« ZurückWeiter »
dungeon, and groan more fervently to be with uniting and united love! If two or three candles thee, and long for the day when all my longing joined together make a greater flame and light, shall be satisfied, and my soul be filled with thy what would ten thousand stars united do? When light and love.
all the love of angels and saints in full perfection, Doubtless, as I shall love the angels and saints shall be so united as to make one love, to God in heaven, so I shall some way, in subordination that is one, and to one another, who are there to Christ, be a receiver from them: our love will all one in Christ, O what a glorious love will be mutual; and which way soever I owe duty, that be! That love and joy will be the same I shall expect some answerable return of benefit. thing: and that one universal love will be one The sun shines upon the stars as well as on the universal joy. earth, and the stars on one another. If angels Little know we how great a mercy it is to be are greatly useful to me here, it is likely they here commanded to love our neighbours as ourwill be much more there, where I shall be a more selves ; and much more to be effectually taught capable receiver. It will be no diminution to of God so to love one another. Did we all here Christ's honour, that he there makes use of my live in such unfeigned love, we should be like to fellow-creatures to my joy, no more than it is heaven, as bearing the image of the God of love. here. The whole creation will be still one com- But, alas, our societies here are small; our goodpacted frame; and the heavenly society will for ness, which is our amiableness, wofully imperever retain their relation to each other, and their fect, and mixed with lothesome sin and discord. aptitude and disposition to the duties and bene- But there a whole heaven full of blessed spirits fits of those relations. As we shall be far fitter will flame for ever in perfect love to God, to for them than here we are, so shall we have far Christ, and one another. more comfort in them. How gloriously will God Go then, go willingly, O my soul! Love joins shine in the glory of the blessed! How delight with light to draw up thy desires! Nature inful will it be to see their perfection in wisdom, clines all things unto union; even the lifeless holiness, love, and concord! What voices they elements have an aggregative motion, by which use, or what communication instead of voices, the parts, when violently separated, hastily rewe shall shortly know: but surely there is a turn to their natural adhesion. Art thou a lover blessed harmony of minds, wills, and practice. of wisdom, and wouldst thou not be united to All are not equal, but all accord to love and praise the wise ? Art thou a lover of holiness, and of their glorious God, and readily to obey him, love itself, and wouldst thou not be united to the and perfectly to love each other. There is no holy, who are made of love ? Art thou a hater jarring or discordant spirit that is out of tune ; of enmity, discord, and divisions, and a lover of no separation or opposition to each other. As unity here on earth, and wouldest thou not be God's love in Christ is our full and final happi. where all the just are one? It is not an unness ; so nature, which hath made us sociable, natural union to thy loss : nothing shall be taken teaches us to desire to be loved of each other, from thee by it. Thou shalt receive by it more but especially by wise and worthy persons. than thou canst contribute : it shall not be forced Saints and angels in heaven will love incompar- against thy will. It is but a union of minds and ably better than our dearest friends on earth wills, a perfect union of loves. Let not natural can do; and better than they did themselves or sinful selfishness cause thee to think suspiwhen we were on earth ; for they will love that ciously or hardly of it; for it is thy happiness best which is best, and where there is most of and end. What got the angels that fell to selGod appearing ; else it were not intellectual love: fishness from unity ? And what got Adam that therefore they will love us as much better when followed them herein ? The further any man we come to heaven, as we shall be better. If goes from unity by selfishness, the deeper he we go from loving friends on earth, we shall go falls into sin and misery from God: and what to them that love us far more. The love of these doth grace but call us back from sin and selfishhere doth but pity us in our pains, and go weep- ness to God's unity again ? Dote not then on ing with our bodies to the grave: but the love this dark divided world : is not thy body, of those above will joyfully convoy or welcome while the parts by a uniting soul are kept toour souls to their triumphing society. All the gether, and make one, in a better state than when holy friends that we thought we had lost, that it is crumbled into lifeless dust ? Doth not went before us, we shall find rejoicing there with death creep on thee by a gradual dissolution ? Christ.
Away then from this sandy, incoherent state : O what a glorious state will be that common the further from the centre the further from
unity: a unity indeed there is of all things; but languages, but that we might understand all it is one heavenly life, light, and love which is men, and be understood of all, and so might the true felicitating union.
make our sentiments as common as is possible? We dispute here whether the aggregative mo- Whence is it that men are so addicted to talkation of separated parts be from a motive princi. tiveness, but that nature would make all our ple in the part, or by the attraction of the whole, thoughts and passions as common as it can ? or by an external impulse. It is likely that there Why else are learned men so desirous to propais somewhat of all these : but surely the greatest gate their learning, and godly men so desirous to cause is likely to do most to the effect. The body make all others wise and godly? It seems one of the earth hath more power to attract a clod of the greatest calamities of this life, that when or stone, than the intrinsic principle to move it a man hath with the longest and hardest study downwards : but intrinsic gravity is also neces- attained to much knowledge, he cannot bequeathe sary. The superior attractive love and loveli- it, or any part of it, to his heir, or any person, ness must do more to draw up this mind to God, when he dies, but every man must acquire it for than my intrinsic holiness to move it upward : himself. When God hath sanctified the parents, but without this holiness the soul would not be they cannot communicate their holiness to their capable of feeling that attractive influx. Every children, though God promise to bless them on grace comes from God to fit and lead up my their account. Much less can any man make his soul to God; faith therefore believes the hea- | grace or knowledge common. Nature and grace venly state, and love doth with some delight incline us to desire it; but we cannot do it. For desire it, and hope aspires after it, that I may at this end we talk, preach, and write ; for this last attain it.
end we study to be as plain, convincing, and They that have pleaded against propriety, and moving as we can, that we may make our knowwould have all things common in this world, ledge and affections as common to our hearers have forgotten that there is a propriety in our and readers as we can. O what a blessed work natural constitution, which renders some acci- should we take preaching and writing for, if we dental propriety necessary to us. Every man hath could make them all know but what we know, his own bodily parts, and inherent accidents; and love what we are persuading them to love! and every man must have his own food, his own There would then be no need of schools and place, clothing, and acquisitions ; his own chil- universities : a few hours would do more than dren, and therefore his own wife, &c. But that they do in an age. But alas, how rare is it for the greatest perfection is most for community as a father of excellent learning and piety, to have far as nature is capable of it, God would show one son like himself, after all his industry ! us, in making the first receivers of the extraordi- | Is not the heavenly communion then desirable, nary pourings out of his Spirit, to sell all, and where every man shall have his own, and yet his voluntarily make all common, none saying, this or own be common to all others ? My knowledge that is my own ; which was not done by any shall be mine own, and other men's as well as constraining law, but by the law or power of mine: my goodness shall be my own and theirs : uniting love : they were first all as of one heart my glory and felicity shall be mine and theirs : and soul.
theirs also shall be mine as well as theirs; the Take not then thy inordinate desire of pro- knowledge, the goodness, the glory of all the priety for thy health, but for thy sickness : che- heavenly society, shall be mine, according to my rish it not, and be not afraid to lose it, and mea- capacity. Grace is the seed of such a state, which sure not the heavenly felicity by it. Spirits are makes us all one in Christ, neither barbarian nor penetrable: they claim not so much a propriety Scythian, circumcision, nor uncircumcision, bond of place, as bodies do : it is thy weakness and nor free; by giving us to love our neighbour state of imperfection now, which makes it so de- as ourselves, and to love both our neighbour as sirable to thee that thy house should be thine, ourselves for Christ, and Christ in all: well and no one's but thine; thy land be thine, and might Paul say, "all things are yours.' But it is no one's but thine; thy clothes, thy books, yea, here but as in the seed; the perfect union and thy knowledge and grace, be thine, and no one's communion is hereafter. Earth and heaven must but thine. How much more excellent a state be distinguished : we must not extend our hopes were it, if we were here capable of it, if we could or pretensions here beyond the capacity of our say, that all these are as the common light of the natures; as perfect holiness and knowledge, sun, which is mine, and every one's as well as so perfect unity and concord is proper to mine? Why are we so desirous to speak all I heaven, and is not here to be expected: the papal pretensions of an impossible union in one praise to God and our Redeemer.' Whether governor of all the earth, is the means to hinder there be any voice, or only such spiritual activthat union which is possible. But the state of ity and exultation, as to man in flesh is not to perfection is the state of perfect union and be clearly understood, is not fit for us here to communion. Hasten then upwards, O my soul, presume to determine. It will be somewhat with the most fervent desires, and breathe after more high and excellent than our vocal praise that state with the strongest hopes ; where thou and singing is; and of which this bears some shalt not be rich, and see thy neighbours poor analogical resemblance or signification. As all about thee, nor be poor while they are rich ; nor passions earnestly desire vent and exercise, so be well while they are sick, or sick while they specially do our holy affections of love, joy, and are well. But their riches, their health, their admiration of God Almighty! There is in us joy, will be all thine, and thine will be all theirs, a desire of communion with many in such affecas the common light; and none will have the less tions and expressions. Methinks when we are for the participation of the rest : yea, communion singing or speaking God's praise in the great will be part of every one's felicity : it constitutes assemblies, with joyful and fervent souls, I have the very being of the city of God. This celestial the liveliest foretaste of heaven on earth ; and I communion of saints in one holy church, above could almost wish that our voices were loud what is here to be attained, is now an article of enough to reach through all the world, and unto our belief: but believing will soon end in see- heaven itself. Nor could I ever be offended, as ing and enjoying.
many are, at the organs, and other convenient
music, soberly and seasonably used, which exSECTION V.—THE CONSTITUTIVE REASONS FROM cite and help to tune my soul in so holy a work, THE HEAVENLY LIFE OR PRACTICE. in which no true assistance is to be despised.
No work more comforts me in my greatest sufSeeing and loving will be the heavenly life. ferings, none seems more congruous and pleasant But yet it seems that, besides these, there will to me while I wait for death, than psalms, and be executive powers, and therefore some answer- words of praise to God; nor is there any exerable practice. There are good works in heaven, cise in which I had rather end my life ; and and far more and better than on earth. For, 1. should I not then willingly go to the heavenly There will be more vital activity, and therefore choir, where God is praised with perfect love, more exercise for it: for the power is for joy, and harmony ? Had I more of a praising action. 2. There will be more love to God and frame of soul, it would make me long more for one another; and love is active. 3. There will that life of praise. For I never find myself more be more likeness to God and our Redeemer, who willing to be there, than when I most joyfully is communicative, and doth good as he is good. speak or sing God's praise. Though the dead 4. Our union with Christ, who will be for ever praise not God in the grave, and dust doth not beneficent as well as benevolent, will make us in give him thanks; yet living souls in heaven do our places also beneficent. 5. Our communion it joyfully, while their fleshly clothing turns to in the city of God will prove that we shall all dust. bear our part as the members of the body, in · Lord, tune my soul to thy praises now, that contributing to the welfare of the whole, and in sweet experience may make me long to be where the common returns to God.
I shall do it better! I see where any excellent But what are the heavenly works, we must music is, nature makes men flock to it; and they perfectly know when we come thither. In gen that are but hearers, yet join by a concurrent eral we know, that they will be the works of love fancy and delight. Surely, if I had once heard to God and to his creatures ; that is, such as love the heavenly choir, I should echo to their holy inclines us to exercise. They will be works of songs, though I could not imitate them ; and I obedience to God; that is, such as we shall do should think it the truest blessedness to be there to please his will, and because he wills them to and bear my part. My God, the voice of thy be our duty. They will be useful works to others. comforting Spirit, speaking thy love effectually They will be pleasant to ourselves, and part of to my soul, would make such holy music in me, our felicity. They will carry all to God our that would incline me to the celestial comfort ; end.
and without it all these thoughts and words will Somewhat of them is particularly described be in vain. It is the inward melody of thy in the holy scriptures : as, “We shall in concord Spirit and my conscience, that must tune me to with the whole society, or choir, give thanks and desire the heavenly melody. O speak thy love first to my heart, and then I shall joyfully speak | more noble superior bodies, even the stars, are it to my brethren, and shall ambitiously seek of so great use and influx to inferior bodies, it is that communion of them that praise thee better likely that accordingly superior spirits will be of than sinful, groaning mortals can : though my use to the inhabitants of the world below them. sins here make discord in my songs, I hope my! But I think it not meet to venture here upon groans for those sins, and their effects, will make uncertain conjectures beyond the revelation of no discord. Sighs and tears have had the honour God's word, and therefore shall add no more, to be accepted by thee, who despisest not a con- but conclude, that God knows what use to make trite soul; but if thy Spirit will sing and speak of us hereafter as well as here, and that if there within me, and help me against the discordant were no more for us to do in heaven, but with murmurs of my unbelieving heart, and pained perfect knowledge, love, and joy, to hold comflesh, I shall offer thee that which is more suita- munion with God and all the heavenly society, ble to thy love and grace. I confess, Lord, that it were enough to attract a sensible and considdaily tears and sighs are not unsuitable to the erate soul to fervent desires to be at home with eyes and voice of so great a sinner, who is under God. thy correcting rod! What better could I expect Here I must not over-pass my rejection of when I grieved thy Spirit, than that it should the injurious opinion of too many philosopbers prove my grief? Yea, this is far better than the and divines, who exclude all sense and affection genuine effects of sin. But this is not it that is from heaven, and acknowledge nothing there but meet to be offered to the God of love : he that intellect and will. This is because they find sense offereth praise doth glorify thee.' Is not this the and affection in the brutes ; and they think that
spiritual sacrifice acceptable through Christ,' the souls of brutes are but some quality, or perfor which we were made priests to God? I re-ishing temperament of matter; and therefore fuse not, Lord, to lie in tears and groans when that sense and affection is in us no better. thou requirest it, and do not thou refuse those But, what felicity can we conceive of without tears and groans; but O give me better, that I any affection of delight or joy? Certainly bare may have better of thine own to offer thee. By volition now without these doth seem to be no this prepare me for the far better which I shall | felicity to us, nor knowledge either, if there find with Christ : that which is best to us thy were no delight in knowing. creatures, will be accepted as best by thee, who Yea, I leave it to men's experience to judge, art glorified and pleased in the perfection of thy whether there be now any such thing in us as works.
proper willing, which is not also some internal It is at least very probable that God makes sense of, and affection to, the good which we glorified spirits his agents and ministers of much will. If it be complacency or the pleasedness of of his beneficence to the creatures that are be- the will, this signifies some pleasure ; and love, low them. For, we see that where he endues in the first act, is nothing else but such an appeany creature with the noblest endowments, he tite: if it be desire, it hath in it a pleasedness makes most use of that creature to the benefit of in the thing desired, as it is thought on by us; others. We shall in heaven be most furnished to and what love is without all sense and affeedo good, and that furniture will not be unused. tion? Christ tells us that we shall be like or equal to Why doth the scripture ascribe love and joy the angels: which though it mean not, simply, to God and angels if there were not some reaand in all things, yet it means more than to be son for it? Doubtless there is great difference above carnal generation ; for it speaks of a si-between the heavenly love and joy, and ours militude of nature and state as the reason of the here in the body: so there is also between their other. That the angels are God's ministers for knowledge and ours, and their will and ours: the good of his chosen in this world, and ad- but it is not that theirs is less or lower than ministrators of much of the affairs on earth, is ours, but somewhat more excellent, which ours past all doubt. The apostle tells us that the gives us some analogical, or imperfect, foraal saints shall judge the world and angels : judging notion of. in scripture is often put for ruling; it is there | What though brutes have sense and affection, fore probable at least, that the devils and the doth it therefore follow that we have none now, damned shall be put under the saints, and that, or that we shall have none hereafter? Brutes with the angels, they shall be employed in some have life, and must we therefore have no life ministerial oversight of the inhabitants and affairs hereafter, because it is a thing that is common of the promised new earth. When even the to brutes ? Rather as now, we have all that the
THE APPLICATION OF THE GENERAL SUBJECT.
brutes have, and no more, so shall we then have | lent sense and affections of love and joy, as well life, sense, and affection of a nobler sort than as more excellent intellect and volition ; but such brutes, and more. Is not God the living God ? | as we cannot now clearly conceive of. Shall we say that he lives not because brutes live? | Therefore there is great reason for all those Or rather, that they live a sensitive life, and man a analogical collections which I have mentioned sensitive and intellectual, because God is essen in my book called the Saints' Rest, from the tial, transcendent, infinite life, that makes them present operations and pleasures of the soul in live.
flesh, to help our conceptions of its future pleaBut if they say that there is no sensation or sures. Though we cannot conclude that they affection but by bodily organs, I answered before will not inconceivably differ in their manner from to that: the body feels nothing at all, but the what we now feel, I doubt not but feel and resoul in the body. The soul unites itself most joice we shall, as certainly as live, and that the nearly to the parts, called the spirits ; and in soul is essential life, and that our life, and feelthem it feels, sees, tastes, smelle, &c. That souling, and joy, will be inconceivably better. that feels and sees, doth also inwardly love, desire, and rejoice; and that soul which doth this in the body, hath the same power and faculty out of the body. If they judge by the cessation I am convinced that it is far better to depart of sensation, when the organs are indisposed, or and be with Christ, than to be here : but there dead, so they might as well conclude against our is much more than such conviction necessary to future intellect and will, whose operation in an bring up my soul to such desires. Still there apoplexy we no inore perceive than that of sense. resists, I. The natural aversion to death, which But I have before showed that the soul will not God hath put into every animal, and which is want exercise for its essential faculties, for want become inordinate and too strong by sin. II. of objects or bodily organs; and that men con The remnants of unbelief, taking advantage of clude basely of the souls of brutes, as if they our darkness here in the flesh, and our too much were not an enduring substance, without any familiarity with this visible world. III. The proof or probability. Tell us idle dreams, that want of more lively foretastes in a heavenly mind they are but vanishing temperaments, &c. which and love, through weakness of grace, and the are founded on another dream, that fire is no fear of guilt. These stand up against all that is substance either ; and so our unnatural somatists said, and words will not overcome them: what know none of the most excellent substances, then must be done ? Is there no remedy? which actuate all the rest, but only the more base. There is a special sort of the teaching of God, and gross which are actuated by them: and they by which we must learn so to number our days think they. have well acquitted themselves, by as to apply our hearts to wisdom,' without telling us of subtle acted matter and motion, which we shall never effectually, practically, and without understanding what any living, active, savingly learn either this, or any the most commotive faculty, or virtue is. Because no man mon, obvious, and easy lesson. When we have knows what God doth with the souls of brutes, read, heard, spoken, and written, the soundest whether they are only one common sensitive soul truth, and most certain arguments, we know yet of a more common body, or whether individuate as if we knew not, and believe as if we believed still, and transmigrant from body to body, or not, with a slight and dreaming kind of apprewhat else. Therefore they make ignorance a | hension, till God by a special illumination bring plea for error, and feign them to be no substan- | the same things clearly to our minds, and awaken ces, or to be annihilated.
the soul by a special excitement to feel what we I doubt not but sensation, as is aforesaid, is know, and suit the soul to the truth revealed, an excellent operation of the essential faculties by an influx of his love, which gives us a pleasof real substances called spirits; and that the ing sense of the amiableness and congruity of highest and noblest creatures have it in the high- the things proposed. Since we separated ourest excellency. Though God fits every thing selves from God, there is a hedge of separation to its use, hath given, e. g. a dog, more perfect between our senses and our understandings, and sense of smelling than a man; yet man's internal between our understandings and our wills, and sense is far more excellent than the brutes', and affections, so that the communion between them thereby is an advantage to our intellect, volition is violated, and we are divided in ourselves, by and joy here in the flesh. That in heaven we this schism in our faculties. All men still see shall have not less, but more, even more excel- the demonstrations of divine perfections in the