תמונות בעמוד

entreaties to feed upon it? Canst thou love a little shining earth, a walking piece of clay? And canst thou not love that God, that Christ, that glory, which is so truly and unmeasurably lovely? Thou canst love thy friend, because he loves thee: and is the love of a friend like the love of Christ. Their weeping or bleeding for thee does not ease thee, nor stay the course of thy tears or blood; but the tears and blood that fell from thy Lord have a sovereign healing virtue.-0 my soul! if love deserves, and should beget love, what incomprehensible love is here before thee! Pour out all the store of thy affections here, and all is too little. O that it were more! O that it were many thousand tiines more! Let him be first served that served thee first. Let him have the first-born, and strength of thy soul, who parted with strength, and life, and love, for thee.-O my soul! dost thou love for excellency? Yonder is the region of light; this is a land of darkness. Yonder twinkling stars, that shining moon, and radiant sun, are all our lanterns hung out of thy Father's house, to light thee while thou walkest in this dark world: But how little dost thou know the glory and blessedness that is within?-Dost thou love for suitableness? What person more suitable than Christ? His godhead and humanity, his fulness and freeness, his willingness and constancy, all proclaim him thy most suitable friend. What state more suitable to thy misery than mercy? Or to thy sin and pollution, than honour and perfection? What place more suitable to thee than heaven? Does this world agree with thy desires? Hast thou not had a sufficient trial of it? Or dost thou love for interest and near relation? Where hast thou better interest than in heaven, or nearer relation than there?

$ 12.“ Dost thou love for acquaintance and familiarity? Though thine eyes have never seen thy Lord, yet thou hast heard his voice, received his benefits, and lived in his bosom: he taught thee to know thyself and him: he opened thee that first window through which thou sawest into heaven. Hast thou forgotten since thy heart was careless, and he awakened it; hard, and he

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softened it; stubborn, and he made it yield; at peace, and he troubled it; whole, and he broke it; and broken, till he healed it again? Hast thou forgotten the times when he found thee in tears; when he heard thy secret sighs and groans, and left all to come and comfort thee? when he took thee, as it were, in his arms, and asked thee, Poor soul, what ails thee? Dost thou weep, when I have wept so much? Be of good cheer; thy wounds are saving, and not deadly; for I have made them, who mean thee no hurt: though I let out thy blood, I will not let out thy life.--I remember his voice. How gently did he take me up! How carefully did he dress my wounds! Methinks I hear him still saying to me, Poor sinner, though thou hast dealt unkindly with me, and cast me off; yet I will not do so by thee. Though thou hast set light by me, and all my mercies; yet they and myself are all thine. What wouldst thou have, that I can give thee? And what dost thou want, that I cannot give thee? If any thing I have will give thee pleasure, thou shalt have it. Wouldst thou have pardon? I freely forgive thee all the debt. Wouldst thou have grace and peace? Thou shalt have them both. Wouldst thou have myself? Behold I am thine, thy Friend, thy Lord, thy Brother, Husband, and Head. Wouldst thou have the Father? I will bring thee to him, and thou shalt have him, in and by me. These were my Lord's reviving words.—After all, when I was doubtful of his love, methinks I yet remember his overcoming arguments. Have I donc so much, sinner, to testify my love, and yet dost thou doubt? Have 1 offered thee myself and love so long, and yet dost thou question my willingness to be thine? At what dearer rate should I tell thee that I love thee? Wilt thou not believe my bitter passion proceeded from love? Have I made myself in the gospel 'a lion to thine enemies, and a lamb to thee; and dost thou overlook my lamblike nature? Had I been willing to let thee perish, what need I have done and suffered so much? What peed I follow thee with such patience and importunity! Why dost thou tell me of thy wants? have I not enough

for me and thee? Or of thy unworthiness? for if thou wast thyself worthy, what shouldst thou do with my worthiness? Did I ever invite, or save, the worthy and the righteous; or is there any such upon earth? Hast thou nothing? art thou lost and miserable, helpless and forlorn? Dost thou believe I am an all-sufficient Saviour; and wouldst thou have me? Lo, I am thine, take me if thou art willing, I am; and neither sin, nor Satan, shall break the match.”—These, O these, were the blessed words which his Spirit from his gospel spoke unto me, till he made me cast myself at his feet, and cry out, “ My Saviour and my Lord, thou hast broke, thou hast revived my heart; thou hast overcome, thou hast won my heart; take it, it is thine: if such a heart can please thee, take it; if it cannot, make it such as thou wouldst have it.” Thus, O my soul, mayest thou remember the sweet familiarity thou hast had with Christ; therefore if acquaintance will cause affection, let out thy heart unto him. It is he that hath stood by thy bed of sickness, hath eased thy pains, refreshed thy weariness, and removed thy fears. He hath been always ready, when thou hast earnestly sought him; hath met thee in public and private; hath been found of thee in the congregation, in thy house, in thy closet, in the field, in thy waking nights, in thy deepest dangers.

13. “ If bounty and compassion be an attractive of love, how unmeasurably then am I bound to love him! All the mercies that have filled up my life, all the places that ever I abode in, all the societies and persons I have been conversant with, all my employments and relations, every condition I have been in, and every change I have passed through, all tell me that the fountain is overflowing goodness. Lord, what a sum of love am I indebted to thee! And how does my debt continually increase! How should I love again for so much love? But shall I dare to think of requitting thee, or of recompensing all thy love with mine? Will my mite requite thee for thy golden mines; my seldom wishes for thy constant bounty; mine which is nothing, or not mine, for thine which is infinite and thine own: Shall I dare to contend in love with thee; or set my borrowed languid spark against the sun of love? Can I love as high, as deep, as broad, as long as Love itself? as much as he that made me, and that made me love, and gave me all that little which I have? As I cannot match thee in the works of power, nor inake, nor preserve, nor rule, the worlds; no more can I match thee in love. No, Lord, I yield, I am overcome. O blessed conquest! Go on victoriously, and still prevail, and triumph in thy love. The captive of love shall proclaim thy victory; when thou leadest me in triumph from earth to heaven, from death to life, from the tribunal to the throne; myself, and all that see it, shall acknowledge thou hast prevailed, and all shall say, Behold how he loved him! Yet let me love in subjection to thy love; as thy redeemed captive, though not thy peer. Shall I not love at all, because I cannot reach thy measure? O that I could feel. ingly say, I love thee, even as I love my friend, and myself! Though I cannot say, as the apostle, Thou knowest that I love thee! yet I can say, Lord, thou knowest that I would love thee! I am angry with my heart, that it doth not love thee; I chide it, yet it doth not mend; I reason with it, and would fain persuade it, yet I do not perceive it stir; I rub and chase it in the use of ordinances, and yet I feel it not warm within me. Unworthy soul! Is not thine eye now upon the only lovely object? art thou not beholding the ravishing glory of the saints? And dost thou not love? Art thou not a rational soul, and should not reason tell thee that earth is a dungeon to the celestial glory? Art thou not thyself a spirit, and shouldst thou not love God, who is a spirit, and the Father of spirits? Why dost thou love so much thy perishing clay, and love no more the heavenly glory? Shalt thou love when thou comest there? When the Lord shall take thy carcase from the grave, and make thee shine as the sun in glory for ever and ever; shalt thou then love, or shalt thou not? Is not the place a meeting of lovers? Is not the life a state of love? Is it not the great marriage-day of the Lamb? Is not the employment there the work of love, where the souls

with Christ take their fill? O then, my soul, begin it here! Be sick with love now, that thou mayest be well with love there. Keep thyself now in the love of God, and let neither life, nor death, nor any thing, separate thee from it; and thou shalt be kept in the fulness of love for ever, and nothing shall imbitter or abate thy pleasure: for the Lord hath prepared a city of love, a place for communicating love to his chosen, and they that love his name shall dwell therein.

§ 14. “Awake then, O my drowsy soul! To sleep under the light of grace is unreasonable, much more in the approach of the light of glory. Come forth, my dull congealed spirit; thy Lord bids thee rejoice, and again rejoice. Thou hast lain long enough in thy prison of flesh, where Satan hath been thy jailor; cares have been thy irons, fears thy scourges, and thy food the bread and water of affliction; where sorrows have been thy lodging, and thy sins and foes have made thy bed, and an unbelieving heart hath been the gates and bars that have kept thee in: the angel of the covenant now calls thee, and bids thee arise and follow him. Up, O my soul! and cheerfully obey, and thy bolts and bars shall all fly open; follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. Shouldst thou fear to follow such a guide? Can the sun lead thee to a state of darkness? Will he lead thee to death, who died to save thee from it? Follow him, and he will show thee the paradise of God; he will give thee a sight of the New Jerusalem, and a taste of the tree of life.-Come forth, my drooping soul, and lay aside thy winter dress; let it be seen, by thy garments of joy and praise, that the spring is come: as thou now seest thy comforts green, thou shalt shortly see them white and ripe for harvest, and then thou shalt be called to reap, and gather, and take possession. Should I suspend and delay my joys till then? Should not the joys of the spring go before the joys of harvest? Is title nothing before possession? Is the heir in no better a state than a slave? My Lord hath taught me to rejoice in hope of his glory; and how to see it through the bars of a prison: for when persecuted for righteousness' sake, he commands me to rejoice, and

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