« PreviousContinue »
fect pleasure ; nothing but perpetual melody of angels and saints, singing sweet hallelujahs to their God; a life, which the most glorious Deity both gives, and is; a life, wherein thou hast the full fruition of the ever-blessed Godhead, the continual society of the celestial spirits, the blissful presence of the glorified humanity of thy dear Saviour; a life, wherein thou hast ever consort with the glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the patriarchs and prophets, the noble army of martyrs and confessors, the celestial synod of all the holy fathers and illuminated doctors of the church; in short, the blessed assembly of all the faithful professors of the name of the Lord Jesus, that having finished their course, sit now shining in their promised glory. See there that yet unapproachable light, that divine magnificence of the heavenly King: see that resplendent crown of righteousness, which decks the heads of every one of those saints, and is ready to be set on thine, when thou hast happily overcome those spiritual powers, wherewith thou art still conflicting : see the joyful triumphs of these exulting victors : see the measures of their glory, different, yet all full, and the least unmeasurable : lastly, see all this happiness not limited to thousands, nor yet millions of years, but commeasured by no less than eternity. And now, my soul, if thou have received the infallible engagement of thy God, in that having believed thou art sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of thine inheritance, until the full redemption of thy purchased possession, Eph. i. 13, 14; if, through his infinite mercy, thou be now upon the entering into that blessed
place and state of immortality; forbear, if thou čanst, to be raised above thyself with the joy of the Holy Ghost, to be enlarged towards thy God with a joy unspeakable and glorious, 1 Thess. i. 6. See if thou canst now breathe forth any thing but praises to thy God, and songs of rejoicing; bearing evermore a part in that heavenly song of the angels, “ Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God, for ever and ever.”
XIII. And now what remains, O my soul, but that thou humbly and faithfully wait at the gate of heaven for a happy entrance, at the good pleasure of thy God, into those everlasting mansions. I confess, should thy merits be weighed in the balance of a rigorous justice, another place (which I cannot mention without horror) were more fit for thee, more due to thee ; for, alas, thou hast been above measure sinful, and thou knowest the wages of sin, death. But the God of my mercy hath
prevented thee with infinite compassion; and in the multitude of his tender mercies hath not only delivered thee from the nethermost hell, but hath also vouchsafed to translate thee to the kingdom of his dear Son, Psa. lix. 10; lxxxvi. 13; Col. i. 13. In him thou hast boldness of access to the throne of grace; thou, who in thyself art worthy to be a child of wrath, art in him adopted to be a co-heir of glory; and hast the livery and seizin* given thee beforehand of a blessed possession; the full estating wherein, I do in all humble awfulness attend. All the few days, therefore, of my appointed time will I wait at the threshold of grace, until my change come, with a trembling joy, with
* Delivery and possession.
a longing patience, with a comfortable hope. Only, Lord, I know there is something to be done, ere I can enter; I must die, ere I can be capable of enjoying that blessed life with thee; one stroke of thine angel must be endured in my passage into thy paradise. And, lo, here I am before thee, ready to embrace the condition; even, when thou pleasest, let me bleed once, to be ever happy. Thou hast, after a weary walk through this roaring wilderness, vouchsafed to call up thy servant to Mount Nebo, and from thence afar off to show me the land of promise, a land which flows with milk and honey. Do thou but say, Die thou on this hill, with this prospect in mine eye, and do thou mercifully take my soul from me, who gavest it to me; and dispose of it where thou wilt, in that region of immortality. Amen, Amen. Come, Lord
, . Jesus, come quickly.
Behold, Lord, I have by thy providence dwelt in this house of clay more than double the time wherein thou wert pleased to sojourn upon earth; yet I may well say with thine holy patriarch, “Few and evil have been the days of the years of my pilgrimage,” Gen. xlvii. 9. Few in number, evil in condition; few in themselves, but none at all to thee, with whom a thousand years are but as one day. But had they been double to the age of Methuselah, could they have been so much as one minute to eternity? Yea, what were they to me (now that they are past) but as a tale that is told and forgotten?
Neither yet have they been so few, as evil, Lord. What troubles and sorrows hast thou let me see, both my own and others ! what vicissitudes of sickness and health! what ebbs and flows of con
dition! how many successions and changes of princes, both at home and abroad! what turnings of times! what alteration of governments ! what shiftings and downfals of favourites! what ruins and desolation of kingdoms! what sacking of çities! what havocs of war! what frenzies of rebellions ! what underminings of treachery! what cruelties and barbarisms in revenges ! what anguish in the oppressed and tormented ! what ago. nies in temptations ! what pangs in dying! These I have seen, and in these I have suffered; and now, Lord, how willing I am to change time for eternity; the evils of earth, for the joys of heaven; misery, for happiness; a dying life, for im- . mortality!
Even so, Lord Jesus, take what thou hast bought; receive my soul to thy mercy, and crown it with thy glory. Amen. Amen. Amen.
It is seldom seen, that a silent grief speeds well : for either a man must have strong hands of resolution to strangle it in his bosom, or else it drives him to some secret mischief: whereas, sorror revealed is half remedied, and ever abates in the uttering. Your grief was wisely disclosed ; and shall be as strangely answered. I am glad of your sorrow, and should weep
did not thus mourn. Your sorrow is, that you cannot enough grieve for your sins. Let me tell you, that the angels themselves sing at this lamentation; neither doth the earth afford any so sweet music in the ears of God. This heaviness is the way to joy. Worldly sorrow is worthy of pity, because it leadeth to death; but this deserves nothing but envy and gratulation. If those tears were common, hell would not, so enlarge itself. Never sin, repented of, was punished ; and never any thus mourned, and repented not. Lo, you have done that, which you grieve you have not done. That good God, whose act is his will, accounts of our will as our deed. If he required sorrow proportionable to the heinousness of our sins, there were no end of mourning. Now, his mercy regards not so much the measure, as the truth of it; and accounts us to have, that which we complain to want. I never knew any truly penitent, who, in the depth of his remorse, afraid of sorrowing too much; nor any unrepentant, who wished to sorrow more. Yea, let me tell you, that this sorrow is better and more than that deep heaviness for sin, which you desire. Many have been vexed with an extreme remorse for