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united to their now-glorified bodies; and employing their eternity of life, in continual Hallelujahs to him, that sits upon the Throne. Take up thy rest here, O my soul, for ever.
But do not, as yet, thus end thy prospect : it is good for thee, to know worse things. If, in paradise, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil were forbidden to our first parents, the act of the knowledge of both is not forbidden to us : even to know evil in speculation, may avoid the knowledge of it in a woeful experience. See, then, O my soul, the best creature falleth from good into evil. In choosing it, see him, by mis-inclining his own will, apostatizing from his Infinite Creator; and hurled down headlong, from the height of heavenly glory, to the bottom of the nethermost hell.
See the irrecoverable condition and dreadful numbers of those Precipitated Angels : see their formidable power; their implacable malice; their marvellous knowledge, craft, skill to do mischief; their perpetual machinations of our destructio!), especially in their last assaults : see their counterfeisance, in their glorious and seemingly-holy apparitions, for a spiritual advantage.
And, when thou hast recollected thyself to a resolution of defiance and unweariable resistance, cast thine eye upon the deplorable condition of those Damned Souls, whom they have either betrayed by their fraud, or by their violence mastered; and, whilst thou dost bless and magnify the divine justice in their deserved torment, spend thy tears upon those, who would needs spend their eternity of being, in weeping, wailing, and gnashing: and, lastly, rouze up thyself, in the moment of thy remaining life, unto all careful and fervent endeavours, to save thyself, and to rescue others from this fearful damnation.
THE COMPARISON OF BOTH WORLDS: AND HOW OUR THOUGHTS AND
AFFECTIONS SHOULD BE TAKEN UP WITH THE INVISIBLE WORLD.
Now, then, having taken a view of both worlds; of the material world, by the eyes of sense and reason; of the invisible, by the eyes of reason and faith; I cannot but admire God in both, and both of them in God; but the invisible so much more, as it is infinitely beyond the other: for, God himself is the world of this world; whom, while in the material world we admire in his creatures, in this immaterial we admire in himself. Now himself must needs be infinitely more wonderful, than many worlds, if such there were, of those creations, that should proceed from him.
As for the parts of the created, but Invisible World, it must needs be said, the lightsome part of it hath more glory, than any piece of the material world can be capable of: on the contrary, the dark and privative region of the Invisible World, hath infinitely more horror than the other. For, what is the worst and most disconsolate darkness of this visible world, but a privation of the light of the sun; which yet can never be so absolute as to exclude all in. perfect diffusion of those insensible glimmerings : whereas the darkness of this spiritual world is an utter privation of the sight of God, joined with an unconceivable anguish. Even in nature, spiritual essences must needs be more excellent than bodily; and of only spirits it is, that the Invisible World consisteth. Besides, what vanity and inconstancy do we find every where, in this material and elementary world? what creature is there, which doth not exchange life, for death; being, for dissolution; sanity, for corruption ? What uproars do we find in the air! what commotions and turbulencies upon earth! The best state of things is an uncertain vicissitude; the worst, certain desolation and destruction : whereas, the Invisible World is settled in a firm and steady immutability ; the blessed angels and souls of the saints being so fixed in their glory, that they are now no more capable of alteration. Shortly, he, that saw both worlds, shuts
all in one word : The things, that are seen, are temporal ; the things, that are not seen, eternal; 2 Cor. iv. 18.
As, then, I can never open my bodily eyes, but I shall see the material world; and I hope I shall never see it, but I shall praise the power, and wisdom, and goodness of the Infinite Creator of it: so shall it be one of the main cares of my life, to bless the eyes of my soul, with the perpetual view of the Spiritual and Invisible World. Every action, every occurrent shall mind me of those hidden and better things: and I shall so admit of all material objects, as if they were altogether transparent; that through them I might see wonderful prospects of another world. And, certainly, if we shall be able so to withdraw ourselves from our senses, that we shall see, not what we see, but what we think, as it uses to be in the strong intentions of the mind; and shall make earthly things, not as lunets to shut up our sight, but spectacles to transmit it to spiritual objects; we shall lead a life as far removed from those beasts which we see, as near approaching to those angels whom we converse with and see not.
Neither shall it be enough for us to know an Invisible World, and to consider that all we see is the least part of what we see not; unless we be so affected to the unseen world, as we ought. It is not knowledge, that must shew us how to be Christians; but it is our affection, that must make us so.
In the acknowledgment therefore, of an invisible Glory and Infiniteness, our hearts must be ever taken up with a continual awe and reverence. If some great prince shall vouchsafe to let me be seen of him, although he please to keep himself unseen of me; and shall only, according to the state of some great eastern monarchs, speak to me behind a vail or traverse; or, as the great Prete of the South had wont to grace ambassadors, shew me only some part of his leg *, so as that I may understaud him to be present; I should think it concerned me, to carry myself in no less seemly fashion towards him, than if I saw his face : for his sight of me, calls for a due regard from me; not my sight of him.
* Jo. Leo Afric, descr, Afr.
Since, therefore, we have so certain demonstrations of the undoubted presence of God and his holy angels ever with us, though not discernible by our bodily eyes, with what fear and trembling, with what reverence and devotion, should we always stand or walk before them! making it our main care to be approved of them, to whom we lie no less open than they are hid to us.
As for the glorified saints of God, who are gone before us to our home; with what spiritual joy should we be ravished at the consis deration of their blessed condition! who now have attained to the end of their hopes, glory and bliss without end; ever seeing, ever enjoying him, at whose right-hand are pleasures for evermore : how should we bless God for their blessedness, and long for our own!
Lastly, how should our joy be seasoned with a cautious fear, when we cast our eyes upon those objects of dread and horror, the principalities and powers of darkness : not so confined to their hell, as to leave us untempted, and encreasing their sin and torment by our temptation !
How should our hearts bleed with sorrow and commiseration of those wretched souls, which we see daily entangled in the snares of the Devil; and captivated by him, at his will, here on earth ; and frying, under his everlasting torments, in the pit of hell!
How should our hearts be prepossessed with a most earnest and vigilant care, to resist all the dangerous assaults of those wicked spirits, and to prevent the peril of our own like-woeful destruction ! If we shall make this use of our being in this visible world, happy are we, that ever we came into it; more happy, in our going out of it: for, having thus used it, as if we used it not, we shall so enjoy the other, as those that ever enjoy it; and, in it, all glory, honour, immortality.
Lo, then, O my soul, the glorious world, which thou art now aspiring unto; yea, whereinto thou art now entering. There, there fix thyself, never to be removed. Look down upon these inferior things, with an overly contempt: forget what is past, as if it had never been. Bid a willing farewell to this visible world ; wherein thy Creator hath a just interest of glory, for that the substance of it is the wondrous workmanship of his hands; so Satan, styled the Prince of it, claimeth no small share, in regard of its sinful depravation.
Farewell, then, ye frivolous and windy honours, whose management is ever wont to be in other hands, not in our own : which have ever been no less fickle, than the breath ye have depended upon : whose chief use hath been for temptation, to puff up the heart with a proud conceit of eminence above others; not requiting, in the mean while, the danger, with any solid contentment.
Farewell, ye deceitful riches, which, when we have, we cannot hold; and, even while we hold, we cannot enjoy: and, if we offer and affect to enjoy, is it not with our spiritual loss? for what love we yield to cast away upon you, we abate to him, that is the true
and all-sufficient good. More than for necessary use, we are never the better for you ; oftentimes, the worse : your load is more uneasy, than your worth is precious.
Farewell, pleasures, if I ever knew what ye were ; which have always wont to afford more sting than honey: whose only scope hath professedly been, under a pretence of delectation, to debauch and emasculate the mind, and to dis-relish all spiritual comforts; where your expectation hath been somewhat delightful, your fruition hath been unsatisfying; your loss, displeasing; your remembrance, irksome.
Farewell, friends, some of whose unsteadiness and unfaithfulness hath helped to add to my load, which the fidelity of others had not power to ease; whose love might be apt to condole my shipwreck, but could not spare me a plank to swim to the shore; shortly, whose cominon misery may be more ready to receive, than give comfort.
The honour, that now I reach at, is no less than a crown; and that, not fading and corruptible, as all these earthly diadems are; but immarcescibly eternal; a crown of righteousness, a crown of glory.
The riches, that I am now for, are not such that are digged out of the base entrails of the earth, obnoxious to spoil and plunder; but treasures laid up in heaven.
The pleasures, that I now affect, are the fulness of joy at the right-hand of the Almighty for evermore.
The friends, that I ambitiously sue for, are those, that shall receive me into everlasting habitations. Lastly, farewell
, vanishing life; and welcome, blessed eternity: even so, Lord Jesu, come quickly.
END OF THE SIXTH VOLUME.
C. WHITTINGHAM, Printer, Dean Street.