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liever would reason his heart to heavenly contemplation, how many arguments offer themselves from God and Christ, from each of the divine perfections, from our former and present state, from promises, from present sufferings and enjoyments, from hell and heaven!—Every thing offers itself to promote our joy, and consideration is the hand to draw them all out; it adds one reason to another, till the scale turn. This it does when persuading to joy, till it hath silenced all our distrust and sorrows, and your cause for rejoicing lies plain before you. If another's reasoning is powerful with us, though we are not certain whether he intends to inform or deceive us; how much more should our own reasoning prevail with us, when we are so well acquainted with our own intentions! Nay, how much more should God's reasoning work upon us, which we are sure cannot deceive, or be deceived ! Now, consideration is but the reading over and repeating God's reasons to our hearts. As the prodigal had many and strong reasons to plead with himself, why he should return to his father's house; so have we to plead with our affections, to persuade thein to sur Father's everlasting mansion.
ỹ 6. (4) Consideration exalts reason to its just auhority. It helps to deliver it from its captivity to the lenses, and sets it again on the throne of the soul. When reason is silent, it is usually subject; for when t is asleep, the senses domineer. But consideration wakens our reason, till, like Samson, it rouses up tself, and breaks the bonds of sensuality, and bears lown the delusions of the flesh. What strength can he lion exert while asleep? What is a king, when dejosed from his throne, more than another man? Spiitual reason, excited by meditation, and not fancy or eshly sense, must judge of heavenly joys. Consideraon exalts the objects of faith, and comparatively disraces the objects of sense. The most inconsiderate ien are most sensual. It is too easy and common to in against knowledge; but against sober, strong, perevering consideration, men seldom offend.
§ 7. (5) Consideration makes reason strong and active. Before it was as standing water, but now as a stream, which violently bears down all before it. Before it was as the stones in the brook, but now like that out of David's sling, which smites the Goliath of our unbelief in the forehead. As wicked men continue wicked, because they bring not reason into act and exercise; so godly men are uncomfortable, because they let their reason and faith lie asleep, and do no not stir them up to action by this work of meditation. What fears, sorrows, and joys, will our very dreams excite! How much more then would serious meditation affect us!
$ 8. (6) Consideration can continue and persevere in this rational employment. Meditation holds reason and faith to their work, and blows the fire till it thoroughly burns. To run a few steps will not get a man heat, but walking an hour may; and though a sudden occasional thought of heaven will not raise our affections to any spiritual heat, yet meditation can continue onr thoughts till our hearts grow warm. Thus you see the powerful tendency of consideration to produce this great elevation of the soul in heavenly contemplation.
$ 9. (II.) Let us next see how this heavenly work is promoted by the particular exercise of the affections. It is by consideration that we first have recourse to the memory, and from thence take those heavenly doctrines, which we intend to make the subject of our meditation; such as promises of eternal life, descriptions of the saints' glory, the resurrection, &c. &c. We then present them to our judgment, that it may deliberately view them over, and take an exact survey, and determine uprightly concerning the perfection of our celestial happiness, against all the dictates of flesh and sense, and so as to magnify the Lord in our hearts, till we are filled with a holy admiration. But the principal thing is to exercise not merely our judgment, but our faith, in the truth of our everlasting rest; by which I mean, both the truth of the promises, and of our own personal interest in them, and title to them. If we did really and firmly believe, that there is such a glory, and that
within a few days our eyes shall behold it, О what passions would it raise within us! What astonishing apprehensions of that life would it produce! What love, what longing, would it excite within us! O how it would actuate every affection! How it would transport us with joy upon the least assurance of our title! Never expect to have love and joy move, when faith stands still, which must lead the way. Therefore daily exercise faith, and set before it the freeness of the promise, God's urging all to accept it, Christ's gracious disposition, all the evidences of the love of Christ, his faithfulness to his engagements, and the evidences of his love in ourselves; lay all these together, and think whether they do not testify the good-will of the Lord concerning our salvation, and may not properly be pleaded against our unbelief.— Thus when the judgment hath determined, and faith hath apprehended the truth of our happiness, then may our meditation proceed to raise our affections, and particularly,-love, -desire,-hope-courage or boldness,--and joy.
§ 10. (1) Love is the first affection to be excited in heavenly contemplation. The object of it is goodness. Here, Christian, is the soul-reviving part of thy work. Go to thy memory, thy judgment, and thy faith, and rom them produce the excellencies of thy rest; present hese to thy affection of love, and thou wilt find thyself is it were in another world. Speak out, and love can rear. Do but reveal these things, and love can see. It is the brutish love of the world that is blind : divine ove is exceeding quick-sighted. Let thy faith take old of thy heart, and show it the sumptuous buildings of thy eternal habitation, and the glorious ornaments If thy Father's house, even the mansions Christ is prevaring, and the honours of his kingdom ; let thy faith ead thy heart into the presence of God, and as near as hou possibly canst, and say to it, “ Behold the Ancient of Days, the Lord Jehovah, whose name is, I AM. Chis is he, who made all the worlds with his word, cho upholds the earth, who rules the nations, who lisposes of all events, who subdues his foes, who con. trols the swelling waves of the sea, who governs the winds, and causes the sun to run its race, and the stars to know their courses. This is he who loved thee from everlasting, formed thee in the womb, gave thee this soul, brought thee forth, showed thee the light, and ranked thee with the chief of his earthly creatures; who endued thee with thy understanding, and beautified thee with his gifts; who maintains thy life and all its comforts, and distinguishes thee from the most miserable and vilest of men.” O here is an object worthy thy love! Here shouldest thou even pour out thy soul in love! Here it is impossible for thee to love too much! This is the lord who hath blessed thee with his benefits, spread thy table in the sight of thine enemies, and made thy cup overflow! This is he whom angels and saints praise, and the heavenly host for ever magnify! Thus do thou expatiate on the praises of God, and open his excellencies to thine heart, till the holy fire of love begins to kindle in thy breast.
S 11. If thou feelest thy love not yet burn, lead thy heart farther, and show it the Son of the living God, whose name is Wonderful, Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace; show it the King of saints on the throne of his glory; the First and the Last, who is, and was, and is to come; who liveth, and was dead, and behold he lives for evermore; who hath made thy peace by the blood of his cross, and hath prepared thee with himself an habitation of peace. His office is the great peace-maker; His kingdom is the kingdom of peace; His gospel is the tidings of peace; His voice to thee now is the voice of peace! Draw near and behold him.-Dost thou not hear his voice? He that bid Thomas come near, and see the print of the nails, and put his finger into his wounds; He it is that calls to thee, “ Come near, and view the Lord thy Saviour, and be not faithless, but believing; Peace be unto thee, fear not, it is I.” Look well upon him. Dost thou not know him! It is he that brought thee up from the pit of hell, reversed the sentence of thy damnation, bore the curse
which thou shouldest have borne, restored thee to the blessing thou hadst forfeited, and purchased the advancement which thou must inherit for ever. And dost thou not yet know him? his hands were pierced, his head, his side, his heart were pierced, that by these marks thou mightest always know him. Dost thou not remember when he found thee lying in thy blood, and look pity on thee, and dressed thy wounds, and brought thee home, and said unto thee, live? Hast thou forgotten since he wounded himself to cure thy wounds, and let out his own blood to stop thy bleeding? If thou knowest him not by the face, the voice, the hands, thou nayest know him by that heart; that soul-pitying heart is his; it can be none but his; love and compassion are ts certain signatures. This is he, who chose thy life before his own; who pleads his blood before his Faher, and makes continual intercession for thee. If he lad not suffered, what hadst thou suffered? There was put a step between thee and hell, when he stepped in ind bore the stroke. And is not here fuel enough for hy love to feed on? Doth not thy throbbing heart stop lere to ease itself, and, like Joseph, seek for a place to veep in? Or do not the tears of thy love bedew these ines? Go on, then, for the field of love is large; it vill be thy eternal work to behold and love; nor leedest thou want work for thy present meditation.
Ø 12. How often hath thy Lord found thee like Haar, sitting and weeping, and giving up thy soul for pst, and he opened to thee a well of consolation, and Iso opened thine eyes to see it! How often, in the posare of Elijah, desiring to die out of thy misery, and he ath spread thee a table of unexpected relief, and sent hee on his work refreshed and encouraged! How often n the case of the prophet's servants, crying out, Alas! vhat shall we do, for a host doth encompass us? aud le hath opened thine eyes to see more for thee than gainst thee! How often, like Jonah, peevish and weary f thy life, and he hath mildly said, Dost thou well to e angry with me, or murmur against me? How often ath he set thee on watching and praying, repenting