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and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for me: so as, when my earthly house of this tabernacle shall be dissolved, I have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. A house? Yea, a palace of heavenly state and magnificence. Neither is it less than a kingdom, that abides there for me: a kingdom, so much more above these worldly monarchies, as heaven is above this clod of earth.
Now, Lord, what conceits, what affections of mind can be, in the least sort, answerable to so transcendent mercy? If some friend shall have been pleased to bestow some mean legacy upon me, or shall have feoffed me in some few acres of his land, how deeply do I find myself obliged to the love and memory of so kind a benefactor! () then, Lord, how can my soul be capable of those thoughts and dispositions, which may reach to the least proportion of thine infinite bounty; who, of a poor worm on earth, hast made me an heir of the kingdom of heaven?
Woe is me, how subject are these earthly principalities to hazard and mutability, whether through death or insurrection! but this crown, which thou hast laid up for me is immarcescible: and shall sit imimovably fast upon my head; not for years, nor for millions of ages, but for all eternity. Oh, let it be my heaven here below, in the mean while, to live in a perpetual fruition of thee; and to begin those hallelujahs to thee here, which shall be as endless as thy mercy, and my blessedness.
an leirtinite Esposition
SECT. XII. The improvement of our Love to Christ for the mercy of his Deliver.
ance, of the Tuition of his Angels, of the powerful working of his
Good Špirit. HADST thou been pleased to have translated me from thy former paradise, the most delightful seat of man's original integrity and happiness, to the glory of the highest heaven, the preferment had been infinitely gracious; but, to bring my soul from the nethermost hell, and to place it among the choir of angels, doubles the thank of thy mercy, and the measure of my obligation. How thankful was thy prophet but to an Ebedmelech, that, by a cord and rags let down into that dark dungeon, helped him out of that uncomfortable pit wherein he was lodged: yet, what was there, but a little cold, hunger, stench, closeness, obscurity ? Lord, how should I bless thee, that hast fetched my soul from that pit of eternal horror, from that lake of fire and brimstone, from the everlasting torments of the damned; wherein I had deseryed to perish for ever? I will sing of thy power, unto thee, O my strength, will I șing : for God is my deliverer, and the God of my mercy.
But, () Lord, it yet thou shouldest leave me in my own hands, where were I ? how easily should I be robbed of thee, with every temptation ? how should I be made the scorn and insultation of men and devils! It is thy wonderful mercy, that thou hast given thine angels charge over me. Those angels, great in power and glorious in majesty, are my sure, though invisible, guard. O Blessed Jesu, what an honour, what a safety is this, that those heavenly spirits, which attend thy throne, should be my champions! Those, that ministered to thee after thy temptation, are ready to assist and relieve me in mine. They can neither neglect their charge, because they are perfectly holy; nor fail of their victory, because they are, under thee, the most powerful. I see you, () ye Blessed Guardians, I see you, by the eye of my faith, no less truly, than the eye of my sense sees my bodily attendants : I do truly, though spiritually, feel your presence, by your gracious operations, in, upon, and for me: and I do heartily bless my God and yours, for you; and for those saving offices, that, through his merciful appointment, you ever do for my soul.
But, as it was with thine Israelites of old, that it would not content them, that thou promisedst and wouldest send thine angel before, to bring them into the land Aowing with milk and honey, unless thy presence, O Lord, should go also along with them; so is it still with me and all thine; wert not thou with and in us, what could thine angels do for us? In thee it is, that they move and are. The same Infinite Spirit, which works in and by them, works also in me. From thee it is, () thou Blessed and Eternal Spirit, that I have any stirrings of holy motions and breathings of good desires, any life of grace, any will to resist, any power to overcome evil. It is thou, O God, ihat girdest me with strength unto battle : thou hast given me the shield of thy salvation: thy right-hand hath holden me up: thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies. Glory and praise be to thee, O Lord, which always causest us to triumph in Christ; who crownest us with loving kindness and tender mercies; and hast not held us short of the best of thy favours.
Truly, Lord, hadst thou given us but a mere being, as thou hast done to the lowest rank of thy creatures, it had been more than thou owest us; more than erer we could be able to requite to thy divine bounty : for every being is good; and the least degree of good is far above our worthiness.
But, that to our being thou hast added life, it is yet a higher measure of thy mercy: for, certainly, of thy common favours, life is the most precious.
Yet this is such a benefit as may be had and not perceived; for even the plants of the earth live and feel it not : that to our life, therefore, thou hast made a further accession of sense, it is yet a larger improvement of thy beneficence; for this faculty hath some power to manage life; and makes it capable, to affect those means which may tend to the preservation of it, and to decline the contrary.
But this is no other than the brute creatures enjoy equally with us, and some of them beyond us : that, therefore, to our sense thou hast blessed us with a further addition of reason, it is yet a higher pitch of munificence: for hereby we are men; and, as such, are able to attain some knowledge of thee our Creator, to observe the motions of the lieavens, to search into the natures of our fellow
creatures, to pass judgment upon actions and events, and to transact these earthly affairs to our own best advantage.
But, when all this is done, woe were to us, if we were but men! for our corrupted reason renders us, of all creatures, the most miserable: that, therefore, to our reason thou hast superadded faith ; to our nature, grace; and, of men, hast made us Christians; and to us, as such, hast given thy Christ, thy Spirit ; and thereby made us, of enemies, sons and heirs, coheirs with Christ of thine eternal and most glorious kingdom of heaven; yea, hast incorporated us into thyself, and made us one spirit with thee our God; Lord, what room can there be possibly, in these strait and narrow hearts of ours, for a due admiration of thy transcendent love and mercy?
I am swallowed up, O God, I am willingly swallowed up, in this bottomless abyss of thine infinite love: and there let me dwell, in a perpetual ravishment of spirit; till, being freed from this clog of earth and filled with the fulness of Christ, I shall be admitted to enjoy that, which I cannot now reach to wonder at, thine incomprehensible bliss and glory which thou hast laid up in the highest heavens for them that love thee, in the blessed communion of all thy Saints and Angels, thy Cherubim and Seraphim, Thrones, Dominions, and Principalities, and Powers; in the beatifical presence of thee, the Ever-Living God, the Eternal Father of Spirits, Father, Son, Holy Ghost, One Infinite Deity in Three, co-essentially, co-eternally, co-equally glorious Persons: To whom be blessing, honour, glory, and power, for ever and ever. Amen. Hallelujah,