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thy sting! O grave where is thy victory !” When millions of ages are past, my glory will be but beginning; and when millions more are past, it will be no nearer ending. Every day is all noontide, and every month is summer, and every year is there a jubilee, and every age is full manhood, and all this is one eternity. 'o blessed eternity! The glory of my glory! the perfection of my perfection!
Actings of Faith. Au drowsy, earthly heart, how coldly dost thou think of this reviving day! Dost thou sleep when thou thinkest of eternal rest ? Art thou inclining earthward, when heaven is before thee? Hadst thou rather sit down here than walk in the court of the palace of God ? Dost thou now remember thy worldly business, thy carnal pleasures, thy merry company ? Wretched heart! Is it better to be there than above with God? Is the company better? Are the pleasures greater ? Come away, make no excuse, make no delay. Gird up thy loins, ascend the mount, and look about thee with the eye of faith. Look not back upon the way of the wilderness, except it be when thine eyes are dazzled with the glory of God, or when thou wouldst compare the kingdom with that howling desert, that thou mayest perceive more sensibly the mighty difference. Fix thine eye upon the sun itself, and look not down to earth as long as thou art able to behold it, except it be to discern more clearly the brightness of the one, by the darkness of the other. Yonder, is thy Father's glory,—yonder must thou dwell when thou leavest this earth,—yonder must thou remove, O my soul, when thou departest from this body; and when the power of thy Lord shall raise it again, and join thee to it, yonder shalt thou live with God for ever. There is the New Jerusalem, the gates of which are of pearl, the foundations of precious stones, the streets and pavement of transparent gold. Beholdest thou that sun which lights all this world ? It shall be taken down as useless there, for the glory of God will darken and extinguish it.
What thinkest thou, O my soul, of this most blessed state ? What! dost thou stagger at the promise of God, through unbelief? Though thou say nothing, or even profess belief, yet thou speakest so coldly and so customarily, that I much suspect thee. I know thy infidelity is thy natural vice. Didst thou believe indeed, thou wouldst be more affected with it. Why, hast thou not it under the hand, and seal, and oath of God? Can God lie ? Has God made thee a promise of rest, and wilt thou come short of it, and shut out thyself, through unbelief? Thine eyes may fail thee, thy ears deceive thee, and all thy senses prove delusions, sooner than a promise of God can delude thee.
And is this rest so sweet and so sure ? O then, what mean the careless world? Do they know what it is they so neglect ? Do they know for certain that the crown is before them, while they thus sit still, or follow trifles ? Surely they act like men beside themselves, to mind so much their provision by the way, to strive, and care, and labour for trifles, when they are hasting so fast to another world, and their eternal happiness lies at stake. Had they one spark of reason left, they would never sacrifice their rest for toil, or sell their rest for worldly vanities, or venture heaven for the pleasures of sin. Ah, poor sinners! would that ye considered what you hazard, and then you would scorn these tempting baits. O blessed for ever be that love, that has rescued me from this bewitching darkness !
Actings of Love. DRAW yet nearer, O my soul; bring forth thy strongest burning love. Here is matter for it to work upon; here is something truly worth thy loving. O see what beauty presents itself. Is it not exceedingly lovely ? Is not all the beauty in the world united here? Here is a feast for thine eyes; a feast for the powers of thy soul. Dost thou need to be entreated to feed upon it? Canst thou love a little shining earth? Dost thou love a piece of animated clay? And wilt thou not love that God, that Christ, that glory which are so truly, so immeasurably lovely ?
Thou lovest thy friend because he loves thee; and is the love of any 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 and Saviour have all a sovereign healing virtue, and are a balsam to thy wounds. O my soul! if love deserve, and should beget love, what incomprehensible love is here ! Pour out all the store of thy affections here; and all is too little. O that it were more !
O my soul ! dost thou love excellence ? Why, thou seest nothing here below but baseness, except as they relate to thy enjoyments above. Yonder twinkling stars, that shining moon, this radiant sun, are all but as lanterns hung out from thy Father's house, to light thee while thou walkest amidst the darkness of the earth. But little dost thou know (ah little indeed,) the glory and blessed mirth that are within !
Dost thou love what is suitable? Why, what person more suitable than Christ! His Godhead, his Manhood, his fulness, his freeness, his willingness, his constancy, all proclaim him most suitable as thy friend. What more suitable to thy misery, than his mercy? Or to thy sinfulness than his pardoning love? What place more suitable to thee than heaven? Thou hast had sufficient trial of this world. Dost thou find it agree with thy nature or desires ? Are these heavy sufferings, these substantial vanities suitable to thee?
Or dost thou love for interest and near relation ? Why, where hast thou better interest than in heaven! or where hast thou nearer relation than there!
Dost thou love for acquaintance and familiarity ? Why, though thine eyes have never seen thy Lord, yet he is never far from thee. Thou hast heard the voice of Christ to thy very heart; thou hast received innumerable benefits from him; and art thou not yet acquainted with him? It is he that brought thee safely into the world; it is he that nursed thee up in thy tender infancy, and helped thee when thou couldst not help thyself. He taught thee to go, to speak; to read, to understand. He taught thee to know thyself and him. He opened to thee that first window whereby thou sawest into heaven. Hast thou forgotten, since thy heart was cold and careless, and he did quicken it; and hard and stubborn, and he did soften it, and make it yield ?
Omethinks I yet remember his voice, and feel those embracing arms that took me up. How gently did he handle me! how carefully did he dress my wounds and bind them up! My Saviour and my Lord, thou hast broken my heart; thou hast revived, 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, mayst thou remember the sweet familiarity thou hast had with Christ. He has been always ready, when thou hast earnestly sought him. He has given thee the meeting in public and in private. He has been found of thee in the congregation, in thy house, in thy chamber, in the field, in the way as thou wast walking, in thy waking nights, in thy deepest dangers.
O if bounty and compassion be an attractive of love, how unmeasurably am I bound to love him! All the mercies that have filled up my life tell me this; every condition of life through which I have passed, all my employments, and all my relations, every change that has happened to me, all tell me, that the fountain is overflowing goodness.
Lord, what a sum of love do I owe thee! and how does my debt continually increase! How should I love again for so much love! But what? Shall I dare to think of making thee a requital! or of recompensing thy love with mine! No, Lord, I yield, I am overcome. O blessed conquest! Go on victo
riously, and still prevail, and triumph in thy love. The captive of love shall proclaim thy victory, when thou leadest me in triumph from death to life, from earth to heaven, from the tribunal to the throne.
Yet let me love thee 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 ? Ir at least, let me heartily wish to love thee. Though 1 may not be able to say as Peter, Thou knowest that I love thee; yet can I say, Lord, thou knowest that I would love thee.
Actings of Joy. AWAKE 0 my drowsy soul! leave these earthly cells and hear thy Lord bid thee rejoice. Thou hast lain here long enough in thy prison of flesh, where satan has been thy jailor, and the cares of this world have been thy irons, and fears thy scourge, and the bread and water of affliction thy food, and a carnal, hard unbelieving heart the iron gates and bars that have kept thee in, that thou couldst scarcely have leave to look through the lattices, and see one glimpse of the immortal light. The angel of the covenant now calls thee, and strikes off thy chains, and bids thee arise and follow him. Up, O my soul, and cheerfully obey, and thy bolts and bars will all fly open; follow the Lamb whithersoever he leads thee. Art thou afraid because thou knowest not whither ? 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 give thee a sight of the New Jerusalem; he will show thee the paradise of God; he will give thee a taste of the tree of life. I know, he would have my joys exceed my sorrows; he has spread for me a table in this wilderness, and furnished it with the promises of everlasting glory, and set before me angels' food,