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good; it is not knowledge, but a vain tumour instead of real greatness or growth; and that other of the affection, hath certainly more of God in it, and so more of truth.
The apostle is so great an enemy to this kind of knowledge, that having disputed such a point in disdain of gain-sayers, he concludeth, “if any man lust to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor the churches of God."
Demonstrat quælibet herba Deum.. He whò, freshed with the sweet odours, pleased with the various comely shapes of a flower, can say, this is sweet, this is lovely, lovely indeed; yet “ Jesus Christ is a bed of spices, as the lily of the field, the rose of Sharon, sweeter, much sweeter, ten thousand times more lovely”- this man knoweth God, this man loveth God, this man knoweth him indeed ; and this knowledge, as it is the most pleasant here, so it will certainly prove the most profitable hereafter, and always declare itself most real.
Doth not the apostle, doth not he most truly, most pathetically cry out;" though I had the gift of prophecy, and knew all secrets, all knowledge, yea, if I had all faith, so that I could remove mountains, I were nothing; I were as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal, if I have not charity.” When all these excellencies meet in a christian, as haply they may, yet it is charity that maketh him what he is,
and the other beings are but as phalere, as trappings, which give a handsome set-off, but not a being to a christian,
Love is lovely in gods; he is stiled the God of Love, the God Love. And in another place, the Scripture affirmeth, that in this we have fulfilled the will of God, if we love one another; for by this we are made one with God, and so dwell in true light.
The two tables are reduced to love of God and our neighbour. So that sweet affecțions do make the most sweet harmony in God's ears. Of the chorus of saints, the greatest number will be found amongst the feminine sex, because these are most naturally capable of affection, and so most apt to make knowledge real. It is true, I confess, these affections misguided, led them first into transgression; but these same affections after, carried them first to the grave, then to the sight of a Saviour, gave them the enwombing of Christ, who in some sense) might have entertained our nature in another way (if he had so pleased), and these affections will one day raise many of them into the sweet embraces of everlasting joy.
Amongst the church-officers, the pastor and the doctor, according to Timothy, are more eminent than the rest, because they labour in the word and doctrine. Of these two, the doctor is to have his sword always girt about his thigh, he must enter into the lists with every uncircumcised Goliah. He must stand continual sentinel, that no heresies be forced upon the church. He must beat his brains in dissolving difficilia, and clearing obscura. He must sometimes faint away in watery cold fits, by picking up, and throwing out witless, sapless sophisms, which, though they cannot hurt the strong, inay seduce the weak. In the mean time the pastor leadeth the flock into the sweet and pleasant meadows, feeding them by the little brooks of seemingly shallow affections; and yet this man shall not only receive equal honour with the doctor, but be preferred before bim; as appeareth clearly in Eph. iv. 11.-1 Cor. xii. 26. As it was with the Israelites, so it is here; those who keep the stuff, receive equal reward with the combatants. I do therefore conclude, he who hath the largest affections hath most of God, most of his image, which is renewed in knowledge.
Thirdly, sometimes it happeneth, that those who have the largest knowledge have the most enlarged affections, even to our eye; and this is happiness indeed. I confess, it doth not seem to an eye that would read it running; but if it be exactly looked on, if it be presented to our view in the portrait of an example, I think it will be very clear.
David and Solomon, compared with Paul, will be as a thousand witnesses. The two first do seem to
outstrip all men in affection; they are brimful, running over.
For David is styled, the sweet singer of Israel ; in his Psalms he is ever magnifying the rich mercies of God, choosing rather to be a door-keeper in the house of God, than to dwell in the tents of Mesech: making his word to be a light unto his feet, and a lantern unto his paths; placing all his delight in the law of the Lord.
Solomon is the happy penman of that hymn, which by the spirit is styled the Song of Songs. Yet for all this, they are both exceeded by St. Paul.
But some, it may be, will imagine those worthies to be endowed with higher gifts of nature and art, than St. Paul; and then they will give all the glory to their understanding, and not to their affections.
If it be so, I confess I have not fitly chosen my opposites; but the truth will then appear in them, without comparison distinctly.
For, if in affection they exceed all, and in abilities are as Saul, taller than their brethren by head and shoulders, then is it manifest in them, that eftsoon men of the most raised parts, of highest abilities, do superabound in love.
But if in things which are not directly of faith, I could cease to be a sceptic, I should with that most reverend worthy, Thomas Goodwin, give St. Paul for head and heart, that throne in heaven which is placed next to Jesus Christ. But “ secret things belong to God;" let us only compare their eminency here below. I think it will be out of question, that St. Paul was the most excellent. For though Solomon (there I suppose will be the difficulty) be said to be the wisest of men, that ever were, that ever should be; yet that is to be applied only to government, and (if it may reach so far) to his excellent skill in natural philosophy.
View but St. Paul, and see whether he doth. not excel in every thing. He had gathered up vast learning at the feet of Gamaliel; for his parts he was advanced to eminent power in church and commonwealth. He saith of himself, “I profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in my own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” And after his conversion, he was judged the only man fit to contend with the philosophers at Athens. For they, who seemed to be somewhat in conference, added nothing to him. And therefore to him was committed the unravelling of all the difficult knots. It is he that disputes about meats, long hair, divorces, irregular partings of husband and wife. It is he that openeth the nature of prophecy, evinceth the resurrection from the dead, maintaineth justification by faith. And that he may be perfect in knowledge, God is pleased (whether in