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place of burial. David preferreth one day in this place m Pfal. before a thousand elsewhere; year to be a Door keep84. 10. er in the house of God, rather than to dwell in the richest n 1 Reg. Tabernacles of wickedness. Elias earnestly befought the Lord to receive his foul into his Kingdom, and 02 Reg. went willingly (though in a fiery Chariot) thither. Saint Paul (having once feen Heaven) continually defired to be diffolved, that he might be with Chrift. St. Peter (having efpied but a glimpse of that eternal glory in the Mount)wifhed that he might dwell there Mat. all the days of his life; faying, Mafter, it is good for us to be here. How much better doth Peter now think it to be in Heaven it felf? Chrift (a little before John his death) prayeth his Father to receive him into that excellent glory. And the Apoftle witneffeth, that Heb. 12. (for the joy which was fet before him) he indured the crofs, and defpifed the shame. If a man did but once fee thofe joys (if it were poffible) he would indure an hundred deaths to enjoy that happiness but one day.
t Serm. 31. de
Saint Auguftine faith, that he would be content to Sanis. endure the torments of Hell, to gain this joy, rather than to lofe it. Ignatius (St. Pauls Scholar) being threatned (as he was going to suffer) with the cruelty of torHi.r. ments, answered with great courage of Faith; " Fire, Gallows, Beafts, breaking of my bones, quartering of my 1. 3. members, crushing of my body, all the torments of the Devil together, let them come upon me, fo I may enjoy my Lord Jefus and his Kingdom. The like conftancy fhewEufeb. ed Policarp, who would not by any terrors of any 1.4.c.16. kind of death, be moved to deny Chrift in the leaft Naz.de measure. With the like refolution answered Bafil his vita Ba- perfecutors, when they would terrifie him with death; I will never (faid he) fear death, which can do Ruth 1. no more than reftore me to him that made me. If Ruth left her own Countrey, and followed Naomi her Mother-in-law, to go and dwell with her in the Land of Canaan
Canaan (which was but a type of Heaven) only upon that fame which he heard of the God of Ifrael (though she had no promise of any portion therein) how fhould'ft thou follow thy boly Mother the Church, to go unto Chrift into the heavenly Canaan, wherein God hath given thee an eternal inheritance, affured by an holy Covenant, made in the Word of God, figned with the blood of his Son, and fealed with his Spirit and Sacraments? This fhall be thine eternal happinefs in the Kingdom of Heaven, where thy life shall be a communion with the bleffed Trinity; thy joy, the prefence of the Lamb; thy exercises, finging; thy ditty, Hallelujah; thy conforts, Saints and Angels; where youth flourisheth,that never waxeth old beauty lafteth, that never fadeth; love aboundeth, that never cooleth; health continueth, that never flacketh; and life remaineth, that never endeth.
Meditations directing a Chriftian horv to apply to himself without delay, the forefaid knowledge of God and bimfelf.
'Hou feeft therefore, O man, how wretched, and curfed thy ftate is,by corruption of Nature,without Chrift; infomuch, that whereas the Scriptures do liken wicked men unto Lions, Bears, Bulls, Horfes, Dogs, and fuch like favage creatures in their lives; it is certain, that the condition of an unregenerated man, is in his death more vile than a Dog, or the filthieft creature in the world. For the Beaft (being made but for mans use) when he dieth, endeth all his miferies with his death. But man (indued with a reafonable, and an immortal soul, made after Gods Image to ferve God) when he ends the miseries of this life, muft account for all his misdeeds,and begin to endure thofe miferies that never fhall know end. No creature but
but man is liable to yield at his death an account for his life. The brute creatures not having reason, shall not be required to make any account for their deeds; and good Angels, though they have reafon, yet fhall they yield no account, because they have no fin. And as for evil Angels, they are without all hope, already condemned, fo that they need not make any further accounts; Man only in his death, must be Gods accountant for his life.
On the other fide, thou seeft (O Man) how happy and blessed thy eftate is being truly reconciled unto God in Chrift; in that (through the reftauration of Gods Image, and thy reftitution into thy Sovereignty over other creatures) thou art in this life little inferiour to the Angels; and fhalt be in the life to come equal to the Angels. Yea, in respect of thy Nature, exalted by a perfonal Union to the Son of God, and by him to the glory of the Trinity (fuperiour to the Angels :) a fellow-brother with Angels in spiritual grace, and everlafting glory.
Thou haft feen how glorious and perfect God is, and how that all thy chief bliss and happiness confifteth in having an eternal communion with his Majefty.
Now therefore (O impenitent finner) in the bowels of Chrift Jefus I intreat thee, nay, I conjure thee as thou tendereft thy own falvation,ferioufly to confider with me, how falfe, how vain, how vile are those things which ftill retain, and chain thee in this wretched and curfed estate, wherein thou liveft; and do hinder thee from the favour of God, and the hope of eternal life and happiness.
Meditations on the hinderances which keep back a finner from the Practice of Piety.
Hose binderances are chiefly seven.
I. An ignorant mistaking of the true meaning of
certain places of the holy Scripture, and some other chief grounds of Chriftian Religion.
The Scriptures mistaken are these.
1. Ezek. 33. 14, 16. At what time foever a finner repenteth him of his fin, Iwill blot out all, &c. Hence the carnal Chriftian gathereth, That he may repent when he will. It is true, whenfoever a finner doth repent, God will forgive; but the Text faith not, that a finner may repent whenfoever he will, but when God will give him grace. Many (faith the Scripture) when they would have repented, were rejected, and 4 Heb. could not repent,though they fought it carefully with tears. Like 13. What comfort yields this Text to thee, who haft not 227 repented, nor knoweft whether thou shalt have grace to repent hereafter.
2. Mat. 126. Come unto me, all you that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you reft. Hence the lewdest man collects, that be may come unto Christ when he lift. But he muft know, That no man ever comes to Chrift,but he who (as Peter faith) Having known b 2 Pet. the way of righteousness, bath escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jefus Christ. To come unto Chrift, is to repent and ca. 1. 18. John believe. And this no man can do, except his heavenly 6.35. Father draweth him by his grace. 1
2. 20, 2
John 6. 4+.
3. Rom. 8.1. There is no condemnation to them' which are in Christ Jesus. True, but they are fuch, who walk not after the flesh (as thou doeft) but after the spirit, which thou didst never yet refolve to do.
4. 1 Tim. 115. Chrift Jefus came into the world to Save finners, &c. True, but fuch finners, who like St. Paul, are converted from their wicked life; not like thee, who still continueft in thy lewdness. For that
grace of God which bringeth falvation unto all men, d Tit. 2. teacheth us, that denying ungodliness, and worldly lufts, 11, 12. we should live foberly, righteously, and godly in this preJent, world.
5. Prov. 24. 16. A juft man falleth feven times in a day and rifeth, &c. In a day, is not in the Text: which means not falling into fin, but falling into trouble, which his malicious Enemy plots against the juft, and from which God delivers him. And though it meant falling in, and rifing out of fin, what is this to thee, whofe falls all men may fee every day; but neither God, nor man, can at any time fee thy tifmg again by Repentance. vi Love & tev troqor yomon ite
6. Ifa. 64. 6. All our righteoufneffes are as filthy rags. Hence the carnal Chriftian gathers, that feeing the belt works of the best Saints are no better, then his are good enough, and therefore he needs not much grieve, that his devotions are so imperfect But Isaiah means not in this place,the righteous works of the Regenerate as fervent Prayers in the name of God; charitablé Alms from the bowels of Mercy's fuffering in the Gafpels defence, the fpoil of goods, and spilling of blood, and fuch works which St. Paul calls the Gal. 5. fruits of the Spirit. But the Prophet making an humble confeffion in the name of the Jewish Church, when the had fallen from God to Idolatry, acknow ledgeth, that whilft they wereby their filthy fins feparated from God, as Lepercare by their infected fores, and polluted cloths from men; their chiefeft Righte oufness could not but be abominable. in his fight. And though our beft works, compared with Chrifts Righte oufnefs, are no better than unclean rages yet in Gods f Apoc. acceptation, for Christe fake, they are called if white
? Apoc. rayment's yea, & pure fine linen and finings far unlike the Leopards pots, and filthygarments.
19. o. Jer. 13.
7. James 3.21 In many things we fin all true, but i Zach. Gods children fin hot in all things,as thou doeft,with
out either bridling their lufts, or mortifying their corruptions: and though the relicks of fin remain in the dearelt children of Gd that they had need daily to ** cry,