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should remember it because it is our home. If you were but banished into a strange land, how frequently would your thoughts be at home? And why is it not thns with us in respect of heaven? Is not that more trnly and properly our home, where we must take up onr everlasting abode, than this, which we are every hour expecting to be separated from, and to see no more? We are strangers, and that is our country. We are heirs, and that is our inheritance; even an inheritance incorruptible, undefilcd, and that fadelh twt away, reserved in heaven for u$.(l) We are here in continual distress and want, and there lies our substance; even a hetter and an enduring substance.(m) Yea, the very hope of our souls is there; all our hope of relief from onr distresses; all our hope of happiness, when here we are miserable; all this hope is laid up for us in heaven.(n) Why, beloved Christians, have we so much interest, and so few thoughts there? so near relation. and so little affection? Doth it become us to be delighted in the company of strangers, so as to forget our Father and our Lord? or to be so well pleased with those that hate and grieve us, as to forget our best and dearest friends? or to be so fond of borrowed trifles, as to forget our own possession and treasure? or to be so much impressed with tears and wants, as to forget our eternal joyaadrest? God usually pleads our property in us: and thence concludes he will do us good, even because we are his own people, whom he hath chosen out of all the world. Why then do we not plead our interest in him, "id so raise our hearts above, even because he is our >wnGod, and because the place is our own possession? ■en commonly over-love and over-value their own hings, and mind them too much. O that we could Jtnd our own inheritance, and value it half as much s it deserves!
§ 18. (12) Once more, consider there is nothing but eaven worth setting our hearts upon. If God have iem not, who shall? If thou mind not thy rest, what
ilt thou mind? Hast thou found out some other god?
(/) 1 Pet. i. 4. (m) Heb. x. 34. («) Col. i. 5.
or something that will serve thee instead of rest? Hast thou found on earth an eternal happiness? Where is it: What is it made of? Who was the man that found :i out? Who was he that last enjoyed it? Where flvuli he? What was his name? Or art thou the first that erer discovered heaven on earth? Ah, wretch! trust not to thy discoveries, boast not of thy gain till experience bid thee boast. Disquiet not thyself, in looking for that which is not on earth: lest thou learn thy experience with the loss of thy soul, which thou mightest hare learned on easier terms; even by the warnings of God in his word, and the loss of thousands of souls before thee. If Satan should take thee up to the mountain «i temptation, and show thee all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; he could show thee nothing that is worthy thy thoughts, much less to be preferred before thy rest. Indeed, so far as duty and necessity require it, we must be content to mind the thinst below: but who is he that contains himself within the compass of those limits? And yet if we ever so diligently contract our cares and thoughts, we shall find i«< least to be bitter and burdensome. Christians, see til emptiness of all these things, and the preciousness »i the things above. If thy thoughts should, like the laborious bee, go over the world from flower to flow from creature to creature, they would bring no honey, or sweetness home, save what they gathered from then relations to eternity. Though every truth of God is precious, and ought to be defended; yet even all our slut: of truth should be still in reference to our rest: for tb* observation is too true, "that the lovers of controrersies in religion, have never been warmed with onesp^ of the love of God." And as for minding the "affair* of church and state;" so far as they illustrate the providence of God, and tend to the settling of the gospel and the government of Christ, and consequently to lhe saving our own souls, and those of our posterity, the? are well worth our diligent observation: but theses'* only their relations to eternity. Even all our dealing in the world, our buying and selling, our eating V* drinking, our building and marrying, our peace an(! war, so far as they relate not to the life to come, but tend only to the pleasing of the flesh, are not worthy the frequent thoughts of a Christian. And now doth not thy conscience say, that there is nothing but heaven, and the way to it, that is worth thy minding?
^ 19. Now, Reader, are these considerations weighty, or not? Have I proved it thy duty to keep thy heart on things above, or have I not? If thou say, Not, I am confident thou contradictest thy own conscience. If thou acknowledge thyself convinced of the dnty, that very tongue of thine shall condemn thee, and that confession be pleaded against thee, if thou wilfully neglect such a confessed duty. Be thoroughly willing, and the work is more than half done. 1 have now a few plain directions to give you for your help in this great work; but, alas, it is in vain to mention them, except you be willing to put them into practice. However, I will propose them to thee, and may the Urd persuade thy heart to the work!
Directions how to lead a heavenly Life upon Earth.
\ I. (I.) Hinderances to a heavenly life must be avoided; such ai, § 2. (1) Living in any known sin; § 3. (2) An earthly mind; | 4. (3) Ungodly companions; § 5. (4) A notional religion; | 6. (5) A haughty spirit; § 7- (6) A slothful spirit; § 8. (7) nesting in preparatives for a heavenly life, without the thing itself. § 9. (If.) The duties which will promote a heavenly life are these: § 10. (1) Be convinced that heaven is the only trea sure and happiness; § 11, 12. (2) Labour to know your interest in it; & 13. (3) And how near it is; ^ 14. (4) Frequently and seriously talk of it; § 15. (5) liudeavour in every duty to raise your affections nearer to it; § 16. (6) To the same purpose improve every object and event; § 17, 18. (7) Be much in the angelical work of praise; § 19. (8) Possess your souls with believing thoughts of the infinite l6ve of God; § 20. (9) Carefully observe and cherish the motions of the Spirit of God; § 21. (10) Nor even neglect die due care of your bodily health.
§ 1. As thou valuest the comforts of heavenly conization, I must here charge thee from God, to Koid carefully some dangerous hinderances; and then faithfully and diligently to practise such duties as Mill especially assist thee in attaining to a heavenly life.— And (I.) the hinderances to be avoided with all possihle care, are,—living in any known sin,—an earthly mind, —the company of the ungodly,—a notional religion, —a proud and lofty spirit,—a slothful spirit,—and resting in mere preparations for this heavenly life, without any acquaintance with the thing itself.
§ 2. (1) Living in any known sin, is a grand impediment to a heavenly conversation. What havock will this make in thy soul! O the joys that this hath destroy. ed! the ruin it hath made amongst men's graces! The soul-strengthening duties it hath hindered! Christian Reader, art thou one that hath used violence with thy conscience? Art thou a wilful neglecter of known dnties, either public, private, or secret? Art thou a slare to thine appetite, or to any other commanding sense: Art thou a proud seeker of thine own esteem? Art thon a peevish and passionate person, ready to take fire a; every word, or look, or supposed slight? Art thou a deceiver of others in thy dealings, or one that will be rich, right or wrong? If this be thy case, I dare say hearen and thy soul are very great strangers. These beams in thine eyes will not suffer thee to look to heaven; they will be a cloud between thee and thy God. AVhen thon dost but attempt to study eternity, and gather comfort' from the life to come, thy sin will presently look thee in the face, and say, "These things belong not to thee How shouldest thou take comfort from heaven, wh takest so much pleasure in the lust of the flesh?" Ho* will this damp thy joys, and make the thoughts of thst day and state become thy trouble, and not thy delight. Every wilful sin will be to thy comforts, as water to the fire; when thou thinkest to quicken them, this will quench them. It will utterly indispose and disable thee, that thou canst no more ascend in divine meditation than a bird can fly when its wings are clipped. Sin cnt* the very sinews of this heavenly life. O man! what 3 life dost thou lose! What daily delights dost thou sell for a vile lust! If heaven and hell can meet together, and God become a lover of sin, then raayest thou lire in thy sin, and in the tastes of glory; and have a conversation in heaven, though thou cherish thy corruption. And take heed lest it banish thee from heaven, as it does thy heart. And though thou be not guilty, and knowest no reigning sin in thy soul, think what a sad thing it would be, if ever this should prove thy case. Watch, therefore; especially resolve to keep from the occasions of sin, aud out of the way of temptations. What need have we daily to pray, Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil!
\ 3. (2) An earthly mind is another hinderance carefully to be avoided. God and mammon, earth and heaven, cannot both have the delight of thy heart. When the heavenly believer is blessing himself in his God, and rejoicing in hope of the glory to come; perhaps thou art blessing thyself in thy worldly prosperity, and rejoicing in hope of thy thriving here. When he is comforting his soul in the views of Christ, of angels and saints, whom he shall live with for ever, then thou art comforting thyself with thy wealth, in looking over thy hills and bonds, thy goods, thy cattle, or thy buildings, and in thinking of the favour of the great, or the pleasure of a plentiful estate, of larger provision for thy children after thee, of the advancement of thy family, <>r the increase of thy dependents. If Christ pronounced him a fool, that said, Soul, take thy ease, thou hast enough laid up for many years; how much more so art thou, who knowingly speakest in thy heart the same words! Tell me, what difference between this fool's expressions and thy affections? Remember, thou hast to do with the Searcher of hearts. Certainly, so much as thou delightest, and takest up thy rest on earth, so much of thy delight in God is abated. Thine earthly mind may consist with thy outward profession and common duties; but it cannot consist with this heavenly duty. Thou thyself knowest how seldom and cold, how cursory and reserved, thy thoughts have been ot the joys above, ever since thou didst trade so eagerly for the world. O the cursed madness of many that seem to be religious! They thrust themselves into a multitude