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ther, indeed, are easily concealed from the view of others : all these may be read in the face : but, if the heart itself could be seen, and that curiously dissected, yet even thus could not holiness be discovered. Beside the closeness, every man is apt to measure his judgment of holiness, by a false rule of his own; whereby it comes to pass, that it is so commonly mistaken. One thivks him holy, that forsakes the world, and retires into some wild desert, or mures up himself in an anchorite's cell : another judges him holy, that macerates his body with fasting, that disciplines his hide with whips and hair cloths, that lies hard and fares hard; that abstains from all that relates to flesh, in his Lent and Embers; that passionately hugs his crucifix, and tosses his beads, and duly observes bis shrifts and canonical hours : now this man, that, in their way, is in dan, ger of canonization for a saint, is, by the professor of an opposite holiness, decried to hell, for superstition and idolatry. One styles him holy, who segregates himself from the contagious communion of formal Christians; professing to serve his God in a purer way of worship; rejecting all stinted forms of prayer and psalmody; spitting at the mention of a hierarchy; allowing no head sacred, but by the imposition of what we miscall, laic hands; abandoning all ceremonies of human institution; abiding no circumstances of divine worship, but apostolical : another allows him only holy, who is already a citizen of the new Jerusalem ; advanced to such an entireness with God, as that he is no less than glorified; he hath left the Scriptures below him, as a weak and dead letter, and is far above all whatsoever ordinance; yea, which I tremble to report, above the blood of Christ himself: a third reputes him only holy, who, having left the society of all Churches as too impure, stands now alone; waiting for some miracles from heaven, to settle his resolution. Now, Lord, after all these and many more weak and idle misprisions, upon the sure and unfailing grounds of truth, (thy Word is Truth,) I know that man to be truly holy, whose understanding is enlightened with right apprehensions of thee and heavenly things; whose will and affections are rightly disposed to thee, so as his heart is wholly taken up with thee; whose conversation is go altogether with thee, that he thinks all time lost,wherein he doth not enjoy thee, and a sweet and heavenly communion with thee; walking perpetually with thee, and labouring in all things to be approved of thee. O God, do thou work me up to this temper, and keep me still in it: and then, however I may differ in a construction of holiness from others that think themselves more perfect, howsoever I may be censured as defective in my judgment or affections; yet I do not, without sound and sensible comfort, know, that my Judge is in heaven, and my witness in my bosom.
TWO HEAVENS IN ONE. I WAS wont to say, “ It is in vain for a man to hope for, and impossible for him to enjoy, a double heaven; one below, and another above: since our sufferings here on earth must make way for our future glory :" But now I find it, in a better sense, very feasible for a true Christian to attain both : for, as we say, where the Prince resides, there is the Court; so, surely, where the Supreme and Infinite Majesty pleases to manifest his presence, there is Heaven. Whereas, therefore, God exhibits himself present two ways, in grace and in glory; it must follow, that the gracious presence of God makes a heaven here below, as his glorious presence makes a heaven above. Now, it cannot but fall out, that, as the lower material heaven comes far short of the purity of the superior regions, being frequently overcast with clouds, and troubled with other both watery and fiery meteors : so, this spiritual heaven below, being many times darkened with sad desertions and blustered with temptations, cannot yield that perfection of inward peace and happiness, which remains for us above this sphere of mutabi. lity ; yet affords us so much fruition of God, as may give us a true title and entrance into blessedness. I well see, O God, it is rio paradox, to say, that thy Saints reign with thee here on earth : though not for a thousand years; yet during the time of their .so. journing here below : not in any secular splendour and magnifi. cence, not in bodily pleasures and sensual contentments; yet in true spiritual delectation, in the joys of the Holy Ghost, unspeakable and full of glory. () my God, do thou thus set my foot over the threshold of thy heaven. Put thou my soul into this happy condition of an inchoate blessedness : so shall I cheerfully spend the remainder of my days, in a joyful expectation of the full consuunmation of my glory.
THE STOCK EMPLOYED. What are all excellencies, without respect of their use? How much good ground is there in the world, that is neither cultured nor owned ! What a world of precious metals lie hid in the bowels of the earth, which shall never be coined! What store of rich pearls and diamonds are hoarded up in the earth and sea, which shall never see the light! What delicacies of fowls and fishes do both elements afford, which shall never come to the dish! How many great wits are there in the world, which lie willingly concealed; whether out of modesty, or idleness, or lack of a wished opportunity! Improvement gives a true value to all blessings. A penny in the purse is worth many pounds, yea talents, in an unknown mine. That is our good, which doth us good. O God, give thou me grace, to put out my little stock to the public bank; and faithfully to employ those poor faculties thou hast given me, to the advantage of thy Name, and the benefit of thy Church : so, besides the gain of others, my pounds shall be rewarded with cities.
LOVE OF LIFE. We are all naturally desirous to live; and, though we prize life
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above all earthly things, yet we are ashamed to profess that we desire it for its own sake; but pretend some other subordinate reason to affect it. One would live to finish his building, or to clear his purchase; another, to breed up his children, and to see them well matched : one would fain outlive his trial at Jaw; another wishes to outwear an emulous corrival : one would fain outlast a lease, that holds him off from his long-expected possessions; another would live to see the times amend, and a re-establishment of a public peace. Thus we, that would be glad to give skin for skin and all things for life, would seem to wish life for any thing but it. self. After all this hypocrisy, nature, above all things, would live; and makes life the main end of living : but grace has higher thoughts; and, therefore, though it holds life sweet and desirable, yet entertains the love of it upon more excellent, that is, spiritual terms. () God, I have no reason to be weary of this life, which, through thy mercy, long acquaintance hath endeared to me; though sauced with some bitter disgusts of age: but, how unworthy shall I approve myself of so great a blessing, if now I do not more desire to continue it for thy sake, than my own!
EQUAL DISTRIBUTION. It was a most idle question, which the philosophers are *said to have proposed to Barnabas, the colleague of St. Paul : “Why a small gnat should have sis legs, and wings beside ; whereas the elephant, the greatest of beasts, hath but four legs, and no wings.” What pity it is, that those wise masters were not of the counsel of the Almighty, when he was pleased to give a being to his creature! they would surely have devised to make a winged elephant, and a corpulent gnat ; a feathered man, and a speaking beast. Vain fools ! they had not learned to know and adore that infinite wisdom, wherein all things were made. It is not for that Incomprehensible Majesty and Power, to be accountable to wretched man, for the reasons of his all-wise and mighty creation : yet, so hath he contrived it, that there is no part of his great workmanship, whereof even man cannot be able to give an irrefragable reason, why thus framed, not otherwise. What were more easy, than to say, that six legs to that unwieldy body had been cumbersome, and impeditive of motion ; that the wings for so massy a bulk had been useless? I admire thee, () God, in all the works of thy hands : and justly magnify, not only thine omnipotence, both in the matter and form of their creation; but thy mercy and wisdom, in the equal distribution of all their powers and faculties, which thou hast so ordered, that every creature hath some requisite helps, no creature hath all. The fowls of the air, which are ordained for flight, hast thou furnished with feathers, to bear them up in that light element: the fishes, with smooth scales and fius, for their more easy
* Clement. de gestis Petri.
gliding through those watery regions: the beasts of the field, with such limbs and strong hides, as might fit them for service: as for man, the lord of all the rest, him thou hast endued with reason, to make his use of all these. Whom yet thou hast so framed, as that, in many qualities, thou hast allowed the brute creatures to exceed their master: some of them are stronger than he; some of them swifter than he, and more nimble than he: he were no better than a madman, that should ask, why man should not fly as well as the bird, and swim as well as the fish, and run as fast as the hart; since that one faculty of reason, wherewith he is furnished, is more worth, than all the brutish excellencies of the world put together. O my God, thou, that hast enriched me with a reasonable soul, whom thou mightest have made the brutest of thy creatures, give me the grace so to improve thy gift, as may be most to the glory and advantage of thy own Name : let me, in the name and behaif of all my brute fellow-creatures, bless thee for them; and, both for them and myself, in a ravishment of spirit, cry out, with the Psalmist, O Lord my God, how wonderful and excellent are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all.
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THE BODY OF SUBJECTION. Bodily crercise, saith the Apostle, profits little ; 1 Tim. iv. 8. little, sure, in respect of any worth, that it hath in itself; or any thank, that it can expect froin the Almighty. For, what is it to that good and great God, whether I be full or fasting; whether I wake or sleep; whether my skin be smooth or rough, ruddy or pale, white or discoloured; whether my hand be hard with labour, or soft with ease; whether my bed be hard, or yielding; whether my diet be coarse, or delicate ? But, though in itself it avail little, yet so it may be, and hath been, and ought to be improved, as that it may be found exceedingly beneficial to the soul : else, the same Apostle would not have said, I keep under iny body, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a cast-away; i Cor. ix. 27. In all the records of history, whom do we find more noted for holiness, than those, who have been most austere in the restraints of bodily pleasures and contentments? In the Mount of Tabor, who should meet with our Saviour in his Transfiguration, but those two eminent Saints, which had fasted an equal number of days with himself? And, our experience tells us, that what is detracted from the body is added to the soul: for the flesh and spirit are not more partners, than enemies : one gains by the other's loss : the pampering of the flesh, is the starving of the soul. I find an unavoidable emulation between these two parts of myself: O God, teach me to hold an equal hand betwixt them both: let me so use them, as holding the one my favourite, the other my drudge; not so humouring the worse part, as to discontent the better; nor so wholly regarding the better, as altogether to discourage the worse. Both are thine; both by gift,
and purchase : enable thou me to give each of them their dues ; so as the one may be fitted, with all humble obsequiousness to serve; the other, to rule and command, with all just authority and moderation.
THE GROUND OF UNPROFICIENCY. Where there is defect in the principles, there can be no possibility of prevailing in any kind. Should a man be so foolish as to persuade his horse, that it is not safe for him to drink in the extremity of his heat; or to advise a child, that it is good for bim to be whipt, or, in a case of mortal danger, to have a fontinel made in his flesh; how fondly should he mis-spend his breath! because the one wants the faculty, the other the use, of reason. So, if a man shall sadly tell a wild sensualist, that it is good for him, to bear the yoke in his youth; that it is meet for him, to curb and cross his unruly appetite; that the bitterest cup of afflictions ought to be freely taken off, as the most sovereign medicine of the soul; that we ought to bleed and die for the name of Christ; that all the sufferings of the present tinies are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us; Rom. viji. 18. bis labour is no less lost, than if he had made an eloquent oration to a deaf man: because this car. nal hearer lacks that principle of grace and regeneration, which only can enable him to apprehend and relish these divine counsels. I see, O God, I see too well, how it comes to pass, that thy word sounds so loud, and prevails so little ; even because it is not joined with faith in the hearers: the right principle is missing, which should make the soul capable of thy divine mysteries. Faith is no less essential to the true Christian, than reason is to man, or sense to a beast. Oh, do thou furnish my soul with this heavenly grace of thine ; and then all thy Sacred Oracles shall be as clear to niy understanding, as any visible object is to my sense.
THE SURE REFUGE. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof, saith our Saviour: lo, every day hath its evil, and that evil is load enough for the present, without the further charge of our anticipated cares. Surely, the life of man is conflicted with such a world of crosses succeeding each other, that, if he have not a sure refuge to flee unto, he cannot chuse but be quite over-laid with miseries : one while, his estate suffers, whether through casualty or oppression ; another while, his children miscarry, whether by sickness, or death, or disorder: one while, his good name is impeached ; another while, his body languishes: one while, bis mind is perplexed with irksome suits; another while, bis soul is wounded with the sting of some secret sin : one while, he is fretted with domestical discontents; another wbile, distempered with the public broils : one while, the sense of evil torments him; another while, the expectation. Miserable is the case of that man, who, when he is pursued with whole troops of