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Full text of "The dying thoughts of the Rev. Richard Baxter"




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-/«3 7 




and Mrs. Isaac R.HH* 
July 3, 1933 



LIFE, 7 

Che vanity of man as mortal. The author's design to speak only to 
himself; with a genera/1 plan of the work. The apostle's happi- 
ness whether in living or dying. The present life is desirable, 1. 
to please Grod ; 2. to secure our own salvation ; 3. to do good to 
others. Minding the life to come is not the whole of religion. 
The Old Testament saints duly regarded the present life. The 
author is thankful for present mercies to himself, his friends, and 
country ; especially for his usefulness in the church. He desires 
to improve the remainder of life, and rejoices in his happy situ- 



. Such faith is necessary, 1. to ascertain the design of life ; 2. to 
excite to holiness ; 3. to make us know, value, and improve our 
mercies ; 4. and to comfort us under sufferings. II. Such faith is 
reasonable, because, 1. the soul is immortal ; 2. this immortality 
is the dictate of nature ; 3. every man ought to seek happiness ; 

4. men and brutes differ in the knowledge of Grod -and futurity; 

5. G-od is a just governor; 6. and there is a gospel revelation: 
also because, 7. of God's regard to prayer ; 8. the ministration of 
angels ; 9. Satan r s temptations ; 10. and especially the sanctify- 
ing influences of the Holy Spirit. The author inculcates these 
considerations upon himself, in order to strengthen his own faith. 



. To be with Christ includes, 1. his presence; 2. union to him; 
3- communion with him, and with hi? glorified saints. II. In 


order to be with Christ, we must depart, 1. from the tody; 2. from 
former bodily enjoyments; and, 3. from the more rational pleas- 
ures of learning, friendship, means of grace, and acquaintance 
with worldly affairs. The author has no fear that the church 
will want him. Desires chiefly to submit to a separation from 
the body, and laments his soul's attachment to flesh and sense. 



It is far better, considering, 1. our preparation for it, by the Father's 
love, the Son's purchase, and the Spirit's influences ; by (rod's 
word, ordinances, and providences ; and by various other means. 
2. It is the end of all our preparations. 3. It perfects our know- 
ledge of God and his works ; of Christ, and redemption by him ; 
of heaven and Scripture ; of Providence, of ourselves, of our fel- 
low-creatures ; and of our enemies, sins, and dangers. 4. It per- 
fects our will, conforming it to the will of Grod, and fixing it in 
his love. The author triumphs in the prospect of such happiness ; 
traces it from Grod's love as the fountain, through the love of 
Christ as the channel, and through angels and saints as subor- 
dinate channels. 5. It perfects also our activity in doing good, 
particularly in praising Grod and Christ, and in beneficence to 
inferior creatures. 



Lamenting the inefficacy of his convictions, he begs divine teaching; 
argues against his doubts and fears; desires a heavenly temper; 
then excites his faith, viewing its support from reason, from ex- 
perience, and pleading the promises. 2. He next excites his 
hope; views its preparations, and pleads it in prayer. 3. He 
also excites his love ; considers its excellences ; prays for its in- 
crease; contemplates the perfection of heavenly love; is jealous 
of his own lo\ r e ; enumerates the evidences of Grod's love, and 
prays for its full discovery. 



In the following pages the reader will find 
none of the triumphs peculiar to martyrdom, 
nor any of those ecstasies which have distin- 
guished some particular Christians on* their 
dying beds. Some extraordinary cases rather 
excite our joyful surprise, than are patterns 
for our imitation. 

The " Dying Thoughts" of Mr. Baxter 
chiefly present to our view what every Chris- 
tian may attain, and what it is the highest* 
interest as well as the indispensable duty of 
every Christian to aspire after. See here his 
doubts and fears in the prospect of eternity; 
though he had spent a long life in exemplary 
holines.s, and in great nearness to God and 
heaven. See his jealousies over his own heart, 
and anxious concern to discover his sincerity ; 
together with his sober appeals and earnest 
attention to every dictate of reason and Scrip? 


ture, in order to establish his mind and con- 
science in a well-grounded peace. See, also, 
his unwearied striving with God and his own 
soul to have his grace in vigorous exercise. 
All these are well-known ingredients of the 
Christian temper ; and therefore tend, not to per- 
plex and discourage, but to counsel, strengthen, 
and comfort serious readers, while they discern, 
in one of Mr. Baxter's exalted attainments, 
the same conflicts, complaints, and desires, 
w r hich fill their own breasts. 

It is observed of Lord William Russell, 
who died a martyr for the liberty of his country, 
that a little before his death, by a trusty mes- 
senger, he sent Mr. Baxter his hearty thanks 
for his Dying Thoughts, " which," says he, 
4 * have made me better acquainted with the other 
world than I was before ; and have not a little 
contributed to my support and relief, and to 
the fitting me for what I am to go through." 

Though the Dying Thoughts were written 
about forty years after the Saints' Rest, yet 
both are evidently built on the same principles, 
and are animated by the same spirit. And let 
it suffice to add, that the abridgment of both 
is conducted in the same manner. 

B. fawcEtt. 





" Man that is born of a woman is of few 
days and full of trouble ; he cometh forth like 
a flower, and is cut down ; he fleeth also as a 
shadow, and continueth not." " And dost thou 
open thine eyes upon such a one, and bringest 
me into judgment with thee?" As a watch 
when it is wound up, or as a candle newly light- 
ed, so man, newly conceived or born, begins a 
motion which incessantly hastes to its appoint- 
ed period. And as an action, or the time of it, 
is nothing when it is past, so vain a thing would 
man be, and so vain is life, were it not for the 


hopes of a more durable life with which this is 
connected. But those hopes and the means for 
supporting them do not only distinguish a be- 
liever from an infidel, but a man from a beast 
When Solomon describes the difference omly in 
respect to time and the things of time, he well 
observes, that one event happening to both, 
shows that both are vanity. And Paul says of 
Christians, "If in this life only we have hope, 
we are of all men most miserable." Though 
even in this life, as related to a better, and as 
we ourselves are exercised about things of a 
higher nature than the concerns of a temporal 
life, we are far happier than the men of the 

I am intending to speak to none but myself, 
and therefore, supposing the meaning of the 
text to be duly ascertained, shall only observe 
what is useful to my own heart and practice. 
In this chapter I will consider, "What there is 
desirable in the present life ; then show, chap- 
ter second, The necessity and reasonableness of 
believing that pious separate spirits are with 
Christ; next explain, chapter third, What it is 
to depart and to be with Christ ; and, chapter 


fourth, "Why it is far better to be with him. I 
will conclude, chapter fifth, with expressing, My 
concern that I myself may be willing to depart 
and to be with Christ. 

It was a happy state into which grace had 
brought the apostle, who saw so much of what 
was not only tolerable, but greatly desirable, 
both in living and dying. " For him to live was 
Christ," that is, to do the work and serve the 
interest of Christ; for him "to die was gain," 
that is, would be his own interest and reward. 
His strait was not whether it would be good to 
live, or good to depart, because both were good, 
but he doubted which of the two was more de- 
sirable. Nor was it his meaning to bring his 
own interest and Christ's into competition with 
each other. By Christ, or the interest of Christ, 
he means his serving the churches of Christ upon 
earth. But he knew that Christ had an inter- 
est also in his saints above, and could raise up 
more to serve him here. Yet because he was 
to judge by what appeared, and saw that such 
were much wanted upon earth, this turned the 
scales in his choice; and .therefore, in order to 
serve Christ in the edification of his churches, 


he was more inclined, by denying himself, to 
have his reward delayed, at this same time well 
knowing that the delay of his reward would tend 
to its increase. Here let me observe, " That even 
in this world, short of death, there is some good 
so much to be regarded, as may justly prevail 
with believers to prefer it before the present 
hasting of their reward." I rather note this, 
that no temptation may carry me into the ex- 
treme of taking nothing but heaven to be worth 
minding, and so even sinfully cast off the world 
on pretence of mortification and a heavenly life. 
Not that any thing on earth is better than heav- 
en, or is in itself to be preferred before heaven. 
The end, as such, is better than the means, and 
perfect^n better than imperfection. But the 
present use of the means may be sometimes 
preferred before the present possession of the 
end. And the use of the means for a higher 
end may be preferred before the present posses- 
sion of a lower end. Every thing has its sea- 
son. Planting, sowing, and building are not so 
good as reaping, fruit-gathering, and dwelling; 
but in their season they must be first done. 
But let me inquire, What there is so desira- 


ble in this present life? The answer is obvi- 
ous, for, 

1. "While this present life continues, the will 
of God is fulfilled, who will have us upon 
earth for a season; and that is best which God 

2. The life to come depends upon this pres- 
ent life, as the life of adult age depends upon 
infancy, or the reward upon the work, or the 
prize of racers or soldiers upon their running 
or fighting, or the merchant's gain upon his 
voyage. Heaven is won or lost on earth ; the 
possession is there, but the preparation is here. 
Christ will judge all men in another state, as 
their works have been in this, First, "Well 
done, good and faithful servant;" then, "Enter 
thou into the joy of thy Lord." "I have fought 
a good fight, I have finished my course," must 
go before the "crown of righteousness which 
the Lord the righteous Judge shall give." All 
that we ever do for salvation must be done here. 
It was on earth that Christ himself wrought the 
work of our redemption, fulfilled all righteous- 
ness, became our ransom, and paid the price of 
our salvation; and here also must we do our 


part. The bestowing of the reward is God's 
work, who we are sure will never fail. Here 
is no room for the least suspicion of his failing 
in any thing he undertakes ; but the danger and 
fear is of our own miscarrying, lest we be not 
found capable of receiving what God will cer- 
tainly give to all that are fit to receive. To 
distrust God is heinous sin and folly; but to 
distrust ourselves is highly reasonable. So that 
if we will make sure of heaven, it must be by 
" giving all diligence to make our calling and 
election sure" upon earth. If we fear hell, we 
must fear our being prepared for it. And it is 
great and difficult work we have to do upon 
earth — as, for instance, to be cured of all dam- 
ning sin; to be born again; to be pardoned and 
justified by faith; to be united to Christ, made 
wise to salvation, renewed by his Spirit, and 
conformed to his likeness; to overcome all the 
temptations of the world, the flesh, and the 
devil; to perform all our duties towards God 
and man; "with the heart to believe in Christ 
unto righteousness, and with the mouth to make 
confession unto salvation;" also to " suffer with 
Christ that we may reign with him, and be 


faithful unto death that we may receive the 
crown of life." Thus on earth must we "so 
run that we may obtain." 

3. "We must labor to do good to many, and 
therefore we have greater work to do on earth 
than merely securing our own salvation. We 
are intrusted with our Master's talents for his 
service, to do our best in our places, to propa- 
gate his truth and grace, to edify his church, 
honor his cause, and promote the salvation of 
as many souls as we can. All this is to be done 
on earth, if we would secure the end of all in 

It is then an error, though but few are guilty 
of it, to think that all religion lies in minding 
only the life to come, and in disregarding all 
things in this present life. All true Christians 
must seriously mind both the end and the means 
of attaining it. If they believingly mind not 
the end, they will never be faithful in the use 
of the means ; if they be not diligent in using 
the means, they will never obtain the end. 
Heaven must have our highest esteem, and our 
habitual love, desire, and joy; but earth must 
have more of our daily thoughts for present 


practice. A man that travels to the most de- 
sirable home has a habitual desire to it all the 
way; but his present business is his journey, 
and therefore his horse, inns, and company, his 
roads and his fatigues, may employ more of his 
thoughts and talk and action than his home. 

I have often wondered to find David in the 
Psalms, and other saints before the coming of 
Christ, express so great a sense of the things of 
this present life, and say so little of another; 
making so much account of prosperity, domin- 
ion, and victories on the one hand, and of per- 
secution and the success of enemies on the oth- 
er hand. But I consider that it was not for 
mere personal and carnal interests, but for the 
church of Grod, and for his honor, word, and 
worship ; for they knew, if things go well with 
us on earth, they will be sure to go well in 
heaven; if the militant church prosper in holi- 
ness, there is no doubt but it will triumph in 
glory. Satan does much of his damning work 
by men, as his instruments ; so that if we escape 
their temptations, we escape much of our danger. 
When idolaters prospered, Israel was tempted 
to idolatry. Most follow the powerful and pros- 


perous side. And therefore, for the glory of G-od 
and for our own everlasting salvation, we must, 
while upon earth, greatly regard our own, and 
much more the church's welfare. Indeed, if 
earth be desired only for earth, and prosperity 
be loved only to gratify the flesh, it is the cer- 
tain mark of damning carnality and an earthly 
mind. But to desire peace and prosperity for 
the sake of souls, the increase of the church, 
and the honor of God, that "his name may be 
hallowed, his kingdom come, and his will be 
done on earth as it is in heaven," accords with 
the highest and most sacred discharge of duty. 
" And now, my soul, be not unthankful for 
the mercies of this present life. This body is 
so nearly united to thee, that it must needs be 
a great help or hinderance. Had it been more 
afflicted, it might have been a discouraging 
clog, like a tired horse in a journey, or an ill 
tool to a workman, or an untuned instrument 
in music. A sick or a bad servant in a house 
is a great trouble, and much more a bad wife ; 
but thy body is nearer to thee than either of 
these could be, and will be more of thy concern. 
Yet if it had been more strong and healthful, 


sense and appetite would have been strong; 
and the stronger thy lusts, the greater would 
have been thy danger, and much more difficult 
thy victory and salvation. Even weak senses 
and temptations have too often prevailed. How 
knowest thou then what stronger might have 
done ? When I see a thirsty man in a fever, or 
dropsy, and especially when I see strong and 
healthful youth bred up in fulness and among 
temptations, how they are mad in sin, violently 
carried to it, bearing down the rebukes of God 
and conscience, parents and friends, and all re- 
gard to their own salvation, this tells me how 
great a mercy I had even in a body not liable 
to their case. Also many a bodily deliverance 
has been of great use to my soul, renewing my 
time and opportunity and strength for service, 
and bringing frequent and fresh reports of the 
love of God. If bodily mercies were not of 
great use to the soul, Christ would not so much 
have showed his saving love as he did, by heal- 
ing all manner of diseases. Nor would God 
promise us a resurrection of the body, if a suit- 
able body did not promote the welfare of the 


"I am obliged to great thankfulness to G-od 
for the mercies of this life which he hath showed 
to my friends. That which promotes their joy 
should increase mine. I ought to ' rejoice with 
them that rejoice.' Nature and grace teach us 
to be glad when our friends are well and pros- 
per, though all this must be in order to better 
things than bodily welfare. 

" Nor must I undervalue such mercies of this 
life as belong to the land of my nativity. The 
want of them is part of God's threatened curse ; 
and ' godliness has a promise of the life that 
now is, and of that which is to come, and so is 
profitable unto all things.' When God sends on 
a land the plagues of pestilence, war, persecu- 
tion, and famine, especially a famine of the 
word of God, it is a great sin to be insensible 
of them. If any shall say, ' While heaven is 
sure we have no cause to accuse God, or to cast 
away comfort, hope, or duty,' they say well. 
But if they say, 'Because heaven is all, we 
must make light of all that befalls us on earth,' 
they say amiss. Pious and public-spirited men, 
who promote the safety, peace, and true pros- 
perity of the commonwealth, do thereby very 

D. Thoughts. 2 


much "befriend religion and men's salvation, and 
are greatly to be loved and honored by all. Let 
me therefore be thankful for the preservation 
from enemies, the restraint of persecution, the 
concord of Christians, and increase of godliness 
in this land, and especially that the gospel is 
continued in it. 

"Be particularly thankful, my soul, that 
(rod hath made any use of thee for the service 
of his church on earth. My God, my soul for 
this doth magnify thee, and my spirit rejoiceth 
in the review of thy great undeserved mercy. 
what am I, whom thou tookest up from the 
dunghill, or low obscurity, that I should live 
myself in the constant relish of thy sweet and 
sacred truth, and with such encouraging suc- 
cess communicate it to others ? that I may say, 
now my public work seems ended, that these 
forty-three or forty-four years I have no reason 
to think that ever I labored in vain? with 
what gratitude must I look upon all places 
where I lived and labored; but, above all, that 
place which had my strength.^ I bless thee for 
the great numbers of them gone to heaven, and 

* Kidderminster. 


for the continuance of piety, humility, concord, 
and peace among them. Also for all that by 
my writings have received any saving light 
and grace. my God, let not my own heart 
be barren while I labor in thy husbandry to 
bring others unto holy fruit. Let me not be a 
stranger to the life and power of that saving 
truth which I have done so much to communi- 
cate to others. let not my own words and 
writings condemn me as void of that divine 
and heavenly nature and life which I have said 
so much of to the world. 

"Stir up then, my soul, thy sincere de- 
sires, and all thy faculties, to do the remnant 
of the work of Christ appointed thee on earth, 
and then joyfully wait for the heavenly perfec- 
tion in God's own time. Thou canst truly say, 
* To me to live is Christ.' It is his work for 
which thou livest. Thou hast no other busi- 
ness in the world. .But thou doest this work 
with a mixture of many oversights and imper- 
fections, and too much troublest thy thoughts 
with distrust about God's part, who never fails. 
If thy work be done, be thankful for what is 
past, and that thou art come so near the port 


of rest. If God will add any more to thy days, 
serve him with double alacrity. The prize is 
almost within sight. Time is swift and short. 
Thou hast told others that ' there is no work- 
ing in the grave,' and that it must be 'now or 
never. 5 Dream not, because Christ's right- 
eousness was perfect, that God will save the 
wicked, or equally reward the slothful and the 
diligent. As sin is its own punishment, holi- 
ness is much of its own reward. Whatever 
God appointed thee to do, gee that thou do it 
sincerely, and with all thy might. If sin dis- 
pose men to be angry because it is detected, 
disgraced, and resisted, so that God be pleased, 
their wrath should be patiently borne who will 
shortly be far more angry with themselves. I 
shall not be hurt when I am with Christ, by 
the calumnies of men on earth ; but the saving 
benefit will, by converted sinners, be enjoyed 
everlastingly. Words and actions are transient 
things, and being once past, are nothing; but 
the effect of them on an immortal soul may be 
endless. All the sermons that I have preached 
are nothing now; but the grace of God on 
sanctified souls is the beginning of eternal life. 


ft is an unspeakable mercy to be thus em- 
ployed sincerely and with success ; and there- 
fore I had reason all this while to be in Paul's 
strait, and make no haste in my ' desires to 
depart.' The crown will come in its due time, 
and eternity is long enough to enjoy it, how 
long soever it be delayed. But if I will do 
that which must obtain it for myself and 
others, it must be quickly done, before my 
declining sun be set. that I had no worse 
causes of my unwillingness yet to die, than 
my desire to do the work of life for my own 
and other men's salvation, and to ' finish my 
course with joy, and the ministry I have re- 
ceived of the Lord !' 

"As it is on earth I must do good to others, 
so it must be in a manner suited to their earthly 
state. Souls are here closely united to bodies, 
by which they must receive much good or hurt. 
Do good to men's bodies, if thou wouldest do 
good to their souls. Say not, Things corporeal 
are worthless trifles, for which the receivers 
will be never the better. They are things that 
nature is easily sensible of, and sense is the 
passage to the mind and will. Dost thou not 


find what a help it is to thyself, to have at any- 
time any ease and alacrity of body ; and what 
a burden and hinderance pains and cares are ? 
Labor then to free others from such burdens 
and temptations, and be not regardless of them. 
If thou must ' rejoice with them that rejoice, 
and weep with them that weep,' promote then 
thy own joy by helping theirs, and avoid thy 
own sorrows in preventing or curing theirs. 
But, alas, what power has selfishness in most ! 
How easily do we hear our brethren's pains 
and reproaches, wants and afflictions, in com- 
parison with our own ! How few thoughts, and 
how little cost and labor do we use for their 
supply, in comparison with what we do for our- 
selves ! Nature indeed teaches us to be sensi- 
ble of our own case ; but grace tells us that 
we should not make so great a difference as 
we do, but should love our neighbor as our- 

" And now, my soul, consider how merci- 
fully God has dealt with thee, that thy strait 
should be between two conditions so desirable. 
I shall either die speedily, or stay yet longer 
upon earth ; whichever it be, it will be a mer- 


ciful and comfortable state. That it is 4 de- 
sirable to depart, and be with Christ,' I must 
not doubt, and shall hereafter more copiously 
consider. And if my abode on earth yet longer 
be so great a mercy as to be put into the bal- 
ance against my present possession of heaven, 
surely it must be a state which obliges me to 
great thankfulness to Grod and comfortable 
acknowledgment: nor should my pain, or sick- 
ness, or sufferings from men, make this life on 
earth unacceptable while G-od will continue 
me in it. Paul had his thorn in the flesh, the 
messenger of Satan to buffet him, and suffered 
more from men than I have done ; and yet he 
' gloried in his infirmities, and rejoiced in his 
tribulations, 5 and was 'in a strait betwixt' 
living and dying ; yea, rather chose to live yet 
longer, Alas, the strait of most men is be- 
tween the desire of life for fleshly interest, and 
the fear of death as ending their felicity ; be- 
tween a tiring world and body, which make 
them weary of living, and the dreadful pros- 
pect of future danger, which makes them afraid 
of dying. If they live, it is in misery ; if they 
must die, they fear greater misery: whether 


they look behind or before them, to this world 
or the next, fear and trouble is their lot. Yea, 
many serious Christians, through the weakness 
of their trust in Grod, live in this perplexed 
strait, weary of living and afraid of dying, con- 
tinually pressed between grief and fear. But 
Paul's strait was between two joys, which of 
them he should desire most. And if that be 
my case, what should much interrupt my peace 
or pleasure? If I live, it is for Christ, for his 
service, and to prepare for my own and his 
everlasting felicity; and should any suffering 
make me impatient with such a work, and 
such a life? If I die presently, it is my gain; 
God, who appoints me my work, limits my 
time ; and surely his glorious reward can never 
be unseasonable, or come too soon, if it be the 
time that he appoints. When I first engaged 
myself to preach the gospel, I reckoned, as 
probable, but upon one or two years, and Grod 
has made it above forty-four. And what rea- 
son have I to be unwilling now, either to live 
or die ? God's service has been so sweet to me 
that it has overcome the trouble of constant 
pains or weakness of the flesh, and all that 


men have said and done against me. How 
much the following exceeds this pleasure, I 
am not now able to conceive. There is some 
trouble in all this pleasant work, from which 
the soul and flesh would rest. And ' blessed 
are the dead which die in the Lord; yea, saith 
the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors, 
and their works do follow them. 5 my soul, 
what need has this kind of strait to trouble 
thee ? Leave Grod to his own work, and mind 
that which is thine. So live that thou mayest 
say, ' Christ liveth in me ; and the life which 
I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the 
Son of Grod, who loved me, and gave himsell 
for me.' Then, as thou hast lived in the com- 
fort of hope, thou shalt die in the comfort oi 
vision and enjoyment. And when thou canst 
say of Grod, 'Whose I am, and whom I serve ;' 
that thou mayest boldly add, ' I know whom I 
have believed, and into his hands I commit my 
departing spirit.' " 




The subject suggests to my thoughts the 
necessity of "believing that the souls of the 
godly, when departed hence, shall be with 
Christ, and the reasonableness of such a faith. 
"We are elsewhere assured, that " we shall be 
with him, where he is ;" arid to be with him 
can be no less than a state of communion, and 
a participation of happiness. To believe such 
a state of happiness for departed pious souls, 
must appear, upon consideration, to be both 
necessary and reasonable. 

I. The necessity of believing that pious 
separate spirits are with Christ, appears by 
considering, that without this belief, we shall 
be uncertain concerning the design of life — we 
shall lose the most powerful motives to a holy 
life — we can neither know, estimate, nor im- 


prove our mercies, nor can we bear our suf- 
ferings with comfort. 

1. We shall be uncertain concerning the 
design of life. It is allowed, that the right 
end of life is to please God. But I must de- 
sire to please God better than I do in this im- 
perfect state, I must desire to please him per- 
fectly. And our desires of our ultimate end 
must have no bounds. God has made the 
desire of our own happiness so necessary to the 
soul of man, that it cannot be separated from 
our desire to please him. Therefore, both in 
respect to God and to our own happiness, we 
must believe that he is the everlasting " re- 
warder of them that diligently seek him." If 
we knew not whether God will turn our pleas- 
ing him to our loss, or to our having no gain 
by pleasing him, this would hinder our love to 
him, and our trust and joy in him; and con- 
sequently hinder the cheerfulness, sincerity, 
and constancy of our obedience. Had we no 
certainty what God will do w T ith us, we must 
have some probability and hope before we can 
be entirely devoted to his service. How can a 
man pitch upon an uncertain end? If he wa- 


ver so as to have no end, he can use no means; 
he lives not as a man, but as a brute. Or if 
he pitch upon a wrong end, he will but make 
work for repentance. 

2. We shall lose the most powerful motives 
to a holy life. Indeed, goodness is desirable 
for itself; but the goodness of means is their 
fitness for the end. We have here abundance 
of hinderances, temptations, and difficulties, 
which must be overcome. Our natures are 
diseased, and greatly indisposed to the most 
necessary duties; and will they ever be dis- 
charged, if the necessary motives be not be- 
lieved? Our duties to God and man may cost 
us our estates, liberties, and lives. The world 
is not so happy as commonly to know good men 
from bad, or to encourage piety and virtue, or 
to forbear .opposing them. And who will let 
go his present welfare without some hope of 
better as a reward? Men do not use to " serve 
God for naught," or while they think it will be 
their loss to serve him. A life of sin will not 
be avoided for inferior motives. When lust 
and appetite incline men strongly and con- 
stantly to their respective objects, what shall 


sufficiently restrain them, except the motives 
from things eternal? If sin so overspread the 
earth, notwithstanding all the hopes and fears 
of a life to come, what would it do if there were 
no such hopes and fears ? 

3. We can neither know, estimate, nor im- 
prove our mercies. Grod gives us all the mer- 
cies of this life as helps to an immortal state 
of glory, and as earnests of it. Sensualists 
know not what a soul is, nor what soul-mer- 
cies are, and therefore know not the just value 
of all bodily mercies, but take up only with 
the carcass, shell, or shadoiv, instead of the 
life of their mercies. No wonder they are so 
unthankful for God's mercies, when they know 
not the real excellence of them. 

4. Nor can we bear our present sufferings 
with comfort, without the hope of living with 
Christ. "What should support and comfort me 
under my bodily languishings and pains, my 
weary hours, and daily experience of the van- 
ity and vexation of all things under the sun, 
had I not a prospect of the comfortable end of 
all ? 1, that have lived in the midst of great 
and precious mercies, have all my life had 


something to do to overcome the temptation of 
wishing that I had never been horn; and had 
never overcome it, hut by the helief of a hlessed 
life hereafter. We should be strongly tempted, 
in our considerate moments, to murmur at our 
Creator as dealing worse by us than by the 
brutes, if we must have had all. those cares 
and griefs and fears — by the knowledge of what 
we want, and the prospect of death and future 
evils — which they are exempted from, and had 
not withal the hope of future felicity to sup- 
port us. Seneca had no better argument to 
silence such murmurers than to tell them, "If 
this life have more evil than good, and you 
think G-od does you wrong, you may remedy 
yourselves by ending it when you will." But 
that could not cure the repinings of nature, 
when weary of the miseries of life, and yet 
afraid of dying. No wonder that so many 
fancied that souls were punished in these 
bodies for something done in a preexi stent 
state. "0 how contemptible a thing is man," 
says Seneca, "unless he lifts up himself above 
human things." Therefore says Solomon, 
when he had tried all sensual enjoyments, " I 


hated life, because the work that is wrought 
under the sun is grievous unto me; for all is 
vanity and vexation of spirit." 

II. As for the reasonableness of believing 
that pious separate spirits are with Christ, I 
have often thought whether an implicit belief 
of it may not be better than searching into its 
nature, and trying what can be said against it 
I have known many godly women who nevei 
disputed the matter, but served G-od comforta- 
bly to a very old age, and who lived many 
years in such a cheerful readiness and desire 
for death as few studious men ever attain to. 
This no doubt was the divine reward of their 
unwavering confidence and trust in the prom- 
ises through Christ. On .the contrary, as 
doubts and difficulties are apt to present them- 
selves to an inquisitive mind, they must be 
answered; for if we reject them unanswered, 
we give them half the victory over us ; and a 
faith that is not upheld by such evidence oi 
truth as reason can discern and justify, is often 
joined with much doubting, which men dare not 
confess, but do not therefore overcome ; and 


the weakness of such a faith may tend to en- 
feeble all the graces and duties which should 
he strengthened by it. Who knows how soon 
a temptation from Satan, or infidels, or from 
our own dark hearts, may assault us, which 
will not be overcome without clear evidence ? 
Yet many that try and reason and dispute 
most, have not the stronger faith. Indeed, 
there is a wide difference between that light 
which discovers the thing itself, and a mere 
artificial kind of knowledge, to form arguments 
and answer objections. Unlearned persons, 
who have little of the latter may have more of 
the former, even that teaching from God which 
reaches the heart as well as the understanding. 
And who does not find it necessary to pray 
hard for this divine teaching ? When I can 
prove the truth of the word of God and of the 
life to come with the most convincing evidence 
of reason, I feel my need to cry daily to God 
to " increase my faith," and to give me that 
light which may sanctify the soul and reach 
the end. Nevertheless, this effectual teaching 
ordinarily supposes that which is artificial. 
Unlearned Christians arc convinced, by good 


evidence, that God's word is true and his re- 
wards sure, though they cannot state that 
evidence, or conceive of it without some con- 
fusion. With respect to curious and needless 
inquiries beyond what is revealed, it is a be- 
liever's wisdom implicitly to trust his soul to 
Christ, and to fear that vain, vexatious know- 
ledge, which is selfish and savors of a distrust 
of God, and is that sin and fruit of sin which 
the learned world too little fears. That "God 
is the rewarder of them that diligently, seek 
him," and that holy souls shall be in blessed- 
ness with Christ, I am convinced by the fol- 
lowing concurrent evidences, on which my soul 
raises its hopes : The immortality of the soul ; 
the belief of it naturally implanted in all men ; 
the duty of all men to seek after future happi- 
ness; the difference between men and brutes, 
concerning the knowledge of God and futuri- 
ty; the justice of God, as the governor of the 
world; divine revelation; God's hearing and 
answering prayer; the ministration of angels; 
the temptations of Satan, and especially the 
sanctifying operations of the Spirit of God. 
1. The soul of man is immortal; and there- 


fore, if good, cannot be for ever in a bad con- 
dition. An immortal spirit is "a distinct, self- 
conscious, invisible being, endowed with natu< 
ral powers of never-ceasing action, understand- 
ing, and will, and which is neither annihilated 
nor destroyed by separation of parts." Such 
is the soul of man. If in this flesh our spirits 
were not inactive and useless, we have no rea- 
son to think that they will be so hereafter, and 
that for ever. Though by the light of nature 
we may know the immortality of souls, yet 
without supernatural light we know not what 
manner of action they will have in their sepa- 
rate state. It satisfies me, that Grod will not 
continue their noblest powers in vain ; and how 
those powers shall be exercised is known to 
him; and this his word tells us more than 
nature. All things considered, there is no rea- 
son to fear that souls shall lose their activity, 
though they change their manner of action; 
and so it is naturally certain that they are im- 
mortal. And if holy souls are so far immortal, 
their holiness must prove their happy immor- 
tality. This the most just and holy God will 
certainly secure to those whom he makes holy. 


2. The "belief of the soul's immortality is 
naturally implanted in all men. Almost all 
pagan nations at this day,. as well as the Mo- 
hammedans, believe it. As for the cannibals 
and savages, whose understandings are least 
improved, they are rather ignorant of it than 
disbelieve it. Though some philosophers de- 
nied it, they were every way inconsiderable : 
though many others were doubtful, it was only 
a certainty which they professed to want, and 
not a probability. Most of the apostates from 
Christianity, besides those philosophers who 
have been its violent opposers, fully acknow- 
ledged it. Julian was so persuaded of it, that 
with a view to it he exhorted his priests and 
the rest of his subjects to great strictness of 
life, and to see that the Christians did not ex- 
ceed them. Indeed, few of those that affect, 
like the Sadducees, to disbelieve it, are able to 
free themselves from the fears of future mis- 
ery ; but, with all their efforts, conscience still 
troubles them. And whence should all this be 
in man, and not in beasts, if man had no more 
cause for hopes and fears than they? 

3. God has made it every man's duty to seek 


after future happiness as the one thing need- 
ful, and therefore there must certainly be such 
a happiness for them that truly seek it. Some 
believe a state of future retribution, as Chris- 
tians, Mohammedans, and most heathens. 
Others think it is uncertain, yet very probable. 
And to others it is also uncertain, though they 
rather think it untrue. Now all these ought 
to seek after it, and make it their chief care 
and labor; for natural reason requires every 
man to seek that which is best with the greatest 
diligence, and assures us that a probability 
or possibility of future everlasting happiness is 
better, and more worthy to be sought, than 
any thing attainable in this present life. As 
the will of man necessarily desires happiness, 
it must desire that most which is best, and 
which is known to be so. In this life there is 
nothing certain for an hour. It is certain that 
the longest life is short. It is certain that time 
and sensual pleasure, when past, are nothing, 
and no better than if they had never been. It 
is also certain, that they are dissatisfying while 
we possess them ; for carnal pleasure is no 
sweeter to a man than to a beast, and to a 


beast is unattended with fear of death, or any 
misery after death ; nor has the beast any 
labors, sufferings, or trials, in order to obtain 
a future happiness, or avoid a future misery 
Besides, it is self-evident, from the perfections 
of Grod, and from the nature of his works, that 
he does not make it man's natural duty to care 
and labor most for that which is not, or to seek 
what is not to be attained. If so, the duty of 
man would result from deceit and falsehood ; 
and Grod would govern the world by a lie, and 
not by power, wisdom, and love ; and the bet- 
ter any man was, and the more he did his duty, 
he would be only the more deluded and miser- 
able : and the more wicked and unbelieving 
any man was, the wiser and happier would he 
be. But all this is contrary 'to the perfections 
and works of Grod; for he makes nothing in 
vain, nor can he lie : much less will he make 
holiness itself, and all that duty and work of 
life which reason obliges all men to perform, to 
be not only vain, but pernicious. 

4. The difference between men and brutes 
with respect to the knowledge of Grod and 
futurity, shows that they differ as much in 


their hopes. Man knows that there is a God 
by his works ; and that this God is our Lord, 
our ruler, and end, and that we naturally owe 
him all our love and obedience ; and that it is 
not the manner, even of good men, ever to suf- 
fer their most faithful servants to be losers by 
their fidelity, or to set them upon laboring in 
vain. Man also knows that his own soul is 
immortal, and therefore must be well or ill for 
ever, and that this ought to be cared for. And 
why should God give man all this knowledge 
more than the brutes, if man is designed for no 
more happiness than brutes ? Every wise man 
makes his work fit for its design ; and will not 
God do so? If God was not perfectly wise, he 
would not be God. Therefore to deny man's 
future hopes, is to deny God himself. 

5. The justice of God as the governor of the 
world, infers a state of future retribution. If 
God did not govern man by laws, judgment, 
and executions, there would be no proper law 
of nature, and man would have no proper duty, 
nor be in sin or fault. But experience tells us 
that God morally governs the world; and his 
right to do so is unquestionable. If God was 


not the ruler of the world, the world would 
have no universal laws, for no man is the uni- 
versal ruler ; nor are kings, and other supreme 
powers, utterly lawless and ungoverned. And 
if God he a ruler, he is just; else he is not so 
good as he requires earthly princes to he. But 
how is God a righteous ruler, if he draws all 
men to him hy deceit; if he ohliges them to 
seek and expect a reward which he will never 
give ; if he makes man's duty his misery; if he 
requires man to lahor in vain ; if he suffer the 
wicked to persecute and kill his servants, with- 
out punishing the one and gloriously recom- 
pensing the other, in a future state ? 

6. The gospel revelation is the clear foun- 
dation of our faith and hope. God has not left 
us to the mere light of nature. " Christ has 
brought life and immortality to light." One 
greater than an angel was sent from heaven to 
tell us what is there, and which is the way, and 
to secure our hopes. He has conquered death, 
and entered before us, as our captain and fore- 
runner, into the everlasting habitations. He 
has "all pqwer in heaven and earth, and all 
judgment is committed to him." All his word 


is full of promises of our future glory at the 
resurrection. Nor are we without assurance 
that the departing soul at death enters upon a 
state of joy and blessedness, as appears by the 
promise to the penitent thief on the cross ; the 
parable of the rich man and Lazarus; Christ's 
telling the Sadducees that God "is not the 
G-od of the dead, but of the living;" the trans- 
lation of Enoch and Elijah, and the appear- 
ance of Moses and Elijah on the mount of trans- 
figuration; our Lord's arguing, that "they who 
kill the body are not able to kill the soul;" his 
" commending his spirit into his Father's hands," 
and its being in paradise, while his body was in 
the grave; his promising, ""Where I am, there 
shall also my servant be," etc. ; Stephen's see- 
ing heaven opened, and his praying, "Lord 
Jesus, receive my spirit;" our being "come to 
the spirits of just men made perfect;" Paul's 
desiring to depart, and to be with Christ, which 
is far better, and to be absent from the body, 
and present with the Lord ; the blessedness ot 
the dead who die in the Lord ; the disobedient 
spirits being in prison, and the cities of Sodom 
and (xomorrah suffering the vengeance of eter- 


nal fire; also Christ's saying, "When ye fail," 
that is, leave this world, "ye shall be received 
into everlasting habitations." 

7. Grod's hearing and answering prayer in 
this life, assures his servants that he is their 
true and faithful Saviour. How often have I 
cried to him when there appeared to be no help 
in second causes; and how frequently, sud- 
denly, and mercifully has he delivered me! 
Such extraordinary changes, beyond my own 
and others' expectations, while many plain- 
hearted, upright Christians, by fasting and 
prayer, sought Grod on my behalf, have abun- 
dantly convinced me of a special providence, 
and that Grod is indeed a hearer of prayer. I 
have also seen wonders done for others by 
prayer more than for myself: though I and 
others are too much like those who " cried 
unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saved 
them out of their distresses ; but they forgot 
his works, and his wonders that he showed 
them." And what were all those merciful 
answers, but the fruits of Christ's power, 
faithfulness, and love, the fulfilling of his 
promises, and the earnest of the greater bless- 


ing of immortality, which the same promises 
entitle me to ? 

8. The ministration of angels is also a help 
to my belief of immortality with Christ. " They 
have charge over us; encamp round about us; 
hear us up in their hands ; joy in the presence 
of God over our repentance ; and are all min- 
istering spirits, sent forth to minister to the 
heirs of salvation. As our angels, they always 
behold the face of our Father which is in heav- 
en. When the Son of man shall come in his 
glory, all the holy angels shall come with him, 
and he shall send them forth, and they shall 
sever the wicked from among the just." Not 
only of old did they appear to the faithful as 
messengers from God, but many mercies does 
God give to us by their ministry. And that 
they are now so friendly and helpful to us, and 
make up one society with us, greatly encour- 
ages us to hope that we are made for the same 
region, employment, and converse. They were 
once in a life of trial, though not on earth ; and 
having overcome, they rejoice in our victory. 
The world above us is not uninhabited, nor be- 
yond our capacity and hope ; but we are come 


to the city of the living God, and to an innu- 
merable company of angels. 

9. Even Satan himself, by his temptations, 
has many ways cherished my hopes of immor- 
tality. There are few men, I think,- that ob- 
serve what passes within them, but have had 
some experience of such inward temptations as 
show that the author of them is an invisible 
enemy, and assure us that there are diabol- 
ical spirits which seek man's misery by tempt- 
ing him to sin, and consequently that future 
happiness or misery must be expected by us 

10. More especially the sanctifying opera- 
tions of the Spirit of God are the earnest of 
heaven, and the sure prognostic of our immor- 
tal happiness. It is a change of grand impor- 
tance to man, to be renewed in his mind, his 
will, and life. It repairs his depraved facul- 
ties. It causes man to live as man, who was 
degenerated to a life too much like the brutes. 
Men are slaves to sin till Christ makes them 
free. " Where the Spirit of the Lord is, th&re 
is liberty." If 'Vthe love of G-od shed abroad 
in our hearts" be not our. excellence, health, 


and beauty, what is ? " That which is born of 
the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the 
Spirit is spirit." " Without Christ" and his 
Spirit, "we can do nothing." Our dead no- 
tions and reason, though we see the truth, have 
not power to overcome temptations, nor raise 
up man's soul to its original end, nor possess 
us with the love and joyful hope of future 
blessedness. It were better for us to have no 
souls, than have ouy souls devoid of the Spirit 
of G-od. Heaven is the design and end of this 
important change. What is our knowledge and 
faith, but to know and believe that heaven con- 
sists in the glory and love of God fhere mani- 
fested, and that it was purchased by Christ, and 
given by his covenant? What is our hope but 
"the hope of glory," which we through the 
Spirit wait for ? What is our love but a desire 
of communion with the blessed Grod, begun 
here, and perfected hereafter? What Christ 
teaches and commands, he works in us by his 
Spirit. He sends not his Spirit to make men 
craftier than others for this world, but "wiser 
to salvation," and more hoty and heavenly. 
" The children of this world are in their gener- 


ation wiser than the children of light." Heav- 
enly mindedness is the special work of the Spirit. 
In producing this change, the Spirit overcomes 
all opposition from the world, the flesh, and the 
devil. Christ first overcame the world, and 
teaches and causes us to overcome it, even in its 
flatteries and its frowns. " Our faith is our vic- 
tory." "Whether this victory "be easy and hon- 
orable to the Spirit of Christ, let us appeal to 
our experience of the wickedness of the world, 
and of our own weakness and falls. None can 
do this work on the soul of man but God. Not 
the most learned and holy teachers, or the wisest 
and most affectionate parents, or the greatest 
princes. Evil angels neither can nor will do it. 
Q-ood angels do nothing towards it, but as obe- 
dient ministers of God. We cannot quicken, 
illuminate, or sanctify ourselves ; and though 
we have some power, both conscience and expe- 
rience testify that we have nothing but " what 
we have received." Christ promised his Spirit 
to all true believers, to be in them as his advo- 
cate, agent, seal, and mark; and indeed the 
Spirit here, and heaven hereafter, are the chief 
of his promises. That this Spirit is given to 


all true believers, is evident by the effects of it. 
They have ends, affections, and lives different 
from the rest of mankind; they live upon the 
hope of a better life, and their heavenly inter- 
est overrules all the opposite interests of this 
world, in order to which they live under the 
conduct of divine authority; and to obey and 
please Grod is the great business of their lives. 
The men of the world discern this difference, 
and therefore hate and oppose them because 
they find themselves condemned by their heav- 
enly temper and conversation. Believers are 
conscious of this difference, for they desire to 
be better, and to trust and love G-od more, and 
to have more of the heavenly life and comforts ; 
and when their infirmities make them doubt 
of their own sincerity, they would not change 
their governor, rule, or hopes for all the world ; 
and it is never so well and pleasant with them 
as when they can trust and love Grod most ; and 
in their worst and weakest condition, they 
would fain be perfect. Indeed, whatever real 
goodness is found among men, it is given by the 
same Spirit of Christ ; but it is notorious that 
in heavenly mindedness and virtue, no part of 


the world is comparable to serious Christians. 
This spirit Christ also expressly promised, as 
the means and pledges, the first-fruits and ear- 
nest of the heavenly glory ; and therefore it is 
a certain proof that we shall have such a glory. 
He that gives us such a spiritual charge, which 
in its nature and tendency is heavenly ; he that 
sets our hopes and hearts on heaven, and turns 
the endeavors of our lives towards future bless- 
edness, and promised this preparatory grace as 
the earnest of that felicity, may well be trusted 
to perform his word in our complete, eternal 

And now, weak and fearful soul, why 
shouldest thou draw back, as if the matter was 
doubtful ? Is not thy foundation firm ? Is not 
the way of life, through the valley of death, 
made safe by him that conquered death ? Art 
thou not yet delivered from the bondage of thy 
fears ? Hast thou not long ago found in thee 
the motions and effectual operations of this 
Spirit ? And is he not still residing and work- 
ing in thee as the agent and witness of Christ ? 
If not, whence are thy groanings after God, 
thy desires to be nearer to his glory, to know 


him and love him more? "Whence came all 
the pleasure thou hast had in his sacred truth 
and ways and service ? "Who subdued for thee 
thy folly, pride, and vain desires ? "Who made 
it thy choice to sit at the feet of Jesus, and hear 
his word as the better part, and count the hon- 
ors and preferments of the world but dung and 
dross? "Who breathed in all those requests 
thou hast sent up to Grod ? Overvalue not cor- 
rupt nature, it brings forth no such fruits as 
these. Remember what thou wast in the hour 
of temptation, how small a matter has drawn 
thee to sin. Forget not the days of thy youth- 
ful vanity. Overlook not the case of thy sin- 
ful neighbors, who in the midst of light still 
live in darkness, and hear not the loudest calls 
of God. Is it no work of Christ's Spirit that 
has made thee to differ ? Thou hast nothing to 
boast of, and much to be humbled and also to 
be thankful for. Thy holy desires are, alas, too 
weak, but they are holy. Thy love has been 
too cold; but it is the most holy Grod whom 
thou hast loved. Thy hopes have been too low ; 
but thou hast hoped in Grod, and for his heav- 
enly glory. Thy prayers have been too dull 


and interrupted ; but thou hast prayed for holi- 
ness and heaven. Thy labors have been too 
slothful; but thou hast labored for God and 
Christ, and the good of mankind. Though thy 
motion was too weak and slow, it has been God- 
ward, and therefore it is from God. bless 
the Lord, not only for giving thee his word and 
sealing it with uncontrolled miracles, but also 
for frequently and remarkably fulfilling his 
promises in the answer of thy prayers, and in 
great deliverance of thyself and of many oth- 
ers ; and that he has by regeneration been pre- 
paring thee for the light of glory. And wilt 
thou yet doubt and fear, against all this evi- 
dence, experience, and foretaste? 

I think it no needless labor to confirm my 
soul in the full persuasion of the truth of its 
immortal nature, and of a future life of joy or 
misery, and of the certain truth of the Chris- 
tian faith. I can no more doubt the being and 
perfections of God, than whether there be an 
earth or a sun. Christianity is only known by 
revelation, which is so attested externally to 
the world, internally to holy souls, as makes 
faith a ruling, victorious, and comfortable 

D Thoughts 4 


principle. But the soul's immortality and 
future reward is known in some measure by 
the light of nature, and more perfectly by rev- 
elation. "When I consider the great unlikeness 
of men's hearts and lives to such a belief as we 
all profess, I cannot but fear, that not only the 
ungodly, but most that truly hope for glory $ 
have a far weaker belief of the soul's immor- 
tality, and the truth of the gospel, than they 
are apt to imagine. Can I be fully persuaded 
of the future rewards and punishments of souls, 
and that we shall be judged hereafter as we 
have lived here, without despising all the vani- 
ties of the world, and setting my heart with 
resolution and diligence to a holy, heavenly, 
fruitful life ? Who could stand trifling, as most 
men do, at the door of eternity, that verily be- 
lieved his immortal soul must be shortly there ? 
Though such a one had no certainty of his own 
salvation, he would nevertheless search and 
try, watch and pray, and spare no care, cost, 
or labor, to make all sure. If a man once saw 
heaven and hell, would he not afterwards ex- 
ceed the most resolute believer ? I confess there 
is much weakness of faith in things unseen, 


even where there is sincerity. But where there 
is little diligence for the world to come, I must 
think there is but little belief of it, and that 
such persons are not aware how much they 
secretly doubt the truth of it. Most complain 
of the uncertainty of their title to salvation, 
and very little of their uncertainty whether 
there be a heaven and a hell. Whereas a hearty 
persuasion of the latter would do more to con- 
vince them of the former, than long examina- 
tions and many marks of trial. It would 
indeed confound faith and reason, if in the 
body we had as clear and lively apprehensions 
of heaven and hell as sight would occasion; 
nor is the soul fit, while in the body, to bear 
such a sight. But yet there is an overruling 
seriousness, to which the soul must be brought 
by a firm persuasion of future things. And 
he that is careful and serious for this world, 
and looks after a better only as a secondary 
object, must give me leave to think that he 
believes but as he lives, and that his doubting 
of a heaven and hell is greater than his belief. 
then, for what should my soul more pray, 
than for a clearer and stronger faith? "I be- 


lieve ; Lord, help my unbelief. I have many 
thousand times groaned to thee under this bur- 
den of remaining darkness and unbelief : I have 
many thousand times thought of the evidences 
of Christianity, and of the necessity of a lively, 
powerful, active faith. I have cried to thee 
night and day, 'Lord, increase my faith.' I 
have written and spoken that to others, which 
might he most useful to myself, and render my 
faith more like sense. Yet, Lord, how dark is 
this world! "What a dungeon is flesh! How 
little clearer are my perceptions of things un- 
seen, than they were long ago ! Is no more 
growth of them to he expected ? Does the soul 
no more increase in vigorous perception, when 
the body no more increases in the vigor of sen- 
sation ? Must I sit down with so slow a meas- 
ure, when I am almost there, where faith is 
changed for sight? let not a soul that is 
driven from this world, and weary of vanity, 
and can think of little else but immortality, 
that seeks and cries both night and day for the 
heavenly light, and fain would have some fore- 
taste of glory, and some more of the first-fruits 
of the promised joys — let not such a soul either 


long, or cry, or strive in vain. Punish not my 
former grieving of thy Spirit, by deserting a 
soul that cries for thy grace, so near its great 
and inconceivable change. Let me not languish 
"in vain desires, at the door of hope ; nor pass 
with doubts and fears from this vale of misery. 
"Which should be the season of triumphant faith 
and hope and joy, if not when I am entering 
on the world of joy? thou that hast left us 
so many words of promise, 'that our joy may 
be full,' send, send the Comforter ; for 
without his heavenly beams, after a thousand 
thoughts and cares, it will still be night and 
winter with my soul." 

But I fear a distrust of G-od and my Redeem- 
er has had too great a part in my desires after 
a more distinct knowledge than Grod ordinarily 
gives to souls in flesh. I know that I should 
implicitly, absolutely, and quietly commit my 
soul into my Redeemer's hands ; for a distrust- 
ful care of the soul, as well as the body, is our 
great sin and misery. Yet we must desire that 
our knowledge and belief may be as distinct as 
divine revelations are. We can love no further 
than we know ; and the more we know of Grod 


and glory, the more we shall love, desire, and 
trust. If I may not be ambitious of too sensi- 
ble and distinct foretastes of things unseen, yet 
I must desire and beg the most fervent love of 
them of which I am capable, that my soul may 
not pass with distrust and terror, but with suit- 
able triumphant hopes, to everlasting pleasures. 
" Father of lights, who givest wisdom to them 
that ask, shut not up this sinful soul in dark- 
ness. Leave me not to grope in unsatisfied 
doubts at the door of celestial light. Deny me 
not now the lively exercise of faith, hope, and 
love, which are the stirrings of the new crea- 
ture, the dawnings of eternal day, and the ear- 
nest of the promised inheritance." Though, 
like Cicero, after reading Plato's book on im- 
mortality, our doubts return, and our fear inter- 
rupts and weakens our desires and joys; yet I 
find that it is chiefly an irrational fear, occa- 
sioned by the darkness of the mind, the great- 
ness of the change, the dreadful majesty of Grod, 
and man's natural aversion to death, even when 
reason is fully satisfied that such fear is con- 
sistent with certain safety. Were I on the top 
of a castle or steeple, fastened by the strongest 


chains, or guarded "by the surest "battlements, 
I could not possibly look down without fear; 
and so it is with our prospect into the life to 
come. If therefore my soul sees undeniable 
evidence of immortality, and is able by irre- 
fragable arguments to prove a future blessed- 
ness; if I am convinced that divine promises 
are true, and trust my soul and all my hope 
upon them ; then neither my averseness to die, 
nor my irrational fear of entering upon eternity, 
can invalidate the reasons of my hope, or prove 
the unsoundness of my faith, but only the weak- 
ness of it. ""Why are ye fearful, ye of little 
faith?" was Christ's just reproof to his disci- 
ples. A timorous heart needs to be chided, by 
saying, "Why art thou cast down, my soul? 
and why art thou disquieted within me ? Hope 
thou in Grod," etc. 




Having proved that faith and hope have a 
certain future happiness to expect, the text 
directs me next to consider, what it is to he 
with Christ ; and, what it is to depart, in 
order to he with him. 

I. To he with Christ, includes presence 
with him, union to him, and participation of 
his happiness. 

1. The presence of Christ, which pious sep- 
arate spirits shall enjoy, must refer to his God- 
head as well as to his human soul and hody. 
"We shall he present with the divine nature of 
Christ, as manifested in and by his glory. He 
teaches us to pray, "Our Father, which art in 
heaven," because in heaven the Father glori- 
ously shines forth to holy souls. The soul of 
man is eminently said to be in the head, be- 
cause there it understands and reasons; and 
not in the foot or hand, though it be also there. 


As we look a man in the face when w r e talk to 
him, so we look up to heaven when we pray 
to G-od. Though "in God w r e live, and move, 
and have our being," both as the G-od of na- 
ture and grace, yet by the works and splendor 
of his glory he is eminently in heaven, mani- 
festing himself there by some created glory ; for 
his essence is the same everywhere. We shall 
be present with the human nature of Christ, 
both soul and body. But here our present 
narrow thoughts must not too boldly presume 
to determine the difference between Christ's 
glorified body, and his flesh upon earth; nor 
where his glorified body is, nor how far it ex- 
tends; nor wherein his soul and his glorified 
body differ, seeing it is called a spiritual body. 
We can conceive no more of such a body than 
that it is pure, incorruptible, invisible to mor- 
tal eyes, and fitted to the most perfect state of 
the soul. Nor need we wonder how a whole 
world of glorified bodies can all of them be 
present with the one body of Christ; for as 
the solar beams are so present with the air 
that none can discern the difference of the 
places w r hich they possess, and a world of 


bodies are present with them both ; so may all 
our bodies, without any confusion, be present 
with Christ's body. 

2. The union to Christ which pious separate 
spirits shall also enjoy, must be like that of 
subjects to their king; but how much more we 
know not. The more spiritual, pure, and noble 
any natures are, the more inclination they have 
to union. Such instances of union as the vine 
and branches, the head and members, are of 
extensive import; yet being but similitudes, 
we cannot determine how extensive. Far be 
it from us to think that Christ's glorified body 
is of such an earthly composition, and of such 
a limited extent, as it was here; for then, as 
his disciples and a few more were present with 
him, while the rest of the world were absent 
and had none of his company, so it would be 
in heaven. But all true believers, from the 
creation to the end of the world, as well as a 
Paul, shall "be with Christ, and see his glory." 
And though there will be different degrees of 
glory, as there have been of holiness, yet none 
in heaven are at such a distance from Christ 
as not to enjoy the felicity of his presence. 


3. "We shall also have communion with the 
divine and human natures of Christ; both 
which shall be the felicitating objects of per- 
fect knowledge and holy love to the separate 
spirits, before the resurrection. The chief part 
of this communion will consist in Christ's com- 
munications to the soul. As the whole crea- 
tion is more dependent on God than the fruit 
on the tree, or plant on the earth, or the mem- 
bers on the body, so God uses second causes 
in his communications to inferior natures ; 
and it is more than probable that Christ's hu- 
man nature is the second cause of communi- 
cating both grace and glory, both to man in the 
body and to the separate soul. As the sun is 
both the cause and object of sight to the eye, 
so is Christ to the soul. For as God, so the 
Lamb is the light and glory of the heavenly 
Jerusalem, and in his light they shall have 
light. Though Christ shall give up the king- 
dom to the Father, so that God may be "all 
in all," and his creatures be fully restored to 
his favor, and a healing government for recov- 
ering lapsed souls to God shall be no more 
needed ; yet surely he will not cease to be our 


Mediator, the church's head, and the channel 
of everlasting light, life, and love to all his 
members. As "we now live because he lives," 
like the tranches in the vine ; and as the Spirit 
that now quickens, enlightens, and sanctifies 
us, is first the Spirit of Christ before it is ours, 
and is communicated from God through him to 
us ; so will it be in the state of glory : there 
our union and communion with him will be 
perfected, and not destroyed or diminished. 
As it would be arrogance to think we shall be 
above the need and use of Christ and his com- 
munications ; so, I doubt not, we shall ever have 
use for one another, as is plainly intimated by 
" sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Ja- 
cob, in the kingdom of God ;" by being "in 
Abraham's bosom;" by "sitting at Christ's 
right and left hand in his kingdom;" by being 
"made ruler over ten cities;" and by joining 
with those that "sing the song of Moses and 
of the Lamb." 

And certainly if I be "with Christ," I shall 
be with all them that are with Christ, even 
with all the heavenly society. Our mortal 
bodies must have so much room, that the earth 


is little enough for all its inhabitants, bo nar- 
i row is our capacity of communion here, that 
those of the antipodes, or on the opposite side 
of the earth, are almost as strange to us as if 
they were in another w r orld. "What strangers 
are we to those of another kingdom, county, 
or parish, and even of another house. But we 
have great cause to think, by many scriptural 
expressions, that our heavenly union and com- 
munion will be nearer and more extensive, and 
that ail the glorified shall know each other. It 
is, I confess, a pleasant thought to me, and 
greatly helps my willingness to die, to think 
that I shall go to all the holy ones, both Christ 
and angels and pious separate spirits. They 
are each of them better and more amiable than I 
am. Many are better than one, and the perfect 
whole than a sinful part, and the new Jerusa- 
lem is the glory of the creation. God has given 
me & love to all that are holy, for their holi- 
ness; and a love to the work of love and praise, 
which they continually and perfectly perform ; 
and a love to his celestial habitation, to his 
glory shining there. My old acquaintance with 
many a holy person gone to Christ, makes my 


thoughts of heaven the more familiar to me. 
how many of them could I name ! And it is* 
no small encouragement to one that is to enter 
upon an unseen world, to think that he goes no 
untrodden path, nor enters into a solitary or 
singular state, but follows all that from the 
creation to this day have passed by death into 
endless life. how emboldening to consider 
that I am to go the same way, and to the same 
place and state, with all the believers and saints 
that have ever gone before me ! 

II. But I must depart before I can thus "be 
with Christ." I must, particularly, depart 
from this body, from all its former delights, 
and also from more rational pleasures belong- 
ing to the present life and world. 

1. I must depart from this body. Here these 
eyes must see no more, this hand move no more, 
these feet walk no more, this tongue speak no 
more. As much as I have loved, and over- 
loved this body, I must leave it to the grave. 
There must it lie and rot in darkness, as a 
neglected and loathsome thing. This is the 
fruit of sin, and nature would not have it so. 


But it is only my shell, my tabernacle, my 
clothing, and not my soul itself. It is only a 
dissolution — earth to earth. It is but an in- 
strument laid by, when all its work is done — a 
servant dismissed, when his service is ended ; 
as I cast by my lute when I have better em- 
ployment. It is but as flowers die in autumn, 
and plants in winter. It is but a separation 
from a troublesome companion, and putting off 
a shoe that pinched me. Many a sad and pain- 
ful hour, many a weary night and day, have I 
had. What cares and fears, what griefs and 
groans, has this body cost me ! Alas, how much 
of my precious time has been spent to main- 
tain, please, or repair it! Often have I thought 
that it cost me so dear to live, yea, to live a 
painful, weary life, that were it not for the 
higher ends of life, I had little reason to be 
much in love with it, or be loath to leave it. 
To depart from such a body, is but to remove 
from a sordid habitation. I know it is the 
curious, wonderful work of Grod, and not to be 
despised or unjustly dishonored, but admired 
and well used; yet our reason w T onders that so 
noble a spirit should be so meanly housed, foi 


we must call it "our vile body." To depart 
from such a body, is but to be "loosed from 
the bondage of corruption," from the clog and 
prison of the soul. That body, which was a 
fit servant to the soul of innocent man, is now 
become as a prison. And further, to depart 
from such a body, is but to be separated from 
an accidental enemy, and one of our greatest 
and most hurtful enemies; not, indeed, as the 
work of our Creator, but as the effect of sin. 
What could Satan, or any other enemy of our 
souls, have done against us without our flesh ? 
"What is it but the interest of this body that 
stands in competition with the interest of God 
and our souls ? What else do the profane sell 
their heavenly inheritance for, as Esau his 
birthright ? What else is the bait of ambition, 
covetousness, and sensuality ? What takes up 
the thoughts and cares which we should lay 
out upon things spiritual and heavenly, but 
this body and its life? What steals away men's 
hearts from the heavenly pleasures of faith, 
hope, and love, but the pleasures of this flesh ? 
This draws us to sin, and hinders us from and 
in our duty. Were it not for bodily interests 


and temptations, how much more innocent and 
holy might I live. I should have nothing to 
care for, hut to please God and be pleased in 
him, were it not for the care of this bodily 
life. What employment should my will and 
love have but to delight in God, and love him 
and his interest, were it not for the love of 
the body and its concerns ? By this the mind 
is darkened, the thoughts diverted, our wills 
corrupted, our heart and time alienated from 
God, our guilt increased, our heavenly desires 
and hopes destroyed; life is made unholy and 
uncomfortable, and death terrible. God and 
souls are separated, and eternal life is neg- 
lected and in danger of being utterly lost. I 
know that in all this the sinful soul is the 
chief cause and agent ; but is not bodily inter- , 
est its temptation, bait, and end ? Is not the 
body, and its life and pleasure, the chief allur- 
ing cause of all this sin and misery ? And shall 
I take such a body to be better than heaven, 
or refuse to be loosed from so troublesome a 
yoke-fellow, and separated from so burdensome 
and dangerous a companion ? 

2. I must depart from all the former pleas- 

D. Thou-hts 5 


ures of tins body. I must taste no more sweet- 
ness in meat or drink, in rest or action, or any 
such thing as now delights me. Houses and 
lands, goods and wealth must all be left; and 
the place where I live must know me no more. 
All I labored for, or took delight in, must be no 
more to me than if they had never been. But 
consider, my soul, thy former pleasures are 
already past. Thou losest none of them by 
death, for they are all lost before, unless immor- 
tal grace has made them immortal by sanctify- 
ing them. All that death does to them is to 
prevent the repetition of them upon earth. Is 
not the pleasure which we lose by death com- 
mon to every brute ? Meat is as sweet to them, 
and ease as welcome, and appetite as vehement. 
"Why then should it seem hard to us to lose that, 
when God pleases, which we deprive the brutes 
of at our pleasure? If we are believers, we 
only exchange these delights of life for the 
greater delights of a life with Christ, a comfort 
which our fellow-creatures the brutes have not. 
Are not the pleasures of life usually imbittered 
with such pain that they seldom countervail 
the attending vanity and vexation ? It is true, 


nature desires life under sufferings that are tol- 
erable, rather than die ; but that is not so much 
from the sensible pleasure of life, as from mere 
natural inclination to life which Grod has im- 
planted in us. Do we not willingly interrupt 
these pleasures every night when we betake 
ourselves to sleep? To say that rest is my 
pleasure, is but to say that my daily labors and 
cares are so much greater than my waking 
pleasures, that I am glad to lay by both togeth- 
er. If we can thus be content every night to 
die, as it were, to all our waking pleasures, why 
should we be unwilling to die to them all at 
once? If they be forbidden pleasures which 
you are unwilling to leave, those must be left 
before you die, otherwise you had better never 
have been born. Every wise and godly man 
casts them off with detestation. Indeed, the 
same cause which makes men unwilling to live 
a holy life, has a great hand in making them 
unwilling to die — even because they are loath 
to leave the pleasures of sin. If the wicked be 
converted, he must be gluttonous and drunken 
no more ; he must live in pride, vanity, worldly- 
mindedness, and sensual pleasures no more ; and 


therefore he draws hack from a holy life as it 
were from death itself. But what is this to 
those who "have mortified the flesh with the 
affections and lusts ?" Consider also that these 
forbidden pleasures are the great impediments 
both of our holiness and of our truest pleasures. 
One of the reasons why God forbids them, is 
because they hinder us from better ; and if, for 
our own good, we must forsake them when we 
turn to God, we should therefore be the more 
willing to die, in order to be free from the dan- 
ger of them, and especially since death will 
transmit us to infinitely greater pleasures. 

3. I must also depart from the more rational 
pleasures which I have enjoyed in this body; 
as, for instance, from my present studies, which 
are delights far above those of sensual sinners. 
But let me consider : how small is our know- 
ledge, compared with our ignorance ; how lit- 
tle does the knowledge of the learned differ 
from the thoughts of a child. As trifles are the 
matter of childish knowledge, so artificial words 
and forms make up more of the learning of the 
world than is commonly understood. God and 
the life to come are little better known by the 


learned, and often much less, than by many of 
the unlearned. Of how little use is it to know 
what is contained in many hundred volumes 
that fill our libraries, and have given their au- 
thors the name of virtuosi — not for their having 
the virtue to live to Grod, or overcome tempta- 
tions from the flesh and the world, and secure 
their everlasting hopes. Much of our reading 
and learning, alas, does us more harm than 
good. Many a precious hour is lost in them 
that should be employed in higher pursuits. 
To many, I fear, it is as unholy a pleasure as 
others take in thinking of lands and honors — 
only the more dangerous for being the less sus- 
pected. I know the knowledge of natural 
things is valuable, and may be sanctified, and 
made some way useful to my highest ends, and 
I would be at any expense to procure more. 
But I must earnestly pray, " May the Lord for- 
give me the hours that I have spent in reading 
things less profitable, for the sake of pleasing a 
mind that would fain know every thing, instead 
of spending them for the increase of holiness in 
myself and others." Yet I must thankfully 
acknowledge to God, that "from my youth he 


taught me to begin with things of the greatest 
weight, and to refer most of my other studies 
thereto, and to spend my days under the mo- 
tives of necessity and profit to myself, and those 
that were committed to me." I would have 
men most relish that learning in their health 
which they will find sweetest in sickness, and 
when near to death. And alas, how expensive a 
vanity is this knowledge. Though it little dif- 
fers from a pleasant dream, yet to attain a lit- 
tle excellence in it, how many laborious days 
and weeks must it cost us. " Much study is a 
weariness of the flesh, and he that increaseth 
knowledge increaseth sorrow." What painful 
diseases and loss of bodily ease and health has 
it occasioned me. What envy and opposition 
has it exposed me to. And should a man be 
loath to die for fear of leaving such troublesome, 
costly learning and knowledge ? Let me es- 
pecially consider that we shall certainly have a 
nobler, sweeter, and more extensive knowledge 
than is here attainable. Love never fails, and 
we can love no more than we know ; u but proph- 
ecies shall fail ; tongues shall cease ; knowledge," 
such as we now have, * ' shall vani sh away. When 


I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood 
as a child, I thought as a child; but when I 
became a man, I put away childish things. For 
now we see through a glass darkly, but then 
face to face ; now I know in part, but then shall 
I know, even as also I am known;" for though 
my knowledge will not be like that of the bless- 
ed God, it will be like that of holy spirits. In 
order for a physician to describe the disease of 
his patient, he needs much reading and close 
inquiry; and after all, he goes much upon con- 
jectures, and his knowledge is mixed with many 
uncertainties and mistakes ; but when he opens 
his corpse his knowledge is more full and true, 
and obtained with greater ease and speed. A 
countryman knows the town, fields, and rivers, 
plants, and animals where he dwells, with ease, 
perspicuity, and certainty, when mere geograph- 
ical knowledge is liable to many mistakes. So 
the sight of God and heaven will deserve the 
name of wisdom, while our present glimpse is 
but philosophy or the love of wisdom. We 
should not, therefore, fear death for fear of los- 
ing our knowledge; but rather long for the 
world of glorious light, that we may get out of 


this darkness into easy, joyful, and satisfying 

Friendship is one of the more rational pleas- 
ures enjoyed in this body, and from which I 
must depart. He that believes not that there 
are far more and better friends in heaven than 
there are on earth, believes not, as he ought, 
that there is a heaven. Our friends here are 
wise, but they are also unwise. They are faith- 
ful, but partly unfaithful. They are holy, but 
alas, too sinful. They have the image of God, 
but it is blotted and dishonored by their faults! 
They do God and his church much service, but 
they also do too much for Satan even when they 
intend the honor of God. They promote the 
gospel; but they also hinder it by their weak- 
ness and ignorance, their selfishness, pride, and 
passion, their divisions and contentions. They 
are our helpers and comforters; but how often 
are they also our hinderance, trouble, and grief: 
in heaven they are perfectly wise and holy and 
faithful, and there is nothing in them, nor done 
by them, but what is amiable to God and man. 
With our faithful friends we have here a mix- 
ture of those that are useless and burdensome, 


or hypocritical and malicious. But in heaven 
there are none but the wise and holy ; no hyp- 
ocrites, no burdensome neighbors, no treacher- 
ous, oppressive, or persecuting enemies. Christ 
loved his disciples, his kindred, and all man- 
kind, and took pleasure in doing good to all, 
and so did his apostles ; but how poor a recom- 
pense had he or they from any but from God. 
Christ's " brethren believed not on him." Peter 
denied him. " All his disciples forsook him and 
fled." And what then could be expected from 
others? No friends have a perfect suitableness 
to each other; and those inequalities that are 
nearest to us are most troublesome. So vari- 
ous and contrary are our apprehensions, inter- 
ests, educations, our tempers, inclinations, and 
temptations, that instead of wondering at the 
discord and confusions of the world, we may 
rather admire the providence of Grod which 
maintains so much order and concord. The 
greatest crimes that have been charged upon 
me, have been those things which I thought to 
be my greatest duties; and for those parts of 
my obedience to Grod and my conscience which 
cost me dearest, and where I pleased my flesh 


least ? I pleased the world least. And is this 
tumultuous, militant world a place that I should 
be loath to leave ? 

I must depart from all the means of grace, 
though more precious to me than all earthly 
enjoyments. Shall I love the name of heaven 
better than heaven itself? Is not the posses- 
sion of glory better than the promise of it ? If 
a light and guide through the wilderness be 
good, surely the glorious end must be better. 
It hath pleased God that all things on earth, 
even the sacred Scriptures, should bear the 
marks of our state of imperfection. Imperfect 
persons were the penmen. Imperfect human 
language is the conveyance. Heaven will not, 
to perfect spirits, be made the occasion of so 
many errors and controversies as the Scriptures 
are to us imperfect mortals. Yea, heaven is 
the more desirable, because there I shall better 
understand the Scriptures than here I can ever 
hope to do. To leave my Bible, and to go to 
the God and heaven which the Bible reveals, 
will be no otherwise my loss than to leave the 
picture for the presence of my friend. As for 
mere human writings and instructions, the 


pleasure of my mind is much abated by their 
great imperfection ; and why should I think that 
my own are blameless? I must for ever be 
thankful for the holy instructions and writings 
of others, notwithstanding human frailty ; and 
so must I be thankful that God hath made any 
use of my own for the good of souls and the 
edification of his church. But how many al- 
loys are there to such comforts. If good men, 
and good books or sermons make the world seem 
over-lovely, it will be the mercy of Grod to abate 
the temptation. When we are dead to the love 
of the godly themselves, of learning, books, and 
ordinances, so far as they serve a selfish inter- 
est and tempt our hearts from heavenly aspira- 
tions, then indeed "the world is crucified to us, 
and we to it." 

Of all things, a departing soul has least cause 
to fear losing the knowledge of worldly affairs. 
If the sun gives light and heat to the earth, why 
should I think that blessed spirits have no ac- 
quaintance with earthly concerns? From the 
top of a hill I can see more than from below ; 
and shall I know less of earth from heaven 
than I do now ? It is unlikely that my capaci- 


ty will be so little, or that Christ and all the 
angels will be so strange to me as to give me 
no notice of things so interesting to my God 
and Redeemer, to the holy society of which I 
am member, and to myself as a member of 
that society. Spirits are most active and of 
quick and powerful communication. They 
need not send letters nor write books, nor lift 
up a voice. And as activity, so unity is great- 
est where there is most perfection. Their 
knowledge, love, and joy will be one. My 
celestial advancement, therefore, will be no 
diminution, but an inconceivable increase of 
my desirable knowledge of things on earth. 
If, indeed, I shall know less of things below, it 
will be because the knowledge of them is a part 
of vanity and vexation, which have no place 
in heaven. I need not be afraid to hear any 
more of bloody wars, desolated countries, dissi- 
pated churches, persecuted Christians, silenced 
preachers, party conflicts, contentious divines, 
censorious professors of religion, with the cries 
of the poor, or the endless complaints of the 

Nor need I fear what other men are pleased 


to suggest, that the church will want me. Is 
it I, or God, that must choose his servants, 
and cut out their work? Am I doing God's 
work, or my own? If God's, must not he say 
what, and when, and how long? And will 
not his will and choice be best? If I believe 
not this, how do I take him for my God? Does 
God, or I, know best what is yet to be done, 
and who is fittest to do it? What am I to 
those more excellent persons whom in all ages 
God hath taken out -of the world? Have not 
many servants of Christ died in their youth, 
who were far more likely to win souls and 
glorify God than I am, or ever have been? 
And shall I, at seventy-six years of age, after 
such a life of unspeakable mercies, and after 
almost fifty-three years of comfortable help in 
the service of my Lord, be now afraid of my 
reward, and shrink at the sentence of death, 
and still be desirous to stay here, under pre- 
tence of further service ? We know not what is 
best for the church, as God does. The church 
and the world are not ours, but his: not our 
desires, therefore, but his will must measure 
out its mercies. Nothing ever lay so heavy on 


my heart as the sin and misery of mankind, 
and to think how much of the world lies in 
folly and wickedness. And for what can I so 
heartily pray, as for the world's recovery? And 
it is his will that I should show a holy and 
universal love by praying, "Let thy name be 
hallowed ; thy kingdom come ; thy will be 
done on earth as it is in heaven." Yet, alas, 
how unlike is earth to heaven ! "What sin and 
ignorance, confusion and cruelties, reign and 
prosper here! Without a wonderful change, 
even by a general miracle, how little hope ap- 
pears that ever these prayers should be an- 
swered. Indeed, it makes us better to desire 
that others may be better; and God seems to 
permit the ignorance and confusion of this 
world, to help us the more to value and desire 
the world of light, love, and order. If I am 
any way useful to the world, undeserved mercy 
hath made me so, for which I must be thank- 
ful; how long I shall be so, is not my business 
to determine, but my Lord's. As God will be 
served and pleased by a wonderful variety of 
animals and vegetables, so he will by their 
successive generations. If one flower fall or 


die, others in future summers shall arise from 
the same root. God will have other genera- 
tions to succeed us ; let us thank him that we 
have had our time. And could we without 
selfishness love others as ourselves, and God as 
God, it would comfort us at death to have 
others survive us, and the world continue, and 
God still be God, and be glorified in his works. 
Love would say, "I shall live in my succes- 
sors; I shall more, than live in the life of the 
world; and most of all, in the eternal life and 
glory of God." Nor will God try us with too 
long a life of temptations, lest we should grow 
too familiar where we should be strangers, and 
be utterly strangers to our home. No wonder 
the world was ready for a deluge, by a deluge 
of sin, when men lived six, seven, eight, or 
nine hundred years. Had our great sensual- 
ists any hope of living so long, they would be 
like incarnate devils ; there would be no dwell- 
ing near them for the godly. Nor will God 
tire us with too long a life of afflictions. And 
shall we grudge at the wisdom and goodness 
which shortens them ? Though holy duties be 
excellent and delightful, yet the weakness of the 


flesh makes us liable to weariness, and abates 
the willingness of the spirit. By our weariness 
and complaints, our fears and groans, we seem 
to think this life too long; and yet when we 
should yield to the call of Grod, we draw back 
as if we would have it to be everlasting. 

" "Willingly submit, then, my soul. It is 
not thyself, but this flesh, that must be dis- 
solved — this troublesome, vile, and corruptible 
flesh. Study thy duty, work while it is day, 
and let God choose thy time; and willingly 
stand to his disposal. When I die, the gospel 
dies not, the church dies not, the praises of 
Grod die not, the world 'dies not; but perhaps 
it will grow better, and those prayers be an- 
swered which seemed to be lost ; and perhaps 
some of the seed I have sown will spring up 
when I am dead. If my end was to do good 
and glorify Grod, when good is done and Grod 
is glorified, though I were annihilated, is not 
my end attained?" "Lord, let thy servant 
depart in peace," even in thy peace, "which 
passeth all understanding," and which Christ, 
the Prince of peace, gives, and which nothing 
in tiie world can take away. " give me that 


peace which suits a soul who is so near the 
harbor, even the world of endless peace and 
love. Call home this soul by the encouraging 
voice of love, that it may joyfully hear, and 
say, It is my Father's voice. Invite it to thee 
by the heavenly messenger. Attract it by the 
tokens and foretastes of love. The messengers 
that invited me to the feast of grace, compelled 
me to come in without constraint ; thy effect- 
ual call made me willing. And is not glory 
better than the grace which prepares for it? 
Shall I not more willingly come to the celestial 
feast ? What was thy grace for, but to make 
me desirous of glory and the way to it? Why 
didst thou dart down thy beams of love, but to 
make me love thee, to call me up to the ever- 
lasting centre ? Was not the feast of grace as 
a sacrament of the feast of glory ? Did I not 
take it in remembrance of my Lord till he 
come ? Did not he that told me, ' All things are 
ready,' tell me also, that ' He is gone to prepare 
a place for us, and that he will have us to be 
with him and see his glory ?' They that are 
given him, and drawn to him, by the Father 
on earth, do come to Christ; give now r , and 

D. ThouphtiJ. f) 


draw my departing soul to my glorified Head. 
As I have glorified thee on earth in the measure 
of thy grace bestowed upon me, pardon the sins 
by which I have offended thee, and glorify me 
in the vision and participation of my Redeemer's 
glory. Come, Lord Jesus, come quickly, with 
fuller life and light and love, into this too dead 
and dark and disaffected soul, that with joyful 
willingness it may come unto thee. 

"Willingly depart, lingering soul: it is 
from a Sodom ; though there be righteous Lots 
in it, they are not without their sad blemishes. 
Hast thou so often lamented the general blind- 
ness and wickedness of the world, and art thou 
loath to leave it for a better ? How often would- 
est thou have rejoiced to see but the dawning 
of a day of universal peace and reformation! 
And wouldest thou not see it, where it shines 
in perfect beauty? Hast thou prayed and 
labored so hard to have the pleasure of a light 
at midnight, and is it not thy desire to behold 
the sun itself? Will the things of heaven 
please thee nowhere but on earth, where they 
are least and weakest ? Away, away ! vindic- 
tive flames are ready to consume this sinful 


world. Sinners are treasuring up wratli against 
the day of wrath. Look not then "behind thee. 
Away from this unhappy world ! ' Press toward 
the mark, looking for and hastening unto the 
coming of the day of Grod. 5 As this world has 
used thee, so it would still do. "When thou 
hast fared best in it, no thanks to it, but to 
Grod. If thou hast had manifold deliverances 
and preservations, and hast been fed with an- 
gels' food, love not the wilderness, but thy 
heavenly guide, protector, and deliverer. Does 
Grod in his great mercy make pain and feeble- 
ness the harbingers of death, and wilt thou not 
understand their business ? "Wouldest thou 
dwell with thy beloved body in the grave, 
where it will rot in loathsome darkness? Tf 
not, why should it now, in its painful languor, 
seem to thee a more pleasing habitation than 
the glorious presence of thy Lord ? In the 
grave it will be at rest, nor at the night wish, 
that it were morning, nor in the morning say, 
"When will it be night? And is this a dwelling 
fit for thy delight ? Patience in it, while God 
will so try thee, is thy duty : but is such patience 
a better and sweeter life than rest and joy?" 


But alas, how deaf is flesh to reason. I have 
reason enough to be willing to depart, even 
much more willing than I am. that I could 
be as willing as reason convinces me I ought to 
be. Could I love God as much as I know I 
ought to love him, then I should desire to de- 
part and to be with Christ as much as I know 
I ought to desire it. But death must be a pen- 
alty even where it is a gain; and therefore it 
must meet w T ith some unwillingness. Because 
we willingly sinned, we must unwillingly suffer. 
All the faith and reason in the world will not 
make death to be no penalty, and therefore will 
not take away all unwillingness. No man ever 
reasoned or believed himself into a love of pain 
and death, as such. But since the gain is un- 
speakably greater than the pain and loss, there- 
fore faith and holy reason may make our will- 
ingness greater than our unwillingness, and our 
hope and joy than our fear and sorrow. " Come 
then, my soul, and think believingly what is 
best for thee,'' which will be the subject of the 
next chapter; "and wilt thou not love and de- 
sire that most which is certainly best ?" 




To say or hear that it is far better to he with 
Christ, is not enough to make us willing. If I 
firmly believe that it is best for me, I shall then 
desire it. And have I not reason to believe it ? 
Let me seriously consider, for my full convic- 
tion, by what means I am preparing for this 
happiness ; how this happiness is the end for 
which I am preparing ; and how it will perfect 
my knowledge, will, and activity in doing good. 

1. The means by which I am preparing to 
be with Christ, abundantly show that it is far 
better to be with him. As for instance, that is 
best for me which my heavenly Father's love 
designs and chooses for my good. I hope I 
shall never dare to say or think that he is mis- 
taken, or that I could have chosen better for 
myself. Many a time hath the wise and good 
will of G-od crossed my foolish, rebellious will, 
and afterwards I have perceived it was best. 
It is not an enemy nor a tyrant that made me, 


preserves me, or calls me hence. The more I 
have tried him, the tetter I have found him. 
Had I better obeyed his ruling will, how happy 
had I been. And is not his disposing and re- 
warding will as good ? Should I not die till my- 
self or any of my dearest friends would have 
it, would this rejoice me? foolish, sinful 
soul, is it not far better to be at God's choice, 
than my own or any man's? "Be of good 
cheer then, my soul; it is thy Father's voice 
that calls thee hence — his voice that called thee 
into being, and out of a state of sin and death, 
and bade thee live unto him — that called thee 
so often from the grave, forgave thy sins, re- 
newed thy strength, restored thee to the com- 
forts of his house and service, and hath so gra- 
ciously led thee through this howling wilderness 
almost to the sight of the promised land. And 
wilt thou not willingly go when such infinite 
love calls thee ? Art thou not desirous of his 
presence ? Art thou afraid to go to him who is 
the only cure of thy fears ? What was it but 
this -glory to which he elected thee — not to the 
riches and honors of this world, or to the pleas- 
ures of the flesh, but chose thee in Christ to an 


inheritance in glory? If God chose thee to 
blessedness, refuse it not thyself, nor behave 
like a refuser." That is my best state which 
my Saviour purchased, and promised as best. 
As he bought me not with silver and gold, so 
neither did he live and die to make me rich and 
great in the world. "Who have more of these 
than they that have least of Christ? Is it 
heaven that cost so dear a price as his merits, 
sacrifice, and intercession? Is that the end of 
so wonderful a design of grace, and shall I now 
be unwilling to receive the gift ? That is best 
for me for which God's Holy Spirit is preparing 
me. He is not persuading me from day to day 
to love the world, but to come off from it, and 
to set my heart upon things above. And would 
I now undo all, or cross and frustrate all his 
operations? Has grace been so long preparing 
me for glory, and shall I be loath to take pos- 
session of it? If I am not willing, I am not 
yet sufficiently prepared. 

If heaven be not better for me than earth. 
God's word and ordinances have been all in 
vain. Surely, that is my best which is the gift 
of the better covenant ; which is secured to me 


by so many sealed promises; to which I am 
directed by so many sacred precepts, doctrines, 
and examples ; and for which I have been called 
to hear and read, meditate, watch, and pray. 
Was it fleshly interest, or a longer life of world- 
ly prosperity which the gospel covenant secured 
to me, which the sacraments and Spirit sealed 
to me, which the Bible was written to direct 
me to, which ministers preached to me, which 
my books were written for, and for which J 
prayed and served God — or was it not for his 
grace on earth and glory in heaven ? And is it 
not better for me to have the end of these means, 
than lose them and my hopes? Why have I 
used them, if I would not attain their end? 
That is my best state to which all (rod's father- 
ly providences tend. All his sweeter mercies 
and sharper corrections are to make me par- 
taker of his holiness, and lead me to glory in 
the way in which my Saviour and all his saints 
have gone before me. All things work together 
for the best to me, by preparing me for that 
which is best indeed. Both calms and storms 
are to bring me to this harbor ; if I take them 
but for themselves and for this present life, I 


mistake them, unthankfully vilify them, and 
lose their end, life, and sweetness. Every 
word and work of God, every day's mercies and 
changes, look at heaven and intend eternity 
God leads me no other way: if I follow him 
not, I forsake my hope in forsaking him ; if I 
follow him, shall I be unwilling to be at home 
and arrive at the end of all this way? 

Certainly, that is best for me which God re- 
quires me principally to value, love, and seek. 
If my business in the world be only for the 
things of the world, how vain a creature is man, 
and how little is the difference between waking 
and sleeping, life and death. And is it my duty 
to seek heaven with all the fervor of my soul 
and diligence of my life, and is it not best to 
find it? That must needs be best for me, for 
the sake of which all other things must be for- 
sook. It is folly "to forsake the better for the 
worse; but Scripture, reason, and conscience 
tell me that all this world should be forsaken 
for the least hope of heaven, when it comes in 
competition. A possible everlasting glory should 
be preferred before a certainly perishing vanity. 
I am sure this life will shortly be nothing to 


me, and therefore it is nothing now. And must 
I forsake all for my everlasting hopes, and yet be 
unwilling to enter on the full possession ? That 
is like to be our best which is our most mature 
state, Nature is ever tending towards perfec- 
tion. Every fruit is best when it is ripe. And 
does God cause saints to grow to greater ripe- 
ness only to be useless? It is not credible. 
"Our souls return to God that gave them;" 
and though he needs them not, he puts them to 
such heavenly uses as their maturity fits them 
for. Since love has ripened me for itself, shall 
I not willingly drop into its hand ? That is like 
to be best which has been most esteemed and 
desired by the wisest and holiest in all ages, and 
which all men at death allow to be best. No 
men are usually worse than those who have no 
belief or hope of a life to come. And none are 
so holy, just, and sober, so charitable to others 
and so useful to mankind, as those who firmly 
believe and hope for a state of immortality. 
And shall I fear such a state? And is not that 
my best state which most displeases my great- 
est enemies ? I need not say how much Satan 
does to keep me and other men from heaven; 


and in order to that, how he tempts us with 
worldly honor, pleasure, and wealth. Satan 
would not have me get to heaven, and shall I 
also be unwilling ? All these things tell me that 
it is best to be with Christ. 

2. As the end of all my preparation , it must 
be far better for me to be with Christ. Is not 
dwelling with God in glory far better than in 
this sinful world? He that is our beginning is 
our end. For our end all means are used ; and 
the end attained is the rest of souls. How often 
has my soul groaned under a sense of distance, 
darkness, and alienation from God. How often 
has it looked up and panted after him, and said, 
"As the hart panteth after the water-brooks, so 
panteth my soul after thee, God. My soul 
thirsteth for God, for the living God; when 
shall I come and appear before God? "Whom 
have I in heaven but thee? and there is none 
upon earth that I desire besides thee. It is good 
for me to draw near to God.'' "Woe to me if I 
dissembled ; if not, why should my soul draw 
back? Is it because death stands in the way? 
And is not my passage secured by the love of 
my Father, and the resurrection and interces- 


sion of my Lord? Can I see the light of heav- 
enly glory in this darksome shell and womb of 
flesh? All creatures are more or less excellent 
and glorious, as (rod communicates most of 
himself to them. They are said to be nearest 
to him that have the noblest natures. There- 
fore to be as near as my nature was intended 
to approach, is but to attain the end and per- 
fection of my nature. As I am now under^the 
government of his officers on earth, so I expect 
to be in heaven. If the law was given by an- 
gels, and the angel of Grod was in the burning 
bush, and the angel conducted the people 
through the wilderness, and yet all these things 
are ascribed to God, much more near and glo- 
rious will the divine government be in heaven. 
Here I am made, ruled, and sanctified for the 
good of many, as above my own. I am sure 
I must be finally for my glorified Redeemer, 
and that he who is the first will be the ultimate 
cause. In this respect, I shall be as near to him 
as comports with the rank and order of my na- 
ture. It is the honor of a servant to have an 
honorable master, and to be appointed to the 
most honorable work. My advancement will 


be ultimately for God, and in such services as 
are suitable to my spiritual and heavenly state. 
Activity will be my perfection and my rest. 
Though now I know not fully what service I 
must do, I know it will be good, and suitable 
to the blessed state I shall be in. It is not all 
the use and work of my soul now to care for 
my body, nor will it be hereafter. Though I 
shall not always have a body, I shall always 
have a God and a Saviour and a w r orld of fel- 
low-creatures ; and when I shine not in the lan- 
tern, nor see as in a glass, I shall yet see face 
to face. To fulfil God's will here, would be the 
fulfilling of my own. I am sure my soul shall 
live, and that it shall live to God, and that I 
shall fulfil his blessed will ; and so far as I am 
pleased in doing it, it will be my felicity. The 
soul's regular love to the body illustrates the 
love of Christ to his church, and to every mem- 
ber. Herein my Saviour excels me in power- 
ful, faithful love. He will save me better from 
pain and death than I can save my body, and 
will more inseparably hold me to himself. If 
•it pleases my soul to dwell in such a house -of 
clay, how much more will it please my glori- 


fied Lord to dwell with his glorified body, the 
church triumphant, and to bless each member 
of it. It would be a kind of death to Christ to 
be separated from his body. And will he take 
incomparably greater pleasure in me for ever 
than my soul does in my body ? then let me 
long to be with him. Though I am naturally 
loath to be absent from the body, let me not be 
willingly absent from the Lord. And though 
I would not be unclothed had not sin made it 
necessary, let me " groan to be clothed upon 
with my heavenly habitation," to become the 
delight of my Redeemer, and to be perfectly 
loved by love itself. The love and delight of 
my glorified Head must be my felicity. I shall 
be loved as a living spirit, and not as a thing 
dead and insensible. If I must rejoice here 
with them that rejoice, shall I not rejoice to 
have my Lord rejoice in me and in all his glo- 
rified ones ? Union will make his pleasure to 
be much my own. It will fitly be said by him, 
" Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." The 
heavenly society also will joyfully welcome a 
holy soul. If now u there is joy in the presence 
of the angels of God over one sinner that re- 


penteth," what will there be over a perfect glo- 
rified soul ? If our " angels " there " behold our 
Father's face," how glad will they be of our 
company. And will not love and union make 
their joy my own? Surely that will be my 
best condition w r hich angels and blessed spir- 
its will be best pleased with; and in that in 
which they most rejoice, I shall most rejoice 

3. It is far better for me to be with Christ, 
as thereby my knowledge will he perfected. 
A soul that is with Christ is more likely to 
know Christ and the Father in him, than a 
soul that is present with the body and absent 
from the Lord. What less can promise of being 
with him signify? How much more excellent 
will intuitive or immediate knowledge be, than 
our present artificial knowledge. There will 
be no expensive labor in getting it. It will 
have no mixture of dark and bewildering un- 
certainty and ambiguity when it is acquired. 
It will be perfectly free from those contentions 
which so much rob the ingenious of their time, 
destroy their love, hinder their minds from 
ascending to God and heavenly things, and fill 


the church with sects and parties. Nor will it 
leave any of that dissatisfaction so common 
among the learned, while they have only the 
shadow of knowledge, licking but the outside 
of the glass, and leaving the wine within un- 
tasted. What an excellence will there he in 
each of the objects of this immediate know- 
ledge. As, for instance, I shall know Grod 
better. If an angel from heaven came down 
on earth to tell us all of God that we would 
know, who would not turn his back on libraries 
and universities, to go and discourse with such 
a messenger ? For one hour's talk with him, 
what travel should I think too far, what cost 
too great ? But here we must only have such 
intimations as will exercise faith, excite desire, 
and try us under the temptations of the world 
and the flesh. The light of glory is to reward 
the victory obtained by the conduct of the light 
of grace. Grod in great mercy even here be- 
gins the reward. They that " follow on to know 
the Lord" usually find such increase of light, 
not consisting in vain notions, but in the quick- 
ening and comforting knowledge of God, as 
greatly encourages them, and draws them still 


on to seek more. If the pleasure the mind 
has in common knowledge makes men spend 
successive years in traversing sea and land, or 
in turning over multitudes of tedious volumes, 
who then upon earth can possibly conceive how 
great a pleasure it will be for a glorified soul 
to see the Lord ? All the pleasure I shall have 
in heaven in knowing any of the works of God, 
will be in my beholding God himself, his being, 
wisdom, love, and goodness, in those works ; 
for he is the life and glory of them all. " Bless- 
ed are the pure in heart; for they shall see 
God." And doubtless it will be no small part 
of my delight to know the universe better. It 
is exceedingly pleasant to know the least par- 
ticle of the works of God. Yfith what dili- 
gence and delight have men endeavored to 
anatomize a body, yea, a small part of a car- 
cass, for to know and describe worms and in- 
sects, plants and minerals ! But no man ever 
yet perfectly knew the nature and uses of the 
least of them. If, indeed, we clearly saw the 
nature and connection of every creature in sea 
or land, what a delightful spectacle w r ould this 
spot of the creation be ! How much more to 

D. Thoughts. 7 


see the whole creation ! And I shall have as 
much of this as I shall be capable of; the 
wonders of (rod's works shall raise my soul in 
admiring, joyful praise for ever. "We have de- 
sires after such knowledge in our present dark 
and infant state; for "the works of the Lord 
are great, sought out of all them that have 
pleasure therein." As these desires are of God, 
as he hath made his works to be known for his 
glory, and as it is little that is known of them 
by mortals, therefore they are known by them 
in heaven, who are fitted to improve that know- 
ledge to his praise. If Christ the wisdom of 
God will teach me the true philosophy how to 
love God and please him in all things here, I 
shall quickly in heaven be a perfect philosopher. 
Satan tempted Christ by "showing him all the 
kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them," 
promising to "give him all, if he would worship 
him;" but God will show me more than Satan 
could show, and give me more of that which is 
best, than Satan could give. 

Nor will it be the least of my felicity in 
heaven that I shall better know Jesus Christ, 
and all the mystery of our redemption by him. 


beatilyiiig knowledge, to know Him, "in 
whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and 
knowledge!"; to know the mystery of his 
eternal Godhead, of his created nature, and of 
the union of both, and to see (rod's wonderful 
design and gracious work, in him, laid open to 
our clearest view! Then all the dark texts 
concerning his person, offices, and works will 
be fully understood. All those strange and 
difficult things which were the great exercise 
and honor of faith, will then be plain. Diffi- 
culties will no more be Satan's advantage, to 
tempt us to unbelief or doubting. The sight 
of the glory of my Lord will be my glory. If 
now, "though we see not Christ, yet believing, 
we love him, and rejoice in him with joy un- 
speakable and full of glory," what love and joy 
will the everlasting sight of our blessed Head 
excite there in the souls of all the glorified ! I 
shall better — how much better ! — "know the 
heavenly Jerusalem, the triumphant church, 
the blessed angels and glorified saints." What 
a sight, what a joyful sight will death show 
me, by drawing aside the veil; or rather the 
Lord of life, by turning death to my advan 


tage. As I now know the several rooms in my 
house, so shall I then know the " many man- 
sions" which Christ says "are in his Father's 
house." If Nehemiah and the pious Jews re- 
joiced so much at seeing the walls of Jerusa- 
lem repaired, and others at the rebuilding of the 
temple, what a joyful sight shall I have of 
the heavenly Jerusalem ! I know that angels 
now love us, minister unto us, rejoice in our 
good, and are themselves far more holy and 
excellent creatures than we are ; it is therefore 
my comfort to think that I shall better know 
them, and live in near and perpetual acquaint- 
ance and communion with them, and bear my 
part in the same choir in which they preside. 
And when I think how sweet one wise and 
holy companion has been to me here on earth, 
and how lovely his graces have appeared, 
what a sight will it be, when we shall see the 
millions of "the spirits of just men made per- 
fect," shining with Christ in perfect wisdom 
and holiness ! If this world was full of wise, 
just, and holy persons, how lovely would it be ! 
If one kingdom consisted of such, it would 
make us loath to die and leave such a country, 


were it not that the more the beauty of good- 
ness appears, the more the perfection of it is 
desired. It is pleasant to me to pray in hope 
that earth may be made more like heaven, 
which is now become so like hell ; but when I 
shall see the society perfected in number, holi- 
ness, and glory, employed in the high and joy- 
ful praises of Jehovah — the glory of Grod and 
the Lamb shining on them, and Grod rejoicing 
over them as his delight, and myself partaking 
of the same — that will be the truly blessed day. 
And why does my soul, imprisoned in flesh, no 
more desire it? I shall better understand all 
the word of God. Though I shall not have the 
use for it I now have in this life of faith, yet I 
shall see more of Grod's wisdom and goodness, 
love, mercy, and justice, appearing in it, than 
ever man on earth could do. As the creatures, 
so the Scriptures are perfectly known only by 
perfect spirits. I shall then know how to solve 
all doubts, reconcile all seeming contradictions, 
and expound the hardest prophecies. That light 
will show me the admirable method of those 
sacred words where dark minds now suspect 
confusion. How joyfully shall I then praise 


my God and Saviour for giving his church so 
clear a light to guide them through this dark- 
some wilderness, and so sure a promise to sup- 
port them till they are come to life eternal! 
How joyfully shall I bless Him, who, by that 
immortal seed, regenerated me to the hope of 
glory, and ruled me by so holy and just a law! 
In that world of light I shall better under- 
stand God's works of providence. The wis- 
dom and good of them is little understood in 
small parcels. It is the union and harmony of 
all the parts which displays the beauty of them. 
And no one can see the whole together but God, 
and they that see it in the light of his celestial 
glory. Then I shall clearly know why God 
prospered the wicked, and so much afflicted 
the righteous ; why he set up the ungodly, and 
put the humble under their feet; why he per- 
mitted so much ignorance, pride, lust, oppres- 
sion, persecution, falsehood, and other sins in 
the world; why the faithful are so few; and 
why so many kingdoms of the world are left in 
heathenism, Mohammedanism, and infidelity. 
I shall know why I suffered what I did, and 
how many great deliverances I had, and how 


they were accomplished. All our misinter- 
pretations of (rod's works and permissions will 
then be rectified, and all our controversies 
about them be at an end. Among all these 
works I shall especially know more of the na- 
ture and excellence of God's mercies. The 
lively sense of love and mercy makes lively 
Christians abound in love to Grod, and in mer- 
cy to others ; but the enemy of Grod and man 
labors to obscure and diminish our views of 
divine love and mercy. Ingratitude is great 
misery as gratitude is true pleasure. We now 
receive thousands of mercies wdiich we under- 
value. But when I come to the state and 
work of perfect gratitude, I shall perfectly 
know all the mercies ever received by myself, 
by my neighbors and friends, by the church, 
and the world. Mercies remembered must be 
the matter of our everlasting thanks, and we 
cannot be perfectly thankful for them without 
a perfect knowledge of them. The worth of 
Christ and all his grace of the gospel, and of 
all divine ordinances and church privileges, of 
our books and our friends, our health, and all 
the conveniences of our lives, will be better 


understood in heaven than the most holy and 
thankful Christian ever understood them here. 
Then shall I he much better acquainted with 
myself. I shall know the nature of souls and 
the way of their operations, and how the Spirit 
of Grod works upon them, and how that Spirit 
is sent. from Christ to work upon them. I 
shall know what measure of grace I myself 
had, and how far I was mistaken concerning 
it. I shall know more of the number and great- 
ness of my sins, and of my obligation to par- 
doning and healing grace. Yes, I shall know 
more of my body as the habitation of my soul, 
and how far it helped or hindered me, and 
what were all its diseases, and how wonder- 
fully Grod supported, preserved, and often de- 
livered me. I shall also far better know my 
fellow-creatures. The good and bad, the sin- 
cere and hypocrites, will there be discerned. 
Actions that were here thought honorable, will 
then be found to be odious and unjust; and 
wickedness will no more be flattered or exten- 
uated. Many a good and holy work which was 
reproached as criminal, will there be justified, 
honored, and rewarded. Once more, I shall 


better know from what enemies, sins, and dan- 
gers I was here delivered ; what stratagems of 
Satan and his instruments Grod defeated ; how 
many snares I escaped; and how great is my 
deliverance by Christ from the wrath to come. 
All this knowledge will thus be advanced to 
my glorified soul, beyond my present concep- 
tions; and is it not therefore far better to be 
with Christ ? 

4. It is far better for me to be with Christ, 
for the sake of having my will perfected. The 
will is to the soul what the heart is to the body. 
My greatest evil is there, and there will be my 
greatest good. Satan did most against it, and 
God will do most for it. When I am w r ith 
Christ my will no more will be tied, to a body, 
which is now the grand snare and enemy of 
my soul, by drawing my love and care, my 
fears and sorrows, to itself, and turning them 
from my highest interest. There my will shall 
not be tempted by a world of inferior good ; nor 
shall meat and sleep, possessions and friends, 
be my snares and dangers ; nor shall the mer- 
cies of Grod be the tempter's instruments; nor 
shall I have the flatteries or frowns of tyrants ; 


nor will bad company infect or divert me, nor 
the errors of good men seduce me, nor the rep- 
utation of the wise and learned draw me to 
imitate them in any sin. There will be none 
of Satan's solicitations to pervert my will. 

My will shall there be better than here, as it 
shall have nothing in it displeasing to God — 
no sinful inclination, no striving against God's 
Spirit, no grudging at any word or work of 
God, nor any principle of enmity or rebellion 
l6ft. There it shall have no inclination to 
injure my neighbor, or to do any thing against 
the common good ; and there it shall have noth- 
ing in it opposite to itself: no more " law of my 
members warring against the law of my mind ;" 
no more contrariety between sense and reason ; 
but all will be unity and peace within. 

There Christ will have perfectly sanctified my 
will, and made it conformable to his own, and 
to his Father's will. This is at least his mean- 
ing when he prays, "that all his disciples may 
be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in 
thee, that they also may be one in us — that 
they may be one, even as we are one." I shall 
love and will the same that God loves and 


wills. And how can the will of man have great- 
er honor? Assimilation to an earthly king 
is honorable, but much more to angels; but 
most of all to be like God. Indeed, here the 
divine image in us is, in its degrees, a con- 
formity to the will of God. But alas, how 
many thousand wishes and desires have we 
had which are against the will of God ! We 
shall have the full impression of God's will in 
heaven, as face answers to face in a glass, or 
the wax to the seal, or the finger of the clock 
to the motion within, or as the echo to the 
voice. I shall desire and never be disappointed. 
I shall have as much love and joy as I wish. 
Before I desire any thing, I shall know whether 
it be God's will or not, and therefore shall never 
wish any thing that shall not be accomplished. 
Yea, my will shall be my enjoyment; for it 
shall not be the desire of what I want, but a 
complacency in what I possess. I shall want 
nothing. I shall thirst no more. Rightly is 
the will itself called love. My will shall be 
full of perfect joy, when enjoying love and 
pleasure will be my will. Thus shall I have 
within myself a spring of living waters. My 


will shall be confirmed and fixed in this con- 
formity to the will of God. Now, both under- 
standing- and will are so lamentably mutable, 
that, further than God promises to uphold us, 
we know not one day what we shall think, 
judge, or will the next. But when love be- 
comes our fixed nature, we shall be no more 
weary of loving than the sun of shining. God 
himself will be the full and everlasting object 
of my love. Perfect joyful complacency in God 
is the heaven which I desire and hope for. In 
God there is all that love can desire for its full 
everlasting feast. The nature of man's will is 
to love good as good. God, who is infinitely 
good in himself, will be that most suitable good 
to me. He has all in himself that I need or 
can desire. There is nothing for love to cleave 
to, either above him, beyond him, or without 
him. He is willing to be beloved by me. He 
disdains not my love. He might have refused 
such affections as have so often embraced van- 
ity and filth. But he commands my love, and 
makes it my greatest duty. He invites and 
entreats me, as if he were a gainer by my hap- 
piness. He seeks to me to seek to him, and 


is both the first and most earnest suitor. He 
that so valued my cold imperfect love to him 
on earth, will not reject my perfect love in 
heaven. And he is near to me, not a dis- 
tant God out of my reach, nor unsuitable to 
my love. Blind unbelievers may dream that 
he is far off; but even now he is as nigh to us 
as we are to ourselves. "When he would sanc- 
tify us to love him, he brings us nigh to him- 
self in Christ. Here we see him in his works 
and word ; and there we shall see him in all 
the perfect glory of his works, and shall de- 
lightfully love that glorious perfection of the 
universe, even the image of God in all the 
world. I shall especially love the holy society, 
the triumphant universal church, consisting of 
Christ, angels, and saints. God himself loves 
them more than his inferior works, and my love, 
according to its measure, will imitate his. 

" Think here, my soul, how sweet thy con- 
dition will be, to love the. Lord Jesus, thy glo- 
rified head, with perfect love ; when the glory 
of God, which shines in him, will feast thy love 
with full and everlasting pleasure ! The highest 
created perfection of power, wisdom, and good- 


ness, refulgent in him, will not permit thy love 
to cease or abate its fervor. When thou shalt 
see in the glorified church the precious fruits 
of Christ's redeeming grace and love ; and when 
thou shalt see thyself possessed of perfect hap- 
piness by his love to thee, and shalt remember 
what he did for thee, and in thee, here on earth : 
how he ' called thee with a holy calling;' how 
he * washed thee in his blood from all thy sins ;' 
how he kindled in thee desires after glory ; how 
he renewed thy nature; how he instructed, 
guided, and preserved thee from sins, enemies, 
and sufferings — all this will constrain thee ever- 
lastingly to love him. Think also, my soul, 
how delightful it will be to love those angels 
who most fervently love the Lord. They will 
be lovely to thee, as they have loved thee, and 
more as they have been lovers of the church 
and of mankind ; but far more as they are so 
many refulgent stars which continually move 
and shine and burn in perfect love to their Cre- 
ator. blessed difference between that amia- 
ble society and this dark, distracted, wicked 
world. There I shall see or hear no evil; no 
mixture of folly or pollution ; no false doctrine ; 


no bad example; no favoring wickedness; no 
accusing goodness, nor hurtful violence; but 
holy, powerful, active love will be all, and do all, 
as their very nature, life, and work. And is 
not a day with them better than a thousand 
here ? And with holy angels I shall also love 
holy souls that are made like them, and joined 
with them in the same society. All their in- 
firmities are there put off, and they also are 
spirits made up of holy life and light and love. 
When I think with what fervent love -to God, 
to Jesus Christ, and to one another they will 
be perfectly united there, grieve and blush, 
my soul, that they should be here so disaffected 
and divided. The imperfect image of God upon 
them is amiable, but through their remaining 
pride, error, and uncharitableness, it is hard to 
live with some of them in peace. how de- 
lightful will that communion of saints be where 
perfect love shall make them one. Forget not, 
my soul, how sweet God has made the course 
of my pilgrimage by the fragrance and usaful- 
ness of his servants' graces. How sweet have 
my bosom-friends been ; how sweet the neigh- 
borhood of the godly; how sweet their holy 


assemblies, their writings, conference, and pray- 
ers. "What then will it be to live in perfect 
love with perfect saints in heaven for ever, and 
with them perfectly to love the God of love?" 
As the act and object of love will constitute 
my future felicity, I shall not be the fountain 
of my own delights, but my receiving from the 
love of God and his creatures shall be sweeter 
to me than my own activity. All love is com- 
municative, but none compared with God's. 
"Whatever good is done in the world, it is done 
by love. Therefore parents care and provide 
for children. Therefore my house and table 
are not neglected, nor my books and learning 
forgot, nor my friends despised, nor my life itself 
thrown away. If a man love not his country, 
posterity, and the common good, he will be as 
a drone in the hive. And if created love be so 
necessary, so active, and communicative, much 
more will be the infinite love of the Creator. 
His love is now the life of nature in the living, 
the life of holiness in the saints, and the life of 
glory in them that are glorified. In this love, 
I and all the saints shall dwell for evermore. 
And if I dwell in love, and love in me, surely 


I shall "-ever drink of the rivers of pleasure." 
Had I a great, wise, and good friend that did 
for me the hundredth part of what Grod does, 
how dearly should I love him. " Think then, 
think believingly, seriously, constantly, my 
soul, what a life thou shalt live for ever in the 
presence and bosom of infinite, eternal Love. 
He now shineth on me by the sun, and on my 
soul by the Sun of righteousness, but it is as 
through the crevices of my darksome habita- 
tion ; but then he will shine on me and in me 
openly, and with the fullest streams and beams 
of love." Grod is the same God in heaven as 
on earth; but I shall not be the same man. 
Here the windows of my soul are not open to 
his light ; sin has raised clouds, and consequent- 
ly storms, against my comforts. The entrances 
to my soul by the straits of flesh and sense are 
narrow, and they are made narrower by sin 
than they were by nature. Alas, how often 
would Love have spoken comfortably to me, and 
I was not at home to be spoken with, but abroad 
among a world of vanities ; or was Rot at leisure, 
or was asleep, and not willing to be awaked. 
How often would Love have come in and dwelt 

P. Thought*. 8 


with me, and I have unkindly shut him out. 
How often would he have freely entertained me 
in secret, hut I had some trifling company or 
"business that I was loath to leave. "When his 
table has been spread for me, and Christ, grace, 
and glory offered to me, how has my appetite 
been gone, or dull. He would have been all to 
me, if I would have been all for him. But in 
heaven I shall have none of those obstructions. 
All old unkindness and ingratitude will be for- 
given. I shall then be wholly separated from 
the vanity which here deceived me. I shall 
joyfully behold the open face and attend the 
charming voice of glorifying Love, and delight- 
fully relish his celestial provisions. No disease 
will corrupt my appetite. No sluggishness 
will renew my guilty neglects. "The love of 
the Father, the grace of the Son, and the com- 
munion of the Holy Spirit" will triumph over 
all my folly, deadness, and disaffection; and 
my God-displeasing and self-undoing averseness 
and enmity will be gone for ever. " Study this 
heavenly work of love, my soul. These are 
not dead or barren studies. It is only love that 
can relish love, and understand it. Here the 


will has its taste. "What can poor carnal world- 
lings know of glorious love, who study it with- 
out love? "What sounding brass or tinkling 
cymbals are they that preach of God and Christ 
and heavenly glory, without love. But gazing 
on the face of love in Christ, tasting its gifts, 
contemplating its glorioles reign, is the way to 
kindle the sacred fire in thee. The burning- 
glass must be turned directly to the sun, in 
order to its setting any thing on fire. A holy 
love like that in heaven must be studiously 
fetched from heaven, and be kindled by the fore- 
sight of what is there, and what we shall be 
there for ever. Faith must ascend and look 
within the veil. Thou, my soul, must not live 
a stranger to thy home and hopes, to thy God 
and Saviour. The fire that must warm thee is 
in heaven, and thou must come near it and open 
thyself to its influence, if thou wilt feel its pow- 
erful efficacy. It is night and winter with car- 
nal minds, when it is day and summer with 
those that set their faces heavenward." 

But in heaven God will make use of second 
causes even in communicating his love and 
glory. There the Lord Jesus Christ will not 


only be the object of our delightful love, but 
his love to us will be as the vital heat and mo- 
tion of the heart to all the members, the root 
of our life and joy. Did his tears for a dead 
Lazarus make men say, " Behold how he loved 
him?" "What then will the reviving beams of 
heavenly life make us say of that love which 
fills us with the pleasures of his presence, and 
turns our souls into joy itself? " Believe, my 
soul, thy Saviour's love, that thou mayest have 
a foretaste of it, and be fit for complete enjoy- 
ment. Let thy believing be so much of thy 
daily work, that thou mayest say 'he dwells 
in thy heart by faith,' and ' lives in thee,' and 
that thy 'life in the flesh' is not a fleshly life, 
but 'by the faith of the Son of Grod^who loved 
thee, and gave himself for thee.' Look upon 
the sun, and think with thyself how its motion, 
light, and heat are communicated to millions 
of creatures all over the earth and in the seas. 
What if all these beams of light and heat were 
proportionable beams of perfect knowledge, love, 
and joy? If all the creatures under the sun 
received from it as much wisdom, love, and joy 
as they have of light, heat, and motion, what a 


blessed world would it be, even a heaven upon 
earth. Thus will the Sun of glory send forth 
life, light, and joyful love on all the heavenly 
inhabitants. Therefore now begin to live upon 
the influence of his grace, that thou mayest 
have his name and mark." He has not bid me 
seek his grace in vain. He more than bids me 
seek and ask. He teaches me to pray. He 
makes my prayers, and writes them on my 
heart. He gives me desires, and he loves to 
have me importunate with him, and is dis- 
pleased with me that I will ask and have no 
more. How then comes my soul to be yet so 
fond of this wretched flesh and world, and so 
backward to go home and dwell with Christ? 
Alas, a taste of heaven on earth is too precious 
to be cast away upon such as have long grieved 
and quenched the Spirit, and are not, by dili- 
gent and patient seeking, prepared to receive it. 
My conscience remembers the follies of my 
youth, and many a later odious sin, and tells 
me that if heaven were quite hid from my sight, 
and I should never have a glimpse of the face 
of glorious eternal Love, it would be just. I 
look upward from day to day, and better to 


know my God and my home, I cry to him 
daily, "My God, my hopes are better than all 
the possessions of this world, far better than all 
the pleasures of sin. Thy gracious looks have 
often revived me, and thy mercies have been 
immeasurable to my soul and body. But 0, how 
far am I short of what, even forty years ago, 
I hoped sooner to have attained. "Where is ' the 
peace that passeth all understanding, 5 which 
should keep my heart and mind ' through Christ 
Jesus V Where is the seeing, longing, and re- 
joicing faith? Where is that pleasant famili- 
arity with Christ in heaven, that would make 
a thought of them sweeter than the thoughts of 
friends, health, or all the prosperity and pleas- 
ure of this world? Do those that i dwell in 
God, and God in them,' and have their 'hearts 
and conversations in heaven,' attain no more 
clear and satisfactory perceptions of that blessed 
state than I have yet attained? Is there* no 
livelier sense of future joys? No sweeter fore- 
taste, nor fuller silencing of doubts and fears? 
Alas, how many of thy servants are less afraid 
to go to a prison than to their God, and had 
rather be banished to a land of strangers than 


sent to heaven. Must I that am called thy 
child, and an heir of heaven, and a coheir with 
Christ, have no more acquaintance with my 
glorified Lord, and no more love to thee, who 
art my portion, before I go hence ? Shall I have 
no more of the heavenly life and light and love ? 
Alas, I have scarce enough in my meditations, 
or prayers, or sermons, to denominate them 
heavenly. And must I go hence, so like a 
stranger, to my home ? Wilt thou take stran- 
gers into heaven, and know them there as thine, 
who know thee no better here? my God, 
vouchsafe a sinner yet more of the Spirit of thy 
Son, who came to earth to call up earthly minds 
to God, and to open heaven to all believers. 
What do I beg so frequently, so earnestly for 
the sake of my Redeemer as the Spirit of life 
and consolation, to show me the reconciled face 
of God, and unite all my affections to my glo- 
rified Head, and draw up this dark, drowsy soul 
to love, and long to be with thee?" 

Alas, though those are my daily groans, how 
kittle do I ascend. I dare not blame the God 
of love, nor my blessed Saviour, nor the Sancti- 
fier and Comforter of souls. Undoubtedly the 


cause is my sinful resistance of the Spirit, my 
unthankful neglects of grace and glory. But 
mercy can forgive, grace can overcome ; and 
may I not hope for such a victory before I die ? 
" Lord, I will lie at thy doors, and pour out my 
complaints before thee. Thou hast told us how 
kindly the dogs licked the sores of a Lazarus 
that lay at a rich man's gate ; thou hast com- 
mended the good Samaritan for taking care of 
a wounded man ; thou sayest, ' Blessed are the 
merciful ;' thou commandest us, ' Be merciful, 
as your heavenly Father is merciful ;' and shall 
I wait at thy doors in vain? Give me the 
wedding-garment, without which I shall but 
dishonor thy feast. Thou hast commanded me 
to rejoice, and how fain would I in this obey 
thee. that I had more faithfully obeyed thee 
in ruling my senses, my thoughts, my tongue, 
and in the diligent improvement of all my tal- 
ents, then I might more easily have rejoiced. 
Lord, help my love and joy. How can I rejoice 
in death and darkness? I hoped I was long 
since translated from the kingdom of darkness, 
and delivered from the power of the prince of 
darkness, and brought into that light which is 


the entrance of the inheritance of saints ; and 
yet, alas, darkness is still my misery. There 
is light round about me in thy word and works, 
but darkness is within me. And if my eye be 
dark, the sun will be no sun to me. "What is 
my unbelief but the darkness of my soul? 
Lord Jesus, scatter all these mists. thou 
Sun of righteousness, make thy way into this 
benighted mind. send thy advocate to silence 
every temptation against thy truth and thee, to 
prosecute thy cause against thy enemies and 
mine, and to witness my sonship and salvation. 
I know, my Lord, heaven is not far from me, 
no, not a day nor an hour's journey to a sepa- 
rate soul. How quick is the communion of my 
eyes with the distant sun. And couldest thou 
not show me heaven in a moment ? Is not faith 
a seeing grace? If, animated by thee, it can 
see the invisible God in the unseen world, the 
1 new Jerusalem, the innumerable company of 
angels, and the spirits of just men made per- 
fect, without thee it can do nothing, 5 and is 
nothing. Forgive all my sins, and remove this 
film that sin hath gathered, and my enlightened 
soul will see thy glory. I know this veil of 


flesh must also be rent before I shall see thee 
with open face, and know my fellow-citizens 
above, as I am known. It is not heaven on 
earth I am asking, but that I may see it from 
mount Nebo, and have the pledge and the first- 
fruits; and that my faith and hope may kindle 
love and desire, and make me run my race with 
patience, and live and die in the joy which be- 
comes an heir of heaven. But if my faith on 
earth must not increase, let it make me the more 
weary of this dungeon, and more fervently wish 
for the day when all my desires shall be satisfied, 
and my soul be filled with thy light and love." 
And in subordination to Christ, I shall also 
be a receiver in heaven from angels and saints. 
If angels are greatly useful to me here, much 
more will they be there, where I shall be more 
capable of receiving from them. It will be no 
more diminution to the honor of Christ to make 
use of my fellow-creatures to my joy there, than 
it was here. How gloriously will God shine in 
the glory of the blessed ; how delightful will it 
be to see their perfection in wisdom, holiness, 
and love. They will love incomparably better 
than our dearest friends on earth can, who can 


only pity us in our pains, and go weeping with 
our corpses to the grave ; but the friends above 
will joyfully convoy or welcome our souls to 
their triumphant society. What a glorious 
state will it be, when all the love of angels and 
saints in full perfection shall be so united as to 
make one love to one God, and to each other, 
as made one in Christ. We little know how 
great a mercy it is here, to be commanded to 
love our neighbors as ourselves, and much more 
to be effectually taught of Grod to love one an- 
other. Did we all live in such unfeigned love, 
earth would resemble heaven, "G-o, then, go 
willingly, my soul; love joins with light to 
draw up thy desires. Art thou a lover of wis- 
dom, holiness, and love, and wouldest thou not 
be united to the wise and holy who are made 
up of love? Art thou a hater of discords and 
divisions on earth, and wouldest thou not be 
where all the just are one? Is not thy body, 
while kept together by an uniting soul, in a 
better state than when it is to be crumbled into 
lifeless dust ; and does not death creep on thee 
by a gradual dissolution? Away then from 
this incoherent state. The farther from the 


centre, the farther from unity. It is now thy 
weakness and imperfection which makes thee 
so desirous that thy house, thy land, thy clothes, 
thy books, yea, thy knowledge and grace, should 
be thine, and thine only. How much more 
excellent if thou couldest say that all these, 
like the light of the sun, are mine, and every 
one's as well as mine. In heaven thy know- 
ledge, thy glory, and felicity shall be thine, and 
others' as well as thine. The knowledge, good- 
ness, and glory of all that perfect society shall 
be thine as far as thy capacity extends. Then 
hasten upward, my soul, with thy most fer- 
vent desires, and breathe after that state with 
thy strangest hopes where thou shalt not be 
rich and see thy neighbors poor, nor be poor 
while they are rich ; nor be well while they are 
sick, nor sick while they are well." Commun- 
ion, as it constitutes the very being of the city 
of Grod, will be part of every one's felicity, 
and none will have the less for the participation 
of the rest. This celestial communion of saints 
in one holy church, above what is here attain- 
able, is now an article of our belief; but believ 
ing will soon end in seeing and enjoying. 


5. It is also far better for me to be with 
Christ, that I may have a perfect activity in 
doing good. There are good works in heaven, 
and far more and better than on earth. There 
will be more life and power for action ; more 
love to God and one another, to excite action ; 
more likeness to God and Christ in doing good, 
as well as being good ; more union with the 
beneficent Jesus, to make us also beneficent ; 
and more communion, by each contributing to 
the welfare of the whole, and sharing in their 
common returns to God. What the heavenly 
works are, we must perfectly know when we 
come thither. " We shall join with the whole 
society,'' as the Scriptures particularly describe, 
" in giving thanks and praise to God and our 
Redeemer." All passions earnestly desire to 
be freely exercised, especially our holy affec- 
tions of love, joy, and admiration of Almighty 
God. In expressing such affections, we natu- 
rally desire communion with many. Methinks, 
when we are singing the praises of God in 
great assemblies with joyful and fervent spir- 
its, I have the liveliest foretaste of heaven upon 
earth, and could almost wish that our voices 


were loud enough to reach through all the 
world, and to heaven itself. Nor could I ever 
be offended with the sober and seasonable use 
of instrumental music to help to tune my soul 
in so holy a work. Nothing comforts me more 
in my greatest sufferings, nor seems more fit 
for me while I wait for death, than singing 
psalms of praise to God, nor is there any exer- 
cise in which I had rather end my life. Should 
I not then willingly go to the heavenly choir, 
where God is praised with perfect love and 
joy and harmony? Had I more of a praising 
frame of soul, I should long more for that life of 
praise. I never find myself more willing to be 
there than when I most joyfully speak or sing 
the praises of God. Though the " dead praise 
not God in the grave, nor dust celebrate him," 
yet living souls in heaven do it joyfully, while 
their fleshly clothing turns to dust. " Lord, 
tune my soul to thy praises now, that sweet 
experience may make me long to be where I 
shall do it better. Wherever there is any ex- 
cellent music, I see men naturally flock to it 
and hear it with delight. Surely, had I once 
heard the heavenly choir, I should echo to their 


holy songs, and think it the truest blessedness 
to bear my part. My God, it is the inward 
melody of thy Spirit, and my own conscience, 
that must tune me for the heavenly melody. 
speak thy love first to my heart, and then I 
shall joyfully speak it to others, and shall ar- 
dently seek after communion better than that 
of sinful mortals. Though my sins make a sad 
discord in my present songs, I hope my sighs 
and tears for sin have had the honor of thine 
acceptance, who despisest not a contrite soul. 
But if thy Spirit will sing and speak within 
me, and help me against the jarring murmur 
of my unbelieving heart and pained flesh, I 
shall then offer thee what is more suitable to 
thy love and grace. I confess, Lord, that daily 
tears and sighs are not unsuitable to the eyes 
and voice of so great a sinner, now under thy 
correcting rod. But 'he that offereth praise 
glorifies thee;' and is not this the ' spiritual 
sacrifice, acceptable through Christ, for which 
we are made priests to God V I refuse not, 
Lord, to lie in tears and groans when thou re- 
quirest it, nor do thou reject those tears and 
groans; but 0, give me better, that I may 


have better of thine own to offer thee, and so 
prepare me for the far better which I shall find 
with Christ." 

Probably God makes glorified spirits the 
agents of his beneficence to inferior creatures. 
"Where he bestows on any the noblest endow- 
ments, we see he makes most use of such for 
the benefit of others. Christ tells us we shall 
be like, or equal to the angels, who are evi- 
dently the ministers of (rod for the good of his 
people in this world. The apostle says, "the 
saints shall judge the world" and "angels;" 
intimating that devils and damned spirits shall 
be subjected to the saints. But if there were 
no more for us to do in heaven, but with per- 
fect knowledge, love, and joy to hold commun- 
ion with God and all the heavenly society, it 
is enough to excite, in a considerate soul, the 
most fervent desires to be at home with God. 




I am convinced that it is far better to depart 
and to be with Christ, than to be here. But 
this conviction alone will not excite such de- 
sires in my soul. They are opposed by a nat- 
ural aversion to death, which sin has greatly 
increased; by the remains of unbelief, which 
avails itself of our darkness in the flesh and 
our too great familiarity with this visible world ; 
and also by the want of our more lively fore- 
taste of heaven. What must be done to over- 
come this opposition? Is there no remedy? 
Yes, there is a divine teaching, by which we 
must learn " so to number our days, that we 
may apply our hearts unto wisdom." When 
we have read and heard, spoken and written 
the soundest truth and strongest arguments, 
we still know as if we knew not, and be- 
lieve as if we believed not, unless God pow- 
erfully impresses the same things on our 
minds, and awakens our souls to feel what we 

D. Thought* 9 


know. Since we fell from Grod, the commun- 
ion between our senses and understanding, 
and also between our understanding and our 
will and affections, is violated, and we are di- 
vided in ourselves by this schism in our facul- 
ties. All men may easily know that there is 
an almighty, omniscient, omnipresent, eternal, 
and perfectly holy and good Grod, the maker, 
preserver, and governor of all, who deserves 
our whole trust, love, and obedience ; but how 
little of this knowledge is to be perceived in 
men's hearts or lives. All men know that the 
world is vanity, that man must die, that riches 
cannot then profit, that time is precious, and 
that we have but little time to prepare for 
eternity ; but how little do men seem to have 
of the real knowledge of these plain truths. 
Indeed, when Grod comes in with his powerful 
awakening light and love, then those things 
appear as different as if we were beginning to 
know them. All my best reasons for our im- 
mortality are but as the new-formed body of 
Adam before " Grod breathed into him the 
breath of life;" and he only can make them 
living reasons. To the Father of lights I must 


therefore still look up, and for his light and 
love I must still wait. I must learn both as a 
student and a beggar. "When I have thought 
and thought a thousand times, I must beg thy 
blessing, Lord, upon my thoughts. The eye 
of my understanding w r ill be useless or vexa- 
tious to me without thy illuminating beams. 
shine the soul of thy servant into a clearer 
knowledge of thyself and kingdom, and love 
him into more divine and heavenly love, and 
he will then willingly come to thee. 

Why should I, by the fears of death, strive 
against the common course of nature, and 
against my only hopes of happiness ? Is it not 
" appointed unto men once to die?" "Would I 
have God make sinful man immortal upon 
earth? When we are sinless, we shall be im- 
mortal. The love of life was given to teach 
me to preserve it with care and use it well, 
and not to torment myself with the continual 
foresight of death. If it be the misery after 
death that is feared, what have I to do but 
to receive the free reconciling grace which is 
offered me from heaven to save me from such 
misery, and to devote myself totally to him 


who has promised, "Him that cometh to rue, I 
will in no wise cast out ?" Had I studied my 
duty, and remembered that I am not my own, 
and that my times are in God's hands, I had 
"been quiet from these fruitless fears. Had my 
resignation and devotedness to (rod been more 
absolute, my trust in him would have been 
more easy. "But, Lord, thou knowest that I 
would fain be thine, and wholly thine, and 
that to thee I desire to live : therefore let me 
wholly trust thee with my soul." 

Why should I have any remaining doubt of 
the future state of pious separate spirits ? My 
Saviour has entered into the holiest, and has 
assured me that " there are many mansions in 
his Father's house," and that when we are 
"absent from the body," we shall be "present 
with the Lord s " "Who can think that all holy 
souls that have gone hence from the beginning 
of the world have been deceived in their faith 
and hope ; and that all those whose hope was 
only in this life have been in the right ? Shall 
I not abhor every suggestion that contains such 
absurdities ? Wonderful, that Satan can keep 
up so much unbelief in the world, while he 


must make men fools in order to make them 
unbelievers and ungodly ! 

That my soul has no more lively foretastes 
of heaven, arises from those many wilful sins 
by which I have quenched the Spirit, and from 
the soul's imprisonment in the flesh. This, 
this is the misery and burden of my soul. 
Though I can say, I love Grod's truth and grace, 
his work and servants, yet, that I have no more 
ardent and delightful love of heaven, where his 
loveliness will be more fully opened to my soul, 
is my sin, calamity, and shame. If I did not 
see that it is so with other of the servants of 
Christ as well as myself, I should doubt whether 
affections so disproportionate to my profession 
did not imply an unsound faith. It is strange 
that one who expects quickly to see the glori- 
ous world, and enter the holy celestial society, 
should not be more joyfully affected with such 
hopes ; and that I should think so much of the 
pain and perishing of the flesh, though it be the 
common way to such an end. hateful sin, 
that has so darkened and corrupted souls as 
to indispose them for their only expected hap- 
piness. What did man, when he forsook th* 


love and obedience of his God? How just that 
this flesh should he our prison, which we are 
for making our home! How mournful, that 
there is no more grace and holiness, knowledge 
of God and communion with him, in this world ; 
that so few are saints, and those few T so very 
imperfect; that while the sun shines on all 
the earth, the Sun of righteousness shines on 
so small a part of it ! He that made us capable 
of holy and heavenly affections, gave us not 
that capacity in vain. Yet, alas, how little of 
God and glory enters into the hearts of men! 
"When recovering light shines upon us, how 
unthankfully do we entertain it. We cannot 
have the conduct and comfort of it while we 
shut our eyes and tarn away. And though 
God give to the best not so much of it as they 
desire, it is an unspeakable mercy, that in this 
darksome world we may but hear of a better 
world, and may seek it in, hope. We must 
not grudge in our prison to be denied such a 
presence of our king, and such pleasures of the 
kingdom, as innocent and free subjects hewe. 
Hope of pardon, and of a speedy deliverance, 
are great mercies to malefactors. And if my 


want of the knowledge and love of God, and 
of joyful communion with the heavenly society, 
be my prison, and as the suburbs of hell, should 
it not make me long for the day of my redemp- 
tion, and the glorious liberty of the sons of 
God? My sincere desires of deliverance, and 
of holiness and perfection, are my evidences 
that I shall obtain them. As the will is the 
sinner, so the obstinate continuance of a will 
to sin is the cause of continued sin. So far as 
God makes us willing to be delivered from sin, 
so far we are delivered, and our imperfect de- 
liverance is the way to more. If pains make 
me groan for ease, and sickness for health, why 
should not my remains of ignorance, unbelief, 
and alienation from God, excite my desire 
after the day of my salvation? As it is the 
nature of my sin to draw down my heart from 
God and glory; so it is the nature of my faith, 
hope, and love, to raise my heart toward heav- 
enly perfection ; not to desire death, but that 
which is beyond it. And have I been so many 
years in the school of Christ, learning both how 
to live and die, praying for this grace and exer- 
cising it against this sinful flesh ; and after all, 


shall I not find flesh more powerful to draw 
me downward, than faith, hope, and love, to 
carry my desires up to God? "Q God, for- 
bid. thou that freely gavest me thy grace, 
maintain it to the last against its enemies, and 
make it finally victorious. It came from thee ; 
it has been preserved by thee ; it is on thy side, 
and wholly for thee ; without it I had lived as 
a beast, and should die more miserably than a 
beast ; it is thine image that thou lovest ; it is 
a divine nature and a heavenly beam. What 
will a soul be without it, but a dungeon of 
darkness, and dead to holiness and heaven? 
Without it who shall plead thy cause against 
the devil, world, and flesh? Without thy 
glory, earth is but earth ; and without thy 
grace, earth would be a hell. rather deny 
me the light of the sun than the light of thy 
countenance. Less miserable had I been with- 
out life or being, than without thy grace. 
Without thine and my Saviour's help, I can 
do nothing. I could not pray or learn without 
thee ; I never could conquer a temptation with- 
out thee ; and can I die, or be prepared to die, 
without thee? I shall but say, as Thomas of 


Christ, I know not whither my soul is going, 
and how can I know the way ? My Lord hav- 
ing loved his own which were in the world, he 
loved them unto the end. He even commended 
and rewarded those that had continued with 
him in his temptations. Thou lovest fidelity and 
perseverance in thy servants; and wilt thou 
forsake a sinner in his extremity, who consents 
to thy covenant, and would not forsake thee ? 
My God, I have often sinned against thee; 
but thou knowest I would fain be thine. I 
can say with Paul, thou art the ' Grod whose 
I am, and whom I serve;' and that I could 
serve thee better. To serve thee is but to re- 
ceive thy grace, and use it for my own and 
others 1 good, and thereby please and glorify 
thee. I have nothing to do in this world but 
to seek and serve thee. I have nothing to do 
with my tongue but to speak to thee, and for 
thee; and with my pen, but to publish thy 
glory and thy will. What have I to do with all 
my reputation and influence over others, but 
to increase thy church, and propagate thy holy 
truth and service ? What have I to do with my 
remaining time, even these last and languish- 


ing hours, but to look up unto thee, and wait 
for thy grace and thy salvation ? pardon all 
my carnal thoughts, all my unthankful treat- 
ment of thy grace and love, and all my wilful 
sins against thy truth and thee. Under the ter- 
rors of the law thou didst even proclaim thyself 
'the Lord, the Lord Grod, merciful and gracious, 
long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and 
truth ; keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving 
iniquity, transgression, and sin.' And is not 
'the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ' revealed 
in the gospel for our more abundant faith and 
consolation? My Grod, I know I can never be 
sufficiently confident of thy all-sufficient power, 
wisdom, and goodness. When I have said, 
' Will the Lord cast off for ever ; and will he 
be favorable no more? Is his mercy clean 
gone for ever ? Doth his promise fail for ever- 
more? Hath G-od forgotten to be gracious; 
hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies V 
conscience has replied, This is mine infirmity ; 
I never wanted comfort for want of mercy in 
thee, but for want of faith and holiness in my- 
self. And hast thou not mercy also to give 
me that faith and holiness? My Grod, all is 


of thee, and through thee, and to thee; and 
when I have the felicity, the glory of all for 
ever will be thine. None that trust in thy na- 
ture and promise shall be ashamed. If I can 
live and die trusting in thee, surely I shall not 
be confounded." 

"Why then should it seem a difficult question 
how my soul may willingly leave this world 
and go to Christ in peace ? The same grace 
which regenerated me, must bring me to my 
desired end. " Believe and trust thy Father, 
thy Saviour, and thy Comforter. Hope, for the 
joyful entertainments of the promised blessed- 
ness ; and long by. love for nearer divine union 
and communion. Thus, my soul, mayest 
thou depart in peace." 

1. Believe and trust the promise of Grod. 
How sure is it, and how suitable to his love, to 
the nature of our souls, and to the operations 
of every grace. " Why, my soul, art thou so 
vainly solicitous to have clear, distinct concep- 
tions of the celestial world ? "When thou art 
possessed of a better state, thou shalt know it 
as a possessor ought to do ; for such a know- 
ledge as thou lookest after is part of the pos- 


session. Thy Saviour and his glorified saints 
are possessors. His knowledge must now be 
thy chief satisfaction. Seek not vainly to usurp 
his prerogative. "Wouldst thou be a God and 
Saviour to thyself? Consider how much of the 
fall there is in this selfish desire to be as God, 
in knowing that which belongs not to thee to 
know. Thou knowest that there undoubtedly 
is a God of infinite perfection, " and that he is 
a re warder of them that diligently seek him." 
Labor more to know thy duty to this God, and 
absolutely trust him as to the particulars of 
thy reward. Thou didst trust thy parents to 
provide thee food and raiment, and didst im- 
plicitly obey them. Thou hast trusted phy- 
sicians to give thee medicines, without inquir- 
ing after every ingredient. If a pilot undertake 
to carry thee to the Indies, thou canst trust his 
conduct without knowing either the ship or 
how to govern it, or the way, or the place to 
which thou art conveyed. And must not thy 
God and Saviour be trusted to bring thee safe 
to heaven unless he will satisfy all thy inqui- 
ries ? The command to be " careful for noth- 
ing," and to "cast all thy care on God, who 


careth for thee," obligeth thee in all things 
that are God's part. To dispose of a depart- 
ing soul is God's part. how much evil is 
there in this distrusting, self-providing care. 
Be not " cast down," departing soul, nor by- 
unbelief " disquieted within me. Trust thou 
in God," for soon shall experience teach thee 
to "praise him," who is "the health of my 
countenance, and my God." 

How clearly does reason command me to 
trust him, absolutely and implicitly to trust 
him, and to distrust myself. He is essential, 
infinite perfection, wisdom, power, and love 
There is nothing to be trusted in any creature 
but God working in it, or by it. I am alto- 
gether his own, by right, by devotion, and by 
consent. He is the giver of all good to every 
creature, as freely as the sun gives its light ; 
and shall we not trust the sun to shine ? He 
is my Father, and has taken me into his fam- 
ily ; and shall I not trust my heavenly Father ? 
He has given me his Son, as the greatest pledge 
of his love; and "shall he not with him also 
freely give me all things ?" His Son purposely 
came to reveal his Father's unspeakable love ; 


and shall I not trust him who has proclaimed 
his love by such a messenger from heaven ? 
He has given me the Spirit of his Son. even 
the Spirit of adoption, the witness, pledge, and 
earnest of heaven, the seal of Grod upon me, 
" holiness to the Lord;" and shall I not believe 
his love and trust him ? He has made me a 
member of his Son, and will he not take care 
of me, and is not Christ to be trusted with his 
members ? I am his interest, and the interest 
of his Son, freely beloved and dearly bought; 
and may I not trust him with his treasure ? 
He has made me the care of angels, who re- 
joiced at my repentance; and shall they lose 
their joy or ministration ? He is in covenant 
with me, and has " given me many great and 
precious promises;" and can he be unfaithful ? 
My Saviour is the forerunner, who has entered 
into the holiest, and is there interceding for 
me, having first conquered death to assure us 
of a future life, and ascended into heaven, to 
show us whither we must ascend, saying to 
his brethren, "I ascend to my Father and 
your Father, to my Grod and your Grod ;" and 
shall I not follow him through death, and trust 


such a guide and captain of my salvation? 
He is there to " prepare a place for me, and 
will receive me unto himself;" and may I not 
confidently expect it ? He told a malefactor 
on the cross, u To-day shalt thou be with me 
in paradise," to show believing sinners what 
they may expect. His apostles and other 
saints have served him on earth with all these 
expectations. " The spirits of just men made 
perfect" are now possessing what I hope for, 
and I am a " follower of them who through 
faith and patience inherit the promised" felic- 
ity ; and may I not trust him to save me, who 
has already saved millions ? I must be at the 
divine disposal, whether I will or not; and 
however I vex my soul with fears and cares 
and sorrows, I shall never prevail against the 
will of Grod, which is the only rest of souls. 
Our own wills have undone us, and are our 
disease, our prison, and our death, till they are 
brought over to the will of G-od ; and shall I 
die, distrustfully striving against his wifl, and 
preferring my own before it ? 

"What abundant experience have I had of 
God's fidelity and love; and after all shall I not 


trust him? His undeserved mercy gave me 
being, chose my parents, gave them affection- 
ate desires for my real good, taught them to 
instruct me early in his word, and educate me 
in his fear ; made my habitation and com- 
panions suitable, endowed me with a teachable 
disposition, put excellent books into my hands, 
and placed me under wise and faithful school- 
masters and ministers. His mercy fixed me in 
the best of lands, and in the best age that land 
had seen. His mercy early destroyed in me 
all great expectations from the world, taught 
me to bear the yoke from my youth, caused 
me rather to groan under my infirmities than 
struggle with powerful lusts, and chastened 
me betimes, but did not give me over unto 
death. Ever since I was at the age of nine- 
teen, great mercy has trained me up in the 
school of affliction, to keep my sluggish soul 
awake in constant expectation of my change, 
to kill my proud and worldly thoughts, and to 
direct all my studies to things the most neces- 
sary. How has a life of constant but gentle 
chastisement urged me to " make my calling 
and lection sure," and to prepare my accounts, 


as one that must quickly give them up to God. 
The face of death, and nearness of eternity, 
convinced me what books to read, what studies 
to prosecute, what companions to choose ; drove 
me early into the vineyard of the Lord, and 
taught me to preach as a dying man to dying 
men. It was divine love and mercy which 
made sacred truth so pleasant to me, that my 
life, under all my infirmities, has been almost 
a constant recreation. How far beyond my 
expectation has a merciful G-od encouraged me 
in h. r s sacred work, choosing every place of my 
ministry and abode to this day, without my 
own seeking, and never sending me to labor in 
vain. How many are gone to heaven, and how 
many are in the way, through a divine bless- 
ing on the word which in weakness I delivered. 
Many good Christians are glad of now and then 
an hour to meditate on God's word, and refresh 
themselves in his holy worship but God has 
allowed and called me to make it the constant 
business of my life. In my library I have 
profitably and pleasantly dwelt among the 
shining lights, with which the learned, wise, 
and holy men of all ages have illuminated the 

P. Thought* 1 


world. How many comfortable hours have I 
had in the society of living saints, and in the 
love of faithful friends. How many joyful 
days in solemn worshipping assemblies where 
the Spirit of Christ has been manifestly pres- 
ent, both with ministers and people. How 
unworthy was such a sinful worm as I, who 
never had any academical helps, nor much 
from the mouth of any teacher, that books 
should become so great a blessing to me, and 
that (rod should induce or constrain me, quite 
beyond my own intentions, to provide any such 
like helps for others. How unworthy that Grod 
should use me above forty years in so comfort- 
able a work as pleading and w T riting for love, 
peace, and concord, and with so much success. 
"What mercy had I amidst the calamities of a 
civil war, to live two years in safety at Cov- 
entry, a city of defence, and in the heart of the 
kingdom. When I afterwards saw the effects 
of human folly and fury, and of Grod's dis- 
pleasure, in the ruin of towns and countries, 
and in the fields covered with carcasses of the 
slain, how mercifully was I preserved and 
brought home in peace. And Oh, how great 


was the mercy showed me in a peaceable, 
humble, unanimous people, so numerous, so 
exemplary, and w T ho to this day maintain their 
integrity and concord, when, for thirty-one 
years, I have been forced to remain at a dis- 
tance from them. "What a mercy, when I might 
not speak by voice to any single congregation, 
to be enabled to speak by writings to many, 
and to have the plainest writings attended with 
success, and some of them sent to preach in 
foreign lands and languages. Though I have 
been sent to the common jail for my service 
and obedience to God, yet he has there kept 
me in peace, and soon delivered me : and how 
often has he succored me when nature and art 
have failed. How he has cured my consump- 
tive coughs, stopped my flowing blood, eased 
my pained limbs, and upheld an emaciated 
skeleton. I have had fifty years added to my 
days, though I expected not to live one of 
them ; and what strange deliverances have 
been wrought for me, upon< the importunate 
requests of many hundreds of my praying 
friends. How have I been kept in ordinary 
health and safety, when the raging pestilence 


came near my habitation and consumed a 
hundred thousand citizens. And how was my 
dwelling preserved, when I saw London, the 
glory of the land, in flames. These, and many 
more, are my experiences of that wonderful 
mercy which has measured my pilgrimage, and 
filled up my days. Never did God break his 
promise with me. Never did he fail me or 
forsake me. And shall I now distrust him at 

" To thee, Lord, as to ' a faithful Creator,' 
I commit my soul. I know that thou art ' the 
faithful (rod, which .keepeth covenant and 
mercy with them that love thee and keep thy 
commandments. Thou art faithful, who hast 
called me to the fellowship of thy Son Jesus 
Christ our Lord.' Thy faithfulness has saved 
me from temptation, and kept me from pre- 
vailing evil, and will ' preserve my whole spirit 
and soul and body unto the coming of Christ.' 
It is in faithfulness thou hast afflicted me ; and 
shall I not trust thee to save me ? ' It is 
thy faithful saying, that thy elect shall obtain 
the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with 
eternal glory; for if we be dead with him, we 


shall also live with him ; if we suffer, we shall 
also reign with him.' To thee, my Saviour, 
I commit my soul ; it is thine by redemption, 
thine by covenant ; it is sealed by thy Spirit, 
and thou hast promised not to lose it. Thou 
wast 4 made like unto thy brethren, that thou 
mightest be a merciful and faithful High-priest 
in things pertaining to Grod, to make reconcili- 
ation for our sins.' By thy blood we have bold- 
ness to enter into the holiest, by a new and 
living way consecrated for us. Cause me to 
i draw near with a true heart in full assurance 
of faith.' Thy name is faithful and true. 
True and faithful are all thy promises. Thou 
hast promised rest to weary souls that come 
to thee. I am weary of suffering, sin, and 
flesh — weary of my darkness, dulness, and dis- 
tance. Whither should I look for rest, but 
home to my heavenly Father and thee ? I am 
but a bruised reed, but thou wilt not break 
me. I am but smoking flax, but thou wilt not 
quench what thy grace hath kindled. Thou, 
in whose name the nations trust, ' wilt bring 
forth judgment unto victory.' The Lord re- 
deemeth the souls of his servants, and none of 


them that trust in him shall be desolate. I will 
wait on thy name ; for it is good : I trust in the 
mercy of G-od for ever and ever. The Lord is 
good, a strong-hold in the day of trouble, and 
he knoweth them that trust in him. Sinful 
fear brings a snare ; but whoso putteth his trust 
in the Lord shall be safe. ' Blessed is the man 
that maketh the Lord his trust. Thou art my 
hope, Lord Grod ; thou art my trust from my 
youth. By thee have I been holden up from 
the womb : my praise shall be continually of 
thee. Cast me not off in the time of old age ; 
forsake me not when my strength faileth. 
G-od, thou hast taught me from my youth, and 
hitherto have I declared thy wondrous works. 
Now also, when I am old and gray-headed, 
Grod, forsake me not. Mine eyes are unto thee, 
G-od the Lord : in thee is my trust ; leave 
not my soul destitute. I had fainted, unless I 
had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in 
the land of the living,' even where they that 
live shall die no more." The sun may cease 
to shine on man, and the earth to bear us; but 
God will never cease to be faithful to his prom- 
ises. Blessed be the Lord, who has commanded 


me so safe and quieting a duty as to trust in 
him, and cast all my cares upon him who has 
promised to care for me. 

2. Hope also for the salvation of God. Hope 
is the ease, yea, the life of our hearts, which 
would otherwise break, and even die within us. 
Despair is no small part of hell. God cherishes 
hope, as he is the lover of souls. Satan our 
enemy cherishes despair, when his more usual 
way of presumption fails. Hope anticipates 
salvation, as fear does evil. It is the hypo- 
crite's hope that perishes ; and all who hope 
for durable happiness on earth must be deceived. 
But " happy is he that hath the God of Jacob 
for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God, 
which made heaven and earth, which keepeth 
truth for ever." Woe to me, if in this life 
only I had hope. But the righteous hath hope 
in his death. And hope maketh not ashamed. 
Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, 
and whose hope the Lord is. Lay hold then, 
my soul, upon the hope set before thee; 
it is thy sure and steadfast anchor, without 
which thou wilt be as a shipwrecked vessel. 
Thy foundation is sure, even God himself. Our 


faith and hope are both in God. Christ dwells 
in our hearts by faith, is in us the hope of glory. 
By this hope, better than the law of Moses 
could bring, we draw nigh unto God. "We hope 
for that we see not, and with patience wait for 
it. We are saved by hope. It is an encourag- 
ing grace ; it excites our diligence and helps to 
full assurance unto the end. It is a desiring 
grace, and is an earnest to obtain the glory 
hoped for. It is a comforting grace ; for the 
God of hope fills us with all joy and peace in 
believing, that we may abound in hope through 
the power of the Holy Ghost. Shake off 
despondency, my soul, and rejoice in hope 
of the glory of God. Believe in hope, though 
dying flesh would tell thee that it is against 

What blessed preparations are made for our 
hope ! God has confirmed it by two immu- 
table things, his promise and his oath. "His 
abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a 
lively hope, by the resurrection of Christ, to an 
inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and 
that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for 
us." Grace teacheth us, that " denying ungoa- 


liness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, 
righteously, and godly in this present world ; 
looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious 
appearing of the great God and our Saviour." 
We are renewed by the Holy Ghost, and 
justified by grace, that we should be made heirs 
according to the hope of eternal life. The eyes 
of our understanding are enlightened, that we 
may know what is the hope of his calling, and 
what the riches of the glory of this inheritance 
in the saints. The hope which is laid up for 
us in heaven hath, through the gospel, brought 
life and immortality to light. Having hope 
towards God, we exercise ourselves to have 
always a conscience void of offence, and serve 
Gfod day and night. For a helmet, we put on 
the hope of salvation. Death is not to us as to 
others which have no hope. Our Lord Jesus 
Christ and God, even our Father, hath loved 
us, and hath given us everlasting consolation 
and good hope through grace, to comfort our 
hearts and establish us in every good word and 
work. We must hold fast the rejoicing of the 
hope firm unto the end, and continue in the 
faith grounded and settled, and not be moved 


away from the hope of the gospel. And 
now, Lord, what wait I for ? My hope is in 
thee. Uphold me according to thy word, that 
I may live, and let me not be ashamed of my 
hope. Though our iniquities testify against us, 
yet, Lord, the Hope of Israel, the Saviour 
thereof in time of trouble, be not as a stranger, 
leave us not. We have been showed the praises 
of the Lord and his wonderful works, that we 
might set our hope in Grod. Remember the 
word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast 
caused me to hope. If thou, Lord, shouldest 
mark iniquities, Lord, who shall stand? 
But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou 
may est be feared. I wait for the Lord, my 
soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. Let 
Israel hope in the Lord ; for with the Lord 
there is mercy, and with him is plenteous re- 
demption. The Lord taketh pleasure in them 
that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy. 
Though my flesh and heart fail, God is the 
strength of my* heart. The Lord is my portion, 
saith my soul ; therefore will I hope in him. 
The Lord is good unto them that wait for him, 
to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a 


man should both hope and quietly wait for the 
salvation of the Lord. It is good for a man 
that he hear the yoke in his youth, and that he 
keepeth silence, and putteth his mouth in the 
dust, if so he there may be hope. 

G-od needs not flatter such worms as we 
are, nor promise us what he never means to 
perform. He has laid the rudiments of our 
hope in a nature capable of desiring, seeking, 
and thinking of another life. He has called 
me by grace to actual desires and endeavors, 
and has vouchsafed some foretastes. I look for 
no heaven but the perfection of divine life, light, 
and love in endless glory with Christ and his 
saints, and this he has already begun in me. 
And shall I not boldly hope, when I have ca- 
pacity, the promise, and the earnest and fore- 
taste ? Is it not God himself that caused me 
to hope? "Was not nature, promise, and grace 
from him ? And can a soul miscarry and be 
deceived, that departs hence in a hope of God's 
own producing and encouraging? "Lord, I 
have lived in hope, I have prayed, labored, 
suffered, and w 7 aited in hope, and by thy grace, 
I will die in hope ; and is not this according to 


thy word and will ? And wilt thou cast away 
a soul that hopes in thee by thine own com- 
mand and operation ?" Had wealth and honor 
and continuance on earth, or the favor of man, 
been my reward and hope, my hope and I had 
died together. "Were this our best, how vain 
were man ; but the Lord liveth, and my Re- 
deemer is glorified, and intercedes for me : and 
the same Spirit is in heaven who is in my 
heart, as the same sun is in the firmament and 
in my house. The promise is sure to all Christ's 
seed ; for millions are now in heaven who once 
lived and died in hope : they were sinners once, 
as I now am; they had no other Saviour, Sanc- 
tifier, or promise, than I now have. Confess- 
ing that they were strangers and pilgrims on 
the earth, they desired a better country, that 
is, a heavenly, where they now are. And 
shall I not follow them in hope, who have sped 
so well? Then, my soul, hope unto the 
end. Hope in the Lord, from henceforth and 
for ever. I will hope continually, and will 
yet praise him more and more. My mouth 
shall show forth his righteousness and salva- 
tion; The Lord is at my right hand, I shall 


not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad, and 
my glory rejoiceth; my flesh also shall rest in 
hope. Grod hath showed me the path of life : 
in his presence is fulness of joy, at his right 
hand there are pleasures for evermore. 

3. What then remains, but that in faith and 
hope I love my Grod, my Saviour, my Com- 
forter, the glorious society, and my own per- 
fection in glory, better than this burden of 
flesh, and this howling wilderness ? How odious 
is that darkness and unbelief, that unholiness 
and disaffection, that deadness and stupidity, 
which makes such love seem hard and unsuit- 
able. Is it unsuitable or hard for the eye to 
see the light or the beauties of creation, or for 
a man to love his life or health, his father or 
his friend ? What should be easier to a nature 
that has rational love, than to love him who is 
love itself? He that loveth all, and gives to 
all a capacity to love, should be loved by all; 
and he that hath especially loved me, should 
especially be loved by me. 

Love desires to please God, and therefore to 
be in the most pleasing state, and freed from 
all that is displeasing to him ; which is not to 


be hoped for on earth. It desires all suitable 
nearness, acquaintance, union, and communion. 
It is weary of distance and alienation. It 
takes advantage of every notice of God to re- 
new and exercise these desires. Every mes- 
sage and mercy from God is fuel for love, and 
while we are short of perfection, stirs up our 
desires after more of God. The soul is where 
it loves. If our friends dwell in our hearts by 
love, and if fleshly pleasures, riches, and hon- 
or dwell in the hearts of the voluptuous, covet- 
ous, and proud ? surely God and Christ, heaven 
and holiness dwell in the heart which loves 
them fervently. And if heaven dwell in my 
heart, shall I not desire to dwell in heaven? 
Would divine love more plentifully pour itself 
upon my heart, how easy would it be to leave 
this flesh and world. Death and the grave 
would be but a triumph for victorious love. It 
would be easier to die in peace and joy, than 
to go to rest at night after a fatiguing day, or 
eat when I am hungry. A little love has made 
me willingly study, preach, write, and even 
suffer ; and would not more love make me 
willingly go to God ? Shall the imagination 


of house, gardens, walks, libraries, prospects, 
etc., allure the desires of deceived minds, and 
shall not the thoughts of heavenly mansions, 
converse, and joys, more powerfully draw up 
my desires ? Can I love such a world as this, 
where tyranny sheds streams of blood and lays 
cities and countries desolate ; where the wicked 
are exalted, the just and innocent reproached 
and oppressed, the gospel restrained, and idol- 
atry and infidelity prevail? And shall I not 
think more delightfully of "the inheritance 
of the saints in light," and of the cordial love 
and joyful praises of the church triumphant ? 
Should I not love a lovely and loving world 
much better than a world where there is com- 
paratively so little loveliness or love ? All that 
is of God is good and lovely. But here his 
glory shines not in felicitating splendor. I am 
taught to look upward when I pray, "Our 
Father which art in heaven." God's works 
are amiable even in hell; and yet, though I 
would know them, I would not be there. 
And alas, how much of the works of man are 
here mixed with the works of God! Here is 
God's wisdom, but man's folly; God's govern- 


ment, but man's tyranny ; God's love and mer 
ey, but man's wrath and cruelty ; much of God's 
beautiful order and harmony, but much of man's 
deformity and confusion. Here is much truth 
and justice; but how it is mixed. Here are 
wise, judicious teachers and companions, but 
comparatively how few. Here are worthy and 
religious families ; but by the temptations of 
wealth and worldly interest, how full even of 
the sins "of Sodom, pride, fulness of bread, and 
abundance of idleness," if not also of unmerci- 
fulness to the poor. And how few pious fami- 
lies of the great, that do not quickly degenerate 
from their progenitors by error or sensuality. 
Here are some that educate their children wisely 
krthe fear of God, and accordingly have com- 
fort in them; but how many are there that 
train them up to the service of the world, the 
flesh, and the devil. 

How many send their children to get sciences, 
trades, or to travel in foreign lands, before ever 
they were instructed, at home, against those 
temptations which they must encounter, and 
by which they are so often undone. How 
commonly, when they have first neglected this 


great duty to their children, do they plead a 
necessity of thrusting them out, from some 
punctilio of honor, or conformity to the world, 
or to adorn them with some of the plumes of 
fashionable modes and ceremonies, which will 
never compensate the loss of heavenly wisdom, 
mortification, and the love of God and man. 
As if they might send them to sea for some 
trifling reason, without pilot or anchor, and 
think that God must save them from the waves. 
And when such children have forsaken God, 
and given themselves up to sensuality and pro- 
faneness, these parents wonder at the judg- 
ments of God, and with broken hearts lament 
their own infelicity, instead of lamenting their 
own misconduct. Thus families, churches, 
and kingdoms run on to blindness, ungodliness, 
and confusion. Folly, sin, and misery, mis- 
taking themselves for wit, honor, and prosper- 
ity, are the ordinary pursuits of mortals. Such 
a bedlam is most of the world become, that 
he is the bravest man who can sin and be 
damned with reputation and renown, and suc- 
cessfully draw the greatest number with him 
to hell. This is the world which stands in 

D. Thought*. 1 1 


competition for ray love, with the spiritual, 
blessed world. 

In this world I have had many of God's 
mercies and comforts ; but their sweetness 
was their taste of divine love and their ten- 
dency to heavenly perfection. What was the 
end and use of all the good that ever I saw, or 
that God ever did for my soul or body, but to 
teach me to love him, and to desire to love him 
more ? Wherever I go, and whichever way I 
look, I see vanity and vexation written upon 
all things in this world, so far as they stand in 
competition with G-od ; and I see holiness to 
the Lord written upon every thing, so far as it 
leads me to him as my ultimate end. The 
emptiness, danger, and bitterness of the world, 
and the all-sufficiency, faithfulness, and good- 
ness of God, have been the sum of all the ex- 
periences of all my life. And shall a worldly, 
backward heart overcome the teachings of na- 
ture, Scripture, the Spirit of grace, and all expe- 
rience ? "0 my God, love is thy great and 
special gift. All good is from thee. Come 
into this heart, for it cannot come up to thee. 
Can the plants go up to the sun for life, or the 


eye for light? Dwell in me by the Spirit of 
love, and I shall dwell by love in thee. I easily 
feel that through thy grace I love thy word, 
thy image, thy work ; and 0, how heartily do I 
love to love thee, and how long to know and 
love thee more. And if ' all things be of thee, 
and through thee, and to thee,' surely this love 
is eminently so. It means thee, Lord. It 
looks to thee ; it serves thee : for thee it moves 
and seeks and sighs : in thee it trusts ; and 
the hope and peace and comfort which support 
me are in thee. When I was a returning 
prodigal in rags, thou sawest me afar off, and 
didst meet me with the caresses of thy love ; 
and shall I doubt whether He that has better 
clothed me, and has dwelt within me, will 
entertain me in the world of love ?" 

The suitableness of things below to my 
fleshly nature has detained my affections too 
much on earth ; and shall not the suitableness 
of things above to my spiritual nature much 
more draw up my love to heaven ? There is 
the God whom I have sought and served. He 
is also here, but veiled, and little known. 
There he shines to heavenly spirits in heavenly 


glory. There is the Saviour in whom I have 
believed. He also dwelt on earth, "but clothed 
in such meanness, and humbled to such a life 
and death, as was to the Jews a stumbling- 
block, and to the Greeks foolishness. Now he 
shines and reigns in glory, above the malice 
and contempt of sinners. And I shall live 
there because he lives ; and in his light I shall 
see light. I had here some rays of heavenly 
light, but under what eclipses, and even long 
and winter nights. There I shall dwell in the 
city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, where 
there is no night nor eclipse. There are heav- 
enly hosts, in whose holy love and joyful praises 
I would fain partake. I have here, though un- 
seen, had some of their loving assistance ; but 
there I shall be with them, of the same nature, 
and the same triumphant church. There are 
perfected souls : not striving, like the disciples, 
who should be the greatest ; not like Noah in 
the old world, or Lot in Sodom, or Abraham 
among idolaters ; nor like those that " wan- 
dered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being 
destitute, afflicted, tormented, hid in dens and 
caves of the earth ;" nor like Job on the dung- 


hill, or Lazarus at the rich man's gate ; nor as 
we poor bewildered sinners, feeling evil and 
fearing more. Should I fear a darksome pas- 
sage into a world of perfect light ? Should I 
fear to go to love itself ? excellent grace of 
faith which foresees, and blessed word of faith 
which foreshows this world of love. 

And canst thou doubt, my soul, whether 
thou art going to a Grod that loveth thee ? If 
the Jew r s discerned the great love of Christ to 
Lazarus by his tears, canst not thou discern 
his love to thee in his blood? It is not the 
less precious, because shed, not for thee alone, 
but for many. May I not say, I live by the 
faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and 
gave himself for me ? Yea, it is not so much 
I that live, but Christ liveth in me. And will 
he forsake the habitation which his love has 
chosen, and which he has so dearly bought? 
"What shall separate us from the love of Grod ? 
If life has not, death shall not do it. my 
soul, if leaning on Christ's breast at meat was 
a token of his peculiar love to John, is not his 
dwelling in thee by faith, and his living in thee 
by his Spirit, a sure token of his love to thee ? 


Did his darkly saying, " If I will that he tarry 
till I come, what is that to thee?" raise a report 
that the beloved disciple should not die; why 
should not plain promises assure thee that thou 
shalt live for ever with him that loveth thee ? 
Be not so unthankful, my soul, as to doubt 
whether thy heavenly Father and thy Lord 
love thee. Canst thou forget the sealed testi- 
monies of it ? Did I not lately repeat so many 
as ought to shame thy doubt? A multitude 
of thy friends have so entirely loved thee, that 
thou canst not doubt of it; and did any of 
them testify their love with the convincing evi- 
dence that Grod has done ? Are they love itself? 
Is their love so full, so firm and unchangeable 
as his? I think heaven the sweeter, because 
many of my old, lovely, affectionate, holy friends 
are there, and I am the more willing by death 
to follow them. And should it not be more 
pleasing to think that my Grod and Father, my 
Saviour and Comforter are there ? Was not 
Lazarus in the bosom of G-od ? And yet he is 
said to be in Abraham's bosom ; that is, not 
there alone, but as we are all to sit down with 
Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of 


God. I am often ready to entertain myself 
with naming such of my friends as are now 
with Christ ; but in heaven they will love me 
better than they did on earth, and my love to 
them will be more pleasant. But all these 
sparks are little to the sun. 

Every place I have lived in has its monu- 
ments of divine love. Every year and hour of 
my life has been a time of love. Every friend, 
neighbor, and even enemy, have been the mes- 
sengers and instruments of love. Every state 
and change of my life, notwithstanding my sin, 
have opened to me the treasures and mysteries 
of love. And shall I doubt whether the same 
God loves me ? Is he the God of the hills and 
not of the valleys? Did he love me in my 
youth and health, and will he not also in my 
age and pain and sickness ? Did he love all 
the saints better in their life than at their 
death? My groans grieve my friends, but 
abate not their love. God loved me when I 
was his enemy to make me a friend. God 
will finish his own work. the multitude of 
mercies to my soul and body, in peace and 
war, in youth and age, to myself and friends. 


Have I lived in the experience of the love of 
God to me, and shall I die doubting of it ? I 
am not much in doubt of the truth of my love 
to him. I love his word, works, and ways, and 
would fain be nearer to him, and love him more, 
and loathe myself for loving him no better. 
Peter may more confidently say, " Thou know- 
est that I love thee," than, "I know that thou 
lovest me," because our knowledge of God's 
great love is less than his knowledge of our 
little love ; and without the knowledge of our 
love to God, we can never be sure of his special 
love to us. I am not entirely a stranger to my- 
self. I know for what I have lived and labored, 
and whom I have desired to please. The " God 
whose I am, and whom I serve," hath loved me 
in my youth, and will love me in my aged 
weakness. My pains seem grievous, but love 
chooses them, uses them for my good, moder- 
ates them, and will shortly end them. "Why 
then should I doubt of my Father's love ? Shall 
pain or dying make me doubt ? Did God never 
love any but Enoch and Elijah? And what 
am I better than my fathers ? for a clearer, 
stronger faith. Methinks Daniel's title, "a 


man greatly beloved," should be enough to 
make one joyfully love and trust God, both in 
life and death. And have not all the saints 
that title in their degrees ? What else signi- 
fies their mark, " holiness to the Lord ?" It is 
• but our separation to God as his peculiar, be- 
loved people. And how are we separated but 
by mutual love? He that is no otherwise 
beloved than hypocrites and unbelievers, must 
have his portion with them ; and the ungodly, 
unholy, and unregenerate shall not stand in 
judgment, nor see God, nor enter into his king- 
dom. Upright souls are to blame for their 
groundless doubts of God's love, not for their 
acknowledging it, rejoicing in it, or for being 
solicitous to make it sure. Love brought me 
into the world, and furnished me with a thou- 
sand mercies, and has provided for me, deliv- 
ered, and preserved me till now ; and will it not 
entertain my separate soul ? Is God like false 
or insufficient friends, that forsake us in ad- 
versity ? 

I confess I h&ve by sin wronged love ; but 
all except Christ were sinners, whom love has 
purified and received to glory. " God, who is 


rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he 
loved us, even w T hen we were dead in sins, 
hath quickened us together with Christ — by- 
grace we are saved — and hath raised us up 
together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." 
that I could love much, that have so much 
forgiven ! The glorified praise " Him that loved 
us, and washed us from our sins in his own 
blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto 
Grod." Our Father, who hath loved us, hath 
given us " everlasting consolation and good hope 
through grace." I know no sin which I repent 
not of with self-loathing, and I earnestly beg 
and labor that none of my sins may be un- 
known to me. that God would bless my 
accusations, that I may not be unknown to 
myself, though some think me much better 
than I am. " Who can understand his errors ?" 
Lord, " cleanse thou me from secret faults; 
keep back thy servant also from presumptuous 
sins." I have an Advocate with thee, and thy 
promise, that "if we confess our sins," thou 
wilt " forgive them." "Wherever I have erred, 
Lord, make it known to me, that my confession 
may prevent the sin of others; and where I 


have not erred, confirm and accept me in the 
right. And since an unworthy worm has had 
so many testimonies of thy love, let me not, 
when thou sayest, "I have loved thee," un- 
thankfully ask, "Wherein hast thou loved me ?" 
Heaven is not more spangled with stars than 
thy word and works with the refulgent signa- 
tures of love. Thy well-beloved Son, the Son 
of thy love, undertaketh the message and work 
of the greatest love, was full of the spirit of 
love ; which he shed abroad in the hearts of 
thine elect, that the love of the Father, the 
grace of the Son, and the communion of the 
Spirit may be their hope and life. By his 
works, sufferings, and gifts, as well as by his 
comfortable word, he said to his disciples, " As 
the Father loved me, so have I loved you ; con- 
tinue ye in my love." Lord, how shall we 
continue in it, but by the thankful belief of 
thy love and loveliness, desiring still to love 
thee more, and in all things to know and do 
thy will, which thou knowest is my soul's 
desire ? 

Draw nearer, my soul, to the Lord of 
love, and be not seldom and slight in thy con- 


templation of his love and loveliness. Dwell 
in the sunshine, and thou wilt know that it 
is light and warm and comfortable. Distance 
and strangeness cherish thy doubts. " Ac- 
quaint thyself with him, and be at peace." 
Look up, often and earnestly look up after 
thy ascended glorified Head. Think where 
and what he is, and what he is now doing for 
all his own and once abased : suffering love is 
now triumphant, reigning, glorified love ; and 
therefore not less now than in all its tender 
expressions on earth. Had I done this more 
and better, and as I have persuaded others to 
do it, I had lived in more convincing delights 
of (xod's love, which would have turned the 
fears of death into more joyful hopes, and more 
earnest " desires to be with Christ," in the 
arms, in the world, in the life of love, as far 
better than to be here in a world of darkness, 
doubts, and fears. But 0, my Father, thou 
infinite Love, though my arguments be many 
and strong, my heart is bad, my strength is 
weakness, and I am insufficient to plead the 
cause of thy love and loveliness to myself or 
others. plead thy own cause, and what 


heart can resist? Let it not be my word 
only, but thine, that thou lovest me, even me 
a sinner. Say as Christ to Lazarus, "Arise!" 
Tell me as thou dost, that the sun is warm, 
yea, as thou didst, that my parents and dear- 
est friends loved me. Tell me, as by the con- 
sciousness and works of life thou tellest me, 
that thou hast given me life ; that while I can 
say, Thou that knowest all things, knowest 
that I love thee, I may infer, Therefore I 
know I am beloved of thee. Thus let me 
come to thee in the confidence of thy love, and 
long to be nearer, in the clearer sight, the fuller 
sense, and more joyful exercise of love for ever. 
Father, into thy hand I commend my spirit. 
Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Amen. 

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