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CH A P. XIII. The Nature of heavenly Contemplation;
with the Time, Place, and Temper fittest for it. .
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Soul enjoy not more Communion with God, and thy Life be not fuller of Comfort, and hast it not readier by thee at a dying Hour; then cast away these Directions, and exclaim against me for ever as a Deceiver.
§ 2. The Duty which I press upon thee fo earneftly, and in the Practice of which I am now to direct thee, is, " The fet and folemn Acting of all “ the Powers of thy Soul in Meditation uponchy " everlasting Rest.” More fully to explain the Nature of this Duty, I will here --illuftrate a little things Defcription itself, then point out the fittest Time,'
Place, and Temper of Mind for it. 93. (I) It is not improper to illustrate a little the Manner in which we have described this Duty of Meditation, or : the confidering and contemplaring of spiritunl Things. It js confessed to he a Duty by all, but practically denied by moit. Many that make Conscience of other Duties, cafily neglect this; they are troubled, if they omit a Serinon, a Fast, or a Prayer in publick or private; yet were never troubled that they have omitted Meditation perhaps all their Life-Time to this very Day; though it be that Duty, by which ait other Duties are improved, and by which the Soul digesteth Truths for its Nourishment and Comfort. It was God's Command to Yoshua, This Book of the Law Ball not depart out of thy Mouth, but thou shalt meditate therein Day and Night, that thou may/t observe to do according to all that is written therein (a). As Digestion : turns Food into Chyle, and Blood, for vigorous Health; fo Meditation turns the Truths received and remembered into warm Affection, firm Resolution, and holy Conversation.
$ 4. 'This Meditation is, the Asting of all the Powers of the Soul. It is the work of the Living, and not
N3 (a) Joshua i. 8.
of the Dead. It is a work of all others the most spiritual and sublime, and therefore not to be well performed by a Heart that is merely carnal and, earthly. They must necessarily have some Relation to Heaven, before they can familiarly converse there. I suppose them to be such as have a Title to Rest, when I persuade them to rejoice in the Meditations of Reft. And supposing thee to be a Christian, I am now exhorting thee to be an active Christian, And it is the work of the Soul I am fetting thee to, for bodily Exercise doth here profit but little. And it must have all the Powers of the Soul, to diftinguish it from the common Meditation of Students; for the Underftanding is not the whole Soul, and therefore cannot do the whole Work. As in the Body, the Stomach muft turn the Food into Chyle, and prepare for the Liver, the Liver and Spleen turn it into Blood, and prepare for the Heart and Brain; so in the Soul, the Understanding must take in Truths, and prepare them for the Will, and that for the Affections, Chiift and Heaven have various Excellencies, and therefore God hath formed the Soul with different Powers for apprehending those Excellencies. What the better had we been for odoriferous Flowers, if we had no Smell? Or what Good would Language or Mufick have done us, if we could not hear? Or what Plei. fure should we have found in Meats and Drinks, without the Sense of Taste? So, what Good could all the Glory of Heaven have done us, or what Pleafure should we have had in the Perfections of God Himself, if we had been without the Affections of Love and Joy? And what Strength or Sweetness canft thou possibly receive by thy Meditations on Eternity, while thou dost not exercise those Affections of the Soul, by which thou muft be sensible of this Sweetness and Strength? It is the Mistake of Christians,
Un pete for things and So Chyle, a body, she's can
66. Ttis Meditation is spon thy everlasting Reft. I would not have you caft-off your other Meditations; but surels, as Heaven hath the Preeminence in Perfectie), it hould have it also in our Meditation. That which will make us most happy when we possess it, wil make us most joyful when we meditate upon it. Other Meditations are as numerous, as there are Lines in the Scripture, or Creatures in the Universe, or particular Providences in the Government of the World. But this is a Walk to Mount Sien; from the Kingdoms of this World, to the Kingdom of Saints; from Earth, to Heaven; from Time, to Eternity; it is a walking upon Sun, Moon, and Stars, in the Gardin and Paradise of God. It may seem far off; but Spirits are quick; whether in the Body, or out of tie Body, their Motion is swift. You need not fear, like the Men of the World, left these Thoughts fhould make you mad. It is Heaven, and not Hell, tha: I persuade you to walk in. It is Joy, and not Sorrow, that I perfuade you to exercise. I urge you to look on no deformed Objects, but only upon the ravishing Glory of Saints, and the unspeakable Excellencies of the God of Glory, and the Beams that stream from the Face of his Son. Will it diftract a Man to think of his only Happiness? Will it distract the miserable to think of Mercy, or the Prisoner to foresee Deliverance, or the Poor to think of approaching Riches and Honour? Methinks it should rather make a Man mad, to think of living in a World of Woe, and abiding in Poverty and Sickness, among the Rage of wicked Men; than to think of living with Christ in Blifs. But Wisdom is justified of all her Children (c), Knowledge hath no Enemy but the Ignorant. This heavenly Course was never spoke against by any, but those that never knew it; ar never used
(c) Luke vii, 35.