תמונות בעמוד

16contemplation, aise our joy:sentially nece

with preferment, even with the kingdoms of the world, I will no more regard them than the dung of the earth. O blessed rest! O glorious state! Who would sell thee for dreams and shadows? Who would be enticed or affrighted from thee? Who would not strive, and fight, and watch, and run, and that with violence, even to the last breath, in order to obtain thee? Surely none, but those that know thee not, and believe not thy glory."

§ 16. (5) The last affection to be exercised in heavenly contemplation, is joy. Love, desire, hope, and courage, all tend to raise our joy. This is so desirable to every man by nature, and so essentially necessary to constitute our happiness, that, I hope, I need not say much to persuade you to any thing that would make your life delightful. Supposing you therefore already convinced, that the pleasures of the flesh are brutish and perishing, and that your solid and lasting joy must be from heaven, instead of persuading, I shall proceed in directing. Reader, if thou hast managed well the former work, thou artgot within sight of thy rest; thou believest the truth of it; thou art convinced of its excellencies; thou art fallen in love with it; thou longest after it; thou hopest for it; and thou art resolved to venture courageously for obtaining it. But is here any work for joy in this? We delight in the good we possess; it is present good that is the object of joy; and thou wilt say, Alas! I am yet without it. But think a little farther with thyself. Is it nothing to have a deed of gift from God? Are his infallible promises no ground of joy? Is it nothing to live in daily expectations of entering into the kingdom? Is not my assurance of being hereafter glorified a sufficient ground for inexpressible joy? Is it not a delight to the heir of a kingdom to think of what he must soon possess, though at present he little differ from a servant? Have we not both command and example, for rejoicing in hope of the glory of God?(c)

§ 17. Here then, Reader, take thy heart once more and carry it to the top of the highest mount; show it the kingdom of Christ, and the glory of it, and say to

(c) Rom. v. 2. xii. 12.

17. 19of God and er from

it, “ All this will thy Lord give thee, who hast believed in him, and been a worshipper of hiin. It is the Father's good pleasure to give thee this kingdom.(d) Seest thou this astonishing glory which is above thee? All this is thy own inheritance. This crowu is thine, these pleasures are thine; this company, this beautiful place, are all thine; because thou art Christ's, and Christ is thine; when thou wast united to him, thou hadst all these with him.” Thus take thy heart into the land of promise; show it the pleasant hills, and fruitful vallies; show it the clusters of grapes which thou hast gathered, to convince it that it is a blessed land, flowing with better than inilk and honey: “ Enter the gates of the holy city; walk through the streets of the New Jerusalem: Walk about Sion, and go round about her; tell the towers thereof, mark well her bulwarks; consider her palaces; that thou mayest tell it to thy soul.(e) Hath it not theglolv of God, and is not her light like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper-stone, clear as crystal? See the twelve foundations of her walls, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. And the building of the walls of it are of jasper; and the city is pure gold like unto clear glass, and the foundations are garnished with all manner of precious stones. And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, every several gate is of one pearl; and the street of the city is pure gold, as it were transparent glass. There is no temple in it; for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple of it. It hath no need of the sun, neither of the moon, in it; for the glory of God doth lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof; and the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it. These sayings are faithful and true. And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angels and his own Son, to show unto his servants the things which inust shortly be done."(f) Say now to all this, “This is thy rest, Omy soul! And this must be the place of thy everlasting habitation! Let all the sons of Sion rejoice, let the daughters of Jerusalem be glad; for great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised in the city of our God, in the (d) Luke xii. 32. (e) Ps. xlviii. 12, 13. (1) Rev. xxi. 11, 24. xxii: 0.

the street of There is no terape the temp

mountain of his holiness. Beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Sion, God is known in her palaces for a refuge."(g)

§ 18. Yet proceed on. The soul that loves, ascends frequently, and runs familiarly through the streets of the heavenly Jerusalem, visiting the patriarchs and prophets, saluting the apostles, and admiring the armies of martyrs. So do thou lead on thy heart as from street to street; bring it into the palace of the great King; lead it, as it were, from chamber to chamber. Say to it, " Here must I lodge; here must I live; here must I praise; here must I love and be beloved: I must shortly be one of this heavenly choir, and be better skilled in the music. Among this blessed company must I take up my. place; my voice must join to make up the melody. My tears will then be wiped away; my groans be turned to another tune; my cottage of clay be changed to this palace; my prison rags to these splendid robes; and my sordid flesh shall be put off, and such a sun-like spiritual body be put on: For the foriner things are here passed away.(h) Glorious things are spoken of thee, O city of God!'() When I look upon this glorious place, what a dunghill and dungeon methinks is earth! O what difference betwixt a man, feeble, pained, groaning, dying, rotting in the grave, and one of these triumphant shining saints! Here shall I drink of the river of pleasures, the streams whereof make glad the city of God.(k) Must Israel, under the bondage of the law, serve the Lord with joyfulness, and with gladness of heart, for the abundance of all things?'(l) Surely I shall serve him with joyfulness and gladness of heart, for the ibundance of glory. Did persecuted saints take joyfully he spoiling of their goods?(m) And shall not I take joyully such a full reparation of all my losses ? Was it a elebrated day wherein the Jews rested from their enepies, because it was turned unto them from sorrow to oy, and from mourning unto a good day?(n) What a day hen will that be to my soul, whose rest and change 5) Ps. xlviii. 1, 2, 3. (h) Rev. xxi. 4. () Ps. lxxxvii. 3. k) Ps. xxxvi. 8. . (1) Deut. xxviii. 47. (m) Heb. x. 34. 1) Esther ix. 22.


will be inconceivably greater! When the wise men saw the star that led to Christ, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy;(0) but I shall shortly see him, who is himself the bright and morning Star.(p) If the disciples departed from the sepulchre with great joy, when they had but heard that the Lord was risen from the dead;(9) what will be my joy, when I shall see him reigning in glory, and myself raised to a blessed communion with him! Then shall I indeed have beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garments of praise for the spirit of heaviness; and Sion shall be made an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations.(r) Why then do I not arise from the dust, and cease my complaints? Why do I not trample on vain delights, and feed on the foreseen delights of glory? Why is not my life a continual joy, and the savour of heaven perpetually upon my spirit?"

19. Let me here observe, that there is no neces sity to exercise these affections, either exactly in this order, or all at one time. Sometimes one of thy affec tions may need more exciting, or may be more lively than the rest; or, if thy time be short, one may be exercised one day, and another upon the next; all which must be left to thy prudence to determine. Thou hast also an opportunity, if inclined to make use of it, to exercise opposite and more mixed affections, such as -hatred of sin, which would deprive thy soul of these immortal joys;-godly fear, lest thou should abuse thy mercy ;-godly shame and grief, for baving abused it; --Infeigned repentance;-self-indignation ;-jealousy over thy heart;-and pity for those who are in dasıger of losing these immortal joys.

$ 20. (III.) We are also to take notice, how heavenly contemplation is promoted by soliloquy and prayer. Though consideration be the chief instrument in this work, yet, by itself, it is not so likely to affect the heart In this respect contemplation is like preaching, where the mere explaining of truths and duties is seldom at. tended with such success, as the lively application of

(0) Matt. ii. 10.
(9) Matt. xxviii. 7, 8.

(p) Rev. xxü. 16.
(r) Isa. lxi. 3. lx. 15.

them to the conscience; and especially when a divine blessing is earnestly sought for to accompany such application. . 21. (1) By soliloquy or a pleading the case with thyself, thou must in thy meditation quicken thy own heart. Enter into a serious debate with it. Plead with it in the most moving and affecting language, and urge it with the most powerful and weighty arguments. It is what holy men of God have practised in all ages. Thus David, "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of nıy countenance, and my God.(s) And again, Bless the Lord, O my soul! and all that is within me bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul! and forget not all his bene. fits,” &c.() This soliloquy is to be made use of according to the several affections of the soul, and according to its several necessities. It is a preaching to one's self; for as every good master or father of a family is a good preacher to his own family; so every good Christian is a good preacher to his own soul. Therefore the very same method which a minister should use in his preaching to others, every Christian should endeavour after in speaking to himself. Observe the matter and manner of the most heart-affecting minister; let him be as a pattern for your imitation; and the same way that he takes with the hearts of his people, do thou also take with thy own heart.---Do this in thy heavenly contemplation; explain to thyself the things on which thou dost meditate; confirm thy faith in them from scripture; and then apply them to thyself, according to their nature, and thy own necessity. There is no need to object against this, from a sense of thy own inability. Doth not God command thee " to teach the scriptures diligently unto thy children, and talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up?"(u) And if thou must have some ability to teach thy children, much more to teach thyself; and if thou canst talk of divine things to others, why not also to thy own heart?

(s) Ps. xlii. 11. (1) Ps. cüüi. 1, 5. (u) Deut. vi. 7.

Christian should usere the ver

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