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psalms, and words of praise to God; nor is there any exercise in which I had rather end my life: and should I not then willingly go to the heavenly choir, where God is praised with perfect love, and joy, and harmony? Had I more of a praising frame of soul, it would make me long more for that life of praise. For I never find myself more willing to be there than when I most joyfully speak or sing God's praise. Though the dead praise not God in the grave, and dust doth not give him thanks; yet living souls in heaven do it joyfully, while their fleshly clothing turns to dust.
Lord, tune my soul to thy praises now, that sweet experience may make me long to be where I shall do it better! I see where any excellent music is, nature maketh men flock to it; and they that are but hearers, yet join by a concurrent fancy and delight: surely, if I had once heard the heavenly choir, I should echo to their holy songs, though I could not imitate them; and I should think it the truest blessedness to be there, and bear my part. My God, the voice of thy comforting Spirit, speaking thy love effectually to my soul, would make such holy music in me, that would incline me to the celestial concert; and without it all these thoughts and words will be in vain. It is the inward melody of thy Spirit and my conscience, that must tune me to desire the heavenly melody. O speak thy love first to my heart, and then I shall joyfully speak it to my brethren, and shall ambitiously seek that communion of them that praise thee better than sinful, groaning mortals can: and though my sins here make a loathed jar and discord in my songs, I hope my groans for those sins, and their effects, will make no discord: sighs and tears have had the honor to be accepted by thee, who despisest not a contrite soul: but if thy Spirit will sing and speak within me, and help me against the discordant murmurs of my unbelieving heart, and pained flesh, I shall offer thee that which is more suitable to thy love and grace. I confess, Lord, that daily tears and sighs are not unsuitable to the eyes and voice of so great a sinner, who is under thy correcting rod! What better could I expect when I grieved thy Spirit, than that it should prove my grief? Yea, this is far better than the genuine effects of sin. But this is not it that is meetest to be offered to the God of love: he that offereth praise doth glorify thee: and is not VOL. II.
this the spiritual sacrifice accepted through Christ, for which we were made priests to God. (1 Pet. ii. 5.) I refuse not, Lord, to lie in tears and groans when thou requirest it; and do not thou refuse those tears and groans; but O give me better, that I may have better of thine own to offer thee: and by this prepare me for the far better, which I shall find with Christ: and that which is best to us thy creatures will be accepted as best by thee, who art glorified and pleased in the perfection of thy works.
Sect. 4. It is, at least, very probable that God maketh glorified spirits his agents and ministers of much of his beneficence to the creatures that are below them. For, 1. We see that where he endueth any creature with the noblest endowments, he maketh most use of that creature to the benefit of others: we shall in heaven be most furnished to do good; and that furniture will not be unused. 2. And Christ tells us that we shall be like, or equal to, the angels; which though it mean not simply and in all things, yet it meaneth more than to be above carnal generation; for it speaketh of a similitude of nature and state as the reason of the other. And that the angels are God's ministers for the good of his chosen in this world, and administrators of much of the affairs on earth, is past all doubt. 3. The Apostle telleth us that the saints shall judge the world and angels and judging in Scripture is oft put for ruling. It is therefore probable, at least, that the devils, and the damned, shall be put under the saints, and that, with the angels, they shall be employed in some ministerial oversight of the inhabitants and affairs of the promised new earth. 4. And when even the more noble superior bodies, even the stars, are of so great use and influx to inferior bodies, it is like that accordingly superior spirits will be of use to the inhabitants of the world below them.
Sect. 5. But I think it not meet to venture here upon uncertain conjectures beyond the revelation of God's word, and therefore shall add no more, but conclude that God knoweth what use to make of us hereafter as well as here, and that if there were no more for us to do in heaven, but with perfect knowledge, love, and joy, to hold communion with God and all the heavenly society, it were enough to attract a sensible and considerate soul to fervent desires to be at home with God.
Sect. 6. And here I must not over-pass my rejection of the injurious opinion of too many philosophers and divines, who exclude all sense and affection from heaven, and acknowledge nothing there but intellect and will: and this is because they find sense and affection in the brutes; and they think that the souls of brutes are but some quality, or perishing temperament of matter; and, therefore, that sense and affection is in us no better.
Sect. 7. But, 1. What felicity can we conceive of without any affection of delight or joy: certainly bare volition now without these doth seem to be no felicity to us; nor knowledge neither, if there were no delight in knowing.
Sect. 8. 2. Yea, I leave it to men's experience to judge, whether there be now any such thing in us as proper willing, which is not also some internal sense of, and affection to, the good which we will: if it be complacency or the pleasedness of the will, this signifies some pleasure; and love, in the first act, is nothing else but such an appetite if it be desire, it hath in it a pleasedness in the thing desired, as in esse cognito, as it is thought on by us; and what is love without all sense and affection?
Sect. 9. 3. Why doth the Scripture ascribe love and joy to God and angels if there were not some reason for it? Doubtless there is great difference between the heavenly love and joy, and ours here in the body and so there is also between their knowledge and ours, and their will and ours: but it is not that theirs is less or lower than ours, but somewhat more excellent, which ours giveth us some analogical, or imperfect, formal notion of.
Sect. 10. 4. And what though brutes have sense and affection, doth it therefore follow that we have none now? or that we shall have none hereafter? Brutes have life and must we therefore have no life hereafter, because it is a thing that is common to brutes? Rather, as now we have all that the brutes have, and more, so shall we then have life, and sense, and affection of a nobler sort than brutes, and more. Is not God the living God? Shall we say that he liveth not because brutes live? or rather, that they live a sensitive life, and man a sensitive and intellectual, because God is essential, transcendent, infinite life, that makes them live.
Sect. 11. 5. But if they say that there is no sensation or affection but by bodily organs, I answered before to that: the body feeleth nothing at all, but the soul in the body; the soul uniteth itself most nearly to the igneous aërial parts, called the spirits; and in them it feeleth, seeth, tasteth, smelleth, &c. And that soul that feeleth and seeth, 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 and if they judge by the cessation of sensation, when the organs are undisposed, or dead, so they might as well conclude against our future intellection and will, whose operation in an apoplexy we no more perceive than that of sense. But I have before showed that the soul will not want exercise for its essential faculties, for want of objects, or bodily organs; and that men conclude basely of the souls of brutes, as if they were not an enduring substance, without any proof or probability: and tell us idle dreams, that they are but vanishing temperaments, &c., which are founded on another dream, that fire (or the motive, illuminative, calefactive cause) is no substance neither; and so our unnatural somatists know none of the most excellent substances, which actuate all the rest, but only the more base and gross, which are actuated by them: and they think they have well acquitted themselves, by telling us of subtle, active matter and motion, without understanding what any living, active, motive, faculty, or virtue is. And because no man knoweth what God doth with the souls of brutes, (whether they are only one common sensitive soul of a more common body, or whether individuate still, and transmigrant from body to body, or what else ;) therefore they make ignorance a plea for error, and feign them to be no substances, or to be annihilated.
Sect. 12. I doubt not but sensation (as is aforesaid) is an excellent operation of the essential faculties of real substances, called spirits; and that the highest and noblest creatures have it in the highest excellency and though God, that fitteth every thing to its use, hath given, e. g. a dog more perfect sense of smelling than a man, yet man's internal sense is far more excellent than the brutes, and thereby is an advantage to our intellection, volition, and joy here in the flesh : and that in heaven we shall have not less, but more, even more excel
lent sense and affections of love and joy, as well as more excellent intellection and volition; but such as we cannot now clearly conceive of.
Sect. 13. Therefore there is great reason for all those analogical collections which I have mentioned in my book called 'The Saint's Rest' from the present operations and pleasures of the soul in flesh, to help our conceptions of its future pleasures: and though we cannot conclude that they will not inconceivably differ in their manner from what we now feel, I doubt not but feel and rejoice we shall, as certainly as live, and that the soul is essential life, and that our life, and feeling, and joy, will be inconceivably better.
The concluding application.
Sect. 1. I am convinced that it is far better to depart and be with Christ, than to be here: but there is much more than such conviction necessary to bring up my soul to such desires. Still there resisteth, I. The natural averseness to death, which God hath put into every animal, and which is become inordinate and too strong by sin. II. The remnants of unbelief, taking advantage of our darkness here in the flesh, and our too much familiarity with this visible world. III. The want of more lively foretastes in a heavenly mind and love, through weakness of grace, and the fear of guilt. These stand up against all that is said; and words will not overcome them: what then must be done? Is there no remedy?
Sect. 2. There is a special sort of the teaching of God, by which we must learn "so to number our days as to apply our hearts to wisdom;" without which we shall never, effectually, practically, and savingly, learn either this or any the most common, obvious, and easy lesson. When we have read and heard, and spoken, and written, the soundest truth and certainest arguments, we know yet as if we knew not, and believe as if we believed not, with a slight and dreaming kind of apprehension, till God, by a special illumination, bring the same things clearly to our minds, and awaken the soul by a special suscitation, to feel what we know, and suit the soul to the truth revealed by an influx of his love, which giveth us a pleasing sense of the amiableness and congruity of the things proposed. Since we separated ourselves from God, there is a hedge of separation between our senses and our understandings, and between our understandings