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render the fin detestable, odious, and prejudicial to Soul and Body; and this will soon put the affections into a holy rage to secure God's favour : Which was the reason, no doubt, why that Father left his Eftate and Money to his Son, with this condition, that he should every day think a quarter of an hour ; because he knew that would at last, by the Grace of God, work upon the Will, and engage the affections to embrace a nobler objed.
And because the more objects, the more flowers this Consideration feeds upon, the more effe&ual it is, and the greater seriousness it produces, and the more lignal change it works ; the Holy Ghost therefore, in order to this end, particularizes several things, and commands them to be taken in, as promoters of this excellent work. Hence it is, that we are sometimes callid upon to consider our latter end, Deut. 32. 29, Because the man that thinks much of his death, is most likely to dye to the vanities of the World, and to value those things at a very low rate, which when he comes to dye, can give him no folid fatisfaction. Sometimes the works of God, Ecclef. 7. 13. because reflecting on their Beauty, Excellency, and the Wisdom of God, that shines in them, will oblige us to admire him whose hand hath made all this, and to pay him that respect and reverence, which such tranfcendent Goodness challengeth. Sometimes the Lilies of the Field, Matth.6.28. that these dumb Creatures may lead us to a spotless innocence,
and inflame our hearts with an holy ambition to be one of those that fhall walk with the Son of ce
or the great account men must give of their works, whether they have been good, or whe. ther they have been evil, Psal. 50: 22. for this will fright a man away from himself, make him fight against his Lusts, and walk by Rule, and prescribe limits to his unruly passions. Sometimes the testimonies of God, the sweetness, beauty, perfection, worth and excellency of them, Pfal
. 119.95. because they are so agree; able to the truth imprinted on our minds, fofiltable to the Notions of God written on the Tables of our hearts, that we cannot but close with them, and take them for our heritage for ever. Sometimes the future reward that God hath promised to them that fear him, 2 Tim. 2 7. because if our Souls be not judicially stupefied, and in the Psalmist's Phrase, as fat as Grease, this will attract them into abstinence from worldly Lusts, which war against the Soul. Sometimes the holy Life, Example, and Christian constanсу
and magnanimity of Christ Jesus, Heb. 12. 3. because Examples naturally enliven and encourage the Soul to imitationz. and so great a pattor) at once infuses, and commands inclinations to follow it. Sometimes God's correction and chastisement, together with our sins, Hab. 2. 15. because these represented to the mind will shew us our ingratitude, and how much we are to blame, that God's favour hath made no kindlier impressions upon us, and how neceslar.y it is to make hafte, and remove the cursed thing that is in the midst of us, that we do not lose our Crown. And all, because the more Candles there are lighted, and set up, the brighter the Room will be, and the better the Soul will discover her spots and errours, and consequently the greater will be her earnestness to wipe them away, and remove them.
Nay, of that necessity doth the Holy Ghoft make this Consideration, that it seems , God (such a Lover he is of the happiness of Mankind) is not at ease without it. He is forc'd; as it were, to take humane pafsions upon him, to express his displeasure against the neglect of this Sovereign Medicine. He seems disconfolate, if Men flight this Balm, this Water of Life, this Eye-salve. He calls to Heaven and Earth to mourn with him, because bis People will not consider what shey are a doing, and whither they are going, and what will become of them, Isai. 1. 3. He segons griev'd and dejected, because they consider not the operations of his hands, and what noble Beings he hath given them, how he hath made all things subservient to them, on purpose that they might ferve him j and adorned the World with that great var;ety of Creatures for their benefit and use, that they might have the greater encouragement to offer up their Souls, and Bodies, as living Sacrifices to his Honour and Glory. How he hath madę them but a little lower than the Angels
them with Glory and Honour, and infus d Souls into them capable of living for ever, under the Beatifical Vision and Presence of Almighty God, Ifai. 5. 12. He seems to droop; and he that is eternally happy in himself, takes on, as if bis happinefs, Kis joy, his fatisfaction were interrupted, because men consider not, that he remembers all their Impiecies', that he fits on the Battlements of Heaven, and beholds all; that there is not any Creature that is not manifest in his fight, and that all things are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom they have to do, Hof. 7.2.
Indeed God is refolved to deal with us as with rational Creatures, not as with Brutes and Engines; as with free Agents, not as with Machines, and works of mens hands; and that's the reason why he is so earnest for this Duty. Without all peradventure, God could force Men into feriousness; and he that commanded Light out of Darkness, might take the Sinner up in his Arms, and carry him, even against his Will, into that Banqueting House, the Banner whereof is Love ; and might set mens Souls, as the Work-man doth his Clock, that they should not fail of running the Race which is set before them. But then, what would our reason fig. nifie ? Why should he make us capable of being wrought upon by Arguments and Moral Perfuafions ? Why hath he given us faculties to discourse proʻand con of things, and to argue, and debate the Case with our felves? Why hath
he given us a Rule to try our a&ions by, and power to judge what is good, and what is evil what can be said for the one, and what can be pleaded for the other ; which Arguments are stronger, and which are weakerz which are ponderous, and which are of no value.
If God do nothing in vain, what can we imagine that this power of Consideration is given for? He that makes a curious Veffel of Gold, doth not intend it for a Trough or WashingTub. He that enamels a Ring, doth not in. tend to throw. it upon a Dung-bill
. He that builds a House, doth not intend it for a habitation of Owls, and Ravens, and Birds of prey. He that plants a rich and kindly Fruit-tree, doch not intend it for Timber in a Hogs-Sty. Hethat makes a rich Carpet, doth not intend it for Dilb-Clouts. And shall I think God more imprudent than Man? Shall I imagine that God hath less foresight with him than dust and ashes? Truly, if a Philosopher were to draw Conclufions from mens actions, and their dealings with the Almighty, he could gather no less from what they do, than that they imagine God to be more bruitish than the most carnal Wretch living, who never fcrapes for Gold, or toils for Riches to buy Pins, or Children's Marbles with it; for they believe, that God hath given them a finer Spirit, than irrational Creatures have, and yet employ that Spirit to no higher uses than Beasts do their natural instinct. Shall God give me an exalted Soul, that can eat Angels