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strength of the Divinity in it, its motions towards its object are quick and potent. That elegant description which the prophet makes of the wicked heart, with some change, may be brought to express this excellent temper of the godly soul; it is like the working sea which cannot rest; and although its waters do not cast up mire and dirt, yet, in a holy impatience, they rise and swell, and cast up a froth and foam towards heaven. In a word, that I may comprise many things in few expressions, no man so ambitious as the humble, none so covetous as the heavenly-minded, none so voluptuous as the self-denying. Religion gives a largeness and wideness to the soul, which sin, and self, and the world, had straitened and confined; but his ambition is only to be great in God, his covetousness is only to be filled with all the fulness of God, and his voluptuousness is only to drink of the rivers of his pure pleasures: he desires to taste the God whom he sees, and to be satisfied with the God whom he tastes. Oh now, how are all the faculties of the soul awakened to attendance upon the Lord of life! It hearkens for the sound of his feet coming, the noise of his hands knocking at the door; it stands upon its watch-tower, waiting for his appearing, waiting more earnestly than they that watch for the morning, and rejoices to meet him at his coming; and having met him, runs into his arms, kisses him, holds him, and will not let him go, but brings him into the house, and entertains him in the guestchamber; the soul complains that itself is not large enough, that there is not room enough to entertain so glorious a guest, no, not though it have given him all the room that it hath ; it entertains him with the widest arms, and the sweetest smiles; and if he depart and withdraw, fetches him again with the deepest groans, Return, return, O Prince of peace, and make me an everlasting habitation of righteousness unto thyself!

It will not be amiss here briefly to touch upon the reason of the godly soul's so ardent pantings after God. And here I might show first, negatively, that it springs not from any carnal ambition of being better and higher than others, not from any carnal hope of impunity and safety, nor merely from the bitter sense of pressing and tormenting afflictions in this life. But I shall rather insist upon it affirmatively. These earnest breathings after God spring from the feeling apprehensions of self-indigency and insufficiency, and the powerful sense of divine goodness and fulness; they are begotten of the divine bounty and self-sufficiency, manifesting itself to the spirits of men, and conceived and brought forth by a deep sense of self-poverty. One might almost apply the Apostle's words to this purpose, “ We receive the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in him." I shall not discourse upon these two heads disjunctly, but frame them into one notion, and so you may take it thus ; these holy longings of the godly soul after God, do arise from the sense of its distance from God. Το be so far distant from God, who is life and love itself, and the proper and full happiness of the soul, is grievous to the soul that is rightly affected towards hin: and hence it is that the soul cannot be at rest, but still longs to be more intimately joined to him,


and more perfectly filled with him: and the clearer the souls apprehensions are of its object, and the deeper its sense is of its own unlikeness to him, and distance from him, the more strong and impatient are its breathings; insomuch that not only fear, as the Apostle speaks, but even love itself sometimes seems to itself to have kind of


and torment in itself; which made the spouse cry, she was sick of love, that is, sick of every thing that kept her from her love, sick of that distance at which she stood from her beloved Lord. The godly soul being ravished with the infinite sweetness and goodness of God, "longs to be that rather than what itself is; and beholding how it is estranged from him, by many sensual loves, selfish passions, corporeal clogs and distractions, bewails its distance, and cries out within itself, “ Oh when shall I come and appear before God!" Oh when will God come and

appear gloriously to me and in me! 66 Who will deliver me from this body of death !" Oh that mortality were swallowed up of life! David's soul did wait for God as earnestly, and more properly, than they that watch for the morning; they may be said rather to be weary of the long and cold and troublesome night, than properly covetous of the day; but he, out of a pure and spiritual sense of his estrangement from God, longs to appear before him, and be wrapped up in him. Heal the godly man of all his afflictions, grievances, adversities in the world, that he may have nothing to trouble him, nor put him to pain; yet he is not quiet, he is in pain because of the distance at which he stands from God: give him the whole world, and all the glory of it, yet he has not enough; he still cries, and craves, “ Give, give, ” because he is not entirely swallowed up in God: he openeth his mouth wide, as the Psalmist speaks, and all the silver and gold, peace, health, liberty, preferment, that you cast into it, cannot fill it; because they are not God, he cannot look

them as his chiefest good. In a word, a godly man doth not so much say, in the sense either of sin or affliction, " Oh that one would give me the wings of a dove, that I might fly away and be at rest !” as in the sense of his dissimilitude to, and distance from God, Oh that one would give me the wings of an angel, that I might fly away towards heaven!



An expostulation with Christians concerning their remiss

and sluggish temper; an attempt to convince them of it by some considerations ; which are, 1. The activity of worldly men. 2. The restless appetites of the body. 3. The strong propensions of every creature towards its own centre: an inquiry into the slothfulness and inactivity of Christian souls. The grace of faith vindicated from the slander of being merely passive. A short attempt to awaken Christians unto greater vigour and activity.

We have seen in what respects religion is an active principle in the soul where it is seated; give me leave to enlarge a little here for conviction or reprehension. By this property of true religion we shall be able to discover much that is false and counterfeit in the world. If religion be no lazy, languid, sluggish, passive thing, but life, love, the spirit of power and freedom, a fire burning, a well of water springing up, as we have sufficiently seen, what shall we say then of that heavy, sluggish, spiritless kind of religion that most men take up with ? Shall we call it a spirit of life, with the Apostle; and yet allow of a religion that is cold and dead? Shall we call it a spirit of love and power, with the same Apostle ; and yet allow of it, though it be indifferent, low, and impotent? Or will such pass for current with the wise and holy God, if we should pass a favourable censure upon it? And why should it ever pass with men, if it will not for

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