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do most good. I have not loved thee as infinite goodness, and love itself, and fatherly bounty, should have been loved; but yet I would not forsake thy family. And nothing in this world is more my grief, than that I love thee no more. Forsake not, then, a sinner that would not forsake thee, that looketh every hour towards thee, that feeleth it as a piece of hell to be so dark and strange unto thee, that gropeth, and groaneth, and gaspeth after thee; feeling, to his greatest sorrow, (though thou art every where,) that while he is present in the body, he is absent from the Lord. My Lord, I have nothing to do in this world, but to seek and serve thee. I have nothing to do with a heart and its affections, but to breathe after thee: I have nothing to do with my tongue and pen, but to speak to thee, and for thee, and to publish thy glory, and thy will. What have I to do with all my reputation, and interest in my friends, but to increase thy church, and propagate thy holy truth and service? What have I to do with my remaining time, even these last and languishing hours, but to look up unto thee, and wait for thy grace, and thy salvation? O pardon all my carnal thoughts, and all my unthankful neglects of thy precious grace, and love, and all my wilful sin against thy truth and thee; and let the fuller communications of thy forfeited grace, now tell me by experience that thou dost forgive me! Even under the terrible law thou didst tell man thy very nature, by proclaiming thy name, “ The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, and transgression, and sin.” (Exod. xxxiv. 6, 7.) And is not the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ revealed in the gospel for our more abundant faith and consolation ? My God, I know as I cannot love thee according to thy loveliness, so I cannot trust thee according to thy faithfulness : I can never be sufficiently confident of thy all-sufficient power, thy wisdom, and thy goodness. When I have said, as Psalm lxxvii. 7, “Will the Lord cast off forever? And will he be favorable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail to generations? Hath God forgotten to be gracious ? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies ?” Conscience hath replied, that this is my infirmity; I never wanted comfort, because thou wantedst mercy; but because I
wanted faith and fitness to receive it, and perceive it. But hast thou not mercy also to give me, even that fitness, and that faith? My God, all is of thee, and through thee, and all is to thee, and when I have the felicity, the glory of all for ever will be thine. None that trusteth in thee, (according to thy nature and promise,) shall be ashamed. If I can live and die in trusting in thee, surely I shall not be confounded.
Sect. 12. Why, then should it seem a difficult question, how I may, willingly, leave this world, and my soul depart to Christ in peace? The same grace which regenerated me, must bring me to my desired end, as the same principle of vegetation which causeth the end, must bring the fruit to sweet maturity, I. Believe and trust thy Father, thy Savior, and thy Comforter. II. And hope for the joyful entertainments of his love, and for the blessed state which he hath promised. III. And long, by love, for nearer union and communion with him; and thus, O my soul, thou mayest depart in peace.
I. How sure is the promise of God! How suitable to his love, and to the nature of our souls, and to the operations of every grace? It is initially performed here, whilst our desires are turned towards him, and the heavenly seed and spark is here ingenerated in a soul that was dead and dark, and disaffected. Is it any strange thing for fire to ascend ? yea, or the fiery principle of vegetation in a tree, to carry up the earthy matter to a great height? Is it strange that rivers should hasten to the sea? Whither should spirits go, but to the region or world of spirits ? And whither should Christ's members, and holy spirits go but to himself, and the heavenly society? And is not that a more holy and glorious place and state than this below? Earth is between heaven and hell; a place of gross and passive matter, where spirits may, indeed, operate upon that which needeth them, and where they may be detained awhile in such operation, or as incorporated forms, if not incarcerated delinquents; but it is not their center, end, or home. Even sight and reason might persuade me, that all the noble, invisible powers, that operate on this lower world, do principally belong unto a higher; and what can earth add to their essence, dignity, or persection ?
Sect. 13. But why, O my soul, art thou so vainly solicitous to have formal, clear, distinct conceptions of the celestial world, and the individuation and operations of separated souls, any more than of the angels? While thou art the formal principle of an animated body, thy conceptions must be suitable to their present state and use. When thou art possessed of a better state, thou shalt know it as a possessor ought to do ; for such a knowledge as thou lookest after, is part of the possession, and to long to know and love, in clearness and perfection, is to long to possess. It is thy Savior, and his glorified ones, that are comprehensors, and possessors; and it is his knowledge which must now be most of thy satisfaction. To seek his prerogative to thyself, is vain, usurping arrogance. . Wouldest thou be a God and Savior to thyself? Oh, consider how much of the fall is in this selfish care and desire to be as God, in knowing that of good and evil which belongeth not to thee, but to God, to know. Thou knowest, past doubt, that there is a God of infinite perfection, who is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him. Labor more to know thy duty to this God, and absolutely trust him, as to the particularities of thy felicity and reward. Thou didst trust thy parents to provide thee food and raiment, when thou didst but dutifully obey them; though they could have forsaken thee, or killed thee every hour, thou didst never fear it. Thou hast trusted physicians to give thee even ungrateful medicines, without inquiring after every ingredient, or fearing lest they should wilfully give thee poison. I trust a barber with my throat: I trust a boatman or shipmaster, with my life; yea, my horse, that might cast me; because I have no reason to distrust them, saving their insufficiency and uncertainty, as creatures. If a pilot undertake to bring thee to the Indies, thou canst trust his conduct, though thou know thyself neither the ship, nor how to govern it; neither the way nor the place to which thou art conveyed. And must not thy God and Savior be trusted to bring thee safe to heaven, unless he will satisfy all thy inquiries of the individuation and operation of spirits ? Leave unsearchable and useless questions to him that can easily resolve them, and to those to whom the knowledge of thein doth belong. Thou dost but entangle thyself in sin and self-vexation, while thou wouldest take God's work upon thee, and wouldest
know that for thyself, which he must know for thee. Thy knowledge and care for it did not precede, nor prepare for, thy generation, nor for the motion of one pulse or breath, or for the concoction of one bit of all thy food, or the continuance of thy life one hour; supposing but thy care to use the means which God appointed thee, and to avoid things hurtsul, and to beg his blessing. The command of being careful for nothing, and casting all thy care on God, who careth for us, obligeth us in all things that are God's part'; and for our souls as well as for our bodies : yea, to trust him with the greatest of our concerns is our greatest duty ; supposing we be careful about our own part, viz, to use the means, and obey his precepts. To dispose of a departing soul is God's part, and not ours : oh! how much evil is in this distrustful, self-providing care! If I did but know what I
! would know about my soul and myself; and if I might but choose what condition it should be in, and be the final disposer of it myself, O what satisfaction and joy would it afford me! And is not this to be partly a God to myself! Is he not fitter to know, and choose, and dispose of me, than I am ? I could trust myself easily, even my wit and will, in such a choice, if I had but power; and cannot I trust God and my Redeemer, without all this care, and fear, and trouble, and all these particular inquiries? If you are convoying your child in a boat, or coach, by water, or by land, and he at every turn be crying out, “O father, whither do we go! or, what shall I do?" shall be drowned, or fall:'-is it not rather his trust in you, than the particular satisfaction of his ignorant doubts, that must quiet and silence him? Be not, then, foolishly distrustful and inquisitive. Make not thyself thy own disquieter or tormentor, by an inordinate care of thy own security. Be not cast down, O departing soul, nor, by unbelief disquieted within me. Trust in God, for thou shalt quickly, by experience, be taught to give him thanks and praise, who is the health of my countenance, and my
God. Sect. 14. O, what clear reason, what great experience, do command me to trust him, absolutely and implicitly to trust him, and to distrust myself! Vol. II.
1. He is essential, infinite, perfection, power, wisdom, and love. There is in him all that should invite and encourage rational trust, and nothing that should discourage it.
2. There is nothing in any creature to be trusted, but God in that creature, or God working in and by it. Distrust him, and there is nothing to be trusted. Not the earth to bear me, nor the air to breathe in, much less any mutable friend.
3. I am altogether his own, his own by right, and his own by devotion and consent. And shall I not trust him with his own.
4. He is the great benefactor of all the world, that giveth all good to every creature, not by constraint, or by commutation, but as freely as the sun giveth forth its light. And shall we not trust the sun to shine ?
5. He is my Father and special benefactor, and hath taken me into his family as his child. And shall I not trust my heavenly Father?
6. He hath given me his Son as the great pledge of his love, and what, then, will he think too dear for me? Will he not with him give me all things? (Rom. viii. 32.)
7. His Son came purposely to reveal the Father's unspeakable love, and purposely to save us. And shall I not trust him that hath proclaimed his love and reconciliation by such a messenger from heaven?
8. He hath given me the Spirit of his Son, even the spirit of adoption, which is the surest character of his child, the witness, pledge, and earnest of heaven, the name and mark of God upon me, holiness to the Lord. And yet shall I not believe his love, and trust him?
9. He hath made me a member of his Son, and so far already united me to him. And will he not take care of the members of his Son? Will he lose those that are given him? Is not Christ to be trusted with his members ?
10. I am his interest, and the interest of his son. Freely beloved; dearly bought! for whom so much is suffered and done, that he is pleased to call us his peculiar treasure. And
may I not trust him with his dear-bought treasure ?