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now that I have a being, be wholly taken up with thy love; let me set all my soul upon thee who gavest me being; upon thee who art the eternal and absolute self-being; who hast said, and only couldst say, “I am that I am.” Alas, Lord, we are nothing but what thou wilt have us; and cease to be when thou callest in that breath of life which thou hast lent us. Thou art that incomprehensibly glorious and infinite self-existing Spirit, from eternity, in eternity, to eternity, in and from whom all things are. It is thy wonderful mercy
that thou wouldst condescend so low, as to vouchsafe to be loved of my wretchedness, of whom thou mightest justly require and expect nothing but terror and trembling. It is my happiness that I may be allowed to love a majesty so infinitely glorious. O let me not be so far wanting to my own felicity, as to be less than ravished with thy love!
XI. A further enforcement of our love to Christ in respect of our unworthiness, and his sufferings, and prepared glory.
Thou lovedst me when I was deformed, loathsome, forlorn, and miserable ; shall I not now love thee, when thou hast freed me, and decked me with the ornaments of thy graces ? Lord Jesus, who should enjoy the fruits of thine own favours but thyself? How shamefully injurious were it, that when thou hast trimmed up my soul, it should prostitute itself to the love of the world! O take my heart to thee alone ; possess thyself of that which none can claim but thyself.
Thou lovedst me when I was a professed rebel against thee, and receivedst me not to mercy only,
but to the endearment of a subject, a servant, a
Where should I place the improvement of the thankful affections of my loyalty and duty, but
Thou, O God, hast so loved us, that thou wouldst become the Son of man for our sakes, that we who are the sons of men might become the sons of God. Oh that we could put off the man, to put on Christ; that we could neglect and hate ourselves for thee, who hast so dearly loved us, as to lay aside thine heavenly glory for us.
How shall I be lowly enough, O Saviour, for thee, who for my sake (being the Lord of life and glory) wouldst take upon thee the form of a servant! How should I welcome that poverty which thy choice hath sanctified! How resolutely shall I grapple with the temptations of that enemy, whom thou hast foiled for me ! How cheerfully should I pass through those miseries, and that death, which thou hast sweetened! With what comfortable assurance shall I look upon the face of that merciful justice which thou hast satisfied ! But oh what a blessed inheritance hast thou in thine infinite love provided for me!an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for me; so that when my earthly house of this tabernacle shall be dissolved, I have a building of God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens:—a house! yea, a palace of heavenly state and magnificence: neither is it less than a kingdom that abides there for me; a kingdom so much more above these worldly monarchies, as heaven is above this clod of earth. Now, Lord, what conceits, what affections of mine, can be in the least sort answerable to such transcendent mercies? If some friend shall have been pleased to bestow some mean legacy upon me, or shall have bequeathed me some few acres of land, how deeply do I find myself obliged to the love and memory of so kind a benefactor! O then, Lord, how can my soul be capable of those thoughts and dispositions, which may reach to the least proportion of thine infinite bounty, who, of a poor worm on earth, hast made me an heir of the kingdom of heaven! Woe is me! how subject are these earthly principalities to hazard and mutability, whether through death or insurrection ! but this crown which thou hast laid up for me is unfading, and shall sit immovably fast upon my head, not for years, nor for millions of ages, but for all eternity. 0 let it be my heaven here below, in the mean while, to live in a perpetual fruition of thee, and to begin those hallelujahs to thee here, which shall be as endless as thy mercy and my
blessedness! XII. The improvement of our love to Christ for the mercy of his deliverance, for the tuition of his angels, and for the powerful working of his good Spirit.
Hadst thou been pleased to have translated me from thy former paradise, the most delightful seat of man's original integrity and happiness, to the glory of the highest heaven, the preferment had been infinitely gracious; but to bring my soul from the nethermost hell, and to place it among the choir of angels, doubles the value of thy mercy, and the measure of my obligation! How thankful was thy prophet but to an Ebedmelech, that by a cord and rags, let down into that dark dungeon, helped him out of that uncomfortable pit wherein he was lodged ! Jer. xxxviii.; yet, what was there but a little cold, hunger, stench, closeness, darkness ? Lord, how should I bless thee, who hast brought my soul from that pit of eternal horror, from that lake of fire and brimstone, from the everlasting torments of the damned, wherein I had deserved to perish for ever! I will sing of thy power; unto thee, O my Strength, will i sing; for God is my deliverer, and the God of my mercy.
But, O Lord, if yet thou shouldst leave me in my own hands, where were I? How easily should I be robbed of thee by every temptation ! Ilow should I be made the scorn and insult of men and devils ! It is thy wonderful mercy that thou hast given thine angels charge over me; those angels, great in power, and glorious in majesty, are my sure, though invisible, guard. O blessed Jesus, what an honour, what a safety is this ; that those heavenly spirits who attend thy throne, should be my champions! Those that ministered to thee after thy temptation are ready to assist and relieve me in mine; they can neither neglect their charge, because they are perfectly holy, nor fail of their victory, because they are, under thee, the most powerful. I see you, o ye blessed guardians, I see you by the eye of my faith, no less truly than
my sense see my bodily attendants. I do truly, though spiritually, feel your presence by your gracious operations in, upon, and for me ; and I do heartily bless my God and yours, for you, and for those saving offices that, through his merciful appointment, you ever do for my soul. But as it was with thine Israelites of old, that it
would not content them that thou promisedst to send thine angel before them, to bring them into the land flowing with milk and honey, unless thy presence, O Lord, should also go along with them, so is it still with me, and all thine. Wert not thou with and in us, what could thine angels do for us? In thee it is that they move and are; the same infinite Spirit who works in and by them, works also
From thee it is, O thou blessed and eternal Spirit, that I have any stirrings of holy motions, and breathings of good desires; any life of grace, any will to resist, any power to overcome evil. It is thou, O God, that girdest me with strength for battle ; thou hast given me the shield of thy salvation ; thy right hand hath holden me up: thou hast also given me the necks of mine enemies. Glory and praise be to thee, O Lord, who always causest us to triumph in Christ; who crownest us with loving-kindness and tender mercies ; and hast not held us short of the best of thy favours !
Truly, Lord, hadst thou given us but a mere being, as thou hast done in the lowest rank of thy creatures, it had been more than thou owest us, more than ever we could be able to requite to thy Divine bounty; for every being is good, and the least degree of good is far above our worthiness : but that to our being thou hast added life, is yet a higher measure of thy mercy; for certainly of thy common favours, life is the most precious ; yet this is such a benefit as may be had, and not perceived; for even the plants of the earth live, and feel it not. That to our life, therefore, thou hast made a further accession of sense, is yet a larger improvement of thy beneficence ; for this faculty