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of the field ! Yet, alas, beasts and men are fellow creatures, made of one earth, drawing in the same air, returning (for their bodily part) to the same dust, symbolizing in many qualities, and in some mutually transcending each other ; 80 that here may seem to be some terms of a tolerable proportion, since many men are in disposition too like unto beasts, and some beasts are in outward shape somewhat like unto men. But for Him that was, and is, God blessed for ever, eternal, infinite, incomprehensible, to put on flesh, and become a man amongst men, was to stoop below -all possible disparities that heaven and earth can afford. O Saviour, the lower thine abasement was for us, the higher was the pitch of thy Divine love to us!
V. His love in his sufferings.
Yet in this our human condition there are degrees; one rules and glitters in all earthly glory, another sits despised in the dust; one passes the time of his life in much jollity and pleasure, another wears out his days in sorrow and discontent. Blessed Jesus, since thou wouldst be a man, why shouldst thou not be the King of men? Since thou wouldst come down to our earth, why wouldst thou not enjoy the best entertainment the earth could yield thee? Yea, since thou, who art the eternal Son of God, wouldst be the Son of man, why didst thou not appear in a state like to the King of heaven, attended with the glorious retinue of angels? Oh yet greater wonder of mercies; the same infinite love that brought thee down to the form of man, would also bring thee down, being man, to the form of a servant! So didst thou love
man, that thou wouldst take part with him of his misery, that he might take part with thee of thy blessedness: thou wouldst be poor to enrich us, thou wouldst be burdened for our ease, tempted for our victory, despised for our glory.
With what ravishment of spirit can I beho'd thee, who wert from everlasting, clothed with glory and majesty, wrapped in rags; thee, who fillest heaven and earth with the majesty of thy glory, cradled in a manger; thee, who art the God of power, fleeing in thy mother's arms from the rage of a weak man; thee, who art the God of Israel, driven to be nursed out of the bosom of thy church; thee, who madest the heaven of heavens, busily working in the homely trade of a fosterfather; thee, who commandedst the devils to their chains, transported and tempted by that foul spirit; thee, who art God all-sufficient, exposed to hunger, thirst, weariness, danger, contempt, poverty, revilings, scourgings, persecution; thee, who art the just Judge of all the world, accused and condemned; thee, who art the Lord of life, dying upon the tree of shame and curse; thee, who art the eternal Son of God, struggling with thy Father's wrath; thee, who hadst said, “ I and my Father are one," sweating drops of blood in thine agony, and crying out on the cross, “ My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? thee, who hast the keys of hell and of death, lying sealed up in another man's grave! O Saviour, whither hath thy love to mankind carried thee? What sighs, and groans, and tears, and blood hast thou spent upon us wretched men! how dear a price hast thou paid for our ransom! What raptures of spirit can be sufficient for the admiration of thy so infinite mercy? Be thou swallowed up, O my soul, in this depth of Divine love; and hate to spend thy thoughts any more upon the base objects of this wretched world, when thou hast such a Saviour to take them up.
VI. His love in preparing heaven for us.
But, O blessed Jesus, if from what thou hast suffered for me, I shall cast mine eyes upon what thou hast done for my soul, how is my heart divided betwixt the wonders of both; and may as soon tell how great either of them is, as whether of them is the greatest. It is in thee that I was elected from all eternity, and ordained to a glorious inheritance, before there was a world. We were wont, O God, to marvel at and bless thy provident beneficence to the first man, that before thou wouldst bring him forth into the world, thou wert pleased to furnish such a world for him, so goodly a house over his head, so pleasant a paradise under his feet, such variety of creatures round about him, for his subjection and attend
But how should I magnify thy mercy, who, before that man, or that world, had any being, hast so far loved me, as to pre-ordain me to a place of blessedness in that heaven which should be, and to make me a co-heir with my Christ of thy glory! And oh what a heaven is this, that thou hast laid out for me; how transcendently glorious! Even that lower paradise which thou providest for the harbour of innocence and holiness, was full of admirable beauty, pleasure, and magnificence; but if it be compared with this paradise above, which thou hast prepared for the everlasting entertainment of restored souls, how mean and beggarly it was! Oh match too unequal, of the best piece of earth with the highest
state of the heaven of heavens! In the earthly paradise I find thine angels, the cherubim, but it was to keep man off from that garden of delight, and from the tree of life in the midst of it; but in this heavenly one, I find millions of thy cherubim and seraphim, rejoicing at man's blessedness, and welcoming the glorified souls to their heaven. There I find but the shadow of that whereof the substance is here : there we were so possessed of life, that yet we might forfeit it; here is life without any possibility of death. Temptation could find access thither; here is nothing but a free and complete fruition of blessedness. There were delights fit for earthly bodies; here is glory more than can be enjoyed by blessed souls. That was watered with four streams, muddy and impetuous; in this is the pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God, and of the Lamb. There I find thee only walking in the cool of the day; here manifesting thy majesty continually. There I see only a most pleasant orchard, set with all manner of varieties of flourishing and fruitful plants; here I find also the city of God, infinitely rich and magnificent; the building of the wall of it of jasper, and the city itself pure gold, like unto clear glass ; and the foundations of the wall garnished with all man. ner of precious stones. All that I can here attain to see, is the pavement of thy celestial habitation. And, Lord, how glorious it is; how bespangled with glittering stars; for number, for magnitude, equally admirable! What is the least of them, but a world of light! And what are all of them, but a confluence of so many thousand worlds of beauty and brightness, met in one firmament ! And if this floor of thine heavenly palace be thus richly set forth, oh what infinite glory and magnificence must there needs be within ! Thy chosen vessel, that had the privilege to be caught up thither, and to see that Divine state, (whether with bodily or mental eyes,) can express it no otherwise, than that it cannot possibly be expressed. No, Lord, it were not infinite, if it could be uttered; thoughts go beyond words, yet even these come far short also. He that saw it says, “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.”
VII. His love in our redemption from death and hell.
Yet is thy love, O Saviour, so much more to be magnified of me, in this purchased glory, when I cast down mine eyes, and look into that horrible gulf of torment, and eternal death, whence thou hast rescued my poor soul. Even out of the greatest contentment which this world is capable of affording to mankind, to be preferred to the joys of heaven is an inconceivable advantage ; but from the depth of misery to be raised up to the highest pitch of felicity, adds so much more to the blessing, as the evil from which we are delivered is more intolerable. O blessed Jesus, what a hell is this, out of which thou hast freed me! what dreadful horror is here! what darkness! what confusion! what anguish of souls, that would and cannot die! what howling, and yelling, and shrieking, and gnashing! what everlasting burnings! what never slaking tortures ! what merciless fury of unwearied tormentors ! what utter despair of any possibility of release! what exquisiteness,