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thee in the world! While I have a thought to think, let me not forget thee; or a tongue to move, let me mention thee with delight; or a breath to breathe, let it be after thee and for thee; or a knee to bend, let it daily bow at thy footstool! and when by sickness thou confinest me, do thou make my bed, number my pains, and put all my tears into thy bottle!
$ 27. “ As my flesh desired what my spirit abhorred, so now let my spirit desire that day which my flesh abhorreth; that my friends may not with so much sorrow wait for the departure of my soul, as my soul with joy shall wait for its own departure! Then let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his; even a removal to that glory which shall never end! Then let thy convoy of angels bring my departing soul among the perfected spirits of the just, and let me follow my dear friends that have died in Christ before me ; and while my sorrowing friends are weeping over my grave, let my spirit be reposed with thee in rest; and while my corpse shall lie rotting in the dark, let my soul be in the inheritance of the saints in light! O thou that numberest the very hairs of my head, number all the days that my body lies in the dust; and thou that writest all my members in thy book, keep an account of my scattered bones! O my Saviour, hasten the time of thy retur; send forth thy angels, and let that dreadful joyful trumpet sound! Delay not, lest the living, give up their hopes; delay not, lest earth should grow like hell, and thy church by division be all crumbled to dust; delay not, lest thy enemies get advantage of thy flock, and lest pride, hypocrisy, sensuality, and unbelief, prevail against thy little remnant, and share among them thy whole inheritance, and when thou comest thou find not faith on the earth; delay not, lest the grave should boast of victory, and having learned rebellion of its guest, should refuse to deliver thee up thy due! O hasten that great resurrection-day, when the command shall go forth, and none disobey; when the sea and earth shall yield up their hostages, and all that sleep in the grave shall awake, and the dead in Christ
shall rise first; when the seed which thou sowest corruptible, shall come forth incorruptible; and graves that received rottenness and dust, shall return thee glorious stars and suns! Therefore dare I lay down my carcase in the dust, intrusting it, not to a grave, but to thee: and therefore my flesh shall rest in hope, till thou shalt raise it to the possession of everlasting rest. Return, O Lord how long? O let thy kingdom come! Thy desolate bride saith, Come; for thy Špirit within her saith, Come; and teacheth her thus to pray with groanings which cannot be uttered. Yea, the whole creation saith, Come, waiting to be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God. Thou thyself hath said, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!”
28. Thus, Reader, I have given thee my best advice for maintaining a heavenly conversation. If thou canst not thus meditate methodically and fully, yet do it as thou canst; only be sure to do it seriously and frequently. Be acquainted with this heavenly work, and thou wilt, in some degree, be acquainted with God; thy joys will be spiritual, prevalent, and lasting, according to the nature of their blessed object; thou wilt have comfort in life and death. When thou hast neither wealth, nor health, nor the pleasures of this world, yet wilt thou have comfort. Without the presence or help of any friend, without a minister, without a book, when all means are denied thee, or taken from thee, yet mayest thou have vigorous, real comfort. Thy graces will be mighty, active, and victorious; and the daily joy, which is thus fetched from heaven, will be thy strength. Thou wilt be as one that stands on the top of an exceeding high mountain; he looks down on the world as if it were quite below him; fields and woods, cities and towns, seem to him but little spots. Thus des
picably wilt thou look on all things here below. The greatest princes will seem but as grasshoppers; the busy, contentious, covetous world, but as a heap of ants Men's threatenings will be no terror to thee; nor the honours of this world any strong enticement; temptations will be more harmless, as having lost their strength; and afflictions less grievous, as having lost their sting; and every mercy will be better known and relished. It is now, under God, in thy own choice, whether thou wilt live this blessed life or not; and whether all this pains I have taken for thee shall prosper or be lost. If it be lost through thy laziness, thou thyself wilt prove the greatest loser. O man! what hast thou to mind but God and heaven? Art thou not almost out of this world already? Dost thou not look every day, when one disease or other will let out thy soul? Does not the grave wait to be thine house; and worms to feed upon thy face and heart? What if thy pulse must beat a few strokes more? what if thou hast a little longer to breathe, pefore thou breathe out thy last? a few more nights to sleep, before thou sleepest in the dust? Alas! what will this be, when it is gone? And is it not alınost gone already? Very shortly thou wilt see thy glass run out, and say to thyself, My life is done! My time is gone! It is past recalling! There is nothing now but heaven or hell before me! Where then should thy heart be now but in beaven? Didst thou know what a dreadful thing it is, to have a doubt of heaven when a man is dying, it would rouse thee up. And what else but doubt can that man then do, that never seriously thought of heaven before?
$ 29. Some there be that say, “ It is not worth so much time and trouble, to think of the greatness of the joys above: so that we can make sure they are ours, we know they are great.” But as these men obey not the command of God, which requires them to have their conversation in heaven, and to set their affections on things above; so they wilfully make their own lives iniserable, by refusing the delights which God hath set before them. And if this were all, it
were a small matter; but see what abundance of other mischiefs follow the neglect of these heavenly delights.
This neglect-will damp, if not destroy, their love to God,—will make it unpleasant to them to think or speak of God, or engage in his service,-it tends to pervert their judgments concerning the ways and ordinances of God,-it makes them sensual and voluptuous, -it leaves them under the power of every affliction and temptation, and is a preparative to total apostacy,
-it will also make them fearful and unwilling to die. For who would go to a God or a place he hath no delight in? Who would leave his pleasure here, if he had not better to go to ? Had I only proposed a course of melancholy, and fear, and sorrow, you might reasonibly have objected. But you must have heavenly deights, or none that are lasting. God is willing you hould daily walk with him, and fetch in consolations rom the everlasting fountain ; if you are unwilling, ven bear the loss : and when you are dying, seek for omfort where you can get it, and see whether fleshly lelights will remain with you; then conscience will emember, in spite of you, that you was once persuadd to a way for more excellent pleasures; pleasures hat would have followed you through death, and lave lasted to eternity.
§ 30. As for you, whose hearts God hath weaned rom all things here below, I hope you will value this leavenly life, and take one walk every day in the New erusalem. God is your love, and your desire: you vould fain be more acquainted with your Saviour; nd I know it is your grief that your hearts are not earer to him, and that they do not more feelingly jve him, and delight in him. O try this life of meitation on your heavenly rest! Here is the mount, 11 which the fluctuating ark of your souls may rest. et the world see, by your heavenly lives, that religion
something niore than opinions and disputes, or a ilk of outward duties. If ever a Christian is like imself, and answerable to his principles and profeson, it is when he is most serious and lively in this uty. As Moses, before he died, went up into mount Nebo, to take a survey of the land of Canaan; so the Christian ascends the mount of Contemplation, and by faith surveys his rest. He looks upon the glorious mansions, and says, Glorious things are deservedly spoken of thee, thou city of God! He hears, as it were, the melody of the heavenly choir, and says, Happy is the people that are in such a case! Yea, happy is that people whose God is the Lord! He looks upon the glorified inhabitants, and says, Happy art thou, O Israel: Who is like unto thee, O people, saved by the Lord, the shield of thy help, and who is the sword of thine eccel. lency! When he looks upon the Lord himself, who is their glory, he is ready with the rest to fall down and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and say, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come! Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory, and honour, and power! When he looks on the glorified Saviour, he is ready to say, Amen to that new song, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb, for ever and ever : For thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and has made us unto our God, kings and priests! When he looks back on the wilderness of this world, he blesses the believing, patient, despised saints; he pities the ignorant, obstinate, miserable world ; and for himself, he says, as Peter, It is good to be here; or as Asapti, It is good for me to draw near to God; for, lo! they that are far from thee shall perish. Thus, as Daniel in his captivity daily opened his window towards Jeru: salem, though far out of sight, when he went to God in his devotions; so inay the believing soul in this cap tivity of the flesh look towards Jerusalem, which is above. And as Paul was to the Colossians, so may the believer be with the glorified spirits, though absent in the flesh, yet with them in the spirit, joying and be holding their heavenly order. And as the lark sweetly sings, while she soars on high, but is suddenly silenced when she falls to the earth; so is the frame of the soul most delightful and divine, while it keeps in the