תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

srovidences, hath thy life partaken of! Hath thy life been so sweet, that thou art loth to leave it? Is this hy thanks to him, who is thus drawing thee to his own weetness? O foolish soul! would thou wast as covetvus after eternity, as thou art for a fading perishing ife! and after the presence of God in glory, as thou . irt for continuance on earth! Then thou wouldest cry, Why is his chariot so long in coming? Why tarry the vheels of his chariot? How long, Lord ? how long ?” -“What if God should let thee live many years, jut deny thee the mercies which thou hast hitherto Djoyed ? Might he not give thee life, as he gave the murmuring Israelites quails? He might give thee life, ill thou art weary of living, and as glad to be rid of it is Judas, or Ahithophel; and make thee like many niserable creatures in the world, who can hardly forlear laying violent hands on themselves. Be not theredre so importunate for life, which may prove a judgDent, instead of a blessing." How many of the prelous servants of God, of all ages and places, have gone before thee! Thou art not to enter an untrodden path, lor appointed first to break the ice. Except Enoch ind Elijah, which of the saints have escaped death? Ind art thou better than they? There are many milons of saints dead, more than now remain on earth. What a number of thine own bosom-friends, and companions in duty, are now gone; and why shouldest thou be so loth to follow? Nay, hath not Jesus Christ umself gone this way? Hath he not sanctified the rave to us, and perfumed the dust with his own body; ind art thou loth to follow him too? Rather say as Thomas, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

| 24. If what hath been said will not persuade, scriplire and reason have little force. And I have said the Dore on this subject, finding it so needful to myself ind others; finding among so many Christians, who could do and suffer much for Christ, so few that can villingly die; and of many, who have somewhat ubdued other corruptions, so few have got the conquest of this. I persuade not the ungodly from fearing

death. It is a wonder rather that they fear it no more, and spend not their days in continual horror.

CHAP. XI. The Importance of leading a heavenly Life upon Earth. $ 1. The reasonableness of delighting in the thoughts of the saint's

rest. § 2. Christians exhorted to it, by considering, $ 3. (1) it will evidence their sincere piety ; $ 4. (9) it is the highest excellence of the Christian temper; § 5. (3) it leads to the most confortable life ; $ 6–9. (4) it will be the best preservative froni temptations to sin; § 10. (5) it will invigorate their graces and duties ; § 11. (6) it will be their best cordial in all afflictions ; § 12. (7) it will render them most profitable to others; § 13. (8) it will honour God; § 14. (9) without it, we disobey the commands, and lose the most gracious and delightful discoveries, of the word of God: $ 15. (10) it is the more reasonable to have our hearts with God, as his is so much on us; $ 16, 17, and (11) in heaven, where we have so much interest and relation; § 18. (12) besides, there is nothing but heaven worth setting our hearts upon. 19. Transition to the subject of the next chapter.

§ 1. Is there such a rest remaining for us? Why then are our thoughts no more upon it? Why are not our hearts continually there? Why dwell we not there in constant contemplation? What is the cause of this neglect? Are we reasonable in this, or are we not? Hath the eternal God provided us such a glory, and promised to take us to dwell with himself, and is not this worth thinking on? Should not the strongest desires of our hearts be after it? Do we believe this, and yet forget and neglect it! If God will not give us leave to approach this light; what mean all his earnest invitations? Why doth he so condemn our earthly-mindedness, and command us to set our affections on things above! Ah! vile hearts! If God were against it, we were likelier to be for it; but when he commands our hearts to heaven, then they will not stir one inch. Like our predecessors, the sinful Israelites, when God would have them march for Canaan, then they mutiny, and will not stir; but how freanne world, way, Love Dots will be pr

when God bids them not go, then they will be presently marching. If God say, Love not the world, nor the things of the world, we dote upon it. How free, ly, how frequently, can we think of our pleasures, our friends, our labours, our flesh and its lusts, yea, our wrongs and miseries, our fears and sufferings ! But where is the Christian, whose heart is on his rest? What is the matter? Are we so full of joy as to need no more? Or, is there nothing in heaven for our joya ous thoughts? Or rather, are not our hearts carnal and stupid? Let us humble these sensual hearts, that bare in them no more of Christ and glory. If this world was the only subject of our discourse, all would count us ungodly; why then may we not call our hearts ungodly, that have so little delight in Christ and heaven? i 2. But I am speaking only to those, whose portion s in heaven, whose hopes are there, and who have forsaken all to enjoy this glory; and shall I be discouraged from persuading such to be heavenly-minded? Fellow-christians, if you will not hear and obey, who will? Well may we be discouraged to exhort the blind ungodly world, and may say, as Moses did, Be. hold the children of Israel have not hearkened unto me, how then shall Pharaoh hear me? I require thee, Reader, as ever thou hopest for a part in this glory, that thou presently take thy heart to task, chide it for its wilful strangeness to God, turn thy thoughts from he pursuit of vanity, bend thy soul to study eternity, busy it about the life to come, habituate thyself to uch contemplations, and let not those thoughts be eldom and cursory, but bathe thy soul in heaven's de. ghts; and if thy backward soul begin to flag, and thy . houghts to scatter, call them back, hold them to their Fork, bear not with their laziness, nor connive at one eglect. And when thou hast, in obedience to God, ried this work, got acquainted with it, and kept a uard on thy thoughts till they are accustomed to bey, thou wilt then find thyself in the suburbs of heaen, and that there is indeed a sweetness in the work

and way of God, and that the life of Christianity is a life of joy. Thou wilt ineet with those abundant consolations which thou hast prayed, panted, and groaned after, and which so few Christians do ever here obtain, because they know not this way to them, or else make not conscience of walking in it. Say not, We are unable to set our own hearts on heaven; this must be the work of God only. Though God be the chief disposer of your hearts, yet next under him you have the greatest command of them yourselves. Though without Christ you can do nothing, yet under hiin you may do much, and must, or else it will be undone, and yourselves undone through your neglect. Christians, if your souls were healthful and vigorous, they would perceive incomparibly more delight and sweetness in the believing joyful thoughts of your future blessedness, than the soundest stomach finds in its food, or the strongest senses in the enjoyment of their objects; so little painful would this work be tn vou. But because I know, while we have flesh about us, and any remains of that carnal mind, which is enmity to God and to this noble work, that all motives are lit. ile enough, I will here lay down some considerations, which if you will deliberately weigh, with an impartial judgment, I doubt not but they will prove effectual with your hearts, and make you resolve on this excellent duty. More particularly consider, it will evidence your sincere piety; it is the highest excellence of the Christian temper; it is the way to live most coinfortably; it will be the best preservative from temptations to sin; it will enliven your graces and duties; it will be your best cordial in all afflictions; it will render you most profitable to others; it will honour God: without it you will disobey the commands, and lose the most gracious and delightful discoveries of the word of God; it is also the more reasonable to have your hearts with God, as his is so much on you; and in heaven, where you have so much interest and relation; besides, there is nothing but heaven worth setting your hearts upon.

$ 3. (1) Consider, a heart set upon heaven will be one of the most unquestionable evidences of your sincerity, and a clear discovery of a true work of saving grace upon your souls. You are often asking, How shall we know that we are truly sanctified? Here you have a sign infallible from the mouth of Jesus Christ himself; Where your treasure is, there will your hearts be also.(c) God is the saint's treasure and happiness; heayen is the place where they must fully enjoy him. A heart therefore set upon heaven, is no more but a heart set upon God: and surely a heart set upon God through Christ, is the truest evidence of saving grace. When learning will be no proof of grace; when knowledge, duties, gifts, will fail; when arguments from thy tongue or hand may be confuted; yet then will this, from the bent of thy heart, prove thee sincere. Take a poor Christian, of a weak understanding, a feeble memory, a stammering tongue; yet his heart is set on God, he hath chosen him for his portion, his thoughts are on eternity, his desires are there, he cries out, О that I were there! He takes that day for a time of imprisonment, in which he hath not had one refreshing view of eternity. I had rather die in this man's condition, than in the case of him who hath the most eminent gifts, and is most admired for his performances, while his heart is not thus taken up with God. The man that Christ will find out at the last day, and condemn for want of a wedding-garment, will be one that wants this frame of heart. The question will not then be, How much have you known, or professed, or talked? but, how much have you loved, and where was your heart? Christians, as you would have a proof of your title to glory, labour to get your hearts above. If sin and Satan keep not your affections from thence, they will never be able to keep away your persons.

\ 4. (2) A heart in heaven, is the highest excellence of your Christian teipper. As there is a common excellence, by which Christians differ from the world; $0 there is this peculiar dignity of spirit, by which the

(c) Matt. vi. 21.

Cc

« הקודםהמשך »