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THE

AUTHOR's SUPPLICATORY DEDICATION.

TO thee, only, O my God, who hast put these holy thoughts into my soul, do I most humbly desire to dedicate both inyself and them : earnestly beseeching thee graciously to accept of both; and that thou wouldest be pleased to accompany and follow these my weak practical Devotions, with a sensible blessing in every reader. Let these good Meditations not rest in the eye, but descend into the bosom of the perusers; and effectually work in their hearts, that warmth of pious affections, which I have here presumed to exemplify in mine: To the glory of thy great Name, and our mutual comfort, in the day of the glorious appearing of our Lord Jesus. Amen,

340

SELF-CONFERENCES,

SOLILOQUY I.
THE BEST PROSPECT.

O my God, I shall not be worthy of my eyes, if I think I can em, ploy them better, than in looking up to thy heaven: and I shall not be worthy to look up to heaven, if I suffer my eyes to rest there, and not look through heaven at thee, the Almighty Maker and Ruler of it; who dwellest there in all glory and majesty; and if seeing thee I do not always adore thee, and find my soul taken up with awful and admiring thoughts concerning thee. I see many eyes have looked curiously upon that glorious frame, else they could not have made so punctual observation of the fire and motion of those goodly globes of light, which thou hast placed there, as to foretell all their conjunctions and oppositions, for many hundred years before: but, while they look at the motions, let me look at the mover; wondering, not without ravishment of spirit, at that infinite power and wisdom, which keeps up those numberless and immense bodies in so perfect a regularity, that they all keep their just stations and times, without the least varying from the course which thou settedst them in their first creation; so while their observation makes them the wiser, mine shall make me the holier. Much variety of objects hast thou given us, here below, which do commonly take up our eyes: but it shall be my fault, if all those do not rather lead my thoughts to thee, than withdraw them from thee; since thy power and majesty is clearly conspicuous in them all. O God, while I have eyes, let me never but see thee in all things, let me never but enjoy thee; let me see thee as thou mayest be seen, by the eye of faith, till I may see, as I am seen, hereafter, in glory: let me see thee as through a glass darkly here on earth, till I may come to see thee face to face in heaven; i Cor. xiij. 12.

II.

THE HAPPY PARTING. I have lived divers years longer than holy David did; yet I can truly say with him, if that psalm were his which hath the title of Moses, We have brought our years to an end, as it were a tale that is told * ; Psalm xc. 9. Methinks, () my soul, it is but yesterday since we met; and now we are upon parting: neither shall we, I hope, be unwilling to take leave; for what advantage can it be to

* Euthym. in Præfat. Psalmorum,

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us to hold out longer together? One piece of me cannot but grow more infirm with use and time; and thereupon must follow a decay of all faculties and operations. Where the tools are grown bad and dull, what work can be exquisite ? Thou seest it then necessary, and inevitable, that we must yield to age, and grow worse with continuance. And what privilege can mere time give us in our duration? We see the basest of stones last longer, than the durablest plants; and we see trees hold out longer, than any sensitive creatures; and divers of those sensitive creatures outlast man, the lord of them all. Neither are any of these held more excellent, because they wear out more hours. We know Enoch was more happy, that was fetched away at three hundred sixty-five years, than Methuselah at nine hundred sixty and nine; Gen. v. 23, 24, 27. Difference of age doth nothing but pull down a side, where there are not supplies of increasing abilities. Should we continue our partnership many years longer, could we hope for more health and strength of body, more vigour of understanding and judgment, more heat of good affections? And can we doubt, that it will be elsewhere better with us? Do we not know what abides for us above? Are we not assured, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens ? 2 Cor. v. 1. Why, therefore, oh, why should ye be loth, to part upon fair terins? thou, O my soul, to the possession of that happy mansion, which thy Dear Saviour hath from eternity prepared for thee in his Father's house; and thou, O my body, to that quiet repository of thy grave, till ye both shall happily meet in the blessed resurrection of the just, never, never to be severed.

III.

HEAVENLY CONVERSATION. It matters not a little, with whom we hold our familiar conversation; for, commonly, we are transformed into the dispositions and manners of those, whose company we frequent: we daily see those, who, by haunting the society of drunkards and debauched persons, have, from civil and orderly men, grown into extremity of lewdness; and, on the contrary, those, who have consorted themselves with the holy and virtuous, have attained to a gracious participation of their sanctity. Why shouldest thou not then, () my soul, by a continual conversation with God and his angels, improve to a heavenly disposition? Thou canst not, while thou art here, but have somewhat to do with the world: that will necessarily intrude into thy presence, and force upon thee businesses unavoidable; and thy secular friends may well look to have some share in thy sociable entertainments. But these are but goers and comers, easily and willingly dismissed, after some kind interlocu. tions: the company, that must stick by thee, is spiritual; which shall never leave thee, if thou have the grace to apply thyself to them upon all occasions. Thou mayest hold fair correspondence with all other, not offensive companions; but thy entireness must

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