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Full text of "The Christian's converse with God : or, The insufficiency and uncertainty of human friendship and the improvement of solitude in converse with God .."




















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The Qbriftims 



Infufficiency and ^Uncertainty \ 
o F 

Human Friendfhip 

And the Improvement of 


I N 


With fomc of the AUTHOfts 

Breathings a\ter him. 

1 w-~ vL _ 

By Richard Baxter. 

Recommended to the Reader's feri- 
ous thoughts when at the Houfe 
of Mourning, and in Retire- 
ment. By Mr. Matth. Siivefter. 

l o x d o N, 

Primed for 3J0^n &alusbutg, at the Rif*g 

over againft the Royil Excbant* in 

Comkill. 1^93- 





THis Excellent Difconrfe, 
breathing the Excellence 
of it's (now DeceafeH) Authors 
Spirit, craves thy ntoft ferious 
perufal ; and it will plentifully 
reward the hoars which ft hall be 
fpent thereon. It greatly favours 
of deep thoughts, JlriSi objerva- 
tionSy and long and great experi- 
ence of God, of Things, and Per- 
fons. Creatures looh^ beji when 
A 2 at 

*v To the Reader. 

at a diftance^ and in profpeSi ; but 
when nearer to us y they are then 
eafily looked through^ and feldom 
found to correfpond with their Ap- 
pearances to 7/if, and with our ex- 
pectations from them. But God 
it fitch a deep and boundlefsAbyfs 
ofPerfection^ as mo ft delightfully 
will endure and recompence all 
the fever ity and clofenefs of our 
eternal Thoughts about him. 
Perfected Spirits are all thought 
concerning God y and find their 
Hearts enflamed, and all their 
Towers invigorated thereby e- 
temally, to inexpreffible Satis- 
faction : And what varieties 
ofpleafant Thoughts the Innume- 
rable hi fiances and Mirroars of 
Divine Excellencies in the Hea- 

To the Reader. v 
vens will endlefly Minijier unto y 
I do not hjiow^ nor dare I guefs 
too boldly at them. Bat how thofe 
Souls can looh^f or Heaven^ or tru- 
ly be accounted gracious / who ne~ 
<ver retire folemnly to converge 
withGodJ kjiow not.Surely^where 
God is not more than all to us^ he 
can be comfortably nothing : And 
our religious Exercifes and F de- 
fences muji needs be mean and 
dull, whilft God is triflingly and 
feldom thought on, and confer fed 
with by us. Can holy Walking be 
preferred and promoted without 
love ? Can love to GodandChrifi, 
and to the invifible St ate, be kind- 
led, cherijhed, and continually ad- 
vanced without Faith ? ] Can Faith 
be any thing but Fancy and Fre- 
A 3 fuwption^ 

vi To the Reader. 

fumption, without thought and 
Knowledge ? And can the Life 
of Faith, Hope, Love, and holy 
Walking-, he fxt and vigorous, 
and proficient, without ourferious 
and frequent reprefentations of 
Cod unto our f elves by folemn 
Contemplations of his excellent 
TerfeStionSyfree Communications, 
plentiful Provifons, and glorious 
Defigns, whereto he hath entitled 
f^ y feeing our Religion andDevo- 
tions in all the parts thereof can 
have no Life and Soul hut this ? 
What is it to converfe with Cod 
in Solitude, but to- aSiuate our 
thoughts of what we tyiow con- 
cerning God in Chrifl, and to 
accomodate them to all the need' 


To the Reader. th 
ful and nfefal Purpofes cfKeh- 
gion and Devotion', and to make 
Thoughts folemnly Serviceable to 
tl>e great Ends thereof ,viz. our 
due and feafonable Reprefenta- 
tions of our God to ws, and of 
our {elves to him in Cbriji, pur- 
fnant to the flated and occa- 
fional Ends and Interefls of 
Chrijiian Godlinefs, as the mat- 
ter may require* Converfwg 
thus with God j wants not its 
great Advantages in life and 
death. And if thefe Thoughts 
contained in this Boo^ (which 
did fo greatly reconcile the Au- 
thor to the Thoughts of his then 
approachvig,but now experienced 
Death,) were more in Exercife at 


viii To the Reader. 

Funeral Solemnities, and thisBooh^ 
then put into the bands of Mour- 
ners, it would be no matter of 
Repentance that I know of. 
tbefe are the ha fly 1 bought s 
and Sentiments of thine in and 
for t the Lord, whiljl 

Matthew Sylvefter. 

London, Sept. 12. 




THE Context opened. p. i 

Why Chrijl rras f or f Men by his Dif- 
ciples, p. 6. 

Ufe jj Expetl by the fcrfahing of ycnr 
Friends to be conformed mto Chrift : 
Reafons for your Expectation, p. 12 
The Aggravations of their fir faking yen. 

P- 34 
Some quieting Confederations. p. 38 

The Order of Forms in the School of Chrifi. 

.p. 51 

77?* DifcifUs jc attend every Alan to his 

own. p. 5 -. 

Set flwefs contrary to friendly fidetit) . p. 58. 
Conjidiratictis to fum u in the death of 

faithful Friends. p. 6j> 

Whether toe jhaB tyorv them in He a- tn.\ .7 r 
Whether Creatures be any matter Q) 

Comfort in ffeavi p. ' 3. 


The Contents. 

Queft. Shall I have any more Comfort irX 
prefent friends than in others ? p. 76! 
Doft. 3. When all for Jake us, and leave hs 
(as to them) alone, we are far from be- 
ing /imply alone, becaufe Cod is with us. 

p. 80. 

The advantages of having God with us. p. 81 

Queft. How he is with us. p. ,82 

Ule. I, Imitate Chrift : Live upon God a- 

lone j though men for fake yon \ yet tkruft 

not your felves into Solitude uncalled. 

P- 9i 
In what cafes Solitude is lawful and good. 

P 9* 
Reafons againfl unnecejfary Solitude, p. 94* 
Tht Comfort of Converfe with God in 
mceffary Solitude. The Benefits of Soli- 
tude. The Reafons from God. Impro- 
ved largely in fame Meditations. 
p. IC2. H 1 
Directions for Converfmg with God in So- 
litude. p. 149 

Concluded in further Meditation, p. 16O 
A Caution. p. 166 

O F 

O F 



God, &c. 

Joh. XVL 32. 

Behold, the hour cometh^yea is ccme y 
that ye {ball be fcattered every Man to 
his own, and {hall leave me alone : 
And yet I am not alone, becaufe the 
Father is with me. 

IAra this day to handle the inftance 
of [Chrifrs b{irg forfaken by his 
Friends and Follomrsf] 
He thought meet to foretell them, hovr 
they (hould raanifeft their infirmity and 
B untrufli- 

2 Vf Lonverjwg 

untruftinefs in this temporary forfaking 
of him, that *£ he might fullyer con- 
vince them, that he knew what was in 
Man, and that he knlew future contingen * 
cics (or things to come, which icem 
inda dependent. On the Will of Man) 
and that he voluntarily fubmitted to his 
deferted State, and expected no fupport 
from Creatures, but that Man fhould 
ihen do leaft for Chrifo when Chrift w T as 
doing, mo ft for Man; that Man by an 
unthankful for faking Chrift ^ fhould then 
jp.af iTcrt his forfaken dcplorate flatc,whcn 
Chrift was to make Atonement for his 
Reconciliation toGod,and was preparing 
the moft coftly Remedy for his Recovery. 
He foretold them of the Fruit which 
their Infirmity would produce, to hum- 
ble them that were apt to think too 
highly oJF themfelves for the late free 
ConfefTion they had made of Chrift", 
when . they had newly 6M £AW vet 
an fare that thou knoftcft ill }***%* : h 
this tye are fare, that thou comeft forth 
from Goi, ver. 30. 

<He antwereth them [Do ye vow be- 
lieve? Behold, the hour Cometh, &i ' 
that Chrift would not have his S^ 
know hfegraces in them, but he would 


with God in Jolitude. $ 

alfo have tnem know the Corruption that 
is latent^nd the infirmity confident with 
their grace. We arc very apt to judge 
of all that is in hf, and of all that we 
Jh*!l do hereafter, by what we feel At 
the yrefent upon our hearts. As when 
f/cfeel the ftirring offome Corruptions 
we are apt to think that there is no- 
thing elfe, and hardly perceive the con- 
trary grace, and are apt to think it will 
never be better with us: So when we 
feel the'Exercife of Faith, Defirc or Iw, 
we are apt to overlook the contrary 
Corruptions, and to think that we (hall 
never feel them more. But Chrift would 
keep us both humble and vigilant, by 
acquainting us with the mutability and 
unconftancy of our minds. When it 
goes well \\i: : forget that the 

time is cominj it may go worfe. 

As Chrift laid to his D^fiijlcs, here in 
the cafe of Htlitving^ we may fay to 
fclves in that ard ether cafes : Do 
w Believe? It is well: But the 
time may be coming in which we may be 
brought to lhake with the ftirrif: 
our remaining Unbelief, and fbrewdly 
tempted toqueftion the truth of Chri- 
stianity it felf r and of the Ko'y Sfrip- 
B z tures, 

4* Of Converfwg 

tures, and of th? Life to come. T>o rve 
nowrejoyce in the ^crfuafions of the Love 
of God? The time may be coming 
when we may think our felvcs forfaken 
and undone, and think he will cfteera 
and ufe us as his Enemies. 'Dowenow 
fray with fervour^ and pour out our 
Souls enlargedly to God? It is well: 
But the time may be coming when wc 
fliall feem to be as dumb and praycr- 
lefs, and fay, we cannot pray, or clfe 
we find no audience and acceptance of 
our Prayers. Chrift knowcth that in 
us which we little know by our felves ; 
and therefore may foreknow, that wc will 
commit fuch Sins, or fall into fuch Dan- 
gers, as we little fear. 

What Chrift here prophefieth to them 
did afterwards all come to pafs. As 
foon as ever Danger and Trouble did 
appear, they began to flag, and to (hew 
how ill they could adhere unto him or 
iuffcr with him, without his fpecial cor- 
roborating Grace. In the Garden when 
iie was fweating Blood in Prayer, they 
were flecping; Though the Spirit wa$ 
willing, the Flefli was weak: They 
could not mtch with kirn one hour, Mat, 
26. 40| 41. When he was apprehend- \ 

ed, ' 

with God in folitude. 5 

ed, they (hifted each Man for himfelf, 
Mat. 26. 56. [Then all the Difciples 
ferfioJ^ him and fled. And as this is faid 
to be that the Scriptures might be ful- 
filled, Mat. 26. 54, 56. fo it might be 
iaiJ to te, That this prediction of 
Cbrifi himfelf might be fulfilled. Not 
that Scripture Prophefies did cauf$ the 
Sin by which rhcy were fulfilled, nor 
that God caufed the fin to fulfill his 
own Prediftions, but that God cannot 
be deceived who foretold in Scriptures 
long before, that thus it would come 
to pafs: When it is faid, That [thus 
it mufi be, that the Scripture may be fuU 
filledT\ the meaning is not, that [thus 
God mil make it be\ or {thus he caufeth 
Men todo~\ that he may fulfill the Scrip- 
tures: It is not Neceffitax confequentu 
vel caiif at a that is inferred from Pre- 
dictions; but only Necejfuas confequen* 
tia\ a Logical Neceffuy in or dine cog. 
nofcendi & dicendi\ not a Natural Ale* 
ce fltiy in or dine effendi: not a Neceffuy 
of the Thing it felf as caufed by the 
Prediction or Decree ; but a Neceffuy 
of the Truth of this Conclufion in argu* 
ing \ [fitch a thing will be, becaufe God 
bath decreedy foreknown or foretold it : ~\ 
B 3 or 

6 Of Conver ft ng 

or [whatever God for. mt(l ?icf- 

ceffarily come to pafs, that if, will cer- 
tainly come to pafs;. £/tf rWj 6W fy**A 
foretold ; therefore this will come to Jbf/f.!]' 
H^re arc three obfervable points in 
the Text, that at* worthy our di 
Confederation, though for brevity 
I fluil handle them together. 

1 . That Chrift was forfaken by his 
own Difciples, and left alone. 

2. When the Difciples left Chrift, they 
were fcattered cve^y one to his own. They 
returned to their old Habitations, and 
old Acquaintance, and old Employment^ 
as if their hopes and hearts had 
almoftM^, and they had loft all th-ir 
labour in following Chrift fo long; Yet 
the root of Faith and Love that ft ill 
remained- caufed them to enquire fur- 
ther of the end, and to cone together 
in fecret to confer about thefe Mutters. 

y, Whin Chift was ' for f ike n .'■/■ lis 
Pifrivles, and left alone, yet was he not 
' for ft' en of b>s Father, nor left fo 
as to he [evirated from htm cr his lovt. 

We are no v to conf 
cr!y as a part of C itiotq 

but alfo as a Point in Vvhich we r,utjl 
ixpeft to be conformed to him. It may 


with God in folitude. ■ 7 

fy ieem ftrangc to u^, that Chrift 
would fuffer all his DifoifUs to ft 
him in his Extremity ; and I coubt it 
wi'I ieem ftrange to i.<s, when in our 
extremity, and our differing for thrift 
(,.nJ perhaps for the:?)) we (hall find our 
foriaken by thofe that we molt 
I, and had the greatcfl: 
familiarity with. But there are many 
Reafons of this permiflive Providence 
open to our obfervation. 

1. No wonder, if when Chrift was 
fuffering /<?r Sin, he would even then 
permit the Power and odioufnefsof fm 
to break forth, that it might be known 
he fuffered not in v*in. No wonder, if 
he permitted his Followers to defert 
him, and to (hew the latent Unbelief, 
and Selfifhnels, and unthankfulnefs that 
remained in them, that io the 7 might 
know, that the death of Chriti was as 
neceflarv for them as for others 5 
the univcrfality of the Difeafe might 
(hew the need that the Remedy fhould 
be VniwrfaL And it i> none of Chrifts 
intent to maftd his S teem 

better than they are, to t s or 

others, orto honour hi:\ 
of their Faults, but to ie his par- 

B ^ doning 

3 Of Comer fing 

doning and healing grace,by the means or 
occafion of the fins which he pardoneth 
and healeth. 

2. Hereby he will bring his Followers 
to the fuller knowledge of therafclvcs, 
and (hew them that which all their 
days (hould keep them humble, and 
watchful, and favc them from prelum p. 
tion and trufting in thcmfelves: When 
we have made any full Confeffion of 
Chrift, or done him any confiderable 
lervice, we are apt to lay with the 
Difciples, Mat. 19. 27. [Behold, we have 
forfaken ally and followed thee ; What 
{hall we have? ] As if they had rather 
been Givers to Chrift, than Receivers 
from him -, and had highly merited at 
his hands : But when Peter forfwear- 
cth him, and the reft fhift for them- 
felves, and when they come to them- 
fclves after fuch cowardly and ungrate- 
ful Dealings, then they will better 
underftand their Wcaknefs, and know 
on whom they muft depend. 

3. Hereby alfo they thai! better un- 
derftand what they would have been, if 
God hu3 left them to themfdves, that 
fo th;v may be thankful for grace recei- 
ved, and may not boaft themfelves a- 


with God in folitude\ <$ 

gainft the mifcrable world, as if they had 
made thcrafclvcs to differ, and had not 
received all that grace by which they ex- 
cel the common fort : when our falls have 
hurt us and fharaed us, we (hall know to 
whom we mull be beholden to fupport us« 

4. Chrift would permit his Difciples 
thus far to forfake him, becaufe he would 
have no jtippcrt from man, in his fiffirings 
for man : This was part of his voluntary 
humiliation, to be deprived of all earthly 
comforts, and to bear affli&ion even from 
thofc few, that but lately were his faith- 
ful fervants : that men dealing like men, 
and fwncrS) while he was doing like God 7 
and as a Saviour, no-man might challenge 
to himfelf the honour of contributing to 
the Redemption of the world, fo much 
as by encouraging the Redeemer. 

5. Chrift did permit^the Faith and 
courage of his D;fciples thus far to fail, 
thit their witnef, to him might be-of the 
greater credit and authority, when his 
aftual RefurreQion and the Communica- 
tion of the Spirit fhould compel them to 
•believe ; when all their doubts were dif- 
fipatcd, they that had doubted thcmieF- 
ves, and yet were conftrained to believe, 
would be received as the mod impartial 

B 5 vsicnefils 

10 Of Converfitg 

witneffcs by the doubting w>r!d. 

6. Laftly, by the delertion and diffin 
pation of his Difciples, Chrift would 
teach us whenever we are called to fol- 
low him in fuftering, what to expert from 
the beft of men; Even to know that of 
themfclves they are untrufty, and may 
fail us ; and therefore not to look for too 
much affiftance or encouragement frcm 
them. "J°mI lived in a time when Chri- 
ftians were more felf.denying and 
faft than they are now t And ftml was 
one that might better expc&to be faith- 
fully accompanied in his iufferings for 
Chrift, than any of us : And yet he 
2. Tim. 4. 1 6. \_At myfirfi anfiv 
flood with me j but all mm forfcoi^ me : ] 
and prayeth, that it be not laid to their 
charge .- Thus you have fcen ibme Rea- 
fonswhy Chri£ confented to "be left of 
all, and permitted his Difciples to deiert 
him in his fufferings. 

Yet note here, that it is but a partial 
temporary forfakjng that Chrift permit- 
•teth ,• and not a total or final forfaking or 
Apoftafie. Though he will let them .fee 
that they ^xt yet men y yet will he not 
leave them to be but m other men : Nor 
will he quite caft them off, or fuffer them 
topcrifli. Nor 

with (2od in fvlitude. n 

Nor is it all alike thnt thus forfake hinr, 
Teter doth rtot do as Judas : 'The fincere 
may manifeft their infirmity •, but the Hy* 
pocrites wit! manifeft their Hypocrifie. 

And accordingly \nout • fnfferings < our 
familiars that were falf-Weartei.fiK being 
worldlings and carnal at the heart may 
perhaps b stray us, and fit agtinft us, or 
forfake the can ft ofChrift, and follow the 
way of gain and honour : when our temp- 
ted fhrinking friends that yet may 
fome fincerity, tp.:w perhaps W; ftrange 
at us, and frem not to know ns y and may 
hide their heads, and fhew their fears; 
and perhaps alio begin to ftudy fome felf- 
toftretch their conferences, rfnd venture 
on forae fm^ becauib thev a<$ afraid^to 
venture on affliction \ t;llCht-ift l fliall c^C; 
a gracious rebuking quickninginfpeft' <S'n 
them, and fhame them fof the ir fihful 
fl}ame, &fear them from their finfuf fears, 

sflame their Love to him by the fro- 

of his Love to them, and- dc 

)ve that turned thent';V 

the fime me 
'failed Chrift and us, and began to fhrink, 
turnback and rc-rffiamc their: 


12 OfCottverfwg 

and by patient fuffering overcome, snd 

win the Crown as we have done before 


Vft. /^Hriftians, expert to be confor- 
V^J med to your Lord in this part 
of his Humiliation alfo : Are your friends 
yet faft and friendly to you ? For all that 
expert: that many of them at leaft fhould 
prove Iefs friendly: and promife not 
your felvcs an unchanged conftancy in 
them : Are they yet ufeful to you ? ex- 
pert the time when they cannot help 
you : Are they your comforters and de- 
light, and is their company much of your 
folace upon earth ? Be ready for the 
time when they may become your fharp- 
cft fcourges, and moft heart-peircing 
griefs, or at lead when you flull fay, We 
have no pleafure in them. Have any of 
them, or all, already failed you ? what 
wonder ? Are they not men, and finners ? 
To whom were they ever fo conftant as 
not to fail them ? Rebuke your felves for 
your unwarrantable expectations from 
them : And learn hereafter to know what 
man is, and expert that friends fhould ufe 
you as followeth. 

i. Some 

with God in folituie. 13 

r Some of them that you thx>rght 
[wan, (hall prove perhaps unfaithful «nd 
dif/cmblcrs, and upon faking* car, or roat- 
tets of felf-wtereft may feck your mine. 
Are you better than David that had an 
Achitrphel ? or than Taal that had a De- 
ma ? or than Chrift that had a Judas} 
Some will forfak;. Gcd: what wonder 
then if they forfake you ? Becaufe iniqui- 
ty jhall abound, the love of many fiall wax 
cold, Mat. 24. 12 Where pride and 
vain glory, and fenfuality and worldlinefs 
are tnnortified at the heart, there is 
no truttinefs in iuch pcifcns : For their 
wealth, or honour, or flefhly intercft, 
they will part with God and their Sal- 
vation ; much more with their bed de- 
serving friends. \A hy may not you as 
well as Job have occa'on to complain, 
[He hath put my Brethren far from me y 
and my Acquaint >r,ce are very eftranged m 
from me: My kirufoi\ have failed, ^nd 
my familiar Friends have forgotten me: 
7 hey that dwell in my Honfe, and my Matd- 
ens co h fit me fr a Sir anger : I am *n A- 
lien in their fi-ht : I called my Servant, 
and he pave me no A»fvrer : J intreated 
him with my mouth : My breath is grange 
to my Wife •, the ugh J intreated for the 


J4 Of Converging 

Children* fake of »> °*dy: Tea, 

yoitrg Children dfptfed me : I arofe^ And 
they fpt-ike pgainft me : All my inward 
friends abhorred me : and they whom / 
loved are turned againft me, Job 19. 13, 
14, 15, 16, 17, 1 •', 19. Why may not 
you as well as Dxvid be put to fay, Ye* 
mine own familiar Friend in %'hom I trufl-- 
ed, which did eat of my Bread, hath lift 
up his Heel again ft me\~] PfJ; 4 1. 9. 
Thoie that have been moft acquainted 
with the leerets of your Soul, and pri- 

to your very thoughts, may be the 
perfons that (hail betray you, or grow 
ftrange to you. Thofe that you have 
moft obliged by benefits, may prove 
your greater Enemies. You may find 
fome of your Friends like Birds of prey, 
that h) er about you for what they can 
get, ~;en they have catcht it, fly at- 

way. If you have given them all that 
you have, they will foriake yon, and 
perhaps reproach you, becaufe you have 
no more to give them. They are your 
Frier.-, s tool : hat^hey-vff expelit 

n you, than for v?h*t thry have 
re;r:v received. If you he 

to them, or fetd their covetous 
defirc5, or iupply their wants, you are 


with God in fclitude. i 5 

zo them but as cne that they had ne- 
known. Many a faithful Minift^f 
of Chrift hath ftudied, and preacht,and 
, and wept for their Peoples Sou!?, 
and after all have been taken fcr their 
Enemies, and utcd as luch; yea eyei\ 
btctufc they have done [0 much for the 
Like the Patient, that bein^ cured of 
a mortal ficknefr, feed hw Phyfician ac 
Law for making him fick wfih the Fhy- 
fick (But it is indeed t>. :d Pati- 

ents only that are offended with us-.) 
Paul was accounted c.n Enem} to : 
Ga/atbianS) becsuie he t.l the 

truth. Ungrateful truth rrrkerh 
faithfulleft Preachers meft onj . It 

rnuft ieem no wonder to a Pie.cher o{ 
(1 c G fpel, when he hath cnueaked, 
pra 1 ncjrt for 

Qiifcrabie Souls, and h.ici his her 
were under their feet in b( 
ConvcrHon and S- \ , • , | 1 !>:' them 
alter i;D, h s hit! r £i mcs. 1 *d i 
mg his Dtftru&i : a;d 

m his Li c f ,my 

fecrned too impatient under this afflict 
on, when he faid mc, O 

yd, and he ay ken 10 i an 

that contend with vm \ 5 


i& . Of Converftng 

comtenfed for good} Remember thai I 
flood before thee to fpeah^good fir them y 
and to xum away thy Wrath from them:- 
Tazrefore deliver up their Children to the 
famine^ and pour out their blood by the 
force of the S ord, &c. Jcr # 1 8, 19 20. 

Thus may Ingratitude affli& you, and 
kindnefs be requited with unkindnels, 
and the greateft benefits be forgotten, 
and requited with the greateft wrongs: 
Your aid Familiars may be your Foes : 
ar(3 you may be put to lay as Jeremy [_For 
I heard the defaming of many : Fear en 
every fide : Report ^ fay they, and we will 
report it : All my Fr.miliars watched for 
my halting, faying, Per adventure he will 
be enticed, and we (hall prevail againft 
him, and we jhall take oar revenge on him^\ 
jer. 20. 10. Thus muft the Servants of 
Chrift be ufed, in conformity to their 
fuflfering Head. 

Z. And fome that are fincere, and 
whofe hearts are with you, may yet be 
drawn by temptation to dtfown you: 
When ma!icc is flan ic in;* you, time- 
rous friend Tiip may perhaps be filent, 
and afrai i to juft fie you or t ike your 
part : When a Peter in fuch imbecility 
and fear can difown and deny his fajfer- 


with God in folitude. lj 

ing Lord, what wonder if faint hearted 
friends difown you, or me, that may 
give them too much occaficn or pretence? 
Why may net you ?.nd I be put to fay 
as David did, Pfal. 5 8. i i, 12. {My le- 
vers and my Fr tends ft and aloof from my 
fore, and thy Kinfmen ft And afar iff : They 
that feek^after my Life lay Snares for me: 
And they that feek^ my hurt fpetk. mifchie- 
vohs things, and imagine deceits all the 
day long. ] They that in fearfulnefs wiil 
fail their Maker and Redeemer^ and ha- 
zard their Salvation^ may by a fmaller 
temptation be drawn to fail fuch friend* 
as rve. 

3. Moreover, a hundred things may 
occafion fallings out) even amongft unfeign- 
ed Friends : Paffonr may caufe inconve- 
nient a&'ons or expreflions, and thefe 
may ciufepafllonsin their Friends •, and 
thcle may grow fo high till Friends do 
feem to one ?ncther to be I>ke Enemies : 
Paul and 'Barnabas may grow fo hot, as 
to fallout to- a parture. How cafily can 
Satan let fire on the Tinder which he 
h »n the beft and gentlcft natures, 
permit him? No Friends fo near 
ard *ar, that padionafe weakneflcs may 
not Cither alienate or make a grief to 


1 8 Of Convcrfwg 

one another 5 how apt arc we to t.han 
kmdwfjes at ore another, and to bzfuf- 
fkious of our Friends, or offended wilh 
thern? And how apt" to give occafwn o\ 
fuch offence ? How apt are we to cen- 
fure one another, and to mifintcr >ret ' 
the words and aftions of our F, \ 
And how apt to give occafion pf iuch 
miftakesand cutting cenfures ? Andthe- 
more kindnefs we have found in, or ex- 
petted from our Friends the more their 
real or fuppofed injuries will affeft us. 
We are aptto fay, \JJadit been a jhan- 
gef, I could have born it: But to be nfed 
thus by my bofom or familiar Friend, goes 
near my heart."} And indeed t^e unkind- 
nefs of Friends is no fmill atfliaion-, the 
fuffering going ufually as near the Heart, 
as the peribn that caufed it was near iu 
Especially when our own weaknefs cau- 
feth us to forget the frailty and infii mi- 
ties of Min, and with what allowances 
and expectations we muft choofe and ufe 
our F riei d ; and when we forget the 
Love that rcmaineth in the midft of 
pflfltans. , 

4. Alfo crofs Ir.terefts and unfuitablenefs 
may exceedingly interrupt the faftcft 
friendship, Fricndjhip is very much found- 

with God infolitudc. 10 

pd infoitabicnefs, and maintained b 
And among mortals, there i$ no perfect 
i be founds but much un- 
fsftill remaincth. That which 
pleafeth one, is difpleafing to another: 
One InetH this pkee, and the other that: 
One hketh this hubir, and the other that : 
One is for mirth, aid the other for £*d- 
nefs : One for talk, and the other for fi- 
lence : 0;ie for a publick, and the other 
for a private life. And their perfonaflity 
or individuation having feif-Iove as infe- 
parable, will unavoidably caufe a contra* 
riety of interefts. The Cre. tare is in- 
fufficicnt for us : If one have it, perhaps 
the other mud want it : Like a covering 
too narrow for the bed. Sometimes our 
Reputations feem to (land crofs, fo that 
one mars U diminifhed by anothcrs : and 
then how apt is envy to create a grudge, 
and raiic unfriendly jcaloufics and dif- 
taftes. Sometimes the Commodity of ct.c 
is the dilcommodity of the other : And 
then [Mine and Thine} (which are con- 
trary to the community of friend ft ip J 
divide and alienate, and make two 
ofe that iecmed one. The ir.ftances 
'>rab>im and Lt (upon the d 
ence among their Servants) and of / 


20 Of Converfing 

and Ijhmaely and of Jacob and £faM y and 
of LabanznA ^4M&, and of Leah ani &*- 
cfe*/, and of Jofeph and his brethren, and 
of Saul and T>avid y and of Ziba Mtphi- 
bofietb and Davi<H y with many oth rs tell 
us this. It is rare to meet with a Jona* 
than, that will endearedly love that man 
to the death, who is appointed to de- 
prive him of a Kingdom. If one can but 
lay Q/ fuffcr by him y or I am a loifer by 
hhm~\ it feemeth enough to excufe un- 
friendly thoughts and aftions. When 
you can gratifie the defircs of all the co- 
vetous, ambitious, felf-feeking perfonsin 
the World, or elfe cure their difeafes, 
and poflefs their minds with perfeft Cha- 
rity, then aU the World will be your 

5. Crofs opinions alfo arc like to alie- 
nate many of your Friends. This age 
hath over and over again given the world 
as full and fad demonftrations of the pow- 
er of Crofs opinions, to alienate Friend?, 
and make divifions, as mod ages of the 
World have ever had. If your Friend be 
prond, it's wonderful how he will flight 
you, and withdraw his Love, if you be 
not of his mind, if he be zealous, he is ea- 
fily tempted, to think it a part of hh 


wit? viva in jvwiuac* 21 
duty to God, toc;ifown you if you dif- 
fer from him, as taking you for one that 
difowncth the truth of God, and there- 
fore one that God himfelf difowneth •, or 
at leaft to grow cold in his affeftion to- 
ward you, and tocecline from you, as 
he that thinks you do from God. As 
agreement in opinions doth ftrangely re- 
concile Affe&ions •, lb disagreement doth 
fecretly and ftrangely alienate them,; e- 
ven before you arc well aware, .your 
Friend hath loft poflcffion of your hearts, 
becaufc of an unavoidable diverfity of 
apprehenfions : When all your Friends 
have the fame intellectual complexion and 
temperature, and meafureof underftand- 
ingwith your felves, then you nay have 
hope toclcape ih? ruptures, which un- 
likelincfs and ciffercnccs of apprehenfi." 
ons might elfc caule 

6* Moreover, fomc of your friends 
may fo far overgrow you in wifdom, or 
X9talth y ox honour, otworth, in their w« 
conceits, thac they may begin to take you 
to be unfuitable for them, and unmeet 
for their further fpecial friendfhip. Alas 
poor man, they will pity thec that thou 
art no wifer, and that thou haft no grea- 
ter light to change thy mind as faft as 


2 2 Of Converging 

thou arc fo weak and igno 
rant as nor to fee what (terns to them fo 
ciera truth; or th it thou arr lb 
to c felf by croiTmg them 

that might prefer thee, or to fall under 
the di-pleafure of ritoi vc powe't 

to raife or mine thee : But if thou be io 
fiynple, t\ : th- cbj :ft of their 

lamentation, bu t art no familiar friend fGk 
them. They think it fitted to do 
convene with thofe of their o^n rkA 
ftatnre, and not with fuch *-fhrnbs an* 
dren\ that may prove their trouble and 

7. And fome of your friends will 
think that by a h "ore through acquaint 
•tance with yoj, they have round 
out more of your infirmities cr / 
*and therefore have found that you are 
lefs aimable and valuable than at firft they 
judged you : They will think that by 
diftance, nnacquaintfedncf^ andanover- 
hafty love and judgment, they were 
ken in you ; and that now they fee 
e love which they 
think V/2LS guilty of fomc errors and ex- 
cefi: when rhey come nearer you, and 
have hud more tryal of you, they wiH 
think they are fitter to judge of you than 

before : 

wttn voa tnjoutucte. 23 
before : And indeed our detects are fo 
many, and all our infirmities fo great, 
he 'more men know us, the more 
they may fee in us that ccferveth pity or 
regj-oof; and as P.. ur:s, we appear lefs 
beautiful at the neareft view; Thought 
this will not warrant the withdrawing of 
that Love which is cue to friends, and to 
vertue even in the imperfeft .• nor will 
e*cufe that alienation and decay of 
friendship that is caufed by the pride of 
iuch as overlook, perhaps much greater 
failings and weakmiTe* in themieive?, 
which need forgivenefs. 

8. And perhaps frme of your Friends 
will grew weary of their Friendfhip, ha- 
ving that infirmity of humane nature, 
not to be much pleafed with one thing 
long. Their love is a flower that quick- 
ly withereth: It is a fhort liv'd I 
tfut foon groweth old. It muft be n 
ty that muft feed their love and their de- 

9. And perhaps they may hive got 
forae better Friends in their apprehen- 
fions, that may have fo much intereft as 
to take them up, and leave no room for 
antient Friends. It may be they have 
met with thofc that are more j'mtabU^ or 


2 4 Uf Lonverjmg 

can be more ufeful to them .• that havt 
more learnings or wit, or wealthy or power , 
than yon have, and therefore feem more 
worthy of their Frimdftiip. 

10. And fome of tJiera may think when 
you are in a low and [offering ftute, and, 
in danger of \v or ft, that it is part of their 
duty of [elf -yr enervation to be ftrange to 
youfthough in heart they wi fh you well.) 
They will think thry are not bound to 
hazard themfelves u^on the difplealure 
©f fuperiours, to own or befriend you or 
any other : Though they muft not defert 
Chrift, they think they may defert aw 
for their own prcfervation. 

To avoid both extreams in fuch a cafe, 
men rxuft both ftudy to underftand which 
way is moft ferviccable to Chrift, and to 
his Church, and withal to be able to de- 
ny themfelves, and alio muft ftudy to un- 
derftand what Chrift meaneth in his fi- 
nal fentence \jn as much as yon did it (or 
did it not) to one of the leafi of thefe my 
Brethren^ you did it (or did it not (to me.} 
As if it were to vifit the Contagions, we 
muft neither caft away our lives to do no 
goody or for that which in value holdeth 
no proportion with them ; nor yet muft 
wc deny to run any hazard when it is in- 

mth <Jod in JoUtude. 2 5 

deed o*r duty : So ft it in our vifiting thofc 
that fuffer for the caufe of Chrift ; (but 
that here the owning thtrn being the cot- 
fejfing of him, we need raorc ieldora to 
fear being too forward.) 

1 1 . And fome of your friends may co- 
ver their faithfulnefs with the pretence of 
fome fault that you have been guilty of* 
fome erronr that you hold, or fome m- 
hanfom or culpable act that you have done, 
or fome duty that you have left undone or 
failed in. For they think there is not a 
better fhelter for their unfaithfulnefs y 
then to pretend for it the Name and Caufe 
of God, and fo to make a duty of their fin. 
Who would not juftifie them, if they 
can but prove, that God requireth tkem % 
and Religion obligeth them to for fake you 
for your faults ? There are few crimes in 
the world that by fome are not fathered, 
on God C that moft hateth them) as think-j 
ing no name can fo much honour them* 
Falfe friends therefore ufe this means as 
well as other Hypocrites: And though 
God is Love, and condemneth nothing 
more than tmharitajplenefs &: malise,yct 
theje are commonly by falfharted Hypo- 
crites, called by pious vertuous names, 
and God himfdf is entitled to them : fa 
C that 

26 Of Converging 

that few worldlings, ambitious pcrfons 
or timefervers, but will confidently pre- 
tend Religion for all their falftiood to 
their friends, or bloody cruelty to the 
fervants of Chrift, that comply not with 
their carnal in tereft. 

12. Perhaps ibme of your friends may 
really miftakeyour cafe, and think that you 
fuffer as evil doers, and inftead of cow 
forting you, may be your Jharpefi cenfur- 
ers : This is one of the moft notable 
things fct out to our obfervation in the 
book of Job: It was not the fmalleft part 
of his affli&ion, that when the hand of 
God was 'heavy upon him, and then if 
ever Was the time for his friends to have 
been his comforters, and friends indeed, 
on the contrary they became his fcoarge > 
and by un]ufi accufaiimsj and mifinterfre- 
tations of the providence of God, did 
greatly add to his affliaion ! when God 
had taken away his children, wealth and 
health, his friends would take away the 
reputation and comfort of his integrity ; 
and under pretence of bringing him to re- 
pentance, did charge him with that which 
he was never guilty of; They wounded 
hitgood'tJamt, and would have wounded 
his confeime % and deprived him of his in- 

with God in folitude. 2 7 
ward peace: Cenforious falfe accufing 
friends do cut deeper then malicious flan* 
dring enemies. It is no wonder if ftrang* 
trs or enemies do misjudge and raifreport 
our a<3ions : But when your bojom friends^ 
that fnould raoft intimately know you, 
and be the chcif witnefs of your innoceacy 
againft all others, (hall in their jealoufie* 
or envy, or peeviflincfs, or falling out, 
be your chief rcproachers and unjuft accu- 
fcrs, as it makes it fervc more credible to 
others, fo it will come neareft to your 
fel ves. And yet this is a thing that muft 
be expefted : yea even your moft fel f de- 
nying atts of obedience to God, maybe 
fo miiundcrftood by godly men, and real 
friends, as by them to be taken for your 
great mifcarraige, and turned to your re- 
buke: As Davids dancing before the 
Ark was by his wife } which yet did but 
make him refolve to be yet more vile.- If 
you be caft into poverty, ordifgrace. or 
prifon, orbanifhment, far your ncceflary 
obedience to Chrift, perhaps your friend 
or wife may become your accufer for 
this greateft fervice, and fay, This it 
your own doing: your rafhnefs, or in- 
difcrction, orfelf-conceitednefc, orwilf- 
fulncfs hath brought it upon you; what 
C 2 need 

28 Of Converfmg 

need had you to fay fuch words, or to 
do this or that ? why could not you have 
yeildcd in fo fmall a matter ?] Perhaps 
your coftlieft and mofl excellent obedience 
(hall by your nearefi friends be called the 
fruits of f ride 9 or humour ; or pajfiw, or, 
fomc corrupt affeftion, or at leaft of folly 
and incotifideratenefs. When flefli and 
blood hath long been ftriving in yon a- 
gainft your duty, and faying, []Do not 
caft away thy felf: O ferve not God at 
fo dear a rate : God doth not require thee 
to undo thy felf: why fhouldcft thou not 
avoid fo great inconveniences ? 2 When 
with much ado you have conquered all 
your carnal rcafonings, anddenyed your 
ielves and your carnal intereft-, you muft 
expeft even from forae religious friends,; 
to be accufcd for thefe very a&ions, and 
perhaps their accufations may fatten fuch 
a blot upon your names, as (hall never be 
wafhed out till the day of judgment. By 
difference of interefts, or apprehenfions, 
and by unacquaintednefs with your, 
hearts, and anions, the righteoufnefsof 
of the righteous may be thus taking from 
him, and friends may do the work of e- 
nemies, yea of Satan himfelf the accufer 
of the brethren ; and may prove as thorns 


with God in folitude. 29 
in your bed, and gravel in your fhoes, 
yea in your eyes, and wrong you much 
more than open adverfaries could have 
done. How is it like to go with that mans 
Yepu+ation, y?u may eaftly judge, whofe 
friends are Jike Jobs^ and his enemies like 
Davids, that lay fnares before him, 
and diligently watch" for matter of re- 
proach : yet this may befall the beji 
of men. 

ib. You may be permitted by God to 
fall into fomc real crime, and then your 
friends may poflibly think it is their duty 
to difown you, fo far as you have wrong- 
ed God: When you provoke God to 
frown upon you,he may caufe your friends 
to froWn upon you : If you fall out with 
hiro, and grow ftrange to him, no marvel 
if your trueft friends fall out with you, 
*nd grow ftrange to you. They love 
you for your godlineft, and for the fake 
of Chrift , and therefore muft abate their 
love if you abate your godlinefc \ and muft 
for the fake of Chrift be difpleafcd with 
you for your fins. And if in fuch a cafe 
of real guilr, you ftiouldbe difpleafcd at 
their difpleafurc, and fhould expert that 
your friend fhould befriend your fin, or 
c*3rry himfelf towards you in your guilt 
C 3 as 

jo Of Converfmg 

as if you were innocent, you wifl but 
fhew that you underftand not the nature 
ef true friendfliip, nor the ufe of a true 
friend', and are yet your fclves too friend - 
ly to your fins. 

14. Moreover, thofe few friends that 
ire trueft to you, may be utterly unable 
to relieve you in your diftrefs, or to give 
you cafe, or do you any good. The 
cafe may be fuch that they can but pity 
you and lament your forrows, and weep 
over you : you may fee in them that man 
is not as God, whofc friendship can ac- 
coraplifh all the good that hedefireth to 
hie friends. The wifeft and greatcft and 
beft of men are filly comforters, and un- 
eflfeftual helps : you may be fick, and 
pained, and grieved, and diftrcfled, not- 
withfttndiQg anything that |h?y can dq 
for you: Nay, perhaps in their ingno- 
rance, they may increafc your raifcry, 
while they defire your relief, and by dri- 
ving indirectly to help and eafe you, may 
tye the knot fafter and make you worfe. 
They may provoke thofe more againft 
you that opprefs you, while they think 
they fpeak that which would ttnd to let 
you free ; They may think to eaje your 
troubled minds by fuch words as fhall**- 


with God in folitude. $i 

creafe the trouble : or to deliver you as 
Peter would have delivered Chrift, and 
I laved his Saviour, firft by carnal counfel t 
JMath. 1 6. 22, [Be it far from' thee Lord, 
this foall not be unto thef\ And then by 
carnal unjuflforce, (by drawing hisfword 
againft the Officers.) Love and good mean* 
%ng will not prevent the mifchiefs of igno- 
rance and miftakc. If your friend cut 
your throat while he thought to cut but 
a vein ro cure your difcafe, it is not his 
friendly meaning that will fave your lives. 
Many a thoufand fick people are killed by 
their friends^ that attend them with an 
carneft defire of their life \ while they 
ignorantly give them that which is con- 
trary to their difeafe, and will not be the 
lefs pernicious for the good meaning of 
the giver. Who have more tender af- 
feftions than Mothers to their children? 
And yet a great part of the calamity of 
the World of ficknefc, and the mifery of 
mans life, procccdeth from the ignorant 
and erroneous indulgence of Mothers to 
their Children, who to pleafc them, let 
them eat and di ink what they will, and 
ufc them to excefs and gluttony in their 
ch 1 hood, till nature be abufed and ma- 
ttered and cloggei with thofc fuperflui- 
G 4 ties 

p Of Convey fwg 

ties and crudities, which are the dung- 
hill matter of moft of the following dif- 
eafes of their lives. 

I might here alfo remember you how 
your friends may themfelves be overcome' 
with a temptation, and then become the 
more dangerous tempters of you, by how 
much the greater their intereft is in your 
affe&ions. If they beinfe&ed vith er- 
ror y they are the likeft perfons to enfnare 
you .-If they be tainted with Qovetouf- 
xefs or Fridey there is none fo likely to 
draw you to the fame fin : And fo your 
friends may be in effect your moft deadly 
inemies, deceivers and deflroyers. 

.15. And if you have friends that are 
never fo f t rm and conftant, they may prove 
(not only unable to relieve you) but ve- 
ry fcicreafing to your. grief.. If they arc 
^afflifted in the participation of your fuf- 
ferifigs^ as your troubles arc become theirs 
(without your eafe^ fo their trouble for 
yon will become years, and fo your (lock 
of forrow will be encreafed. And they 
are mortals, and liable to diftrefs as well 
as you, And therefore they are like to 
bear their (hare in feveral forts of fuf- 
ferings : Andfo friendfhip will make their 
fufferings to be yours : Their ficknefles 


with God in folitude* 3J 

and pains, their fears and griefs, their 
wants and dangers will all be yours. 
And the more they are your hearty 
Friends, the more they will be yours. 
And fo you will have as many additions 
to the proper burden of your griefs, as 
you have fuffcring Friends: When you 
do but hear that they are dead, you fay 
as Thomas , Joh. U. 16. {Let hs alfo go 
that tve may die with himQ And having 
many fuch friends you will almoft al- 
ways have one or other of them in di- 
ftrefs; and fo be feldom free from for- 
row; befides all that which is properly 
your own. 

16, Laftly, if you have a Friobd that 
is both true and ufeful, yet you may be 
fure he muft ftay with you but a little 
while. The godly men wilt ceafe^ and the 
faithful fail from among the Children of 
men , while men cf lying fluttering lips, 
and double hearts furvivc^ and the wicked 
walk-on every fide while the vileji men are 
exalted, Pfal. 12. 1, 2, 8- while iwarms 
offalfe malicious men, are left round a- 
bout you, perhaps God will take aw T ay 
your deareft Friends: If among a multi- 
tude of unfaithful ones, you have but 
one that is your friend-indeed, perhaps 
C 5 God 

34 Vj toflverpng 

God wifl take away that one. He may be 
fcparated from you into another Country -, 
or taken away to God by Death. Not 
that God doth grudge you the mercy of 
a faithful Friend •, but that he would be 
your Ally and would not have you hurt 
your fclves with too much affe&ion to 
any Creature, and for other reafons to 
be named anon. 

And to be forfaken of your friends, 
is not all your afRiaion •, but to be fo for- 
faken is a great aggravation of it, i. For 
they ufe to forfake tu in our grcateft fuf- 
Ferings and ftreights, when we have the 
greatcft need of them. 

2. They fail us moft at a dying hour^ 
jwhen all other worldly comfort faileth : 
1 As we muft leave our houfes, lands and 
wealth, To muft we for the prefent leave 
our Friends : And as ail the reft arc fil- 
ly comforters, when we have once recei- 
ved our citation to appear before the 
Lord r fa alfo are our Friends but filly 
Comforters : They can weep over us, but 
they cannot with all their care, delay the 
Separating ftroak of death, one day or 

Only by their prayers, and holy advice, 
romembringus of everlafting things, and 


with God in folitude. £5 

provoking us in the work of preparation, 
they may prove to us friends indeed. 
And therefore we muft value a holy, hea- 
venly, faithful friend, as one of thegreat- 
cft Treafures upon Earth. And while 
we take notice how as men they may 
forfakc us, we muft not deny but that** 
Sums they are precious, and of Angular 
ufe to us ; and Chrift ufeth by them to 
communicate his mercies \ and if any 
Creatures in the World may beblcffings 
to us, it is holy pzrfens, that have mod 
of God in their hearts and lives. 

3. And it is an aggravation of the 
Crofs, that they often fail us, when we 
are mofi faithful in our Duty, and ftumble 
mod upon the mod excellent a&s of our 

4. And thofe are the perfons that oft- 
times fail us, of whom we have deferv- 
ed beft, and from whom we might have 
cxpettcd moft. 

Review the experiences of the choi- 
ceft Servants that Chrift hath had in the 
World, and you (hall find enough to 
confirm you of the vanity of man, and 
the inftability of the dearcft Friends. How 
highly was Athanafms efteemed ? and yet 
at laft defcrted and haniflicd even by 


3 6 Of Convey fing 

the famous Conftaxtine himfclfl How ex- 
cellent a Man was Gregory Nazianzene, * 
and highly valued in the Church ? and I 
yet by reproach and difcouragerr.cnts 3 
driven away from his Church at Con- - 
flantimple whither he was chofen : and 
envyed by the Bifhops round about him. 
How worthy a man was the eloquent 
Cbryfiflom, and highly valued in the 
Church! And yet how bitterly was he 
profecuted by filer owe and Epfhanius^ 
and banifhed, and dyed in a fecond ba- 
nifhment, by the provocation of Facti- 
ous contentious Bifhops, and an Emprefs 
impatient of his plain reproofs ? What 
perfon more generally efteemed and ho- 
noured for learning, piety and peaceable-^ 
,nefs then Mclanchtkon} and yet by the 
Contentions of lUyriais and his party, 
he was made aweary of his life. As 
highly as Calvin was fdefervedly) valued 
at Geneva, yet once in a popular lunacy 
and difpleafure, they drove him out of 
their City, and in contempt ofhimfome 
failed their Dogs by the name of Calvin \ 
f though after they were glad to intrest 
him to return.) How much our Grinial 
and Abbot were efteemed, it appeareth 
by their advancement to the Archbifhop- 


with God infolitu 57 

rick of C 'anterbury : And yet wl 
cth not that their eminent piety u 
not to keep them from dejecting frown* 1 
And if you fey, t h at 11 is no wonder if 
with Princes through n with 

Tecplj through levity, u be thus \ I 
might keep up infUrtces of the like un- 
truftinefs qS particular friends: But all 
Hiilory and the cxperic cs 0: the moft, 
do fo much aboua*! w.th them, that I 
think it needlefs. Which of us mud not 
fay with David that [all men are lyaz's~\ 
Pfal. 116. that is, deceitful and Hntrufij^ 
either through unfaithfulncfc, weaknefs 
or inefficiency, that either will forfa'^e 
us, or cannot help us in the time of need ? 
Was Cbrift firfaken in his extremity 
by his own Difciples y to teach us what 
to e xpeel, or bear ? Think it not ftrangc 
then to be conformed to your Lord in 
this, as well as in other parts of his hu- 
miliation. Expect that yWftf fhould prove 
deceitful: Not that you ihould entertain 
cenforioas fufpicions of your particular 
friends: But remember in general thut 
Man is frail, and the beft toofelfiH 
uncertain; and that it is no wonder if 
thofe fhould prove your greateft grief, 
from whom you had the higheft expeda- 



tier: en J§b y or ZX*. 

tfid. Fricndi 

more firm and unchangeable rhen theirs? 
Confidefj i. Tlial Creatures mult be 
fet at a fuffiriem diftance from the 
Creator. A v, Immutability 

Jehovah* A>: :c;r; 

: orbcE as glorious a body 

as it is : ;<nder for a Friend, 

K Friend, :o fail as, for a ::.re 5 ii 
the hour of our dtftrefs. There :.:c fV:,e 
that*/// net z But there is aw* fat ^4), 
if God (hould leave the n :o ibcirweaftj 
I vour -foc^.: Ke harh 
m fidhility but what is de epea- 

c ^ " . :, i - : nncemi a,and defective. L c : j 
therefore to reft on God a' 
no: :: 

: :. 
2. And Go: 
fennity of man to be raof*, that fo 
^weJk^ may not be utterly tlifcturagec, 

they : : I he ftrongeft alto have their 

info* ~ rest as:: 

bolmefsand idcliry 9 widtoal *s) fludtitg* 

-:nblii»gin the : would tempt 


with God in folitude. 39 

fome felf-accufmg troubled Souls, to think 
that they were altogether gracelefs, be- 
caufe they are io fat ihort of others. But 
when we resd of a Peters denying his 
Matter in ib horrid a manner, with fwear- 
d curfing that he knew not rhe man, 
Mat. 2.6. 74. And of hisdiflimulationand 
not walking uprightly, GaL 2, and of a 
Vavids'untricridly and unrighteous deal- 
ing with ASephibofieth, the feed of Jo- 
nathan \ and of his raoft vile and trea- 
cherous dealing with Vriah y a faithful 
and defcrving Subjeft*, it may both a-- 
bate our wonder and offence at the un- 
fathfulncfs of our Friends, and teach us 
to corapaflionate their frailty, when 
they defert us ; and alfo fomewhat -a- 
bate our immoderate dejettednels and 
trouble, when we have failed God or 
man our fclves. 

3. Moreover, confider, howtheoai- 
cufnefs of that //#, which is the root and 
caufe of fuch unfaithfulnefs, is greatly 
manifefted by the failing of our Friends. 
God will have the odiotfnefs of the Rem- 
nants of our Self love and Carnal mind- 
ednefs^nd Cowardize appear. We fhould 
not difcern it in the Seed and Root, 
if we didnotfcc,and tafte it in the Fruits. 


40 Convey fwg 

Seeing without Taftivg will not fufficr-v 
ently convince us. A Q«b looks as- 
beautiful as an Apple - 9 but when youl 
tafie it, you better know the differences! 
When you rauft your felves be unkindly fl 
ufeti by your Friends, and foriaken by I 
them in your diftrefs v and you have ' 
ta(led the Fruits of the Remnants of 
their Worldlinds,Seifi{hnefs and Carnal 
Fears, you will better know the odiouf- 
nefs of thefe Vices, which thus break 
forth againft all Obligations to God and 
you, and notwithstanding the- Light, the 
Gonfcience, and perhaps the Grace, that 
doth refift them. 

4- Are you not prone to overvalue 
aad overlove your Friends? If fo, is 
not this the raeereft Remedy for your 
Difeafe ? In the loving of Godj we are ' 
in no danger of Excefs j and therefore 
have no need of any thing to quench it. 
And in the loving of the Godly partly up- 
on the account of Chrift, and in loving 
Saints as Saints, we are not apt to go 
too far. But yet our Underftandings may 
miftake, and we may think th^t Saints 
have more of fanttity than indeed they 
have; and we are exceeding apt to mix 
a Seljifl) Common Love with that which 


wtth yjod in joUttide. 4 1 
ritual and holy • and at the C 
im& when we love a Ckriftian as a 
Mobrijlian, we are apt not only to love 
e Iriira (as we oughtj but t6 ever love him, 
fr,lbecaufe he is cur Frie>;d y and lovethw. 
^hofe Chrift tans that have no fpec:.:i 
eve to its y we arc apt to undervalue 
[and negleti, and love them below their 
holinefs and worth : But thofcthatwc 
think entirely lcv$ ;//, we love^^e their 
proper Worth, as they ftand in the eftecm 
of God : Not but that we may 'ove 
thofe that love us, and add this love 
to that which is purely'for the fake of 
Chrift; but we fhou!d not let our ovn 
Inter eft prevail and overtop the Intereft 
of Chrift , norioveany/i muckioz lovinog 
HSy as for loving Chrift : And if we dof , 
no wonder if God (hall ufe fuch Reme* 
I dies as he fecth meet, to abate our ex- 
cufe of Selfifb Love. 

O how highly are we apt to think 
of all that Good which is found in thofe 
who are the higheft efteemcrs of its, and 
moft dearly lovt its ; ivhefi perhaps in it 
felf it is but fptac ordinary Good, or 
ordinary Degree of Goo:'nds which is 
in them! Their Love to usunrefiftibly 
procurcth our Love to them: Ad 


42 Of Converging 

when we love them, it is wonderful to| v 
obferve, how eafily we arc brought tor 
think well of almoft all they do, and] 
highly to value their Judgments, Graces*] 
Parts and Works : When greater Ex* 
cellemies in another ptrhaps are fcarce 
obferved,or regarded but as a common 
thing : And therefore the deftruftioa or 
want of Love, is apparent in the vilifying 
Thoughts and Speeches, that moft Men 
have one of another •, and in the low 
efteem of the Judgments, and Performan- 
ces, and Lives of other Men*, (mucK 
mote in their Contempt,Rcproaches, and 
cruel Perfections.) Now though God 
will have us encrcafe in our love of Ghrift 
in his Members, and in our pure love 
of Chriftians as fuch,and in our common 
Charity to all, yea, and in our juft 
Fidelity to our Friend •, yet would he 
have us fufpeft and moderate our felfifh 
and exceflTwe Love, and inordinate par- 
tial efteem of one above another, when 
it is but for our fclves, and on our own 
account. And therefore as he will rpake 
us know, that we our fclves are no fuch 
excellent Perfons, as that itfhould make 
another fo laudabV or advance his worth, 
becaufe he lovcth us-, fo he will make 


xvttb Kiod tn JoUtude. 45 

is know, that our Friend?, whom we 
>vcrvalue, are but like other Men : 
[If we exalt them too highly in oor 
jft^cm, it is a fign that God muft caft 
[them down. And as their Love to us 
Jwas it that made us fo exalt them; fo 
their unkindnefs or unfaithfulncfs to us, 
lis the fitteft means to bring them lower 
in our eftimation and affection. God is 
[very jealous of our hearts, as to onr 
overvaluing and overloving any of his- 
Creatures. What we give inordinately 
and exceffively to them, is fome way 
or other taken from him, and given 
them to his Injury, and therefore to his 
offence. Though I know, that to be 
void of natural, friendly or focial af- 
fe&ions, is an odious- extreme on the 
other fide-, yet God will rebuke us, 
if we are guilty of Excefs. And it's 
the greater and more inexcufable fault 
to ovcr.Iove the Creature, because cur 
Love to God is fo cold, and haruly 
kindled and kept alive. He cannot take 
it well to fee us dcte upon dufl and 
frailty like our felvcs, at the fame time 
when all his wondrous kindnefs, and 
attractive goodnefs, do caufe but fuch 
a faint and languid Love to him, which 


44 Of Converfitfg 

we oiirfelvescan karce!y feci. Jf there, 
fore he cures us by permitting ourFricnds 
to (hew us what thry arc, and how little 
they deferve fuch e-cdHv? Love (whent 
God hath fo little) it is no more wonder, 
than it is, that he is tender of his Glory,, 
and merciful to his Servants Souls. 

5. By the failing and unfaithfulnefs of 1 
our Friend*, the wonderful Patience of 
God will be observed and honoured, as 
♦it isfbewedboth to tkem'and.us.>< When 
they for fake hs inourdiftrefs, (efpecially 
when we fu fife r for theCaufc ofChrift) 
it is GW that they injure more than 
us : Ann therefore if he bear 'with them, 
and forgive their Wcaknefs upon Re- 
pentance, wby fhould not we do fo, 1 
tha t are much !efs in j ured ? The worlds 
pcrfidcoufnefs fhould make us think, 
How great and wonderful is the pati- 
ence of God, that beareth with, and 
beareth up fo vile, ungrateful, trcachcr- 
ous Men that abufehim, to whom they 
are infinitely obliged? And it ftnuld 
make u< ronfidcr,' when Men deal trea- 
cherouflv with us, How great is that 
mercy that hath born with, and par. 
doned greater* wrongs, which. I my felf 
have done to God, than thefe can be 


with C 'ilitttde. 45 

1 which men have done to me! It was 

- the remembrance (A D vi4$ Sin, that 
< had provoked God ro raiie up his own 

- Son sgainfthim (of whom he had been 

Itoo fandj which mat'e i c :o eafily bear 
the Curies and Reproach of ShimeL 
us bear abufe from othcrf, 
to remember how ill we have dealt 
with Go:!, and hovytllwe havedefer- 
ved at his bancs our ielvcs. 

6. And I have o icrv< d another of 
the R s permitting the 

failing of our Friends, in rh: feajon and 
fuccefs. It is, fhat the Lev* of pur 
Friends may wt hinder hs 'when we are 
called to fiiffer or die. When we over- 
love them, it rcarctn our very hearts 
to leave rh<n»: *\nd thereiorc it is a 
ftrong temptation to draw us from our 
Duty, and to be unfaithful to the caufe 
of Chrift, left we fliould be taken from 
our too-dear Friends, or left our dif- 
fering caufe their too-much Grief. It 
is fo hard a thing to die with willing- 
nefs and peace, that it muft needs be 
a mercy to be faved from the Impedi- 
ments which make us backward ** And 
the exceffive love of Friends and Rela- 
tions, is not the lcaft of thelc Impedi- 

46 Of Qomterfwg 

tncnts. Ohow loth is many a one t( 
die, when they think of parting with 
Wife, or Husband or Children, ordeai 
and faithful Friends! Now I have often 
obferved, that a litrle before their deathf 
or ficknels, it is ordinary with God to; 
ptrroit fome unkindnefs between fuch 
too dear friends toarife, by which hjc 
moderated and abated their affe&ions, 
and made them a great deal the willinger 
to dye. Then we are ready to fay, it is 
time for me to leave the World, when 
not only the reft of the World, but my 
deareft Friends have firft forfaken me! 
This helpeth us to remember our deareft 
everlafting Friend, and to be grieved 
at the heart that we have been no truer 
our felves to him, who would not have 
forfaken us in our extremity. And fome- 
times it makes us ev'n weary of the world, 
and to fay as Elias, Lord take away my 
Life, &c. 1 King 19. 4, 10, 14. When 
we rauft fay, I thought I had one friend 
left, and behold even he forfaketh me in 
my diftrefs. ] As rhelove of Friends in- 
tangleth our afFe&ions to thisWorld,fo to 
be weaned by their unkindnefles from our 
Friends, is a great help to loofen us from 
the World, and provcth oft a very great 


with God mjohtude. 47 

aercy to a Soul that is ready to depart. 
And as the friends that Love us moft, 
nd have moft intcreft in your efteem and 
^ove, may do more than others, in temp- 
ing us to be unfaithful to our Lord, to 
:o entertain any crrour, to commit any 
in, or to flinch in differing ; fo when 
jod had permitted them to forfakc us, 
md tolofe their too great intereft in u% 
,ve are fortified againft all temptations 
rom them. I have known where a for- 
mer intimate friend hath grown ftrange, 
nd broken former friendfhip,and quick- 
ly after turned to fuch dangerous ways 
and errours, as convinced the other of 
the mercifulnefs of God, in weakning bi$ 
temptation by his friends defertion •, who 
might clfe have drawn him along with 
him into fin. And I have often obferved, 
that when the husbands have turneel from 
Religion to Infidelity, Familifm, or 
forae dangerous herefie, that God hath 
permitted them to hate and abufe their 
wives fo inhumanly, as that it prcfer- 
vcth the poor women frorr. the tempta- 
tion of following them in their Apoftafie 
or fin ; When as fome other women with 
whom their husbands have dealt more 
kindly, have been drawn away with them 
into pernicious paths. Therefore 

4& Of Convey fing 

Therefore ftill I nmft fay, we were 
undone if we had the difpofmg of oui 
own conditions. It would belong before 
tve fhould have been willing our fclves 
to be thus unkindly dcdlt with by oufr 
friends: And yet God batti made it rq 
many a foul, a notable means o f 'prefer- 
▼ifrg them from being undone fer ever. 
Yea the unfatthfulnejs of all our friends^ 
and the malice and cruelty of al! our ene- 
mcSy doth us not ufually fo much harm, 
as the love andfrw^ ►ffpme o r e de- 

luded erring friend, whom we are ready 
to follow into the gulf. 

7, Laftly, confidcr that it is n$t defe- 
rable or fuitable to oar ftate, to have toe 
much of our comfort by any creature : Not 
only becaufe it is moft pure and fweet 
which. is moft immediately from God; 
but silo becaufe we are very prone to 
over-love the Creature \ and if it fhould 
but feem to be very commodious to us,by 
ferving our necefnties or defires, it would 
feem the more amiable, and therefore be 
the ftronger fnare : The work of morti- 
fication doth much confift in the annihi- 
lation or deadnefs of ajl the Creatures as 
to any power to draw away our hearts 
from God, or to entangle us and detain 


with God in [olittide. 49 

Jus from our duty. And the more excef- 
lent and lovely the Creature appeareth 
to us, the leis it is dead to us, or we to 

lit •, and the more will it be able to hinder 

lor enfnare us* 

When you have well confidered all 
theic things, I tuppofc you will admire 
the wiido fa of God in leaving you un- 
der this M"nd of tryal, and weaning you 
from every creature, and teaching you 
by his Providence as well as by his word, 
to Ccafc from'w*v 7 vphofe breath is in his 
rfoflrils ; for rvksrein is he to be Accounted 
of? ] And you will fee that it's no great 
wonder th. t cc | - fd Is, that live in 
other fins fhould y of this un- 

f it fifulnfcfs to their friends : And that he 
that dare unthank'fully trample upon the 
unfpeakabie kindnefs of the Lord fhoulci 
deal unkindly with the beft of men, You 
make no great wonder at other kin 
fin?, when you fee the world continually 
commit them ; v* hy then fhould you make 
a greater or a (hanger matter of this than 
of the reft? Arc yen better than G 
Mud unfaithfu!nc' 1 e made more 

hainous, than that u feithfulnefs to him, 
which yet you daily fee and i],ght ? The 
U*iji wrong toGod is > .houfandfold more 
D than 

50 Of Converfing 

than the grcatcft that can be done 
to you, as fuch. Have you done that 
for your neareft friend, which God hath 
done for hirn and you, and all men ? 
Their obligations to you are nothing in 
comparifon of their great and manifold 
obligations to God. 

And you know that you have more 
wronged God, yourfdves y than any man 
ever wronged you: And if yet for all 
that he bear with ycu, have you not 
great reafons to bear with others ? 

Yea, you have not been innocent te- 
wardt men your felves : Did you never 
wrong or fail another? Or rather, are 
you not apter to fee and aggravate the 
wrong that others do to you, than that 
"which you have done to ethers ? May 
you not call to mind your own negletts, 
and fay, as Jdoniz.ebeck-y Judg. i. 7. 
£ Three/core and ten Kings having their 
thumbs and their great toes cut off, gathered 
their me#t under my table : As I have done^ 
fo God hath requited me7\ Many a one 
have I failed or wronged : ^nd no won- 
der if others fail and wrong me.] 

Nay you have been much more unfaith- 
ful and injurious to your [elves, than ever 
any other hath been to you. No friend 


with God in folitude. 5 e 
was fo near you, as your /elves ; None 
had fach a charge of you : None had 
fuch helps and advantages to do you good 
or hurt : And yet all the Enemies you 
have in the world, even in Earth or Helf, 
have not wronged and hurt you half fo 
much as you have done yourfelves. O, 
rncthinks the man or woman that know- 
eth themfelves, and knoweth what it is 
to Repent \ that ever faw the greatnels 
of their fin and folly, (hould have no great 
mind or leifure, or aggravate the failings 
of their friends^ to the injuries of their 
enemies, confidering what they have pro- 
ved to themfelves !Have I forfeited my own 
falvation, and deferved everlafting Wrath, 
and fold my Saviour and my Soul for fa 
bafe a thing as finful pleafure, and fhall 
I ever make a wonder of it, that another 
man doth raj fomc temporal hnrt ? Was 
any friend fo near to me as my felf ? Or 
more obliged to me? O finful foul, let 
thy own, rather then thy friends deceic and 
treachery, and negleib, be the matter 
of thy difplcafure, .wonder and cora^ 

And let thy Cor.firmity herein to Jefus 

Chrift, be thy holy ambition and delight : 

Not as it is thy fnffering, nor as it is cau- 

D2 fed 

52 Of Comer Jing 

fed by mens fin ; but as it is thy Confirnnty\ 
and fcllowfhip in the bufferings of thy 
Lord, andcaufed by his Love. 

I havenlrcady fhevved you thaty^r- 
ers for Chrift, are in the higheft form a- 
raong his Difciples. The Order of his 
followers ufuallyis this:, i. At our en- 
trance, and in the lowed form, we are 
exerciicd with the fears- of He!), and 
Gods difpleafure, and in the Works of 
Repentance for the fin that we have 
done. 2. In the fecend form, we come 
to think more ferioufly of the Remedy, 
and to enquire what we fliafl do to be 
laved, arid to underftand better what 
Chrift hath d; nc and fuffered, and what 
he is and will be to us •, and to value him 
and his love and grace. An;i here we 
are much enquiring .how we may know 
cur own fincerity. and our intereft in 
Chrift, and are labouring for fotne af. 
furance, and looking after figns of 
Grace. 3. In the next form or order 
we are ferirching after further Know- 
ledge, and labouring better to uncter- 
ftand the myft^ries of Religion, and to 
get above the Rudiments and firft Prin- 
ciples : And here if we efcape turning 
bare Opinionifts or Hcreticks by the 


with God in fo&tnde. 5 j 
of Controverfie or Curiofity, it's 
4. In the next form we fet cur' 
1 r ) the fuller, improvement of all 
jrther decrees of Knowledge •, and 
to digejl id tarn it into fircnge r 

Fdithy and Zsir, and £%?, ;md greater 
Humility^ Paticr-ccy ^df-denial^ Morti- 
\ of Earthly Vani- 
:d of Sin ; and to \ 
more watchfully and holily, and to be 
more in holy Duty. 5. In the next 
form we grow to be more pub] 
fpirited : To let our Hearts on the 
Churches welfare, and long more for 
the progrefs of the Gofpel, and fo: the 
good of others ; and to do all the good 
in the World that we are able, for 
mens Souls or Bodies, but efpecially to 
long and layout ourfelves for theCon- 
verfion and Salvation of ignorant, ie- 
cure, unconverted Souls. The coun- 
terfeit of this, is, An eager defire 
to Piofefyte others to ov.r Opinions or 
that Religion which we ha^rt choien, by 
the direction of FIcfh and Blood, or 
which is not of God, nor according un- 
to Godlinefs, bur doth iublerve our car- 
nal Ends. 6. In the next form we grow 
to ftudy more the pure and wonderful 
D 3 Love 

54 Of Converging 

Love of God in Chrift, and to relifli 
and admire that Love, and to be taken 
up with the goodnefs and tender mer- 
cies of the Lord, and to be kindling 
the Flames of holy Love, to him that hath 
thus loved us; and to keep our Souls 
in the Exercifeof that Love : And with- 
a! to live in Joy, and Thanks, and Praife; 
to him that hath redeemed us and loved 
*i& And alio, by Faith to converfe in 
Heaven, and to live in holy contempla- 
tion, beholding the Glory of the Father 
and the Redeemer in the Glafs, which is 
fitted to our prefent ufe, till we come. 
to fee him face to face, Tho f e ths 
are the higheft in this form, doibw Ik; 
*mh God, and burn in Love, and are: 
lb much above inferiors Vani:ies, and! 
are fo convcrlant by Faith in Heaven/ 
ihat their hearts even dwell there, and 
jtherc they long to be forever. 7. Ani* 
3n the highdft form in the School of 
Chrift, we , re exercifing this confirmed 
Faith and Love, in bufferings, efpeciaily 
for Chrift. In following him with our 
Crofs, and being conformed to him, and 
glorifying God in the fulicft exercife 
and difcovery of his Graces in us »M 
in an aftual trampling upon all that 


with God in fotitude. 5 5 

ftandeth up againfthim, for our hearts ; 
\r\ bearing the fulled witnefs to his 
Truth andCauie, by conftant enduring, 
tfjough to the Death. Not but that the 
weakefl that are fincere, muft faffer for 
Chrift, if he call them to it. Martyr- 

Idom it felf is not proper to the ftrong 
Believers-. Whoever forfaketh not all 
that he hath for Chrift, cannot be his 
Difciple, Luke 14. 33^. But to fuffer 
with that Faith and Love forcmention- 
ed, and in that manner, is proper to the 
ftrong: And ufually God doth not try 
and exercife his young and weak ones 
with the tryals of the ftrong ; noc fet 
.his Infants on fo hard a fervice, nor 
put them in the front or hotteft of the 
Battel, as he doth the ripe confirmed 
Chriftians. The fufferings of their in- 
ward Doubts and Fears doth take up 
fuch. It is the ftrong that ordinarily 
are called to Sufferings for Chrift, at 
Iraft in my high Degree , I havedigreft 
far to make it plain to you, that 
our Conformity to Chrift, and fcttowftrip 
with him in his Sufferings, in any nota- 
ble degree^ is the lot of his befl confirmed 
Servants, and the hjgheft form in his 
School, among his Difciples: And 
D 4 therefore 

56- Of Cohverfwg 

therefore not to be inordinately fcaicdl 
or abhorred, nor to be the matter oil 

impatiency, but of holy joy ; a 
fuch infirmities we may glory. And if! 
it be fo of Sufferings in the^i 
Chiift) then is it fo of this particular^ 
fort of Suffering, even to be forilken 
of all our beft and ncareft, deareft 
Frien'ds, when we come to be n.ofl 
abufed by the Enemies. 

For my own part, I muft confefs tha; 
as I am much wanting in other parts 
of my conformity to Chrift, fo I take 
my felf to be yet much fhort of what 
I expeft he fhould advance me to, as 
long as my Friends no more forfake me. 
It is not long fince I found my felf in 
a low (if not a doubting) cafe, becaufe 
I had fo few Enemies and fo little Suf- 
ferings for the Caufe of Chrift (though 
1 had much of other forts:) And now 
that doubt is removed by the multitude 
of Furies which God hath let loofe a- 
gainft me. But yet, methinks, while 
rny Friends themfelves are fo friendly to 
me, I am much" fhort of what I think 
I muft at laft attain to. 


with God in folitndc. 57 

BUT Ice us look further in the 
Text, and fee what is the Caufc 
of the failing and forfaking Chrift in the 
Difciples , and what it is that they be- 
take thercfelvcs to, when they leave 

I [Ye [hall bs fcattered every Mim to 
his Oven.~\ 

Self-Denyal was not perfeft in them, 
felfifhnefs therefore in this hour of 
temptation did prevail. They had be- 
fore forfaken all to follow Chrift; they 
had left their Parents, their Families, 
their Eftaret, their Trade?, to be his 
Difciples: * Bat though they believed 
him to be the Chrift, yet they dreamt 
of a vifible Kingdpoi, and did all this 
with too carna! Expeditions of being 
great men on Earth, when Chrift (hoLld- 
begin his Reign. And therefore when. 
they faw his apprehenfion and igno- 
minious luflfering, and thought now th;y 
were fruftrate of their hop:s, theyfeem 
to repent that they had followed him 
f though not by Apoftacy and an habi- 
or plenary change of mind, yet) 
fudden paffionatc, frightful ap 
henfion, which vanifhed when grace per- 
D 5 formed 

58 Of Converfwg 

formed its part. They now began to I 
think, that they had lives of their Om\ 
to fave, and families of their Own t* 
orind, and bufmefs of their Oven to do; 
They had before forfaken their private: 
Jmerefts and Jjfaiys, and gathered thenu-j 
felvcs to Jefus Chrift, and lived in Com- 
munion with him, and one another. But 
now they return to their Trades andv 
Callings, and are fc altered every Mtin 
to his own. 

Selfiflweff is the great Enemy of all 
Societies, of all Fidelity and Friendship. 
There is no trufting that perfon in whom 
it is predominant. And the Remnants' 
of it where it doth not Reign, do make 
men walk unevenly and unftedfaftly 
towards God and men. They will cer- 
tainly deny both God and their Friends, 
in a time of tryal who are not able to 
deny themfelves: Or rather,- he never 
was a real Friend to any, that is pre* 
dominantly felfifli. They have alway 
fome intereft of their Own*, whijh their 
Friend muft needs contradift, or is in- 
efficient to (atisfie. Th;ir Houfes, 
their Lands, their Moneys, their Chil- 
dren, their Honour, or fomething which 
they call their Onw, will be frequently 


with God infolitude. 5 9 

(the matter of contention- and are fe 
\near thenr, that they can for the fake 
! of thefe caft off the neareft Friend. 
Contract no fpecial friendfhip with a 
felfifh man: Nor put no confidence 
in him, whatever Friendfhip he may 
profefs. He is fo confined to himfclf, 
that he hath no true love to fpare for 
others : If he feem to love a Friend, it 
is not a6 a Friend, but as a Servant, 
or at beft ss a Benefaftor: He lovcth 
yon for himfelf, as he Ioveth his Mony, 
or Horfc, or Houfe, becaufe you may 
be fcrviceable to him: Or as a Horfe 
or Dog doth love his Keeper, for 
feeding him. And therefore when your 
Provender is gone, his Love is gone} 
when you have done feeding him, he 
hath done loving you. When you have 
no more for him, he hath no more foe 

Objett. But (fome will fay) it is not 
the falfcnefs of my Friend that I lament, 
but the feparation, or the lofs of one that 
was mo ft faithful: / have found the de- 
ceit fttlntfs of ordinary Friends, and there* 
fcr$ the more highly prize thofe few that 
are fincere. . / had but one tn 

Umdanse of felffcektrSy Ufa 

6o Of Lonverjwg 

one is dead, or taken from mc 7 and 1 ami 
left as in a Wildernefs, having no mortal 
man that I can truft or take much com- 
fort in* 

j4nfw. Is this your cafe ? I pray you \\ 
anfwcr thefe few Queftions, and fuller* 
the truth to have its proper work up- 
on your mind. 

Queft. I . Who was it that deprived you 
cf your Friend ? Was it not God? Did 
not he that gave him you take him from 
you ? Was it not his Lord and Owner 
that call'd him home? And can God 
do any thing injurioufly oramifs? will 
you not give him leave to do as he lift 
with his own,? Dare you think that 
there was wanting either Wifdom or 
Goodnefsy Jaftice or Mercy in God's dif- 
pofal of your Friend ?* Or will you 
ever have Reft, if you cannot have Reft 
in the Will of God ? 

2. How know you what fin your Friend 
might have fallen into 9 if he had lived 
as long as you would have him? You'll 
fay, that God could havepreferved him 
from Gn. It's trjie : But God prefer- 
vcthfapient tally, by means, as well as. 
omnipotentially : And fometime he feeth 
that the temptations to that perfon are 


mtb God in folitude. 6 1 

Uketobe fo ftrong, and his Corruption 
like to get fuch advantage, and that no 
means is fo fit as Death it felf, for his 
prefervation. And if God had permit- 
ted your Friend by temptation to have 
; into iorae icandj«ous fin, or courfe 
of evil, or into error*, or falie ways, 
it not ha/c txen much worfe 
Death to him and you ? 
might ed your F 

Was fo /. ttkful, to have bee 
(haken a, Facr w 
his Lord \ and to have fcemed i 
cvfttEyci) as he before ice 

. ble. 

3. How kntw jat wh,:t 1 ] to 

your fclf^ your dear eft friend % 
been guilty of? Alas ! there is greater 
frailty and inconftarxy in man, than you 

aware of. And there are 
roots of Corruption unmortifi 
may fpring up into bitter Fruits, 
mod of us ever difcover. in our felvcs. 
Many a Mother hath her heart hrrken 
by the unnatu:a!ncfs of fuch 
or the unkinJncfs of fuch a Husbaftd, 
as if they had died before, would have 
been lamented by her, with great im- 
patience and excels. How confident 


62 Of Qonverftng 

foevcr you may be of the future Fide-' 
lity of your Friend, you little know 
what tryal might have difcovercd. Many* 
a one hath Puled God and Man that: 
once were as confident of 7 ifytoftlves, km 
ever you were of your Friend. Ahd^ 
which of us fee not reafon to be dif- 
truftful of our feives ? And can we know 
another better than ourfdv.s? or pro- 
mife more concerning him ? 

4. How know yon what great calamity 
might have befallen your Friend, if he had . 
lived as long as you defired? When the 
Righteous feemto men to perijh 7 and mer m 
ciful Men are taken away, it is from the 
evil to come that they are taken, If 4. 57. 
1. How tinny of my Friends have I la- 
mented as if they had dyed unfeafonably, 
concerning whom fome following Provi- 
dence quickly (hewed me, that it would 
have been a grievous mifery to them to 
have li/ed longer ! Little know you what 
Calamities were imminent on his Perfon, 
his Family, Kindred, Neighbours, Coun- 
try, that would have broke his Heart : 
What if a Friend of yours had died in> 
medi tely before fome calamitous fubver- 
fion of a Kingdom, fome ruines of the 
Church, &c. And if ignorantly he had 


with God in folitude. 63 

done that which brought thdc things to 
an you imagin how lamentably fad 
his life would have been to him, to have 
feen the Church, the Gofpel, and his 
Country info fad a cafe ? efpecially if it 
had been long of him ? Many that have 
unawares done thai which hath ruined 
but a particular Friend, have lived in fo 
much grief an i trouble, as mace them, 
confent that death fhould both revenge 
the injured on them, snd conclude their 
mifery. What then would it have teen 
to have fcen the publick good fubvc 
and the faithfu! overwhelmed in mifery, 
and the Gofpel hindred, and ho!y wor- 
fhip changed for deceit and vanity ; and 
for Confcicnce to have been daily fay- 
[ I had a hand in all this mifery : i 
kindled the fire that hath burned up all. 3 
What comfort can you think fuch 
Friends if they had fuivived, would have 
found en Earth ? Unlefsit were a com- 
fort to hear the Complaints of the affiift- 
ed, to fee and hear fuch odious fins as 
fomctimes vexed righteous Lot to fee and 
hear} or to hear of the fcandals of one 
Friend, and the Apoftafie of another, fend 
the finful compliances and dcclinings of a 
third •, and to be under temptations, re- 

6\ Of LonvfYfing 

proache* and afflictions themfelves? Is 
it a matter to be fo much lamented that 
God hath prevented their greater mile- 
ries and wo ? 

5. What was the World to your Friends 
while they diden]oy it ? Or what is it now, 
or like to be hereafter to vourfelves? 
Was it fo good and kind to them, as that 
you fhould laticnt their feparation from 
it i Was it not to them a place of toil 
and trouble, of envy and vexation, of 
enmity and poifon? of fucceflive cares 
and fears an J.giiefs ? And word of all, 
a place of fin ? Did they groan under the 
burden of a finful nature, a diftempered, 
temptei, troubled heart of languifhings 
and weakiefs of every grace ; of the re- 
bukes of God, the wounds of Conference, 
and the malice of a wicked World ? And 
would you have them under thefe again ? 
Or is their deliverance become your grief? 
Did you not often joyn in prayer with 
them, for deliverance from Malice, Ca- 
lamities, troubles, imperfe&ions, temp- 
tations and Sin? And now thofe Prayers 
are anfwered in their deliverance : And 
do you now grieve at that which then 
you frayed for? 

Doth the World uk yonrfeh.es fo well 


(with God in folitttde. 6$ 

indiy, as chat \cu (hould be iorry 
taken< tol theFcaft? 
Arc you not groaning from c ] ay to day 
your I And are you grieved that 

yo jr friends are. taken trim your g> 

i with your own 

Lion: When you look into ^our 

a arc difplea ^.mplain } 

j are 
and complain : When you look 
into \ our Families, intoyour A. 
hoods , unto your friendsjMO t';e pi 
unto the Kingdom, unto the World, 

.fpieaied and complain : And are 
you alio difplcafed that yqu Frier Is are 
not under th: fame difpleafcdnefs and 
complaints as you ? Is the World a place 
of Reft or trouble to you ? An J would you 
havj your friends to be,as far from Heft 

An i if you have fome Eafe and Tes.ce 
at prefent, you little know what ftorras 
are ncai ! You may fee the days, you 

tydiags, you may feel the gri- 
ping griefs and pains, which may r 
at a life on Earth is no fcli- 
BLflcd that Are de.id in the Lord, as reft- 

66 Of Converging 

ing from their Labours^ and being paftl 
thefe troubles, griefs and fears. Many a| 
poor troubled Sou! is in fo great diftrcfs,| 
ss that they tike their own lives to have! 
fometafteoi Hell: And yet at the fame 
time, are grieving becaufe their friends \ 
are taken from them, who would have 
been grieved for their griefs, and for 
ought they know might have fallen in- 
to as fad a ft ue as they themfelves are 
now lamenting. * 

6 V you think, it is for the Hurt or 
the good of your Friend, that he is remo- 
ved hence ? It cannot be for his Hurt 
unlefs he be ia Hell. (At Icaft, it is un- 
certain whether to live would have been 
for his Good, by an increafe of Grace, 
and fo for greater Glory. ) And if he be. 
in Hdl) he s f as no fit perfon for you to 
take much fie afar e in upon Eanh : He 
might be indeed a fit Objeft for your 
CorKpaffio/t) but not for your Complacency. 
Sure you are not undone for want of fuch 
company as God will not endure in his 
fight, and you muft be feparated from for 
ever. But if they be in Heaven, you arc 
fcarce their Friends if you Would wifh 
them thence. Friendship hath as great re- 
fpe& to the good of our Friends as of our 


with God infolitude. 6j 
wfefoes. And do you pretend to Friendfhip, 
and yet lament the removal of your friend 
to his grcatefl: happinefs .' Do you fet 
more by your own enjoying his compa- 
then by enjoying God in perfeft 
blefledncfs? This (heweth a very cul- 
pable defeft either in Faith ox FriexdJJrip$ 
and therefore beieemerh not Christians 
and Friends. If Love teacheth us to 
mourn with them that mourn, and to re- 
joyce with them that rejoyce; can it be 
an aft of rational Love to mourn for them 
(that are poffeffed of the higheft ever- 
lafting joyes ? 

7. God wit nit honour himfelf by one on- 
ly, but by many: He knoweth heft when 
his work is done: When our Friends have 
ed all that God intended them for* 
v. hen he put them into the World, is it 
not time for them to be gone, and for 
rs to tdke their places, and finifh 
their Work^ alio in their time? Gcd will 
have a fucceflkn of his Servants in the 
Wor! a you not coxc down, and 

give place to him that is to fol ! ow yc-u, 
when your part is splayed , and his is to 
begin ? If Davidhzd n r t dyed, there bad 
been no Solomon, no Jebbjkaphat, no He- 
nikjah) no Jofith, to fucceed him and ho- 

6q Of Converging 

nour God in the fame Throne. You 
as wifely grudge that one day o Ay takes! 
not up all the Week, and that the cl ckl 
ftr.kech not the fame hour (till, bat pro-l 
ceedeth from one to two. from jtwo to 1* 
three, &c. as to muraiur that one man lft 
only continueth not to do the work of | 
his place excluding hisSucccfTors. 

§< Xou muft not have all your Mercies ■ 
hy one Meffen(er or Hand: God will 
have you confine your Love to one only I 
of his Servants : And therefore he wilfl 
not make one only ufefuLto you: But 
when one hath delivered his MefTagesnd 
done his part, perhaps God will iien J you 
other Mercies by another hand: And it 
belongeth to him to choofe the Meffen- 
ger who gives the gift, ^nd if you will 
Childifrly dote upon thefirft Mcffenger, 
and fay you will have no more, your fro-; 
wardnefs moredeferveth Correction than 
Compaffion: And if you be kept fafting 
tili you can thankfully take your Food, 
from any hand that your Father fends it 
by, it is a Correction very fuitable to 
your fin. 

9. Bo you Jo highly value your Friends 
for God, er for them, orforyourfclves^in 
the find confederation I If it was/*r God, 


with God infolitude. 6g 

what reafon of trouble have yo j,that God 
hzth difpofed of them, according to his 
wildom and unerring Will ? fhcu'd you 
not then be more pleafcd that God hath 
them, and employeth them in his high- 
£ft fervke, than diffleafed that yon want 
thcrj ? 

But if you value them and love them 
for themjdves, they are now more lovely 
when they are more perfeft ; and they 
are now fitter for your content and joy, 
when they have themfeivesvinchangeable 
content and j i they could be in 

their fin and forro 

But if vou valued and loved them but 
for your fdvescnly^ it is juft with God 
to take :hem from you, to teach you to 
value Men to righter ends, and upon bet- 
tei confiderations : And both to prefer 
God before your fdves, and better to 
ur.dcrftand the nature of true Friendfhip, 
and better to know that your cwn felici- 
ty is not in the hands of any Creature, 
but of Godalond 

JO. Did yon improve your Friends n 

d them ? or did you only love 

them, while you made but little nfe 

if tbeniUn your Souls? If ycuufed them 

nor, it was juft with Gcd for all your 


; J? 6 Of Cornier fmg 

Love to take them from you. They wert 
given you as your Candle^ not only to 
Love it y biito work by the Light of it 
And as your Garments •, not onfy to Love 
ibetn, but to weart':em •, and as your tneatj 
not only to Love it, but to feed upon it) 
Did you receive their Counfel, and hear- 
ken to their Reproofs, and pray with 
them, and confer with them upon thole 
holy Truths that tended to elevate your!; 
minds to God, and to inflame your Bre;iftii 
with facred Love? If nor, be it now 
known to you, th^t God gave you not 
fuch helps and mercies only to talk of^ 
or look upon, and Love, but alfo to im- 
prove for the benefit of your Souls. 

II. Do yon not feem to forget both, 
where y on are your f elves, und whert yon 
mnfi fhortly and for ever live} Where 
would you have your Friends, but wher^ 
you muft bzyonr felies I- Do you mourn 
that they are taken hence ? Why, if they^ 
hadftaid here a thoufand years, how little 
of that time fhould you hive had their 
Company? When you are almoft leaving 
the World your felves, would you not 
fend your treafurc before you to the 
place where you muft abide ? How quick- 
ly will you pafs from hence to God, 


with God infolitude. 71 

fhjere you (hall find your Friends that 

r ou lamented as if they had been lo(% 

nd there fhall dwell with them for ever 1 

3 foolifh Mourners/ would you not 

lave your Friends at home\ itthtirbfmp 

ind your home, with their Father, and 

gh> Father 1 their God^ and ycur Godl 

Slull you not there enjoy them long e- 

nough ! Can you fo much mifs them for 

one day, that muft live with them to ail 

Eternity ? And is not Eternity long e- 

nough for you to enjoy your Friends in ? 

Obj. Bnt 1 do not knew whether ever 1 
fijall there have any difiinQ knowledge of 
them, or leve to them, and whether God 
fhall not there be fo far All in- All ^ as 
thzt we fhall need or fetch no comfort from 
the Creature 

j4nfa. There is no reafon for either of 
thefc doubts. For, 1 . You cannot juftly 
think that the knowk. ge of the Glori- 
fied fha'i I e more confutca or imperfedl 
of natural Mdn on 
Earth. Wefhal Know muchmore^ but 
not fo much lef{. H*aycn execedeth Earth 
in knQwlcdge, ih in joy. 

2. The Angel, in Heaven have now a 
diftinft particular knowledge of the kail 
Believers ^ rcjoycing particularly in their 


72 Of Qonverfmg 

e^nvcirfion, and being called by ChriR 
hifrifelf [Their Angels7\ Therefore wn^H 
We fhall be equal to the /. 
certainly know our neareft Friends thai) 
there dwell with u?, and arc empIoyejH 
in the fatne attendance. 

3. Abraham knew the Rich 

Hell, and the Man knew Abraham and \ t 
Lazarus : Therefore we (hall have as di- 
ftinct a Knowledge. 

4. The two Dilciples knew Mjcs and- 
Elias in the Mount, whom they had neJH 

ieei before: Though it is poffibl§ffl 
Chrift told them who they were, vera! 
there is no fuch thing 'cxpreffed : Anfl 
therefore it is as probable that they knevM 
them by the Communication of their ir-^l 
radiating glory. Much more fliail we bt : \ 
then illuminated to a clearer knowledge. 
5,it ; isiaid exprefly, 1 Cor. 13. 10,1 1, 
1 2. That our prefent kpoxvledge Jl).:ll be 1 \ 
done away only in regard of its imper- \ 
feciion ; and not of it felf, which frail be 
perfected : [jrhen that which is perfeii is 
come, then that which is in part foall 
done away:^] As we put away childijh 
thoughts and Jpeeches, when we become 
men : The change will be froai [feei 
in aglafs~] to \^mng face to f;>cf\ and 


mtb vod tn JQlitude. 73 

Jlrora [knowing in parti to^knowing even at 
\vpe are kpown.~} 

2. And that we (hall both Know, and 
\Love and re \oyce in creatures even in Hea- 
Iven, notvvithftandiBg that God is all in 
[all, apeareth farther thus. 

1. Chriji in his glorified humanity is a 
Creature: and yet there is no doubt but 
all his members will there Know and 
Love him in his glorified humanity, with- 
out any derogation from the glory of the 

2. The Body of Cbrifi will continue 
its unity, and every member will be fo 
nearly related, even in Heaven, tharthey 
cannot choofe but Know and Love each 
other. Shall we be ignorant of the mem- 
bers of our Body ? and not be concerned 
in their' felicity, wkh whom wcare fo 
nearly one ? 

3. The ftate and felicity of the Church 
hereafter, is frequently defcribed in 
Set iptute as confident in Society. It is a 
Kingdom, the City of God, the Heavenly 
jcriifulem : and it is mentioned a ; part of 
ourhappinefs to be of that /?c#*fy, Hcb. 
1 2,22,23,24, S'c. 

4. The Saints arc called Kings them- 
felvei : and it isfaiJ th t they (hall jnlge 

E the 

74 Of Qonverfing 

the world, and the jingth (And Judging 
in Scripture is frequently put for Gcztr* 
***£ ^Therefore, (whether fhercwill he 
another world of mortals which they (half 
Govern as Angles now Govern tnen\ or 
whether the Mifery of damned men and 
Angels will partly confifl: in as bafea full 
je&ion to the glorified Saint?, as Dogs 
now have to mentor wicked reprobates on 
Earth to Angles ; or whether in refteft of 
both thefe together, the Saints fhall then 
be Kings, and Rule and Judge ; or whe- 
ther it be only the participation of the 
Glory of Chrift, that iscalled a Kingdom, 
I will not here determine, but) it is moft 
clear that they will have a diftindt pmi* 
cular Knowledge of the world, which they 
themfelres muft judge; and fome concern, 
mentinthat work. 

5. It is put into the defcription of 
the Happneisofthe Saints, that they 
(hall come from the Eaft, and from the 

Weft, and (hal! fit down with Ahr 
jfaac^ and Jacobs in the Kingdom of 
God. Therefore they (hill know them, 
and take fome comfort in their prefep.ee. 

6. Love (even to the Saints as weil ?.s 
unto God) is one of the graces that (hall 
endure for ever, 1 Cor. 13. It-is ex- 


with God in folitude. 7 5 
Icrcifed upon an Imm/n d obj : a#(the Image, 
and Children of the Mod High) and . 
therefore muft be one of the Immortal 
Graces. For Grace in the Nature of it 
;h not: and therefore if the Object 
ce^fc not,, how (houki the Grace ceafe, 
U'nlefs vou will call k's perfecting a cea* 

It ts a fkate too high for fuch as we, 

; for any racer Creature to 

five fp Immediately and only HponGedy as 

have no ufe tor any !d cv Creature^ 

\ can make 

ufe ol'GIor. r«, in fuch fub- 

y and fubor< to hiiiifclf, 

hall be n ation to his All-iuffi- 

icysf Honour, nor to our glairy and 

.n eying 

even fuch a Heaven it £qlf, as is above 

of a Creature 5 as fom? very 

\ cone, that 

lb we tliall Immediately feeGodsEffct.ee 

s G'/ery being iich is provided 

'is di- 
; not every 
ere a. his E fence M) And asthefe 
that tell usbccaufc that God will be j 
in All, therefore we fh*!) the; b x 

cfourcomfoitby a 

7 6 Of Converfing 

flefli and blood Jhall not enter into that Ring* 
dom y but our Bodies will then be Spiri- 
tual Bodies \ yet will they be really the 
Tame as now, and diftinft from our Souls \ 
and therefore muft have a felicity tunable- 
to a Body glorified: And if the foul did* 
immediately fee GodHt Effcnce, yet as no 
reaion can conclude that it c?n fee noshing 
tlfe, or that it can fee even Created Good, 
and not Love it, fo the "Body however 
muft have objefts and felicity fit for a 

Obj. But it is [aid, If we knew Chrifi 
after the fiejJj, henceforth know we him no 

Anfw. No doubt but all the carnality 
in Principles, matter, manner and ends of 
our knowledge will then ceafe a* it's im- 
perfeftion: But that a carnal knowledge 
be turned into a fpiritnal y 4s no more a 
diminution to it, than it is to rhe glory 
of our Bodies, to be iriade like the ftars in 
the Firmament of our Father. 

Obj. But then Jjhafl have no more com- 
fort in my prejart friends than in atty c*> 

jinfw. x. If you had nfenc in them, it 
is no diminution to our happinefs, if in- 
deed wc fliould have all in God immedi- 

wttf) uoci w join it ae . 
ately and alone. 2. But if you have as 
much in others that you never knew be- 
fore, that will not diminifh any of your 
co fort in your antient Friends. 3. But 
it is moft prob?ble to us, that as there is 
old ObjecJ for our love in the 
ned Saints^ one is their Holinefs y 
and the other is the Relation which 
they flood in between God and u?, be- 
ing made his inftruments for our con- 
ycriion and ialvation, fo that we (hall 
love Saints in Heaven in both refpects : 
And in the fi-ft refpeft ( which is the 
chiefeft) we thall love thofe moft: that 
have moft of God, and the greateft 
Glory (though fuch as we never knew 
on Earth.) And in chefecond refpedr, we 
(ha 1 } love thofe raoft that were employ- 
ed by God for our greateft good. 

And tha: we (hall not there lay by fo 

much refpeft to our Jclves, ss to forget 

or difregardour Benefactors, is manifeft, 

1. In that we fhall forever remember 

Chrifiy and love him, and praife him, as 

one that formerly Redeemed its, and irajlj- 

l is Blocd, and h.v.h made Hi 

(Is to God: And there- 

alio in JhJI fubordination+0 

Chrijfy remember them mth Love and 

E 3 Jhahk: 

J 8 Of Converging 

Thankjttlnefs, that were hi* Iiifi'r 
fat the Collation of thefe benefits. 

2. And this kind of Self-love (to be 
fcnfible of Good and Evil to ourielves) 
ne of the finful or imperfect felfiflrt 
nefsto be renounced or laid by, but part 
of our very Nature', and as infepara- 
blefrornu^ as we arc from our felves. 

:K more, were it not digreil'v.% 
might be laid on this . fubjeft ; but I 
fhall only add, that as" Cod doth diaw\* 
us to every hoi/ Duty, by (hewing us 
tr,c excellency of that duty " 7 snd as perpe- 
m'ty is not the fmalleft excellency ; to he 
hath purpofely mentioned that Love en - \ 
dwtth for ever (when he had defcribed 
the Love of one another} as a principle 
motive to kindle and e^cre^fe this Love. 
And therefore thofe thac think they fhall 
have no ptrfonal Knowledge of one ano- 
ther, nor perfoaal Love to one another 
(for we cannot L«ve perfon 1 ! 7, if wc 
fyow not perfpnallV) do take a mod effec- 
tual courfe todeftrpyin their fouh'ail ho- 

ecial Love to Saiat's,by ca! 
that prii c'p l <v very great motive 
them by the Holy Ghoft, la rot b!e 
to Lqve mii'h wh-rc I fjekriov t 
(hall not Love long. I cannot Love a 


with God in folitude. 79 

:!v Inn, fo well as a nearer dwelling 
; of y own,becaufe I muft be gone to mor- 
Therefore muft I love my Bible 
better than my Lawbooks or Phyfickbooks, 
I &c. Becaufe it !ea: } cth to Eternity. 
And therefore I muft Love Holinefsin 
myfelfand others, better than meat and 
drirk, and wealth, and honour,and beau- 
ty and plealure ; bec tiit'e it muft be 
Loved forever, when the Love of thefc 
muft needs be tranfitory, as they are tran - 
fitory. I muft profefs from the very ex- 
perience cf my foul, that it is the belief 
that I (lull Love my friends in Heaven, 
that principally kindleth my Love to* 
them on Earth : And if I thought I (hould 
n vcr know them after death, andconfe- 
qucntly never love them more, when this 
life is ended, I fhould inreaibn number 
them with temporal things and Love 
lh*m comparatively but a little-, even as 
I Love oher tranfitory things fallowing 
for the excellency in the nati re of Grace) 
But now I converfe with ibme delight 

:h my G^dly friends, as believing I 
B)l rcrfe wich them for ever, and 

± comfort in the very Dead and Ah- 
fent, as believing we (hall fhortly meet in 
Heaven : And I Love them, I hope, with 


So Of Converging 

a Love that is of a Heavenly Natnre$\ 

while I Love them as the Heirs of Heaven ^. 

with a Love which I expeft fliall there be*; 

perfected, and more fully and for ever cx-^ 


12; The Iaft Reafon that I give youJ 
to move you to bear the Lop or jib fence 
of your friends, is, that it gives you the 
loudeft call to retire from the world, and 
to converfe with God himfelf, and to long 
for Heaven, where you fliall be fcpera- 
ted from your friends no more. And 
your forfaken ftate will fomewhat aflTift 
you to that folitary .converfe with God, 
which it calls you to : But this brings us 
up to the third part of the Text. 

AJV Dyet I am not alone , becanfe the 
Father iswithme.~] 
Doft. When all for fake us and leave US 
(astothe*n) alone, we are far from being 
Jintply alone y becaufe God is with us. 

He is not without company, that is 
with the King, though twenty others 
have turned him off. H: is not without 
Light that h rth the fhiningSun, though 
all his Candles be put out. If God be 
cur God, he isour-All, and is enough for 


nith God in foiitude. 8f 

us: And if he be oar All, we fhall not 
mucii find the want of creatures while he 
is with us. 

For I. He is with us, who is Every- 
where, and therefore is never from us; 
and knoweth all the ways and projc&s 
of our enemies ; being with them in wrath y 
as he is with us in mercy* 

2. He is with us who is Almighty, Ef- 
ficient to preferve us, conquerable by 
none ? and therefore while he is with us, 
we need not/W what man can do unto us: 
For they can do nothingbut what he will : 
Nj danger, no licknefs, no trouble or 
want can be fo great as to make it any 
difficulty to God to deliver us when and 
how he pleafe. 

3. He is with us who is Infinitely wife, 
and therefore we need not fear the ibbtil- 
ty of enemies *, nor fhall any of his un- 
dertaken works for his Church or us, mif- 
carry for want of foFefight, or through 
any ovcrfighc. We (hall be prtferved 
even from our own Folly, as wefl as from 
our Enemies lubtilty : For it is not our 
own wifdome that our greatcft concern- 

ptin ipally reft upon, nor that 
our fafety and peace \xc chiefly f^cured 
by ; but it is the Wifdomc of our great 


82 Of Converging 

Preierver. He knowcth what to do with \ 
us, artd what Paths to lead us in, and 
what is beft for us in all conditions : And 
he hath proimfed to Teach us, and will 
be our fure infallible Guide. 

4. He is with us who is Infinitely Good, 
and thercfoieisonly fit to be a continual 
delight and latisfaftian to our fouls : That 
hath nothing in him to dilaffeft us, or 
difcourage us : whom we may love with- 
out fear of over-loving-, and need notfet 
any bounds to our Love, the Object of 
it bring infinite. 

5. He is with us, who is mod nearly 
related to us, and raoft dearly loveth us-, 
and therefore will never be wan ting to us 
in any thing that is fit for us to have. This 
is he that is with us 7 when all have left u<, 
and as to Man we are alone; and therefore 
we may well fay that we are not alone. 
Of this I {hall fay more anon in the appli- 

Qacfo. But how is he with its ? Anfw. 
1. He is with us not only in his Effential 
frefence> as he is every where, bu: as by 
his Gracious Fatherly prefer.ee : We are 
in his Family , attending on him : .Even 
as the Eye of a Servant is to the hand of 
his Matter : We are always with him 7 .and 



with God ixfolitme. 8 J 

(as he phraieih i: himictf in the Parable) 
Lake 15. all that he bath tnour$, that is, 
bat is fie to be communicated to us, 
and all the Provifions of his bounty for 
his Children. When we avtake^ we (hould 
be ftiil with him : When we go abroad we 
fhould be always a i\im : Our life 

and works (hould be a Walkjng with Cod. 
2. He is always with us efficiently to do 
Utg/md\ Though we have none die that 
caretb for us, yet will he never cad us out 
of his care, bur biddeth us caft our care 
on him, a -ng that he will care for 

hs. Though we have none elfe to provide 
for us, he is always with us, and our Fa- 
ther knoweth what we want, and will 
the beft provifion for us, Mat. 6.32, 
3 3 . Though we h elfe to defend 

us agwiofi the : Enemies, he 

our lure defence 1 
II j is the R-> e fly, and up- 

on which we a bnilt. He gather- 

ed Ubto himlclhs the Men gathereth her 
Chickens umler her Wir.gs,Afor. 2.37,3. 
And lure while Love is thus protecting us, 
IV rtiaiy well lay that the Father himfelfis 
mk Though in 'all our \ 
no other to Lu , yet hqis ftill 

with us to perform his prpmiic, that no 

e% r\nr\ 

84 Of Converging 

good thing (hall be wanting to them that 
fear him. Though we may have none elfc 
to ftrengthen and help us, and fupport us 
in out weaknefs, yet he is alway§ with \ 
us, whofe Grace is fufficient for u-, to 
manifeft his ftrength in weaknefs. Though 
we have no other to teach us, and to re- 
folve our doubts, yet he is with us that is 
our chicfeft Matter, and hath taken us to 
be his Difciples, and will be our Light and 
Guide, and will lead us into the Truth. 
Though we have none elfc to be our 
Comforters, in our agony, darknefs ordi- 
ftreis-, but all forfake u?, or are taken 
from us, and we are expofed as Hagar 
with ljhmael in a Wildernefs ; yet ftill 
the Father of all confolations is with bi \ 
his Spirit who is the Comforter is in us : 
And he that fo often fpea^eth the words 
of Comfort to us in his Gofpel, aid faith, 
XJBe of good chear \ let r>bt your he Arts be 
troubled, neither be afraid, &cr\ will fprak 
them fin the feafon and meafure which is 
fitteft for them J unto our hearts. Though 
all Friends turn Enemic?, and would de- 
ftroyus, or turn falie Accufers,^s Job's 
Friends, in their ignorance or pifron •, 
though all of them fhould add affliction 
to our aflBi&ion, yet is our Redeemer and 


with God in fditude. 8f 

Juftifier ftill with ns and will lay his re- 
training hand upon our Enc^ie?, and iay 
to their prou- eft fury ^Hitherto and no 
further lhall thou go] He issngry with 
Job's accufing Friends, notwithstanding 
their friendfhip and gcod meaning, and 
though they feerrecl to plead for God 
and Godlincls againft JoV s fin ; Ar.d who 
flifill be again ft us while God isfcr ns ? 
who flsall condemn hs when it is he thatjujli- 
fieth ns} Though we be put to fay as 
David, P(&\* 142.4. [I looked on my rig 
hand and beheld, but there was no mkin that 
would know me ; reft: mam 

cared for my Soul:'] Ye: we may iky 
Ith him, re f 5. and-, [Icryed unto 
thee, O Lord' y I fatd, Thon art.my re 
and my Portion in the laird of the Living: 
Br- oul out of Vrifon that 1 way 

praifc thy Name : 'The Ri all com- 

pafs me <\b' nt : tor then ]halt deal bci 
jttlly with me : 2,3. Iv my com- 

plaint before him ; J (IjeWed before him my 
troit le : When my Spirit was ( >icd 

within me, ti ineweft my Path: la 

way wherein I walked hkve ti. 
ly laid a Sxart for me. ~| Thus \jOc 
refuse nd firength \ a very pr ip in 

trouble^ Pial.no. 1. Therefore jhould we 

r ■' 

Of Coavcrfwg 
Fear though i ., remove, 

a'ld ; Adomtains were carried in to] 

the mi iji of the Sea } th Watertm 

thereof roar and be troubled ^ ore. verf.il 
2. 3. Though as David faith, Pfal. 41. | 
Sj 6, 7. £/*<////£ Enemies fpea\ Evil of ^ 
xne : When fl)all he aye, and his name perifo'i 
And if he come to fee me, he fpeaketh va- 
nity : His Heart gather eth Iniquity to it 
ftlf\ when he goeth abroad be teileth it : All 
that hate me whifper Together againfi me : 
nfl me do they dcvife my hurt : An 
evil Difzafe, fay they y cleaveth faft unto 
him; and now that he lyeth y he fy.ill rife 
Hp no more : Tta y my own familiar friend 
in whom I trusted, that did eat of my Bread, 

hath lift up his heel againfi me ] Yet 

we may add a; he, v* 12. \_Av.d as for me, 
thou Hpholdefi me in mine integrity, and 
fettcfi me before thy face forever.'] Though 
.fas Pf*h 35. 7 j C^c Without canfe they 
have hid for me their Net in a Pit, which 
Without canfe they have digged for my Soul : 
1 1/ AnX falfc Witneffes did rife iip } they 
laii to my charge things that I knew not j 
they rewarded me evil for gocd : 1 5, i6» 
In mj adver/ity they rejoyced, and gather* 
ed themfelves together ; the objects gathered 
themfelves together againfi me } and I knew 


with God in fclitude. 87 

I it not • they did tear and ceafed not ', with 
I hypocritical mockers in Feafis, they gn u flitd 
I upon we with their teeth : 20. For .hty fpcalr^ 
I not peace, bnt they dtiife deceitful matters 
I againji them that Are quiet in the L#ndr\ 

Yet verfe 9. \_My Soul flmll be ]oful 
I the Lord', it fliallriy,yce in his S.iliaiion : 
1 0. All my Bones flsull fay, I , .0 is 

I like unto thee, who deliverefl the poor from 
him that is too Jh ong for him y yea 'he poor 
and the needy from him that fyoilmb him.~\ 
Though Friends be far oCr, the Lord is 
nigh to them that are of a. broken heart, and 
faveth fnch MS be of a contr 11 e Sp i 
are the Afflictions of the Ri^isteov.s • huh 
the Lord deliver eth him cm of t :em a!! t ~] 
Pfel. 3+. 18, 19. The Lsrd red, 
Sonl of his Servants; and none of than 
thst rrufl in him fi*lt be defoiate.~] v. 22. 
Therefore [/ will be gfkHymd rejyce in 
his Mercy, for he hathconfideredmy trtu 
ble, and hath known (ar.d owned ^ my Sid 
in adverfuy : and hath not flint me in the 
htndof the Enemy. — When n>y life was 
[pent with grief, and my years with frgh- 
ing\ my ftrtvgth f tiled becaufc of mint 
iniquity, and my Tlvics were cor. fumed ; / 
was a reproach among all mine Enemies, 
bnt efpecially among my Neighbours, and 

8 3 Of Qonverfmg 

a fear to mine Acquaintance \ they that 
did fee me without fled fom me : I was ; 
forgot i ck. } and as a dtadmanout of mind: 
I was like a irol^n Vefjel ; / heard the 
/lander of many : fear was on every fide ; 
while the) too^counfel together again ft me^ 
they devifed to take aw.^y my life : But I 
tr lifted in the-:, O Lord: I [aid, Thou 
art my God: my times are in thy hand: 
deliver me from the hand of mine enemies , 
and from them that perfecute me: Make 
thy face to flnne upon thy Servant : Save 
me for thy mercies fake. -— O how great is 
thy gcotinefs which thou haft laid up for 
them that fear thee, which than haft wrought 
for them thxt truft in thee before the Sons 
of Men ! Thou fa alt hide them in the fe- 
cret of thy pre fence from the Pride of Man : 
Thou (halt keep them fecretly in a pavilion 
from theftrife of Tongues, Pi'al. 3 i.J Thus 
God is with us when raen are fat from 
!jS : or p.gainft us : His people find by 
haj/py experience, that they are not alone. 
Bccaufc he 1$ nigh them, evil frail not come 
nigh them, unlefs as it worketh for their 
good. He is their hiding place to pre- 
ferve them from trouble : the great water- 
floods faatl not come nigh them: he will 
compafs them about with Songs of delive- 
rance.'] Hal. 32. 6 j 7. 3. And 

with God in folitude. S9 
And as Cod i 
, and Ejjit<er;t 
for our holy convene. VVheuver our 
Friends are, God is ftili at hand to be 
the mod profitable, honourable Lnd de- 
lightful O' ;-je£fc of our tl \q\ ghts. here 
is enough in him to tak<? up.all the f-u ul- 
ties of my fool. He that U but in a well 
fbrnifhed Library, may find great and 
excellent employment for his Thoughts 
many years together : And fo may he 
that liveth in the open World, and hath 
all the vifible Works of G< d r o meditate 
upon : But all this were nothing, if God 
were not \\izfenfe of Booh ar.d Ctta 
and the matter of all thefc noble Stu- 
dies : He that is alone, a only 
God himfclf to ftudy, hath the matter 
and fenfe of all the Books a ;ures 
in the World, to einpl " his thoi 
upon. He neve nc< d to want matter for 
his meditation, that hath Gc i.'tate 
on. He need not want matter of Dif- 
■ (whether mental or vocal) that 
of, though he have 
n m the name ol any other Friend to men- 
tion. All our 5 fife Sic c in 

nt work. 
The Soul of Man cannot have a 1 


90 Of Converging 

fvvect and excellent v?ork than to lov^ 
him: He wanteth neither work nor 
pleafu v e, that in his folitude is ta- en up 
in the believing contemplations of Eter- 
nal Love, and of all his blefled Attributes'. 
and Works, O then what happy anqj 
delightful converfe may a Bciitver have 
w T ith Gol\ alone! He is always prefenr, 
and J ways at leifure to he fpoken with ; 
and always willing of our accefs and 
audience: He hath no ifitereftCrofi to 
oir felicity, which (Kould move himto 
reject us fas worldly great ones often 
have ) He never mifur«derftand?th u? 5 
nor chargeth that upon us whkh we were 
never gu ly of": If we converfe with 
Men, iheir Mj}*<k:s, and Inttrtfts^ and 
PaffumS) and I fujficiencies, do make the 
trouble lb gre t, and the benefit fofmall, 
that many have become thereby aweary 
of the Wcrl \ or of human Society, and 
have fpent the icft of their days alone 
in d fert p!ac:s. Indeed, fo much of 
God as appears in Men, fo much is their 
ctiftyerfc excellent and delightful*, and 
theirs is the heft that have molt of God. 
But there i< fo nuuh of vanitv, and felf, 
anH flefh, and fin in the raoft or alj^f 
of us, as very much dari-tneth our Light, 



with God in folk tide. 91 
and dampcth the pleafure, >eih 

the fruit of our Societies and Con 
O how oft have 1 been folaceci in God, 
when I found nothing but decei: 

nek in the \Ycr!d ! How oir 
he comforted me, when it was paft the 
power of Man! How oft hah he relieved 
:nd delivered rat, v.hen ail the help of 
IVlan was vain! It h-th been my Stay 
and Reft, to look to him, when the Crea- 
ture hath been a broken Staff, and de- 
ceitful Friends have been but as a bioken 
Tcoth, or a Foot that is ou: of Joint 
(as Solomon fpeaketh o> onfi ence in an 
unfaithful man in time of trouble, Prov. 
25 20.) Verily, as the \Vor?d were but 
an horrid Dungeon wi.hout the- Sun, 
lb it were a howling wildermC, a place 
of no confiderabl Employment or De- 
light, were it riot fhat in it we may 

to God and do him Service, and 
fomctiire be refrefhed vn i:h the light 
cf h?s countenance, an J thecon mi nil ati- 
ons of his 1 oe. Bl t of this more anon. 

Vfe i\TI7 f'eour Example^&r.d our 

VV £ ments. Let usnoW 

W&Uowcr* *fC four to imitate 

n this, and to Live 1 \ when 


92 OfConverfa* 

neuhrfakc «,, and f0 koow that wf]ife ; 
i-odumthns, we are n,t alone, nor in. 
iM< en wh ' ,e h e forfakes us not. 

wfc 1 ' H^Y " here Negatively. 
what you muft not do. 2. /#£*«*$ 
what you muft do; for the performance 
or your duty in this imitation of Chrift. 
■ • You mud not make this anv pj ctence 
tor the undervaluing of your ufeful 
friends ; nor for your unthankfulnefs for 

1 8 l Cat 3 B , enefit as a Godf V friend : nor 
forthencglea of y our Duty in impro- 
ving the Company and helpof Friends- 
Two is better then one, The cammuni. 

3£ ??Vr n ? heI P of tho * th ^ are' 
wife and faithful, is a mercy highly to be 

cfteemed And the undervaluing of it, is 
at lead a fign of a declining Soul. 

2. You muft ndt hence fetch any pre- 
tence to flight your Friends, and difoh- 
J'ge them, or neglect any duty that- you 
owe them, or any means therein neceffary 
to the continuation of their Fnendfl.ip. 

3. You muft not caufelefly withdraw 
trom humane fociety into Solitude. A 
weanneU ofconverfe with- Men, is oft 
conjundt with a wearincfs of our Duty: 
And a retiring voluntarily into Sofitudfc 
when God doth not call or drive us If 

thcr 3 

with Gcd in folitnde. 9 J 
|ther, is oft but a retiring from the p! ce 
and work which God hath appointed us: 
And confequcntly a retiring rather from 
j God, than to God. Like fome idle Ser- 
vants, that think they fhould not work fo 
hard^ becaufe it is but Worldly hnfimfs^ 
and think their M ! not Religi- 

oufly by them, unlcfi they let them neg- 
lctt their labour, jhat they m:,y fpend 
more time in ferving God : as if it were 
no ferving Cod to be faithful in their 
Matters Service. 

1 deny not but very holy perfons have 
lived in a ftate of rer , hu- 
mane convcrfr : In fuchcafei astheie it 
may become a Duty, J. In cafe of Inch 
perfecution as at prefent leaveth us no op- 
portunity of ferving or honouring God 
fo much in any other place or ftate. 

2 In cafe that natural infirmity , or dif- 
abiliry, or any other accident (hall nakc 
one !efs Serviceable to God and his 
Church i than he is in fol^ 

In cafe he hath committed a fin fo 
heinous and of indelible fcandal and re- 
proach, as that it i not fit f< r the Ser- 
vants of Chrift any more to receive him 
into their local Communion, though he 

Communion^ I 
thir,k> fuch a cafe may be.) 4. In 

4. In cafe a man through cuftom and ill 
company he fo to f >me fleffily 
Luft, as that he is not able to bear thl 
temptations th pit arc fi * wd 1 con* 
ftrfe'y hue fa'deth by theminro .".c : 
hehojb finning : l.i this caie the right 
tpnd or eye is rruherto b? with, 
than their Salvai ion. An J though ameer 
reftraint by diftanci of temptations and 
'opportunicic.- of finning, will not prove a 

man I, nor five the foul 

loveth rhe fin and fain would live ii \t\ 
Y.t, j. Grace mav iomctime appear in 
the ftrciigth. and iclf denyal w- ich i, e^ 
crcifed in the very avoiding 
ons, when yet pc epe . f ;i 

not ftrength enough to h:ve ftood againft 

And 2 Thediflance of temptations, &o,v 
portuniry of feriousano frequent pdtaftJe- 
ration, may be a m'caa t) he*p to (ince- 
ri;y th t want "tz> 

5. b\ cafe a man by a*c or ficknefs find 
himfelf io near tc s that he hath 
now a w.orej aftor his 
frefent tftn i totndca- 

any more the good of other s\ and find 
vvithall, that [oiitnde will help him 
preparations^ his Society being fuch as 


with um injoutude. 95 

n cr him. In thefe /?:,v ca- 
tbpfoie it lawful to retire from i 


But when there is no fuch neceGity or 
call, it bfually prcceedcih from one of 
thefe vicious difternpers : I. From Co- 
dizc and fea r c f fu fife I h e 

s of Chrifc do hi he&ds, 

f confeffing him en. 

2. From a- laziflefs 1 nd v ea- 

fsofdut; 'c 

Servants hide their taktits, re. nding 
ear of the L.-rd. 

from our work, then 
: : and to go out of the re ch of ig- 
, contradittion and un« 
9«c* r Truth and Holy lives. So 

s we co?.vr.ifj with, to 
h-m w« owe forte ' 
this is n to 

• k, and :o hide our ielvcs 
in f or Cell// c?s 

:ing the ■ \ e L rd. 3. 

O: it may prtc?c 1 r m ncc* impatience : 
D3t hcai n, and 

odly, they 
e i gs, which by patience 
they Ihould overcome. 4. Or it may 

come . 

go uf convey \wg 

come frc and mutability of mind, 

and ribs condition 

Ma v i nc converfe to 

pleaie a< xtd paffionate mird j on 

expeair. ; privacy, which in; 

public k rhey cr>ul ! not find, npr is any 
where to be found on Eirch. 5. And 
ibme do it in Melancholy, mcerly to pleafe 
a fick imagination^ wh exed \\ 

company, and a lii [< afeth it felf in li- 
ving as the pofftffed ong the 
Tombs. 6. And iomtimes it proceed) 
eth from felf ignorance^ and an unhnwbled 
(late of a Soul : When men think much 
better of th.mfelves thin others, they 
think they can more comfortably converfe 
with themfelvts than with others : Where- 
, as if they well underftuod that they are 
the vporji oxgreattjl enemies, or troubles to 
themfelves, they would more fear their 
own Company than ether mens : The-/ 
would then c mfider what prou ', and 
flefhly, IhcI worU'lv, ani fclfiib, and 
d.forccrcd heart they are like to tarry 
with them into their faljtude, and there 
to be annoyed with from day to day : 
And that the nearefl enemy is the worft, 
and the nemtft, trouble is the great- 


with God in folitude. 97 

Thefc vices or infirmities carry many 
into folitudc •, and if they live where Po- 
pi >Ti vanity may feduce them, they will 
perhaps imagine, that they are ferving 
God 9 and entring in perfection, when 
they are but fitfully obeying their corrup- 
tio s : and that they are advanced above 
others in degrees of grace, while they 
are pleating a difcafed fancy, and cutting 
into a dangerous courfe of fin. No doubt 
but the duties of a publick life are more 
in number, and greater in weight, and 
of more excellent confequence and ten- 
dency (even to the mod publick good, 
and greateft honour of God J than the du- 
ties cf privacy or retirement. Vir bonus 
eft commune bor.um : A good rrun is a com- 
mon good And ^fr.ith Ser;eca)NuBa ejjent 
tomrminia ntfi pars illorum ptrtineret ad 
fajr] It every one have not fome (hare 
cr i .'creft ia them, hr>w are the com- 
mon ? Let me add thefe few Con' d^ 
ons, to (hew yon the evil of voluntary un- 
necessary Solitude. 

1. You klb contribute to the honour of 
you> Redeemer, and left promote h»^ King- 
dom in the world> and lefs libfnve his 
death and office, while*you do good but 
to lew, and live but almofl toyourfei 

F 2. You 

9 3 Of Convtrfing 

2. You live in the poorcft exercife of the 
grace of Chanty ; and therefore in a low 
undcfirable condition. 

3. You ,wi!l want the communion of 
Siints, and benefit of publick ordinances 
(for I account not zColledge life a Solita- 
ry life.) And you will want the help of 
the Charity, Graces and Gifts of others, 
by which you might be benefited. 

4. It will be a life offmaller comfort, 
as it is a life of fmalier benefit to others. 
They that do but little good (according 
to their ability) rouft expeft but little 
comfort. They haveufualiy moft peace 
and comfort to thcmfelves, that are the 
moft profitable to others. {Non potefl quif- 
quam bene degere qui fe ttntum intuetnr : 
Alteri vivas oportet,fi tihi vis vlvere .'Sen .3 
jVo man can live well, that Uoketh but to 
himjelf: Thou mnft live to another^ if thou 
wilt live to thy [elf7\ 

O the delight that there is in doing good 
to many ! None knoweth it that hath not 
tryed it: Not upon any account of Merit ; 
but as it tleaftth God, and as Goodnefsit 
p/f is amiable and fvveet ; and aswtri- 
ceive by commnnicating ; and as we are un~ 
der prornift } and as Charity makes all the 
good that*s done to another to be to us as 
w ownl 5, We 

with God in folitude. 99 

5. We arcdark and partial, an v !hced- 
lefs of our fclves, rnd hardly brought oc 
kept in acquaintance with our hearts; 
and therefore have the more need of the 
eye of others : A nd even an enemies eye 
raiy be ufeful, though maicious; and 
may do us good while he intends us evil, 
faith Bernard [Allium quod nemo vide? 
nemo argmt : Vbi ant em non timetur repre- 
henfor, feenms accedit tenater? licentiu* 
perpetratur iniqaitas} \The evil that none, 
fee /;, none reproveth : and where the re- 
prover is net feared, the temper ccmeth 
moit boldly, and the fin is committed the more 
licemioHfly.2 It's hard to know thefpota 
in our own face!-, when we haveno^/.i/i 
or beholder to accqo.int us with them* 
Salth Chryfujlm [Solitude is velameit 
cm^imi z^torHniyhQ cover of all vices 3 In 
company this cover is laid afide, and vice 
being more naked, is more ajhamed- It 
is beholders that cauiejtaw • which Soli* 
tude is not acquainted with : And it's a 
piece oiimpenitency rot to be framed o} r 

6. And we are for the moll pan id 
and fickiy. that we are unable /o 

lubfift without the help of others. Sen. 

Nemo eft ex imprudembns qui relinqni fibi 

debet] wmijemen (or infants, or fick-Iikc 

f 2 men 

ico Of Lonverfing 

men) muft not be left to themftlves.~] And 
Cod hath let fonic impoiency,iniiiffiden< y 
andnectffi v upon all that (howd keep 
men iociaLle, & make them acknowledge 
their need of others, and be thankful for 
afliftance from them, and be ready to do 
good to others, as we would have others 
do to us. He th&tfeeleth not the needof 
others, is fo unhumbled as to have the 
greater need oitheni. 

7. Pride will have great advantage in 
private, and Repentance great dif advan- 
tage, while our fins fecm to be alldead,be- 
caufc there is not a temptation to draw 
them out, or an obferver to reprove 
t h e m. {Tfi m din pattern quifqttefibi videt ur 
& burnt is, donfc nullius hominum conjortio 
fommifcetH/ ; ad naturam priftinam rever- 
fur us qwsm inter pellaver it cujuftbet occafio- 
wis commotio, inquit Caftiamii] Many a 
man feems to himjelf patient and humble^ 
yphile he keeps out of company} who would 
return to his own nature if the commotion of 
any occafion did but provoke him'] It's hard 
to know what/w ox grace is in us, if we 
liavc notfuch tryals as are not to be found 
in Solitude. 

8. Flying from the obfewtion and 


with God in folitude. ioi 
Judgment of others, is a kind of felf-ac- 
cafation ; as if we confeft our felves fo 
bad as that we cannot ftand the tryal of 
the Light.] Bonaconfcientiaturbam advo* 
cat : Mdain folitndine anxiaeft & folli- 
cita : (i honeftajunt que fact* omnesfciant ; 
fiturpia^ quid refennemintm fcire : cum 
tn fcias ! O te mifemm ft contemnis hue 
tejltm: inqtiit Seneca^] That is [ A good 
confeience will call in the croud (or witnef- 
fes, not caring who fecth ;) A bad confer- 
ence is anxious and follicitous even in foil* 
tftde : If they be thing* honeft which thott 
doe ft > let all men know : If the be dijhoneft, 
what good doth it thee that no man elft 
tyoweth it, whenthotikrioweftitthyfelf\ O 
miferable man if thou difpife this vpitnefs /] 
Something is fufpe&ed to be amif* with 
thofe that are always*in their Chambers, 
and are never fcen. Tell not men that 
you cannot bear the light : It is he that 
doethevil that hateth the light, left his 
deeds fhould be reproved. 

. S-'litudc is too like to T)eath y to be dt- 
firable: He liveth that doth good •, and he is 
deadthlX Kufelefs, \_Vtvit is qui multisufni 
eft: Vivit is qn\ fentitur : qui veto lati- 
tant dh torpent, mortem [nam antece(ferint y 
inqmt S en t "\[^He liveth that is profitable to 

F 3 many 

102 Of Convey fwg 

many : He livsth that is olferz'ed or per- 
ceived : but they that lye hid And drew fie do 
t anticipate their death f] And it is the m#ft 
culpable death, and therefore thr 
\ to have Life, and not to nfe it. 

I o. A life of holy Communion is likeft unto 
'Heavex, where none (hall befolitary, 
bat ail as members of the Heavenh 
falem, fhall in harmony Love anci 
their Maker. 

ThefeReafons fcem tome fufficient to 
Tatifie you that no man (hould choofe a Soli* 
tude without. a Jpecial mceffity or call: nor 
yet fhould it be taken for a life of greater 
perfection, then a faithful ferving of God 
in publicly, and doing gcodto more. 

I Shall now come to the Affirmative^ 
and tell yo a for all this, that \If God 
call us into Solitude^ or men for fake ns, we 
may rejoice in this, that we are not alone y 
bat the Father is with hs7\ Fear not fuch 
Sohtah y but be ready to improve it, if 
you b: Ciftupon t. If God be your God, 
re n lied to you in Chrift, and his Spi- 
rit be in you, you are provided for Soli- 
tude, and need not fear if all the World 
(hould caft you off. If you be ban idled, 


with God in folitttde. I o 3 

^rifoned, or left alone, it is but a Re- 
laxation from your greateft labour? • 
which though you may notcaft off your 
fclvcs, you may lawfully be fenfible of 
yo.jr eafc, if God take off your Burden. 
It is but a c§0ation from your fharpeft 

flicis, and removal from a multitude of 
g\ at Temptations. And though you may 
not covatdly retreat or (hift your felvcs 
from the Fight and danger, yet if God 
will diipenfe with you, and let you live 
in greater pe^ce andfafety, you have no 
caufe to murmur at his dealing. A Fruit 
Tree thatgroweth by the high-way fide, 
doth fcldota keep its fruit to ripenefs, 
while fa many Paflengers have each his 
ftone or Cudgel to caft at it: Seneca 
could fay ^Nanquam 4 turba mores quo* 
extkli refer : Aliqmdex to qv.od compofui 

jatnr ; aliquid ex his qua finavi redit : 
lnimica eft mnltornm atid] I mver 

faring home well from a Crowd the manners 
which I took^ out with me : Something it 
difoidered ofth.it which I had Jet in order: 

r.ethinn of that which I had banified doth 
return : T,jc co^ie fttion of many 1 find an 
enemy to mef\ O how many vain and foo* 
lifh words corrupt the mirids of thofe 
that converie with an ungodly World, 
F 4 when 

104 yf tonverjmg 

when your Ears and Minds who live ir 
Solitude, arc free from fuch Temptations ; 
You live not in fo corrupt an Air as they j 
You hear not the filthy nbbald Speeches, 
which fight againft modefty and chaftity, 
and are the bellows of Luft: You hear 
notthedifcontented complaining words 
of the impatient ; nor the paflionate pro 
Poking words of the offended ; nor the 
wrangling quarrelfom words of the con 
tentious; nor the cenforious, or fl.^nde- 
rous, or reproachful words of the mali- 
cious, who think it their intereftto have 
their Brethren taken to be bad, and to 
have others hate them, becaufe they them 
felves hate them-, and who are as zealous 
to quench the Charity of others, when 
it is deftroyed in themfelves, as holy 
perfons are zealous to provoke others to 
Love, which dweVcrh and ru'ech in them- 
felves. In your Solitude with God, you 
(hail not hear the Ives and malicious re- 
viling* of the ungodly againft the genera- 
tion of the j.ill: Nor the fuNtile cheating 
Words of Hercticks, who being themfelves 
-deceived, would deceive others of their 
Fo ith, and corrupr their lives. You (hall 
not there be diftraflcd with the noife and 
clamours of contending uncharitable pro- 


with God in folitude. IOJ 

feflbrs cf Religion, endeavouring to make 
odious firft the Opinions, and then the 
perfons of one another : one laying, here 
is the Church, and another, there is the 
Church : One laying, This is the true 
Church Government, and another faying 
Nay, but that is it ; One faying, God will 
be worfhipped thus, and another, not fo, 
but thus or thus : You (hall not there be 
drawn tofie'e with one againft another, 
nor fo joyn with any fattion, or be guil- 
fcy of divifions: You (hall not be troub- 
led with theCath* and Blafphemies of the 
wicked, nor with the imprudent miscar- 
riages of the Weak} with thePerfecu- 
tions of Enemies, or the falling out of 
Friends. You fhall not fee the cruelty 
of proud OpprefTors, that fet up lyes by 
armed violence, and care not what they 
fay or do, nor how much other men are 
injured or fuffer, fo that themfelves may 
tyrannize, and their wills and words may 
rule the World, when they do fo un- 
happily rulethemfelvc?. In your folitude 
with God, you fhall not fee the profperi- 
ty of the wicked to move you to envy f 
nor thcadverlity ofthj jufl: to be your 
grief: You fhall fee no Worldly pomp 
and fplcndor to befool you ^ nor adorn- 
F 5 cd 

106 Of Converfing 

cd beauty to entice you, nor wafting ca 
lamitics to afflidt you : You (hall not hear 
the laughter of Fools, nor the Tick mans 
groans, nor the wronged mans Com- 
plaints, nor the poor mans murmurings, 
nor the proud mans boaftings, nor the 
angry mans abufive ragings. As you lofe 
the help of your gracious friends, fo you 
are freed from the fruits of their pecvifh- 
Tiefs and paffions ", of their differing opin- 
ion and ways and tempers ; of their in- 
equality, unfuitablenvfs, and contrarie- 
ty of minds orinterefts-, of their levity 
and unconftancy, and the powerful temp- 
tations of their friendfhip, to draw you 
to the errors or other fins which they are 
tainted with themfelves. In a word, 
you are there half delivered from the 
the world; and were it not that you are 
yet undelivered from your fclves, and 
that you take diftempered corrupted 
hearts with you, O what a felicity would 
your folitude be ! But, alas, we cannot 
overrun our own difeafes, we rauft carry 
with us the remnants of our corrupted na- 
ture i our deadnefs, and dulnefs, our 
felfi-hnefs and earthly minds, our impati- 
| ence and difcontents^ and worft of all, 


with God mfolitude. 1 07 

our lamentable wcaknefs of faith and 
love and heavenly mindednefs, and out 
ftrangenefs to God, and backwardnefs 
to the matters of eternal life. O that I 
could efcape thefe, though I were in the 

~ds of the cruelleft enemies! O that 
fucha heart could be left behind ! How 
gladly would I overran both houfe, and 
Jand, and honour, and all fenfual delights, 
that 1 might but overrun it ! O where 
is the place where there is none of this 
darknefs, nor difaffeftion, nor diftance, 
nor cftrangednefs from God ! Oth^tl 

:;v it ! O that I could find it ! O that I 
might there dwell! though I fliould ne- 
ver more fee the fcce of mortals ; nor e- 
ver hear a human Voice, nor ever tafte 
of the delights offlefh ! Alas, foolilh Soul : 
fuch a place therein, chat hath 'all this, 
and more than this : But it isntot in a 
'Wilderncfs,but in Paradife, not here on 
Earth, but above with Chrift ! And yet 
am I fo bath to d:c ? vet am I no more 
defirousof the bl fifed day, when I (hall 
'be unclonhed of flc.Ti a ) dc;ath, 

what an Enemy art thou even to my Soul/ 

affrighting me from the pt my 

Lord, and hindring my dcfires and wif- 
liagncls to be gone, thou wronged me 


io8 Of Converftng 

much more, than by laying tny flefh to 
rot in darknefs. Fain I would know God, 
and fain I would more love him and enjoy 
him : But O this hurtful love of life ! O 
this unreafonable fear of dying, detaineth 
my defires from prefling on to the happy 
place where all this may be had / O 
wretched man that I am, who fhall deli- 
ver me from this body of death ! this car- 
nal unbelieving heart, that fometime can 
think more delightfully of a Wildtrnefs 
then of Heaven \ that can go feek after 
God indefert folitude, among the Birds 
and Beafts and Trees, and yet is fo back- 
ward to be loofed from flefh that I may 
find him and enjoy him in the World of 
glory : Can I expeft that Heaven come 
down to Earth ! and that the Lord of 
glory fhould remove his Court, and ei- 
ther leave the retinue of his Cekftial 
Courtiers, or bring them all down into 
this droffy World offleth and fin, and 
this to fatisfie my fleflily foolifh mind ! 
Or can I cxpedi the tranflation of Henoch 
or the Chariot of Elias f Is it not enough 
that my Lord hath conquered Death, 
and fan&ifyed the paflage, and prepa- 
red the place^ of my perpetual abode. 
[Well ! for all this, though a Wildermfs 


with God in folitude. 109 

is vet Heaven, it fhall be fweet and 
welcom for lYtfak* of Heaven, if ther.ee 
1 may but have a clearer profpeft of it : 
and if by retiring from the crowd and 
noifc of Folly, I may but be more com- 
pofed and better difpofed to converiea- 
bove, and toufe my Faith (alas, my too 
weak languid Faith) until the beatifical 
Vifion and Fruition cone. If there may- 
be but more of God, or readier accets 
to him, or more heart quickning fkmes 
of Love, or more hem-comforting in- 
timations of his Favour, in a wildernefs 
than in a City, in a Prilbn than in a Pa- 
lace •, let that Wildernefs be my City, 
and let that Priibn be my Palace, white 
1 muft abide on Earth. If in folitudc 
I may have Henochs walk with God, I 
fhall in due feafon have fuch a tranflati- 
on as (hall bring me to the fame felicity 
which he enjoyeth : And in the mean time 
as well as after, it U no incomrr.odity, if 
by mortal eyes 1 be feen no more. If the 
Chariot of contemplation will in folitude 
raife me to more believing affeftionate 
converfe with Heaven, than I could ex- 
ped in Tumult* and Ten ptatiors, it 
fhall reconcile me unto folitude, and make 
it my Paradifc on Earth, till Angels 


no Of Converfing 

inftead of the Chariot of BtidSj fliali 
convey me to the pretence of my glori- 
fied Head, i;i the Celeftial Paradifc. 

Object. Bm it is grievous to one that 
hath been itfed to much company , to be alone. 

Anj'w. Company may ib life you, that 
it may be more g ievous to you not to 
be a! one. The Society of Wafps and 
Serpents may be fpared j and Bees them- 
felvcs have iuch Stings as make fomethat; 
have felt them think' they bought the; 
hony dear. 

But can you fay, you are alone ^ while 
.you are with God f Is his prefence % no- 
thing to you? Doth ic not fignifie more 
than the company of all Men in the 
world ? Saith Hierom^ [Sapiens nmquam 
foists effe potej} : habet enim fecum oranes 

quifunty & cjiiif Her ant boni & fihomi- 

num fit inofia y loquitur cum Deo] viz. 
A wife man cmnot be alone : for he hath 
with him the good men that are or have been 

And if there be a want of men^ he 

fyeakf with God.] 'He fhould rather have 
faid, There can be no want of man, when 
we may, fpea ! ^ with God: And were it 
not that God is here revealed to us as 
inagiafs, and that we do covcrfe with 
God in Man, we fhould think human 
converfe little worth, Objcft. 

with God in folitttde. 1 1 1 

ech O but Solitude is difconfulau 
to a fociablc Mind* 

Jnfa. But the mod deferable Society 
is no Solitude: Saith Hiercrx, [Infiiita 
eremivaftitas te ferret ? fed tit ^Paradifnm 
ftente dcambnU : Quotiefcunqne cooit^tiane 
yc mente illuc conjcende-i ( y totics in eremo 
non eris~] that is [_ Poth the infinite zafinefs 
of the vcildernefsterrif>e thee? But do thou 
(afcend) in mind and Vtalk^ in Paradife : 
jis oft as thou acendeft thither in thought 
ank mind y fo oft thou fliait not be t . 
wilder nefs.~^ If God be nothing to thee, 
thou art not a ChrifiUn but an Atheijt. 
If God he God to thee, he is A ] \ in all to. 
thee \ and then fhould not his prdence 
flcad of all? O that I might get 
one ftep nearer unto God, though I re- 
ceded many from all the world! Othat 
I could find that p!acc o 
.where a Soul may ha oft accefs 

unto him, and fulled knowledgc-and en- 
joyment of him. j more 
law the face of Friends! i (Viouid cheer- 
fully iay i j 

not alone \ for the l .;ithme.] And 

I fhould fay fo for thefr U< >iiow- 


I . If God be vpith mc 7 the Maker, and 


U2 Of Converfmg 

Ruler , and Difaofer of all is with me : So 
that all things are virtually with me in 
him. I have that in Gold and Jewels 
which I fceffl to want in Silver, Lead, 
and Drofs, I can wsnt no Friend it God 
vouchfafe to be my Friend ^ and I can 
enjoy no benefit by all my Friends, if 
God be my Enemy. I need not fear the 
greated Enemies, if God be reconciled 
to me. I (hall not mifs the light of the. 
Candle, if I have this blcfled Sun. The 
Creature is nothing but what it is from 
God, and in God : And it is worth no- 
thing, or good for nothing, bit what it's 
worth in order unto God, as it declarcth 
him, and helps the Soul to know him, 
fervehim, or draw nearer to him: As it 
is Idolatry in the unhappy worldling, to 
third aterthe Creature with the neglett 
of God, and fo to make the world his 
God ; fo doth it favour of the fame 
hainous fin to lament our lofs of Crea- 
tures more than thedifpleafure of God. 
If God be my Enemy, or I am fallen un- 
der his indignation, I have then fo much 
greater matters to lament than the lofs, 
or abfence, or frowns of Man, as fhould 
almoft make mc forget that there is fuch 
a thing as man to be regarded : But if 
God be my Father, and my Friend in 


with Godinfolitude. iij 

Cbrift, J have then lb much to think of 
with delight, and to recreate and con- 
tent my Soul, is will proclaim it mod 
incongruous and abfurd to lament inor- 
dinately the abitnee of a worm, while 
I have hi- Love and Prefencewho is All 
in All. If God cannot content me, and 
be not enough for me, how is he then 
my God ? or how fball he be my Hea- 
ven an:! everl.ifting Happinefs? 

2. If God be with me, he is with 
Hie to whom I am abiblutc'y devoted. 
f I am wholly hi<?, and have acknowledg- 
ed his intereft in me, and longsgo dif- 
clairred all Ufurpers, and repented of 
Alienations, and unn fcrvedly rcfi,,neJ 
my fclfto him : And where (Ti< ul I dwell 
but with him that is my owner, and with 
whom I have made the fokmneft Cove- 
nant th?.t ever I made ? I never gave 
my ft If to any other, but in (uborUjna- 
tion tohim,and whhafa/vo foi his higheft 
invio a: le right. Where fhogld my go's 
be bit in my ownhoufc? With whooo 
lhou\a a fervam dwell but with hisMafter? 
rnd Wife, bur with her Husband ? ind 
Ch Idrcn but with their Father? I am 
ntarlicr related to my God and to my Sa- 
viour,than I am to any of my Relations in 


IF4 Of Convey fwg 

this World. I owe more to him than 
toafkheW rid: I have renounced all the 
World, as hey (land in any competition 
or conparifon vvithhim*, aid cm I want 
their company then while I am with 
him? How fh:ll I hate Father and Mo- 
ther, and Wife and Children, and Bro- 
ther and Suler for his fdke, if I cannot 
fvare them, or be without them to en- 
joy him? To hate them is but to ufe 
them as Men do hated things, that is, to 
caft them away with contempt as they 
would alienate mc from Ghvift, and t£ 
cleave to him, and be fatisfied in him a- 
lone. I an now married to Chnft, and 
therefore mud chear fully leave Father and 
Mother, and ay native place, and all to 
cleave to him : And with who ri fhould 
I now delight to d well,but with him who 
hath fateen me into foncar relation, to be, 
as it were, one Flefli with him 1 O my 
dear Lord, hide not thouthy face from 
an unkiod an unworthy firmer ! Let me 
but ( well with thee and fee thy face, 
an 4 feel the s e bracements of thv 

Love v an J then let roe be cart off by ail 
the woi Id, i fee it meeteft for me -, 

or let a:! other friends be where they 
Will, fo that my Soul may be with thee: 

I have 

with God infolitude. 115 
J have agreed for thy fake to forfake all, 
even the deaieft that fhall (land againft 
thee \ and I rclolve by thy grace to^ftand 
to this Agreement. 

3. If God be vptth me, I am not alone % 
for he is with me that leveth me beft.~] The 
Love of all the Friends on Earth is no- 
thing to his Lo<e. O how plainly hath 
he declared that he loveth me, in the 
ftrange condefcention, the Sufferngs, 
Death, ana Interceflion of his Son ? What 
Love hath he declared in the communi- 
cation? of his Spirit, and the operations 
of his Grace, and the near Relations into 
which he brought me ? What Love h:th 
he declared in the com fe of his Pn vi cn- 
ces? In many and wonderful prefcrvcUi- 
ons anc deliverances ? In thecorduft of 
his Wiidom, and in a Li e of Mercies? 
What Love appcamh in his precious " 
PronJfes, and the g'o ious rrovifiors he 
hath mrde forme with himfclfto ali eter- 
nity ? O my L<».d, 1 am ail arrcd t u .at 
thy Love is lb mui I fofl \ :h. t it hath no 
better return from an unkind unthankful 
hem ; that I ara not more -delighted in 
thee, and fwaikwed up in the contemp- 
lation of thy Love \ I can contentedly 
let go the Society and converfe of all 


Ii6 Of Converging 

others, for the convene of fome 01 
bofom Friend, that is dearer to metta 
they all, as Jonathan to David : An 
can I not much more be fatiaficd in the 
alone, and let go all if i m >y c>ntmu 
with thee? My very Dog will gUdl 
forfnke all the Town, and all Perforv i 
the world, to follow me alone! An 
have I not yet fomd fo much Lo/e am 
Goo. nefs in thee my dear and blefTec! 
God, as to be willing to converlc a!on<] 
with thee ? All men delight mod in thii 
company of thole that love them beft 
They choofe not to converfe with th 
Multitude when they look for folace an* 
content, but with chcir deareft Friends;' 
And fliould aftv be fo dj?r to me as God ? 
O were not thy Love unworthily neg* 
leftedb/ an un tankful heart, I Oiould 
never be fo unfatisfie-.i »n 'h?e, butfl\)u!d 
take up, or feek mv comforts in thee : I 
ftiould then fav, Whonhavc 1 in Hea- 
ven but thee, and there is no-ic on Earth 
that Ide^re >c fides rh^e! Though noti 
orly mv Fi iends, but my Fle»Ti an ; Heart | 
themfelve, fh u'i fail me, it is thou that 
will ftiil be the ftrength of my heart, 
and my potion forev>r: it is good 
therefore for me to draw near to thee, 



'with God in folitude. 117 

ow far focver I nm from Man: O let 
ic there dwell where thou wilt not be 
:range, for thy loving kindneis is better 
ban life, Inftead of the multitude of 
if turmoi'ing th ughts, let me be taken 
p in the bdicving views of thy recon- 
iled Face, and in the glad Attendance 
pon thy Grace •, or at leaft in the raul- 
ituce of my thoughts within me, let 
hy celeftial comforts delight my iouf. 
-et me dwell as in thy Family, and 
i,hen I awake, let me be (till with thee ! 
,et me go no whither but where I am 
ill following thee: Let me do nothing 
Hit thy v*ork, nor ferve any other but 
/hen I may truly call it alerving thee: 
ct me hear nothing but thy voice, and 
t me know thv voice by wharcver im- 
minent thou fh k 'peak; Let me never 
:e a: y thing 1 uc rhv iclf and the glafs 
hat repreientcth thee., and the Bo<-k* in 
1 which I may re*d thy Name: And 
:t me never play with rheoutvfidc, and 
<z on Wort's and Let ers as infignifi- 
ant, and not oHf rve 'h\ Name which 
. thefenfe. Whether it be in cor. pany 
r in folitude, ht mc b c mtinually with 
bee, androthou\o thiafc to hoi: me 
y my right hand ; And guide me with 


Ii8 Of Converging 

thy counfcl, and after waids receive rr 
unto thy Glorv, Pfol. 73- 2,3, 24,25,2< 
28, Pfd. 63.3. 

4. If God be with me I am not alone 
for / jhall be with him xvhofe Love is 
greater ufe and bentft to me, than the loi 
of all my Friends in the world. Their Lo\ 
may perhaps be forae little comfor 
as it floweth from His: But it ' 
His Love by which and upon whic 1 
I Live. It U His Love that gives or 
Life and Time^ and e i/)$ and Fcol 
and Prefervation , that gives ire Bock? 
gi esme books and giveth me underftanc 
ing: that gi -eth me provifion, andfovcf 
me from turnip it to oernicious flefhl 
nefs and excels : that giveth me even m 
friends then f !v s, and iaveth me froi 
thatabulc v them torn 

worietl un 3 the 

the Air is not Jb uleful or needful to rac.1 
his Love. The ! ove of all my frieni! 
cannor make me well when lam fick : ] 
cannot forgive the f nkWeft of my fins*, nc 
yet a-fTure me of Gods forgivenefs : ] 
cannot heal: ies of my foul, no 

' give a folic! laftiAg peace to the confeiene 
which is troubled: If all my friends ftan< 
about me when lam dying, they canno 


with God infolitude. 119 

ake away the fears of death, nor feci, re 
(Tage to everlsftmg life: Death 
vill be Death (till, and danger will be < an- 
;er, when all'my friends have done their 
feft. But my Almighty friend is Alliuf- 
penr: He can prevent myficknefs, or 
icbuke and cure it,or make it fo good to 
ic, that I (hall thank him for it : He can 
ilot out my v , andforgve 

11 my fin ; and juftifie me when the world 
fnd my conidence do condemn me: He 
an teach me to believe, to repent, to 
ray, to hope, to iuffer, arid to ever- 
ome : He can quiet my foul in the mid ft 
►f trouble, and give me a well groune'ed 
verlafting peace, and a joy which no man 
an tak? from me. He can deliver me 
rom all the corruptions and diftempers 
►f my froward heart •, and eaie me and 
rcurc me in the troublcfcm *war which 
> daily managed in my bread. He can 
lake it as cafie a thing t > dye, as to lye 
own and take my reil when I am weary, 
>r to uncrefs me at night and goto bed. 
rle can teach Death to layby its rerrible 
1 andtoipeakwith a mild and com- 
ic voicc,& to bring me the joyfuileft 
:ydings that ever came unto my ears *, and 
:o preach to me the laft and Iwcctcft Ser- 

120 Of Converfmg 

mon, even the fame that o ur Saviour prea- 
ched on the Crofs \_Ln'<e 2^. 43. Verily 
I fay unto thee. To day $1) alt thou be with 
Chriftin Pa *difc.~] 

And is th s the difference between the 
Love of man and of God} And yet do I 
lament the lof.* of man ! And yet am I fc 
backward to lonverfe wivh God, and to 
be facisfied in his Love alone! Ah my 
God, how juftly mayeil thou withhold 
that Love whfch I thus undervalue:, and 
refufc that converfe which I have fir ft re- 
futed ? and turn me over to man, to Glly 
man, to finful man, whole converfe I lb 
muchrdefire, till 1 have learnt by dear ex- 
perience the difference between man and 
God, and between an Earthly and an 
Heavenly frien< ! ! Alas, have 1 not tvy- 
cd it oft enough, to have known it k- t- 
ter before this ay ! Have I not ofte- 
nough found \vh t man is in a time of 
tryal ! Have I not been told it over and 
over, and told it to the quick, by deceit- 
ful friends, by felf-feeking friend*, by 
mutable, erroneous, deceived, fcanda- 
ious, ba'kflding friends, by proud and 
felfconceitcd friends) by paffionate> 
q'jarrelfom> vexatious friends, b< felf- 
grieved, troubled friends, that have but 


with God in folitude. 121 

broughtme all their calamities and griefs 
to be additions to my own-, by tempting 
friends, that have drawn me to fin more 
effectually than enemies ; by tender, 
faithful, but unable friends, that have 
but fetcht fire from my calamities and 
forrows to kindle their own, not equally 
fliaring, bat each one taking all my trou- 
ble entirely to himfelf: that have been 
wiling* but injnjficient to relieve me; and 
therefore the greater was their Love, the 
greater was rheir own, a .id confequent- 
ly mine affliction , that would have been 
with me, but could nor, thar would fan 
ha\e cafed my pain, and (lengthened 
mv languifhing body, but could not; 
would fain have removed all my. 
troubles, and comforted my caft down 
mind, bit could not. O how often have 
I found that humane friendfhip is a fweet 
j£$pccl > our woe; a beloved 

calamity, and an auction which nature 
tyil] not be without, not becaufe it Lovetlj 
evily nor becaufe it is wholly deceived in 
its choice ( for there is Good in friendjljip^ 
Iclhht in holy Love) but becaufe 
the Goid which is here accompanied with 
fo much evilj is the beginn ng of a more 
high and durable frcndiiiip, and pointetfi 
G us 

122 Of Converging 

us up to the blefled delightful fociety 
and convcrfe which in the heavenly Jem- 
fakm we fliall have with Chrift. 

But O how much better have I found 
the friendfhip of the AU-tuflkient God/ 
His Love hath not only pstited me, but 
relieved me : He hath not only been as 
it were ajfliUed with me in my affii&ions, 
but he hath delivered me leafonably, and 
powerfully, and fweetly hath he delivered 
me : And when he had once told me that 
my affli&ions were his own, 1 had no rea- 
fon to doubt of a deliverance. Mv bur- 
dened mind hath been eafed by his Love, 
whiih was but more burdened by the 
fruitlcfs Love of all my friends. Oft 
have I come to man for help, and cafe, 
and comfort, and gone away as from an 
empty Ctftern, that had no water to 
cool my third \ bur God ha r h been a 
prefent help : Could I but get near him % 
I was lure of Light, how great loever 
ivas my former darknefs : Could 1 but 
'igetnear him y I wasfure of warming quick- 
ning Life, how dead foever I had been 
before: But all my mifery was that I 
could not get near him! My darkened e-j 
ftranged guilty foul, could not get quiet* 
'ingandfatisfying acquaintance : My lum. 


with God in fotitude. 12} 
pifh heart lay dead on eanh, and would 
notftir, or quickly fall down again, if by 
any Celeftial force it began to be crawn 
up, and move a little towards him: My 
carnal mind was entangled in diverting 
vanities : And thus I have been kept frr-m 
communion with my God. Kept ! not 
by force or humane tyranny ; n t by bars 
or bolts, or diftancc of a phce, or by 
the lownefs of my condition*, nor by 
any mifreprefentations or reproach of 
man-, but, alas, bymyfdf, bythedark- 
nefs and deadnets, andfluggifhnefs and 
earthlinef9, and flefhlineU, an d paffions 
of a naughty heart. Thcle have been 
my bars, and bolts, andjaylois; Thefc 
ar: they that have k> pt me from my God : 
Had it not been for theie I might have got 
nearer to him • I might have walkt with 
him, and dwelt with him-, yea dwelt in 
him, and he in me : and then Ifhouldnot 
have mift any friends, nor felt mine ene- 
mies: And is it my finful diftance from 
my God that hath been my lofs, my wil- 
dernefs, my woe ! And is it a nearer ad- 
mittance to the prefence of his Love that 
rouftbe my recovery and my joy, if ever I 
attain to joy! O then my foul, lay hold 
on Chrift the Reconciler, and in him and 
Q2 by 

124 Of Converfing 

by him draw ner.to God: And ceafe 
from man whofc breath is in his noftrils : 
Love God in his Saint?, and delightfully 
convcrfe with Chrift in them, while thou 
haft opportunity. But Remember thou 
Livcft not upon them, or on their Love, 
but upon God, and therefore defire their 
Company but for His : And if thou have 
His^ be content if thou have not theirs. 

He wants not man that enjoyeth God. 
Gather up all the Love, and Thoughts, 
and Defircs which have been fcattered 
and loft upon the Creatures, and fet 
them all on God himfelf, and prefs 
into his prefence, and converfe with him, 
and thou (halt find the miftake of thy 
prefent difcontents, and fweet experience 
(hall tell thee thou haft made a happy 

5* If God be with me y I am not alone\ 
bee a fife he is with me with whom my great- 
eft bnfmefs lyeth: And what company I 
fhould I defiie, but theirs with whom I 
have my daily neceffary work to do ? I 
have more to do with God, than with all 
the World : Yea more and greater bufi- 
nefs with him in one day, than with all 
the World in all my life. I have bufinefs 
with man about houfc,or lands, or food, 


with God in folitude. 125 
or raiment, or labour, or journying, or 
Recreations, about fociety arid publick 
peace : But what are thefe to my buQ- 
ncli with God ! Indeed with holy men I 
have holy Bufinef*; but that is but as 
they are Meflengrs from God, and come 
to me on his bufinefs, and fo they muft 
be deadly welcome: But even then my 
s is much more wirh God then 
with them • with him that lent them, then 
with the Meflenger. Indeed my bufinefs 
with God is fo great, that If I had not a 
Mediator to encourage and afiift mc, to 
do mv wirk *nd procure me acceptance, 
the thoughts of it would overwhelm my 

O therefore rov Soul, let man (land by ; 
It is the Eternal God that I have to do 
with : And with whom am I to tr an fa ft in 
this little time the bufinefs of my cndlefs 
li c I have to deal wirh Go 1 through 
Ch: ft, for the pudon of my fins, of 

great and grievous fins ; and wo to 
me if 1 fpced not, that ever I was born 1 
I have feme hopes of pardon, but inter- 

t wkh many perplexing fears; 1 have 
evidences much blotted, and r.ct cafily 

eiftood ;I want aflurance that he i^ in- 
deed my Father, and reconciled to mc, 
G 3 and 

126 Of Converging 

and will receive me to himfclf when the 
World forlaketh me : I have many hq- 
guifhmg gnces to he ftrengthened; and 
alas, what radicated, obftinate, vexatious 
corruptions to he cured ! Can I look in- 
to my hem, into iuch an unbelieving, 
dead, and earthly heart, into fuch a proud 
and peevish and difordered heart, into 
fuch a trembling, rerplexrd, felf*ac^ufing 
heart, and yet -not u: derftandhow gieat 
my hufinefs is with Col ! Can I perufc 
my fins, or fed ny wants, and (ink un- 
der my wtakncfT^ and vet not » if ern 
how g eat mv bjfnefs is with God! 
Can I 1 >o< b^ck upon all the time that I 
h2ve loft, and all the gr.ee that 1 un- 
thin fully refitted*, and all -he mercies 
that { trod under foot, or foo'd away, 
and c^n I lonk before me and fee how 
ne.^r my time is to an end, an ! yet not un- 
derfta.id hiw great my bufwef, is with 
God •, Can I think of the malice and di- 
ligence of Satan, the number, power and 
fcbtiltv of mine Enemies the many flares 
and dangers that are ftill before me, the 
ftreng h and number of temptations, and 
m r giorance, un • archfu'nefsand weik* 
n f to refill, and ycc not know that my 
grcateft bufinels is with God : Can I feel 


with God wfolitude. 127 

mv afflictions and lament them, and think 
my burden greater than I can bear, and 
fin char man cannot relieve me^ can I 
go mourning in the heavinefsof my fouf, 
and water my Bed with Tears, and fill the 
air with mv groans and lamentations, or 
feci my foul overwhelmed within me, fo 
that my words are intercepted, and I am 
re ier to bre*k than fpeak, and yet not 
pe:c:ive :hat my greateftbufinefs fs with 
Go : ? Can I think of dying ? Can I draw 
near to judgment? Can I think of ever- 
la^i g joys in H *aven ? and of everlaft- 
ing pan in Hell, and vet not feel that my 
greateft bufinefb is with God ? O then, 
my foul, the cafe is eafily refolved, with 
whom it u that thoa muft moft deftroufly 
and ferioufly converfe. Where (bouldfl 
th )u be but where thy bufinefs is, and 
fo great bufinefs f Alas, what have I to 
do with man ! what can it do but make 
my head ake, to hear a deal of fcnfelefs 
chat, about preferments, lands and dig- 
nities, about the words and thoughts of 
Men, and a thoufand toys that are ut- 
terly i p:rtinent to my great imploy- 
ments, and fignifie nothing but that the 
dreaming world is not awake! What 
pleufure is it to fee the buflesof a Bedlam 
G 4 World? 

1 2 8 Of Convey fwg 

world? what a ftir they make to prove or 
wake themfelves unhappy ? How low 
and of how little weight, are the learned 
difco'jrfes about fyllables and words, and! 
names and notions, and mood and fig-ire* 
yea, or about the higheft Planets, when ail 
are not referred unto God ? Were it not 
that fome convcrfc with men, doth fur- 
ther my converfe with God; and that 
God did tranfatt much of his bufineftby 
his mcflengers and fervants, it were no 
matter whether ever I more faw the faee 
of man : were it not that my Matter hath 
placed me in ibciety, and appointed me 
and much of my wer\.fer others, and with 
pthr rs, and much of his merty is convey- 
ed by other?, man mi^ht ftand by, and 
folitude were better then the beft fociety, 
and God alone floul ) ta l O 

nothing h fo much my mitcrv ?nd (I ame, 
as that I an» no more willing, nor better 
skilleo in the management of my rreat 
important bufintfs .' That mv workii 
withGod, and my heart h no more wirh 
him / O what mi^ht I do in holy medi- 
tation or Prayer one hour ; iflwereas 
ready for pray r and as goo ! at prayer 
as one that hath fo long opportunity and 
fo great nccefl&ty toconverie with God, 


with God in fo/itude. Tiy 

fhould be / A prayerlefs heart, a hear c 
that flycth away fromjGod, is raoft excu- 
fable in fach a one as I , that hath fo 
much important bufinefs with bim : It ig 
work that muft be done - y and if well done , 
will never be repented of: I life not to' 
rcjuru from the prefence of God (when 
indeed I have draw 7 n near him) as I do 
from the company ot empty men, repent- 
ing that I have loft my time, and trem- 
bled that my mind is ditcompoied orde- 
preyed by the vanity and earthly favour 
of their difcourle: I oft repent that I 
have prayed to him fo -coldly,' and conver- 
i:h him la r.tvlgemly, and ferved 
him lb remifly' y bud never repent of the 
time, the cares, th^ afflictions, or the dili- 
gtnee imployed in his holy work. Many 
a time I h we repented that ever I fpent 
fomuch time with man, and wiflit I had 
never fc n the faces of ionic that are emi- 
nent in the world, whofe favour and con- 
verter others are ambitious of: But it is 
my grcif ard fhame that fo fmall a part 
of all my life, hath been fyent wuhG< d; ( 
and th«it fervent prayer ?nd heaven y con-; 
templarions, have been f fe'dom an l.io- 
fhort. Othctlha li Gx!,. 

though 1 had been lebvvitluii^ d^reft.of 
G 5 my 

i jo Of Converfing 

my friends! How much more blamelefs, 
regular and pure 1 How much more fruit- 
ful, and anfwerable to my obligations and 
profeffions/ How much more comfort- 
able to my review / How many falls, and 
liurts, and wounds, and greifs, and groans 
might I have efcaped .' O how much more 
jpleafing is it now to my Remembrance, to 
think of the hours in which I have lain at 
the feet of God, though it were in tears 
and groans, than to think of the time 
which I have fpent in any common con- 
verfe with the greateft, or the learnedeft , 
jorthedeareft of my acquaintance ! 

And as my Greateft bhfmefs is with 
God, fo my daily bufwefs is alfo with 
fcim : He purpofely leaveth me under 
wants, and fuffers necefTitics daily to re- 
turn, and enemies to aflault me, and 
affliftion to furprize me, that I may be 
daily driven to him: He loveth to hear 
from me : He would have me be no ft ran- 
ger with him : I havebufinefs with him 
every hour: I need not want employ- 
ment for all the faculties of my Soul, 
if I know what it is to converfe in Hea- 
ven, Even Prayer, and every holy 
thought of God, hath an Object fo 
«frcat and excellent, as fhould wholly 


with God infolittde. i j i 

take me up. Nothing muft be thought 
orfpoken lightly abut the Lord, His 
Name muft not be taken in vain : No- 
thing that is common bcfeemeth his 
Worshipers. He will be fanctificd of all 
that (hall draw near him : He muft be 
loved with all the Heart and Might. 
His Servants need not be wearied for 
want of employment, nor through the 
lightnefs or unprofitablenefs of their em- 
ployment ; If I had Cities to build, 
or Kingdoms to govern, I might better 
complain for want of Employment for 
the Faculties of my Soul, than I can 
when I am to converfc in Heaven. In 
other Studies the delight abateth, when 
I have reached my defire, and know all 
that I can know : But in God there is 
infinitely more to be known, when I 
know the raoft. I am never J at iated with 
the eafmefs of knowing, nor are my de- 
fires abated by any knufefnlnefs or mrvor* 
thinefs in the Objctt •, but I am drawn 
to ic by it's higheit Excellencies, and 
drawn on to defire more and more by 
the infinirenefs of the Light which I 
fiavc not yet beheld, and the infinite- 
nets of the Good which yet 1 have not 
enjoyed. If I be idle, or fecro to 


1 3 2 Of Converftng 

want employment, when I am to con- 
template all the Attributes, Relation^ 
Mercies, Works, and revealed perfecti- 
ons of the Lord, it's fure for want of 
Eyes to fee, or a Heart enclined to my 
bufinefs : If God be not enough to c: 
ploy my Soul, then all the Perfons and 
Things on Earth are not enough. 

And when I have Infinite Goodnefs to 
delight in, where my Soul may freely let 
out it felf,and never need to fear excefs <1£ 
Love •, how fwect fhould this employment 
be ? As Knowledge, fo love is never ftintcd 
here, by the narrownefs of the Gbjeft :. 
can never love him in any proportion 
cither to his Goodnefs and amiablencfs 
in himfelf, or to his Love to us. What 
need have I then of any other company 
or bufinefs,when I have infinite Goodnefs 
to delight in, and to Love (further than 
they fubferve this greateft Work ?) ! 

Come home then, O my Soul, to God : 
Converie in Heaven : Turn away thine 
eyes from beholding Vanity : Let not 
thy affections kindle upon ftraw ex bry- 
ars, that go out when they have made a 
flafti or noife, and leave thee to thy cold 
and darknefs : But come and dwell upon 
cekftial beauties, and make it thy daily 


with God in folitnde. I } $ 

andmoft diligent WorK, ro kin;!e thy 
affe&ions on the infinite eve:'. ; 
Good m r and then thev vrill arver be «U 
tinguifhed or decay for want of Fcu.eU 
but the further they go, and the longer 
they burn, t the greater will be the Flame. 
Though thou find ir hard while Love is 
bat a Spark to va e it burn, and com- 
plain that thv i backward hcaitr 
is hardly warmed with the love of God, 
yet vvhcii the whole pile hath taken fire, 
and i!he fUme ateendeth, fire will breed 
Lovciwill came Love ^ and.alithe 
malice of Hcii it lelf {hall never be able 
tofupprefs or quench it unto all Eternity. 
6. And it is a great Encouragement 
to mv converi'e with God 7 thatnomif- 
underftanJing, no malice cf Enemies, no 
former fin ^or prder.c fradtv, no, nor 
the infinite diftancc of the moil: holv glo- 
rious Gad? tart hinder my accefs to him, 
or turn av. ay his Ear or Love, or inter- 
rupt my leave and liberty .of converfe. 
If I convirtc with the pro*', their wants 
afflttt ne, being greatei than I can Tup* 
ply : Their c s an d expectations 
h I cannot latUfie, are my trouble. 

C$, it 
knot caficto get atiefa : and lei/cafie 
! to 

1 34 Of Converfmg 

to have their favour, uniefs I would] 
purchafe it at too dear a rate: Howl 
ftrangely and contemptuo; fly do they] 
look^t their inferiours! Great Friends) 
muft be made for a word or Smile : And I 
if you be not quickly gone, they arc 
aweary of you: And if you feek any 
thing of them, or would put them to any 
coft or trouble, you are as wclcom to 
them as fo many Vermin or noifom 
Creatures. They pleafe them beft that 
drive you away. With how much la- 
bour and difficulty muft you clime, if 
you will fee the top of one of thefe 
Mountains? And when you are there, 
you are but in a place of barrennefs - , 
and have nothing tofatisfie you for your 
pains, but a larger profpeft and vertigi- 
nous defpeft of the lower grounds which 
are not your own: Ic is feldom that 
thefe Great Ones are to t>efpokcn with : 
And perhaps their Speech is but a dcnyal 
of your Rcqucfts,if notfomefnappifh and 
contemptuous Rejection, that makes you 
glad when you are got far enough from 
them, and makes you the better like and 
love the acceffible calm & fruitful Plains. 
Bqti O how much greater encourage- 
ments hath my boul to converfe with 


with God in folitude. 135 
God! Company never hindereth him 
from harkning to my Suit: He is Infi- 
nite and Omnipotent, and as fufficient 
for every individual Soul, as if he had no 
other to look after in the World : When 
he is taken up with the attendance and 
praifes of his heavenly Hoft, he is as free 
and ready to attend and anfwer the 
groans and prayers of a contrite Soul, 
as if he had no nobler Creatures, nor 
no higher Service to regard. I am oft 
unready, but God is never unready: I 
am unready to pra.V, but he is not unrea- 
dy to hear : I am unready to come to 
God, to walk with him, and to fohce 
my Soul with him •, but he is never un- 
ready to entertain me. M^ny a time 
my Confcience would have driven me 
away, when he hath calied me to him, 
and rebuked my accufing fearful Con- 
fcience. Many a time I have called nrry 
felf a Prodigal, a companion of Swine, 
a miterable hard-hearted Sinner, unwor* 
thy to be called his Son, when he hath 
called me Child, and chid me for my 
queftioning his Love. He hath readily 
forgiven the Sins which I thought would 
havcm:de my Soul fuel of Hell: He 
hath entertained me with Joy, wtth 


I $ 6 Of Conner fing 

Miifitk and a Fc I better de- 

ferred :o hav peen j o g the Dogs" 
Without his Doofs. He ha.h cm • a.ed 
me in his iuflamrg conlolatwiy Aims, 
when he might have ipurned my gudty , 
Soul to Hell, and laid, Depart from me, I 
thou wo ker of Iniquity, I know thee 
not. O little did I.think, that he could 
ever have forg nten the Vanity and Vil- 
iany of my Youth ; yea, fo eafily have , 
forgotten my moll aggravated fins.When- 
I had finned sgainft Light; when I had 
refilled Conscience •, when I had fre- 
quently and wilfully injured Love, I 
thoughk he would: never have .forgot- 
ten it: i ; ur the g.eatnefs o; hi, Love 
and Mercy, and the blood and innrcef- . 
(ion of his Sai, hath cancelled all. O 
how many Mercies hive. I tafted fince 
1- thought: I had i finned away ad Mer- 
cies! How patiently hath he born with. 
me, fince I thought he w'ould never^ 
have put up more? And yet befidesmy 
fins anJ the withdrawings of n y own 
heart, there hath been nothing to in- 
terrupt our converfe. Though he be, 
Go U and I a worm, yet that would 
not ! ave kept me out: Though he be 
in Heaven, yet he is near to fuccour 


with God in foliiude. 1 3 7 
me on Earth, in ail that iUat! upon him 
for: Though he have the p*aif= of 
progefs, he difdaineth ret my Teafs and 
Groans: Though he have the peiieft 
Love of perfc he knowcih t\\£ 

little Spatk inrr.y Bread-, and defoifeth 
not my weak and languid Love: The 
I iniure and difhonour him b\ loving 
him no m^re; 1 ait forget fcimj 

bid have teen out of the way when he 
hath ccme or cafied me; thoi 
flifobedicntly turned away n \ 
and unkindly refufed the entertainmc. ts 
;, and unfaiihfuUv plaid with 
i! whole corrpany he nie t 

divorced rue, ror toi 
;s. O wonderful ! that 
e familiar with iEa 
h Man ! the HigHeft with 
fcWo the moft Hdy with an 

Man rcfuferh 
G< d will cntertair mf : f I ; that 
ft -If. 1 hofe 
that I-rever wronged or defcrved iH off, 
rejetf me wit': Reproach: And God 
i have u oth 

nvite me, a d intrcat conde& 

as if ht w ere bcl o' e:i 
ved: Men th.t I have 

1^8 OfConverfing 

deleaved well of, do abhor me : And 
God that I have delerveu Hell of, c orii 
accept nv: c The heft of rhem ire Briars, 
and as a thorny Hedge, and he is Love, 
an.i Rel, and Joy: And yet I can be 
more welcom to him, tho gh Ih^e of- 
fended h : m, ihan I can to them whom I 
have ohltgei : I have fteer leave to caft 
my f If into rav Fathers Arms, than to 
tumhl? in thole Briars, or wallow in 
the D rr I upbraid my felf with my 
fins, but he doth not upbraid me wit!: 
them- I condemn my felf foe them, but 
he condemns me iot : He forgiveth roe 
fo ncr thai I can forgive my felf : I 
have prace with him, before I can have 
peace o? Confcience. 

O 'her fore mv S uf, d^aw near to. 
hi n thar is fo willing of thy company ! 
T^at fro v:>eth thee not awav, unlets it be 
when tho i h iil fallen into the cirt, that 
thou iitayft wall thee from thy fil- 
thinefs, an] the fitce for his conv rfe. 
D raw near to him that will not wrong 
thee, by belicvmg mifreports of Ene- 
mies, or laving to thy charge the things 
thou kne eft not: but will forgive the 
Wrongs thou haft C'one to him, and jufti- 
fie thee from the fin, that Confdence 


with God infolitude. ijy 

layeth to thy charge. Come to him 
that by his Word and Spirit, his Mini- 
sters and Mercies calleth thee to come 9 
and hath promiied, that thole that come 
to him, he will m no wife fhut out. O 
walk w 7 ith him that will bear thee up, 
and lead thee as by the right hand (P/i/. 
73. 2 3. ) and carry his Infarts when they 
cannot go ! O fpeak to him that re ch- 
eth thee to fpeak, and underftondcth 
and accepts thy Stammering- a chelp- 
cth thine Infirmities when thou knoweft 
not what to pray for as thou oughteft , 
and giveth thee Groats when thou haft 
not w.rdSy and knoxpeh the meaning of 
his ! pi: it in thy Groans ; that cannot 
be contained ir. the Heazen of Heavens^ 
an.' yet bath rclpett to the contrite Soul y 
thar trembleth at his word> an J fe eth 
his d'.fpleaiVre : T a^ pityeth the I ears, 
anc dcipiieth not t e 'ghing of a broken 
heatt, nor the ('cms o the forrow'ul. 
Ov\«lk with h m that is never weary 
of the conve fe of ,n upright S< ul ! 
THat is never angry with thee, but for 
flying from him, or for draw ng back or 
being too Orange, and refusing theki d- 
nefe and feMcity of his prefencc. The 
day is coming when the pro.deft of 


140 Of Convey ftng 

the Sons of Men would be g T ad of j 1 
good look from him, that thou hafl 
leave to walk wirh: Even they that! 
would not look on thee, and thev that] 
injured and abuled thee, and they that' 
inieriours could have no accefs to \ O 
jiow g!,d would they be then of a Smilel 
or a word of hope and mercy from th 
Father! !> 11 then to him, on 

whom th Creation dothd'pendv 

^vhofe favour at laft the proudeft and! 
the worft would porchafe with the loui- 
eft cries, when all their pomp and p( € a- 
fu e is gone, and c*n purchafe nothing. 
O walk with him that is L >vc it felf, 
Bill! think hire not H'millmg or unlovely* 
and let not the Deceiver by hideous 
fions drive thee from him r 
wh.n thou haft felt a while the ftorms* 
:iunks thou, fhouldft fay, 
How g<^od, how fafe, how fweet is it 
to draw near to God! 

7 . With whom fhoidd I fo defroufly con- 
<verfe y as with him whom I mnft live with 
for eve* ? If I take p'e^fure in my Houfe, 
or Land,or Country, my walks, mv boo!« 
or friends themfelves as c!oath v d wrtjji 
fldh, I mu> poffefs this pleafure -but 
a little while i Henceforth know we no 


with Gcd in folitude. 14.T 
man after the flefh: Had we known 
pirift himielf after the flefh, we muft 
know him fo no more for ever. ( Though 
his Glorified fpiritual Body we fhall 
know.) Do you converie with Father 
pr Mo:her ? with Wives or Children ? 
with Pafters and Teacher? ? Though 
rou may convjerfe with thefe as Glorifi- 
ed Saints, when you come to Chrift, yet 
in thefe Relations that they ftand in to 
rou row, you fhall converie with them 
jut c. little while.* For the time isfijort: 
It remaineth that both they that have wives 
H as though they had none \ and they that 
weep as though they wept net \and they that 
rejoyce as though they rejoyced not', and 
they that bay as though they fojjtjjed not 5 
mid they that ufe the World^ as not abn- 
fing it (or as though they fifed it not:) 
for the fafinon of this World doth pafs a- 
way.2 1 Cor. 7. 29, ;o> 31. 

Why then fhould J fo much regard, a 
converie of fo fhort continuance? Why 
fhould i be fo familiar in my Inn, and 
fo in love with tha: familiarity, as to 
grieve when I muft but think of leaving 
it, or talk of g c, and look for- 

ward to the p'acewhc l I mud 
ever ? (hall 1 be fond of the company of 

142 Of Qonverfing 

a pafTenger that I travel with (yea per- 
haps one char doth nut meet me in the 
way, and goah to a contrary place) and 
(hall I not take morcpleafurc to remain 
ber home? I wiH not be to uncivil as to 
deny thole 1 meet a fhbrt falure, or to 
be friendly wirh my fellow- Travellers^ 
But remember,0 my Soul, that thou doft v 
not dwelt but travel here, and that it is rc 
thy Fathers Ho-ife where thou mull a-. 
bide forever: Yea and lie isneaierthee 
than Man (though invifiblcj even in thy 
way. O ice him then that is invifib'e: 
HearKen to him when hefpea'eth: O- 
bey his voice: Obfcrve hii way : Speaki 
to him boldy, though humbly and re- 
verently* a^ his Child, about the g eat 
concernments of thy State : Tell hiniic 
what it is that aile-hthec: And feeing i 
ail thy fmart is the fruit of thy own finJ tl 
confefs thy folly and onkindnefs, crave f 
his forgivenefs, and remember him what 
his Son hath fuffered, and for whatd 
Treat with him about thy future courfei 
Defue his Grace, and give up thy felfta 
his Con '.'uft and his Cure: Weep ovc; 
in his Ears the H ftory of thy mifd^ing! 
and unthankf il courfe : Tell it him witf 
penitential tears and groans ; But tell 


with God in foli t tide. 143 
him aHo the advant ge tM h c hath for 
the honouring o\ his grace, if ir may now 
abound where fin aboundeth : Tell hicn 
thac thou art raoft offended \*ith rhy 
felf, for that which he is mod offended 
Wuh; That thou *rt angry with thy .if- 
obedient unthankful hearr: That thou 
prt even aweary o f that lvart that lo- 
^eth him no more • At' that it (hall ne- 
ver pleafe thee, till it Jove him better 
and be more defirous to pleafe him : Tell 
him of thy E: emits, and crave the 
protcftion of his Love : Tell him of 
ray frailties, infirmities and paffijfii, 
and crave not cn!y his tender forbear- 
ance, but his help: Tell him that 
without him thou carift do nothing; and 
owe the Grxethat is RiflScient for thee, 
that through him that ft engtheneth thee 
thou mayeft do all things/. When th u 
failed, defpair nor, but crave h ; s help- 
ing hind to raife thee. Speak tohimefc. 
peciafly of the everldftin? things, and 
thank him for his Promifes, ard for thy 
Hopes: For what thoufh alt ^c y an have, 
and do among his Holy ones for ever. ! x- 
prefs thy jo s in the prom fe of thofe 
joys*, that thou mijft fee hisGIofy, and 
love lira, and praifchim better than 


344- yj tonver\\ng 

ihcucanft now defirc. Beg nthofc prai-! 
fes, and a* thou walkcft with him, take 1 
plcafure inthe mention of h jions 5 

be thankful to him and fpeak good of 
his Name ;< Sol ice thy fclf inremembring] 
what a God, what a defence an^ portion 
a.'l belLvr- have: And in conuicring 
whither he is now conducing thee, and 
what he will do with thee, and what ufe 
he will make of thee forever: Speaj$ 
with Rejoycing of the glory of his works, 
and the righteoulhefs of his judg.r.en s, 
and tho holineis and evenaeis of his 
ways .• Sing forth his praiies vvith a joy- 
ful] heart, and pleafanp, and triumphing, 
voice-, and. frown .away all flavifh fears^ 
all importune malicious fugg;ftions oij. 
doubts, all peevithhuftful nipping griefs,, 
that would mar or interrupt the melody \ j 
and would untune or unftring a raifedf] 
Well compofed Soul. Thy Father loveth 
thy very moans and Tears ; But how 
much more doth he love thy Thanks and 
Praife ? Or if indeed it be a Winrefi 
time, a ftormy day with thee, and hd 
leern to chide or hide his face becaufe 
thou haft offended him, let the cloud 
that is gathered by thy Folly come 
down in tears, and tell him, Thou haft 


OfConverfmg 145 

finned againft Heaven and before him, 
and art no more worthy to be called 
his Son ; but yet fly not from him, but 
beg his pardon and the priviledges of a 
Servant: And thou wilt find embrace- 
ments, when thou feareft condemnation : 
and find that he is merciful and ready 
to fa-give : Only return, and keepclo- 
fer to him for the time to come. If the 
breach through thy neglcft be gone fo 
far, as that thou feemeft to have loft thy 
God, and to be caft off, and left forfa- 
fcen •, defpair not yet} for he doth but 
hide his face till thou repent : He doth 
not forftke'thee, but only tell thee what 
it is to walk fo carelefly as if thou 
wouldft forfake him; Thou art fafterand 
furer in his Love and rov^nant then thou 
canft believe or rppr hend. Thy Lord 
twas as dear as ever to his Father, when 
he ciycd oir, My God, why bijl thou 
Krfdkgn tne. But yet neglect him not, and 
be not - fsol'hs withdrawings and 

of th\ Lift up thy voice and cry 

jnu [Ptthffil in defpight of unbelief, 
:ry out \My Father, my Saviour^ 
y God^\ and thou (bait hear him 
Anfwcr thee at laft [_My Child ;■] 
Cry out [O rrhydoft thou bide thy face} 
H and 


14^ Of Lonverfmg 

and why haft thou forfaken me ! what 
fhall I do here vpitboHt thee ! leave me 
net) lofe me not in this howling wiidernefs ! 
Let me not be a prey to any ravening beafi ! 
to my Jin> to Satan, to my foes and thine !]] 
Lift up thy voice and weep, and tell him, 
they are the tears and lamentation of his 
Child : O beg of him, that thy wander- 
ings and childifh folly, may not be taken 
as a&s of enmity, or at lead that they 
may be pardoned *, and though he correal 
thee, that he will return and not forfakc 
thee, butftill take thee and ufe thee as 
his child. Or if thou haft not words to 
pour out before him, at leaft finite upon 
thy breaft, and though thou be afhamed 
or afraid to look up toward Heaven, look 
down and fay,[0 Lord Joe merciful to me a 
fnner^\ and he will take it for an accep- 
table fuit, that tendeth to thy pardon and 
juftification, and will number fuchafen- 
tance with the prayers which he cannot 
deny. Or if thou cry, and canft not hear 
of him, and haft long called put upon thy 
fathers Name, and heareft not his voice 
and haft no return •, enquire after him of 
thofe thou mceteft : Ask for him of them. I 
that know htm and arc acquainted With 
his way ! Make thy moan unto the watch- j 


with God in folitu&e. 147 

men \ and ask them, where thou mayft 
find thy Lord. And at laft he will ap- 
pear to thee, and find thee firft, that thou 
roayft find him, and (hew thee where it 
was that thou didft lofe him, bylofing 
thy fclf and turning from him! feekhim 
and ihou fhalc find him : wait and he will 
appear in kindnefs : For he never failcth 
or forfakcth thofe that wait upon him. 

This kind of Convcrfc, O my louf, 
thou haft to profecute with thy God. 
Thou haft alfo the concernments of all 
his fervants; his AJfiitted ones , his broken 
hearted ones> his difeafed ones, his perfe- 
cted ones, to tell him of: Tell him alfo 
of thexoncernments of his Kingdom, the 
fury of. his Enemies, the difhonour they 
caft upon his Name, the matters of his 
Gofpel, caufe and intereft in the world : 
But dill let his Righteous Judgment be 
reracmbred, and all be terminated in the 
glorious everkfting Kingdom. 

Js it not much better thus to converfe 
with him that I muft be with for ever, a- 
bout the place, and the company, and 
work, and concernments of my perpetu- 
al abode, then to be taken up with ftran* 
r|ers in my way, and detained by their 
mpertinencics ? 
H2 I 

14S Of Converfng 

I have forra'd my felffolongin thcfc 
meditations, that 1 will but name the reft, 
and tell you what I had further to have 
treated on, arid leave the enlargement to 
your own meditations. 

8, I have no rcafon to be weary of 
converfe with God, feeing it is that for 
which all human converfe is regardable. 
Converfe with man is only fo far defirable 
as it tendeth to our Converfe with God: 
And therefore the end muft be preferred 
before the means. 

9. It is the Office of Chrift, and the 
work^ of the Holy Ghoft, and the life of all 
the means of Grace , and of alt creatures, 
mercies and afflictions, to red uce our ftray- 
ing fouls to God, that we may converfe 
with him and enjoy him. 

I o. Converfe with God is mofi f nit able 
to thofe that are fo near to death; Itbeft 
preparcth for it : It is likeft to the work 
that we are next to do. \fifc had rather 
when death comes, be found converfing 
withtWthcn with Man: It is God that 
a dying man hath principally to do with : 
It is his 'judgment that he is going to j 
and his mercy that he hath to truft upon : 
And therefore it concerneth us to draw ! 
near him now, and be no Grangers to him, 


with God in folitude. 149 

left ftrangcncfs then fhould be our ter* 

1 1. How wonderful a condefcenfion 
is it that God Jlionld be willing toconverfe 
with me ! with fuch a worm and finftji 
wretch: And therefore how unexcufa- 
ble is my crime, if I refute his company, 
and fo great a mercy ! 

12. Lift!/, Heaven it felf is but our 
Converfe with God and his Glorified 
ones, (though in a more perfeft manner 
then we can here conceive.) And there- 
fore our holy converfe with him here is 
the ftate that is likeft Heaven, and that 
pre, areth for it, and all the Heaven that 
is on earth. 

IT renruineth now that I briefly tell ( 
you, what you fliould do to attain' 
and manage this Converfe with God, in , 
the improvement of your folitu Je. (Foe ' 
Directions in general for Walking with 
God j I refcrve for another place.) At pre- 
fent let thefe few fuffice. 

Direft. 1 . If you would comfortably 

Converfe with God, mak$ jure that you 

are Reconciled to him in Chrift, and that 

h% u indeed y^wr friend and Father. Can 

H 3 two 

1 50 Of CoHverfmg 

two walk together except they be agreed? 
Can you take pleafurc in dwelling with 
the confucning fire ? or converting with 
the mod dreadful enemy? Yet this I 
muftadd, that every doubting or felf-ac- 
chfing foul may not find a pretence to fly 
from God. i. That God ceafeth not to 
be a Father when ever a fearful foul 
is drawn to queftion it or deny it. 2. 
That in the Univerfa! Love and Grace of 
God tomiferable Pinners, arfki in the uni- 
verfal aft of conditional pardon and obli- 
vion, and in the offers of Grace, and the 
r eadirefs of God to receive the penitent, 
there i& Glad Tidings that ftiould exceed- 
ingly rcjoyce a a finncr 5 and there is 
fufficicnt encouragement to draw the 
moft guilty n iferable finner to fcek to 
God, and fue for mercy. But yet the 
fweetejl com/erfe is for children, & for thofe 
that have fome affurance that they ar$ 

But perhaps you will fay, that this is 
not eafily attained : How fhall we know that 
he is our friend ? 

In brief, I anfwer, \iyon are unfeigned- 
ly friends to God, it is becaufe he firft 
loved y oh. Prefer him before all other 
friends, and all the wealth and vanity of | 


with God in [olitudt. 151 
the world j Provoke him not by wilful* 
nefs or negledt : ufc him as your beft 
friend, and sbufe him not by difobedi- 
ence or ingratitude 5 own him before all, 
at the deareft rates, whenever you arc 
called to it : Defire his prefence : Lament 
his abfence : Love him from the bottom 
of your hearts : Think not hardly of 
him: Sufpett him not; Mifunderftand 
him not : Hearken not to his enemies.: 
Receive not any falfc reports againft him: 
Take him to be really better for you than 
all the world : Do thefe, and doubt not 
but you are friends withGod f & God with 
you; In a word, Be but heartily willing t* 
befriends to God y and that Cod flionld be 
yonr chcifeftfrievd) and you may be furc 
that it is jo indeed, and that you are and 
have what you defire. And then how 
delightfully may you converfe with 

Dircft. 2. Wholly depend on the Medu 
at ion of Chrift, the great Reconciler : 
Without him there is no coming near to 
God: But in his Beloved you fhall be ac- 
cepted. Whatever fear of his dif plcafure 
(hall furprize you, fly prefentfy for fafc- 
ty unto Chnft : whatever guilt fhall look 
you in the face, commit your felf and 
H 4 caufc 

J 52 Of Converging 

caufc to Chrift, and dcfirc him to anfvvcr 
for you : When the doors of mercy feem 
tobcfliutupagainftyou, fly to him that 
bears the kcyes, andean at any time open 
to you, and let you in .? Defire him to an- 
swer for you to God, to your conldences, 
and againft all accufers : By him alone 
you may boldly andcomfortably converfe 
with God ; But God will not know you 
out of him. 

Direft. 3. Take heed of bringing far. 
ticuhr Guilt into the pre 'fence of God y if 
yen would havefaeet communion with him: 
CLrift himielf never reconciled God to 
fin : And the fmner m&fin are fo nearly 
(related, that for all the death of Chrift, 
you fti^li feeithn iniquity dweQtfh not 
with God ; but he hateth the worKS o r ir, 
and the fooli^li (hall not (land in his fight ; 
and that if you will prefurre *-o fin becaufc 
you r:re his Childreh, he fun your fa \>JB 
§nd yon out. O whsc fe rs, ■ lut, [hamc, 
whit »cli-abhoriC.tce a r -d -ftlf-rcvrnge 
will guile raiic in a penitent foul, when 
it comes into the light of the pre»t:ice of | 
the Lord * it will unavoi Jahle abate your 
boldnefs and your comforts: When you 
fhou!d be fwcetly dtlighting in his pfea- 
fed face, and promiled Glory, you will 


with God in folitnde. 15 J 

be befooling your felves for your former 
fin, and ready even to tear your flefh, to 
think that ever you (hould do as you have 
done, and ufe him as you would not have 
ufed a common friend, and caft your felves 
upon his wrath. But an innocent fouf, 
or pacified confeience, doth walk with 
God in quietnefs and delight, without 
thofe frowns and fears which are a tafte 
of Hell toothers. 

Direft. 4. If you would comforta- 
bly converfe with God, be Jure that yon 
bring not Idols in your hearts : Take heed 
of inordinate affettion to an) Creature. Let 
all things clfe be nothing to you, that you 
may have none to take up your thoughts 
but God. Let your Minis be further 
feperate from them than your Bodies : 
Bring not into folitude or to contempla- 
tion, a proud, or luftful, or covetous 
mind : It much more concerneth thee, 
what Heart thou bringeft, that what 
Place thou art in, or what rw^thou art 
upon, A mind that is drowned in ambi- 
tion, fenfmlity or paffion, will fcarcc 
find God any fooner in any wildcrnefs 
than in a croud( unlefs he be there return- 
ing from thofe fins to God J where-ever 
he feeth him, God will not own and be 
H 5 familU 

154 Of Converfwg 

familiar with fo foul a foul. Seneca could 
fay[£*idprodeft lotions regionis filentium^ 
fi affeiius fremunt ?] What good dozh the 
fdencc of all the Country do thee 9 tf tho H 
have the noife of raging affections within ?] 
And Gregory faith [Quicorpore rtmotiis 
wivit, &c. He that in body is far enough 
from the tumult of human converfation, is 
not infolitude y if he bufie him felf with earth- 
ty cogitations and de fires : and he is not in 
the City that is net troubled with the tumult 
tf worldly cares or fear J, though bebepreffed 
with the popular crouds.*} Bring not thy 
houfe, or land, or credit, or carnal friend 
along with thee in thy heart, if thou de- 
fire and expect to walk in Heaven, and to 
converfe with God. 

Direa. 5. Live ftill by Faith •, Let 
Faith lay Heaven and Earth as it were to- 
gether : Look not at God as if he were far 
off: fet himaways as before you, even 
as at your right hand ; Pfal. 16. 8. Be 
ftill with him when you awake, Pfal. 1 39. 
18. In the morning thank him for your 
t eft *, and deliver up your felt t o his jcon- 
dudl and fervice for that day. Go forth as 
with him, and to do his work : Do every 
naion, with the Command of God, and 
the promifc of Heaven before your eyes, _ 


With God in folitude. 1 $ $ 

snd upon your hearts : Live as thofc tha c 
have incomparably more to co with G<4 
and Heaven, than all this world} That 
you may fay with David, Pfal. 37. 25,26. 
(as aforecited) Whom have 1 in Heaven 
but thee I and there is none on Earth that I 
dejire befides thee Q And with Panl, Phil. 
1. 21. [To me to Live is Chriflj and to 
Bye is gain.'] You muft /hut up the eye of 
fenfe (lave as fubordinate to Faith) and 
live by Faith upon a God, a Chrift, and 
a World that is unfecn, if you would 
know by experience what it is to be above 
the brutifh life of lenfualifts, and to 
Converfe with God. O Chriftian, if thou 
hadft rightly learned this blcfled life, 
what a high and noble foul-converfation 
wouldft thou have ! How eafily wouldft 
thou fpare, and how little wouldft thoa 
mifs the favour of the greateft, thepre- 
fence of any worldly comfort! City or 
Solitude would be much alike to thee, 
laving that the place and ftate would be 
bed to thee, where thou-haft the greateft 
help and freedom to converfe with God, 
Thou wouldft fay of human lociety as 
SenecalJUnns propopulomthiefti & p puks 
fro uno : Mihifatis eft muscat is eft nullus7\ 
[One is inftead of all the people to me 7 and 


156 Of Converpag 

the people as on-e > One is enough for we, and 
none is enonghr\ Thus being taken up with 
God, thou mighteft live in prifon as at 
liberty, and in a wildernefs as in a City, 
and in a place of baniftiment as in thy na- 
tive Land : For the Earth is the Lords, 
and the fulnefs thereof: and everywhere 
thou ruayeft find him, and converfe 
with fiim,, and lift up pure hands unto 
him : In every place thou art within the 
fight of home •, and Heaven is in thine 
eye, and thou art converting with that 
God, in whofe converfe the higheft An- 
ge's do place their higheft felicity and de- 

How little caufe then have all the 
Churches enemies to triumph, that can 
never (hut up a true believer from the pre- 
fence of his God? nor banifli hirfiinto 
iiich a place where he cannot have his con. 
verfation in Heaven? The ftones that 
were caft at holy 'Stephen* could not hin- 
der him from feeing the Heavens opened, 
and Chrift fitting at the right hand of 
God. A Patmos allowed holy John Com- 
munion with Chrift, being there in the 
Spirit on the Lords day, Rev. 1.9, io« 
Chrift never fo fpcedily and comfortably 
owocth his femnts, as when the world 


with God in fclitude. 157 
difownetb them, and abufeth them for 
his fake, and hurls them up and down as 
the fcorn and off-fcouring of all. He 
quickly found the blind man that he bad 
cured, when once the Jews had taft him 
out, Joh. 9. 3^. Peifecutors do but pro- 
mote the blefiednefs and exceeding joy 
of fuffercrs for Chrift, Mat. 5. n. 

And how little Reafon then have 
Chriftians to fhun fuch fufferings by 
unlawful means, which turn to their fo 
great advantage ? and to give fo dear as 
the hazard of their fouls by wilful fin, to 
efcape the honour, and fafcty, and com- 
modity of Martyrdom? 

And indeed we judge not, we Love 
not, we Live not as fan&ified ones muft 
do, \(wc judge not that the trueft Liber- 
ty, and Love it not as the Beft Condition, 
in which we may Be ft converfc with God. 
And O how much harder is it to walk with 
God, in a Court, in the midft of fenfual 
delights, than in a prifon or wildernefs, 
where we have none to interrupt us, and 
nothing elfe to take us up ? It is our pre- 
poflefled minds, our car h'y hearts,* our 
carnal affeftions and copcupifencc/ and 
the pleafures of a profperous ftate, that 


I $8 Of Converfmg 

are theprifon and thcjaylors of our foute. 
Were ic not for thefe, how free (hould 
wc be, though our bodies were con- 
fined to the ftraighteft room! He is 
at Liberty that an walk in Heaven, 
and have accefs to God, and make ufe of 
all the Creatures in the world, to the 
promoting of this his Heavenly con- 
verfation. And he is the prifoner whofe 
foul is chained to flefh and earth, and 
confined to his lands and houfes, and 
feedeth on the duft of worldly riches, 
or walloweth in the dung and filth of 
gluttony, drunkennefs and luft : that 
arc far from God, and defire not to be 
near himj but fay to him, Depart 
from us, we would not have the know- 
ledge of thy ways : that Love their 
prifons and chains fo well, that they 
would not be fct free, but hate 
thofc with the cruelleft hatred that 
endeavour their deliverance. Thofe are 
the poor prilbners of Satan, that have 
not liberty to believe, nor to Love 
iod, nor converfe in Heaven, nor feri- 
ufly to mind or feek the things that 
are high and honourable: that have 
not liberty to meditate or pray, or . 
ferieufly to ipeak of holy things, nor 


with God in folitude. 159 

to love and convcrfc with thofe that-c'o 
fo : that are tycd fo hard to the drud- 
gery of fin, that they have not liberty 
one month, or week, or day, to leave 
it, and walk with God fo much as for 
recreation! But he that liveth in the 
family of God, and is employed in at- 
tending him, and doth converie with 
Chrift, and the Hoft of Holy ones a- 
bove, in reafon fhould not much com- 
plain of his want of friends, or compa- 
ny or accommodations, nor yet be too 
impatient of any corporal confinement. 
Laftly, be fure then mod narrowly 
to watch your hearts, that nothing have 
entertainment there, which is againft 
your Liberty cf converfe with God. 
Fill not thofe Hearts with worldly 
trafh, which are made and new-made 
to be the dwelling place of God. De- 
fire not the company which would di- 
^minifh your heavenly acquaintance and 
correfpondency. Be not unfriendly, 
nor conceited of a felf-fufficiency, but 
yet beware left under the honcft inge- 
nuous title of a friend, a fpecial, faith- 
ful, prudent, faithful friend, you fhould 
cnterta-in an Idol, or an enemy to your 
Love of God, or a cor rival and com- 


I 60 Of CoMverfwg 

pctitor with your higheft friend: For 
if you do, it is not the fpecious title 
of a friend that will favc you from the 
thorns and bryars of difquietment, and 
from greater troubles than ever you 
found from open enemies. 

O bleffed be that High and everlaft- 
ing friend, who is every way fuitcd 
to the upright fouls! To their Minds, 
their Memories, their Delight, their 
Love, &c. By fureft Truth, by fulleft 
Goodncfs, by cleared Light, by dear- 
eft Love, by firmeft Conftancy, &c. 
— O why hath my drowfie and dark- 
fighted foul been fo feldom with him! 
why hath it fo often, fo ftrangely, and 
fo unthankfully pafled by; and not olv 
fcrvedhim, nor hearkened to his kind- 
eft calls ! O what is all this trafh and 
trouble that hath filled my memory, 
and employed my mind, and cheated 
and corrupted my aflfe&ions, while my 
dcareft Lord hath been days and nights 
fo unworthily forgotten, fo contempcu- 
oufly negle&ed,. and difregarded, and 
loved as if I loved him not / O that 
thefe drovpfie and thofe waking nights, 
thofe loitered, loft, and empty hours, 
had been fpent in the humbleft converfe 


with God in folk tide. 161 
with him, which have b<ren dreamed and 

doted away upon now I know not 

what ! O my God, how much wifer 
and happier had I been, had I rather 
chofen to mourn with thee, than to 
rejoyce and fport with aiv other / O 
that I had rather wept with thee, ttan 
laughed with the creature! For the 
time to come, let that be my friend, that 
mod befriendeth my dark, ard dull, 
and backwaid foul, in its undertaken 
progrefs, and heavenly converfation I 
Or if there be none iuch upon e^rth, 
let me here take one for my friend ! 
O blot cut every Name from my cor- 
rupted heart, which hindereth the deep- 
er engraving of thy Name! Ah L rd, 
what a Hcnr, what a blind ungrateful 
thing, U a He^rt not touched with 
ccleffial Ldve! yet flu" \ not run to 
thee > whv-n have non< e!fs th . t will 
know roe.' (hall I - t draw ce P 

when all fly from me! W . iy 

cipt .:. cut fo I uc [NONE 

NOTHING.] Ahfo Lfl JI< i t, that 
haft thought of it [ A her. is :' t \ lace, 
that Cave or Defcrt, uhc.e I ruighc 
fconeft find ihec, and fulled enjoy thee? 


162 Of Cowverfwg 

Is it in the wildcrnefs that thou walkeft, 
or in the c/oud : in the Clofet, or in 
the Church ; where is it that I might 
fooneft meet wirh Gxl?] But alas, I 
now percci-e, that I navfc a Heart to 
fin i, before I am like to find my Lord\ 
OLovclefs> Lifelcft, ftrony heart! that's 
dead to him tha give it Life! ar.d to 
none but him! CouiJ I rot Love 9 oc 
r all, mahinks I were 
lefs dead than now ? L.fs Jeai, if dead, 
tha n .1 vc? 1 hat! a f a;oft laid 

i, let me never Love more till I 
can Love thee ? Nor think more on 
any thi^g till I can more willingly 
thirk of thcc?l But I muft fupprefs 
that wi h ; for Life will aft: And the 
merries n id motions of Nature are 
necejfary to thofc of Grace. And there- 
fore in the life of Nature, and in the 
glimmerings of thy Light, I will wait 
for moreoftheCelcftial life ! My God, 
thou haft my confent/ It is hcic artift- 
cd un ier my hand : Separate me from 
wh*t and whom thou wilt, fo I may bat 
be newer thee ! Let me Love thee more, 
and feel more of thy Love, and then 
let me Love or be beloved of the world, 
as little as thou wilt. 


with God in folitude. 163 
I thought [elf -love had been a more 
predominant thing : But now I find 
that Repentance hath its anger, its Hat- 
red and its Revenge / I am truly An- 
gry with that Heart that hath fo oft 
and foolifhly offended thee ! Methinks 
I hate that Heart that is fo cold and 
backward in thy love, and afmoft 
grudge it a dwelling in my breaft! 
Alas when Love fn ou!d be the' life of 
Pnyer, the life of holy Meditation, 
the life of Sermons ?nd of holy Con- 
ference, and my ; : n thefe fhould 
1 ng to meet thee, ght to mcn«| 

• tion thee, I ftragg'c ! ord, I know 
not whether! or 1 fit frill and wifli, 
but do not rifc^nd run .;nd follow thee, 
ye>, I do not what I fer:m to do. All's 
dead, all's dead, for Wane of Love .' I 
often cry, O where is th;t place, 
where the quickening beams of Heaven 
arc warmed, that my fout 1 i^ht fcefi 
it Out JJ But whether ever 1 go, to 
City or toSJdde, alas, I find it is 
not PUce that makes the difference. I 
know that Chrift is perfeftly rcplcnifti- 
cd with Life and Light, and Love Di- 
vine : And I hear him as our Head 
and Treafurc proclaimed and offered 


I&4 OfConverfing 

to us in the Gofpel! This is thy 
Record, that he that hath the Son hath 
Life / O why then is my barren foul 
fo empty / I thought I had long ago 
confented to thy offer \ and then ac- 
cording to thy Covenant, both He and 
Life in him are mine/ And yet mud 
I ftill be dark and dead ! 

Ah deareft Lord, I fay not that I 
have too long waited ! but if I conti* 
me thus to wait, wilt thou never find 
the time of Love ? and come and own 
thy gafping worm? wilt thou never 
diflipate thefe clouds, and fliine upon 
this dead and darkened foul? Hath my 
Night no Day? Thrufl; floe not from 
thee,, O my God / Foi tl ttfsa Hell, to 
be thruft from God. But iure the 
caufc is all at home, could I find it 
out, or rather could I cure it/ It is 
furc my face that's turned from God, 
when I fay, His fece is turned from 
me. But if my Life mud here be out 
of fight, and hidden in the Root (with 
Ghrift in God,) and if all the reft be 
referved for that better w T orld, and I 
muft here have but thefe frail begin- 
nings/) make me more to Love, and long 
for the bleflcd day of thine appearing, 


with God infolitude. 165 

and not to fear the time of ray deliverance, 
y nor unbelievingly to linger in this So- 
dom, as one that had rather ftay with fin, 
then come to thee! Though fin hath 
made me backward to the fight, let it 
not make me backward to receive the 
Crown 5 Though it hath made me [a 
loiterer In thy work, let it not make 
me backward to receive that wages, 
which thv Love will give to our par- 
doned, poor, a:ceptcd fervices. Though 
I huve too oft dnwn back, when I 
(houki have cone unro thee, and wal- 
ked with thee in thy ways of G^ace, 
yet heal that unbelief, ar.d d'v 
which would iihkc me to draw back, 
when thou catfeft me to poflefs thy 
Glory? Though thefickneis and lame* 
nefs of my foul hkvt hindere< me in 
my journy, yet let their paipfi f nefs 
help me to defire to be delivered from 
them, and to be 1 e (Airj^ 

out the interpofing lighti 0; thy 'n- 
pleafure^ I mall fuily feel thy full (i 
Love, and walk with thy C! 
ones in the Light of thy Glor^ tri- 
umphing in thy Praiie for even 


Job Uf x^onverjwg 

Bli T now I have given you thefc 
few Directions for the improved 
wtnt cf your folitude for converge with 
Cod y left I fhould occafion the hurt of 
thofe that arc unfit for the LefTon I 
have given, I muft conclude with this 
Caution (which 1 have formerly alfo 
publifhed,) That it is not malcnchotfy 
or weak-headed pcribns, who arc not 
able to bear fuch exerciie c , for whom . 
I have written thefe Directions. Thole 
that are not able to be much in fe- 
rious folitary thoughtfulnefs, without 
confufions and diftra&ing fuggeftions, 
and hurrying vexatious thoughts, muft 
fet themfelvcs for the raoft part to 
thofe duties which are to be done in 
company by the help of others ; and 
muft be very little in fo'itary duties: 
For to them whofe natural faculties are 
fo diieafed or weak, it is no duty^ as 
being no means to do them the defired 
jjlod ; but while they ftrive to do that 
which they are naturally unable to en- 
dure, they will but confound and dif- 
traft themfelves, and make themfelves 
unable for rhofc other duties which 
yet they arc not utterly unfit for. To 
fuch perfons therefore inftead of order- 

with God in folitude. l6y 
cd, well-digefted Meditations, and 
much time fpent in fecret thoughtful- 
nefs, it muft fufficc that they be brief 
in fecret Prayer, and rake up with fuch 
occafional abrupter Meditations as they 
are capable of, and that they be the 
more in reading, hearing, conference, 
and praying and praifing God with o- 
thers: untill their melancholly diftem- 
.pers arc fo far overcome, as that (by 
the dire&ion of their Spiritual Guides) 
they may judge thcrofelves fit for this 
improvement of their Solitude. 

F INI s. 

Books Printed for John Sains- 
bury in CornhilL 

TH E Gofpel Feaft opened, 
or the Great Supper of the 
Parable difcovered, in ieveral Ser- 
mons. By Jo/epb Hujfey, Pallor 
in Cambridge. 

An Inquiry after Religion, or 
a Veiw of all Religions and Seels 
in the World. By a Member of 
the Royal Society. 

A Word to poor, ignorant, and 
carelefs people, that mind not the 
Salvation of their precious fouls ; 
containing Directions for a Holy 
Life ; with a Catechifin and Pray- 
ers for Families, and Graces be- 
fore and after Meat. 


Books V tinted, for John Salusbuiy 
in CornhilL 

TH E certainty ofTheWorldsofSpi- 1 
rits, fully evinced by unqueftion* | 
able Hiftories of Apparitions and Witch- 
crafts, Operations, Voices, &c* Proving I 
the Immortality of Souls> the Malice 1 
and Miferies of the Devils and the Dam- I 
ned, and the Bleflednefs of the Juftifi- I 
ed. By Richard Baxter. 

An End of Dottrinal Controverfies which $| 
have lately troubled the Churches, by ^ 
reconciling explication without much 1 
Dilputing. By Richard Baxter. 

The Proteftant Religion truly ftated I 
and juftified, by the late Reverend Di- 
> vine Mr. Richard Baxter : Whereunto 
is added by way of an EpiiUe, forne 
Account ol ?;irned Author, ne- 

ver be' (bed. By Mr. Alatth. 

Sylveficr and Mr. Daniel Williams. 

The Harmony of the Divine Attri- 
butes,!^ the contrivance and accoirplifh- ( 
ment of Mans Redemption by the 
Lord Jefiis Chrift. By Willi** ButesA 
D- D. 

The Changablenefs of this WorKM 
with refpc Jation , Families anfl 

particular Performs i with a pra 

Applica- i 

Application thereof tfr fw^vanous con- 
ditions of this Mo r t I Eife. By Timo- 
¥ thy Rogers y M. A. 

The Chriftian Lover, or a difcourfc 

opening the Nature of Participation 

; with, and Demonftrating the neceffi- 

v r of Purification by Chrifh By T. 


The Duty andblefling of a Tender 
l/Conicience, plainly dated and earneftly 
ifecornmended to all that regard accep- 
tance with God, and the profperity of 
■their Souls. By the fame Author- 

Hvc Sermons on various Occafions. 
I By the fame Author. 

The Mirrour of Divine Love unvail'd, 
in a Paraphrafe on the High and mifte- 
rious Song of Solomon. By Robert Item- 
ing. V. D, M. 

The Mourners Memorial, in two 

Sermons on the death of the truly 

Pious Mr*. Sufannah Some. With fome 

Account of her Life and death. By T. 

Wright^ and Robert Fkming. V. D. M. 

A newExamination if the Accidence and 
jB , r/iw;^r,inF.ng!ifh andLatin,wherein all 
BicRulcs Q^Proferi qu<t Maribus^ Que 6>* 
lpv/4; in pnfwtLSwtaXyand PrtfodiM^rc 
.firadc plain and eafic, that the meaneft Ca- 
nity may fpcedily learn the Latin