieth but for a night; his visitations are less frequent; and when they are, many times not lasting; the best of the Saints have experience of Gods access and recess: of his drawing near them, and his with-drawing from them. God sometimes looks through the window, shews himself through the Lattice, shineth upon them with the light of his countenance; makes some of his glory and goodness pass before them, so as at present they are able to say with the Church, The Lord is my Portion, saith my soul; but at other times, God hi­deth his face, withdraws his comforting presence, so as at present they have no taste of his goodness nor smell of the sweet savour of his precious Oyntments, nor in­timations of his love, nor illapses of the light of his Countenance: they seek him, but cannot find him; they cry, and shout, yet he shutteth out their Prayer; they go to the Word to hear what God will speak to them; hoping that God may create the fruit of the lips, peace; yet cannot hear one word of comfort: they follow God from Duty to Duty, from Ordinance to Ordinance; and yet God asnwereth them neither by Prophets, nor by Dreames neither by Prayer, nor Word, nor Sacrament, so as they many times cry out, I have lost God, the Comforter who should relieve my soul is far off from me; or in the language of Sion, The Lord hath forsaken me, my God hath forgotten me. And as they have these sad interruptions in their sense and feeling of Gods love, so likewise in that joy and comfort which results from it; what they say of Apes and Monkies, that in the full of the Moon they are pleasant and jocund, often skipping up and down, do­ing their apish tricks, but in the wane are dull and sot­tish, [Page 63] not caring to stir: in like manner Believers, while the candle of God shineth upon their head, they are filled with joy, and that sometimes beyond what they are well able to bear: as Eph [...]aim, who begged of God, Lord withdraw a while thy joyes from me, the weakness of this earthly vessel is not able to hold so great joyes. And Severinus, that Indian Saint, being recovered out of a great sickness, in which he found the glorious illapses of God upon his soul, cryed out, Oh my God, do not [...]or pities sake thus over-joy me, if I must have these con­ [...]olations, take me to Heaven, he that hath tasted of thy [...]weetness, must needs after live in bitternness! Whereas [...]n the other side, when God hides himself, and with­ [...]raws his presence, there is no voice of joy heard in [...]eir tabernacles, nothing remaining of those joyes [...]ey once had, but onely a sad remembrance that they [...]ce had them. Bernard on a time found himself [...]uch indisposed, yet having striven with himself, and [...]en with God in prayer, evidently found the visita­ [...]ons of God, but this lasted but a while, therefore he [...]d of it, Oh blessed hour, but oh short stay; Oh that it [...]d lasted longer; And Jeoffry of Peroun, being in [...]ourny with Bernard, one while was so filled with [...], that he said, he hoped he should never be sad more all [...] life; but this joy was soon gone, so as he then fear­ [...] he should never be chearful more. But these sad [...]erruptions which the best Saints are subject to here, [...]y shall be wholly free from when they are made [...]takers of that eternal hapiness in Heaven; doth [...] chief happiness of the Saints in heaven consist in [...] enjoyment of God? look whatsoever way they may said to enjoy him, the Scripture describeth it to a continual, an uninterrupted enjoyment; is it by way presence? they shall ever be with the Lord (b). Is it [...]way of Vision? what Christ saith of Angels, that [...] always behold the face of his Father (c), is as true [Page 64] of them; Is it by way of love? Love is strong as death the coales thereof are as coales of fire (d); some read i [...] the coales of Juniper, which, they say, being raked up i [...] its own embers continueth glowing a whole year to­gether, and therefore aptly expresseth the love of the Saints, which is continually burning upon the altar o [...] their hearts; Or, is this enjoyment by way of joy an [...] delight in God? In thy name they shall rejoyce all th [...] day (e); and this adds not a little to the happiness of th [...] Saints, which would be much abated, if there were any times, when they were secluded the presence o [...] God: the like may be said of whatsoever happines [...] there is in Heaven: which is therefore resembled t [...] a River, where there is a constant succession of waters, Thou shalt make them drink of the River of t [...] pleasures (f); sometimes to a Fountain, which w [...] know is continually running, With thee is the Fountai [...] of Life; and the tree of life is said to yield her frui [...] every month, to shew the un-interruptedness of thos [...] delights in Heaven.

2. On the other side there is no intermissions in the Eternal sufferings of Hell, the worm is alwayes gnaw [...] ing, the fire continually burning, the smoak of the torment ascendeth up for ever and ever, and they have [...] rest, day, nor night. They are tormented day and nigh [...] for ever and ever (g); the wrath of God under whic [...] they lye is(h) compared to a stream of Brimstone; [...] it is likened to Brimstone to express the fiercene [...] of it, so to a stream which is continually running, [...] set forth the continuance of it; and this much adde [...] to the greatness of their sufferings. In the evils whic [...] befall men in this life there are frequent intermissions in the most violent Agues the paroxysm lasts but fo [...] such a time; Feavers in a few dayes come to thei [...] Crisis, and end either in the death or recovery of th [...] [Page 65] Patient; Those tormenting diseases, the Gout and [...]he Stone, in a short time spend themselves, and [...]hough they are seldom wholly cured, yet there are [...]ome times of ease; and were it so in the sufferings [...]f hell, were there any resting dayes in hell (as Pru­ [...]entius fancied) were it one day in a week (as some [...]odern Jews conceit, affirming, that when their [...]abbath begin [...], the damned are led by an Angel to a [...]lace of rest, and when their Sabbath endeth, they [...]re driven again to their place of torment,) or were [...] but one day in the year, as Prudentius would have [...]; that upon that day Christ rose from the dead, [...]e flames of hell are le [...]s not, and the damned find one mitigations of their pain; if only thus, it were [...]me abatement of their misery: but to lye continually [...]nguishing under the wrath of an incensed God, [...]nd scorching in the flames of a tormenting Fire, [...]ithout any end, ease, relaxation, or any intermission [...]f their sufferings, this makes them the more grie­ [...]ous, and intolerable. Here when a man's mind is [...]er-whelmed with grief, or is oppressed with [...]in, sleep many times gives him some mitigation; [...]erefore, the Poets call it a sweet refreshment in a [...]sease (i); on the other-side, when in extremity of [...]ief or pain, a man cannot sleep many nights toge­ [...]er; when in his extremity he wisheth that it were [...]ening, hoping that the night may ease him, and [...]s bed give him rest; yet in this case, his eyes are [...]t waking, so as he is full of tumblings and tossings [...] the dawning of the day; this is a great addition [...]his Misery: as it was with Job, Who therefore desi­ [...]d strangling, and death, rather than life (k). Ravil­ [...]c, who murthered Henry the Fourth of France, [...]ong other punishments, they would not suffer him [...] take any sleep for several days and nights together, [...]t when he began to sleep his keepers thrust burn­ing [Page 66] bodkins into his flesh, to keep him waking; and this was so grievous to him, that though many ex­quisite tortures were inflicted on him, yet he told his friends, nothing so much troubled him as want of sleep, having not had one wink of rest for six daies and nights together; but thus it is with those wretch­ed Miscreants in Hell, they have no rest day nor night (l) they shall not be suffered to take one wink o [...] sleep to all eternity.

5. Eternity is without any mixture: There is no­thing but happiness in Heaven, nothing but Misery i [...] Hell; Heaven is a place of pure Mercy, Hell of pure Justice; Joy and Triumph will be the portion o [...] the Saints in Heaven; and Misery and Howlings the everlasting portion of the damned in Hell; and tha [...] without any mixture of their contraries: See it in both the Branches.

(1.) The happiness in Heaven is without any mixture: This world, as it is between Heaven and Hell i [...] place, so it is in participation; It partakes both o [...] the sweetness of Heaven and the bitterness of Hell [...] Whiles Israel was in the wilderness the blackest nigh [...] had a pillar of Fire, and the brightest day the pilla [...] of a Cloud; things here, never go so ill with me [...] but they have some comforts afforded; nor so well but they groan under some kind of trouble: Go [...] hath set one over against the other (m). When Dioclesian resigned his Empire, he pretended this as the reason: As the Planet, which hath its exaltation in one sign, hath likewise its counterpoise in another; s [...] if there were any thing that afforded him any con­tent, it was accompanied with as much vexation; our silver is mixed with dross; our wine with water Neither is it thus only in temporal, but in the Spiritual enjoyments of Believers; who are here, like the Nightingale, sitting upon thorns; or the Halcyon upon [Page 67] the trembling waters. Doth the Christian serve God? it is with fear; doth he rejoyce? it is with [...]rembling: doth he rejoyce in that Grace God hath given him? as Paul, Thanks be to God, through Jesus Christ; yet he cannot but mourn under the remain­ders of Corruption, with the same Apostle: O wretch­ed man that I am, who shall deliver me from this body of death? and when he compareth that little grace he hath, with that Original purity he lost in Adam, he [...]annot but mourn; as the old men did(n), who had [...]een the former Temple in its glory; is it matter of En­couragement to him, when his heart is enlarged in Gods service? as it was to David, when he and the people offered willingly to the Lord (o), Yet it is a matter of sorrow that he is able to do God no better service; his greatest joy is not without some mixture; [...]he women after Christs Resurrection, departed from [...]he Sepulchre with fear and great joy (p), The Disci­ples, walked in the fear of God, and the comforts of [...]he Holy Ghost; (q) Whereas in Heaven, there are [...]ll things that are desirable, and rare, and precious, [...]ithout any mixture of contraries (r): There is per­ [...]ection without mixture of imperfectness, When that which is perfect is come, that which is imperfect shall [...]e done away: (s) There is perfection of holiness, without the least sinfulness; The sin of Jacob shall be [...]ought, and there shall be none (t): Perfection of hap­piness without any kind of misery; there is joy with­out sorrow; They shall obtain everlasting joy, and glad­ness; and sorrow and sighing shall flee away (u): Rest without Labour, Blessed are the dead, which dye in the Lord; they rest from their Labours (w): In sum, there is life, without death attending it: Light, without darkness; peace, without trouble; ease, without pain: [Page 68] a full enjoyment of all desirable good, and freedom f [...] all imaginable evil.

[2.] On the other hand; In the eternity of Hells p [...] nishment, there is all that is evil, without the least mixture of any thing that is good, The same shall drink [...] the wine of the wrath of God, that is poured out witho [...] mixture (x); That Cup of wrath that is said to be f [...] of mixture(y): that is, full of all the woful ingredien [...] that can be put into it; is here said to be without mi [...] ture: that is, without the mixture of any thing tha [...] might alleviate their Torments. I shall onely instan [...] in three Particulars:

[1.] Without any mixture of Mercy: Here man [...] times God corrects with Judgment, not in Wrat [...] (z) or if in Wrath; yet in Wrath he remembreth Me [...] cy (a), But there, is all wrath without any mercy; in the Sacrifice of Jealousie (b), God ordereth, th [...] there should be no Oyl, or Frankincense put to it, b [...] cause it was an offering of Jealousie; an offering o [...] memorial, to bring iniquity to remembrance: in li [...] manner, in Hell, there is no oyl of mercy to lenifie the sufferings: no Incense of prayer, to appease Go [...] Wrath; he that made them, will not have mercy [...] them; he that formed them, will shew them no [...] vour; the day of Grace and Mercy is then past: t [...] door of mercy is for ever shut up against them: W [...] once the Master of the house is risen, and hath shut the do [...] and ye begin to knock at the door, saying: Lord, Lor [...] open to us; He shall answer, and say, I know you [...] whence you are (c): When God hath shut up the do [...] of Grace, and Mercy, as he doth in Hell: thoug [...] they beg, and cry for mercy, they shall receive no [...] ther answer than a peremptory denial: the fooli [...] Virgins deferred to get oyl into their Lamps till was too late; and when they went to buy, the Brid [...] groom [Page 69] came, and the door was shut, and when they begged, Lord, Lord, open to us, he answered, verily I say unto you, I know you not; * and what will a poor [...]reature say or do in this dreadful exclusion? Have you ever seen a prisoner at the Bar, with what im­portunate out-cries he begs mercy, and with what de­ [...]ection and despair he goeth away when he cannot ob­ [...]ain it; think then what horror, canfusion, and E­verlasting despair shall surprize the Souls of those lost undone creatures, who find themselves drenched in a sea of wrath and vengeance, and cannot hope to have [...]o much as one chord of mercy thrown out to them, [...]nd that is another addition to their misery; it is not onely without any mixture of Mercy at present: But

[2.] Without any hope of mixture for the future. In this life though men be under great troubles, they are [...]eldom without hope: the Prophet Daniel heard the [...]oice of an Holy One crying, Hew down the tree and [...]estroy it, yet leave the stump of the roots in the Earth, [...]nd thus it is usually with men in this life, saith Am­ [...]rose; though the tree be cut down, and the branches [...]opt off, all they have taken from them, yet some of [...]he root is left, their hope is not quite cut off; as [...]ong as there is life, there is hope, to him that is [...]oyned to the living there is hope, And this is some [...]upport to men in their present troubles: but in hell [...]oth root and branch, and all hope are quite cut off. Bede observeth, that God hath made three places, and [...]n each of them hath placed two things: in Heaven [...]e hath placed Verity and Eternity; on Earth, Curio­ [...]ity and Repentance; in Hell, Misery and Despair: and [...]s Hell is the proper place of despair, so this despair is [...]ithout the least mixture of hope; what hope hath the hy­ [...]ocrite, when God taketh away his soul? * the Hypo­ [...]rite of all other wicked men is usually most confident, making no question, and thinking much that any o­ther [Page 70] should question his title to Heaven: but whe [...] the hypocrite shall be turned into hell, with all the peop [...] that forget God, all his hopes will be quickly confuted what hope hath the hypocrite when God taketh awa [...] his Soul? could a man speak with such a Son of confidence after he hath been some time in hell and ask him, whether he were as confident a [...] before? Oh, what a sad and doleful answer would he return, how would he befool himself, and cry out a­gainst his former presumption and credulity, the grea­ter his hopes were before, the greater now will be hi [...] confusion: Hope deferred makes the heart faint, saith Salomon: much more, hope frustrated. When Aha [...] suerus asked Haman, What shall be done to the man who [...] the King delighteh to honour? he presuming that himself was most likely to be the man, nameth the highest honours that could fall within the compass of hi [...] thoughts: but when he saw that himself was laid aside and this honour done to Mordecai his great enemy think what a dump this was to him; and accordingly you read, how he went home to his house, an [...] told his wife and friends what had befallen him. A man who hath a suit at Law, and is before-hand co [...] fident he shall have the day: if when the time come he finds himself cast, this maketh his grief so muc [...] greater, by how much his confidence was greater before: and for him that was confident of Heaven, t [...] be doomed to Hell: for him that made no question of finding mercy, now on the sudden to find himself past all hopes of mercy, this is that which will double his damnation, and make his condition far more mi­serable. It is said of the hypocrite, that his hope shall be cut off, and his trust be as a Spiders web: * the Spider spends much time, and taketh much pains in the weaving of her web; some say, every morning before she looks out for her prey, she first mend [...]s he [...] [Page 71] broken web, which she industriously spins out of her own bowels, when all on the sudden by the sweep of a beesome, or some other way, her labour is spoiled, her web broken down, and perhaps her self killed in her own web; thus the hypocrite takes much pains to nou­rish in himself a vain deluded hope; he prayeth, read­eth, heareth, fasteth, and in regard of outward per­formances seemeth to outstrip the devoutest Christian; if the Believer with Cushi runs he like Ahim [...]az will outrun him; for thus the Meteor, for the time, maketh a greater blaze than the fixed star; the Drone hath a greater body, seemeth a more beautiful creature than the Bee, flies oftner, and with a greater noise, and humming in and out of the Hive: the dead body is greater and longer than the same body when alive; and thus the hypocrite in regard of outward professi­on and performance of Duties, seems to go beyond the true Nathaniel: by which means he doth not on­ly deceive others, but himself also, concluding, he is as sure of heaven, as if he had one foot there already; but no sooner doth death cut asunder the thred of his life, but it cuts off all his hopes, leaving him in a hope­less, helpless, and remediless condition. The eyes of the wicked shall fail, and his hope shall be as the give­ing up of the ghost [h]: as the comparison holds in some other respects, so in this: at the giving up the Ghost, when the soul quits this earthly tabernacle, it never returneth again to live here with it in this world; so when the hope of a wicked man departs at death; it taketh an everlasting farewell of the soul, and is swal­lowed up in desperation.

[3.] Without any mixture of pity: to him that is af­flicted, pity should be shewn from his friend [i], And usually we do pity men in their misery, even Male­factors in their justly deserved executions: but this shall not the damned find.

[Page 72]1. They shall have no pity from God, he that mad [...] them, will shew them no pity; nay, so far is God from pitying them, that their punishment is an ease to him (k) I will ease me of my adversaries: it is his desire to pu­nish them; It is in my desire that I should chastise them: (l) it is a comfort to him; I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted (m); it is a re­joycing to him; I will rejoyce over you to destroy you, and bring you to nought (n), Once more, it is a matter o [...] laughter to him: I will laugh at their destruction (o): what God speaks with laughing, Do thou read with trembling: Woe, and a thousand woes to that man whose destruction is a matter of laughter to Al­mighty God! What can be more sad and dreadful [...] than when the God of mercy shall so far abandon al [...] pity, as to laugh at the destruction of his own creatures?

2. No pity from the Angels or Saints. Dives begged but one drop of water to cool his tongue: Alas, what were one drop of water against a whole furnace of fire? but this he cannot obtain, not so much as one drop of cooling water against a whole stream of scald­ing Brimstone; then he begs to have one sent from the dead to preach to his Brethren, but is denyed by Abraham in that also; he begs it again, and is denyed again: and this will be a further addition to the mi­sery of those lost forlorn creatures. There was at I­senacus a Play(q) or Enterlude acted before Frede­rick the Prince of that place, in which was represent­ed the five wise, and five foolish Virgins: the wise Virgins were presented to be the Virgin Mary, and four other Virgins sainted by the Papists; the foolish Virgins come, and entreat them to give them of their oyl: that is, as the Actor present­ed it, to intercede to God for them, that they might [Page 73] [...]e admitted into the Marriage-Chamber, into Heaven; [...]ut the wise Virgins peremptorily denyed them, and bid them go, and buy for themselves. They beg a­gain, and are denyed again: they knock, and weep, and importune with miserable out-cries, but all in vain; which the Prince seeing, was so astonished, that he presently fell into a grievous sickness, crying out, To what end is Christian Faith, if neith r Mary, n [...]r a­ny other Saint, can be intreated to intercede for them that sue to them? To what purpose are those merits, and good works so much cryed up amongst us? And this apprehension that they should beg so importunately, and yet be denyed, did so seize upon him, that he sell forthwith into a fit of the Apoplexy, of which he dyed within four dayes after. If he was thus astonished to fee this but acted in a Play: how terrible will it be when this and much more shall be done in deed, and good earnest? if he were thus troubled to see others denyed, when it concerned not himself; how sadly will this be resented when poor creatures shall find them­selves thus dealt with? when the Saints in Heaven shall be so far from pitying them, that they shall rejoyce in their destruction; The Lord shall destroy thee for ever: the righteous also shall see this, and fear, and shall laugh him to scorn; The righteous shall rejoyce when he seeth the ven­geance: * here it is a matter of lamentation to good men, to see desperate sinners running headlong upon their own damnation, and wofully embruing their hands in the blood of their own souls. Lots righteous soul was vexed with the filthy conversation of the So­domites: Jeremiahs soul wept in secret for the pride of the Jewes, and wished that he had in the Wilderness a place of wayfaring men, to leave his people, because they were all Adulterers and Adulteresses: but when God at the last day shall clear his Justice in the just condemnation of ungodly men, they shall not onely [Page 74] approve of the equity of Gods proceedings: but according to the forenamed Texts, it will be a matter o [...] rejoycing to them.

3. They shall have no pity from the Devils, and their fellow-damned Companions: but on the contrary, those who now tempt and draw them to sin, will then insult in their torments, They shall be an abhorring to all flesh. *

4. They shall not so much as pity themselves: the Scripture Speaketh, of weeping, wailing, and gnash­ing of teeth: heavy chear, (saith Latimer) where weeping and wailing is served-up for the first course, and gnashing of teeth, cometh in for the second! but thus it will bee in Hell, as they shall weep, and wail for their misery; so they shall gnash their teeth, at their own folly, and shall be filled with such a hellish rage against themselves, that they will never cease to vex and torment themselves.

CHAP. VIII. Of Lamentation for those at ease and careless of Eternity, from three several Aggravations: with Expostulati­ons.

1. THe Doctrinal▪ part being handled, the Applicati­on follows, which I mainly intend. Socrates is said to bring down Philosophy from Heaven, because he first reduced it unto practice; and certainly, that preaching is best, which cometh nearest to the end of preaching, which is to excite men to a practical improvement of divine Truths, and I know no one truth more capable of a more close Application, than this of Eternity: That therefore, I now come to.

1. Hence have we ground, I know not whether of re­prehension, [Page 75] or lamentation; or whether of lamentation, or astonishment: If this be a certain truth, that there is an eternal condition of every man after this life: that every man, must after a short time enter upon an eternity, either of happiness or misery: Then behold ye despi­sers, and wonder, and perish; tremble ye men and women that are at ease in Sion, who live as if you had no Souls to look after, as if there were neither a Heaven to be cared for; nor a Hell to be feared, nor any being of man after this life; yea all ye that pass by, behold, and see, and stand astonished at the desperate sottishness of the Sons of men: when our Saviour told the Woman of the Water he gave, of which, whosoever drinketh shall never thirst; she beggs, Sir, give me this water (a), when he speaks of the bread that comes down from Heaven, and giv­eth life to the world; the Jews cried, Lord evermore give us this bread (b): and truly it might be expect­ed, that when men hear of the eternity of happiness in Heaven, they should be so affected with it, that some, as conscious of their former carelesness, should with Ephraim, smite upon the Thigh, and passionate­ly bewail their neglect of so great Salvation; that o­thers, with those Gospel-Converts, should ask, What shall we do that we might inherit eternal life? that o­thers, as full of Heavenly admiration, should stand like the Cherubins with bowed faces, as desiring to pry further into this mystery; that others, as Naaman, when he was cured, went away resolving to serve no other God, but the God of Israel; so they should take up peremptory resolutions, to make it their great business to get interest in this happiness. On the other side, one would think, that when men hear of the eternity of Hell-torments, they should almost think, and speak, and enquire after nothing else, but how they should flee from the Wrath to come, [Page 76] that they would run up and down, from one Minister to another: and from one Christian to another, enquiring what they should do to escape the damna­tion of Hell; all this might be expected: But alas, who hath believed our report? or, to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?

Oh fools and slow of heart, to believe what the Scripture hath spoken, and what Ministers preach(c)! It was the complaint of one, That eternal happiness in Heaven is every way unspeakably great, and is freely offered to us; and yet, who spends so much as one hour in the meditation and pursuit of it? Who is it that talketh of it to his Wife, and Children, and Fa­mily? We can riot in the praises of our Native soil, but are ashamed to speak of our Heavenly Country, our everlasting Home; in the things of this life, our Understandings are quick enough to conceive them; our hearts to embrace them; our tongues to speak of them: but in the things of Eternity, how deep is our silence? how slow our speech? How sel­dome our Meditations? and as the same Author ad­deth: we forsake the eternal happiness in Heaven, for earthly things, which will soon forsake us; and though this, as barely considered in it self, be so great a sottishness, as can never be enough lamented, yet it may be further aggravated from these follow­ing Considerations:

1. If we consider how frequently and earnestly, men are called upon, to make provision for Eternity: It was John Baptist's pathetical expostulation, O Gene­ration of Vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come (d); I would ask, who hath not war­ned you? which of Gods faithful Ministers, or what Sermon almost is it, in which they do not either di­rectly or consequentially, make this the great busi­ness they preach, and press upon you? and when [Page 77] they Preach, they desire to do it in the most power­ful and moving way they are able: when they preach of Heaven and eternal happiness, they strive to speak in a silken dialect, cloathing their speech with the soft raiment of the most pleasing, and winning Expressions, so as the Pulpit seems to be another Mount Olivet, full of delight and sweetness: when they Preach the terrors of the Lord, the damnation of Hell; they strive (if possible) not to speak Stone only, (as he said) but Thunder-bolts; desiring, that every sentence might fall like a clap of Thunder, rending in pieces the adamantine hearts of men. The Philoso­pher saith, that men continually breathe fire, though it be not seen: and when they preach of Hell, they desire (if possible) to breathe flames, that they might thaw a frozen Generation, and scare men out of their sins, by throwing some flashes of Hell into their Consciences: so as the Pulpit seems to be as another Sinai, where there is nothing but fire, and lightning, and thunder: When they go about to perswade men to flee from the Wrath to come; and lay up treasure in Heaven; they bring Line upon Line, and Precept upon Precept: studying what Arguments, and Motives to use, making choice of such as are most taking and prevailing with their hearts: to Arguments they add Intreaties, beseeching men by the love of God, and love to their own Souls, and whatsoever may be dear, and precious to men: that they would not neglect so great Salvation: they leave no imaginable means unattempted, become all to all men, if they may by any means save some: desiring nothing more, than to see of the Travel of their Souls: when they see they cannot prevail, that Israel is not gathered, they go away discouraged, crying with the Prophet, My leanness, my leanness, wo is me; I can do no more good (e): and are sometimes ready to resolve with [Page 78] the Prophet Jeremy, I will Prophesie no more in the name of the Lord, as fearing lest God hath sent them, as he did the Prophet Isaiah, to make the hearts of people fat, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they should hear, and see, and understand, and convert, and be healed; for alas, whereunto may I liken the men of this Generation? they are like unto Children, crying one to another: we have piped to you, and ye have not danced; we have mourned, and ye have not wept: Ministers may be then said to pipe, when they sound the Silver Trumpet of the Gospel, publish­ing the glad tydings of peace, and Eternal Salvation, then to mourn, when they are constrained to ring in mens ears, the doleful knell of their everlasting misery; but people generally, are as little affected either with the one, or the other, as if they were but meer fantasies: as if Heaven were but an Idea, like Plato's Agathopolis, or Mahomet's Paradise, or Moore's Utopia; as if Hell were but a scare-crow, set up to put an awe upon more credulous spirits. Mi­nisters out of their several Pulpits, cry out: Eternity, Eternity, Eternity; and yet cannot prevail with men, to take the least care about their eternal condition

How many be there, who have lived thirty, or for­ty years, under the powerful preaching of the word, and have heard many hundred Sermons; the main drift of which hath been to exhort them to this one thing necessary; and yet it is to be feared, the time is yet to come, with a great many, that ever they spent one serious hour in making provision for their everlasting estate; like those, They come, and sit, and bear the word, and seem to be affected with it, as if they heard some pleasant song (f): but they do it not; they are no more prevailed upon, as to any serious care, and endeavour after things Eternal, than the very stones they stand on. When Bede was old and blind, [Page 79] yet he would take all occasions to preach: the unhap­py boy that led him, on a time, led him amongst a Company of Stones, telling him, there were a company of men assembled, and he preached to them; and indeed as good preach to Stones, as to stony-hearts; there is almost as much hope to prevail upon hard stones, as upon hard hearts; it was a strange ex­pression Bonaventure used upon that promise of God, I will take away the heart of stone, and give you a heart of flesh: Lord, saith he, I will none of this promise, none of this heart of flesh, let me have my heart of stone still.

I read the Altar at Bethel clave asunder at the words of the Prophet: when Jeroboams heart con­tinued hard; the stones rent in pieces at the death of Christ: when the hard-hearted Jews were not af­fected, let me rather have a heart of stone than such a heart of flesh: and indeed it is true in his sense, no stone so hard and unmalleable as the stupid heart of man, and that is the reason of those frequent Apostro­phes in Scripture, whereby God turning from a stub­born people, applyeth his speech to the sensless crea­tures: Hear, O Heavens, and give ear O earth; Hear O mountains the Lords controversie, and ye strong foundati­ons of the earth (g): implying, that as soon may the heavens, and earth hear, as soon may the mountains, and foundations of the earth tremble, as a stupid, sottish people, whom it most concerneth. And that men that are so often, and earnestly called upon, should be so little affected and wrought upon; this is a lamentation, and shall be for a lamentation: this is one aggravation of that stupidity which is in men.

2. If we consider how soon men may enter upon their eternal condition, though at present we be in health and strength, yet our strength is not the strength of stones, nor our flesh of brass: we are frail mortal creatures, our foundation is in the dust, our life is [Page 80] in our hand, our breath in our nostrils, we carry about in our bodies the matter of a thousand deaths and may die (saith Calvin) a thousand several ways each several hour: as many senses, as many members, nay, as many pores as there are in the body, so many Windows for death to enter in at: Death needs not spend all is arrows upon us, a Worm, a Gnat, a Flie, a Hair, a Stone of a Raisin, a Kernel of a Grape, the fall of a Horse, the stumbling of a Foot, the prick of a Pin, the pairing of a Nail, the cutting of a Corn: all these have been to others, and any one of them may be to us the means of our death, within the space of a few days, nay, of a few hours; we may be well, and sicken, and die, and forthwith enter up­on our Eternal estate: Death being the Door of Eter­nity, forthwith transmitting us to an eternity either of joy, or torment: and truly one would think that this consideration should prevail with men, to make some timely provision for their future estate. Cato had ma­ny times moved in the Senate, that Carthage which had been so offensive to them might be destroyed, but could not prevail, being still opposed by Scipio; On a time he brought a Fig with him into the Senate, telling them, that that Fig was three days before growing in Carthage, and that for ought they knew, an Army from Carthage in as short a time might arrive at their Gates; upon which, the Senate considering the suddenness of the danger they might be in, gave order for the demolishing of it. Though we seem at present to be fresh, and flourishing, like fruit grow­ing in a fruitful ground, yet we do not know but in a short time, perhaps within the space of three days, we may be cropt off by death, and transmitted into another world; and therefore should be so wise as to make provision for our future estate, both by dying to sin, which otherwise will be the death of our Souls, and by the use of all other means conducing there­unto: but that notwithstanding this great uncertain­ty, [Page 81] men should live as if they were to live always, should put off the thoughts of death, as if they should never die, should content themselves to live in that condition in which they dare not die, or in which if they should die, they should be eternally misera­ble; this argues as great a folly and stupidity, as the nature of man is capable of.

Thou wouldest be troubled, if thou certainly knewest thou wert to live but one month longer; and art thou not affected, when perhaps thou shalt not cut-live one day (h)? Eliphaz speaking of a Vision he had, saith; A thing was secretly brought me, and mine ear received a little of it (i): He sets it out by the time when it was made known to him; in thoughts from Visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon upon: It is further de­scribed by the strange effects of it; fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake: He goeth on to shew the terror this Vision brought up­on him; A Spirit passed before my face, the hair of my flesh stood up. Hitherto is described in what manner this secret was made known to him; but, what was this great secret which made such an impression of fear upon him? that is partly laid down, and proved by the fall of Angels, that much more man, whose foundation is in the dust, must consume by little and lit­tle, and must at last in a short time, perhaps less than from morning to evening, be cut off by the stroak of death: but wherein (as one descants upon it) lyeth this high point of secrecy? for man to die, and that of­tentimes suddenly, is no such rare thing as seemeth here to be pointed at: surely that wherein that great my­stery chiefly consisted, lyeth in this: that though man must die, and many times dyeth suddenly, yet all this is little laid to heart, either by others: They are destroy­ed [Page 82] from morning to evening, they perish for ever without any regarding it; nor yet by themselves: doth no [...] their excellency go away? they dye even without wis­dom: and that mens time should be so short, their life so uncertain, as many times to be taken away in the space of one day: and that neither others should lay it to heart, nor men themselves should learn wisdom to make any suitable preparation; this is spoken of as a strange remarkable thing: a thing to be justly won­dred at, that there should be such prodigious sottish­ness in the hearts of men.

3. If we consider how many things there are that seem to mind us of death, and of making provision for a­nother world. Are not our boots, shoes, gloves, made of the skins of dead Beasts? Our hats, cloathes, stock­ings, of the hair, or wool of dead creatures? Is not our food chiefly upon those creatures that first die, be­fore they become our nourishment; and yet, behold another ensuing death; these cloaths we wear, soon wear out; these meats we eat, are soon cast into the draught, and nature calls for a fresh supply: If from hence we look upon things about us; the Vine feels as many deaths as winters; and notwithstanding all our pruning and care, seldom lasts above sixty or seventy years: The like may be said of the Trees of Pears, Apples, Plumbs, and other fruits; which though carefully looked after, do not usually continue above fifty or sixty years; whereas Oakes, and other Trees, which last long, commonly grow further off from our Habitations: The sensitive creatures, that live a­mongst us, do not long continue with us; the Horse seldom out-lives twenty years: it is much if the Dog liveth so long: the Oxe, if not slain before, usually dies by fifteen, or sixteen: the Sheep by nine or ten; many other Creatures in a shorter time: And how many Creatures are there, which are but of one daies continuance? the same days Sun, which gave them life at its uprising, takes it away at its setting: And [Page 83] when there are so many things to mind us of our lat­ter end, think what a stupidity it is, to make no pre­paration for it; as Seneca excellently, Whence is it we should no more think of Death, when there are so many Deaths about us? Or, if from other Creatures, we cast our eyes upon other Men; Job saith of the wick­ed man(l), He shall be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the Tomb, and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him: Death is the end of all flesh, the Grave the house appointed for all living; there are few weeks pass over our heads, but we ei­ther hear the knell of Death ringing in our Ears, or have some spectacle of Death presented to our eyes; and when others ars snatch'd away by Death, the liv­ing should lay it to heart (m), when Amasa's dead body lay in the way, the people made a stop at it; in like manner, when we see, or hear of the death of any, we should consider what befalleth them, and must e're long befall us; Jonathan shot Arrows to admonish David of Sauls intent to kill him; when God caus­eth the Arrows of death to fall on the right hand, and on the left, we should look at them, as so many Ar­rows shot from Heaven to warn us. But how few be there that consider the works of the Lord; the Psal­mist saith of wicked men, like sheep they are laid in the Grave (n); the old Translation reads it, they lye in Hell like sheep; Sheep that are put into a fat pasture, though the Butcher comes, and taketh out, first one, then a second, after, a third, and fourth, and carrieth to the shambles, yet the rest not knowing what is be­come of their fellows, feed securely; and with much delight skip up and down in the green pastures, till they also are fetched away, and carried to the slaugh­ter. There is a bird in Ireland they call the Cock of the Wood, they fly together in thick Woods, so as it is hard to find them, but being once found, they are [Page 84] easily killed, if one or two be shot, the rest fly no fur­ther than to the next tree; where they sit staring up­on the shooter, till the whole Covey be destroyed: in like manner, it is with the secure, besotted sinners; the Arrows of Death light on this, and that side, now one is snatch'd away, and goeth to his long home, soon after, a second, a third; some perhaps are take [...] away in the midst of their sins, and go to their ow [...] place, having scarce time to call upon God for mer­cy; yet the survivours are little affected with these examples, but do as they used to do; Dine, and Sup [...] at their aceustomed times; go to Bed, and Rise after their wonted manner; Sleep according to their old compass; suffer life to slip from them, and death to steal upon them, and Judgment to overtake them, without taking any care to make provision for their future estate: and that Gods hand should be lifted up, and men not see; that the rod should speak, and they not hear, but continue deaf amongst so many Alarms of Death; this is another thing, that much aggra­vates the desperate sottishness of these persons.

Having thus shewed the lamentable blockishness o [...] the greatest part of men, and the several aggravati­ons which render it more lamentably lamentable; I shall now desire from this truth we are treating on to expostulate a while, and reason the case with these Sons of slumber, and confusion: Either this is so, that mans condition after this life is eternal, or it is not so; If not so, beside former arguments brought to prove it, what end was there of Christs coming into the world? what Ʋse of Scripture? to what purpose all we call Religion? What mean those workings of conscience, even for those secret sins unknown to the world? what mean those out-cries, and lamentations of men upon their death-beds, and that of the greatest Atheists; as Bion of Boristenes, who all his life time had denied the Gods, despised their Temples, derided their wor­ship; yet when death came, he would rather have en­dured [Page 85] the greatest torment, than to have dyed; and that not so much for fear of a natural death, but for fear of what followed after; lest God whom he had denied, should give him into the hand of the Devil, whom he had served; and therefore, at the time of his death, he put forth his hand, crying; welcome Devil, welcome (o); foolishly thinking to pacifie the Devil by this flattering Salutation: And Tully obser­veth of Epicurus, that though no man seemed more to contemn both God, and Death, yet no man feared more both the one, and the other: and whence is all this, if there be no Being of man after death?

On the other side; if the eternity of mans condition be a certain truth; so as it is not more certain, that the Sun shines, that the fire burns, that the earth bear­eth us, that the heavens cover us; than this is, that there is a Heaven and eternal happiness, for the Saints; and a Hell and everlasting punishment for incorrigible sinners; what ails the foolish hearts of men, to be so stupidly careless in a thing of so infinite concernment.

Were it only a thing probable, that as much might be spoken against it, as for it; yet a wise man would go the safest way: men do so in all other things, and would do so here, if they would but act as men, ac­cording to the Principles of Reason; and it is un­doubtedly the safest way, to make a seasonable pro­vision for it: Yet further, suppose it were a thing only possible, that much more might be spoken against it, than for it; yet a wise man would think, but what if it proves to be so at last? though it seems other­wise to me, yet it may be so; and if it prove so, what will become of me, if I wholly neglect to make provision for it? but if it be a most certain, and un­doubted truth, so as there is nothing more certain, and undubitable; whence it is that men mind no more a thing that so much, and so nearly concerns [Page 86] them? What are mens hearts made of? Whe [...] are those affections which use to be eagerly carried out upon meaner objects? what is become of men [...] intellectuals? Have they lost understanding, as well as conscience? Have they sinned away Reason as well as Religion? Are they as well without fear as without faith? as much without love to themselves as to God? Is Israel a servant? Is he a home-born-slave? Why is he spoyled (p)? Let me ask, Is a man a block, a bruit, a home-born fool? Why is he spoyled, or rather doth he spoyl and undo himself? Dydd Abner as a fool dy­eth; Thy hands were not bound, nor thy foot put into fet­ters, saith David (q): but for a man to dy eternal as a fool dyeth, when his hand is not bound, when no thing besides his own carelessness, could either de­prive him of eternal happiness, or thrust him upon his everlasting ruine, this is the greatest folly and madness that can befall a reasonable creature: Salo­mon saith of a generation of men, that madness is in their hearts while they live (r); after that they go to the dead, if there be any one thing in which this mad­ness doth more plainly appear, it is in this stupendious neglect of their eternal welfare. The Philosopher said of the Milesians, He would not say they were fools, but he was sure they did the same things fools use to do▪ men would be loth to be counted fools or mad-men, but if they spend all their time and pains about other things, and neglect this one thing necessary, whatsoe­ver they seem to themselves, and whatsoever they are in other things, in this they do the same things that fools and mad-men do, and so they will one day judge of themselves; but I pass to other vses.

CHAP. IX. Of Caution to prevent mistakes about the Adversity of the Godly, and the Prosperity of the Wicked in this state.

2. THis point may serve by way of Caution, to keep us from stumbling at Gods providential Dispen­sations, both in regard of the sufferings of Saints, and the temporary prosperity of wicked men; What Salo­mon saw in his time, servants on horse-back, and Princes walking as servants upon the earth: Or, what the Traveller said he observed at Rome, Asses flying, and Eagles creeping: the like is to be frequently seen in the world: the Bramble is sometimes exalted, when the Vine and Olive are passed by; Goats clamber up the Mountains of Preferment, when the poor sheep of Christ feed below; the mud-wall is shined upon, while Marble-pillars stand in the shade; Vile persons, like him in the Gospel, are clad in Purple, when those of whom the world is not worthy, go up and down in Sheep-skins and Goat-skins: unprofi­table Drones, who are a burden to the earth, are of­ten crowned with length of days, when many inge­nious Spirits, who have the eyes of the world fastned upon them, are taken away in the flower of their age, and are cropt off like an ear of Corn. In a word, the proud are called Happy, they that work wickedness are set up; many live in defiance against God, and set their mouth against Heaven, thrive and prosper: and as it is, God layeth not folly to them (a), doth not at present call them to an account for their Wickedness; when many religious souls, who tremble at the least sin, and make conscience of every Duty, are yet plagued all the day-long, and chastened every morning; and yet, which [Page 88] is a greater evil, many times the wicked devoureth [...] man that is more righteous than he; Pharaohs lean kin [...] devour the fat kine; Fire cometh out of the Bramble, and devoureth the Cedars of Lebanon; and thi [...] hath been a great stumbling block to more intelligen [...] men; in so much as some have denyed Providence as Averroes, who hereupon affirmed, that God med­led not with things here below; others have denyed there is any God, as Diagoras; The occasion was this, he had made a book of Verses, but before they were set out, one stole them away, he suspecting the person, brought him before the Magistrate; the man denyed it upon oath, and so was quit, and after­ward set them out in his own name; Diagoras, be­cause he was not for his theft and perjury struck with a present Thunder-bolt, forthwith turned Atheist concluding that there was no, God: nay, we find this to have stumbled the best of the Saints: Job startles at it; Jeremy and Habakkuk expostulated with God about it; David was ready to conclude that he had cleansed his heart in vain, that there was no profit in the service of God. Whereas if we go in­to Gods Sanctuary, we may understand the end o [...] both these sorts of men: wicked men, though they flourish for a time, yet their end is sad, when the wicked spring as Grass, and all the workers of iniquity do flourish (b); it is, that they shall be destroyed for ever: the righteous, though they suffer at present, yet their end is happy: Mark the just, behold the up­right man, the end of that man is peace (c). Some ex­press this by the familiar comparison of the Hawk and the Hen: the Hawk is often transported from forreign Countries, bought at a great price, carried upon the Fist, fed with choice dyet, and hath all things prepared for her accommodation; but being once dead, she is thrown out of doors, cast [Page 89] upon the dunghill, and no more care taken of her: the Hen on the other side, while she is living, is little accounted of; she is forced even to lodge abroad in the open air, exposed to the wind, and stormes of the Winters night; constrained to range abroad for her sustenance, pecking here and there a little to sa­tisfie her hunger; if she comes into the house, ex­pecting some crumbs falling from the Table, she is driven out with clamour, and little care taken of her; but when she is dead, is cook't and drest in the best manner; served up in a Lordly Dish, and the greatest Persons make of her flesh part of their Royal enter­tainments: These two creatures not unaptly resem­ble the two sorts of men, the righteous, and the wicked: the Hawk resembles wicked men, who com­monly prosper in the world, and flourish like the Bay­tree; and therefore pride compasseth them about: how lofty are their eyes, and their eye-lids lifted up? they carry themselves as if they had got a monopoly of happiness, as if the Sun shined only in their Cell, as the Bernardine Monks boasted: but when death hath put a period to their lives, there is an end of all their happiness; and eternal misery, like Pharaohs se­ven years of famine, devoureth the former years of plenty, rendring their misery the more grievous, by the remembrance of the happiness they once enjoy­ed. On the other side, good men, who are fitly re­sembled by the Hen, usually meet but with course entertainment in the world, are looked upon as the filth of the world, and off-scouring of all things: their souls are exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that be at ease: and with the contempt of the proud; but having once finished their course, they are bound up amongst Gods Jewels; their bodies go down with hope to the Chambers of Death, their souls are bound up in the bundle of Life, and put into a present possession of eternal happiness; so that though in this life, wicked men be the darlings of the world, [Page 90] when those of whom the world is not worthy, are des [...] tute, afflicted, tormented; yet if we believe there is another life after this, in which the righteous shall b [...] eternally happy, and wicked men everlastingly miserable this will abundantly clear the equity of Gods procee­dings in those tomporal dispensations; it is the end that crowneth all; all is well that ends well; Solo­mon saith, The end of a thing is better than the beginning of it; (d) and wise men esteem of things acco [...] ding to the last end.

A man that hath a suit at Law upon which his estate dependeth, though in his journey up to th [...] Term, he be ill-horsed, meets with bad way, and for weather, and homely lodging, yet if he succeed in his suit, he thinks this makes a sufficient recompence whereas, let a man in his journey have never so man [...] accommodations: as good way, fair weather, goo [...] chear, merry company; yet if he be cast in h [...] suit, and loseth all he hath, it will give him but littl [...] content to reflect upon the pleasure of his journey Chrysostome, in one of his Homilies to the people o [...] Antioch, tells of himself; That he was invited t [...] dinner by a Gentleman, [...]e City, but not knowin [...] the way to his house, had a guide to conduct him the guide to gain the shortest way, carried hi [...] through By-lanes and Allies, where they met muc [...] dirt, and unsavoury smells, at last they crossed a fa [...] stre [...]t, the goodliest street in the City, where the met with a man accompani [...]d with a great number [...] people, going to his execution; coming to the hou [...] whither he was invited, and finding there goo [...] Cheer, and hearty entertainment; How much bett [...] is it, (said he,) to go through dirty lanes to good Chee [...] and good Company, than to go through the fairest stree [...] to the place of Execution?

The Application is easie. Good men while they [Page 91] are in their journey, meet with any difficulties and discourteous usages, but are going to a place of happi­ness, and shall sit down with Ahraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the Kingdom of Heaven; whereas wicked men, though they go through a fair, pleasant way; where the Devil seems to pave their way for them, that they might not so much as dash their foot against a stone, yet they are going to execution; having spent their days in mirth, in a moment they go down to Hell, where they must suffer the vengeance of Eternal fire; and if so, there is little reason why we should either think much at the present sufferings of the Saints: or envy the temporary prosperity of worldly men.

1. There is no reason why we should think much at the Saints troubles: Austin moveth this question: whether [...]t were better to eat a piece of fish, that were made bit­ [...]er by the breaking of the gall, or to endure the tor­menting pain of the tooth-ach, or stone, or gout, several daies together, without any mitigation, or intermissi­on of the pain? This question saith Drexelius may [...]eem a ridiculous question, for how much better were [...]t (saith he) to eat such a whole fish, which could do [...] man no other hurt, but leave a bitter tang upon the [...]alate for a time, than to suffer any of these torments, [...]ut the space of one hour? all the troubles of this life, [...]re but like eating such a piece of fish, which though [...]itter for the time, yet are soon over; and it is much [...]etter to endure this for a short time; than to be ex­posed to endless and eternal torments in Hell, therefore [...]he same Father beggs: Lord, cut me, burn me, do any [...]hing with me here, so thou sparest me hereafter; And [...]lse-where, Let all the Devils in Hell beset me round; let [...]asting macerate my body, let sorrows oppress my mind; [...]et pains consume my flesh, let watchings spend me, and [...]eat burn me, and cold freeze and contract me; let all [...]hese, and whatsoever can come more, happen to me, so as [...] may be freed from Hell, and may enjoy my Saviour in [...]ternal blessedness.

And 2. There is as little reason on the other hand, why we should envy the prosperity of ungodly men: Suppose saith Chrysostome, that a man one night should have [...] pleasant Dream, that for the time might much deligh [...] him; and for the pleasure of such a dream, should be tormented a thousand years together, with exquisite [...] torments; would any man desire to have such a dream upon such conditions? All the contentments of this life are not so much to eternity, as a dream is to a thousand years; and little is that mans condition to be envied who for these short pleasures of sin must endure a [...] eternity of torment In the time of the wars in Germany, the Army be [...]ng upon special service, orde [...] was given, that none should upon pain of death, g [...] a forraging one souldier notwithstanding this stric [...] Command, went abroad, and amongst other thing stole some grapes, and brought them with him; bein [...] deprehended, he was adjudged to present death: a he went to execution, he fell to eating his Grapes: th [...] Commander asked, Sirrah, can you feed so heartily wh [...] you are to die presently? the poor souldier replied: S [...] must I pay so dear for them, as the loss of my life, and [...] you grudge that I should eat them? do wicked m [...] purchase their present pleasures at so dear a rate eternal torments; and do we envy their enjoyment them so short a time? Would any envy a man going Execution, because he saw him going up the Ladd [...] in a Scarlet Coat, or a Velvet suit? What thoug [...] wicked men be cloathed in Scarlet, and fare delicio [...] every day, this is all they are ever like to have: The [...] is scarce a more terrible Text in the whole Book [...] God, than that of Christ, concerning the Pharise [...] Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward (s); an [...] that parallel Text, Woe to you that are rich, for you h [...] received your consolation.

Gregory, being advanced to places of great prefe [...] ment, [Page 93] professed, that there was no Scripture went so [...]ear his heart, and struck such a trembling into his [...]pirit, as that speech of Abraham to Dives, Son, re­ [...]ember, that thou in thy life time receivedst thy good [...]hings; * they who have their Heaven here, are in [...]reat danger to miss it hereafter: It is not Gods usual [...]ay (saith Jerome) to remove from delights to delights, [...]o bestow two Heavens, one here, another afterward.

Oh how much more worthy of our pity, than envy, [...] that mans condition, who hath all his happiness con­ [...]n'd to the narrow compass of this life, but his misery [...]xtended to the uttermost bounds of an everlasting [...]uration.

CHAP. X. [...] Exhortation to Restrain from Sin, and Redeem Time.

BUT that which I would chiefly insist upon, is, a Use of Exhortation; and there are seve­ [...]l things to which we are to be exhorted from this [...]ruth. As,

[1.] This should (and being seriously considered [...]ight) be a most powerful restraint from sin; there is a [...]o-fold eternity, one of happiness, the other of misery: [...] regard of both these, the malignant, destructive [...]ture of sin appeareth.

First, It depriveth of eternal happiness; there is ne­ [...]r a sin thou committest, never an oath thou swear­ [...], never a lye thou tellest, but thou runnest a despe­ [...]te hazard of losing God, thy soul, everlasting happi­ [...]ss, and whatsoever may be dear, and precious; and [...]ot only a desperate Hazard, but without repentance [...] unavoidable Necessity; so as thou canst have no hope [Page 94] of ever seeing the Lord in the Land of the living: ever tasting how good the Lord is, or having any p [...] tion in those good things, which God hath provid [...] for his people; and is it not a prodigious madness lose all this, for a base lust? As the Drunkard doth [...] a pot of drink, the Covetous man, for a little thick clo [...] the Swearer, for just nothing: for a sin, in whi [...] there is neither profit, pleasure, ease, nor any thi [...] that might give any Satisfaction to the mind; Perh [...] some may think, If this be all, they may do well [...] nough:* As some St. Austin bringeth in speakin [...] though I miss of Heaven, I may do well enough in a lo [...] condition: wicked men now live without God [...] Christ in the world, and think themselves well enou [...] without them: and therefore may think it no gr [...] misery, not to be admitted into their presence: th [...] care not now for the company of Godly men, but void it all they can, and so will think it no great mat [...] to be hereafter excluded their society.

But such should do well to consider, that the ti [...] is coming, when Heaven and Hell shall divide [...] world: as there are but two sorts of men in the wor [...] Goats and Sheep, Chaff and Wheat, Righteous and Wi [...] ed; so there are but two places remaining for the [...] the Wheat to be gathered into Gods Garner, and [...] Chaff to be burnt with unquenchable fire; the S [...] to stand at Christs right hand, with a come ye bles [...] &c. the Goats at his left hand, with a go ye cursed, [...] Besides these, there is no other place, no other con [...] tion remaining for men after this life; if thou lo [...] Heaven, Hell must be thy portion: And this she [...] further, the devilish nature of sin; it doth not o [...] deprive of Heaven, but without repentance, unavoi [...] ably throws the Soul into the jaws of Eternal Conde [...] nation: Some say, a Man and a Crocodile seldome, [...] never meet, but it is the death of one; It is certa [...] [Page 95] [...]n and the soul never meet, but one dyeth; either sin [...]ust dye now, or the soul dye eternally: if repentance [...]hat Spirit of burning, doth not burn our sins, Hell [...]re will burn our Souls. If then thou makest no [...]reat matter of losing Heaven, and being excluded the [...]resence of God; think with thy self, whether thou [...]eest able to lye for ever under the Arrests of Gods Wrath; and to dwell with everlasting burnings; Per­ [...]aps, thou art hardly able to bear those temporal af­ [...]lictions now lying upon thee, and if thou hast run with the foot-men, and they have wearied thee, how wilt thou be able to contend with Horses? If thou [...]eest wearied out in this Land of peace, how wilt [...]hou do in the swellings of Jordan, where all the waves of God shall pass over thee; where thou shalt [...]e like a Beacon on a hill, or an Ensign upon the moun­ [...]ain, exposed to all the Storms, and Tempests of Gods Wrath? When therefore, thou findest thy self [...]empted to any sin, and thy heart ready to close with [...]he temptation, pause a while, and propound to thy [...]elf, this unanswerable Dilemma: If I yield to this [...]emptation, and commit this sin, either I shall repent, [...]r not repent of it: If I do repent, and the best be [...]ade of it, may not the short pleasure of this one sin [...]ost me many dayes and weeks sorrow: nay, perhaps [...]ake me go all my life, in the bitterness of my soul? [...]f I do not repent, wo to me that ever I committed it! will not this one sin encrease the flames of my justly [...]eserved torments? and add to those treasures of wrath [...] have been so long heaping up? Pachomius hath [...]his excellent saying, Above all things, let us every [...]ay think of our last day; Let us in time think of [...]ernity, and what he pressed upon others, he pra­ctised himself, and amongst others found this advan­ [...]age by it; when any sinful thought, or motion a­ [...]ose in his heart, he suppressed it with the thoughts of Eternity; if it rose and rebelled again, he knocked [...]t down with the thoughts of Eternal torments. The [Page 96] fool maketh a mock of sin, (saith Salomon,) but wou [...] the fool consider what sin will cost; would he th [...] kick against the pricks? would he be so fool-hard as to play with flames? and make a sport of everlas [...] ing burnings? if that Saying so well known, were [...] well considered, that is acted in a moment, which mu [...] be mourned for to Eternity: and that other of Gregory, the sin that pleaseth is momentary, but the punish­ment it bringeth, is Eternal; we would rather chu [...] to leap into a Cauldron of scalding Lead, than wil­ingly commit any one sin. Let this then be one Ʋse w [...] make of this point, so to set the thoughts of Eterni [...] before us, that we might not sin against God.

(2.) We should be exhorted hence to spend our time wel [...] of all those talents with which God hath entrusted u [...] there is none more precious, than that of Time. Go ordereth, That if two men strive together, and one woun [...] the other, that he keepeth his Bed, he that wounded him m [...] as well pay for the loss of his time, as for the cure of [...] wound (d); How little soever we make of the loss of tim [...] God esteemeth it among the greatest losses.

We read of an admirable Vision revealed to S [...] John (e), He saw a mighty Angel, by which interpreters generally understand Christ the Angel of the Cov [...] nant; this Angel is said to come down from Heaven, cloat [...] ed with a Cloud, and a Rainbow upon his head, havin [...] his Face as if it were the Sun, and his Feet as Pillars [...] Fire. All which sheweth the transcendent Glory of his appearing; Who is said to set his right Foot up [...] the Sea, and his left Foot upon the Earth: which notes his Universal Soveraignty over Sea and Land; He is said to cry with a loud voice, as when a Lyon roar­eth; and to lift up his Hand to Heaven, and swear by him that liveth for ever and ever; and certainly i [...] must be a matter of some great concernment, that is ushered in by so many remarkable circumstances: [Page 97] men indeed sometimes raise the expectations of peo­ple, when after a noise of the mountains bringing forth, a ridiculous mouse creepeth out: but God doth not thus use to deceive the expectations of his people: such great preparations as are here described, are always attended with some remarkable thing sui­table to such preparations; now what this great thing was, follows: He sware by him that liveth for ever; that time shall be no longer; whether it be meant of time in general, as some contend, or of the time of Anti­christs rage, and the Churches suffering, as others think more probable, either serves to inform us of what great worth time is, and what a great punishment it is to be deprived of it.

Much more might be spoken of the preciousness of time, as that it is the fruit of Christs purchase; that doom passed upon Adam, in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt dye the death, had been immediately upon his sin put in execution, had not God given Christ to interpose between his wrath and mans sin: that there was any time given him; it was not only through Gods indulgence, but through the purchase of Christs blood.

But to come more near the business in hand; the preciousness of time chiefly appeareth, in regard of what dependeth upon it; all things receive their worth and value, from what dependeth on them, and the Use they may be put to: A Bond, or a mans Will, as it is a piece of written Parchment, is scarce worth one shilling, yet an Estate of many thousands may de­pend upon them: therefore men are as careful of them, as of their choicest Jewels. In like manner, time, though, as simply considered in its self, it be not so precious, yet is it infinitely precious in re­gard of what depends upon it; what more necessary than repentance? yet that depends upon time, I gave her space to repent of her Fornications (ſ); what more [Page 98] desireable than the favour of God? This depend upon time, and is therefore called the acceptable time (g) What more excellent than salvation? this like­wise depends upon time, Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation (h), Pythagoras saith, that Time is the soul of Heaven; we may rather say that it is the way to Heaven, the Pledge and earnest of Salvation (i): But to come more near, what can there be of more weight and moment than eternity? it is (as was before asserted) the Heaven of Heaven, and the very Hell of Hell; without which, neither would Heaven he so desirable, nor Hell so formida­ble; Now this depends upon Time. Time is the Prologue to Eternity; the great weight of Eternity hangs upon the small wire of Time; whether ou [...] time here be longer, or shorter; upon the spending of this, dependeth either the blisse or the bane of body and soul to eternity: This is our seed-time, eter­nity is the harvest; whatsoever seed we sow, whe­ther of sin, or grace, it cometh up in eternity; what­seever a man soweth, the same shall he reap, this is our market time, in which, if we be wise Merchants we may make a happy exchange of Earth for Heaven of a Valley of tears, for a Paradise of delights: I [...] is our working time; I must work the work of him that sent me, whilst it is day, the night cometh when no man can work (k), according as the work is we do now, such will be our wages in Eternity: It is the time of our reprival, being all in a state of condemnation, bor [...] heirs of Hell; God is pleased to give us this time to make us our peace, and sue out our pardon; if we improve it to this end, we may not only flee from the wrath to come, but provide for our selves a wide and large entrance into Heaven; but if we mis-spend this term, it is so a forbearing, that it is also an augmen­tation [Page 99] of our punishment; the longer we live, the more wrath do we treasure up: Gods wrath is like a great bell, that is long in raising, but being up, it gives a dreadful sound: The Heathen Poet could say, Gods Mill is not presently going, but when it goeth, it grinds all to dust and pouder (l): if we ravel out this time in idleness and vanity, it would have been better for us we had never had it, better if we had been sent to Hell as soon as ever we beheld the light of Heaven. In­finitely therefore doth it concern us to improve this time to the end it is given us, to agree with our ad­versary quickly while we are in the way, lest he de­liver us to the judge, and we be cast into Prison, to lie there till we have paid the uttermost farthing; in the ordinary passages of our lives, we do more or less esteem of time, as the business that depends upon it, is of more or less consequence. When we are cast into straits of time, and have some business of great con­cernment, which must be done in that time, or not done at all; in this case we account every minut pre­cious, and had rather lose a whole day at another time, than an hour now; thus this present time being given us to make provision for Eternity; every parcel of time is as much worth, as Heaven is worth, and Eternity is worth; some one hour of time in regard of the con­cernment of it, may be as much, and much more than all that eternity of duration which we are to enter up­on after this life; one hour rightly improved, may procure more favour from God, and more mercy to our souls, than we can ever hope to attain, during that infinite duration that doth await us; one sigh flowing from a broken heart, one penitent tear fal­ling from the eye, may through mercy prevail to discharge that great debt of sin, which all the flames in Hell cannot expiate to all eternity. How strong­ly then should that foundation be laid, that hath [Page 100] such a building as Eternity to be built upon it? How carefully should that anchor be cast, that is entrusted with a vessel so richly laden, as our everlasting condition?

Bellarmine telleth of an Ʋniversity, where those, who were to proceed Doctors, had certain hard questions gi­ven them to resolve: and four and twenty hours allowed them to study for their answer, and according to the resolution they gave, they were either to receive their degree with honour and applause, or to be sent away with shame; and those probationers, a [...] he observeth, would for that time sequester them­selves from company, shut up themselves in their stu­dy, scarce allowing themselves time to eat, or sleep spending the whole time in studying to resolve thos [...] questions: The time we here spend, whether longer or shorter, is given us by God to provide for our everlasting condition; and seeing upon the improvemen [...] of this time dependeth an eternity, either of bliss o [...] woe, what manner of persons ought we to be? how careful to pass the time of our sojourning here? Suppose a man by some misdemeanour had forfeited hi [...] estate and life, and that upon much intercession hi [...] Prince should cause an hour-glass to be turned, an [...] set him some work to do, telling him, if he spent tha [...] hour well, he should not only be freed from death but should be advanced to some great preferment; [...] he loitered away that time, he should be put to e [...] quisite tortures; it is not to be doubted, but such a [...] one would improve that hour to the uttermost of h [...] power, an hour is not so little to a mans whole life, a [...] this life is to eternity; yet upon the spending of this dependeth our everlasting weal, or woe; eternal life is now either gotten or for ever lost; and if this were seri­ously considered, it would be a forcible motive to make us walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time; though time it self last not, yet whatsoeve [...] is everlasting dependeth upon it, and therefore shoul [...] be carefully improved to the best advantage.

CHAP. XI. An Exhortation to look on Eternal things, by our Medita­tions, Expressions, Affections of Desire, Hope, Love, Delight, and Endeavours.

3. BE Exh [...]rted to look to the things that are Eter­nal; this is that the Text speaks to, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are tem­poral, but the things which are not seen are eternal; and being the duty of the Text, I shall the more en­large in speaking to it; it is chiefly meant of the E­ternal happiness in Heaven, as appeareth by the words before, our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding, and eternal weight of Glory: To that therefore I shall chiefly speak, and there are two things I shall do, if God permit: First, shew what is meant by looking to things eternal, or how we are to look to them; and then lay down some quickning motives to engage us to it; take the first in these particulars:

[1.] We should look to them in our thoughts, and make these unseen, eternal things, the continual subject of our me­ditations; it should be our morning thoughts, our even­ing thoughts, our night thoughts, our solitary thoughts when we are alone, indeed our continual thoughts, what shall become of us to eternity? they say at the consecration of a Pope, amongst other ceremonies, a Herald proclaims these words before him, Have in thy mind the years of Eternity. Think of eternity, was the Motto of Meursius, a learned man(a), and hath been of many others; some writing it in their Books, some upon the wall of their closet, some upon some door in their house, that they might upon all occasi­ons be minded of it; neither is there any thing that doth more deservedly challenge our more serious me­ditations: we should every day set some time aside to [Page 102] retire into some secret place, such as Isaac's fields, o [...] Davids Closet, or Cornelius his Leads, and there to think of our eternal condition: Thus it was with Da­vid, or whoever was the Penman of the 77 Psalm, ver. 5. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times; it is in the Original, the years of Ages, and so the vulgar Translation readeth it. I had the years of Eternity in my mind, and to the same purpose both the Syriack and Aethiopick Versions; and it seems, he was so taken up with these thoughts, that he could not sleep; in the verse before, Thou holdest mine eyes waking, in the Original, Thou hast held the watchings of mine eyes, or as the vulgar, Mine eyes have prevented the night watches. It is said of an emi­nently religeous Minister (b), that being at dinner with some company, he sate silent for a good space of time, so as his friends wondered what he was musing on, o [...] the sudden he cryed out, Oh, for ever, for ever, for e­ver, and so continued almost a quarter of an hour to­gether, and could not be taken off, but still cryed out, for ever, for ever: Eternity is a thing of that amazing na­ture, that it may well swallow up our thoughts when once engaged in the meditation of it: while then o­thers mind earthly things, let our thoughts be taken up with this; let us impose it upon our selves as a daily task, and suffer no day to pass us, but to set a­side some time for so profitable a study.

(1.) Let us think what Eternity is, and run over it our thoughts the several particulars before mentioned; that it is without any end, succession, wasting, intermission, mixture, all which set forth the unspeakable concern­ment of it: then reflect upon that twofold Eternity; think what a blessed thing it is to live in the presence of God and Christ, and the blessed Spirit, to sit down with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the rest of the Saints in the Kingdom of Heaven, to be made parta­kers [Page 103] of those joys that no eye hath seen, no heart can conceive: think on the other side, what a dreadful thing it is to be for ever banished the presence of God, and Angels, and Saints, to be shut up eternally under chains of darkness, where a man shall see nothing but the flames of his own torments, hear nothing but howl­ings and lamentations, feel nothing but extremity of torment; Yet further, let us not content our selves to have some flitting transient thoughts about these things, but let us dwell upon them, till such time as we have warmed our hearts with these considerati­ons: there is a twofold meditation of things, one in the light, another in the heat; one in the understand­ing, the other in the heart and affections; we should not think it enough to engage our understandings in a speculative contemplation, but should dwell up­on these thoughts till we have wrought up our hearts to a suitable temper; as a man that in the morning taketh some Physical drink, will eat nothing two or three hours after, till it hath had some kindly operati­on; so having had some serious thoughts upon Eternity, we should take heed that no intervening occasions justle these out of our minds, but suffer them to stay till our hearts are throughly affected with them; that being done, proceed we one step further.

(2.) To apply all this to our selves: to consider that we are the men who are concerned in it, that after a short time we must certainly enter upon one of these two conditions: and accordingly to bespeak our selves in this, or the like manner: Oh my Soul! which of these is like to be thy condition? for temporals I am well enough, but what are my Eternals? at present God hath cast my lot in a fair ground, I have house, lands, orchards, gardens, and other things, not only for necessity, but delight; but hence I must; and whi­ther then? after I am gone hence I shall return no more to my house, my place shall know me no more: and what dwelling shall I have when I part with this? [Page 104] shall I dwell in Gods Tabernacle, and rest in his Ho [...] Hill? or must I dwell with devouring fire, and Eve [...] lasting burnings?

I have now Wife, Children, Friends, who are ready to accompany me when I am solitary, to advise m [...] when I am in straits, to comfort me when I am i [...] heaviness, to tend me when I am sick, and perfor [...] other offices of love and kindness; but time is comin [...] when I must part with them, when there will be a [...] end put to these relations, so as I shall be no longer husband to the wife of my love, nor father to the fru [...] of my own loins; and when I am taken away fro [...] them, what company shall I then have? shall I go t [...] an innumerable company of Angels, to the general Assembly and Church of the first born, to the spirits of just men ma [...] perfect? or must I take up my abode in Hell, where shall for ever company with Devils, and damned spirits I am well provided for the things of this life, meat drink, cloaths, money, lands, and other accommodations; but what provision have I made for my immortal Soul? what assurance have I that it shall be we [...] with me when I go hence? in these temporal things desire the best assurance that may be had, thinking can never be sure enough, but what evidence have for Heaven? what ground to conclude that that sha [...] be the place of my everlasting abode? If thou beest no [...] resolved to think well on thy condition, whether good or bad, but wouldst know whether thou shalt live or di [...] eternally, summon thy self often to such thoughts a [...] these, and deal seriously and impartially with thy own soul; if after these enquiries thou beest able to make it out upon good ground, that thou hast title to eternal blessedness, rejoyce in it, bless God for it; say as David once, Lord what am I that thou hast brought me hitherto? that thou hast taken me out of the womb of nothing, and given me a Being amongst thy crea­tures; that thou hast not only made me a creature, but a new creature; that thou hast made me of a chil [...] [Page 105] of wrath, a son of thy adoption; what am I, that thou hast done this for me? but as if all this were a small thing in thy sight, thou hast spoken of thy servant for a great time to come, even to Eternity, and is this the manner of men? do men use to deal thus? and what can thy servant say more to thee? what further happiness can I desire of thee? Will God in very deed dwell with men? saith Solomon; thou mayest ask, Shall man in very deed dwell with God? shall a poor craw­ling worm abide for ever with the high and lofty one, who inhabiteth Eternity? Shall this Soul that now dwells amongst them that are enemies to peace, be one day made the associate of Angels, and joyned to the spi­rits of men made perfect? Shall this vile body, this clod of earth, shine as the Sun in his greatest bright­ness? Shall these eyes, these windows of vanity be ad­mitted to see God in all his beauty and sweetness? Shall this tongue which now so often letteth fall frothy discourses, hereafter joyn with that heavenly Quire, singing Hallelu [...]ahs, and songs of benediction to God and the Lamb; Shall these feet which now tread a dirty earth, afterward tread upon stars, and trace the Streets of the New Jerusalem? When the King of Pontus in Plutarch, had married a maid of an ob­scure Family, and sent to her aged father great store of all good things: the poor man was so over-joyed, that upon all occasions he would cry out, All this is mine: if thou beest able to prove thy title to Heaven, go round about the Heavenly Sion: tell the Towers, consider the Palaces, count upon the several Beati­tudes, the innumerable sorts of good things there treasured up, and say to thy self, shall all this be mine? having this hope rejoyce in it, walk in the comfort of it, thou doest too unworthily undervalue thine own happiness, if thou dost not live comforta­bly all thy days: On the other-side, if upon enquiry thou findest thou hast neither lot, nor portion in this business, bewail thy condition, sit alone, keep silence, [Page 106] put thy mouth in the dust, if so be there may be an [...] hope, give God and thy self no rest, till thou ha [...] ground to hope better things of thine own condition.

[2.] We should look to them in our speeches: thoug [...] at some times, and some company, men may spea [...] one thing, and think another, like watermen, tha [...] look one way, and row the contrary, like those i [...] the Prophet, who cry Epypt, and look to Assyria yet there is scarce any thing, by which a man ma [...] be better discovered, than by his constant, and usu [...] communication: The tongue is the pulse of the Sou [...] the index of the mind, as is the man, so is his communication: Anatomists say, the heart and the tongue hang upo [...] one string; there is as great a proximity between the [...] in a moral respect, as in their natural posture: out [...] the abudance of the heart, the mouth speaketh: Som [...] Physicians tell us, that in some diseases, a mans temper is as well known by his tongue, as by his pulse or urine: it holds as true in the spiritual frame an [...] temper of the Soul. Men are usually known wha [...] country-men they are by their language: the me [...] of Gilead knew the Ephraimites by their pronunciation, saying Sibboleth for Shibboleth: the Maid told Peter, thou art a Galilean, thy speech bewrayeth thee. By this we may know whether we belong to Heaven, o [...] the World: the speech of worldly men is about worldly things, He that is of the earth, is earthly, and speaketh [...] the earth (c); They are of the world, therefore speak the [...] of the world (d); whereas heavenly-minded Christians, who look to things eternal, make them th [...] great Subject of their discourses: it is a burden to the [...] to be in such company, where they hear nothing but frothy, unsavoury speeches, or at best, discourses a­bout worldly things: whereas, discourse of Heaven, is a precious balm to them, which doth not break their head: they are glad when others say, Let us go [Page 107] [...] to the house of the Lord, where they may hear some­ [...]ing of Heaven, and willingly embrace every occa­ [...]on to speak of it; the primitive Christians, into [...]hatsoever company they came, were still speaking [...]f heaven, of a glorious Kingdom they expected, [...]hich made the foolish Heathen tax them for ambi­ [...]ous men, who aspired after Kingdoms; therefore [...]ustin Martyr apologizeth for them: You hearing that [...]e expect a Kingdom, imagine that we lo [...]ok after earth­ [...] Kingdoms: but the Kingdom we look for is not of [...]his world, but is a Kingdom above with God, and [...]hrist in heaven. While others are inquisitive about [...]he occurences of the times, or how they may grow [...]ch in the world, the Believers enquiries are about [...]eavenly things: like those, Isa. 50.5. that ask the [...]ay to Sion with their faces thither-ward: Or those Gospel-Converts, who assoon as they were wrought [...]pon, asked, what shall we do to be saved? Or those [...]oman Ladies who would not let Jerome alone for [...]sking questions; and thus it should be with us: in [...]he things that concern this life, we are ashamed that we [...]re ashamed to ask about what might be for our ad­ [...]antage, and should we not be much more forward [...]oth to enquire of others, and to discourse our selves [...]bout the unseen eternal things in heaven? Those that fear­ [...]d the Lord, spake often one to another (f), The Lepers (g) Having themselves found plenty of victuals in the Tents of the Syrians, said one to another, this is a day of [...]ood tidings: we do not well that we hold our peace, and [...]ccordingly went and told it in the City. Sampson, having [...]ound honey, did not only eat himself, but carried it [...]o his father and mother. A man that hath been in a Perfumers shop, doth not only partake of those sweet [...]mells, but going out, they stick to his cloaths, so as [...]hose that come near him partake of those perfumes: In [...]ke manner, having our selves tasted of the heavenly [Page 108] gift, and smelt the sweet savour of precious oynt­ments, we should be ready to communicate to o­thers what we have found, and to provoke them to taste that the Lord is gracious; and this would be a means to engage our selves to a more eager pursuit of heavenly things Natural bodies by motion gather heat. The Coachman by urging forward his horses, makes his own way: in like manner, our speaking to others, and provoking them, will set a sharper edge upon our own affections; like the Boar that whetteth his teeth with his own foam; or the Lion that rou­seth his courage, by beating himself with his own tail.

[3.] We should look to them in our affections: we should often set our affections on things above, not [...] things on the earth (h), Affections are the hands of the Soul: He that hath clean hands and a pure h [...]art (i) that is, he whose affections are clean, and heart pure; the Hands are the keepers of the house (k), they serve at al [...] turns for all offices: therefore Epictetus saith, tha [...] sure God is a great God, who hath given us these hands▪ (l) Amongst other Uses, they are the Instruments and Organs by which we take things; if we take meat or drink, or any thing we want, we take it with th [...] hand; what the hand is to the body, that the affections are to the Soul, by them we should lay hold upon eternal life; they are the feet of the Soul, Tak [...] heed to thy feet, when thou goest into the house of God▪ (m) It is by them the soul is carried toward things E­ternal: they are the wings of the soul; by which [...] flyes to heaven as the bird to its hill. This is the great end why God planted these affections in the soul; to place them upon such mean objects as temporal things, is infinitely below the nobleness of the affecti­ons. Neroes fishing for Gudgeons with a Golden hook, and digging the earth with a Golden spade, was [Page 109] thought ridiculous enough by wise men; the marri­age of the Cedars with the Brambles daughter, as in Jothams parable: the joyning of a head of Gold with feet of clay, as in Nebuchadnezzars Image: the coupling of a living man with a dead carcasse, as in Mezentius his invention; none of these so preposte­rous, as for the affections of an immortal soul to pro­stitute themselves to so worthless objects: we should then follow Austins counsel, to turn the water from the Bumbie into the Garden (n); to take off our affections from things temporal, and place them upon things eternal, which only are worthy of them, and suitable to them; but to instance in some particular affections:

(1.) We should look to them in our desires; while others say, who will shew us any good, and have their desires eagerly carried out after worldly objects, the desire of our souls should be after heaven, and things eter­nal; There is no good Christian but goeth thus far; though he may in some things come short of what he should be, and what he should do, and be many times taken off from his duty, yet his desire is toward God and Heaven. A Merchant may for a time sojourn in a forreign Country to negotiate his affairs, but his desire is after his own home; and no sooner hath he dispatched his occasions, but he hastens to his own Country; the Needle in the Compass, may be jogged another way, yet it maketh toward the North, and is in continual motion, and trepidation, till it comes to its proper posture. A River may be turned from its course by a strong hand, yet will be bending towards its own channel, and never leaveth winding and turn­ing, till it worketh it self thither again: in like man­ner, a Believer by the importunity of temptation, and the prevalency of corruption may be unsettled for a time, and taken off from God and heaven, yet still the frame and bent of his heart, the desire of his [Page 110] soul is toward God and heavenly things; neither should we content our selves with languid desires, but strive to screw them up to the highest pitch, so as to pant after them, as the imbosked Hart, doth after the water-brooks: to long for them as the parch'd ground gapeth after the rain.

[2.] Look to them by hope, we may say of hope, as the Apostle of faith, that it is the evidence of things not seen: for so the same Apostle elsewhere, if we hope for things we see not (o), it is the property of hope as well as faith, to make things not seen as visible, and things future as present to the soul. Gilead is mine, and Mannaesseh is mine; Ephraim also is the strength of my head (p), and before, I will divide Sechem, and met out the valley of Succoth: Probably all these place were not yet in Davids possession, but God had spo­ken in his holiness as before, had promised them, there­fore David looked upon them as already his; in like manner heavenly things, though removed from sense, are present to faith, and hope, and we should by the improvement of these graces, antidate our future hap­piness, soar up before-hand into Heaven, solacing our selves in those rivers of pleasure, rejoycing in the hope of the Glory of God; and having this hope, should purifie our selves, trampling under our feet the Mo [...] of these temporal things, and live answerable to ou [...] hopes and expectations.

[3.] Look to them by love, Let no man say, (saith Austin,) what Ladders or Engines shall I climb up to Heaven by? thou ascendest by love; standing on Earth thou art in Heaven, if thy love be placed upon God and Heaven. It is reported of Andrew the Apostle, that be­ing taxed by some of the Heathens, that he did not lov [...] their gods; he replied, Let me see whether your gods can make such a Heaven, and such an Earth, and do as much for me as God hath done: when any of these temporal things begin to steal away our love, we should [Page 111] consider whether they do, or can so much deserve our love, as heavenly things; if not, we should re­serve our love for the things that are most worthy of it; we should gather up those scattered pieces of love dispersed amongst so many several things, and place all upon Heaven and Heavenly things.

(4.) Look to them by delighting and rejoycing in them, while others have their delight fixed upon things tem­poral, as the coveteous man upon the muck of the world; as if the Curse of the Serpent were entailed upon him, to eat the dust of the earth all the days of his life; the voluptuary upon sensual pleasures, as if he were placed on the earth like the Leviathan in the Sea, only to take his sport and pastime in it; the am­bitious man upon Preferments, delighting to see o­ther mens sheaves bend to his sheaf, as it was in Jo­seph's dream: let our delights be fixed upon the un­seen things laid up in Heaven; let us with joy draw water out of the wells of salvation, and with Israel, sing this song, Spring up, oh Well, sing ye unto it (r).

[4] We should look to them in our endeavours: Ma­cedonius the Hermite retiring into the wilderness, that he might with more freedom enjoy God, and have his conversation in Heaven: Upon a time there came a young Gallant into the wilderness, to hunt wilde beasts, and seeing the Hermite, he rode to him, ask­ing him why he came into that solitary place? he de­sired he might have leave to ask him the same questi­on, why he came thither? I came hither to hunt, saith the Gentleman; and so do I, (saith the Hermite) I hunt after my God. Most men hunt after other things, the profits and preferments of the world; and many times are with Nimrod, mighty Hunters: Hunters usually do not keep the road, but ride over hedge and ditch, many time through Corn-fields, any way their game leads them: so it is with worldly men, they care not [Page 112] what hedges they break thorow, what gaps they make in Gods Law, and their own conscience; what wrong they do to others, so as they may advance their own designs. Again, Hunters stick at no pains, sometime [...] ride both themselves and horses out of breath; sometimes run till they can run no longer: with the like eagerness and industry do worldly men pursue these things; and with the like, and far greater eagernes [...] should we hunt after God, and Heaven; we should think no pains too much, no labour too great, so as we might attain to the end of our desires, the salvation of our souls; this is that which is so often called for in Scripture, Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven (s); the word signifies, to seek as a man that hath lost a trea­sure, who seeketh diligently till he find it, Strive t [...] enter in at the strait gate (t), i. e. Strive as wrestler [...] do for mastery, or as a man striveth for life when the pangs of death are upon him, Work out your Salvati­on (u), it signifieth, to Work accurately, and with the greatest study and care, Give all diligence, to make your [...] calling and election sure (w), which signifies to study and beat the brains about a thing; Labour not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat that endureth to e­verlasting life (x); implying, that the labour we take for these earthly things, is not worthy to be called la­bour, in comparison of that we are to take for Heaven [...] such labour, and study, and striving we find the Saint to have used in the pursuit of heavenly things. Since the daies of John Baptist, the Kingdom of Heaven suffer­eth violence (y); they did not only use, diligence, bu [...] violence, a metaphor taken from a Castle that holdeth out in a siege, and is not taken but by storming; then followeth, the violent take it by force: thus Paul reach­ [...]d [Page 113] forth unto those things that were before (z), signifying [...]he uttermost strains of the body to catch at any [...]hing: I press forward toward the mark for the price of the [...]igh Calling; i. e. I pursue and follow with the greatest [...]agerness. He useth the same word, * to express his [...]age in persecuting the Saints, being exceedingly mad [...]gainst them. I persecuted them to strange Cities, the [...]ame violence he shewed before in persecuting the Church, he used now in working out his Salvation; such [...]arnestness and violence must we use in the pursuit of [...]ings Eternal, if ever we would obtain them: but [...]his I shall speak more to in the next Ʋse, and there­ [...]ore shall not now anticipate.

CHAP. XII. [...]f looking to Eternal things as our end, enforced by eight several Arguments.

[...] WE should look to them as our aim and end; this I conceive is chiefly meant in the [...]ext, the word signifies(a) to look as the Archer doth at [...]e mark he aimeth at, though there may be many [...]hings before him worth his looking on, and which [...]e would look to at another time; yet now his eye [...]s upon the mark he shooteth at: so it was with the [...]postles; it was not temporal, but eternal things they [...]oked to; They were the mark they aimed at, the [...]reat end they propounded to themselves: so, I press [...]ward the mark (b); this he made his great work and [...]usiness; whatsoever he did, he did in tendency to his; he thought all he could do, little enough, if by [...]ny means he might attain unto the Resurrection of the [Page 114] dead. And thus it should be with us, we should loo [...] upon all other things as things accessary (c), we shoul [...] do them as if we did them not, use them as if we use [...] them not; allow them only the fragments of our time; they are things eternal that we should mainly aim at, that should be the end we propound to our selves▪ there is a twofold end, the end of the worker, that is▪ the Glory of God, which is the ultimate end into which all must be resolved; and there is the end of the work [...] that is salvation: that you may receive the end of you [...] faith, the salvation of your souls. Though the glory o [...] God be the great ultimate end we should aim at, ye [...] we may have respect to our own salvation, as an en [...] subordinate; and things that are subordinate are not o [...] posed one to the other: these two like Naomi and Rut [...] go hand in hand together; whatsoever maketh fo [...] Gods Glory, conduceth to our salvation; that therefor [...] we may, nay and next to Gods Glory ought to mak [...] the end. we propound to our selves: And this being the thing that is chiefly meant in the text; I sha [...] the more enlarge my self upon it, and the rather because it is a thing of very great import, as will appea [...] from these following Considerations.

(1.) This is the great thing God looks at; there is n [...] thing in this world that God so much respects [...] man; All these things have my hands made, but to th [...] man will I look (e), Nothing in man so much as th [...] heart; My Son give me thy heart; that is the M [...] Sion which God loveth above all the dwellings of Jacob; and nothing in the heart so much as the aim a [...] end of it: it is true of God, what the Apostle speaketh of the word of God, it is a discerner of the though [...] and intents of the heart (f). Let a mans profession be never so glorious, let him be never so abundant in th [...] performance of duties, yet if his end be wrong, a [...] his pretensions and performances are but beautif [...] [Page 115] abominations in Gods esteem: Simon Magus had been [...]aptized, desired the gift of the Holy-Ghost, but did not this with a right aim and intention, but to get [...]oney; therefore Peter telleth him, his heart was not [...]pright in Gods sight (g): On the other side, though a mans failings be many, yet if his aim and end be [...]ight, if the frame and tendency of his heart be to­ward God, and Heaven, this works his acceptation in Gods sight. Jehoshaphat offended greatly in his affinity with Ahab, and the Prophet reproveth him severely for it; yet withal tells him, nevertheless there are good [...]hings found in thee, in that thou hast prepared thy heart [...]o seek God (h). And thus Hezekiah describeth the [...]incerity of those that came to the Passeover, The [...]ood Lord be merciful to every one whose heart is set to [...]eek the God of his Father, although his heart be not clean­ [...]d according to the purification of the Sanctuary; (i) al­ [...]hough they failed in that particular, yet their heart [...]eing set upon God, that both delared their since­ [...]ity, and wrought their acceptation. Barnabas exhorts [...]he Christians at Antioch that with full purpose of heart [...]hey would cleave unto the Lord (k), We read before that [...]e was sent by the Church at Jerusalem to visit the Bre­ [...]hren at Antioch; and when he came to them, we read [...]f no other exhortation, but only this; implying that [...]his is the conclusion of the whole matter, the great [...]hing God looks at, and that should be one engagment [...]o us, to look to these things as our end.

(2.) This is the great thing in which the Devil seek­ [...]th to deceive men: though he seeks to deceive us in [...]ll the passages of our life, yet it is still in order to [...]n chief Good, or End: Mithridates the King of Pon­ [...]us, being worsted by the Romans, and fearing he [...]hould not escape them, caused a great deal of Gold, [...]nd Silver, and rich furniture to be scattered in the [Page 116] wayes, which while the Roman Souldiers gathered with great eagerness, he escaped their hands, and got into a place of sa [...]ety: the Devil knowing what taking, tempting things the profits and pleasures of the world are to men, he scattereth them in their way, that being busied about them, he might hinder them in their pursuit of Heaven, and things Eternal; that is the great thing the Devil driveth at in all his temp­tations: he is willing men should go to Church, and hear, and read, and pray, so as he can deceive them in their end, their chief Good; this is that great deceit, under which the greatest part of the world will pe­rish: and that he should deceive so many in this, as it will be a matter of the insultation to Satan, that he can thus gull many, who are otherwise knowing, un­derstanding men; so it will be matter of the greatest confusion to themselves, that they should suffer the Devil to cheat them of their chief Good, that he should put them off with so mean inconsiderable things, and lead them blindfold to Hell, like an Ox to the slaughter, or a fool to the correction of the stocks; the nature of man doth exceedingly abhor to be cheated, there being not only loss in it, but a disparagement, an imputation of weakness laid upon the man to suffer himself to be outwitted; men use to say when they are cheated but in a small thing, They had rather have given away three times as much; but to be cheated of our souls, our eternal salvation, that is more grievous; were it only in the matters of this life, it were not much, but to be deceived in things of the highest concernment, in the business of eternity, that is most sad; but that which makes it more sad, is, because it is such a gross and palpable deceit; to take a counterfeit Pearl for a true one, there being a great likeness, may sometimes befall an understanding man; but to take a pebble for a Pearl, a flint for a Diamond, this is so gross, that none but a fool or mad-man would be thus mistaken; and for [Page 117] men to take earth for heaven, things temporal, for things eternal, to suffer Satan to cozen them of their souls and eternal Salvation, and put them off with such mean, petty things, this is the greatest cheat in the world, and that men should be so far deluded by Satan, as to make things so much below them­selves their ultimate end, will be to them matter of confusion for evermore; Shew your selves men, saith God to the Idolatrous Israelites, who of their silver and gold made themselves a God (l), That any should so [...]man themselves, as to make these things their God, [...]heir chief good, their end, cannot but be in th [...] end matter of great astonishment! This is another Consi­ [...]eration, which shews of what grand concernment it [...], to propound a right end to our selves.

(3.) To look to things eternal as our end, is the great [...]ing wherein the work of Conversion doth consist: Con­ [...]ersion bringeth a great Change, the Apostle calleth [...] a transformation (m), it makes a man as it were [...]ther man, I am not I, said that young Convert: yet [...] is, though a great Change, it is no substantial Change; [...]e man is the same still for his nature and substance: [...] is chiefly a Change of the heart, and that is seen [...]ainly in the aim and intent of the heart; a Bowl [...]at runneth on the left hand, if the bias be but tur­ [...]d, it runs as much on the right, without any change [...] the substance of the Bowl; the Painter that was [...]oken to by a Gentleman, to draw a Horse running [...]th full speed: it hapned when he brought it home [...]at he presented it to the Gentleman with the bottom [...]ard; and so it seemed to be a Horse tumbling up­ [...] his back; at which the Gentleman being angry, the [...]nter bad him but turn the sides, and then it would [...] according to his desire: so it is here, let but the [...] be changed, and then the man that before lay [Page 118] tumbling as is were upon his back, kicking against God and Heaven, will be running the wayes of Gods Commandements: the change of the heart is much in the change of the end, and if the heart be changed, the man is changed; when he once cometh to this resolution, time was when I made the world my end, and that I pursued with all eagerness, such and such sins as my end, and then it was a pleasure to me to do wickedly, whereas now by Gods assistance I re­solve to make it my business to lay up treasure in hea­ven; whatsoever else I do, I will be sure to do that whatsoever I neglect, I will not neglect this one thin [...] necessary: when a man cometh thus to change his end this is the great thing wherein Conversion doth co [...] sist, for, as natural corruption consists chiefly i [...] that de-ordination, whereby the heart is taken o [...] from God, as the chief good, and eternal happine [...] as the chief end, and placed upon sin, or the world and therefore Austin makes sin to be nothing else tha [...] to use that we should enjoy, and enjoy that we should use (n) so Conversion is nothing else but a turning fro [...] sin to God, from the Creature to the Creator, fro [...] things temporal to things eternal. Conversion in Scripture is termed Vocation, or Calling; whom he ha [...] predestinated, them he hath also called, and converte [...] men are said to be called out of the World; concei [...] it thus, a man hath his face toward the world, an [...] sin, and hell, while he is marching furiously [...] these wayes of his own heart. God makes him hea [...] as it were a voyce behind him, saying, this is not t [...] way; neither are these the things; there is anothe [...] way you must take, other things you must seek, [...] you would be happy: when God thus calleth, a [...] sometimes Christ his Church, Come with me from L [...] banon my Spouse, come with me from Lebanon; a [...] withal, enclineth the heart to hear and obey th [...] [Page 119] Call; this is to be called out of the world, this is it in which the work of conversion consists: when those Gospel-converts were effectually wrought upon, the work chiefly appeared, in making eternal life the matter of their Enquiries: what shall we do to be sa­ved? What shall we do to inherit eternal life? If then we would have evidence of our conversion, with­out which there is no Salvation, it must be by mak­ing eternal things our aim, and end.

[4] The end denominates the Person, such as the end is, such is the man. Philosophers say,(o) that the Form giveth Being to the thing, distinguisheth it from other things, and is the principle of all its operations: now it is a Rule some give, what the form is in natural things, that the end is in morals; and in all these respects it will appear, of how great concernment it is to look to our end. As in naturals, the form giveth the Being, man being informed by a reasonable soul, that makes him a reasonable creature; so the end doth in morals, every man is as his end is: If wordly, earthly things be a mans end, he is a man of the world; Deliver me from the men of the world: a man of earth; That the man of earth may no more oppress (p). These earthly things transform them into their own nature; on the other side, he that maketh spiritual, heavenly things his end, he is a spiritual man; so he is called, Ye that are spiri­tual, restore him a heavenly man: As is the heavenly, such are they that are heavenly (q). They say, tho Eagle try­eth her young ones by holding them against the Sun, if they can face the Sun, she looketh upon them as legitimate: if we be such as make it our delight to acquaint our selves with God, and have our conver­sation in Heaven; it is a good argument that we belong to God, that we have title to heaven, when our know­ledge and learning, will prove but weak arguments [Page 120] of true Grace; when gifts of preaching, praying, di [...] coursing, will afford us little comfort; when the profession of Religion, and outward performance of Duties, will stand us in little stead; this, that we hav [...] made God our chief good, and Salvation our chief end will be the best evidence of uprightness, and sincer [...] ty; by that therefore we should make it out to ou [...] selves.

[5.] As the form in Naturals, so the end here giveth not only Being, but distinction, serving best t [...] distinguish between one man, and another: the grea [...] difference between the worldling and the Saint, lyet [...] in this; as, in matters of this life, doth the worldlin [...] take pains in his Calling, avoid necessary expence [...] manage his business to the best advantage, lay up som [...] thing for his Children? All this the Saint doth, th [...] difference chiefly lyeth in the end; the former gettet [...] that he may get, followeth the world, that he may enjoy the world, worketh for more, and desires more that he may have more: whereas, the other dot [...] this for higher ends, that he may honour God with h [...] substance, that he may maintain good works, and lay up a good foundation for himself: So in matter o [...] Duty, the Hypocrite goeth as far in outward perfor­mances as the true Believer. Did David pray thre [...] times a day? so did the Pharisees, yea, and make lon [...] prayers (r). Did David and Daniel fast? so they, and that twice in the week (s): Did Cornelius give almes the like did they(t): Did Abraham pay tythes? they tythed their very Mint and Rue (u). The great diffe­rence lyeth in the end, the Hypocrite doth all like the Pharisees, that he may have praise from men, or some other sinister end; at best he prayeth that he may pray, and heareth that he may hear, and so maketh praying the end of praying, and hearing the end of hearing: whereas the upright Christian, though he [Page 121] may think it a desirable thing to be well esteemed by those that are good, and this may be some encou­ragement to him; as David, I will wait upon thy name, for it is good before thy Saints (x): yet he doth not make this his end: nay, he looketh upon it as a snare to be applauded, and cryed up; as Luther said, He would not have Erasmus his honour for the whole world: neither doth he make Duty the end of Duty; the end he aimeth at in all his services, is, first the advancing of Gods glory, and then the furthering of his own sal­vation; if then we would have our righteousness ex­ceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, and do more than others, as Christ expects(y), we must do it chiefly by this, by doing all to the right end.

[6.] The end doth not only give Being and distincti­on, but it gives likewise operari, it hath a powerful in­fluence upon the actions, it is the principle of all operati­ons, the end and the means go together, the one draweth on the other (z); he that maketh riches his End, will be forward to labour, and take pains for it: Solomon saith, There is no end of his labour; he riseth early, go­eth to bed late, rides, runs, studies, raketh every kennel, scrapeth every dung-hill, moves every stone, leaveth no means unattempted to enrich himself; no pains seems too much to him, no difficulty can deter him; like him that gave this impression in his Escutche­on, a hand with a Pickax, digging a way thorow a Rock with this Motto, I will either find a way, or make one: In like manner, if we look to things Eternal, making them our end, we will be diligent in the Use of all means conducing thereunto; we will Pray, Seek, Knock, Hear, Read, Confer, Strive, give all Diligence; Pray­ers, Watchings, Fastings, Humiliations, Out-cries to Heaven, and other things which carnal men cannot in­dure to hear of, will be willingly entertained, if by any means we may attain the end of our desires; he that [Page 122] means to go to Heaven (saith Chrysostome) will stick a no difficulties, nor question, what is rough in the way what is laborious? like Solomon's sluggard, there is a Lion in the way; he will not say as Judas, why is thi [...] waste? or, Naaman, what needs so often washing▪ why so much praying, and hearing, and labouring? bu [...] will be forward to do any thing, and think no labou [...] too great, so as he may finish his course with joy.

(7) The End doth not only engage to the Ʋse of th [...] Means, but it renders the Means pleasant and delight­ful: the End gives an amiableness to all the Means (a); h [...] that maketh riches his end, the very labour and pai [...] he taketh in getting them, is delightful to him. I [...] all labour there is profit (b), and this profit it bringeth maketh it pleasant; harvest, the time of greatest l [...] bour, is the time of the greatest joy, they reioyce according to the joy of harvest (c). On the other side, h [...] that maketh things Eternal his End, doth not only use the Means conducing thereto, but he doth al [...] with delight; he rejoyceth to work righteousness, he delights to do Gods Will; he is glad when they say we will go up to the house of the Lord; he doth not on­ly pray, but delights in approaching to God; not on­ly hear, but the word is sweet to him; not only observ [...] the Sabbath, but calls it his delight; longs for it be­fore it comes; like the Jew, who, they say, put on his best apparel to welcome the approach of it and seems to hasten its approach, wooing it wit [...] this invitation, make haste my beloved; when it comes he chearfully addresseth himself to the duties of it like the Primitive Christians, who, if the questio [...] were asked, Hast thou kept the Lords day? answered, I am a Christian, I cannot but keep it: in a word, what­soever he doth in Gods service, he doth it with de­light and complacency: some make this observation [Page 123] from that of our Saviour,(d) If a man love me he will keep my word; He that loveth me not, keepeth not my sayings: In the former clause, speaking of him that loves, he saith [my word] in the singular number, for so it is in the Original, implying that to such an one all Gods commandments are as one, they are facile and pleasant to him; but speaking of him that lo­veth not, it is [my sayings] in the plural, because to him the commandments seem many and grievous; this is the great difference between them, he that lo­veth not, may do the same things the other doth, but he doth them not with delight; he looketh upon Gods service as a weariness, and snuffeth at it; he cryeth, When will the Sabbath be gone? whereas, he that hath his love set upon Christ and Heaven, looketh upon his yoke as easie, counts it his meat and drink to do his will.

(8.) What a man maketh his end now, that shall be his portion; God leaves every man to his own choice, I have set before you life and death, therefore chuse life (e), Every mans choice is according to his inclination, and apprehension of things; for the Will followeth the ultimute dictate of the Ʋnderstanding; the man that liveth by sense, thinks these temporal things more worthy of his choice than the other; he looketh up­on his money, (saith Chrysostome) and thinks he seeth more beauty and lustre in the gold in his purse, than in the Sun in the firmament; these temporal things are things seen, (saith the Text) he seeth them, he hath them; whereas Eternal things are things not seen, for ought he knoweth they are but an Idea, a fan­cy of more credulous spirits, who believe every thing is told them; or if there be such things, they are things future; and better he thinks one bird in the hand, than two in the Bush; better a Wren in the cage, than an Eagle in the clouds, therefore he maketh [Page 124] choice of them, but will not chuse the fear of the Lord: whereas a godly man, upon whom God hath wrought both by irradiating his Ʋnderstanding to see an excell­ency in heavenly things, and by enclining and deter­mining the Will to embrace the dictate of the Un­derstanding thus enlightened; such an one perempto­rily concludeth, that Heaven or nothing shall be the object of his choice, that if Eternal things be not his portion, there is none worth the having; accordingly (as there are two things we are said to will, the end, and the means; the former they call the will, the o­ther the choice *,) he wills salvation, and Eternal [...] happiness, as (next to God) his chief good, his end; and chuseth the service of God as the way and mean [...] of attaining it; Chuse you whom you will serve, saith Joshua, but I and my house will serve the Lord. Le [...] thine hand help me, saith David, for I have chosen thy Commandments: Mary hath chosen the better part. Now God giveth to both these according to their choice Before man is life, and death, and what him liketh shall be given him (g); the worldly man chuseth tempora [...] things as his chief good, and God for the most part giveth him his desire, fills his belly with hid treasures [...] but this is all he is ever like to have; woe to you tha [...] are rich now, for you have received your consolation (h) He hath not reason to look for Heaven, which he would not chuse. When wicked-men shall cry with th [...] foolish Virgins, Lord, Lord, open to us: God will soo [...] stop their mouths, by telling them they had tha [...] which themselves chose. On the other side the godl [...] man, who maketh things Eternal the matter of his choice and looketh upon them as his end, this man at pre­sent is not far off from the Kingdom of God, an [...] shall certainly have at last according to his choice that which is his end now by way of election, shal be afterward his end by way of fruition; according [Page 125] to that excellent Saying of St. Austin, Eternal blessedness is begun in election, and perfected in fruition; while Martha was cumbred about many things, Mary chose to attend the preaching of Christ, the means of Salvation: and what she chose, she should cer­tainly have, Mary hath chosen that better part that shall not be taken away from her; saith the same Father: Happiness is neither given to any man against his will, but is matter of his choice, nor is taken from any man a­gainst his will; he who chuseth salvation for his porti­on, and looketh upon it as his chief good, shall certain­ly at last obtain his choice, shall have a wide and large entrance into the kingdom of Heaven: From all these particulars it appeareth, how much it doth concern us, to make eternal things our end, and aim.

CHAP. XIII. Of Motives drawn from other things, other men, our selves, and the unspeakable benefits of a prospect of things E­ternal.

HAving shewed how, and in what manner we are to look to things Eternal; I proceed to the se­cond things propounded, to lay down some Motives to provoke us in this manner to look to them. To this purpose I shall propound four sorts of Motives:

(1.) From other things: Ask, saith Job, the beasts, and they shall teach thee, and the Fowles of the air, and they shall tell thee: or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee, and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee: (a) All these may seem to teach us this Lesson; The Philosopher observeth that all Bipedes, creatures with two feet, are still looking upward; Birds and fowles seldom stay long upon the earth; when they light there, it is to seek their food, no sooner have they [Page 126] gotten that, but they mount upward toward Heaven; [...]hough where the carkass is, the Eagles are gathered toge [...]her; yet when they have got their prey, and satis­ [...]ied their hunger, they sore aloft: as if they mounted [...]p to Heaven: Beasts, though they cannot mount [...]pward, and are made so, as they look downward, yet they are often seen to lift up their heads toward Heaven, especially in the time of extremity. Natu­ralists observe of the Lion and the Cock, that they express their joy at the rising of the Sun, as being sen­sible of the motion of the heavenly bodies; the like may be said of some fishes in the Sea; they tell us of a fish which hath but one eye, which is seated like a [...]verticial point upon the top of its head, always look­ing towards Heaven, therefore is called by the Gre­cians, the beholder of Heaven (b): others tell of a pre­cious stone taken out of the head of a fish called Syno­dus, that beareth some resemblance of the Sun and Moon, and other heavenly bodies: if we come low­er to vegetables, Proclus observeth, that plants, and flowers, and other vegetables have all a dependence, and many of them some representation of the Hea­venly bodies, the Tulip, Marigold, and some other flowers wait upon the Sun, as the Handmaid upon the hand of her Mistress, opening by degrees as the Sun ascends; and again, shutting up themselves gradu­ally, as the Sun declineth; and this so punctually, that though the Sun appear not, a man may more infalli­bly know when it is high noon by their full spreading: than by any Clock or Watch. The Hopp in its grow­ing winds it self about the pole, always following the course of the Sun from East to West, and can by no means be forced to a contrary way. Some affirm that the sap in trees precisely follows the motion of the Sun, ascending and descending at the same time, and by the same steps the Sun doth: if we come lower to inanimate creatures: Plato observeth, that all the [Page 127] Elements do naturally desire to evaporate themselves into the coelestial Region (as it were) there to attain to a higher degree of perfection; the fire, and air, those lighter elements still aspire higher and higher, as it were, to make nearer approaches towards Hea­ven, the earth and water, those heavy Elements, though they do not ascend in their gross bodies, yet they are daily sending up some thinner part of them­selves, some vapours, as it were some breathings to­ward Heaven. Naturalists speak of several stones, in which there is some representation of the heavenly bodies; so that in the several orders of nature, there is something that might mind us of this duty of conver­sing in Heaven, and looking to things Eternal: there is scarce any thing we look on, but might some way or other put us in mind of this; the best and choicest things the earth affords, are hid from our eyes, shut up in darkness; so as if we look downward we see only the surface of the earth, and there our sight is bounded; whereas upward toward Heaven, all things are open and transparent; to note how vast our af­fections should be toward Heaven: if we stand upon some high steeple, and look downward to the earth, we cannot look long without dizziness and fear; whereas, when we look upward toward Heaven, though a thousand times greater distance, we can continue looking without either, as if nature would hereby mind us, that our eyes were given us to look to Hea­ven, not to the earth. Having then so many Moni­tors, we shall shew our selves ill scholars, if we do not learn this lesson.

(2.) If from other things we look to other men, I mean the people of God, they teach it by their exam­ple: the Apostle speaking of himself, and the rest of the Saints, saith, Our conversation is in Heaven; the word (c), though it hath several significations, yet chief­ly [Page 128] these two: it signifies our City, whereof we are Citi­zens, and to which we belong, Heaven: so Zanchy, we are Citizens of Heaven, not of earth; and therefore ought to seek the things that are in Heaven. Or it signifieth carriage, or deportment, or converse (d): so the word rendered in other places: And so most Interpre­ters, and our translation render it, Our conversation is in Heaven; this is the inseparable property of every true Believer, he converseth in Heaven: The way of life is above to the wise (e), This world is the place of his abode, but not of his delight, his body is here, but his soul, his better part above; his commoration is on earth, but his conversation in Heaven; he liveth here, but loveth there; as Merchants who live in this Kingdom, yet are called Spanish or Turky Merchants, because their trading is in those places: In like man­ner, the Believer he is in the world, but not of the world; this world is but his Inn, Heaven is his home, his Country; he is in Heaven while he is on earth, he converseth with God, while he sojourneth in the world, his trading is for Heaven, his love, de­sire, delight, is placed upon heavenly things: this is not obscurely held forth in Scripture by those several things to which Believers are compared; sometimes to the Palm-tree, The righteous shall flourish like a Palm-tree; the Palm-tree groweth streight and up­right, They are upright as the Palm-tree (f), and so re­presents the heavenly minded Christian, whose mo­tions toward heaven are direct and streight, without those obliquities, and turnings aside, which appear in the carriage of other men: the Palm-tree is small in the body, or trunk, and biggest at the top; close and shut up in that part toward earth, but broad and o­pen in that part toward Heaven; and so further re­sembleth the Heavenly Christian, whose heart is closed [Page 129] toward the world, but is open and enlarged toward Heaven: the Palm-tree hath no boughs or branches up­on the sides or body, but all the boughs grow together at the top; to which perhaps that alludes, I will go up to the Palm-tree, I will take hold of the boughs there­of (f); and so is a further emblem of a Christian, all whose branches and out-goings are exalted above the earth; and without any straggling and dividing; as­pire toward Heaven. Again, Gregory Nyssen saith of this Tree, That it riseth out of the earth with its per­fect bigness and thickness at the top; (g) so that though it groweth in height or bigness in the other parts of it, yet it never groweth any greater or bigger at the top: if this be true, In this likewise it resembles the true Believer, who, though in regard of other graces he be like the Crocodile that groweth till the very time of his death, yet at his first conversion hath the frame and bent of his heart upon Heaven. Yet once more, Philo saith, that whereas all other trees have their sap in the root, which from thence ascends, on­ly the sap and heart of the Palm tree is at the top, toward the top of the middlemost bough, which is surrounded by other boughs, as a General is by his Life-guard; if so, it hath yet a further resemblance to Believers, whose hearts are in Heaven, for there their treasure is, and there is their heart also: In the same place the Psalmist compareth the righteous man to the Cedar: The righteous shall flourish like the Palm-tree, and spread abroad like the Cedar in Lebanon: The Cedar, it is a stately Tree, it is called the goodly Ce­dar (h), the high Cedar, it doth, saith Jerom, grow up fast toward. Heaven, and so resembles those Belie­vers who are, as he expresseth it, aspiring toward Hea­ven. Again, they are sometimes compared to moun­tains, They that trust in the Lord shall be as Mount Sion, [Page 130] that cannot be removed (k). Chrysostome observeth there are three things more remarkable in mountains(l), their firmness and stability, their invincible strength, and their inaccessible height; in all these respects the Saints are like Mountains, but the last is only proper to the present purpose: of all parts of the earth, the mountains are nearest unto Heaven: the Mythology of that Poetical fiction of Atlas bearing up the Heavens, was to represent the high mountains, which some of them call the pillars and supporters of Heaven; and some think they are meant by, The pillars of Heaven tremble, and are astonished at thy rebuke (m): There­fore to them are Believers fitly likened: I shall name but one more, they are compared to clouds, Being compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses; and Isa. 60.8. Who are these that fly like a cloud (n)? the clouds are originally a thick exhalation rising out of the earth, but are by the heat of the Sun rarified and drawn up toward Heaven, therefore are called, the clouds of Heaven (o). In like manner, though the righte­ous man sojourneth here upon earth, yet he converseth in Heaven, and sitteth together with Christ in heavenly places (p). Thus we find it hath been with the Saints. Scipio was not the first, saith Ambrose, that was ne­ver less alone, than when he was alone: it was so with the Saints long before; Enoch and Noah are said to walk with God; they seemed to live no other life, but that of God, of the knowledge of God, the love of God, delight in God; all their thoughts, all their af­fections were placed upon God, and Heaven; their whole life was nothing else but an acquainting with God, a conversing in Heaven: Moses in all he did had an eye to the recompense of the reward. David saith, He was as a Pelican in the wilderness, and an Owl in the [Page 131] desart; that he watched, and was as a Sparrow alone upon the house top (q); which though some under­stand of Christ, who in his birth was as an Owl in the desart, shut out from the company of men, and born amongst brute beasts; at his death, like the Pelican, feeding his Church with his own blood; in his resur­rection and ascension, like the Sparrow, flying to Hea­ven, like the Sparrow to her hill; yet it seemeth more properly to refer to David, himself; and though I apprehend it is plainly meant of a forced soli­tude, by reason of Saul's persecution, yet there are who understand it of a voluntary retirement, that David, like these solitary creatures, frequently withdrew himself from other company, and other oc­casions, that he might with more freedom be taken up with the contemplation of God, and heavenly things: but though this be not the meaning of that place, yet it is but what is consonant to David's practice, whose affections were taken up with Heaven, his soul fainted for Gods salvation, his eyes failed for it, he hoped for it, he longed after it(r), with this he comforts himself, In thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand are plea­sures for evermore (s): And, As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness, I shall be satisfied when I awake, with thy likeness (t). Those Worthies mentioned, Heb. 11. are said to look for a City that hath foundati­ons, v. 10. to live as Pilgrims and strangers on earth, v, 13. to desire a better Country, that is, a heavenly, v. 16. The primitive Christians lived like men of ano­ther world. [...]egory Nyssen saith, that they stood tip­toes, upon the earth (u), they hung upon the earth but by the slender threed, of natural necessity, desiring to have as little to do here as might be: Nay, if possible, to have nothing to do below; it was their custom in their Congregations, when they had finished their [Page 132] services to raise up their feet from the earth towar [...] Heaven, we lift up our feet, saith Clem. Alexa [...] drinus, they were so much in Heaven, that they desired, if possible, to have their bodies there befor [...] their time, they were, as the same Father expresset [...] it, divorced, and sequestred from all earthly interests (w) They were like the Cart-wheel; (it is Hilaries compar [...] son,) that stands upon the earth but by a little poin [...] the far greater part being above the earth, like tha [...] bird, which for her beauty, and nobleness, they c [...] the Bird of Paradise, that never comes on the earth but liveth wholly in the air, upon which she feedeth when she is forced to light to un-weary her self, sh [...] lights upon the tops of the highest trees, where sh [...] is still in the air, the place of her delight. I migh [...] to these add Paul the Hermit, Anthony, Arsenius, an [...] others, who withdrew themselves from the world devoted themselves to a solitary life, that they migh [...] better converse in Heaven: Wherefore seeing we are co [...] passed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us follow their example; let the same mind be in us that [...] in them: let us with our Apostle look not to things see [...] but things not seen, the things seen being temporal, but th [...] things not seen Eternal.

(3.) A third consideration to provoke to this, may b [...] taken from our selves: the frame of our bodies minds [...] of this: whereas other creatures have their bodie bowed towards earth, man is made with a body e­rected toward heaven; as in the order of Creation God hath placed heaven above us, and the earth under us, so he hath placed our heart, and head abou [...] to be fixed upon Heaven, our feet below, by them to trample upon the earth: if we view the several parts of the body, they seem to teach us this: To begi [...] with the feet; Ambrose well observeth, that God hath [Page 133] not given us four feet: as to the beasts that are wholly conversant on earth, but only two, as the Birds which are often soaring toward heaven. Pass we on to the knees.

The great commerce a Christian hath with hea­ven, is the duty of Prayer; and the knees by reason of their bowing posture, seem to be intended for this chiefly; I bow my knees to the father of our Lord Jesus Christ, saith the Apostle(x).

We read of the Apostle James, Thrasilla Gorgo­nia, and some others, whose knees were like Camels knees, hard, and bereft of feeling, through their long, and often kneeling in prayer. Some of the Ancients speak highly of this bowing of the knee (y), Eusebius calleth it a posture proper to the Christians (z).

If we look from the knees to the Hands, they are not only of special service to the body, but to the soul likewise: for which cause some have called them the Hand-maids of the soul: I will saith the Apostle, that [...]men pray every where, lifting up holy hands (a), Solomon in that excellent, prayer, spread forth his hands to­wards Heaven (b), Constantine had his Image engraven on his Coyn, with his hands joyned together, and lift up towards Heaven: and upon several Gates of his Palace: he was drawn in an upright posture, pray­ing, and lifting up his hands towards Heaven(c).

If we go upwards to the face; God hath made the face to look upward to Heaven; Solomon finds the Sun, Moon, and Stars, in the Head of man(d), at least according to the Chaldee paraphrase, which re­fers it to the face and eyes: Before the Beauty and glo­ry of thy face be changed, and the light of thine eyes be darkened, and the apples of thine eyes, the stars of thy countenance, be extinguished; for as the whole face, so [Page 134] the eyes are given us for this end. Anatomists observ [...] that whereas other creatures have only four musc [...] to their eyes; whereby they look forward, and dow [...] ward, and on both sides, man only hath a fifth, b [...] which he is able to look up to Heaven.

Look inward to the Heart, that is an inverted P [...] ramid, or like a Vial, that is narrow, and contract [...] in that part toward Heaven; but above all, the s [...] was purposely given us for this end: we can no wa [...] think that God hath given us these immortal souls, be only conversant about perishing things: these spir [...] tual souls to be taken up with secular affairs, the souls which are heavenly substances to be wholly e [...] ployed about earthly objects. How absurd is it [...] think that God should so curiously fashion a body, i [...] the lower parts of the earth, and breathe into it a [...] immortal soul, created after his own Image, made i [...] the same mould with the blessed Angels, capable [...] eternal happiness, and then should send into th [...] world this Epitome of the whole Creation, only t [...] eat, drink, and sleep, (or only to buy, and sell, an [...] traffique in the world?) the beasts that have h [...] sensitive souls can do all this, and much more, as we [...] as we: they know when they are ill what herbs t [...] have recourse to for the recovery of their health; an [...] some think the practice of Physick hath been muc [...] improved by observations taken from the creatures they know how to dig their holes, and make thei [...] nests to secure themselves against the injuries of th [...] weather; when the place of their abode groweth in­commodious, they can shift into a warmer Climate. The Stork in the Heaven knoweth her appointe [...] time, and the Turtle, and Crane, and Swallow, (f) they know how to provide against a time of want; The An [...] provideth her meat in summer (g), they are so wise as t [...] prevent a danger before them: surely, in vain is the [Page 135] snare laid in the sight of any Bird (h), they have skill [...]o provide a shelter against a time of danger; the wild Beasts have their Dens, the Stags their Thicket, [...]he Hares their Covert, the Wasps their Cells, the Bees [...]heir Hives, the Doves their Windows, the Foxes their Holes, the Birds of the air their Nests, the Conies their Burrows, the Goats their Hills: in a word, those things that most men busie themselves about, the crea­ [...]ures can do as well, if not better than we: some are stronger, some swifter, some quicker sighted, some [...]etter scented, in all these one creature or other excel­ [...]eth man, and can we think, that God hath given us these intellectual immortal soules, only to do what brute creatures can do, as well, if not in a better manner than we? Can we Imagine that these Hea­ven-born souls, should be bestowed upon us for no higher end? Certainly there is nothing short of Hea­ven, and things eternal, that will bear any proporti­on with the excellency of these souls wherewith God hath entrusted us, saith Seneca; What a contemp­ [...]ible thing is man, if he doth not look higher than these [...]emporal things? Chrysostome will scarce allow such to be reasonable Creatures, whose souls so far forget their heavenly extraction; it is infinitely below the dignity of the soul to espouse earthly interests; A spirit hath not flesh and bones, saith our Saviour: neither should it debase it self to such things, as are only suitable to bodies of flesh; What Father is there, who if his Son ask bread, will he give him a stone? We should much less deal thus with our souls, to put them off with a stone, with things temporal, when only the bread of Heaven, things eternal, can satisfie them.

(4.) The fourth Motive, to look to things eternal, may be taken from the unspeakable benefits flowing from it:

[1] It is an excellent preservative from sin; Some School-men say that the sight of God in Heaven, maketh [Page 136] the Saints impeccable: if so, it will follow, the more men enjoy God, and converse in Heaven while they are here, the more free they are from sin; the times Noah lived in, were times of great defection: when all flesh had corrupted their ways, and the whole earth was filled with violence (k), and it is much for one spark of fire to keep alive in the midst of a Sea of water: yet God giveth this testimony of Noah, Noah was a just man, and perfect in his Generation; if you would know what kept him upright in the midst of that wicked and froward Generation, it followeth, Noah walked with God; he that walketh with God, and hath his conversation in Heaven, feareth nothing but sin, and this he feareth more than Hell; they say, the Ermin is so neat a creature, that if she seeth a pud­dle of dirt on the one hand, and a company of dogs on the other, she will rather expose her self to be torn in pieces by the dogs, than to defile her self by going through the puddle: it is so with him that is truly heavenly, he had rather endure the worst affliction, than willingly defile himself with the least sin; nay, if he saw Hell on the one hand, and sin on the other, he would with Chrysostome and Anselme, chuse rather Hell, than sin: he looketh upon sin as the greatest e­vil, and therefore trembles at the first motions of sin, dareth not give himself allowance in the least sin, bate him those sins of daily incursion, which the best cannot avoid, he cometh nearest the state of glorified Saints, who cannot sin.

[2.] It is a good security against temptations: while the Bird is soaring in the air, she is out of peril of Gun-shot, and free from those snares and Lime-twigs which she is liable to be taken in, when she is upon the earth; he that looketh to things eternal, is not ig­norant of Satans devices: and surely in vain is the snare laid in the sight of any Bird: as an enemy whose plots are discovered, is more than half overcome, so [Page 137] it is here: whereas in the Sea, little Fishes are de­ [...]oured of greater, and greater fishes dash themselves [...]gainst the Rocks, the fish they call the Beholder of [...]eaven (m), that hath but one eye, which they say is [...]lways open and watchful, doth hereby discover and [...]event the many dangers that are in the Sea: this [...]sh according to the name given to it, is a fit Emblem [...]f the heavenly-minded Christian, who escapeth those [...]emptations which prevail upon other men: It was [...]o strange thing that Archimedes should be knocked [...]n the head, [...]hile he was drawing his Mathematick [...]nes: and Thales fall into the ditch, when he was [...]azing on the stars: but there is no such danger in [...] spiritual looking to things Eternal, it is rather a pre­ [...]ervative from dangers and temptations; there are [...]wo sorts of temptations the Devil maketh Use of: [...]mptations on the right hand, when by things prospe­ [...]ous, and pleasing to us, as the honours, profits, and [...]leasures of the world, he seeks to draw us to what [...] evil: and temptations on the left hand, when by the [...]ear of suffering and persecution, he laboureth to de­ [...]er us from what is good; whereas he who hath things [...]ernal in his eye, is little moved with either of these, [...]e is not so much taken with the first, as for gain of [...]hem to lose a good conscience. When Basil was [...]empted with preferment, he bad them offer such [...]ings to Children: it was not for a Christian Bishop [...]o be taken with them. Luther, when he received [...]y Tauhenheimus a hundred pieces of gold sent him, [...]nd fifty by Scartus, said, I begin to fear, God will [...]ve me my reward here; but I have earnestly protested, I [...]ould not be put off with these things: and this his con­ [...]empt to the world was not unknown to his enemies: When the Pope would have taken him off by gifts, [...]he said, That German beast doth not care for Gold, and [...]or troubles and sufferings, he doth not so much fear [...]hem, as to commit sin to avoid suffering. When Basil [Page 138] was threatned with banishments, torments, and death: he answered, I fear not banishment, I have no home but Heaven, no native place but Paradise; and the whole world I look upon as the common banishment of mankind: for torments, I defie them; for what can they do to me, whose body is so worn out, that there is nothing but bones without flesh for them to work on? and for death I fear it not, which can but restore me sooner to my Creator; He that hath his eye upon Heaven, is neither moved with the frowns, nor flatteries of the world, as he said, He equally contemned the favour and fury of Rome; nei­ther the desire of the one, nor the fear of the o­ther, is able to remove him from his stedfastness The like is to be said of other sorts of temptations, which are happily resisted by conversing in Heaven▪ Bonaventure, when the Devil told him that he was a Reprobate, and therefore perswaded him to enjoy a [...] much of the pleasures of the world here as he might because he was excluded from the pleasures with God in Heaven: answered, Not so Satan, If I must not enjoy God after this life, let me enjoy as much as I can of hi [...] here: whatsoever temptations Satan suggests, the [...] are more easily overcome by him who maketh it hi [...] business to converse with God, and Heaven.

[3.] It is a good help against those roving, wandring thoughts which so often haunt us in the performance of duties, and cast so great a blemish upon our bet [...] performances. When Abraham offered sacrifice, the fowls of the air lighted upon the sacrifice (o), Thes [...] fowls resemble vain thoughts which much trouble the best of men in their Approaches to God. Jero [...] complained of himself, when he was at prayer, he wa [...] in his thoughts walking in some Gallery, or telling o [...] some summe of money: in like manner Bernard confesseth that troops of unruly thoughts were wont to flock into his heart, like people, when some specta­cle is to be seen; complaining, when my body is i [...] [Page 139] the Church, my mind is about the world; I sing one thing, but think another; I utter words, but regard not the sense and matter; and concludes, woe is me, I sin then, when I should get victory against my sins; and truely there is scarce any one thing that a Chri­stian doth so much groan under, as the frequent a vo­lations he is subject to in Gods service; and it is not without just cause that he should so sadly resent them. When Pharaoh's Baker dreamed that the birds of the air took out of his Basket the baked meats he prepa­red for Pharaoh, Joseph told him, that this was a signi­fication of his ensuing death. When we come to pre­sent our services to God, as he his baked meats to Pha­raoh, if the birds of the air, idle thoughts in­trude into our minds; though it doth not absolutely presage the death of the soul, yet it prognosticateth the death of that service, that it is no better than a dead service, unpleasing to him who is a living God: Now there is no better way to suppress these thoughts than having our minds taken up with heavenly things; the mind cannot be at the same time intent upon dif­ferent objects; as when a Dictator was created at Rome, there was a suspension for that time of all other offices; so when the mind is taken up with the thoughts of some remarkable thing, it giveth a supersedeas to other thoughts: If thou wouldest forget other things (saith Seneca) think upon Caesar; serious thoughts upon our Eternal condition, would be like those Por­ [...]ers Jehojada set at the doors of the Temple, would secure us from the intrusion of other objects.

[4.] It would work in us a holy indifferency toward [...]ll temporal things; it would moderate our esteem of [...]hem, our desire after them, our delight in them, our grief for the want or loss of them. I shall instance in [...]hese several particulars.

[1.] It would moderate our esteem of them; wordly [...]hen think all their happiness is bound up in these crea­ [...]ure-enjoyments; they judge them the only happy men, [Page 140] who have the largest confluence of these outward comforts; whereas, he that hath his eye upon eternal things, hath a low Esteem of these things; when a man stands upon the top of a high mountain, things be­low in the valley seem small, and inconsiderable in his sight; they say to them that stand upon the top of the Alps, the great Cities of Campania seem but as small Villages; or as a man who hath for a time gazed upon the Sun, when he looketh downward upon dark­er objects, is scarce able to see any thing: In like manner, he that hath his eye fixed upon heavenly things, counts these things as dung and dross; he estee­meth all these riches in the world not worth one daies conversing in Heaven; he valueth Heaven, though but in reversion, before the world in present possession; prefers his interest in Heaven, to the gaining of the whole world; if God please to secure heavenly things to him, he hath a holy ind [...]fferency towards other things; if God casts Them in, he is thankful; if not, patient; if he hath them, he knoweth how to use them; if not, he hath learned to be without them; he is like the deep running River, which glideth silently by those green Meadows, and flowry banks, those goodly things that other men admire; and keepeth within his own banks of moderation, and content, till at last he falls into that deep Sea of divine Sweetness, to which he is hasting: Moses having an eye to the re­compence of reward, slighted the greatest honour it Egypt, he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's Daugh­ter (o), He maketh as little of the pleasures; He chose rather to suffer affliction with the People of God, that to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; neither could the riches tempt him; he esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: such a low esteem would we have of the best things this world affordeth, if we looked, as we should, to things Eter­nal; we have seen them, we have tasted them, we have [Page 141] loathed them, saith Bernard, speaking of wordly things; the Dagon of all sublunary excellencies would fall to the ground before the thoughts of Eternal happiness.

[2.] It would moderate our desires after these things; they are for a Season, for a Short time (q); and there [...]s nothing of any great importance that is but of short [...]ontinuance; whether we have more or less, it is not much material; the great thing is, What shall be our E­ [...]ernal condition? We read of some Hermites, who were very careful of their Sepulchres, but took little care of their houses; being demanded the Reason, they said, they should dwell but a little while in their houses, but should lye a long time in their Sepulchres: our abode here is but for a short time; if we have bread [...]o eat, and apparel to put on, enough to serve us to our journeys end, what should we do with more? When a man cometh to an Inn, where he is to stay [...]ut a night or two, though he hath not accommoda­ [...]ions according to his mind, you would think it were [...] great weakness, if he should send for an Ʋpholster [...]o alter his bed, a Glasier to mend the window, a [...]arpenter and a Mason to rectifie what he thinks amiss; [...]f he be but one degree above a fool, he will for so [...]hort a time be content with such things as he find­ [...]th. Mariners, who intend for a near Haven, will not [...]hake so large provision as those who take a long voy­ [...]ge; and if our stay here be so short, as Constantine told Ablavius, why so much sweat and travel? what mean [...]ur foolish hearts to be so solicitous about those things [...]o which ere long we must bid an everlasting farewell? Were our minds intent upon our Eternal condition, [...]e would for these things referr our selves to God, [...]s willing to have what God seeth best for us. A [...]ighteous woman being sick, was asked by her friends, [...]hether she were more willing to live or dye, she [...]nswered, what God pleaseth; but, saith one, if God [Page 142] should refer it to you, which would you chuse? tru­ly saith she, If God should refer it to me, I would refer it to him again; what she did in regard of life, we would do in regard of all the enjoyments of this life; we would leave them to be scrambled for by those who so much admire them, and think it enough that we have Heaven for our portion.

(3.) It would moderate our delight in them, he who breaths after things Eternal, will be little delighted with things transitory. Some say, after Lazarus was raised from the dead, he was never seen to smile, or to take any content here. After Paul was wrapt up into the third Heaven, he lived like a man of another world; the world was crucified to him, and he to the world; the world and he lay like two dead bodies one by another; as Chrysostome descants upon it, having little affection one to another. It is said of the Sisters of Theodosius, that when other Ladies were at their re reations, they retired themselves, that they might converse with God and Heaven: and Theodoret testi­fieth, that the thoughts of Heavenly things was the grea­test pleasure and recreation to them; delight in these will extinguish all other delights; as the light of th [...] Sun doth the light of the fire.

(4.) It would moderate our grief both in the wa [...] and loss of them. Ecclesiastical History maketh mention of Anthony and Didimus meeting together▪ Didimus was a man of excellent parts, and eminent graces, but he wanted his sight; Anthony asked him, if he were not troubled for his want of sight; he con­fessed he was; why, saith the other, should you be troubled for want of that which Dogs and Flies have, and not rather be Thankful that you have that which the Angels count their Happiness, meaning Grace? for a Believer who hath God for his portion, and Hea­ven for his Inheritance, to be troubled for want of that which a Dog, a Reprobate, a Devil may have is as if a favourite fed with viands from the Kings own [Page 143] table, should be troubled he had no part of those scraps given to the Dogs; or as if a man who were owner of a Mine of Gold, should complain he were poor, because his money is not in pence, and two­pences. It was a poor thing in Alexander, who was Lord of the goodliest part of the world, to be vex­ed because Ivy would not grow in his Garden at Ba­bylon. It is much more unbeseeming a Christian who hath Title to Eternal blessedness, to be afflicted for the want of these poor inconsiderable things; if we reflect our thoughts upon those glorious things laid up in Heaven, we would conclude with David, That our Lot is fallen to us in a fair ground, and be little trou­bled for the want of other things: and as not for the want, so neither for the loss of them. The Jews have a saying, When a Pagan or Idolater loseth his Father, he hath cause to mourn, because he hath no Father left; but when a Believer loseth his Father, he hath cause to be comforted; because, though his earthly Father be dead, he hath a Father in Heaven: worldly men, vvhen they lose their Estates, cry out, they are undone; and truly you cannot blame them, it is all they have: as Micah said, You have taken a­way my gods, and my Priest, and what have I more? The loss of twenty or thirty pound is a great loss to a man that hath no more in the World; but it is nothing to him that is worth many Thousands: Worldly men have their portion in this life; if they lose that, it is all they have; whereas a godly man, when these things are taken from him, hath reason to comfort himself, because he hath treasure laid up in Heaven, vvhich no injury of times, no malice of men or Devils can deprive him of. The believing Hebrews took joyfully the spoyling of their goods, knowing that in Heaven they had a better and more enduring substance [t], Paulinus, vvhen the Goths invading the City of Nola, plundered his House, and took all he had from him, cryed out: Lord let not the loss of these things disquiet me, thou knowest where I have laid up my treasure.

[Page 144](5.) It would much Sweeten those troubles, end suffer­ings we here meet with: this we have laid down in the Text. In the former verses, we read of the great sufferings of the Apostles, and that that kept them from fainting under these is partly laid down verse 17. These light afflictions cause for us a far more exceeding, and eternal weight of glory! And partly in this verse, while we look not at things which are seen, but at things not seen, for the things which are seen, are temporal, but the things which are not seen, are eternal. No suffering seemeth great to him, who hath his mind taken up with the greatness of Eternity.

We read of some Martyrs, that they have endured great sufferings, without any sensible feeling of their sufferings: as that young Child, in Josephus, who when his flesh was pulled in pieces with Pincers, by the command of Antiochus, said, with a smiling counte­nance, Tyrant, Thou losest time; where are those smar­ting Pains with which thou threatnedst me? make me to shrink, and cry out if thou canst: and Bainam an English Martyr, when the fire was flaming about him, said, You Papists talk of Miracles, behold here a miracle, I feel no more pain than if I were in a bed of Down, it is as sweet to me as a bed of Roses: Surely their strength was not the strength of stones, nor their flesh as brass, that they should not be sensible of so great sufferings; only they were so much in Heaven, now they were going to Heaven, that they endured pains, as it were without pain, and sufferings without feeling of their sufferings: Others again, though sensible of their torments, yet endured them with unspeakable courage, and alacrity. Laurence, when his body was roasted upon a burning Gridiron, cryed out, This side is roasted enough, turn the other: Marcus of Are­thusa, when his body was anointed with honey, and hung up aloft in a Basket to be stung by Wasps and Bees, looked down, saying, I am advanced, despising you that are below? And when we see weak feeble [Page 145] creatures, defying their torments, conquering in the midst of suffering; when we hear them expressing the greatest joy, in the m [...]dst of their greatest suff rings; singing in Prison, as Paul and Silas did; kissing the Stake, as Henry Voes did; clapping their hands when they were half consumed with fire, as Hawkes did; blessing God that ever they were born to see that day, as John Noyes did; calling their execution-day, Their wedding Day, as Bishop Ridley did: We cannot but think there was something more than ordinary, that did thus raise their Spirits: and questionless, this was it chiefly, they had an eye to the Recompence of the reward: the consideration of those eternal joyes, they were now entring on, did so ravish their hearts, and transport their thoughts, that all their sufferings seemed light, and easie to them. Tertullian, saith the foot feeleth nothing on earth, when the mind is in Hea­ven; and as this sweetens sufferings, so all other troubles. Jerome thus comforted the Hermite that was sad with his being alone in the Wilderness, Think of Heaven, and so long thou wilt not think thy self in a Desart.

It is reported of Olympius, who lived Cloystered up in a Monastery near Jordan, that his mind was so fixed on Eternity, that he had scarce any sense, and feeling of any temporal miseries.

It hapned on a time, that a certain religious man went to visit him, and finding him cloystered up in a dark Cell, which he thought un-inhabitable by reason of heat, and swarmes of gnats and flies, and asking him, how he could endure to live in such a place? he answered, All this is but a light matter, that I may escape eternal Torments: I can endure the stinging of Gnats, that I might not endure the stinging of Conscience, and the gnawing of that worm that never dyes: this heat thou thinkest grievous, I can easily en­dure, when I think of the eternal fire of Hell, these suffe­rings are but short, but the sufferings of Hell are eternal. And as all present sufferings are light in comparison of [Page 146] everlasting torments, so, if we think further of the eternal joyes of Heaven, this will make them seem more light; I reckon, saith the Apostle, That the suf­ferings of this present time are not worthy to be compa­red with the glory that shall be revealed (y); He puts as it were into one ballance the afflictions of this life, and in the other the blessedness of Heaven, and ha­ving weighed both, concludeth, that there is no recko­ning to be made of the one in comparison of the other.

Chrysostome writing to Stagirius, to comfort him a­gainst the troubles he met with, bespeaketh him in this manner: If thou wert elected King of some flourish­ing Kingdom, and wert now going to the Imperial City to be invested with the Regal dignity, though as then wert passing through the Suburbs, thou shouldst meet with some dirty way, or have some light affront put upon thee by some Passenger; wouldst thou not easily pass by this, and hasten with joy to the Coronation? Our abode in this life is but like passing through the Suburbs; if we hope for an immortal Crown in Heaven, we should make light of whatsoever troubles here befall us, imi­tating that great Captain of our Salvation, who for the joy that was set before him, endured the Cross, and des­pised the shame (z). It was the Counsel an old Monk gave to a young Novice, entring into that Order: If thou wouldst be perfect, thou must be like the Ass of this Monastery, which, when he is laden, repineth not; when beaten, kicketh not; when driven, goeth whither the Driver would have him: so, saith he, it must be with thee; and so it would be vvith us, if vve had our minds seriously fixed upon Eternity. What Chrysostome speak­eth of wicked men, vvhom he calleth the Devils Hack­neys, [a] vvho go through thick and thin, through fair vveather, and foul vveather, stick at nothing the Devil puts them upon, vvould be verified in us; in reference to God; we would be willing both to do and [Page 147] suffer what God would have us; no trouble would ap­pear grievous, no state and condition of life seem a­miss, in which God disposeth of us.

It is reported of a Jewish Rabbin, that whatsoever be­fell him, he would say, It is good, if any cross accident came, it is good; if any trouble befel him, it is good also; if a se­cond, a third cross, this is good also; for which cause he was called Rabbi, [...] This also I have read of a religious man who being in a great strait, and not knowing what to do, wrote down all the Letters-of the Alphabet in a paper, and spread them open before God, saying, Lord, here are Letters, and letters make words, and words signifie things: do thou put them togeth r, and make of them what thou pleasest; it would be so with us in some measure, if we looked as the Apostles did, at things E­ternal: we would in these temporal things refer our selves to God; we would be willing to be what God would have us to be, and have what God would have us to have, and suffer what God would have us to suffer.

(6.) It would have a powerful influence upon whatso­ever we do: every work we do is a step to Eternity: as every step a Traveller taketh, bringeth him nearer to his journies end; so every motion, and action done by us, is a step to our eternal condition; every good action setteth us nearer an eternity of happiness, every bad action carrieth us nearer an eternity of misery: No sooner is any thing acted, but it is presented to the All-seeing eye of God; and being viewed, and cen­sured, is forthwith transmited either to eternal reward, or eternal punishment; many things in this life which are transient in their nature, are yet durable as to their issue. A lease is written over in three or four hours, yet the concernment of it may be for many years, sometimes for many lives: in like manner it is with us; our thoughts, words, and actions, do not dye as soon as they are past, but are as seeds which are sown in time, and come up in Eternity; whether we pray, or sin, whe­ther we do well, or wickedly, we are sowing; and [Page 148] these several seeds sown in this world, will certainly come up in the world to come.

We read of some Rivers, which after they have run some space, fall under-ground and cannot be seen, but after many miles running under the earth, break up again into a great stream: there are many actions we do, which are no sooner done, but we as soon forget what we have done, they pass out of our sight; but every one of these will rise up in eternity, and will make our eternity either more happy, or more misera­ble: Cast thy seed upon the waters, saith Solomon, for after many days thou shalt find it (c). It is more properly meant of works of Charity, but will hold in all other works; which though at present they pass out of our sight, yet after many days will come up with a plenti­ful Increase; and if this were well considered by us, what manner of persons would we be? how careful and cir­cumspect in all our actions? Chroniclers have said, Some Kings, though otherwise they would have taken more liberty, yet have been more circumspect in their actions, knowing what they did would be registred and transmitted to posterity; the like circumspection would we have, if we did seriously consider, that all we do will be cetainly transmitted to Eternity.

(7.) As it would have a mighty influence upon other actions, so chiefly upon our duties; our religious per­formances; in which our Eternal condition is more especially concerned. What Moses tells the Israelites, Set your hearts to all the words which I testifie this day, for it is not a vain thing for you, because it is your life (d); may be said of every duty we do; it is our life, our soul, our Salvation, our Eternity depends up­on it, and how strong should that cable be that hath so great a weight hanging on it? Caesar said, being in a hot fight, At other times I fought for my honour, now I fight for my life: In many other things we act for our [Page 149] credit, for our profit, but in holy duties we act for our life, our Eternal life is concerned; and therefore, whatsoever we do, we should do it with all our might. It was a boasting speech of Zeuxes, that he painted for Eternity: time hath long since defaced his work, but it is certain, whatsoever we do in Gods service, we do for Eternity; we pray for Eternity, and hear for Eternity; and if he for that reason did whatsoever he painted with the greatest accurateness, would not so much as draw a line but with all possible care; much more should we do it in all the duties we perform: When formality, indifferency, deadness, sleepiness creeps upon us, we should do well to consider that our Eternity lies at stake; and this would be a good help against these Distempers; we would not then put off God, and content our selves with such dull and languid performances; this would be like Oyl to the Jack, or wings to the bird; like sails to the ship, or wind to the sails, to carry us on with a full plero­phory of affection: It is a direction some give, that we should do every thing we do, as if it were the last time we should do it. Seneca in an Epistle to a friend saith, That he wrote then to him with that mind and af­fection, as if he should be called away by death as soon as he had written: We should do so much rather in our [...]ddresses to God: we should pray and hear, and per­form every duty, as if it were the last prayer we should make, the last Sermon we should hear, the [...]ast duty we should perform; as if as soon as we had [...]one, we should be called away by death, and forth­with enter upon our Eternal condition; and this would [...]uestionless raise up our affections to the highest [...]itch of fervency and intention. When we go to [...]ear a Sermon, did we consider that it is our life, that our Eternal welfare depends upon it, we would give [...]he more earnest heed, as the Apostle exhorteth(e), We would hear as the Bereans did, with all readiness [Page 150] and greediness of mind *; or as Christs hearers, who are said to have their eyes fastned upon him , wholly intent upon him; to hang upon him; so the word there used doth signifie: as catching at every word he spake: when we address our selves to God in prayer, did we set Eternal happiness before us, and consider that this depends upon our speeding, or not speeding in prayer, we would with a holy violence wrestle with Al­mighty God; we would neither give our selves, nor God any rest, but would lye at the feet of God as so many monuments of importunity, resolving with Ja­cob, not to let him go, unless he bless us.

[8.] It would render us more quiet and peaceable in our carriage one toward another: it is some wordly in­terest that mainly causeth one man to bite and de­vour, and act the part of a Devil toward another, From whence come wars and figthings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts (h)? and what lust it is chiefly, is laid down, Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whereas, the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easie to be intreated *. There is a Fish which Aelian cal­leth the Adonis of the Sea; because it meddleth with no living thing, but preserveth a sweet peace with all the off-spring of the Sea; for which cause it is lo­ved, and courted as the darling of the waters: the hea­venly minded Christian liveth on the earth, as that Fish doth in the Sea, pursuing the things which make for peace; and as much as in him lyeth, living peaceably with all men. Nazianzen, when there arose a contention in the Synod about his Bishoprick, used this speech to those that were assembled; It is an unbeseeming thing for us who preach peace, to nourish contention; I there­fore entreat you by the sacred Trinity, that you do all things in peace: if I be the cause of this sehism, if I be the Jonah that hath caused this storm, cast me in­to [Page 151] the Sea, that the tempest may cease, put me from my Bishoprick, banish me the City, do what you will with me, so you love the truth and peace. Bernard, while some brethren were offended with him telleth them, I will be at peace with you, though you will not; when you trouble me, I will be at peace with you; I will give place to wrath, lest I give place to the Devil: thus, while such as drive on wordly inte­rests, imagine deceitful things against them that are quiet in the land; those that mind heavenly Eternal things, labour all they can to promote concord, to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

[9.] It would much elevate the mind: Vision is of an assimilating nature: Jacob's Ewes seeing the rods with white streaks, brought forth Cattle ring-straked and speckled: the Egyptians worshipped a pied Bull; and whereas some thought it strange, that when one dyed, they should have another of the same colour, Austin, thinks the Devil, to keep them in Idolatry, might do with their Cows, as Jacob did with the Ewes, present to them, when they conceived, the likeness of such a Bull. Plutarch telleth of two deformed Per­sons, who often looking upon beautiful Pictures, had beautiful children: this vvhich is sometimes true in naturals, will hold more true in morals; conversing with low objects, maketh low, and degenerate minds: What the Psalmist speaketh of Idol-makers, and Wor­shippers, they that make them are like unto them; so are all they that put their trust in them; may be said here, earthly objects, make earthly minds; whereas looking to things Eternal, which are the highest ob­jects, would raise our mind to a suitable height and greatness. Thoughts are the food of the soul; the soul feedeth on them, as the body upon meat: Now you know such meat as men eat, such blood and spirits they have; and look what the objects are about which the soul is conversant, such is the soul: low objects debase the mind; high objects, such as things Eternal, work [Page 152] in men high minds, and raise up to a greatness of spirit becoming man, so noble a creature: I doubt not but you would look upon it as a sordid thing for men to busie themselves about such low things as some (and they great ones) have sometimes done: As Ar­taxerxes in making hafts of knives; Bias in making Lanthorns; Demitian in stabbing Flies with a bodkin; another in stabbing Frogs; whereas, if you make a­ny thing your business below things Eternal, it is excee­dingly below that greatness of Spirit which should be in men who have reasonable souls; especially Christians, who should have higher aims than other men: If Chil­dren, (saith one) play for Pins, bigger boys for Points; men for shillings, or pounds; there is no great difference, and truly whatsoever you busie your selves about, short of Heaven and things Eternal, it is but a more serious trifling, and it is a shameful thing to be serious about trifles (l): If like Baruch, you seek great things, seek them which are greatest and highest, things Eternal; and this will be both an argument of a great­ness of spirit becoming Christianity, and a means to raise up your minds to a higher pitch of greatness.

(10.) It would put the greatest honour upon us: we count those the most famous Mountains that are high­est; those the goodliest Trees that are tallest; those the stateliest Buildings whose tops reach nearer to Heaven; accordingly they are the choicest Christi­ans, whose hearts are most taken up with heavenly [...]hings. Remarkable is that which is spoken of No­ [...]h, These are the Generations of Noah (m); but before any mention is made of his children, the Scripture first saith, Noah was a just man, and perfect in his Ge­ [...]eration; and Noah walked with God; and then fol­ [...]oweth, Noah begat three Sons: Sem, Ham, and Japhet: Though it were an honour to Noah to be the Father [...]f those Sons, out of whose loyns came all after Gene­rations, [Page 153] yet it was a greater honour to him to be a just-man, and walk with God; and therefore (which Chrysostome calleth a strange kind of Genealogy) after the Scripture had said, These are the Generations of Noah: It first saith, He was a just man, and walked with God: and then, Noah begat three Sons; implying, that it is a greater honour to be a good man, and converse with God, than to be a Father of the most numerous and illustrious progeny. It is said, That Jabez was more honourable than his Brethren: then followeth, And Ja­bez called on the God of Israel, saying, Oh that thou wouldest bless me indeed, and enlarge my Coast, and that thine hand might be with me (n); letting us under­stand, that it was his piety, and conversing with God in prayer, that made him more honourable than his Bre­thren. Let the blind besotted world count it a dis­honour to walk with God, and converse in Heaven; yet this is it that will make men truly honourable in the esteem of God, and Angels, and all good men; and will at last make them honourable in the eyes of them who now vilifie them. When Michal scorned David for dancing before the Ark: How glorious was the King of Israel, who uncovered himself in the eyes of the Handmaids his servants! David tells her, It was before the Lord, and if this be to be vile, I will be more vile; and of the Hand-maids thou hast spoken of, of them shall I be had in honour (o). The like I say here, those which now despise them, even of them shall they be had in honour; they will at last say with those in the Book of Wisdom, These are those whom we had in deri­sion, &c. but now are they numbered amongst the Saints, and their portion is amongst the righteous.

(11.) It giveth the greatest satisfaction to the mind: temporal things may fill, but cannot satisfie: the belly may be filled, and that with hid treasures, but the heart cannot de filled with these things; the soul is an im­mortal [Page 154] substance, nothing but things eternal can con­tent it: it first came from heaven, nothing below heaven can give it satisfaction; as Noahs Dove hovered over the waters, but could find no rest till she came into the Ark from whence she was sent; as Quick-sil­ver being poured out, creepeth up and down from place to place, and never is at rest, till it finds Gold with which it may commix; or as little veins of Wa­ter wandered from their Fountains, though put into vessels of Gold or Crystal, are never so well as in their proper Fountains: so it is with the soul; The motion of immortal souls is, (saith one) like that of Ce­lestial bodies, purely circular, they rest not, till they re­turn from whence they came, the bosome of Eternity; It is a Maxim, every thing hath a natural inclination to its original (p), Rivers come out of the Sea, and unto the place from whence they came, thither they return again (q), Though Fishes enjoy the vastness of the Ocean, yet they more frequently visit the place of their first spawning, finding it more commodious; Bees will not be forced to tarry in another Hive, unless they voluntarily leave their own in a swarme: take them at other times when they lye out, and sweep them into another Hive, they will at furthest the next day return into their own: Some say if a Partridge-Egg be taken out of the Nest, and be hatched under a strange Partridge, yet, upon first hearing the call of her own Damme, she will presently quit the Partridge that hacht her, and render her self into her own Co­vey; thus the Soul, having its original from Heaven can never be satisfied but with heavenly things. One (r) setteth it out by this similitude: As a heavy body cannot rest in the air, be it never so wide, nor in the wa­ter, be it never so deep, but still sinketh down till it comes to its center; so the soul of man can never find any re­pose: [Page 155] either in the airy and flitting honours, or in the earthly, dirty Riches, or in the watery and softning pleasures of this life, till it cometh to pitch upon God and Heaven. Another thus: As the bubble cannot stay it self at the bottom of the water, but ascendeth higher and higher, till it commeth to the top, and then striveth to ascend no higher, but breaketh its thin filme, and pours forth it self into the open air (s); so the soul cannot stay it self in any of these earthly inferiour things, but ascen­deth up till it cometh to close with its proper object, and there it findeth true repose. Satisfaction, which is in vain sought for in these temporal enjoyments, is a­bundantly found in heavenly things; They shall be a­bundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house (t); he that hath them for his portion hath a goodly Heritage, may say to himself with Deborah; Thou hast marched valiantly, oh my soul, that hast got such a booty; Or David, Return unto thy rest, oh my soul, the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee!

(12.) It brings the greatest measure of joy that this life is capable of: If one look to the land, behold dark­ness, and sorrow (u), But look up to Heaven, and be­hold light, and joy; such as converse in Heaven are (as was before-said) compared to Mountains: high Mountains being above the middle Region, are free from clouds and storms, there is nothing but calmness and serenity; so Olympus is said to be all clear and beau­tiful (w); such a beauty and serenity is in the soul of the heavenly-minded Chistian: he is like Adams Paradise, when there was no flaming sword of terror placed there: like Solomons Temple, where no voice of Axe and Hammer was to be heard; like the fields of Enna in Sicily, where some say, there is a conti­nual spring, and flowers all the year long: whereas wicked men have mostly their heaven here, and their hell afterward; and most Christians have their hell [Page 156] here, and their heaven afterward; the heavenly minded Christian hath a double heaven: one in time, th [...] other in Eternity▪ one in the way, another in hi [...] Country: one in labour, the other in rest: one is working, the other in receiving the reward of his works as he is now in Heaven in regard of his pract [...]ce and converse, so in regard of his joy, having here the first fruits of Heaven, the prelibations of his future happi­ness; Larks sing sweetest, when they fly h [...]ghest: the [...] is the soul of the Christian most full of joy, when h [...] is soaring toward Heaven in his meditations: Oh, he [...] sweet, saith Chrysostome, is the contemplation of Heaven a man would dwell in this contemplation, and no [...] come out of it: A man (saith Austin) might age himself in it, and sconer grow old, than weary; that an [...] cavil against the Religious Life as full of sadness, an [...] Antipodes to all joy, and cheerfulness, is, becaus [...] they never experienced it, and it is most unreasonable to censure what they never tryed, it is as if [...] Judge should condemn a man before he examine his cause, or heard him speak for himself. Whe [...] Jews went out to war, if any took a beautiful Dams [...] captive, he was not forbidden to marry her, onely h [...] must shave her head, and pare her nails, and then h [...] might espouse her; Joy is that beautiful Damsel tha [...] all the world court; Religion doth not forbid us to marry it, only to pare off the extravagancies of it and then we may enjoy it, (as Ambrose alluding t [...] the name Isaac, which signifies laughter or ioy) t [...] joy is not destroyed by Religion, it is only laid upo [...] the Altar, and made more sublime; thy Isaac sha [...] not dye, but the Ram; thy joy shall not be taken away, onely the extravagancy of it.

Tertullian in his Book de spectaculis, proveth a large, that there is no joy like the joy of a Christian and indeed what delight may be compared with th [...] delight of that Believer, whose daily fellowship is wi [...] the Father, and his Son Jesus Christ; whose convers [...] [Page 157] is in Heaven: who is continually drawing water out of the wells of Salvation, and bathing his soul in those Rivers of Everlasting pleasures? Some observe, that the Grashopper neither feeds upon grass as beasts do, nor upon seeds as birds do, nor upon Flowers as Bees do, only feedeth on the dew falling from Heaven, and yet is both a nimble creature, often shipping up and down, and a cheerful creature, frequently singing; a true Believer, as he doth not much trouble himself a­bout the world; so for the most part he hath little of it, at least in regard of what the world giveth, but con­versing with things heavenly and eternal; this filleth him with more joy, than others have, when their Corn, and Wine encreaseth.

(13.) It conduceth much to the encreasing of heaven­ly light and knowledge: the higher men stand, the further they see; they that are in a Plain cannot see far; they that are in a valley see but a little way; such as are in a bottom of a well, see only that point of the Heavens that is perpendicularly over their heads; whereas, those that stand upon the top of an high Mountain, see over all the Country round about: questi­onless they who are frequently conversing in Heaven, cannot but know more than other men. Origen upon those words of the Apostle, Rom. 11. That when the fuln ss of the Gentiles is come in, all Israel shall be sa­ved; hath this expression, what is meant by all Isra­el shall be saved; and what by the fulness of the Gentiles; only God knoweth, and his only begotten Son; and perhaps some of the friends of God, of whom Christ speaketh: I call you no more Servants, but friends; for all that I have heard of the Father, I have made known to you: such as are Gods friends, know more of his mind than others: The se [...]ret of the Lord is with them [...]hat fear him (x), The Papists say of Bonaventure, that being asked by Aquinas, out of what Books he had those heavenly expressions that were in his writings; [Page 158] he pointed to the Crucifix, saying, that is the Book which prompts to me what I write, being prostrate at the feet of that Image, I receive more light from Heaven, than from all the Books I read; if what they a­scribe to the Crucifex, we transfer to Christ himself, it will hold for a sound truth, They looked to him, and were lightened (y): We find the bodily sight is much strengthened by looking upon suitable objects: when the eye is dimb, if it be fixed a while upon some green Meadow, or flowry bank, it much helpeth the sight. Artificers, after long poring upon some dark work, finding a dimness in their eyes, are wont to take some Emerald, or some other green thing, by the verdure whereof their eyes may be refreshed, and their sight strengthened: it will hold as true in spiritual sight, the light of knowledge and understanding is much increa­sed by looking upon the unseen Eternal things in Heaven.

(14. It would sweeten death, and that nothing else can. It was an usual speech among the Heathens, that only Christians were contemners of death: the Phi­losophers, especially the Stoicks, made it their work to furnish themselves with arguments, and get their hearts into such a frame, that they might be above all passions; might not fear any evil that could befall them, no not death it self; and though in other things they went far, even to the shame of most Christians; yet when it came to death, they fell short of what they propounded to themselves: Socrates is thought to go as far as any other; whatsoever evil befell him he was yet the same man; no alteration appearing in his car­riage, insomuch as another Philosopher, Antisthenes, said, If the Gods would grant him what he desired, he would desire nothing else but to have the spirit of Socrates; and this was so much the more remarkable, because that equanimity he attained to, was quite contrary to his natural temper. There came, on a time, a fellow to Athens, who pretended great skill in Pal­mestry, [Page 159] that by the sight of mens hands he would tell what disposition they were of; and having guessed shrewdly in many, he was at last brought to Socra­tes, looking upon his hand, he affirmed him to be of a froward, peevish disposition; the people began to hout him, having had so long experience of his meek­ness and moderation; but Socrates said, do not blame the man, for the truth is, such a one I am by nature, only I have cured the intemperance of nature, by the practice of Philosophy; yet this man, who was so far able to master himself and his passions in other things, was not able to master the fear of death; though at first he seemed undaunted, yet when the cup of Poison was reached out to him, he looked as pale as ashes, the like it was with others: Plato discoursing highly of the contempt of death, was answered by one, he spake beyond what he lived. Tully was well versed in the writings of the Stoicks, and thought himself fortified against the fear of death; but when death came, com­plained, I know not how it comes to pass, but so it is, the remedy is too narrow for the disease: Though while men look upon death at a distance, they may hope by the improvement of Philosophical arguments, to mast­er the fear of death; yet when death cometh in good earnest, when all the senses, the ports of the soul are beset with the ambushes of death; when death mounts up all her batteries, and beateth down one hold after another, driving the soul from one part of the body to another, till at last the soul be forced to quit her former habitation? when a man comes to feel what he never felt before, to do what he never did before, nor is ever to do a second time; when he cometh now to have the last cast for an Eternity ei­ther of happiness or misery, to cease any longer to be what he was before, and to enter upon a new, but never ending condition; when it cometh to this, they must be better and higher arguments than can be learned in natures school, that will be able to afford [Page 160] support and comfort to the departing soul. As soon may a man think to gather Gr [...]pes of Thorns, and Figs of Thistles, as by the sole improvement of these, to grapple with the terrors of death. Lypsi­us lying upon his death-bed, when a friend that stood by, said, It would be in vain to suggest any arguments of consolation to him, who was so well acquainted with the writings of the Stoicks; he is said to turn himself towards Christ, saying, Lord give me the true Christian patience; whereas, the Believer whose mind is tak­en up with heavenly things, being already dead to the world, findeth it no hard matter to part with it; as that Martyr, Julius Palmar said, to them that have their souls linked to the flesh, like a Rogues foot to a pair of stocks, it is indeed hard to dye; but for him who is able to separate soul and body, by the help of Gods spirit, it is no more mastery for such an one to dye, than for me to drink this cup of Beer; having before-hand sent his heart to Heaven, he looketh upon death as a favoura­ble wind to carry him sooner to his desired Haven. Moses converseth with God, as a man converseth with his friend; and when God bad him go up to the Mount, and dye there, Moses maketh no more of it; he went up into the Mount, and died according to the word of the Lord: the Jews say that his soul was sucked out of his mouth with a kiss; he who now converseth in Heaven, when he dyeth, only changeth his place, but not his company; removeth to a higher form, but con­tinueth at the same school: while he liveth, he is like the Bee which converseth amongst sweet flowers; or like the Birds of the fortunate Islands, which they say, are all their life-time nourished with perfumes; and when he dyeth, he dyeth like the Phoenix in the sweet odours of an heavenly conversation.

(15.) It would give us, after death, a wide and large entrance into Heaven: They that look here to things Eternal, shall after this life have possession of them; shall sit down with Abraham and Isaac, and [Page 161] Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven; when others, who [...]ook no higher than things temporal, shall be called the [...]east in the Kingdom of God: Heaven, like the Hal­ [...]ions nest, will hold nothing but its own bird: the A­postle blesseth God, because he had made them meet to [...]e made partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in [...]ight (c): Men must be meet for Heaven, before they [...]ome there; they who are now strangers to God, [...]nd Heaven, what should they do in Heaven, where the great happiness consists in the enjoyment and service of God? whereas, they who make it their business [...]o lay up treasure in Heaven, shall have a ready admit­ [...]ance into Heaven, a free participation of whatsover [...]lessedness is there treasured up; whatsoever happiness [...]here is in the sight and enjoyment of God; what­soever solace in the embraces of a dear Saviour; what­soever Satisfaction in the society of Angels and Saints; whatsoever joys and pleasures are in that place of bliss; all this, and much more than we can [...]magine, shall be the undoubted portion of those who make Eternal things their aim and end. Jerom saith, That Saul knew before-hand he should be made King, because in a kind of a vision he saw himself placed upon the top of a Palm-tree; the Palm-tree is an Emblem of the heavenly minded Christian, as was be­fore shewed in several resemblances: Now as Saul [...]eeing himself advanced to the top of a Palm-tree, look­ [...]d upon this as a Presage of his future advancement [...]o the Throne, so he who hath his heart and mind in Heaven while he liveth, may assure himself of Heaven when he dieth; it is his now by way of election, and shall be hereafter his by way of fruition; now he walk­eth with God, then he goeth to God; while he is [...]ere, he converseth in Heaven; when he goeth hence, [...]e taketh possession of it,; having chosen that better [...]art, it shall never be taken away from him. To con­clude this vse, let these many advantages serve as so-many [Page 162] incentives to quicken us to this duty in the Text, o [...] looking to those things that are Eternal.

CHAP. XIV. Of various other considerations to move us to make provision for Eternity.

4. BE exhorted to make timely provision for that E­ternity we must ere long enter upon. By thing Eternal spoken of in the Text, we are chiefly to understand the unseen eternal things in Heaven; as appeareth by comparing this with the foregoing verse accordingly the thing I would exhort to, is to secur [...] these to our selves; this is it which is so often calle [...] for in Scripture, though under different expressions as, Seeking first the Kingdom of God (d), Laying o [...] for our selves treasure in Heaven, Labou [...]ing for that me [...] which endureth to everlasting l [...]fe, Striving to enter in a the Strait gate, Working out our salvation, Laying hol [...] upon eternal life, Laying up in stere a good foundation a­gainst the time to come, Giving diligence to make ou [...] calling and election sure. All which, and many like expressions, tend to the same purpose, and do all call up­on us to practise that necessary duty I am now to speak to; in speaking to which I shall first propound some Motives or Considerations to quicken us to it; the [...] by laying down some Directions, shew how we may do it more successfully: For Motives take these:

(1.) This is the one thing necessary; the great thing we have to do (e); if we do not this, we do nothing; those who mind only temporal things, neglecting this, are said, to walk in a vain shew, and disquiet themselves [Page 163] in vain [f], To weave the Spiders web [g], To labour for that that is not bread [h], To labour for the wind [i], To labour in the fire, and weary themselves for very vani­ty [k], That this is the main thing we have to do, will appear upon this following account.

(1. It is the end for which God sent us into the world: If a Philosopher [l] being asked why he came into the world, could say, that I might contemplate Heaven. Heaven is my Country, my great care is for that; much more should we Christians think so, and accordingly answer the end of our coming hither: it is a great deal of care we take about the things of this life: what we shall eat, and what we shall drink, and wherewith we shall be cloathed; and all this we may do; our heavenly Father knoweth we have need of these things; but what is all this to Eternity? What is all this to the great end for which we come h [...]ther? [m] As he told his Son,) that he begat him not to Cata­line, but to his Country: So God did not send us into the world to eat, and drink, and buy, and sell, &c. but that we might serve him, and save our own souls; all other things are impertinent to that errand we came for. A devout Pilgrim travelling to Jerusalem, in his way passed thorow many Cities, where, though he saw many rare monuments, and found courteous enter­tainment, yet would say, This is not Jerusalem, this is not the end of my coming. Amongst those many good things we have, and other things we do, we should still think with our selves, this is nothing to Eternity, this is not that we came into the world for; other things perish vvith the using [n], Our most needful care as to this life, is to provide food for these bodies, which cannot long subsist without it, all the labour of m [...]n is for his mouth [o], He that laboureth for him­self, [Page 164] for his mouth craveth it of him, Prov. 16.26. Yet the Apostle telling us, meats are for the belly, and the belly for meats, adds withal, God shall destroy both it and them (p), But when both these are destroyed, we have an Eternity to enter upon, and that should be the great matter of our care, as being the main thing we came into the world for. Cato for a long time never declared his opinion about any business in the Senate, but would still close it with this passage, Methinks Carthage should be destroyed: whatsoever else we think, or do, we should still consider, Eternity is to be provided for: if we neglect this, all we do is nothing, and it will be a sad reflection upon our death-beds, when over-looking our by-past lives, we shall find that we have all this time busied our selves about impertinencies and neglected that great work for which we were sent into the world.

[2.] It is for this end God giveth us all the precious time we have: wise men will not suffer their servants to spend their time about such work as will not pay for the Candle they burn in doing it; neither would God give us so much precious time to be spent about those petty things, those nothings that most men are imployed about; nothing less than the service of God, and working out our own salvation, will bear proportion with that invaluble talent of Time God hath indulged to us, I gave her space to repent of her fornications (q): God doth not give us so much time to be ravelled out about trifles, but to repent; to make our peace with God, and make provision for our E­ternal condition; the time spent about other things, is but lost time: It is said of Abraham, and some o­ther good men, that they dyed full of daies; but some observe, it is no where so said of any wicked men; Their daies are not full, but empty; they possess months and years of vanity, empty moneths (r), as [Page 165] Gregory calls them; alluding to that, Some more refi­ned Heathen thought that not worthy to be called by the name of life, which is not spent in doing good. Seneca saith of a vitious person, who arrived to a great age, that he was along time, but lived but a little space; and of another, alluding to Mariners, he was tossed up and down much, but sailed little, such per­sons will have a sad account to make at last, who bring their years to an end▪ as a tale that is told, spend­ing all their time about other things, and neglecting this(s): one expresseth it thus, suppose a Merchant should send his Factor beyond the Seas, to negotiate his a affairs; and after his staying there seven or eight years, being called for home by his Master, and de­manded how he spent his time, should bring in such an account as this: so much time spent in Hawking and Hunting, so much in going to Taverns and Ale-houses; would not every man laugh at so fond a reckening? But suppose, being asked further what he had done a­bout his Masters oc asions, he should answer that his time was so taken up with the other, that he could allow no time for his Masters business; would he not be thought worthy of a severe punishment? The time is coming when we must be answerable to God for every hour, every minute of time we spend; and let us think before-hand how sad it will will be, if being sum­moned before Gods tribunal, we shall be able to give in no other account than this, so much time spent in eat­ing, drinking and sleeping, so much in the pursuit of the profits and pleasures of the world; perhaps so much in gluttony and drunkenness, in chamebring and wantonness, in strife and envy; in the mean time little or none in that great work for which all our time was be­stowed upon us.

(3.) It is for this end, that God giveth us his word and Gospel, his Sabbaths and Sacraments, and all the Means of grace we live under; for this end he sends his [Page 166] Ministers to make offers of Eternal happiness▪ to this end, they bring line upon line, precept upon precept, ex­horting, admonishing, perswading, beseeching us to look after the things of our everlasting peace; and if, not­withstanding all these helps to Heaven, we shall neg­lect so great Salvation; this will make our condition more sad, our condemnation more inexcusable; it is not here as it is in Livings, and other Ecclesiastical promotions, which perhaps are worth an hundred, or two hundred pound by the year, and yet not above ten or twenty pound in the Kings Books; no, God taketh exact notice what means we enjoy, how many Sabbaths we have, how many Sermons we hear. The year, and month, when the word of God came to the Pro­phets, stand upon record in Scripture (t). There is ne­ver a Sermon preached to us, never an exhortation pressed on us by the Masters of the Assemblies, never a motion from Gods Spirit, but are laid up in store with God, and sealed up amongst his treasures, and wil [...] at last day be produced as so many swift witnesses a­gainst us, if we turn our backs upon so many offer [...] of salvation; and when we shall call to mind wha [...] helps and furtherances we have had, and what little improvement we have made of them; how much God did for us, and how little we did for our selves; how much God did to save us, and how little we could be perswaded to do toward our own salvation: the thoughts of this will be as so many coles of fire, to kindle and encrease the flames of our justly deserve torments, as so many rods or scorpions with which conscience will lash us to all Eternity; this being the [...] the great thing we have to do, what remaineth but that we set about it?

[2.] Consider, there is no man whatsoever, but will on time or other approve of this course, and justifie the practice of those who are most serious and diligent in providing for their eternal condition: Wisdom is now justified of he [...] [Page 167] children, but will be one day justified of her greatest adversaries. Pliny the second being written to by a friend to give some directions, how he might better order his conversation; wrote back to him, that he would not [...]ouble him with many directions, but would give him one which might serve in stead of all; that we would he be same men when we are well, that we profess our selves to be, and promise to be when we are sick. It was the saying of a mo [...]e refined Heathen, but verily it is a speech de­serving to be written in letters of Gold, or rather to be engraven with the point of a Diamond in the hard­est Rock, in such legible characters, that whosoever runs may read it: Oh how happy a thing were it, if men were alwayes of the same mind that they are of upon their sick-beds? It is noted by Zaleuchus in the Proem of his Laws that when men come to dye, there [...]nvades them a sorrow for what they have done amiss, and [...]n earnest desire that all their former life had been just [...]nd vertuous. And as remarkable was that saying of Plato, Know this for certain, that when a man cometh to [...]his, to see that he must dye, there cometh upon him both [...] great fear and a great care of those thing, which he be­ [...]ore neglected in his life-time. It is an usual thing for [...]arnal men, in the time of health, to look upon the service of God as a weariness; to cavil against the [...]trictness of Religion; what need is there of so much [...]raying, and hearing, and pains-taking? but it is a are thing to hear men speak thus upon their death­ [...]eds. Some say, the Mole, which continueth blind [...]ll her life-time, hath her eyes open towards her [...]eath: how many have we heard of, who have lived [...]ll their time, as if there were neither God, nor Heav [...]n [...]or Hell; yet at the time of death have their eyes o­ [...]ened, and conscience awakened? How many, who­ [...]ave passionately befooled and blamed themselves for [...]heir former neglects; one crying out, call time back [...]gain; another, My life is done, but my work is un­done; others wishing that God would try them once [Page 168] more; that they might live a little longer time; pro­mising what lives they would lead; what care and pains they would take: or if any be so far given over to a stupid security, that the grim face of Death can­not awaken them; it will be certainly thus with them soon after death. Bellarmine telleth of a wordly wretch, whom he went to visit upon his death-bed, who, when he exhorted him to make provision for another world; answered him(u), Sir, I have much desired to speak with you, but it is not for my self, but in behalf of my wife and children; for my self, I am going to Hell, neither is there any thing that I would desire in my own behalf; and this he spake, saith he, with such composedness of mind, as if he had spoken of going but to the next Town or Village; vile brute! who could be so apprehensive of his going to Hell, and be no more affected with it? could a man have spoken with this stupid set, after he had been some time in Hell? do we think he would have made as light of it, as he did then? Certainly if fear will not work up­on men, feeling will. It is said of Dives (w), That in Hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and saw Abraham afar off. He who all his life time scarce ever looked upward toward Heaven, yet being in Hell-tor­ments, he lift up his eyes: the most stupid conscience will then be awakened: they who now will not see, shall then see, and be confounded; in the latter daies they shall consider it (x), Oh how happy a thing were it if men were of the same mind now, that they will be of then, that they would be perswaded to do that now, which afterward they will most passionately wish they had done, that they would but do that in time, which all the world would be glad to do when it is too late! On the other side, how sad is it that men should never consider this, till they be awakened by [Page 169] everlasting burnings? Parisiensis calleth such the Batts of Faith; as Batts do not look forth till the Sun be down: so it is with such; Austin compareth them to them who awake out of a Lethargy, and fall into a Phrensie; they awake out of a dead Lethargy of stupid carelesness, and fall into the Phrensie of honour and everlasting despair: to conclude this particu [...]ar; see­ing there is no man whatsoever, but will one time or other approve of this course; it should be our care now to set about it, to do that in time, which we will wish we had done, when it will be too late.

[3.] Consider, that wisdom is in nothing so much seen as in this. There is, saith the Philosopher, a wis­dom in some particular, as when men are wise in their own professions, and wisdom in general (z), when men are wise about their chief good; by how much greater the good is we aim at, the greater is the wis­dom that is shewed in the attaining it. Eternal hap­piness being the chief good, wisdom is mainly seen in securing that to our selves. There are three things in which true wisdom consists; first, to propound to our selves the chief good, the right end, which is Eternal blessedness: Secondly, to pitch upon the right means conducing to this end: Thirdly, to arm our selves a­gainst those difficulties which might hinder us in the attaining it; as we act in this, such we will appear to be at last; if we be such as make seasonable pro­vision for our everlasting condition, we will appear to be wise men indeed; but if after all our cares and plottings for other things, we shall have neglected this, we shall shew our selves the greatest fools; it was for this cause that God calleth the rich man Fool (a), he was wise enough for the world: he knew how to get it, he ordered his business so, that his ground brought forth plentifully; when he had it, he knew how to keep it; he resolved to pull down his barns, and, build [Page 170] greater; he knew likewise how to enjoy the comfort of it; Thou hast goods laid up for many years, take thine ease, eat, drink and be merry; but because all his wisdom extended only to these things, making no provision for his future estate, God calleth him Fool, Thou Fool, this night shall thy soul be required of thee; and then adds, so is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God, that is careful about things temporal, but makes no provision for things Eternal: we use to look upon them as unwise men, who have only from hand to mouth; who look only for a present supply, but take no care for their future subsistence; such are we, if all our care be limited to this short life, without pro­viding for our future estate: certainly they only are truly wise, who are wise unto Salvation; such as are wise for other things, and regardless of this, will at last appear to be the greatest fools; He that getteth riches, and not by right, shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool: (b) He that maketh it his great business to get riches, and so as he may get them, careth not whether it be by right or wrong, shall not only lose them, when he hath most need of them, but shall have beside the imputation of a fool; though, as the Psalmist saith of such men, Whiles he lived, he bl [...]ssed his soul, and other men praise him, thinking he doth well unto himself, yet this his way is his folly (c); and this his folly will at last appear to all men; at the end of his days he shall be a fool; he was a fool be­fore in the opinion of God and all good men, but then he will appear so, both to all others, and to himself likewise; he will then say, what a fool was I to pamper a vile body, and neglect a precious soul; to take so much care about a short temporal life, and make no provision for my everlasting condition?

[4.] Things Eternal are worth the securing, and worth all the pains we can take in securing of them: The [Page 171] Psalmist speaketh of them by way of admiration[d], Oh how great is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee! The Apostle saith, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entred into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him [e]: What one saith of Venice, that he that never saw it will not believe, and he that hath stayed there but a while, cannot know the stateliness of it; may be more fitly spoken of Heaven; we cannot com­prehend it, till we are comprehended by it; It doth not yet appear what we shall be [f]; The best way to help our thoughts in conceiving of it, is to represent it to our selves by those descriptions, and compara­tive expressions, by those particular good things the Scripture sets it out by: As when a Mother (saith Anselm) giveth a great Apple to a little child, though when the Apple is whole, there be as much sweetness in it; yet because the child is not able to make work with it, she cutteth it in several pieces, and giveth the child one piece after another: so we being not a­ble to conceive what the Happiness of Heaven is in it self, the best way to relieve our weakness, is to cast our eyes upon those several ingredients which seem to constitute this happiness; as a man that stands upon the shoar where the main Sea runneth, though he can neither see the length, breadth, nor depth of it, yet by what he seeth, he seeth it to be a vast thing: In like manner, though Eternal happiness be infinite­ly beyond our comprehensions, yet looking thus up­on it, it will appear to be a most blessed and desira­ble thing, well worthy of our greatest care and in­dustry. It is storied of one Evagrius, a rich man, that lying upon his death-bed, being importuned by Sinesius his godly Bishop to give something to charita­ble Uses; he yielded at last to give three hundred pounds, but first took bond of the Bishop that it should [Page 172] he rep [...]yed him in another world: before he had been one day dead, he is said to have appeared to the Bi­shop, delivering in the Bond ca [...]celled, as thereby ac­knowledging, that what was promised was made good; It is likely the Relation is fabulous, but this is certain, one dayes being in Heaven, will make a suffi­cient recompence for whatsoever we give, or suffer, or do, or can do, much more the eternal enjoyment of it, and seeing there is such a far surpassing, and e­ternal weight of Glory set before us, what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation, and godliness? Julius Caesar coming towards Rome with his Army, and hearing that the Senate, and people fled from it, said, They that will not fight for this City, what City will they fight for? and truly, if we do not take pains for this happiness, what is it we will take pains for? one would think, if we did but hear once in our lives-time that there were such an happiness to be had, we should make it the business of our whole lives to get an interest in it; and think no pains much, if by any means we might obtain it, in other things, if we be convinced of the worth and excellency of them, we need no other motive to engage us to the pursuit of them: When the Spies had taken a view of the Land of Canaan, finding it to be a goodly Land, abounding with all sorts of good things, they thus bespake the people, We have seen the Land, and behold it is very good, why then are ye still? be not slothful, but go and enter, and possess the Land. Canaan was a type of Heaven; by that little survey we have now taken of it, we find it is very good; why then are we still? what means the lukewarmness, and indifferency that is found in most of us? where are those affections which use to be so eagerly carried out upon meaner objects? certainly, did we know the gift of God, did we know, or at least seriously consider what eternal blessedness is; we would be willing to do any thing, would refuse no labour, stick at no difficulty, so as we [Page 173] might be partakers of it: if those Roman Gladiators, to whom the Apostle seemeth to allude(g), fighting but for a little airy honor, were temperate in all things; and as some report, when they entred into those Schools, vowed to suffer themselves to be enchain­ed, beaten, killed, to endure any thing; much more should we be willing to do any thing; they doing it to obtain a corruptible Crown, but we an incorruptibl.

[5] We have but a short time to s [...]cure this eternal happiness; This I say brethren, saith the Apostle(h), it is thought to allude to Sailes or Curtains, which though they seem large, when they are extended, yet being folded up, are brought into a small com­pass: so Tim [...], that God hath spread like a Sayl over all things below, hath now for some thousands of years been rouling up: the day is hastning, when time shall be no more; and from thence the Apostle exhorteth to a holy indifferency toward temporal things: It remain [...]th that they that have wives, be as th [...]ugh they had none, &c. it is as if he had said, Your time is short, and you have business enough a­nother way; there is water little enough to run in the right Channel, let it not then run waste: you have no such spare time, that you should spend it about unne­cessaries: and if time in general, which hath now lasted above five thousand years, be short, in compari­son of Eternity, much more that little scantling of time which any of us have here to spend; we are but of yesterday, and know not, saith one, where we shall be to morrow; our soul is in our body like the young Bird in the shell, that will soon break, and the Bird fly out; like a Candle in a Lanthorn full of holes, which is blown out with every puff of wind. It was the speech of Marcus Aurelius upon his death-bed, When we begin to live, we imagine our life will endure a whole world, but when it is ended, it seemeth to us to [Page 174] be but a puff, and blast of wind. The Scripture some­times expresseth the term of mans life by years (i), The days of our years are threescore years and ten: sometimes it is reduced to moneths (k), The number of his moneths are with thee; sometimes it is confined to days, So teach us to number our days (l): sometimes it is confined to a day (m), That he may accomplish as a hireling his day.

A man that hath some great work that must of ne­cessity be done, and but one day for the doing it, had need work hard; it is so with us, only we are upon a far greater uncertainty; the shortest day hath its morn­ing, noon, afternoon, and evening, so that he that hath work to do, knoweth before-hand what time he hath for doing it, but it is otherwise in the day of our life; some have a morning, but no noon, they are born, and forthwith die, step from one grave to another, from the grave of their mothers womb, to the grave of the earth, the common mo­ther of all: some have a noon, but no afternoon, their sun sets at mid-day, when their bodies are full of strength, and their bones full of marrow: some have an afternoon, but no evening; and which of these may befall us, we know not.

There was a Jewish youth that went to a Rabbie, desiring him to instruct him in the Law: the Rabbie as­ked him how old he was, he answered, eight: he told him he was too young to understand the Law, willing him to stay till he were eight years older, and then if he came, he would instruct him; The youth reply'd, Sir, I have been often in the Church-yard, and have observed, that there are as many graves shorter than I, as there are longer, and if I should die before I be eight years older, what will become of my soul, if I be ignorant of the Law? That many are snatched away by death, in the morning of their age, we see by daily experience? what befalleth [Page 175] them, may befall any of us: and how sad would it be if Death should take us out of this world, before we have made provision for another? It was a cutting speech of Caesar Borgius; While I lived, I provided for every thing but death; now I must die, and am unprovided to die: What provision we make for this world, whether we have more or less, is no great matter, our abode here being for so short a time: the great thing is, what provision we make for death and Eternity that follows it; and seeing the time of our life, the only time of providing for it is so short, it infinitely concerneth us to improve this short time to the best advantage, to work the work we have to do, while it is day.

[6.] When this short time is once past, there is nothing to be done in this great work: If a man die, shall he live again [n]? It is an affirmative interrogation, and hath the force of a strong Negation; he shall not live again as to a natural life; this life is called an earthly house [o], being once dissolved, it shall not be inhabited from generation to generation: it is a Tabernacle, in the same place, A Shepheards Tent, [p] O­ther Tents are taken down, and set up again, but when this is taken down, the stakes thereof are removed, and the cords broken, it is never set up again till the Resurrection; It is a Candle, The spirit of man is the Candle of the Lord [q], if it be once put out, it is never lighted more; the sun of our life being once set, it never riseth again, after the evening of its set­ting, there is never, till the last Resurrection [r], a mor­ning of its up-rising; the Glass of Life being run out, it is never turned again: we are as water spilt upon the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; A wind that passeth away, and cometh not again [s]; As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away, so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more [t]; As the [Page 176] Flood decayeth and dryeth up, so man lieth down, and riseth till the Heavens be no more (u). It was the say­ing of Charles the fifth, I have spent my treasu [...]e, but that I may recover again; I have lost my h [...]alth, but that I may have again; but I have lost a great many brave souldiers, and them I can never have again: the like may be said here, other things may be lost, and yet recovered again; Job lost his whole estate, yet God blessed his latter end, more than his beginning; Heze­kiah lost his health, and fell into a grievous sickness, yet God added fifteen years to his life, but if the time of life be once past, it is past all recovery; to weigh the fire, to measure the wind, and to call back a day that is past, are three things mentioned by the Angel, of the like impossibility(w); While the sheep liveth, though the wool be clipt off every year, it grow [...]th again to the like weight, but clip it off when the sheep is dead, and there never cometh any more; while life lasts, though much of our time be wilfully lost, and much snatcht away against our will, yet by our Repentance, and future care we may regain it, as that expression redeeming the time implyeth; but if the term of life be once past, there is no redeeming of lost time; being once entred upon our eternal condition, there is no re­turning back to the enjoyment of formerly neglected opportunities: When a few years are come, I shall go the way whence I shall not return (x), After death, there is no returning back to do any of these works we might have done here(y), Whats [...]ever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might, for the [...]e is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the grave, whi­ther thou goest (z): I must work the work of him that sent me while it is day, the night cometh when no man can work: I might shew it in all those works we are to do, in reference to securing eternal happiness; are [Page 177] we to secure it by praying? as, Whosoever shall call up­on the name of the Lord, shall be saved (a)? that is not to be done after death; Because he hath enclined his ear unto me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live (b): implying, when he should cease to live, he should cease to pray; Are we to secure it by hearing? as, Hear and your soul shall live (c); neither can that be done after death. Dives desired that one might be sent to preach to his Brethren on earth, but desi­red none for himself, knowing it was then too late; Are we to do it by praising God? as, Death cannot praise thee, the grave cannot celebrate thee (d); Are we to do it by Repentance? which is therefore called a Re­pentance to salvation (e), Repentance depends upon time; I gave her space to repent of her fornication. When the time of life is past, though men cry like that fool Berbaldus speaketh of, Oh Repentance, Repentance where art thou? where art thou, oh Repentance? (f) they shall find no place for Repentance, though with Esau they seek it carefully with tears: Are we to do it by believing in Christ? as, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved (g). After this life there is no future of­fer of Christ to be expected, The daies come, when you shall desire to see one of the days of the son of man, and shall not see it (h). Are we to do it by Hope; which is therefore called the Hope of Salvation? To him that is joy­ned to the living there is hope (i), but after death there is no place for hopes; What hope hath the Hypocrite when God taketh away his soul (k)? The door of hope and mercy is then for ever shut up. Alexander lay­ing siege to a City that refused to yield upon his sum­mons caused a Torch to be lighted, letting them know while that torch burned, they might have conditions [Page 178] of peace; but if they stood out till that was burned out, they must expect nothing but fire and sword; the time of this life is a torch of mercy that God hath lighted, while this lasts, we have opportunities to make our peace with God, but if we neglect it no [...], it ceaseth for ever.

Chrysostome observeth, that whereas God hath gi­ven many other things double; two eyes to see with, two ears to hear with, two hands to work with, two feet to walk with, to the intent that the failing of the one might be supplyed by the other; he hath given us but one soul; if that be lost, hast thou, (saith he) another soul to give in recompence for it? I shall add, as he hath given us but one soul to provide for, so he hath given us but one life to make provision for it: we have not a brace of lives, that we may recover in the latter, what we have lost in the former: They say, there is no offending in war twice: it is certain there is no offending twice in this kind, if we mis­pend this life, we have no other life to live here: if happiness be once lost, it is for ever lost; if we once dye ill, we are damned for ever; and seeing after death there is no doing any thing in reference to E­ternal happiness, it should be our care to do it now, as our Saviour argued; I must work the work of him that sent me while it is day, the night cometh when no man can work; and not only to do it but to do it with all possi­ble diligence: So Solomon upon this ground exhorteth, Whatsoeve [...] thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work in the grave whereunto thou goest.

[7.] Consider, there are but few who obtain Eternal happiness; it is indeed a Doctrine that carnal men do not love to hear; when Christ told the Jews, That there were many Widows in Israel in the days of Elias (i); yet to a none of them was Elias sent, but to Sa­repta, to a woman that was a Widow; and many Le­pers in the time of Elizeus, and yet none of them were cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian, thereby [Page 179] implying, though many live in the bosom of the Church, yet but a few shall be saved; the Text saith, When they heard these things, they were filled with wrath, and thrust him out of the City; but how unwelcome soever this doctrine is to many, it is a certain truth, that shall stand more firm than the Sun, that faithful witness in Heaven; if we ask of the dayes that were before us, even since the time God created man up­on the earth, we shall find this to be most true in all the several ages of the world; in Noah's time the world could not be very populous, having lasted so long, and men living eight or nine hundred years, yet there were but eight persons saved in the Ark; though it be questioned by Divines, whether all that were tem­porally destroyed, were eternally damned; and we may think more charitably of some, especially children, and such as were not capable of faith and repentance; yet for the generality, the Scripture saith, That all flesh had corrupted their waies; and the Apostle calleth them, the world of the ungodly, (k) Who would have thought that in those five populous Cities of the Plains, there should not be found ten righteous persons? yet for want of so small a number, four of those Ci­ties were overwhelmed with a deluge of fire and brim­stone. We read of six hundred thousand Israelites that went out of Egypt, yet of all these, two only entred the Land of Canaan; as Canaan was a type of Heaven, So Origen maketh those two that entred there, a type of those that are saved, and the rest, of those that perish; if we come to David's time, he complain­eth, The Godly man ceaseth, the faithful fail from amongst the children of men; They are all gone astray, there is none that doth good, no not one (l). In Elijah's time they were so few, that he thought himself alone, and Gods highest number did amount but to seven thousand, and what were they amongst the many thousands of Isra­el and Judah? Isaiah complaineth, they were but a [Page 180] small remnant, comparing them to the shaking of an Olive tree, two or three berries in the upper most boughs (m): Jeremiah complaineth(n), they were but one of a fami­ly, two of a tribe; And Micah, Compareth them to the gleanings after Harvest, and the gatherings after Vintage (o). Indeed in Christs time they grew up to a flock, and multiplied more in those following times, yet this lasted not long; about three hundred and fif­ty years after arose a pestilent Heresie, when the world groaned to see it self turned Arrian; and some time after, those other Hydra [...]s heads, Mahom [...]tanism and Popery sprung up, which to this day have over-spread so great a part of the world; and at this day, if we consider how few profess the truth, and of them, how few live up to their profession; we must con­clude, that even now there are but a few saved; and if so, how much doth it concern us to take heed to our selves? If when Christ told his Disciples, that one of them was a Devil, and should betray him: Though it were but one of twelve, every one began to suspect himself; how much more should we, when we hear, it is not one of many, but many to one, that are likely to miscary, and perish everlastingly? when one asked Christ, Are there few that shall be saved? he answered(p), Strive to enter in at the strait gate. That is the proper use we are to make of this Doctrine.

[8.] We can be sure of nothing else; if we make it our business to seek temporal things, we are under a double uncertainty: First, it is very uncertain whe­ther we shall get what we seek: there is but one way to hit the mark, but several ways of missing it; though the world be courted by a great many, yet there are more suitors than speeders; there are but few that get a prize in the worlds Lottery; these things are often like the shadow that flieth from them that fol­low [Page 181] it: they who make haste to be rich, most what make more haste than good speed; and many times out of an eager desire of getting what they have not, lose wh [...]t they have: As Balaam, who greedily seeking after ho­nour, and riches, not only lost them, but his life likewise, being killed in the battel(q), Therefore the Hebrews apply that Proverb to him, the Cammel seeking horns lost his ears: or if men do get these things, they are uncertain of keeping them; how often do these things leave men, before they leave the world? They flow by us saith Basil, as the stream by the bank; time will moulder away the bank it self, but the water stayeth not for that, but speedeth on its wonted course: our life is as the tree, these things like the f [...]uit and leaves which fall off, while the tree stands: how many be there who seemed like a nail fastened in a sure place, which have been like Shebna, removed from their station, and tossed up and down like a Ball in a large Countrey: we can have no more assurance of these things, than if we take a model of this daies clouds, and think to compare them with them that will the next day appear. Some have compared great men to the mountain Vesuvius near Naples, which they say is so abundantly fertile, that it is worth thousands yearly; but when it happens to cast forth its fery en­trails, doth sometimes more hurt in a day, than it brought profit in a whole age; and how many who have been raised to the highest pitch of wordly greatness, yet in one days miscarriage have been depri­ved of all they have been so long gathering together, and lived to be objects of pity to all that knew them: We need not take Histories for examples, daily ex­perience sealeth to the truth of this; he that in times of so great mutability hath not learned this les­son of the worlds uncertainty, deserveth to be taught it, as Gideon taught the men of Succoth and Penuel, [Page 182] with thorns and brambles of the wilderness: Or if these things last till death, that is the longest day.

I remember(r) one telleth of a worldly wretch, who when he saw he must dye, taketh a piece of Gold, and putteth it into his m [...]uth, saying, Some wiser than some, whatsoever cometh of it, I will carry this with me; but could the sot think, to carry his gold with him into another world? God tells the rich fool, This night shall th [...] soul be required of thee, and then whose shall these things be which thou hast provided? Whose soe­ver they should be, they should be no longer his; when men have been all their lives time lading them­selves with thick clay: it fareth with them at death, as with the Hedge-Hogg, which having laded her self with Apples upon the prickles of her back, and with much adoe dragged home her over-heavy burden; perhaps carrieth one in her mouth, but hath the rest swept off by narrowness of the hole, which she only made wide enough for her own passage; We brought nothing into this world (s), and it is certain we can carry nothing out. So that if we look after temporals, we can­not be sure either of getting or keeping them; whereas, if we make Eternals the matter of our choice, and labour for them in a right manner, we may as­sure our selves of both. The wicked worketh a deceit­ful work, but to him that soweth rigteousness, shall be a sure reward (t). God hath not said to the house of Jacob, Seek ye me in vain (u). If we would take as much pains for Heaven, as others do for the world, we might undoubtedly obtain it, and being obtained, there were no danger of losing it, I give them Eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand (w); and the considera­tion of this cannot but be a powerful motive and en­couragement: So it was to the Apostle, I therefore [Page 183] so run, not as uncertainly (x); other runners, though they run with all their might, are upon great uncer­tainties; Know ye not that they that run in a race, run all, and but one receiveth the prize: And so it is in all other adventures about worldy things, most have but their labour for their pains; but it is otherwise in this spiritual race; I so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: And upon the same ground the Apostle encourageth others; Be ye alwaies abundant in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as your labour is not in vain in the Lord (y).

[9.] Consider what we have done in this great work; how little, and how much.

(1.) How little; the greatest part of men are scat­tered abroad in the world, like the Israelites about the Land of Egypt, to gather stubble; or like Ants about a mole-hill, busying themselves about impertinencies. Sir Thomas Moore saith, There is a Devil called Business(z), that carrieth more souls to Hell, th [...]n all the Devils in Hell beside: most men have so many Irons in the fire, are cumbered about so many things, that they wholly neglect that one thing necessary: Nay, it is to be feared, many in the bosome of the Church, who have lived forty or fifty years under powerful preach­ing, have heard many hundred Sermons to provoke them to this duty; yet the time is yet to come, that ever they spent one hour together between God and their consciences, in promoting that great work of their Salvation; strangers have devoured their strength; other things, (and that for the most part impertinencies,) have devoured the strength of their abilities, the cream of their time: When Heaven, and eternal happiness have been neglected, as if they were not; and if it hath been thus with any of us, let the time past be enough to have been so prodi­giously [Page 184] regardless of that which so nearly and infinite­ly concerneth us: Let it be our care for the future to redeem our lost time; the word used by the A­postle (a), properly signifies to buy a thing back again, a metaphor taken from men that mortgage their Land, and redeem it again: by how much more care­less we have been, the more dilligent should we be for the future, compensating former neglects by our after-care: a man that hath some work to do, that must of necessity be done, if he hath loytered away most of the time allotted for the doing it, had need work the harder: Such as come not into the Vineyard till the ninth or eleventh hour, must then be more diligent, if they would be equal with them that have born the heat and burden of the day. When the Husbandman breaks up a piece of ground, that hath been long fallow, he expects a double crop, to satisfie for its former barrenness, the like God expects from us.

(2.) How much we have done; there are many, who like Agrippa, are almost perswaded to be Christians, who are so far convinced, that they have taken some pains, heard many Sermons, put up many Prayers, set a part many hours, that they might attend the bu­siness of their Salvation; and perhaps have suffered much for their forwardness in Religion; and think how sad a thing it would be for such to lose all the Ser­mons they have heard, all the prayers they have made, all the time they have spent, all the pains they have taken; and after all this to go to Hell for want of not going through with this work; such may not unfitly be compared to unhappy Mariners, who have sailed to many ports, conflicted with the difficulties and dangers of a tedious Voyage, and with much hazard, and pains fraught their Ship with rich Merchandize, yet after all this, when they are well nigh arrived at their desired Haven, for want of a little care split up­on the Rocks, and leave all they have got, a prey to [Page 185] the merciless waters. If then we be such as have taken some pains, and made some considerable pro­gress in the way to Heaven, let that we have already done, engage us to do something more, that we might not lose all our labour, men have this wisdom in o­ther things; he that hath already ventured much, will shoot another Arrow in hope to make good for­mer losses; the Husbandman that hath bestowed some cost upon a piece of ground, and seeth it doth not answer his expectation, will bestow more cost, and lay on more compost, that he may receive some fruits of his cost and labour. A man that hath lent money and hath no security for it, will be willing to bedge in one debt with another, to lend a greater fumme, that he may get security for that, and the other too, in like manner, having done something by way of secu­ring eternal happiness; let us go thorough with this work, that all our former labour may not be in vain.

[10.] Consider what opinion we have of our selves, in reference to our interest in eternal happiness; the way of man is right in his own eyes, saith Solomon; every man is naturally apt to think well of himself, and his condition; and probably it may be so with us; we may think our selves rich and encreased with goods, and not far off from the Kingdom of God; if so, think what a sad thing it would be to deceive our selves in a thing of such infinite and everlasting concernment; Scipio said, it is a shameful thing in war, to say, I had not thought it; war being of so great consequence, that a man must▪ probably either conquer or die; every mistake here is dangerous; the Moabites, see­ing the water look red through the shining of the Sun upon it, concluded, this is blood, the Kings are surely slain, and thereupon encouraged them­selves; Moab to the spoyl; but going to fight upon this presumption, were themselves conquered (c); and if it be dangerous to be mistaken in matters of war, cer­tainly [Page 186] much more in that great business of Salvati­on, in which if we be deceived, we are undone eter­nally. This deceit hath two great evils attending it:

(1.) It hindreth men from labouring for it; what he said of Learning, is as true in this, many men might have obtained it, but that they thought themselves to have already attained it. Conviction is the first step to Salvation, there are none further off from the King­dom of Heaven, than they, who presume upon the goodness of their condition.

(2.) This false perswasion will add much to our misery, the Church made this an aggravation of her sad condi­tion; We looked for peace, and there is no good, and for a time of healing, and behold trouble (d), And think what an amazement it will be, when thou shalt one day say, I looked for Heaven, and behold Hell is my portion; I looked for eternal happiness, and behold everlasting misery; if thou hadst never hoped, nor pro­mised better things to thy self, thy confusion would not have been so great; but to live and dye with con­fident hop [...]s of Heaven, and at last to fall from so high a Pinacle of Hope, to that dismal pit of everlasting de­spair, this will wound deeply: When Hamilcar lay before Syra [...]usa, he thought he heard a Voice in­timating to him, that he should the next night sup in Sy­racusa; and thereupon concluding he should certain­ly conquer it; He commanded his Army to prepare for a fight, but they beginning to mutiny, the Citi­zens took that opportunity, brake in upon them, took Hamilcar prisoner, and that night he supped in Syra­cusa, but not as a Conqueror, as he imagined, but as a Captive, which was the more grievous to him, because he was before so confident of Victory (e); in like man­ner, for those who are confident of Heaven, to be doom­ed to Hell; for those who make no question of seeing, and enjoying God in the land of the Living, to be [Page 187] eternally excluded his glorious presence, this will double their damnation, and be a matter of the greatest con­fusion; believe it, it is a sad thing for men to have hopes for Heaven, and yet evidences for Hell: to have Heaven in their hopes, and Hell in their hearts: to say to themselves, Soul, take thine ease, and God to say, Devil, take his Soul: If then we be such as are per­swaded it shall be well with us, let that engage us to all seriousness and diligence in securing eternal happiness, that we may not be thus wofully decei­ved in our expectations.

11. Eternal happiness is not to be had without our la­bouring for it; the things of this world are not usu­ally had without labour. The soul of the sluggard desi­ [...]eth, and hath nothing; (f) The desire of the slothful kil­leth him, for his hands refuse to labour; much lesse is Heaven to be had without it. As God hath propoun­ded happiness as the end, so he hath appointed labour as the means; labour for the meat that endureth to Eter­nal life; work out your salvation: and what God hath joyned together, let no man think to put asunder: it is in vain to expect happiness upon any other terms, as soon may wee think to pluck the Sun out of Heaven, or remove the earth from its Center, as soon may the silly flye mount up to Heaven, and with her narrow wings darken the Sun, and with her fee­ble seet stay the motion of the Primum Mobile, as we be able to alter the Decrees of Heaven, and invert that order that God hath set: let foolish men think so much labouring to be more than needs, and cavil against the strictness of Religion; God hath said, without holiness no man shall see him, and whose words shall stand; God [...], or theirs? who shall determine upon what conditions happiness is to be had, but he that giveth it? as our endeavors without God cannot, so God without our endea [...]ours will not ordinarily save us; though God giveth the earth to the meek yet [Page 188] he giveth Heaven only to the violent, the violent take it by force,(u) Jacob got the blessing by putting on the garments of his Brother Esau; Esau signifieth working; if ever we would wear that rich Garment of Salvation, we must get it by working; our Sa­viour indeed saith of the Lillies, that they toyl not, neither do they spin, yet Solomon in all his Royalty was not arrayed like one of them; but it is other­wise with this Garment of Salvation, we must Win it with Labour, before we wear it with Triumph, it is an infinite mercy that Salvation is to be had upon so fair terms: We must not think to impose upon God, and make conditions of our own.

12. Consider, men may do much, and go far, yet miss of heaven for want of coming up to Gods terms, many at the last day will make fair pretensions, pleading that they had Eaten and Drunken in Christs presence and heard him preach in their streets, that they had prophesied, & cast out Devils in his name, & yet be excluded: The foolish Virgins, the young man▪ Demas, & many others, went far, and yet failed of the grace of God. Luther speaketh of one Arsenius, who made a great profession, & was a man of emi­nent parts, praying, & discoursing to admiration, when this man lay upon his sick-bed, his friends that came to visit him, expected to hear some great thing from him, and told him, That sure he could not but enjoy much comfort, who had been so eminent for the profession & practice of godliness? But he an­swered, that he had not that comfort they thought he had, that he found it now to be with his soul, no [...] according to what man judgeth, but according to the judgment God passed upon him, and God, said he, judgeth righteous judgment. Many the like instances might be given, and When vve hear of the ship-vvrack of so many goodly Vessels: of the fall o [...] so many bright shining Stars, had vve not need vvor [...] sure, & take all possible care that vve do not miscarry [Page 189] in like manner? Upon this ground our Saviour exhorts, Strive to enter in at the strait gate, for many will seek to enter in, & shall not he able; (vv) And the Apost.(x) Let us therefore fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of you should seem to come short of it.

13. It is an infinite mercy that eternal hapiness is yet attainable, when by the sin of our first parents we justly forfeited that hapiness to which we are in­titled at our first creation; God might have dealt with us as he did with the lapsed Angels, who had no sooner sinned, but were expelled heaven, & left with­out possibility of happiness. Indeed some School-men & other divines give several reasons for this different dispensation of God towards Angels & men; some thus, that there is a time prefixed both to Angels & men, after which there should be no possibility of altering their estate; now as death is the time pre­fixed to man, so the first good or bad deliberate acti­on to the Angels, that those that then stood, should be confirmed in their happiness, but those that fell, should be put out of all capacity of being happy: Some think it to be the greatness of the Angels sin above that of man; they sought to be like God in Omnipotency, which is not comunicable to any crea­ture; man only in Omniscience, [...]r the general know­ledge of things which they say may be imparted to [...] creature, as it was to the humane soul of Christ: [...]ome refer it to the manner of their sinning; the Angels fell of themselves, having no others to tempt them, but man, by the suggestion of Satan: and it is less to sin, when overcome by temptation, than to sin voluntarily without any temptation; other reasons they give, that tho some Angels fell, others stood, & so the vvhole species did not perish; vvhere as, in Adam all mankind fell, so as had not God appoint­ [...]d a Redemption, none of the race of mankind could have been saved. Again, the Angels vvere more glorious creatures, living in the presence of God, [Page 190] whereas man was made lower than the Angels, and was plac'd upon the earth at a greater distance from God, and as a Tree that falleth from some high pre­cipice, is more battered and broken in the fall, than that which falleth from a low place. So here, by how much, saith Austine, the Angels were more high in glory, by so much was their fall more grevious and irreco­verable; and man, by how much he was more frail by nature, by so much more capable of mercy and pardon. Again the knowledge of Angels is intui­tive, when they take a view of any thing, they see it in the causes, the effects, and all that belongeth to it; and so what they do, they do with so full a consent of will, that they never alter, or repent; whereas the knowledg of man is discurs [...]ve, he findeth out one thing by another, and one thing after another; so that upon further consideration, he of­ten repents of what he before did, and disliketh what he before approved. To this purpose is that di­stinction amongst the School-men of a three-fold will▪ the will of God, that can neither turn nor return: th [...] the will of man, that may both turn and retur [...] that is, may alter both before and after Election; be­tween these is the will of Angels, that may turn ba [...] not return, may alter before Election, but not after and because, as what else they do; so when the [...] sinned, they sinned with that full consent of will, tha [...] they cannot alter or repent; hence they say, the sin was unpardonable, and their fall beyond all recovery; whereas man, who sinned not with that full consent of will, might after repent of what he did, an [...] so be capable of mercy and pardon: Others conceive it thus, that the Ange [...]s having so great a measure of light, d velling in the presence of God, an [...] the light of his countenance, could not sin by error or misperswasion, but out of malice, which is the si [...] against the Holy Ghost. It is said, That the Devil [...] [Page 191] bode not in the truth (y) Zanchy and some other think by Truth here, is meant the Truth of the Gospel, which the Apostate Angels refused to subcribe to; they say, it is hard to conceive that God should irreco­verably cast off a creature, till he hath rejected the help of a Mediatour; and they conceive it thus, that God should make known to the Angels, that they should be confirmed in their happiness by Christ, who was in time to take the nature of man, and in that nature they must be subject to him; they through pride refuse to submit to this order; and thus, saith Zanchy, we may reconcile those different opinions a­mongst Divines concerning their Sin. Some affirm­ing, it was pride, some envy and malice, some Re­bellion, others Apostacy; whereas in this, all these meet together; in that they took it indignly, they could not continue happy without Christ, there was their pride; in that they envyed this happiness to the humane nature, there was their Envy and Ma­lice; in that they refused to submit to this order of God, there was their Rebellion; in that they chose rather to leave there first habitation, there was their Apostacy: So that upon this account their sin is [...]hought to be the sin against the Holy Ghost in re­ [...]using the help of a Mediator; whereas man, though [...]e sinned against God his Creator, yet did not reject [...]he help of a Redeemer, but relyed upon that pro­ [...]ise, The seed of the Woman shall break the Serpents [...]ead; These several reasons are given, why God [...]hould cast off the Apostate Angels, and yet put man into a possibility of hapiness, in which, though there be much probability, yet after these rational indaga­tions, we can ascribe it to nothing so certainly as to the will and pleasure of God; and may cry out in the Apostles words, Oh the bounty and severity of God, to­ [...]ards them severity, towards us men bounty: That [...]od should pass by so many once glorious Creatures [Page 192] and extend his mercy to poor lost man, this is that vvhich may justly svvallovv up our thoughts in ad­miration, & he proper improvment vve are to make of this singular distinguishing mercy, is to labor af­ter an interest in that happiness, vvhich is tendered to us, but denyed unto them: othervvise if vve shall neglect this great salvation, vve shall hereby make our sin more grievous, & our condemnation in this respect more inexcusable than that of the devils. Sup­pose two Rebels to have taken up Arms against their Prince, the Prince leaving one out of all hopes of mercy, should send a pardon to the other, if this man to whom the pardon is granted, should refuse the pardon & slight his Princes favor, would not every man judge him Worthy of a more severe punish­ment? thus it is between us & the Devils: Anselme hath a good meditation to this purpose, in which he aggravateth his own sin above the Devils; the Devil sinned when he had not seen any before punished for sin; I, notwithstanding I saw his punishment; he per­sists in his malice against God rejecting him, I against God inviting me, he is hardened against God punish­ing, I against God shewing mercy, he against God who reprobated him, I against God dying for me, & so concludes, behold the Devil whose Image I abhor, yet in many things I find my self more to be abhor­red. And remarkable is that of Eusebius Emissenus, though the Devil should be damned for many sins, and I but for one, yet mine would exceed the Devils impiety; they never sinned against a God that be­came an Angel for them; they never sinned against a Mediator that was Crucified for them, but misera­ble & wretched I (& it is wonderful that my heart doth not melt when I think on it) have sinned a­gainst a God, became man for me, against a God who hath left me an example of love and holiness, I am more unworthy than the Devils: If then w [...] would not make our condemnation in this respect more [Page 193] greivous and inexcusable than that of the Devils; let us take heed of neglecting this Salvation pro­vided for us, seeing there is happiness for us, when there is none for them; let this engage us to give all diligence to make this happiness fure to our selves.

14. Consider what a sad thing it will be to lose Eternal happiness for want of labouring for it: What is a man pro­fited if he shall gain the whole World, and lose his own Soul? Suppose a man could heap up silver as the dust, and gold as the streams of the brook, that he could gain as much as the Devil promised Christ, all the Kingdoms of the World & the glory of them; or as our Saviour here supposeth, could gain the whole World, & in the gaining of that should lose his Soul, should lose Eternal happiness, which is the same in effect, he should make but Glaucus and Diomedes's exchange of Gold for Copper; like the Cock in the Fable, that parted with a Pearl for a Barley-corn. Chrysostome compares such to workers in Mines, who for a little wages do always hazard, and sometimes lose their lives. Menot a French Preacher compareth them to a Huntsman, that spoileth a Horse worth many pounds, in pursuit of a Hare not worth so many pence; Pareus to a man that with much ado winneth Venice & as soon as it is won, is hanged up at the gates of the City: When such an one shall at last compute what he hath gained, & what he hath lost, he will certainly conclude, that he hath made a woful Bar­gain. A man that hath lost a rich Jewel, & took it to be but a common Peble, or hath lost the Evidences of his whole Estate, & thought them to be but waste paper, is at present but little troubled at his loss, but if he comes to understand what he hath lost, he is ready to tear himself in peices: Men now cannot be brought to understand the worth and excellency of eternal happiness, nor what a sad thing it is to lose it. Honorius the Emperor had a little white Hen, which he extremely doted on, calling her Rome after the name [Page 194] of his Imperial City. When Rome was taken by Ala­ricus, and news was brought to him, being then at Ravenna, that Rome was destroyed, he thinking they meant his Hen, called by that name, brake out into a passion; but when he was told, it was the City ef Rome he seemed to be less troubled: being more af­fected for the loss of a paltry Hen, than for the prime City of the World. Many men are more troubled, I will not say for a Wife or a Child, but for the loss of a Horse, or a Cow, than to hear they are in appa­rent hazard of losing eternal happiness; but when after death they shall find themselves for ever deprived of it, and shall have their understandings cleared, and enlarged to know the worth of what they have lost, then they will conclude that their is no loss like this loss; and would think themselves happy, if upon any conditions they might be but some little time within the possibilites of happiness: They would be willing to give any thing, thousands of Rams, ten thousands of Rivers of Oyl, or whatsoever men count precious: they would be willing to do any thing, if prayers, tears, humiliations, watchings, fastings would prevail to regain lost time, how gladly would all this, and much more be undertaken? If it were to be regained by hewing their way through Rocks of stone, by swim­ming through Seas of blood, by encountring the greatest difficulties and dangers, how willingly would they undertake any thing that is possible to be done? they would be willing to suffer any thing, if enduring the pain of a thousand deaths, if lying a thousand years in Hell, would satisfie Gods Justice for their former neglects, and prevail for some longer time to be in­dulged them, how tolerable would this seem? How gladly would they accept of the Conditions? But alas it will then be to late, the door of hope and mercy will be then for ever shut up against them; they will have nothing then to do, but to lament their doleful loss, and that they will do with howlings and lamen­ations, able to rend Rocks and Marbles in pieces.

CHAP. XV. Of Directions to help us in looking after Eternal Blessed­ness; with Answers to some Objections and Cautions.

HAving finished the Motives, I proceed to some Directions: The Apostle James speaketh of those as uncharitable men, who give good words to the poor: saying, Depart in peace, be you warmed, and filled, notwithstanding, give them not those things which are needful to the Body, and censureth their unchari­tableness with(a) What doth it profit? Probably I might incur the like Censure, should I only exhort men to labour for eternal Blessedness, and not with­all give some Directions how it might be attained, therefore shall lay down these ensuing.

1. We should engage our selves by taking up fixed peremptory resolutions; things fully resolved on are more than half done: when a man out of a practi­cal conviction cometh to be sensible both of his want of happine [...]s, that without it, it had been good for him that he had never been born, and of the worth and excellency of it, and thereupon taketh up a set resolution, that he must have it whatsoever it cost him; that whatsoever he neglects, he will not neg­lect this one thing necessary, this man is not far off from the Kingdom of God; Resolution when it is fixed like a principle in the Soul, when it is both deliberate, proceeding out of a setled Judgment; not rash, sud­den and precipitant: and determinate with the full bent and tendency of the heart, not a velleity, a weak fluctuating inclination, such a Resolution hath a two-fold advantage: (1.) It hath a powerful influence upon the whole man; he that fully resolveth upon a thing, will put to the utmost of his power about it; and when a man takes up a stedfast resolution to make Hea­ven his business, this will engage all the powers, Fa­culties, [Page 196] Abilities of the Soul: all the wisdom, study, care, thoughts, affections, endeavours in the pursui [...] of it, such an one will stick at no pains, but be wil­ling to do any thing that he might obtain it: (2.) It will break through all Oppositions. Nazianzen walking by the Sea-side, and observing how the waves beat­ing upon the shore, brought with them many Cockle­shels, stalks of Herbs, and the like trash, and re­turning with other waves, swept them away again, when in the mean time the Rocks about him stood firm, being not a whit moved by the flux and re-flux of the raging waters, deduced from thence this pro­fitable Meditation, That weak irresolved minds are soon overcome by contrary perswasions: whereas a stedfast pe­remptory resolution will easily dash all temptations, and keep a man, that no contrary solicitations can remove him from his stedfastness: As therefore they say, Bees when they fly in a great wind, ballast themselves with little stones, that they might not be carried away with the wind; so it should be our care to Fortifie our selves with strong and setled Resolutions: only we must take heed of resolving in our own strength. Luther in his Comment upon the Galatians, tells of Staupitius, that he had often heard him complaining to this purpose; I have many times resolved, and cove­nanted for the Service of God, but I cannot perform according to my resolutions; hereafter I will take up no such Resolves; for I well see, if God be not merciful to me in Christ, for all my vows and resolutions, I shall never be able to appear before him; and Luther commends it for a holy kind of despair, what we think to build by our own strength, we will soon pull down by our own weakness: there­fore when we thus resolve, we should go forth in the strength of the Lord, and make mention of his Righteousness only.

2. We should improve that Power we have: though a man in his natural estate is not able to believe and repent, and do such things as more im­mediately [Page 197] accompany Salvation, yet he may do something in tendency to it: as

1. He may abstain from those sins that are Destru­ctive of Salvation, though he cannot abstain from sin collectively; yet he may divisively; though not from all sin, because it is natural to sin, yet from this and that particular sin: though he cannot refrain from the inward lustings of the heart, which con­tinually sends forth sin, as the Fountain sendeth forth water, yet he may from many outward acts of sin, every one of which strengthen the habit, and more strongly incline to sin; the Drunkard can con­tinue sober while he is in sober company; the Swearer if he be in the presence of a Justice of Peace, will scarce swear an oath for some hours together, and what they do at one time, and in one company, they might do in another; though they cannot ab­stain from sin out of love to God, or hatred of sin yet they may out of love to themselves, and fear of Hell [...]; if the Laws of the land should ordain, that he that sweareth, or is drunk, should be punished with death, it would no doubt keep man [...] from those sins, and what they do out of fear of a temporal, they might dò much more out of fear of eternal death.

2. A man may hear, read, pray, confer, meditate, and use other outward means appointed by God; if he doth som­thing this way, he might do more, allow himself more time for these duties, and when he sets about them, might d [...]sengage himself from other things, that he might intend them in a more serious man­ner, this, and much more a man may do. If any Object, that he cannot do this without Gods help, and assistance? I answer, It is true, but withal consider, what kind of assistan e is hereunto required, and I shall explain it thus: It is most true, that a man can move n [...]ither hand, nor foot, without the concourse of Gods Providence; but it is such a general concourse, [Page 198] as God seldome denieth to any, whereas if a man would do any thing above his strength, as when Samp­son would pull down the House upon the Philistins: this requireth an addition of more strength; in like manner, though to believe and repent requireth a special grace and assistance of God, yet to the use of these means before hinted, is required no more than that common grace, and general assistance, which God seldom denyeth to any man.

If any object further, that they cannot perform these Duties in a spiritual manner; they cannot pray, and hear in faith; I answer, while they are in their natu­ral condition, that is not their means: Means saith one(c) is that which cometh between a mans Can, and his Cannot: their means is to do what they can, to pray, that they may pray in faith; to hear, that they may hear in faith; to perform Duties, that they may perform them in a spiritual manner.

If it be objected thirdly, that without faith it is im­possible to please God; it is the prayer of faith that pleaseth God, and so likewise in other Duties: and to what end should they do these things when the doing them is not pleasing to God? I answer, Though without faith these Duties are not spiritually and for­mally good, yet they are morally and materially, and so far as they are good, they are pleasing to God; If thou dost well, shalt thou not be accepted? (d) A Cain, a wicked man, so far as he doth well, he is accepted: though these Duties being done without faith, are not adequately proportionable to Gods will, and so truly pleasing to him, yet they are materially good, in regard of the matter, accepted of him; though doing these Duties be not a degree in the thing, ye it is a degree to it, though in the state they were it is not available to Salvation: yet b this a man renders himself more c pable of Salvation, and presents himself as a subject more fit for God to work on; [Page 199] though I cannot say with the Romanists, that he who improves his natural abilit [...]es, doth out of congruity merit justifying, and saving Grace; or that God hath absolutely bound himself upon the exerting, and put­ting forth of these natural abilities, to bestow superna­tural Graces; because that of our Saviour, To him that hath, shall be given: is to be understood, in the same kind; yet certainly, God is never wanting to those, who are not wanting to themselves; the A­postle saith that God will have all men to be saved, (e) As a King really willeth, and desireth the wel­fare of all his loyal Subjects: though not with that degree of willingness that he doth the welfare of some special Favourite, whom he raiseth to great pre­ferment; in like manner, though God doth not will the Salvation of all with that degree of willingness that he doth the Elect, yet he willeth it with a true and real will, though not with an absolute efficacious will and resolution; as a thing which he absolutely resolveth shall come to pass, as he doth the Salvation of his Elect, yet he doth it with a conditional will, if they will come up to the terms of the Gospel: though he doth not deal with all men in a Covenant of Grace, yet he dealeth with all in a Covenant of righteousness, if I may so term it; if they do well, they shall be accepted; if they believe and repent, they shall be saved; and he bestoweth upon them many means and helps to this end; no man shall have any cause to plead at the last day, I knew thou wert a hard Master, reaping where thou hast no [...] sown; I was not wanting in using the Mean, but thou wert wanting in giving a Blessing: I did what I could on my part, but thou fail­edst on thy part▪ no, God will silence any such plea, as he did with that unprofitable servant, Why didst thou not put out my money to the Exchangers? Why didst thou not improve that power I gave thee? God will then make it appear, that every mans destruction is of [Page 200] himself; that God would have healed Babylon, but she would not be healed; that he would have ga­thered men as the Hen doth her Chickens, but they would not: Seeing then Gods bowels are not strait­ned to us, let not us be straitned in our own bowels; let us carefuly use the means God hath appointed, im­prove those talents, put forth that power he hath given us; it is in vain to expect God should help us, unless we help our selves as we can do nothing without Gods assistance, so God ordinarily will do nothing without our co-operation.

3. We should carefully observe and improve those sea­sons and opportunities which God puts into our hands, though the whole time of life be given us to make provision for Eternity, yet there are some particular seasons, when this may best be done; some certain articles of time when God maketh more immediat offers of Eternal happiness: As,

1. When we find some more than ordinary impulse to seek God, in some duty of his own appointment; sometimes when our thoughts are taken up with other things, we find a motion darted into our minds to seek God by prayer, or some other duty; and many times one mo­tion after another; and when God thus provokes us to seek him, it is a sign that is a time when God is willing to be found of us: When God bad Moses come up into the Mount to him, it was an argument he would meet him when he came there. When Christ told his Disciples, Behold I go before you into Galilee, there shall you see me, the Disciples going, found as he had said: In like manner, when God prompts us into his presence, it is a good argument we may then prevail with him.

2. When God prepareth the heart and puts it into a frame and temper in some measure suitable to the duty; as when there is wrought in us an aweful apprehension of the Majesty and holiness of that God before whom we come, alively sence of our own unworthiness to come [Page 201] into his presence, a serious consideration of the so­lemnity of the duty we are about, an earnest desire to meet God in the way of his own appointments, when God is pleased to work up our hearts into such a frame; these preparations are not in vain, Thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear, Psal. 10.17.

3. When God is pleased to enlarge the heart, and vouchsafe a special assistance in the duty; when a man stirreth up himself to take hold of God, and continueth wrest­ling with God by a holy importunity, He shall ap­proach to me, for who is this that engageth his heart to ap­proach unto me? (i) and let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me, (k) and he shall make peace with me.

4. When the hearts of Gods Ministers are enlarged, when those goads, nails given from one Shepherd, are powerfully fastned upon the the conscience by the Masters of the Assemblies. When Christ was teach­ing, it is said, The power of God was present to heal: It holds true in regard of spiritual healing,(l) when the Word is powerfully preached, God, whose way is in the Sanctuary; whose Walk is in the midst of the golden Candlesticks, is then more specially present to make his word effectual, We then as workers to­gether with him, beseech you, that ye receive not the grace of God in vain; then followeth, Behold now is the accepted time, now is the day of Salvation. (m)

5. When there is wrought in the heart some remorse for sin: When John Baptist preached in the Wilderness of Judea, the people went out to him, and were baptised of him in Jordan, confessing their sins; and then he tells them, Now also is the Axe laid to the root of the tree. (n)

6. When there are stirred up in the soul, some desires after grace and Salvation, Hoe, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; then Seek ye the Lord [Page 202] while he may be found, call upon while he is near (o)

(7.) When God by threatning or inflicting some great judgment doth awaken and terrifie the Con­science: Thus the Prophet having threatned a sore judgment, he adds, ‘Therefore now also saith the Lord, turn to me with all your heart, &c.’ (p)

(8.) The time of sickness, when a man cometh to apprehend he must die, & forthwith enter upon his eternal condition. Tully observeth, when men draw near to death, then they begin to think of Vertue, and to repent deeply of those Sins and of­fences they before committed. Beza saith, ‘That God laid the foundation of his spiritual health in a violent sickness that befel him at Paris,

(9.) After some great Mercy conferred, or some great deliverance vouchsafed, which is apt to put the heart into a melting frame; when the Angel minded the people of Gods mercies to them, & how ill they had requited him, they wept abundantly; (s) These, and the like, are the particular times when God works more close with man, to bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightned with the light of the living; but here is the great misery, men that are careful to take the proper seasons in all other things, yet in this which most concerns them, are more inobser­vant than the Stork & Crane, & other brutish crea­tures; and this is the great cause of the mi [...]carriage of many thousands of souls, because to every purpose there is a time and judgment, therefore the misery of man is great upon him:(r) It holds true in the miseries that befal men in this life, because there is a nick of opportunity when every thing may best be done, & with most advantage; and sometimes when it must be done, or not done at a I; & men many times want judgment to discern this time; this is the great cause of those evils that befal the sons of men: Esau lost the blessing for want of coming a little sooner: [Page 203] Saul lost his Kingdom for want of staying a little lon­ger; and as in the things of this life, mens not ti­ming things aright, is the cause why they miscarry in their undertakings; so it is more especially in spiri­tuals, because there are some particular seasons and articles of time, when God draws more near to men, and makes more immediate offers of mercy and sal­vation; and men will not know the time of their visitation: hence it comes to pass that the misery of men is great upon them; this is that that sets o­pen the flood-gates of damnation, that makes Hell to enlarge it self, and svvallovv innumerable Souls: there is no one sin, I think I may say, not all sins put together, that is the cause of the damnation of so many under Gospel-light, as this one sin; there are few who live under Gospel-dispensations, but are convinced of the necessity of making provision for their eternal condition; and have many purposes and resolutions to do it, only they will not take Gods time; they put it off, and think it will be time enough afterward; and this is that fatal Rock, where millions of Souls dash themselves in pieces; that great stumbling-block, at which innumerable men stumble and fall, and perish everlastingly. Could we lay our ears to Hell, & hear the cries and complaints of those poor tormented creatures, I doubt not but we might hear them crying out against this Sin, as the chief cause of their perishing: if therefore our Souls, our Salvation, our everlasting welfare be precious to us, take heed of neglecting those sea­sons and opportunities, which being once past, can never be recalled again; but let us in this our day know the things that belong to our peace.

Yet further, though at these, and the like times, God worketh with men, yet we may probably con­ceive, that there may be sometimes one particular time, when God, above others draweth more near in this kind; To every thing there is a season, and a time [Page 204] to every purpose under Heaven: There is a par­ticular season, when every thing may be best done, and sometimes must be done then, or not at all. When Elisha desired that a double portion of Elijah's spirit might be given him, Elijah answered, Thou hast a [...]ked a hard thing, nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee, but if not, it shall not be so; Elisha being with him, and seeing him when he was caught up, had accordingly a double portion of his spi­rit; whereas had he missed that time, he had likewise missed of what he desired. Some have observed, that there are few mē, but some one time or other in their life, have an opportunity put into their hand for advantaging themselves in regard of their outward condition in the world; some one opportunity more conducing therunto, than they have all their lives be­side, and if this be neglected, many times they never meet with the like again.

Samuel appointed Saul to tarry seven dayes, he tarried six and part of the seventh, & Samuel not com­ing, he forced himself, and offered a Burnt-offering; the Text saith, As soon as he had made an end of offering, Samuel came, and tells him, he had done foolishly, for now would God have established his Kingdom upon Israel; but now he tells him, his King­dom should not continue,(u) When the people met to crown Rehoboam, had he then spake good words to them, as his old Counsellors advised, they would have served him for ever but speaking harshly, ten Tribes revolted from him, & he could never after regain that opportunity, he then had of settling himself: It is probable it may be thus with some, in regard of their spiritual condition, Christ telleth the young man, that he was not far off from the Kingdom of God: but he being unwilling to comply with Christs terms, went away, and we do not read that he ever came to Christ after; When Paul reasoned of Righteousness, Temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trem­bled, [Page 205] but put him off at present, go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient season I will call for thee, but we do not find that ever that season came; So Agrippa tells Paul, Almost thou perswadest me to be a Christian; within a little;(w) but hav­ing thus spoken, he rose up, and it is likely was never after in so good a frame; some upon the hearing of a powerful convincing Sermon: others in the time of some great sickness, much bewail their former neglects, and take up strong resolutions for the future, so as at present, they seem not far off from the Kingdom of Heaven; yet afterward, repent of their very repentance; and neglecting to improve this opportunity, it may be feared of some, that they never have the like again.

Some say, the Panther never bringeth forth but once, and the reason is because when the young ones gather strength, they struggle to get more liberty, and with their nailes tear the film, or bag, in which they are inclosed, which putting the Dam to pain, she casts them out, while they are yet blind and deformed, and the bag being torn, she is uncapable of bearing after; Thus many, when they are under the pangs of the new birth, which might if well mana­ged, be a happy preparative for forming Christ in their Souls: yet growing impatient of these work­ings, and stirrings of Conscience, and not willing to stay long enough in the place of breaking forth of Children, they either silence Conscience by running to worldly diversions, or snatch at comfort before Humiliation hath had its perfect work, and by this default all comes to nothing; with Ephraim they flee like a Bird from the birth, and from the womb, and from the conception, and pos­sibly, never recover the like advantage. In­finitely therefore doth it concern us, when we have so fair a gale for Heaven, to im­prove this opportunity to the best advantage, [Page 206] which cannot be neglected without great hazard of losing Eternal happiness.

(4.) We should be careful to cherish the good mo­tions of Gods Spirit, exciting us to this work: As the best way to overcome sin, is to resist the first motions of it (upon that in Gen. 3. The Seed of the Wo­man shall break the Serpents head; Austin saith, What is the Serpents head, but the beginning of Sin? Resist that, and thou breakest the Serpents head;) so the best way of working out our Salvation, is to cherish those good motions the holy Spirit breatheth into the Soul; if thou blowest a spark, says the Wise man, thou shalt have fire, if thou spit upon it, it will go out, and both out of one and the same mouth. The Spirit of God is compared to Fire in Scripture; as that phrase of quenching the Spirit, implieth; there is no man, but sometimes hath a spark of this fire war­ming his heart; if we be careful to blow this spark, we may have fire to light our feet into the ways of peace; if we quench, or neglect to cherish it, we make our selves fitter Fuel for everlasting burnings: The Spirits working is compared to the blowing of the Wind, (z) Mariners, when they have a fair wind, use to put forth; but if they neglect that opportuni­ty, may stay some time before they have another wind, and perhaps may lose their intended Voyage: when the North & South wind of Gods Spirit bloweth upon the Garden of our Souls, then is our time to set out for heaven; if we neglect these sweet gales, we must know, the Spirit bloweth where & when it lifteth; we cannot expect it should blow at our pleasure: It is said of the Ostrich, That she leaveth her Eggs in the Earth, and warmeth them in the dust, and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or the wild beast break them (a). Some Naturalists say, when she thus leaveth her Eggs, she doth it with an intent to return to them again, and for that purpose usually takes her mark by the se­ven [Page 207] stars, but having staid some time in seeking her food, and the seven Stars being removed from the place where they were, she in vain looketh for her Eggs, and so they are either broken▪ or miscarry for want of brooding. Many men have good motions put into their hearts, many purposes to set about that great work of their Salvation; but at present they lay them aside, thinking they may re assume them when they please; but neglecting at present to pro­secute those good motions, the Spirit being grieved, withdraws it self, and when the Spirit withdraws its assistance, it will be in vain to think to effect this work by their own strength; when therefore the blessed Spirit of God warmeth our hearts with good motions, it should be our care to follow good motions, with good purposes, and purposes with promises, and promises with endeavors, and endeavors with perfor­mance, and performance with perseverance; whereas if we quench these motions, and stifle these births of the Holy Ghost in our Souls, it will be just with God to withdraw his Spirit; so God threatneth, Be instructed, oh Jerusalem, lest my Soul departeth from thee, and wo to them when I shall depart from them, saith God(b.

But to press this further, Behold, saith Christ, I stand at the door, and knock: (c) this knocking is chiefly by the motions of his Spirit: Knocking, is first, a ve­hement motion: men knock hard when they desire to come in; so doth the blessed Spirit. Secondly, It is an iterated motion: men knock, and if they be not heard, knock again; so the Spirit. Thirdly, It is a gradual motion: men knock first more gently, then with a louder noise; so likewise it is with the Spirit. But then fourthly, Knocking is a finite motion: men will not always continue knocking; we have a saying, if a man knock three times, and none an­swereth, it is manners to be gone; and when the Spirit of God knocketh time after time, if we shut [Page 208] up the doors of our hearts, it is but just that he should give over, and never knock more.

Again, He is not only said to knock, but Call; be­hold, I stand at the door and knock, if any man hear my voice: though he doth not speak by an audible voice, yet he doth by words spoken inwardly to the mind, by a secret inspiration; as Austin saith, he felt some­thing within him, but what it was he could not tell; for it was neither a voyce to be heard by the Ear, nor any colour to be discerned by the Eye, nor any scent to be perceived by the smell; it was neither hard, nor soft, that it might be felt, yet there was somthing God did, which he easily felt, but was not able to express! As when the Lightning, saith Cyprian, breaketh through the Cloud, the sudden splendour of it doth not so much enlighten, as dazzel the Eyes; so thou some­times feelest thy self touched, but dost not see him that toucheth thee; thou hearest words spoken in­wardly to thy Soul, but dost not perceive him that speaketh to thee; by such a Voice God often speak­eth to men, a Voyce sweetly acquanting us with Gods will; such a voyce as is spoken of, Thine ears, shall hear a word behind thee, saying, this is the way walk in it;f) and if when God thus speaketh we be ready to hear, if when he saith, seek my face, our hearts eccho, thy face Lord will we seek; when he saith, let him that hath an ear to hear, our hearts answer, speak Lord, for thy Servants hear; when he saith, Return ye backsliding Children, our hearts answer, Behold we come unto thee, for thou art the Lord our God;(g) If when he cryes, List up your heads, Oh! ye Gates, and be ye lift up ye everlasting Doors, that the King of Glory may come in, we forthwith hear his voyce, and open the door, he is most ready to come in, and sup with us, and to give us to sup with him. But here is the great misery, God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not,(h) and when we turn a [Page 209] deaf ear to Gods Call, we hereby provoke him to take up that peremptory resolution, Because I cal­led, and ye refused, I will also laugh at your Calami­ty; then shall they call upon me, and I will not an­swer, they shall seek me early, but shall not find me. Somtimes he is said to strive with men: and this he doth in such manner that it is no easie thing to out­strive these wrestlings and contendings of Gods Spirit; he doth so follow men with the Exhortations, Admonitions, Counsels of his Word, so hedge them in with Mercies on the one hand, and Corrections on the other; so besiege them by inward Enlightnings, Con­victions, Perswasions, Impulses, that men shall confess another day, that they were forced to strive, and strive hard to elude these workings of Gods Spirit, but this he will not do always, My Spirit shall not al­ways strive with man: (i) Oh then take heed of with­standing these strivings of the Spirit, Woe be to him that striveth with his Maker; (k) If all striving with God be woful, certainly this is most desperate, when he shall strive to do us good; and we shall strive to sup­press and put off these contendings of the Spirit, when he shall strive to save us, and we shall strive for our own Damnation: wo to him that thus striveth with his Maker, if we have hitherto thus striven against God, take we heed of striving any longer, lest God resolve, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he is flesh.

Sometimes the Spirit is said to draw, (l) There are in Nature four ways by which one thing may be said to draw another; by Sympathy, so they say the Herb Aproxis, through a natural correspondence with the fire, though at a distance from it, draweth the flame, and begins to burn: by heat, so the Sun draweth up the Vapours: by motion, so the Horse draweth the Coach: and by secret attraction, so Amber draw­eth [Page 210] the Straw, and the Loadstone the Iron: the blessed Spirit maketh use of all these four ways of attraction; he draweth by Sympathy, when he worketh in the heart any kind of willingness to yield to his call; by heat, when he warmeth the heart by good motions; by motion, when he seeketh to work upon men by the pious examples of other Christians; and lastly, by secret attraction, when in a Dream, a Vision of the night, or any other secret way, he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, that he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide Pride from man(m). And as Elihu adds, Lo all these things worketh God oftentimes with man: These several ways he seeketh to draw him to himself, and when the Spirit doth thus, we should resolve with the Church, Draw me, we will run after thee (n): whereas, if when the Spirit draws on, we draw off; when he draws forward toward heaven, we dravv backward toward perdition: Let us remember that dreadful commination, If any man draw back, my Soul shall have no pleasure in him (o). By all this it appeareth of vvhat grand import it is to observe the motions, & com­ply with the workings of the Spirit: We read, when the Cloud, the testimony of Gods presence, abode up­on the Tabernacle, whether it were two days or a month, or a year, the Children of Israel abode in their Tents, and journied not; but vvhen the Cloud vvas taken up, vvhether it vvas by day or by night, they journied (p). When the Spirit of God is present vvith us, and offereth its assistance, novv is our time to set out for heaven; vvhereas, to neglect this sea­son, and to think to do it aftervvard, is as if the Ma­riner should lie still vvhen the Wind is favourable, the Ship rigged, the Sails spred, and all accommoda­tions provided, & should put forth vvhen he vvere deprived of all these Advantages: Or as if the Smith [Page 211] should lay aside the Iron when it is hot and malleable, and begin to strike when it is grown cold. When David enquired of God whether he should go out a­gainst the Philistines, he had this Answer from God, When thou hearest the sound of a Going in the tops of the Mulberry-trees, then thou shalt bestir thy self, for then shall the Lord go out before thee.(q) When we hear as it were a voice within us exciting us to this work, we should then set upon it, that being the time when the holy Spirit goeth before us.

5. We should conscionably perform those Duties which God hath appointed as means and helps to obtain Eternal happiness: As,

1. We should be much in Prayer: David saith, For my love they are mine Adversaries, but I give my self to Prayer; (r) it is in the Original, but I prayer; the words give my self unto as in our Translation, are added for explanation, as the different Character sheweth: David speaketh as if he were composed and made up of Prayer, and therefore no wonder that David assureth himself of Heaven; As for me I will behold thy face in Righteousness; it being im­possible that a Son of so many prayers should perish. He that calleth upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved, is in three several places Recorded in Scripture,

2. We should be swift to hear. Hear and your soul shall live.(s) It was by the Ear, by our first Pa­rents listning to Satan, that we lost that hapiness we were entitled to by our first Creation: and in Na­ture, the same thing that giveth the wound, doth sometime; afford the Cure: So God hath ordered, that by the Ear, by hearing the Word, we may ob­tain happiness. Excellent is that passage of Chryso­stome, If you step into Courts of Judicature, what pleading and wrangling shall you hear? If into the Market-place, there is little to be seen but buying and selling, and lying and cheating; if into Private Fa­milies, [Page 212] nothing but working and toiling for the World; if into Princes Courts, (s) all the Discourse is about Honours and worldly greatness, but nothing that is Spiritual, (t) scarce a word of God and Heaven. But go now into the House of God, and there you shall be sure to hear something of Heaven and Heaven­ly things, of the blessedness of separate Soul, of such things as neither the eye hath seen, nor the ear heard (u); we should therefore diligently wait at Wisdoms doors, and attend at the posts of her Gates.

3. We should be much in thanksgiving; God pro­miseth, I will give thee the opening of the mouth in the midst of them;(w) he would give them de­liverance in such manner, that Ezekiel, and the rest of the Faithful, might with freedom and open mouth praise the Lord in the Assemblies. This opening of the mouth in praise, which justly belongs to God, for whom praise waiteth in Sion, and is imperfectly done by Be­lievers on Earth, is perfectly and abundantly practised by the Saints in Heaven: the high praises of God are in their mouths; it is the great work of those Heavenly Inhabitants: as therefore wicked men ac­custom themselves to swearing and cursing; as pra­ctising that on Earth they are like to do in Hell: So the Saints inure themselves here to blessing and prai­sing God, as learning that Duty on Earth, which they are to practice in Heaven: As Young Gentle-men, who intend to Travel into Forreign Countries will before­hand season themselves with some general observations of the Scituation, Manners, & Customs of those Countries; and learn something of the Language, that they might not be wholly to seek when they come there: In like manner, if we intend for Heaven, we should now accustome our selves to praising God, which is the proper Language of Heaven, and will [Page 213] make us more meet for it. The 145 Psalm is en­tituled, David's Psalm of Praise: (z) Some Rabbins had so high an esteem of this Psalm, that they affirmed, that he who would three times every day repeat over this Psalm, might assure himself of Heaven; because some might think too high, Rabbi Kimchi thus moderateth; that it is to be understood of those that not only speak it with their mouth, but with their heart also; when the Sacrifice of Praise is offered to God, not only upon the high places of the tongue, but upon the Altar of the Heart, and from▪ thence flameth forth in the Life, such praise hath a promise of Salvation made to it, Whoso offereth praise, glorifi­eth me; and to him that ordereth his Conversation aright will I shew the Salvation of God. (x) The praises the Saints now give to God, are like the Musician's tuning his strings before he playeth they are but the es [...]ayes of those everlasting Allelujahs they shall sing in Heaven.

(4.) Another help is Christian Conference, and conver­sing with Heavenly minded Persons: It is a good Observa­ation Chysostome hath, that naturally a man hath but one Head to advise him, one Tongue to speak for him, two Eyes to fore-see dangers, two Hands to work with, two Feet to walk with; whereas, saith he, had a man that skill, that he could make that Head▪ a thousand heads to advise him; that Tongue a thousand tongues to speak for him, those Eyes a thousand eyes to fore-see dangers, &c. he would hardly be circumvented by any Policy; but this benefit we may have by the Communion of Saints; their Examples, Prayers, Directions, Exhortations, Encourage­ments, would be great helps to us in the way to Hea­ven: They who ask the way to Sion with their faces thitherward, are in a hopeful way of arriving there. When the Spouse enquired of the Watch-men, it was but a little that she passed from them, but she found him whom her soul loved.

To these I might add the Duties of Reading, Meditation, Self-examination, and some others, which must be all done in their proper seasons: The Husbandman must dung his Ground, Plow, Sow, Harrow, and per­form other parts of necessary culture; if he neglects any one of these, he cannot expect a good Crop; so it must be in our Spiritual Husbandry, we must use all the means appointed by God, without the neglect of any; it would be a weakness in a man that hath a heavy Load, and dirty ways to pass thorow, to take but any one Horse out of his Team; our work is great, our strength small, our Enemies Potent, our hinderances many, therefore had need use all the helps God affordeth, without omitting any one: Only I shall subjoyn two Cautions to be observed by us in the Use of these means, and performance of these Duties.

1. We must not be as the Grashopper, that takes some skips toward Heaven, and then squats down upon the Earth again: or as some say of the Leopard, that if he doth not get his prey at two or three jumps, is impatient of any further pains: we must not think it enough to perform these Duties for a time, and then give over if we do not find that success as we expect, but must continue and persevere in the practice of them: In the Morning sow thy seed, and in the Evening with-hold not thy hand, for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that (y). Elijah sends his Servant to look toward the Sea, he looked, but saw nothing▪ he went and looked a second a third, nay six times, yet seeth nothing; he went the seventh time, and then he saw a little Cloud like a mans hand, and presently the Heaven was black with Clouds, and there was a great Rain: It may be thou hast made thy Addresses to God in the ways of his apoint­ment, and that not once, but often; thou hast follow­ed God from one Ordinance to another, and yet God answereth thee neither by Prophets, nor by [Page 215] Dreams; yet be not discouraged, but wait still upon God in the use of the means; possibly at last thou may­est see some little Cloud arising, some litle relent­ing for sin, some weak desires after Grace and Salvation; if but so, do not despise this day of small things, or if at present there be not so much as a little Cloud appearing, yet resolve still to wait upon God, and possibly, as in that Miracle wrought by Je­horam, of which the Prophet saith, Make this Valley full of Ditches; for thus saith the Lord, ye shall neither see Wind nor Rain, yet the Valley shall be filled with Water; (z) So, though at present there be neither Wind nor Rain to be seen; not one sigh coming from the heart, not one tear dropping from the eye, yet God be­ing remembred in his ways, may in due time shower down righteousness and Salvation upon thy Sou [...]; Be not weary, saith the Apostle, of well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not (a) We should not then be as the common draught-horse, who if he doth not find the Load coming, gives over after a pull or two; but like the Horse of a right breed, which, though tyed to a Tree that stirs not, yet strains, and pulls, and will sooner fall down dead with straining, then give over. I charge you, O ye Daughters of Jerusalem; that ye stir not up, nor a­wake my Love till he please,(b) She was willing to wait his leisure. When Moses went up to receive Gods Commands, he stays six dayes in the Mount, (c) and the seventh God called to him; though we wait long, yet if at last God speak Peace, this will be a sufficient recompence for all our waiting.

2. A second Caution is this, We should take heed of any high thoughts of any thing we do, but let the golden thred of Self-denial run thorow all our Duties; and that in these two particulars:

1. We should not be like Antipheron, a Creature Aristotle speaketh of, who by reason of the weakness [Page 216] of his Eyes, had a reflection of himself in the Air, as others have in a Looking-glass, so as all the day long he saw himself; but rather should be like that Mirrour fixed upon the wall of the Arcadian Temple, in which, men looking to see themselves, they saw instead of their own faces, a representation of the Deity they adored: when we have done all we can, instead of seeing our selves, we should see God in all our Duties, and look upon all we do as Gods work in us: The Ciens doth not bring forth fruit by any virtue of its own but by virtue of the stock into which it is ingrafted. With­out me, saith Christ, ye can do nothing. if Austin, in the Agonies of his first Conversion, heard, as he thought, a voice speaking to him, Do you stand in your self, and do you not stand? (d) It was to let him know, in his own strength. If Catharine of Sienna, labouring un­der temptations, and begging Christs help, had as is reported, this Answer returned, I am what I am, thou art what thou art not, It was to make her sensible that she was nothing in her self; what she was, she was in & by Christ: the promise of the Kingdom of Heaven is made to the poor in Spirit, (e) Such as know they are nothing, have nothing, deserve nothing can do nothing of themselves; we must be emptied of our selves, if we would receive of Christs fulness; we must be nothing in our selves, if we would have have Christ to be all in all to us; when we have done all we can, we must de­ny our selves, and ascribe all to free grace. When Joab had overcome Rabbah, he sent to David to come and take it, lest if he took it, it were called after his Name. (f) When we have performed Duties in the best manner, we should be willing that God have the glory of all. When David and the People offered liberally and willingly toward the Building of the Temple, David ascribeth all to God, Who am I and what i [...] my People, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own [Page 117] have we given thee, (g) Paul, whom Austine for this cause calleth the best Child of Grace, the faithfullest Servant of his Lord, whatsoever he was, or had, or did, he ascribeth all to free grace; he was in no­thing behind the chiefest of the Apostles, yet confes­ses he is nothing. (h) He was what he was, eminent▪ for grace, yet what he was, he was by grace; By the grace of God I am what I am: (i) he lived, yet not he but Christ lived in him. (k) he laboured abundantly, yet not he, but the grace of God which was with him. He was able to do all things, but through Christs strengthning him. (k) When we do no evil, we do our own, as Christ saith of the Devil▪ (l) (l) we walk as mens they like men have transgressed the Covenant.(m) But if we do any thing that is good, it is from God, who worketh all our w [...]rks in us; as therefore of him, and through him, so to him are all things.

2. We must take heed of relying upon them: Luther saith, We must take heed not only of our sins but of our good Works. (n) Duties can never have too much diligence used about them, nor too little confi­dence placed in them; they are good helps, but bad Saviours; it is necessary we [...]o them, but it is dan­gerous to rely upon them, John Knox lying upon his Death-bed, passed over the last night of his Life with many sighs and groans; being asked, What was the cause of his trouble? He answered, that he had in his life-time gone thorow many Combats, endured many buffettings of Satan, but now theroar­ing Lion set more strongly upon him; before the De­vil had set his sins before him, and tempted him to despair, and sought to work upon him by worldly allurements; but now he went another way, seek­ing to perswade him, that Eternal Life was but a due Reward for the great pains and labours he had taken in the Church of God: and this he looked uppon as the [Page 118] most dangerous temptation; if the Devil cannot diswade us from performing Duties, he will per­swade us all he can to rely upon them; and this will as much gratifie Satan, and as certainly ruine our Souls, as if we wholly neglected them: when we have done all we are able, we must say, We are unprofitable Servants. Rollocke, when some minded him upon his Death-bed of his great Service he had done in the Church; He replied, I abhor my Rectorship of the Uni­versity, my Reader-ship of Divinity, my Pastor-ship of Edenborough; and all I have done, that I might be found in Christ, not having on mine own Righteousness: And at another time: There is nothing of mine, which I do not account as dung, that I might win Christ▪ And again, I have nothing to glory in, but the merits of Christ, all other things I count losse.

6. We should labour for those Graces which entitle to eternal happiness; I shall name only some as,

1 Knowledg, This is eternal to life to know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.(p) Though the Valentinian Hereticks had know­ledg in too high estimation, when they ascribed all to it, affirming, that as ignorance made us subject to all misery, so the restauration of the inward-man must needs belong to knowledg only; yet what some Philosophers said of Light; that all the influences of the Sun and Stars, are by light transmitted to this inferiour world; so the light of Knowledg is that Conduit-pipe, by which the several Graces God work­eth, are conveyed into the Soul; as in the first-Crea­tion light was the first thing God made, so in the new Creation Josephus saith, that Judas Maccabeus; going about to repair the Temple, and purge out the reliques of Idolatry; began with the Lights▪ placed a Light upon the golden Candlestick, and ordained a Feast▪ which they called Lights: (p) Thus when God puri­fieth the heart,(q) and makes it a Temple for himself He first setteth up the light of knowledg in the Soul [Page 219] without this we can never hope to be made parta­kers of the inheritance of the Saints in light; When Hamans face was covered, death followed: when men live in a land of Light, and yet have the things of their peace hid from their eyes, it is a sad Prog­nostick of their everlasting miscarriage; If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost,(r)

2. Godly sorrow, which worketh repentance to Salvation, not to be repented of.(s) If any thinks he hath no sin, I would say to him as Constantine of Ace­sius the Novatean, Let him make new Ladders to climbe up to Heaven by: but if we have sinned, there is no other way than by godly sorrow; sin must be purged either by water or by fire, saith Guericus; if the water of Repentance doth not here wash away our sins, Hell-fire will afterward burn our souls.

3 Faith, which the Apostle calleth the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen(t) though we must distinguish between faith of Ad­herence, and Faith of Evidence, between the first Act of Faith whereby we believe, and the second Act, or as some call it, an act flowing from faith;(u) be­tween the work of Faith, which is Believing, and the fruit of Faith, which is Assurance; A Christian may have faith in the Seed and not in the Harvest; the fire of Faith may warm his heart, yet not flame forth in Assurance; he may have the direct act of Faith, both a Negative exclusive act, whereby he re­nounceth all other ways and means of Salvation, & a Positive exclusive act, whereby he rests wholly up­on Christ for Eternal life; yet not have the Reflex act, whereby he knoweth that he believeth, and that Salvation belongeth to him; yet where Faith is cal­led a Believing to Salvation(w) and Salvation is said to be the end of Faith.(x)

4. Love, The joys of Heaven are said to be prepar­ed [Page 220] God, for those that love him. (y) Ambrose in his Funeral Oration for Theodosius, describing his religious death, brings in the Angels & Arch-angels hovering about his departing Soul, to carry it to Heaven: And asking him, what Grace it was he here practised on earth, that gave him so ready an admittance into Heaven? He replyed, I have loved, I have loved; Love is as strong as Death, the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement Flame. (z) In the flames of this fire it is that the devout Soul ascends to Hea­ven, as the Angel once in the flame of Manaoh's sacrifice.

5. Humility, As the Philosopher being asked; What is the first thing required in an Orator? answered, Pro­nunciation; what was the second? what the third? ans­wered still Pronunciation, Pronunciation? So saith Austin, I [...]. I where asked, what is the readiest way to attain Truth, and so Happiness? I would answer, The first, the second, and the third thing, is Humility, Humility. as often as I were asked, I would say Humility; Humili­ty doth not only entitle to Happiness, but to the the highest degree of Happiness, Whosoever shall humble himselfe as this little child, the same is the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven.(a)

6. Heavenly-mindedness. There is no one thing so much hindereth the attaining eternal life as Earthly-mindedness; there are some Fowls they call Polysurchoi, which though they have wings like other Fowls to fly with, yet they have such heavy ponde­rous bodies, that they seldome flye higher than the stub of some Tree, but live most-what like beasts upon the earth; worldly-minded men like, these Fowles, who though they have intelectual, immortal fouls, by which, they should have converse in Heaven, yet they are so eaten up with the world, that they have no time; and less mind to look after Heaven Chrysostome observeth, that other beasts, thoug [...] they are made so as they look down to the earth, ye [...] [Page 221] sometimes, especially in their extremity, they lift up their heads towards Heaven; only the Camel is so depressed with the bunch of flesh upon his back, that he is alwayes poring upon the earth, and is never ob­served to look up toward Heaven; To other beasts he compareth other sorts of sinners: who though great strangers to Heaven, yet sometimes have some thoughts of God, and Heaven, only the covetous world­ling, like the Camel, is bowed down to the earth, that he liveth, as if there were neither a God to be served, not a Heaven to be looked after: this sin therefore we must in a special manner take heed of, it is not more impossible for the same eye, at the same instant, to look downward toward the Earth, and up­ward toward Heaven, than to have the hearts both upon the World and Heaven: if we desire, and hope for Heaven we must be Crucified to the world, must set our affections on things above, not on things on the Earth; we must never expect Heaven when we die, if we be strangers to Heaven while we live: In Physical transmutations the form is introduced in an instant; but there are some antecedent quali­ties, some previous dispositions that preparethe body for that change; though the soul in the instant of death quits Earth, and mounts up to Heaven, yet it must be prepared for Heaven by conversing there before-hand; such as novv live strangers to Heaven, shall never intermeddle vvith those joyes. (b)

7. To these vve must add the grace of perseve­rance; some have seemed to begin well, yet ended mi­serably; others have begun ill, but ended happily; per­severance is all in all, other graces run the race, but only perseverance receiveth the Crovvn. Be thou faith­ful unto death, and I will give thee a Crown of life: (c) So­lomon saith, better is the end of a thing, than the beginning thereof (d). The grace of the Comedy lyeth chiefly in the last Scene; it is the evening that Crovvneth the day: Seneca saith, the last day judgeth all the prece­dent; [Page 222] happy are they, whose last dayes are the [...] dayes; vvhose works are more at last, than at fi [...] vvheras, vvhen men seem to begin vvell, and aft [...] vvard turn from the holy Commandment, it had [...] better for them never to have known the way of Righte [...] [...]ss. (s) Among other Prodigies vvhich vvere [...] bout the time Julian came unto the Empire, t [...] vvas one: after a plentiful Vintage, there vvere w [...] grapes appeared upon their Vines vvith vvhich ma [...] Wise men vvere much affected, looking upon it [...] ominous. When men seem to abound in the fruits [...] Righteousness, and aftervvard bring forth the w [...] grapes of sin and disobedience, it is a sad Prognosti [...] of their eternal ruine; as the falling of the lea [...] is the forerunner of vvinter, so the falling away men in this life, presageth that winter of [...] wrath; vvhen the storms, and tempests of Div [...] vengence shall for ever beat upon them: havi [...] then put our hand to the Plow, vve must ta [...] heed of looking back again; the promise of eter [...] happiness is made to such as persevere: He th [...] endureth to the end shall be saved. (t)


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