תמונות בעמוד

for ever to behold it! Or if thou hast not yet felt these sweet foretastes (for every believer hath not felt them) then inake use of such delights as thou hast felt, in order the better to discern what thou shalt hereafter feel. ++

$ 12. (II.) I am now to show how heavenly contemplation may be preserved from a wandering heart.Our chief work is here to discover the danger, and that will direct to the fittest remedy. The heart will prove the greatest hinderance in this heavenly employment; either by backwardness to it;or, by trifling in it; Suor, by frequent excursions to other objects;_or, by abruptly ending the work before it is well begun. As you value the comfort of this work, these dangerous evils inust be faithfully resisted.

13. (1) Thou wilt find thy heart as backward to this, I think, as to any work in the world. O what excuses will it make! What evasions will it find out! What delays and deinurs, when it is ever so much convinced! Either it will question whether it be a duty or

ot; or, if it be so to others, whether to thyself. It will tell thee, This is a work for ministers that have nothing else to study; or for persons that have more leisure than thou hast. If thou be a minister, it will tell thee, This is the duty of the people; it is enough for thee to meditale for their instruction, und let them meditate on what they have heard. As if it was thy duty only to cook their meat, and serve it up, and they alone must eat it, digest it, and live upon it. If all this will not do, thy heart will tell thee of other business, or set thee upon some other duty, for it had rather go to any duty than this. Perhaps it will tell thee, Other duties are greater, and therefore this must give place to them, because thou hast no time for both. Public business is more important: to study and preach for the saving of souls must be preferred before these private contemplations. As if thou hadst not time to care for thy own salvation, for looking after that of others. Or thy charity to others were so great, that it obliges thee to neglect thy own eternal welfare. Or as if there were any better way to fit us to be useful to others, than making this proof of our doctrine ourselves. Certainly heaven is the best


morlichts; and our preaching feed. Or


with thy it for

fire to light our candle at, and 'the best book for a preacher to study; and, if we would be persuaded 10 study that more, the church would be provided with more heavenly lights; and when our studies are divine, and our spirits divine, our preaching will also be divine, and we may be called divines indeed. Or if thy heart have nothing to say against the work, it will trifle away the time in delays, and promise this day, and the next, but still keep off from the business. Or it will give thee a flat denial, and oppose its own unwillingness to thy reason. All this I speak of the heart; so far as it is still cargal: for I know, so far as it is spiritual, it will judge this the sweetest work in the world.

$ 14. What is now to be done? Wilt thou do it, if I tell thee? Wouldest thou not say in a like case, What should I do with a servant that will not work? or with a horse that will not travel? Shall. I keep them to look at? Then faithfully deal thus with thy heart: persuade it to the work, take no denial, chide it for its backwardness, use violence with it. Hast thou no conmand of thy owu thoughts? Is not the subject of thy meditations a matter of choice, especially under this conduct of thy judgment? Surely God gave thee, with thy new nature, some power to govern thy, thoughts. Art thou again become a slave to thy depraved nature: Resume thy authority. Call in the Spirit of Christ to thine assistance, who is never backward to so good a work, nor will. deny his, help in so just a cause. Sar to him, “Lord, thou.gavest my reason the command of my thoughts and affections; the authority I have re ceived over them is from thee;. and now, behold, the refuse to obey thine authority. Thou commandest me to set them to the work of heavenly meditation, but they rebel, and stubbornly refuse the duty. Wilt thoa not assist me to exercise that authority which thou has given me? O send down thy Spirit, that I may enforce thy commands, and effectnally compel them 101 obey thy will!” Thus thou stralt see thy heart will suih| mit, its l'esistance be overcome, and its backwardne: 1 be turned into cheerful.compliance.


TM 15. (2) Thy heart will also be likely to betray thee y trifling, when it should be effectually meditating: Perhaps when thou hast an hour for meditation, the ime will be spent before thy heart will be serious. This doing of duty, as if we did it not, ruins as many as ne omission of it. Here let thine eye be always upon ny heart. Look not so much to the time it spends in the uty, as to the quantity and quality of the work that is one. You can tell by his work, whether a servant hath een diligent. Ask yourself, What affections have yet ren exercised? How much am I yet got nearer to heain? Think not, since thy heart is so trifling, it is betir to let it alone: for by this means thou wilt certainly inish all spiritual obedience; because the best Parts, being but sanctified in part, will resist, so far as ley are carnal. But rather consider well the corrupon of thy nature; and that its sinful indispositions will it supersede the commands of God; nor one sin exise for another; and that God has appointed means

excite our affections. This self-reasoning, self-cousiering duty of heavenly meditation, is the inost singular eans both to excite and increase love. Therefore stay it from the duty till thou feelest thy love constrain thee, ly more than thou wouldest stay from the fire till thoil elest thyself warm; but engage in the work till love is cited, and then love will constrain thee to further duty. s 16. (3) Thy heart will also be making excursions om thy heavenly meditation to other objects. It will

turning aside, like a careless servant, to talk with ery one that passeth by. Where there should be noing in thy mind but heaven, it will be thinking of thy lling, or thy afflictions, or of every bird, or tree, or ace thou seest. The cure is here the same as before, use watchfulness and violence. Say to thy heart, What! did I come hither to think of my worldly buless, of persons, places, news, or vanity, or of any ing but heaven, be it ever so good? Canst thou not ich one hour? Wouldest thou leave this world, and vell for ever with Christ in heaven, and not leave it one ur to dwell with Christ in meditation ? Is this thy ve to thy friend? Dost thou love Christ, and the place

0 0

of thy eternal blessed abode, no more than this?" If the ravening fowls of wandering thoughts devour the meditations intended for heaven, they devour the life and joy of thy thoughts; therefore drive them away from thy sacrifice, and strictly keep thy heart to the work.

§ 17. (4) Abruptly ending thy meditation before it is well begun, is another way in which thy heart will deceive thee. Thou mayest easily perceive this in other duties. In secret prayer, is not thy heart urging thee

o cut it short, and frequently making a motion to have done? So in heavenly contemplation thy heart will be weary of the work, and will stop thy heavenly walk be. fore thou art well warm. But charge it in the name of God to stay, and not do so great a work by halves. Say to it, “ Foolish heart! if thou beg awhile, and goest away before thou hast thy alıns, is not thy begging a lost ·labour? If thou stoppest before the end of thy journey,

is not thy travel lost? Thou camest hither in hope to have a sight of the glory which thou must inherit; and wilt thou stop when thou art almost at the top of the hill, and turn back before thou hast taken thy survey? Thou camest hither in hope to speak with God, and wilt thou go before thou hast seen him? Thou camest to bathe thyself in the streams of consolation, and to that end didst unclothe thyself of thy earthly thoughts; and wilt thou only touch the bank, and return? Thou camest to spy out the land of promise; go not back without one cluster of grapes, to show thy brethren for their encouragement. Let them see that thou hast tasted of the wine, by the gladness of thy heart; and that thou hast been anointed with the oil, by the cheerfulness of thy countenance; and hast fed of the milk and honey, by the mildness of thy disposition, and the sweetness of thy conversation. This heavenly fire would melt thy frozen heart, and refine and spiritualize it; but it must have time to operate. Thus pursue the work till something be done, till thy graces be in exercise, thy affections raised, and thy soul refreshed with the delights above; or if thou canst not attain these ends at once, be the more earnest at another time. Blessed is that servant whom his Lord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.



Heavenly Contemplation exemplified, and the whole

Work concluded.

§ 1. The Reader's attention excited to the following example of me

ditation. § 2. The excellencies of heavenly rest ; $ 3. its nearness ; § 4. dreadful to sinners, $ 5. and joyful to saints; $ 6. its dear purchase ; $ 7. its difference from earth. $ 8. The heart pleaded with. $9. Unbelief banished. 10. A careless world pitied. § 11–13. Heavenly rest the object of love, $ 14–21. and joy. $ 22. The heart's backwardness to heavenly joy lamented. $ 23—27. Heavenly rest the object of desire. $ 28. Such meditation as this urged upon the reader : § 29. The mischief of neglecting it; § 30. The happiness of pursuing it. § 31. The author's concluding prayer for the success of his work.


10. The heart's back we object of des.

§ 1. And now, Reader, according to the above directions, make conscience of daily exercising thy graces in meditation, as well as prayer. Retire into some secret place, at a time the most convenient to thyself, and, laying aside all worldly thoughts, with all possible seriousness and reverence look up toward heaven, remeinber there is thine everlasting rest, study ts excellency and reality, and rise from sense to faith y comparing heavenly with earthly joys. Then mix jaculations with thy soliloquies; till having pleaded he case reverently with God, and seriously with thy · wn heart, thou hast pleaded thyself from a clod to

flame; froin a forgetful sinner, and a lover of the vorld, to an ardent lover of God; from a fearful coward o a resolved Christian; from an unfruitful sadness o a joyful life: in a word, till thou hast pleaded thy leart from earth to heaven, froin conversing below

walking with God, and till thou canst lay thy leart to rest, as in the bosom of Christ, by some such neditation of thy.everlasting rest, as is here added for hy assistance.

2. “ Rest! How sweet the sound! It is melody to ay ears! It lies as a reviving cordial at my heart, and

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