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them, and keeps them safe and clean, but the child is forgotten and loft. My body which is but the garment of my soul, I kept and nourished with excessive care, but my soul was long forgotten, and had been lost for ever, as others daily are, had not God rouz ed it, by the convictions of his Spirit, out of that deep oblivion and deadly number.
When the God that formed it, out of free grace to the work of his own hands, had thus recovered it to a sense of its own worth and danger, my next work was to get it united with Christ, and thereby secured from the wrath to come, which I found to be a work difficult to effect, (if it be yet effected), and a work of time to clear, though but to the degree of good hope through grace. · Aod since the hopes.and evidences of salvation began to spring up in my soul, and settle the state thereof, I found these three great words, viz. Christ, foul, and eternity, to have a far dif
ferent, and more awful found in my ear, than ever they used to · have. I looked on them from that time, as things of the great. est certainty, and most awful solemnity. These things have laid some weight upon my thoughts, and I felt, at certain seasons, a strong inclination to fequester myself from all other studies, and spend my last days, and most fixed meditations upon these three great and weighty subjects.
I know the subject matter of my studies and enquiries (be it never so weighty) doth not therefore make my meditations and discourse upon it great and weigbty: nor am I such a vain opie, nionator, as to imagine my discourses every way suitable to the dignity of such subjects; no, no, the more I think and study about them, the more I discern the indistinctness, darkness, crudity, and confusion of my own conceptions, and expres. sion of such great and transcendent things as those : but, In mugnis voluise fat est, I resolved to do what I could: and accordingly fome years past I finished and published, in two parts, the Doétrine of Christ; and by the acceptation and success the Lord gave that, he hath encouraged me to go on in this second part of my work, how unequal foever my Thoulders are to the burden of it. ;.. ..The nature, original, immortality, and capacity of mine own soul, for the present lodged in and related to this vile bo-, dy, destined to corruption; together with its existence, employment, perfection, converse with God, and other spirits, both of its own, and of a superior rank and order, when it shall (as I know it shortly muli) put off this its tabernacle; these things have a long time been the matters of my limited desires to ùn.
derstand, so far as I could see the pillar of fire (God in his word) enlightening my way to the knowledge of them. Yea, such is the value I have for them, that I have given them the next place in my esteem, to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and my interest in him.
God hath formed me, as he hath other men, a prospecting creuture. I feel myself yet uocentered, and short of that state of relt and satisfaction to which my soul, in its Datural and spiritual capacity, hath a designation. I fiod that I am in a contioual motion towards my everlasting abode, and the expence of my time; and many infirmities tell me that I am not far from ir : by all which I am strongly prompted to look forward, and acquaiat my self as much as I can, with my next place and employment. I look with a greedy and inquisitive eye that way. · Yet would I not be. guilty of an unwarrantable curiosity in searching into revealed things; how willing foever I am to put my head by faith into the world above, and to know the things which Jesus Christ hath purchased and prepared for me, and all the rest that are waiting for his appearance and kingdom. I feel my curiosity checked and repressed by that elegant paronomasia, Rom. xii. 3. Mn varep povede sep o de opoverv, anda Popoversy bls. To owợpoverv, In all things I would be wise unto fobriety. I groan under the effects of Adam's itching ambition to know, and would not by repeating his sin, encrease my own misery; nor yet would I be scared, by his example, into the contrary evil of neglecting the means God hath afforded me, to koow all that I can of his revealed will. . *The helps philosophy affords in foine parts of this discourse, are too great to be despised, aod too small to be admired. I confess I read the definitions of the soul given by the ancient philosophers, with a compassionate smile. When Thales calls ita nature without repose; Asclepiades, an exercitation of sense; Hesiod, a thing composed of earth and water ; Parmenides, a thing composed of earth and fire; Galen faith it is heat; HippoCrates, a fpirit diffused through the body ; Plato, a felf-moving substance ; Aristotle calls it Entelechia, that by which the body is moped: If my opinion should be asked, which of all these defie nitions I like best, I should give the same answer which Theo. critus gave an ill poet, repeating many of his verses, and ask
: * Por to whom is the truth known with certainty without God? of God without Christ? or Christ explorated without the Spirit ? or the Spirit vouchsafed without faith? Tertullian.on tbe foule .. si ing which he liked best; Those (faid he) which you have omitteda Or if they must have the garland as the prize they have thor for, let them have it upon the same reason that was once given to him that always shot wide. Difficilius eft toties non attingere, Because it was the greatest difficulty to aim fo often at the mark, and never come near it. One word of God gives me more light than a thousand such laborious trifles. As Caefar was belt able to write his own commentaries, fo God only can give the best account of his own creature, on which he hath impressed his owo image. : Modern philosophers, assisted by the divine oracles, must needs come closer to the mark, and give us a far better account of the nature of the foul. Yet I have endeavoured not to cloud this subject with their controversies, or abstruse notions; remembring what a smart, but deserved check, Tertullian gives those, Qui Platonicum et Aristotelicum Chrisianismum producunt Christianis. Words are but the servants of matter, I value them as merchants. do their ships, not by the gilded head and stern, the Deataess of their mould, or curious flags and streamers, but by the foundness of their bottom, largeness of their capacity, and richoels of their cargo and loading. The quality of this subject necessitates, in many places, the use of scholastic terms, which will be obfcure to the vulgar reader : but apt and proper words must not be rejected for their obscurity, except plainer words could be found that fit the subject as well, and are as fully expressive of the matter. The unnecessary I have avoided, and the rest explained as I could.
The principal fruits I especially aim at, both to my own and the reader's soul, are, - That whilft we contemplate the freedom, pleasure, and satisfaction of that fpiritual, incorporeal people, who dwell in the region of light and joy, and are hereby forming to ourselves a true scriptural idea of the blessed state of those disembodied spirits, with whom we are to serve, and converse in the temple-worship in heaven; and come more explicitly and distinctly to understand the constitution, order, and delightful employments of those our everlasting associates; we may anfwerably feel the found and inordinate love of this animal life subacted and wrought down; the frightful vizard of death drop off, and a more pleasing aspect appear; that no upright foul that thall read these discourses may henceforth be convulled at the Dame of death, but chearfully aspire, and with a pleasant expectation wait for the blessed season of its transportation to that blessed assembly. It is certainly our ignorance of the life of hea. ven, that makes us dote as we do upon the present life. There itter acel
haveral is a gloom, a thick mist overspreading the next life, and hid. pave sharing, even from the eyes of believers, the glory that is there. We pace give fend forth our thoughts to penetrate this cloud, but they return ! on attey to us without the desired success. We reinforce them with a often zfally of new and more vigorous thoughts, but still they come back od girl in confusion and disappointment, as to any perfect account they
Asck can bring us from thence; though the ofiner and closer we think, jod och still the more we grow up into acquaintance with these excellent ich he things..
Another benefit I pray for, and expect from these labours, racles, i is, that by describing the horrid estate of those fouls which go
the other way, and thewiog to the living the dismal condition not rol of souls departed in their unregenerate state, some may be aDotion: wakened to a feasonable and effectual consideration of their rulliano wretched condition, whilst they yet continue under the means
and among the instruments of their salvation.
Whatever the fruit of this discourse shall be to others, I d and
have cause to bless God for the advantage it hath already given eamers me. I begin to find more than ever I have done, in the sepa..
rate state of fanctified souls, all that is capable of attracting an ality at
intellectual nature; and it God will but fix my mind upon this ltate, and cause my pleased thoughts about it to settle into a fteddy frame and temper, I hope I Mall daily more and more depreciate aod despise this common way of existence in a cor
poreal prison ; and when the blessed season of my departure is ve ara
at hand, I shall take a chearful farewel of the greater and lef. ler elementary world, to which my soul hath been confined, and have an abundant entrance through the broad gate of affu
fance, unto the blessed, unbodied inhabitants of the world to Leal come. rebror ated to
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I RE A TI SE
Gen. ïi. 7. And the Lord God formed man out of the dust of the 'ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life ; and man became a living foul.
" THREE things (faith * Athanasius) are unknown to " ! men according to their efence, viz, God, angels, and " I the fouls of men." Of the nature of the divine and high-boro foul, we may lay, as the learned + Whitaker doth of the way of its infection by original fin," it is eafier fought than " understood, and better understood than explicated :" And for its original, the most fagacious and renowned for wisdom a. mongst the $ ancient philosophers understood nothing of it. It is said of' || Democritus, that there is nothing in the "whole workmanship of nature of which he did not write ;" and in a more lofty and swelling hyperbole, they file their eagleey'd Aristotle, “the rule, yea, and miracle of nature ; learning " itself, the very fun of knowledge:” get both these are not only faid, but proved by Lactantius to be learned ideots. How have the schools of Epicurus, and Aristotle, the Cartesiaps, and other fects of philosophers, abused and troubled the world with a kind of philosophical enthusiasm, and a great many ridiculous
* Tria funt quæ secundum eflentiam hominibus funt aylw5d, x06 sopise, Deus, angelus, et anima hominis, Ath. in Tract. de desin.
+ Quæri facilius eft quam intelligitur, et melius intelligitur quam explicatur.
$ Plato doubted, Aristotle denied, and Galen derided the doc. trine of the world's creation. . || Nihil eft in toto opificio naturæ, de quo non fcripfit Democritus, And for Aristotle, they stiled him, Regula natura, Natura mira eulum, ipsa eruditio, sol scientiarum, Antistes literarum et sapien tie. Lactantius, lib. iii, cap. 17, 18.