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sures, but kept by ill spirits; pleasing beauties, but baited with temptations; glorious titles, but surcharged with pride; good semblances, with rotten insides ; in short, death disguised with pleasures and profits.
If, therefore, thy inexperience have suffered thy feathers to be belimed with these earthly entanglements, yet now, that thou hast happily cast those plumes, and quitted thyself of these miserable encumbrances, thou mayest soar aloft above the sphere of mortality, and be still towering up towards thy heaven. And as those that have ascended to the top of some Athos or Teneriffe, see all things below them in the valleys small, and scarce in their diminution discernible; so shall all earthly objects, in thy spiritual exaltation, seem unto thee: either thou shalt not see them at all, or at least so lessened, as that they have to thee quite lost all the proportion of their former dimensions.
II. It will not be long, O my soul, ere thou shalt absolutely leave the world in the place of thy habitation, being carried up by the blessed angels to thy rest and glory; but in the mean time thou must resolve to leave it in thy thoughts and affections. Thou mayest have power over these, even before the hour of thy separation; and these, rightly disposed, have power to exempt thee beforehand from the interest of this inferior world, and to advance thy approaches to that world of the blessed. While thou art confined to this clay, there is naturally a luggage of carnality that hangs heavy upon thee, and sways thee down to the earth, not suffering thee to mount upward to that bliss whereunto thou aspirest; this must be shaken off, if thou wouldst attain to any capacity of hap
piness; even in this sense, flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God. It behoves thee to be, so far as this composition will admit, spiritualized, ere thou canst hope to attain to any degree of blessedness.
Thy conjunction with the body doth necessarily clog thee with an irrational part, which will unavoidably force upon thee some operations of its own; and thy senses will be interposing themselves in all thy intellectual employments, proffering thee the service of their guidance in all thy proceedings. But, if thou lovest eternity of blessedness, shake them off as importunate suitors; gather up thyself into thine own regenerated powers, and do thy work without and above them. It is enough that thou hast at first taken some hint from them, of what concerns thee; as for the rest, cast them off as unnecessary and impertinent; the prosecution whereof is too high and too internal for them to intermeddle with. Thou hast now divine and heavenly things in chase, whereof there cannot be the least scent in any of these earthly faculties. Divest thyself, therefore, (what thou possibly mayest,) of all materiality, both of objects and apprehensions; and let thy pure, renewed, and illuminated intellect, work only upon matter spiritual and celestial. And, above all, propose unto thyself, and dwell upon that purest, most perfect, simplest, most blessed object, the glorious and incomprehensible Deity; there thou shalt find more than enough to take up thy thoughts to all eternity. Be thou, O my soul, ever swallowed up in the consideration of that infinite self-being essence, whom all created spirits are not capable sufficiently to admire. Behold, and never cease won
dering at the majesty of his glory. The bodily eyes dazzle at the sight of the sun ; but if there were as many suns as there are stars in the firmament of heaven, their united splendour were but darkness to their all-glorious Creator. Thou canst not yet hope to see him as he is; but, lo, thou beholdest where he dwells in light inaccessible; the sight of whose very outward verge is enough to put thee into a perpetual ecstasy. It is not for thee, as yet, to strive to enter within the veil ; thine eyes may not be free, where the angels hide their faces. What thou wantest in sight, O my soul, supply in wonder. Never any mortal man, O God, durst sue to see thy face, save that one entire servant of thine, whose face thy conference had made shining and radiant; but even he (though inured to thy presence) was not capable of beholding such glory, and live. Far be it from me, O Lord, to presume so high ; only let me see thee as thou hast bidden me; and but so, as not to behold thee (after thy gracious revelation) were my sin. Let me see, even in this distance, some glimmering of thy Divine power, wisdom, justice, mercy, truth, providence, and let me bless and adore thee in what I see.
III. Oh the infiniteness of that almighty power, which thou hast not received, but art-beyond the possibility of all limitations of objects or thoughts. In us, poor finite creatures, our power comes short of our will; many things we fain would do, but cannot; and great pity it were that there should not be such a restraint upon our unruly appetites, which would otherwise work out the destruction both of ourselves and others. But, O God, thy power is beyond thy will. Thou canst do more than thou wilt. Thou couldst have made more worlds, when thou madest this one ; and even this one, which thou hast made, Lord, how glorious a one it is! Lo, there needs no other demonstration of thine omnipotence. Oh what a heaven is this, which thou hast canopied over our heads! How immensely capacious! How admirably beautiful! How studded with goodly globes of light! some one whereof hath in it such unspeakable glory, as that there have not wanted nations (and those of the most savage) which have worshipped it for their god. And if thou hadst made but one of these in thy firmament, thy workmanship had been above our wonder; for even this had surpassed the whole frame of this lower world. But now, as their quality strives with their greatness, so their magnitude strives with their number, which of them shall more mag. nify the praise of their Almighty Creator : and these three are no less than matched by the constant regularity of the perpetual motion of those mighty bodies; which having walked their daily rounds about the world above this five thousand six hundred and sixty years,* yet are so ordered by thy inviolable decree, that they have not varied one inch from their appointed line, but keep their due course and just distance each from other; although not fixed in any solid orb, but moving singly in a thin and yielding sky, to the very same point whence they set forth. And if the bodily and visible part of thy heavenly host, O God, be thus inconceivably glorious, where shall we find room to wonder at those spiritual and living powers which inhabit those celestial man
sions, and attend upon the throne of thy majesty. The thousand thousands of thy blessed angels, archangels, cherubim, seraphim, thrones, enjoy a bliss next to infinite! any one of which, if we could see him, were enough to kill us with his glory: not one of those millions of mighty spirits, but were able to destroy a world. Oh then how infinitely transcendent is that power of thine, who hast both created all this heavenly hierarchy, and so movest in them, that only in and by thee they are thus potent!
Yea, Lord, let me but cast mine eyes down to this earth Į tread upon, and view thy wonders in the deep, how manifestly do these proclaim thy Divine omnipotence! When I see this vast globe of earth and waters, dreadfully hanging in the midst of a liquid air, upheld by nothing but by thy powerful word; when I see the rage of the swelling waves (naturally higher than the shores they beat upon) restrained to their bounds by thy overruling command : when I see the earth beautifully garnished with marvellous variety of trees, herbs, flowers; richly filled with precious metals, stones, minerals : when I see (besides a world of men) the numberless choice and differences of the substance, forms, colours, dispositions of beasts, fowls, fishes, wherewith these lower elements are peopled-how can I fail to be dissolved into wonder at thy almighty power!
IV. Neither is thy power, O God, either more, or more thyself, than thy wisdom, which is no less essential to thee than infinite. What have we to do, silly and shallow wretches, with that incomprehensible wisdom which is intrinsical to thy Divine nature; the body of that sun is not for