« PreviousContinue »
It affords just matter of complaint, and to be acknowledged with sorrow and shame, that if there be any Christian duty whose omission is notoriously shameful and prejudicial to the souls of professors, it is that of Meditation. This is the very end God hath given us our souls for: we mispend them if we use them not thus. How lamentable is it that we so employ them, as if our faculties of discourse served for nothing but our earthly provision ; as if our reasonable and Christian minds were appointed for the slaves and drudges of this body, only to be the caterers and cooks of our appetites !
The world filleth, yea, cloyeth us; and we find ourselves overcharged with such thoughts as these. What have I yet? How may I get more? What must I lay out? What shall I leave for posterity ? How may I prevent the wrong of mine adversary? How may I return it? What answers shall I make to such allegations ? What entertainment shall I give to such friends ? What courses shall I take in such suits? In what pastime shall I spend this day? in what the next ? What advantage shall I reap by this practice ? what loss? What was said, answered, replied, done, followed ?
Goodly thoughts, and fit for spiritual minds! Say there were no other world, how could we spend our cares otherwise ? Unto this only neglect, let me ascribe the commonness of that Laodicean temper of men; or (if that be worse) of the dead coldness which hath stricken the hearts of many, having left them nothing but the bodies of men, and visors of Christians; to this only,—they have not meditated. It is not more impossible to live without a heart, than to be devout without meditation. Would God, therefore, my words could be in this (as the wise man saith the words of the wise are) like unto goads in the sides of every reader, to quicken him up out of this dull and lazy security, to a cheerful practice of this divine meditation. Let him curse me upon his death-bed, if, looking back from thence to the bestowing of former times, acknowledge not these hours placed the most happily in his whole life; if he then wish not he had worn out more days in so profitable and heavenly a work.
ETERNAL LIFE AS THE END.
What wilt thou muse upon, O my soul? Thou seest how little it availeth thee to wander and rove about in uncertainties. Thou findest how little savour there is in these earthly things, wherewith thou hast wearied thyself. Trouble not thyself any longer (with Martha) about the many and needless thoughts of the world. None but heavenly things can afford thee comfort. Up, then, my soul, and mind those things that are above, whence thyself art. Amongst all which, wherein shouldst thou rather meditate than of the life and glory of God's saints ? A worthier employment thou canst never find, than to think upon that estate thou shalt once possess, and now desirest.
What then, O my soul, is the life of the saints, whereof thou studiest? Who are the saints, but those who, having been weakly holy upon earth, are perfectly holy above? who even on earth were perfectly holy in their Saviour, now are so in themselves ? who, overcoming on carth, are truly canonized in heaven? What is their life, but that