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and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savior. (Tit. ii. 12, 13.) We are renewed by the Holy Ghost, and justified by grace, that we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. (Tit. iii. 6, 7.) We are illuminated, that we may know the hope of Christ's calling, and what is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. (Eph. i. 18, 19.) The hope that is laid up for us in heaven, is the chief doctrine of the gospel, which bringeth light and immortality into clearer light. (Col. i. 5; 2 Tim. i. 10.) It is for this hope that we keep a conscience void of offence, and that God is served in the world; (Acts xxiv. 15, 16, and xxvi. 7 ;) wherefore gird up the loins of thy mind; put on this helmet, the hope of salvation ; (1 Thess. v. 8;) and let not death 'seem to thee as it doth to them that have no hope. (1 Thess. iv. 13.) The love of our Father, and our Savior, have given us everlasting consolation, and good hope through grace, to comfort our hearts, and establish them in every good word and work. (2 Thess. ji. 16, 17.) Keep, therefore, the rejoicing of hope, firm to the end. (Heb. iii. 6.) Continue grounded and settled in the faith, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel. (Col. i. 23; 1 Pet. i. 13.) And now, Lord, what wait Į for? my hope is in thee. (Psalm. xxxix. 7.) Uphold me according to thy word, that I may live; and let me not be ashamed of my hope. (Psalm cxix. 116.) Though mine iniquities testify against me, yet, O thou that art the hope of Israel, the Savior thereof in the time of trouble, be not as a stranger to my soul. (Jer. xiv. 7, 8.) Thy name is called upon by me, oh, forsake me not! (Ver. 9.) Why have our eyes beheld thy wonders, and why have we had thy covenant, and thy mercies, but that we might set our hope in God. (Psalm lxxviii. 5, 7.) Remember the word to thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. (Psalm cxix. 49.) If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquity, O Lord, who should stand? But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. I wait for the Lord; my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope; I will hope in the Lord, for with him there is mercy and plenteous redemption. (Psalm cxxx. 3—5, 7.). For he taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. (Psalm cxlvii. 11.) Though flesh and heart fail, the Lord
is the rock of my heart; he is my portion, saith my soul, therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good to them that wait for him; to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that I should both hope, and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord. It is good for me that I have borne the yoke in my youth, and that I keep silence, and put my mouth in the dust as if so be there may be hope. (Psalm lxxiii. 26; Lam. iii. 24-27, 29.)
God need not flatter such worms as we, nor promise us that which he never meaneth to perform. He hath laid the rudiments of our hope, in a nature capable of desiring, seeking, and thinking of another life: he hath called me by grace, to actual desires and endeavors; and some foretaste he hath vouchsafed. I look for no heaven, but the perfection of divine life, light, and love, in endless glory with Christ and his holy ones. And this he hath begun in me already ; and shall I not boldly hope when I have the capacity, the promise, and the earnest and foretaste? Is it not God himself that has caused me to hope? Was not nature, promise, and grace from him? And can a soul miscarry, and be deceived, that departeth hence in a hope of God's own causing, and encouraging? Lord, I have lived in hope, I have prayed in hope, I have labored, suffered, and waited in hope; and, by thy grace, I will die in hope. And is not this according to thy word and will ? And wilt thou cast away a soul that hopeth in thee, by thine own command and operation? Had wealth and honor, or continuance on earth, or the favor of man, been my reward and hope, my hope and I had died together. Were this our best, how vain were man! But the Lord liveth, and my Redeemer is glorified, and intercedeth for me; and the same Spirit is in heaven, who is in my heart, (as the same sun is in the firmament which is in my house, and the promise is sure to all Christ's seed. And millions are now in heaven, that once did live and die in hope; they were sinners once, as now I am; they had no other Savior, no other Sanctifier, no other promise, than I now have; confessing that they were strangers here, they looked for a better country, and for a city that had foundations, even a heavenly, where now they are : and shall I not follow them in hope that have sped so well? Hope then, O my soul unto the end. (1 Pet. i. 13.) From henceforth, and for
ever, hope in the Lord. (Psalm. cxxxi. 13.) I will hope continually, and will yet praise thee more and more; my mouth shall show forth thy righteousness and salvation. (Psalm lxxi. 14, 15.) The Lord is at my right hand; I shall not be moved. My heart, therefore, is glad, and my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall dwell confidently, and rest in hope ; for God hath showed me the path of life : in his presence is fulness of joy, and at his right hand, are pleasures for evermore. (Psalm xvi. 8–11.)
III. What then remaineth, O my soul, but that, in trust and hope, thou love thy God, thy Savior, thy Comforter, the glorious society, thy own perfection in glorious, endless, heavenly life, and light, and love, and the joyful praises of Jehovah, better than this burden of painful and corruptible flesh, and this howling wilderness, the habitation of serpents and untamed brutes, where unbelief and murmuring, lust and folly, injustice and uncharitableness, tyranny and divisions, pride and contention, have long provoked God, and wearied thee! Where the vintage and harvest is thorns and thistles, sin and sorrows, cares and crosses, manured by manifold temptation. How odious is that darkness and unbelief, that unholiness and disaffection, that deadness and stupidity, which maketh such a work as this so reasonable, necessary, and pleasant a work, to seem unsuitable or hard? Is it unsuitable or hard to the eye, to see the sun and light; or by it to see the beautiful world ? or for a man to love his life or health, his father, or his friend? What should be easier to a nature that hath rational love, than to love him that is essential love itself. He that loveth all, and giveth to all the loving faculty, should be loved by all; and he that hath specially loved me, should be specially loved by me.
Love is the perfection of all thy preparations. It desireth to please God, and therefore to be in the most pleasing state, and freed from all that is displeasing to him, which is not to be hoped for on earth. It desireth all suitable nearness, acquaintance, union, and communion. It is weary of distance, estrangedness, and alien society and affairs. It taketh advantage of every notice, intimation, or mention of God, to renew and exercise these desires. Every message and mercy from him is fuel for love, and, while we are short of perfection, stir up our desires after more. When love tasteth of the grapes, it would have the vine. When it tasteth of the fruits, it would dwell where they grow, and possess the land. Its thoughts of proximity and fruition are sweet; no other person or thing can satisfy it. The soul is where it loveth. If our friend dwell in our hearts by love, and if fleshly pleasure, riches, and honor, do dwell in the heart of the voluptuous, the covetous, and the proud, surely God and our Redeemer, the heavenly society, holiness, and glory, do dwell in the heart which loveth them with a servent love. And if heaven dwell in my heart, shall I not desire to dwell in heaven? Light and light, fire and fire, are not more inclined to union than love and love; gracious love, and glorious love. Would divine, original, universal love communicate and pour out itself more plentifully upon my heart, how easy would it be to leave this flesh and world, and to hear the sentence of my departure to my God? Death and the grave would be but a triumph for victorious love. I would be easier to die in peace and joy, than to rest at night, or to come home from my travel to my beloved friends, or to go, when I am hungry, to a feast. A little love hath made me study willingly, and preach willingly, and write willingly, yea, and suffer somewhat willingly; and would not more make me go more willingly to God? Shall the imagination of house, gardens, walks, libraries, prospects, meadows, orchards, hills, and rivers, allure the desires of deceived minds? And shall not the thoughts of the heavenly mansions, society, and delights, much more allure and draw up my desires? The reading of a known fiction of a Civitas Solis, an Utopia, an Atalantis, &c., hath pleased many; but if I did believingly hear of such a country in the world, where men did never die, nor were sick, or weak, or sad; where the prince was perfectly just and pious, wise and peaceable, devoted to God and the public good; and the teachers were all wise, judicious men, of universal certain knowledge, perfectly acquainted with the matter and method of natural and theological truths, and all their duty, and all of one mind, and of one heart, and tongue and practice, loving each other, and the people as themselves, and leading the flocks heavenward, through all temptations, with triumphant hopes and joy; where all the people perfectly obeyed God, their commanders, and their teachers, and lived in per
fect love, unity, and peace, and were daily employed in the joyful praises of God, and hopes of glory, and in doing all possible good to one another, contending with none through ignorance, uncharitableness, or pride, nor ever reproaching, injuring, or hurting one another, &c.
I say, if I knew or heard of such a country, should I not love it before I ever see it, and earnestly desire to be there ? Nay, do I over-love this distracted world, where tyranny sheddeth streams of blood, and layeth desolate cities and countries, and exposeth the miserable inhabitants to lamentable distress and famine; where the same tyranny sets up the wicked, reproacheth and oppresseth the just and innocent, keepeth out the gospel, and keepeth up idolatry, infidelity, and wickedness, in the far greatest part of all the earth; where Satan chooseth pastors too often for the churches of Christ, even such as by ignorance, pride, sensuality, worldliness, and malignity, become thorns and thistles, yea, devouring wolves, to those whom they should seed and comfort; where no two persons are in all things of a mind; where evil is commended, and truth and goodness accused and oppressed, because men's minds are unacquainted with them, or unsuitable to them. And those that are the greatest pretenders to truth do most eagerly contend against it, and oppose it; and almost all the world are scolding or scuffling in the dark; and where there appeareth but little hopes of a remedy, I say, can I love such a world as this? And shall I not think more delightfully of the inheritance of the saints in light, and the uniting love and joyful praises of the church triumphant, and the heavenly choir ?
Should I not love a lovely and a loving world much better than a world where there is, comparatively, so little loveliness or love? All that is of God is good and lovely, but it is not here that his glory shineth in felicitating splendor. I am taught to look upward when I
pray, and to say, “Our Father, which art in heaven.” God's works are amiable, even in hell; and yet, though I would know them, I would not be there. And, alas ! how much of the works of man are mix
ed here with the works of God! Here is God's wisdom mani· fest; but here is man's obstinate folly. Here is God's govern
ment; but here is man's tyranny and unruliness. Here is God's love and mercies; but here are men's malice, wrath and cruelty; Vol. II.