« VorigeDoorgaan »
Of the various Impediments and Remora's of Consideration. Men fanfie greater difficulty in't, than there iş indeed." Are continually employ'd about sensual Objects. Loth to part with their fins. Ignorant of the pleasure of Consideration. Reflett upon the danger of losing their unlawful gain. Fear they shall fall into Melancholy, or go diftracked with so much seriousnes. Are of opinion, That Conversion, in that sense the Scripture Speaks of it, is needleß. Mistake the nature of Consideration. Are discouraged by evil Company. Negle&t consulting with Ministers about this necessary work Delude themselves with the Notion of Christ's dying for the sins of the World.
YOnfideration, a Duty so great, so noble, lo
necessary, one would think should find lucable entertainment with all men that pretend to reason, or wisdom, or discretion ; For in not giving it refpect, and veneration, they call their own reason in question, disparage their wisdom, and give just occasion to their Neighbours to suspect, that discretion is a flower, which never grew in their Garden, the Guest being so beneficial, who can imagine to the contrary, but every man will spread open bis Doors, and let it in? How? Lock the Gates against a good Angel? Keep out a Messenger that brings glad tidings? Darken the Room that I may not see the Sun? Consideration, that directs me, bow I may be a Friend of God, get room in his Bosome, sing with Angels; triumph with Seraphimis, lit at the right hand of a glorified Redeemer, stand before the Throne of God, serve him day and night in his Temple, and be freed from all possi. bility of lio and misery, from all discontent and vexation of spirit ! Is it possible a Messenger of that worth, and beauty, and excellency, can want a lodging? Is it possible it should fare no better than the GREAT JESUS, be destitute of a place where to lay its head? Is it poflible men should deal with it as the inhabi(ants of Sodom did with the three heavenly Messengers that enter'd into Lot's House ? Quarrel with it? abuse it ? offer violence to it? be angry at it's harmless language? Thew their spleen against that, whose presence preserves them from being consumed ? and which while it is among them, stays the hand of Heaven, the band of the destroying Angel, that they perish not ? Does not every man desire to be happy? Did ever any man hate his own flesh? Was ever any man in love with torment? Is it not every man's interest to study how to prevent it? And then sure, Consideration cannot but have the love and embraces of all persons, that do not make Sport with casting fire-brands, and death, and arrows, Prov. 26. 18, 19.
So an impartial serious man would think, yet to our grief and sorrow we find, that men run away from it, as from the Plague, and do as carefully avoid it, as they would do Rats-bane, or Sublimate, or Night-shade. This will oblige me in the next place to enquire, what are the Remora's or impediments that make men neglect this Panacea, and like mad Dogs, shun the water that would cure them, and light the remedy that would infallibly recover them. It's natural for men to enquire into the reasons of any decay. If a Tree do not thrive, if Flowers do wither in the Bud, if a Child do not grow, or if the Water of a River fails, the first thing we do, is, to enquire where the stop is, and what the causes of the defect are, and why things do not prosper according to expectation ? And he that hath a Vineyard in a very fruitful Hill, and fences it, and gathers the Stones out of it, and plants it with the choicest Vine, and builds a Tower in the midst of it, and makes a WinePress therein, may well ask the Question, Wherefore when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? Ifai. 5. 1, 2, 3, 4.
The Clogs and Impediments of Consideration are numberless, for indeed it's the Devil's study and contrivance day and night, which way to prevent it. Where a person dares extricate himfelf from the snares of sense, and venture upon this work, the Enemy justly fears he shall lose a Subject; and a Soul will be snatcht out of his Clutches, and he shall no: be able to hold
the finner in his Egypt, or hinder him from facrificing to the Lord his God. He dreads this Land of Goshen; and to see people walk that way, makes him fret and storm. It grates upon his Spirits to behold a finner set his face towards Jerusalem, he cannot endure to see the Disciples on mount Tabor ; an Isaack, that's going to meditate is a Thorn in his eyes, and, being a Spirit that lives upon Envy, enjoys his malice, and finds his greatest satisfađion in destroying mens Souls; we must suppose he leaves no stone unturn'd, no stratagem untri'd, no means uñattempted, to hinder men from a serious recollection of their thoughts and imaginations. And no Husbandman can be suppoled to set more traps, or invent more pitfalls, or devise more snares for vermine and rapacious animals, then this Sophister lays to divert the stream of menss thoughts into a chanel of contemptible, and impertinent objects.
There is such beauty, such loveliness in the ways of God, notwithstanding the coarse outside, that should a person, by serious Consideration, he tempted to lift up the veil, and see what is behind it; remove the Sackcloth and Albes, and take a view of that which is under: neath; open the Iron Gate, and behold the Gold within; unlock the Cabinet, and fee the Jewels there ; he would most certainly be ravish'd with the fight, and not stay one hour longer in the Chambers of Death. This the Devil knows ; he is sensible, that Consideration is a Tree of Life, H 2
therefore, lest men put forth their bands and
1. The fansied difficulty of it. I say fansied, for there is not that hardship in't, men imagine. But such enemies are the generality of men to their own happiness, that they will fansie difficulties in things they are loth to do, and they therefore cry out, That they are hard, and not to be compassed but with infinite deal of trouble, because they would be excus'd from the performance or practice of them. It's ordinary for School-boys to plead diffișulty of the Task their Master sets them, when they have a greater mind to play than to learn ; much like Solomon's sloth
Prov. 26. 13. There' is a Lion in the way, there is a Lion in the streets. Vain man! there are no Lions but in his own brain, no confi. derable difficulties, but what are of his own making. So here, men fansie that this serious confideration of their way, is a thing which none ! but Scholars and men of Learning can reach, and none are oblig'd to mind but men of Letters, and such as are bookish, and read much, and have Jarge capacities, are men of great judgment, and can wholly give or dedicate themselves to this