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world, to tempt me: bad company will not infect me, nor divert me: the errors of good men will not seduce me; nor reputation or reverence of the wise, learned, or religious, draw me to imitate them in any sin.
3. I shall there have none of Satan's solicitations, to pervert my will: he will not have that advantage by my sense and fancy, nor that access unto me, as now he hath. But of this I spake before.
Sect. 2. My will shall there be better than here, I. Negatively, because, 1. There will be nothing in it that is displeasing to God: no sinful inclination, habit, or act: nothing to strive against God's Spirit; nor grudge at any word or work of God; no principles of enmity or rebellion left. 2. There will be nothing that is against the good of others : no inclinations to injury, or any thing that is against my neighbour's or the common good. 3. There will be nothing in it that is cross to itself; no more war or striving in me; not a law in my mind, and a law in my members, that are contrary to each other : no crossness between sense and reason, nor between the sensitive appetite and the rational: all will be at unity and peace within.
Sect. 3. II. Positively, Christ will have finished his cure on my will. The work of sanctification will be perfect, and, I. My will shall there, by union and communion, be made comformable to the will of Christ, and so unto the Father's will. This must needs be meant (whatever more) in the prayer of Christ, where he prayeth, “ That they may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they may be one in us, that they may be one, even as we are one." (John xvii. 21, 22.) The will of Christ, and of the Father, will be my will, that is, I shall love and will (dispositively and actually) the same that God loveth and willeth in the measure of a creature, infinitely below him). And if so, 1. How can the will of man have greater honour, than to be the same with the will of God? Assimilation to a king, among us poor mortals, goeth for honour; assimilation to angels is much more. That we shall be like, or equal to, angels, is a high part of the blessed's praise; but how much more is it, to be thus far like to God. Indeed, God's image, and the divine in us here, can be no less than this similitude to God's will in the degree that we have it. But, alas ! that degree is so very low, as that we can hardly tell whether our similitude or dissimilitude be the more; I mean, whether our wills are for
more, that God willeth, or against more. Oh, how many thousand wishes and desires liave we had, which are against the will of God! But there we shall have the full impression of God's will, upon our wills, as face answereth face in a glass, or as the wax answereth the seal; as the finger on the outside answereth to the motion of the clock within, so, in all things which belong to our duty and perfection, we shall answer the will of God. As the echo answereth the voice, defectively, but truly, without contradiction or discord, so will our wills be as the echo of God's will.
2. And then I am sure that there will be nothing in iny will but good; for God willeth no evil.
3. And this will be virtually all obedience; for all sin is voluntary, and all mortal good is primarily in the will.
4. And then there can be no matter of disquiet in me, but all will be in perfect peace; for all that is like God will be pleasing, both to God and me; no troubling crossness will remain.
5. And how easy and sweet then will all my obedience be, when I shall perfectly will it, without any reluctancy or averseness? All will be my very pleasure that I do.
Sect. 4. II. And seeing my will shall be the same with the will of God, it followeth that it shall never be frustrate, but I shall have all whatsoever I would have, and shall be and do whatsoever I would be and do. For I shall desire nothing but what God willeth, and God's will shall certainly be done. I shall have as much love and joy as I would have; I shall be as happy as I would be ; I shall desire nothing for others but it shall be done. Indeed, if God's will were there unknown to me, I might ignorantly go against it, as I do here; but there, before I will or desire any thing, I shall know whether it be God's will or not, so that. I shall never wish any thing which shall not be accomplished. And as it is God's perfection to have his will always done, (though all his laws be not obeyed,) so my perfec, tion shall consist in this likeness'unto God, that my will shall be still fulfilled. And then Christ's promises will be perfectly per-. formed, “ Whatsoever ye ask the Father in my name, he will give it you. Ye shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.” (John xv. 16, and xvi. 23, and xiv. 13, 14, and xv. 7.) While their will was the same with the will of Christ: but he saith not that it shall all be given us here. We ask for perfection, and we shall have it, but not here..
Sect. 5. III. Yea, my will itself shall be my fruition, for it shall not be the will of one in need; a desire of what I want, for I shall want nothing; therefore, it is said that we shall thirst no more: but it will be a complacency in what I do possess, and in this also my perfection will be the image of God's perfection : not but that all creatures still receive from God, and in that sense may be said to need, in that they have nothing of themselves, but all by gift and communication from him; but being still and full possessors, they cannot properly be said to want. Complacency in that which we possess is love and pleasure in one act; and, indeed, pleasure and love are the same thing. To love any thing, is to have that thing to be pleasing to my mind. Even when it is wanted, it is thought on as a pleasing thing, and therefore desired, so that the desiring act of the will is but a second act occasioned by want, and following the first act, which is complacency, or simple love. I desire it because I love it. Rightly, therefore, is the will itself called love, for in the first act, love, will, and rational appetite, are all words of the same signification. My will, therefore, must needs be perpetually full of perfect joy, when enjoying love and pleasure will be my will itself. Thus shall I have in me the spring of living waters, and the comforter will then perfectly do his work, when my constant will itself shall be comfort. Well, therefore, is glory said to be the perfection of sanctifying grace, when this grace is the beginning of that love and joy which glory is the perfection of; and perfection is the Spirit's work.
Sect. 6. IV. And it will be much of my felicity that my will shall be confirmed and fixed in this conformity to the will of God, and holy love will be its nature. Now both understanding and will are so lamentably mutable, that further than God promiseth to uphold us, we know not one day what we shall think, judge, or will the next. But when love is as a fixed nature in us, we shall be still the same, adhering to amiable goodness, without intermission or cessation. It will be as easy to us (and more) to love God and holiness, as it is to the hungry and thirsty to love meat and drink, or to the proud to love praise or domination, yea, or to any man to love his life. And we shall be no more weary of loving, than the sun is of shining, or than the hungry is of feasting, or a friend of friendly love and converse. Nay, the comparison is quite too low, for all creatures here have a fading vanity which wearieth the satiated or failing appetite, but there is no such thing in heaven.
Sect. 7. II. And as from the nature of that act, so much more from the nature of the object, my love will appear to be my happiness. The objects (which are the matter of the act) will be these:
1. God himself will be the full and everlasting object of my love. And he that could but understand as well as those in heaven do, what this word signifieth,' to love God, and be beloved of him,' would say, that there needs no other description of perfect happiness : perfect, joyful complacency in God is the heaven which I desire and hope for. This is my felicity, and much more. As I am the agent of love to God, and the object of God's love to me, it is my felicity. As God is the ultimate object of my love, and the agent of his love to me, (that is, of the effects of it,) so it is unspeakably more high and excellent than to be my felicity. Love is the closure of the wills of God and man, and as it is God's part or interest, (efficiently or objectively, it is infinitely more excellent than as it is iny part and interest.
Sect. 3. In God there is all that love can desire for its full, everlasting feast. 1. He is infinitely good in himself, that is, most amiable: and the nature of man's will is to love good as good. Could we love God with a love that is adequate to the object, we should be God ourselves, which is impossible, none but God can adequately know God or love him. In God's love to himself, both the act and object are infinite, and, indeed, are both one, there being not that formally which we know by the name of act and object; but 'act and object are our analogical, inadequate conceptions of that act of God which is his essence, But in our love to God the act is finite, and infinitely below the object; yea, the object, which in reality is itself infinite, yet proximately as the esse cognitum is the object of our love, is finite there. It is the conception or idea of God in the intellect, which is the proper and nearest object of the will, and this is as a face in a glass, a shadow, even the finite little shadow of an infinite Being. The same infinite good is a felicity to divers persons in divers degrees, according as they diversely love him, and are receptive of his love.
Sect. 9. 2. God, who is infinitely good in himself, will be that most suitable good to me, and meetest for the dearest embracements of
will. For, 1. He hath all in himself that I need or can desire. There is no room, nothing above him, or beyond him, or without him, for love to cleave to. Though below him
the creature, though not being without him, is loved without him, by the deception of the mind. Sect. 10. 2. He is willing to be loved by me.
He disdaineth not my love. He might have refused to be embraced by such affections as have so oft and sinfully polluted themselves by embracing vanity and filth. As persons of state, and stately cleanliness, will not be touched by filthy hands, much less let dogs or dirty swine leap on them which come from wallowing in the mire. God might have driven me away from the happiness of loving him, and have denied me the leave for so high a work, but he commandeth my love, and maketh it my greatest duty. He inviteth and entreateth me, as if he were a gainer by my happiness. He seeketh to me to seek to him, and as he is the first, so is he the most earnest suitor. He is far readier to receive - my love than I am to give it him. All the compassionate invitations which I have had from him here, by his word and mercies, assure me that he will there receive me readily; he that so valued my poor, cold, imperfect love tohim on earth, will not reject my perfect love in heaven. He that made it the great work of his Spirit to effect it, will not refuse it when it is made perfect by himself.
Sect. 11. 3. And he is near to me, and not a distant God out of my reach, and so unsuitable to my love. Blind unbelievers may dream that he is far off, but he is as near us, even now, as we are to ourselves. He is not far from
for in him we live, and move, and have our being. The light of the sun is not so near my eyes, as God will be for ever to my mind. When he would sanctify us to love him, he bringeth us nigh to him in Christ. As we love ourselves easily as being, as they say, the nearest to ourselves, so we shall as easily love God as ourselves, when we see that he is as near us as we are to ourselves, as well as that he is infinitely more amiable in himself.
Sect. 12. 4. And because of the imparity of the creature and the Creator, he hath provided such means to demonstrate to us his nearness, as are necessary to the exercise of our love. We shall see his glory, and taste his love, in our glorified Mediator, and in the glory of the church and world. God will condescend to show himself to us according to our capacities of beholding him. Here we see him in his works and word, and there we shall see him in the glory of all his perfect works. But this leadeth me to the second object of my love.
Sect. 13. II. Under God, as I shall see, so I shall delightfully