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thou mayit go to the Mount of God; and, like Meses, die in the Mount whither thou goeft ud; and say, as
Simeon, Lord, now letteft theu iby Servant depart it · Peace; for my Eye of Faith bath feen to Salvation (k).
$ 18. (III) Concerning the fittest Place for beavenly Contemplation, it is sufficient ti fay, that the most convenient is fome private Retirement. Our Spirits need every Help, and to be freed from every Hinderance in the Work. If in private Prayer, Christ directs us to enter into our Closet, and put the Door, that our Father may fee us in secret (1), so should we do in this Meditation. How often did Christ himself retire to fome Mountain, or Wilderness, or other folitary Place? I give not this Advice for occasional Meditation, but for that which is fes and folemn. Therefore withdraw thyself from all Society, even the Society of godly Men, that thou mayft a while enjoy the Society of thy Lord. If a Student cannot study in a Croud, who exerciseth only his Invention and Memory; much less shouldst thou be in a Croud, wbo art to exercise all the Powers of thy Soul, and upon an Object fo far above Nature. : We are Aed so far from superftitious Solitude, that we have even caft off the Solitude of contemplative Devotion. We feldom read of God's appearing by Himself, or by his Angels, to any of his Prophets or Saints in a Croud; but frequently when they were alone. But observe for thyself, what Place belt agrees with thy Spirit; whether within Doors, or without. 'Ifaac's Example, in going out to meditate in the Field, will, I believe, best Tuit with most. Our Lord so much used a solitary Garden, that even Judas, when he came to betray Him, know where to find Him: And though He took his Disciples thither with Him, yet He was withdrawn
from · (k) Luke ii. 29, 30 (1) Matt, vi. 6.
from them for more secret Devotions (m): And tho' his Meditation be not directly named, but only his praying, yet it is very clearly implied; for His Soul is first made forrowful with the bitter Meditations on His Sufferings and Death, and then He poureth it out in Prayer (11). So that Christ had his accustomed Place, and consequently accustomed Duty, and so muft we; He hath a Place that is folitary, whither He retireth Himself, even from His own Disciples, and so must we; His Meditations go further than His Thoughts, they affect and pierce His Heart and Soul, and so must ours. Only there is a wide Difference in the Object; Christ meditates on the Sufferings that our Sins had deserved, so that the Wrath of His Father passed through all His Soul: But we are to medicate on the Glory He hath purchared, that the Love of the Father, and the Joy of the Spirit, may enter at our Thoughts, and revive our Affections, and overflow our Souls.
$ 19. (IV) I am next to advise thee concerning the Preparations of thy Heart for this heavenly Contempla. tion. The Success of the Work much depends on the Frame of thy Heart. When Man's Heart had nothing in it to grieve the Spirit, it was then the deTightful Habitation of his Maker. God did not quit bis Residence there, till Man expellid Him by unworthy Provocations. There was no Shyness or Reserve, till the Heart grew sinful, and too loathsome a Dungeon for God to delight in. And was this Soul reduced to its former Innocency, God would quickly return to His former Habitation; yea, so far as it is renewed and repaired by the Spirit, and purged from its Lusts, and beautified with His Image, the Lord will yet acknowledge it His own; Christ will manifelt himself unto it, and the Spirit will take it for His Temple and Refidence. So far as the Heart is qua-'
lified (m) John xviii, 1, 2. Luke xxii, 41. (n) Mark xiv. 34, 35.
lified for conversing with God, so far it ufually enjoys Him. Therefore, with all Diligence keep the Heart, for out of it are the lfsues of Life(o). More particularly,
$ 20. (1) Get thy Heart as clear from the World as tou canft. Wholly lay by the Thoughts of thy Business, Troubles, Enjoyments, and every Thing that may take up any Room in thy Soul. Get it as empty as thou poffibly canft, that it may be the more capable of being filled with God. If thou couldst perform fome oudward Duty with a Piece of thy Heart, while the other is absent, yet this above all I am sure thou canft not. When thou !halt go into the Mount of Contemplation, thou wilt be like the covetous Man at the Heap of Gold, who, when he might take as much as he could, lamented that he was able to carry no more; so thou wilt find as much of God and Glory, as thy narrow Heart is able to contain, and almost nothing to hinder thy full Poffeffion, but the Incapacity of thy own Spirit. Then thou wüt think, " O that this Understanding, and these Affections, 66 could contain more! It is more my Unfitnefs than « any Thing else, that even this place is not my " Heaven. God is in this place, and I know it not. " This Mount is full of Chariots of Fire, but mine 6 Eyes are shut, and I cannot see them. O the
Words of Love Christ hath to speak, and Wonders 66 of Love He hath to shew, but I cannot bear them “ yet! Heaven is ready for me, but my Heart is “ unready for Heaven.”' Therefore, Reader, seeing thy Enjoyment of God in this contemplation much depends on the Capacity and Disposition of thy Heart, seek Him here, if ever, with all thy Soul. "Thrust not Christ into the Stable, and the Manger, as if thou hadst better Guests for the chief Rooms. Say to all
thy (0) Prov, iv. 23.