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dunghill earth, but refine your drossy, and raise up your drowsy, spirits to behold, contemplate, and admire the glories that are in Heaven. For which end it is necessary that you often retire from the cares and bustles of this tumultuous world, and bid your earthly thoughts farewell, commanding them to stay below, while your aspiring souls go up to take a view of what is above; where, having fixed yourselves amongst the choir of Saints and Angels, cast your rolling eyes about, and take an exact survey of the land of Canaan that flows with milk and honey. Look well that you cannot but behold such transcendent light and glory, that your eyes will be dazzled, and your hearts astonished at it. And if you do but listen with an attentive and believing ear, you cannot but hear such melodious music and celestial concert, as will be sure to ravish and transport your spirits beyond themselves. And do but rightly weigh and consider what is there, and you will find that there is not only the blessed company of the spirits of just men made perfect, together with Angels, Archangels, Cherubims, and Seraphims, with the rest of the celestial hierarchy, but there is Christ and God Himself; Whom to know, is the only wisdom ; Whom to serve, is the only freedom; and Whom to enjoy, is the only happiness that any creature is capable of. And who would not dwell in the ravishing contemplations of such rare perfections as these?
In the next place, when your heads are thus got into Heaven amongst those things that are above, you must be sure to send your hearts after them. I mean the affection of love, which cannot but be inflamed with beholding such transcendent beauty and glory as that is. And therefore, do but seriously bethink and consider with yourselves what really there is, and you cannot but love to be in Heaven: there is the Lord, the Lord of Hosts, the Cause of all causes, the Best of all goods, and the Centre of all perfections: there is Wisdom and Power, Justice and Mercy, Grace and Goodness, Love and Purity, Glory and Eternity altogether: there is He that made you, He that preserveth you, and He that redeemed you too: there is He that left the sweetness of His Father's bosom, and all to come and die for you : there is He that laid down His Own life to ransom yours, SERM. and died in time that you might live for ever: there is He CXXXVII.
that gave His body to be broken that you might eat it, and His blood to be shed that you might mystically drink of it: there is He that mourned, that you might rejoice; and became miserable to make you happy: there is He that easeth you of all your dolorous complaints, and cures you of all your mournful sadness; that supplies your wants, dispels your fears, and averts your danger from the wrath of an incensed God. In short, there is Christ now making intercession for your souls in Heaven, as He once made satisfaction for your sins on earth. And whilst I am speaking, and you thinking, I hope, upon these things, do not your hearts wax hot within you? While you are thus musing, doth not the fire kindle? Are not your hearts even snatched from you, and your souls transported into flames of love? Certainly, if they be not, it is because they are not in Heaven, and you do not rightly consider what is there ; which I am confident none can do, but he must needs be in love with what he there beholds; these things being the only objects which our love was made to be placed upon.
3. In the next place, having your affection of love fixed upon those glories that are above, I need not tell you, that your desires must be carried after them. For as you cannot behold them without loving, so you cannot love them without desiring of them; they being so infinitely lovely in themselves, and yet for the present at some distance from us, which should make us long and thirst after nothing in the world so much as to come nearer and nearer to them, until at length we come into the full enjoyment of them. For if the dark glimpses and transient glances of Heaven's glory be so strangely ravishing, what will the clear vision
be? If the very believing of it fill us, as the Apostle saith, (1 Pet. 1.8.] “ with joy unspeakable and full of glory," what shall we
think of the full possession of it? Even that it is infinitely inore than we are able to think of. The consideration whereof should make us, methinks, even forget the world and all things in it, and desire nothing but to get to Heaven. Thus St. Paul, when he had been rapt up into the third Heavens, and had heard and seen something of what is there done, what was his life after but a continued breath
ing out, Cupio dissolri, “ I desire to be dissolved and to be (Phil.1.23.) with Christ." Thus David, having once tasted a little of “ those rivers of pleasure which are at God's right hand for (Ps. 16.11;
36.8.] evermore,” how pathetically doth he after cry out, “ As the Ps. 12. 1, 2. hart panteth after the water-brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God, when shall I come and appear before God.” And you, and I, who are so apt to be overwhelmed with cares and fears, and always subject to sin and vanity, could we but now and then, in our aspiring and believing thoughts, get up to Heaven, and there contemplate those eternal mansions, which Christ Himself hath purchased, and is now preparing for us, we should soon be weary of this deceitful world, and desire to be taken from it: we should soon join with the sweet singer of Israel, and say, “Oh, that [Ps. 55. 6.] I had wings like a dove, for then I would fly away, and be at rest;" then would I mount above the stars themselves, and there my soul should rest, and take its fill of joy and pleasure in the enjoyment of the chiefest good. And verily, until your desires be in some measure thus carried after the joys of Heaven, you are not only far from performing the duty in my text, but you are as yet far from true piety and religion; which cannot consist without real and sincere desires of serving God on earth and enjoying Him in Heaven.
But, you may say, Heaven is a great way off, and you know not how long it may be before you can get to it, and therefore, what need we trouble ourselves so much about it yet? To that I answer, It is true indeed, Heaven is a great way off from you that dwell on earth : but, howsoever, although it be above your sight, it is not above your hope. And, therefore, in the next place, that affection of hope should fix itself in Heaven, even whilst we are on earth; which is the only time wherein we can exert this grace: for when we come to Heaven, as our faith will be turned into vision, so will our hope be swallowed up of fruition. And, Romsen indeed, as there is nothing so worthy of our love, so neither is there any thing that we have such grounds to hope for. as the things that are above: for we have no ground to hope for any thing here below, because we have no promis
SERM. for it. But that all those that repent and believe the
-- Gospel shall go to Heaven, we have the infallible word and John 3. 16. promise of God, “ Who so loved the world, that He gave
His Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” And what ground can we have in the world whereon to anchor our hopes, firmer or so firm as this is ? And, therefore, we have no cause to despond or despair of it. Let us but repent of our former sins, and for the future fear God and keep His Commandments, believing in Jesus Christ for the acceptance both of our persons and duties, and then we cannot miss of the glories which we have now been speaking of. And, therefore, while some hope for riches, others for the honours of this world, while some hope to live pleasantly, others to live long upon earth, let us hope, in and
through Christ, to live eternally in Heaven, yea, so as to Rom. 5. 2. “ rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
And so I come to the last affection which is to be set upon the things above, even our joy, which you must not suffer to be crawling upon earth, whilst the others are soaring aloft in Heaven; where, and where alone, the proper objects of our joy are. But, supposing your other affections to be placed upon those things that are above, it is impossible for you not to rejoice in them: yea, the very thoughts of your having such transcendent glory purchased and prepared for you, cannot but be extraordinarily pleasing and delightsome
to you. And although you have not as yet, nor can see (1 Cor. 13. them, but as “ through a glass darkly," yet “ believing in 1 Pet. 1. 8. them you cannot but rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full
of glory.” Nay, more than that, the self-same joy which the Angels have, and you expect in Heaven, the same you are bound in duty to solace yourselves in whilst you are here below. For, Whom do the Angels and glorified Saints
rejoice in, but only in the living God? In Whom you are Phil. 4. 4. commanded to rejoice here as well as there; “Rejoice in the
Lord alway; and again I say, Rejoice;" so that we are bound to rejoice in the Lord always, when we have, and when we
have not any thing else to rejoice in ; so as always to say Hab. 3. 17, with the Prophet, “ Although the fig-tree shall not blossom,
neither shall fruit be in the vines; the labour of the olive
shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall; yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my Salvation.” And so we may say, moreover; although all things upon earth do frown upon me, and my very friends be turned against me, although my estate fail me, and all my honours be taken from me, although my health and strength decay, and I have nothing in this world to help me, yet will I rejoice in the Lord, and solace myself, and comfort my heart with the believing thoughts of that eternal happiness, which ere long shall be conferred upon me.
Thus having shewn you how you ought to set your affections upon those things that are above, so as always to be thinking of them, with love unto them, thirsting after them, hoping for them, and rejoicing in them; I should now come to apply what I have said, but that I hope you have done it to my hands: being now so thoroughly persuaded of the excellency of these things that are above, beyond whatsoever is here below, that you are already resolved within yourselves to call in all your scattered affections from all things here below, wherein they have hitherto been entangled, and to centre them all in Heaven, and in that perfection of glory and happiness, which is there, and only there, to be enjoyed. Which if you were truly resolved upon, and by the assistance of God would perform such resolutions, what holy lives would you then lead, and what happy creatures would you then be! The world would then be no snare unto you, nor its pomps and vanities entice you to sin: for your eyes would be so much dazzled with beholding the glory of Heaven, that every thing else would seem but blackness and darkness to you. The pleasures of this world would soon seem brutish, its honours despicable, and its riches so poor and mean, that they deserve to be the object rather of our scorn than covetousness; and so disdaining to be so low-spirited as to mind or regard such childish trifles, and throw away our precious and short-lived days upon such impertinent and tormenting vanities as all things are which are here below, we should rather devote ourselves to serving God, and please ourselves in pleasing Him.
And as this would be the way to become holy, so would