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est the neighbourly pity of a Samaritan, that took care of a wounded man: thou condemnest those that wilt not show mercy to the poor and needy: thou biddest us be merciful as our heavenly Father is merciful. If we see our brother have need, and shut up the bowels of our compassion from him, it is because thy love dwelleth not in us : and shall I wait, then, at thy doors in vain, and go empty away from such a God; when I beg but for that which thou hast commanded me to ask, and without which I cannot serve thee, or come to thee, live or die in a habit beseeming a member of Christ, a child of God, and an heir of heaven? O give me the wedding garment, without which I shall but dishonour thy bounteous feast. Let me wear a livery which becometh thy family, even a child of God. How oft hast thou commanded me to rejoice; yea, to rejoice with exceeding and unspeakable joy; and how fain would I in this obey thee. O that I had more faithfully obeyed thee in other preparatory duties, in ruling my senses, my fancy, my tongue, and in diligent using all thy talents! Then I might more easily have obeyed thee in this. Thou knowest, Lord, that love and joy are duties that must have more than a command. () bid me do them with an effecting word. How can I rejoice in death and darkness? When the bridegroom is absent I must fast and
While I look towards heaven but through the crevices of this dungeon flesh, my love and joy will be but answerable to my light. How long is it since I hoped that I had been translated from the kingdom of darkness, and delivered from the power of the Prince of Darkness, and brought into that light which is the entrance of the inheritance of saints. And yet, alas! darkness, darkness is still my misery. There is light round about me, in thy word and works, but darkness is within me: and if my eye be dark, the sun will be no sun to me. Alas! my Lord, it is not all the learning in the world ; no, not of theology, that consisteth in the knowledge of words and methods, which I can take for the satisfactory, heavenly light. To know what thou hast written in the sacred book, is not enough to make me know my glorified Saviour, my Father, and iny home. It must be a light from heaven that must show me heaven, and a light accompanied with vital heat that must turn to love and joy within me. O let me not have only dreaming knowledge of words and signs, but quickening light, to show the things which these words do signify, to my mind and heart. Surely, the faith by which we must live, must be a living faith, and
must reach further than to words, how true soever. Can faith live in the dark? What is it but an effect of thine illumination? What is my unbelief but the darkness of my soul ? Lord Jesus, scatter all these mists! Make thy way, 0 thou Sun of Righteousness, into this benighted mind! O send thine advocate to silence every temptation that is against thy truth and thee; and thine agent to prosecute thy cause against thine enemies and mine, and to be the resident witness of thy verity, and my sonship and salvation. Hearing of thee is not satisfactory to me: it must be the presence and operation of thy light and love, shed abroad by thy Spirit on my heart, that must quiet and content my soul. I confess, with shame, that I have sinned against heaven and before thee, and am unworthy to have any glimpse or taste of heaven; but so did many that are now entertained and feasted by thy love in glory.
My Lord, I know that heaven is not far from me: it is not, I believe, one day's or hour's journey to a separated soul. How quick is the communion of my eyes
with the sun,
that seems far off; and couldst thou not show it me in a moment?
Is not faith a seeing grace? It can see the invisible God, the unseen world, the new Jerusalem, the innumerable angels, and the Spirits of the perfected just, if it be animated by thine influx; without which it can do nothing, and is nothing. Thou that oft healedst the blind here in the flesh, didst tell us that it is much more thy work to illuminate souls. It is but forgiving all my sins, and removing this film that sin hath gathered, and my illuminated soul will see thy glory. I know that the veil of flesh must be also rent before I shall see thee with open face, and know my fellow-citizens above as I am known. It is not heaven on earth that I am begging for, but that I may see it from Mount Nebo, and have the bunch of grapes, the pledge and the first-fruits: that faith and hope which may kindle love and desire, and make me run my race in patience, and live and die in the joy which beseemeth an heir of heaven.
But if my part on earth must be no greater than yet it is, let it make me the wearier of this dungeon, and groan more fervently to be with thee, and long for the day when all my longing shall be satisfied, and my soul be filled with thy light and love.
Sect. 24. And, doubtless, as I shall love the angels and saints in heaven, so I shall some way, in subordination to Christ, be a receiver from them. Our love will be mutual; and which way soever I owe duty, I shall expect some answerable return of benefit. The sun shineth upon the stars; as well as upon the earth, and stars on one another. If angels are greatly useful to me here, it is like they will be much more there, where I shall be a more capable receiver. It will be no diminution to Christ's honour, that he there maketh use of my fellow-creatures to my joy, no more than it is here. The whole creation will still be one compaginated frame; and the heavenly society will for ever retain their relation to each other, and their aptitude and disposition to the duties and benefits of those relations. And as we shall be far fitter for them than here we are, so shall we have far more comfort in them. How gloriously will God shine in the glory of the blessed! How delightful will it be to see their perfection, in wisdom, holiness, love, and concord! What voices they use, or what communication, instead of voices, we shall shortly know; but surely there is a blessed harmony of minds, and wills, and practice. All are not equal; but all accord to love and praise their glorious God, and readily to obey him, and perfectly to love each other. There is no jarring, or discordant spirit that is out of tune; no separation or opposition to each other. As God's love in Christ is
ur full and final happiness, so nature, which hath made us sociable, teacheth us to desire to be loved of each other, but especially by wise and worthy persons. Saints and angels in heaven will love incomparably better than our dearest friends on earth can do, and better than they did themselves when we were on earth; for they will love that best which is best, and where there is most of God appearing; else it were not intellectual love. And therefore they will love us as much better when we come to heaven, as we shall be better. If we go from loving friends on earth, we shall go to them that love us far more. The love of those here doth but pity us in our pains, and go weeping with our carcasses to the grave; but the love of those above will joyfully convoy, or welcome, our souls to their triumphant society. All the holy friends that we thought we had lost, that went before us, we shall find rejoicing there with Christ.
And oh, what a glorious state will be that common uniting, and united love! If two or three candles joined together make a greater flame and light, what would ten thousand stars united do ? When all the love of angels and saints in full perfection shall be so united, as to make one love, to God that is one, and
to one another, who are there all one in Christ; what a glorious love will that be! That love and joy will be the same thing; and that one universal love will be one universal joy,
Little know we how great a mercy it is to be here commanded to love our neighbours as ourselves; and much more, to be effectually taught of God so to love one another. And did we all here live in such unfeigned love, we should be like to heaven, as bearing the image of the God of Love; but, alas! our societies here are small; our goodness, which is cur amiableness, wofully imperfect and mixed with loathsome sin and discord; but there, a whole heaven full of blessed spirits will flame for ever, in perfect love to God, to Christ, and one another.
Go then, go willingly, O my soul! Love joineth with light, to draw up thy desires ! Nature inclineth all things unto union : even the lifeless elements have an aggregative motion, by which the parts, when violently separated, do hastily return to their natural adhesion. Art thou a lover of wisdom, and wouldest thou not be united to the wise? Art thou a lover of holiness, and wouldest thou not be united to the holy, who are made of love ? Art thou a hater of enmity, discord, and divisions, and a lover of unity here on earth, and wouidest thou not be where all the justare one? It is not an unnatural union to thy loss; nothing shall be taken from thee by it: thou shalt receive by it more than thou canst contribute; it shall not be forced against thy will; it is but a union of minds and wills; a perfect union of loves, Let not natural or sinful selfishness cause thee to think suispiciously or hardly of it, for it is thy happiness and end. What got the angels that fell to selfishness, from unity ? and what got Adam, that followed them herein ? The further any man goeth from unity, by selfishness, the deeper he falleth into sin and misery from God. And what doth grace but call us back from sin and selfishness, to God's unity again? Doat not, then, on this dark, divided world. Is not thy body, while the parts by an uniting soul are kept together, and make one, in a better state, than when it is crumbled into lifeless dust? And doth not death creep on thee by a gradual dissolution ? Away, then, from this sandy, incoherent state; the further from the centre, the further from unity. A unity indeed there is of all things; but it is one heavenly life and light and love, which is the true felicitating union.
We dispute here whether the aggregative motion of separated parts (as in descensu gravium,) be from a motive principle in the part, or by the attraction of the whole, or by any external impulse. It is like that there is somewhat of all these; but sure the greatest cause is like to do inost to the effect, The body of the earth hath more power to attract a clod, or stone, than the intrinsic principle to move it downwards; but intrinsic gravity is also necessary. The superior attractive love and loveliness must do more to draw up this mind to God, than my intrinsic holiness to move it upward; but without this holiness, the soul would not be capable of feeling that attractive influx, Every grace cometh from God, to fit and lead up my soul to God. Faith, therefore, believeth the heavenly state, and love doth, with some delight, desire it, and hope gapeth after it, that I may
at last attain it. They that have pleaded against propriety, and would have all things common in this world, have forgotten that there is a propriety in our present egoity, and natural constitution, which rendereth some accidental propriety necessary to us. Every man hath his own bodily parts, and inherent accidents; and every man must have his own food, his own place, clothing, and acquisitions; his own children, and, therefore, his own wife, &c. But that the greatest perfection is most for community, as far as nature is capable of it, God would show us, in making the first receivers of the extraordinary pourings-out of his Spirit, to sell all, and voluntarily make all common, none saying, This or that is my own; which was not done by any constraining law but by the law or power of uniting love: they were first all as of one heart and soul. (Acts iv. 32.)
Take not, then, thy inordinate desire of propriety for thy health, but for thy sickness; cherish it not, aud be not afraid to lose it, and measure not the heavenly felicity by it; spirits are penetrable; they claim not so much as a propriety of place, as bodies do. It is thy weakness and state of imperfection now which maketh it so desirable to thee that thy house should be thine, and no one's but thine; thy land be thine, and no one's but thine; thy clothes, thy books, yea, thy knowledge and grace, be thine, and no one's but thine. How much more excellent a state were it, (if we were here capable of it,) if we could say,
that all these are as the common light of the sun, which is mine, and every one's as well as mine! Why are we so desirous to speak all languages, but that we might understand all men, and be understood of all, and so might make our sentiments as common as is possible? Whence is it that men are