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the Idols out of the House of the Lord, and all the Altars that he had built on the Mount of the House of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and cast them ont
the City, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord, 2 Chron. 33: 15, 16.
So pleasing is this retirement to God, that he doth expresly call himself, Our Father which fees in secret, Matth. 6. 4. When Christ had a inind bis Disciples should see his Glory, he doth not carry them to Jerusalem, leads them not into the Market-place , doth: not mingle them with the Multitude, bids them not attend him at Herod's Court; for he knew, these places would rather distract, than help their Devotion: but he summons them to go up with him into a high Mountain apart, bids them retire from secular businesses, leave their sensual affestions at home, separate themselves from such Worldly Employments, as were apt to take up their. Minds, that their thoughts might be more at liberty, to contemplate his Glory, and the Transfiguration might affect them more, and make the deeper impressions upon them.
Come my People, enter thou into tby Chamber, and but thy doors about thee, and hide thy self, said God to the Sinful Men of Israel, when he bid them turn and repent, Eja. 26. 20. To Thew, that a Chamber is a fitter place for their work, than a Theater, and a Closet more proper, than a Hall, or Dining Room, and lock
ing our selves up, a better preparative, than de
I confess, too lavish an expression which the Hermit in Sulpitius used, That he wobo
was visited by Men, could not be visited by An. , gels ; yet in some respect he said true; and he
that doth not love to be alone sometimes, is not like to receive the visits of these Ministring Spirits.
It was in retirement, that Elijah rais'd the dead Child, 1 Kings 17. 19. and by the River Chebar it was, in a lonely place, that God appeared to Ezechiel; so he revealed himself to Mofes in the Bush, when at a great distance from Men, and Crouds of People : and therefore it was excellent advice S. Chrysostom gave to a Man, who intended for Salvation ; Depart from the High-way, and transplant thy self in fome inclosed ground, for it is hard for a Tree that stands by the way-side, to keep her fruit till it be ripe.
What S. Basil saith of a Solitary Life, may in a great measure be applied to such retirement: It is the School where Men are taught Celestial Doctrine, and Divine Arts and Sciences are infused by nothing so soon, as by this Discipline. This is a Garden of delights, where Vertues, like glittering
send forth their grateful Odours. Here grows the Red Rose, fervent
Charity. Here rises the Milk-white Lilly Chastity. Here the Myrtle of Mortification is seen, and the Frankincense of Prayer is here to be found. O Retirement, the joy of Sanctified Minds, and the seat of all spiritual Gusts ; Thy Vertue is the same with that of the Babylonian Furnace , for 'by Faith thou keepest off the burning hears of Lust. ivi Thou art that Oven, where the Vessels of Honour are prepar’d. Great Store-House of Heavenly Wares, where all the rich Merchandize of the Spirit is boarded up Vast Shop of Spiritual Exercises, where the Soul comes to be restored to her Creators Image, and returns to the purity of her Original.
Thou makest indeed the Lips 'pale with Fafting, but makest the Soul fat, and flourishing. Thou makest the Good Man stand in the Castle of his own clarified Mind, and look down with contempt on this nether World!
Sacred Tent, where our holy War 'is carried on, Camp of God, Tower of David, where hang a Thousand Shields, all fit to keep off the fiery darts of the Devil ! Field, where the Lords Battles are fought, where the Soul fights against the Flesh, and the Flesh against the Soul.
O Retirement ! The happy place where Vis ces die, and Vertues live, and where Men learn what it is to arrive to perfection. Great Ladder of Jacob, whereby Men climb to Heaven, and Angels come down to Men, Sweet and gol
dep way, whereby a Christian goes home to his is ft Fathers House! Bath of the Soul! Death of Sin!
Purgatory of Filthiness. Thou destroyest the
secret intrigues of Pride, walheft away the na;I ftiness of Sin, and elevatest the Soul to the brightBu ness of Angels!
For indeed we find, that as a Mans reason is more free in such Retirements, fo God is the readier to meet him, as the Angels did Jacob, in this privacy, and to display to him the vanity of that World, he hath doted on, the Scarlet dye of those Sins, he hath delighted in, and
that miraculous love, he hath undervalu’d, the
and trampled on, with the vengeance he hath procured, and been greedy of : for now it appears, that the Man is in good earnest to be
fav'd, and to such , God never denies his faC
Vour for most Men play with Religion, go about it, as if it deserved no pains, and therefore here God doth no mighty work, as being loth to cast his Pearls before Swine. He that retires to consider, what he must do to be saved, makes Religion his business; and, those
that seek me thus shall find me , faith Eternal aga Wisdom, Prov. 8. 17. Such Mens minds he
is willing to over-shadow, with the power of the Highest, fuch Men prepare to meet their God, and God certainly will not fail them. And Christians, say you what you will, either the Gospel is no Gospel, or you'll find by woful experience, that without you are
at some trouble about your everlasting con cerns, and deny your selves in your time, profit, ease, pleasure, and pun&ilio's of greatness, tá mind your Spiritual interest, and without Heaven doth cost you something more than ordipary, God hath no Heaven for you.
He that retires, and sets aside his Worldly business, and makes bold with the Company he is in, and leaves them to take a view of his duty to God, and Man, that Man layes force upon the Kingdom of Heaven, I am sure offers violence to his carnal interest, violence to flesh and blood. The Heathen could say, that the gods sell all their Gifts and Riches for dili. gence, and industry, and we find it to be true of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Chrift, and that person who retires, and takes pains, with Zacheus, to see Christ, may expect the same gracious return, which was made to that Publican, This day Salvation is come into thy House.
The truth is, should God discourse a Sinner, that is in Company with other Men, or going about his secular affairs, he would find him yawo and
gape, and stretch himself, and gain as much attention, as he that tells a story to a man, whose mind is employ'd about other objects: he seems to give him the bearing, but when a great part of the Tale is told, he starts up, and Asks, What do you say? but in private, where there is none but God and his own Con.