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taken Possession. For wbat Agreement, as the Apostle argues, bath the Temple of God with Idols ? Now ye are the Temple of the living God, as God bath faid, I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they fall be my People. Supposing we were to receive some mighty Prince, or Person of great Quality into our House, would we not make all Things neat and clean, and take Care that nothing be wanting, that may give him Content and Satisfaction ; that every Apartment be set out, and garnished, and adorned, as far as our Ability reaches ? But now what is the greatest Man, the greatest Potentate upon Earth, compared to the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords; to a God purer than Angels, dwelling in Light inacceffible, and by whose Will and Command the whole Creation stands or falls ? Since then this Sovereign Majesty is willing to dwell in our Souls, the Confideration cannot but strike us, how holy, how pious, how chaste, how pure our Thoughts and Affections ought to be, in order to give so magnificent a Gueft a suitable Entertainment.
2. Another Means to implant in our Minds them Grace of Purity, will be frequently to contemplate the Joys and Felicities of the beatific Vifion, which God hath appointed for its Reward. For if we are pleased with the Sight and Conversation of an intimate Friend, efpecially after a long and tedious Absence, and think it a joyful Thing to behold the Face of a reconciled Enemy; let us then consider, what it will be for us to be admitted into the Presence of that Countenance, which alone can speak Peace and folid Comfort to us. Nay, let us bear in Mind the Honour and great Privilege of being called up to serve the King of Glory, in his own Court, and near his Person ; where we may for ever contemplate his infinite Majesty, Power, Wifdom, and Goodness. Did we fix this grear Ob
ject in our Minds, and consider (as far as Words can convey the Idea) what it is to see and to converse with God, the Reflection would naturally arise, that we ought to purify ourselves, even as he is pure. To which Purpose it will be necessary,
3. To be earnest and importunate in our Prayers, that he would not lead us into Temptation, but keep us from such Objects, as are apt to kindle evil Thoughts, and would restrain the great Enemy of Souls from suggesting any: Above all, that he would send his Blessed Spirit to our Aid and Afiftance; to enlighten our Understandings, to purify our Affections, and to fix it indelibly upon our Minds, that to be carnally minded is Death, but to be spiritually minded is Life and Peace.
7. Of Heavenly-Mindedness.
HERE are two Senses, wherein the Word
Heaven may be taken, either for the State of another Life in general, or for the particular Glory and Happiness of that State. In the former of these Senses, Heavenly-Mindedness implies our perpetual Remembrance of our Mortality; our having a constant Prospect into the other World, which must be our final Home, and stedfaitly looking beyond the Limits of Time, to the Vastness of Eternity ; our dwelling, in short, on the Meditation of the four last Things, Heaven, Hell, Death, and Judgment ; how great they are in their Consequence, how certain in their Event, and how near in their Approach; and, in Consideration of this, always waiting, and preparing ourselves for this great and important Change.
In the latter Sense of the Word, Heavenly-Mindedness implies our Contemplation of the infinite Perfection of the Divine Effence, and the inconceivable Happiness of those, who shall enjoy the Communications of his Blessedness. It is to meditate upon, and have always in View, that Weight of Glory, that incorruptible Crown, with which the Sufferings of this present Time are not worthy to be compared, no, not to be mentioned : To meditate Day and Night upon that happy Time, when we shall be Partakers of Moses's Wish, and admitted to the intimate Vision of that mysterious and incomprehensible Excellence, which is too great for our mortal Faculties, and which none can see and live: To meditate upon the blessed Society of Saints and Angels; upon that Harmony of Divine Love, and intellectual Sympathy ; upon the elevated and raised Perfections of a glorified Soul, the Enlargement of its Understanding, the Sublimation of its Will and Affections, and upon the Angelical Temper of our Spiritual Body ; in short, upon all those glorious Things, which are spoken of the City of God, and upon the infinite Consolations of that joyful Sentence, Come ye blessed of my Father, inberit the Kingdom prepared for you i And, lastly, it is to contemplate all this, not in a cold and indifferent Manner, as if it were a distant and precarious Reversion, but as a State that will shortly and certainly be, and therefore to be embraced with that Faith and Assurance, which is the Substance of Thing's hoped for, and the Evidence of Things not Teen.
All this the Word may be said to import ; and therefore, putting both of these Senses together, we shall, i. Observe the Reasonableness of the Duty ; and, 2. Some of the chief Benefits that arise from it.
1. The Wise among the Heathens (i. e. Those who believed the Immortality of the Soul) entertained high and worthy Notions of a future State, and have most agreeably and delightfully repre
sented the Place, the Society, the Entertainments prepared for their Reception after Death. Upon thele Considerations the Account we have of their Philosophers is, that they chose to live abstractly, and dwelt much upon the Contemplation of what they were to be hereafter. The Epicureans, indeed, who had no Thoughts of a future Existence, made this their standing Maxim, Let us eat and drink, for To-morrow we die: And in this they acted confiftently enough ; for, how vain and contemptible foever the World in itfelf may be, yet, upon their Hypothesis, it was their greatest Prudence to make as much of it as they could, because it was their All : But those, who had better Conceptions of their rational Part, and of its surviving the Funeral of the Body, had another Way of Reasoning. They perceived, that their Soul, in this State, was, as it were, out of its Element, confined to a Prison of Flesh, and thence hindered from acting with that Freedom and Vivacity, which, upon fome certain Sallies, they found was congenial to it. They perceived, that our present State of Life, both by Reason of its Shortness, and the other Vanities and Vexations that attend it, was not considerable enough to justify the Wisdom and Goodness of God in creating the World. They per-. ceived, that Man, endued with such large Capacities, and impatient Desires of Happiness, which nothing on Earth could satisfy, was a very poor and contemptible Creature indeed, and the more so for being so highly exalted at present, if this was the only Scene he was to act, and finally perished, when he died. And, from these Observations, they inferred, that this Life was but a Pasage to the next, a short Voyage to an Harbour of Reft; that Heaven, in short, was their Home, and their native Region, and, in Consequence of this persuafion, what was their End and sovereign Happi
ness, that they made the Subject of their Thoughts, and Desires, and daily Contemplations.
2. This was the Reasoning of the honest Heathens, but the Christian Religion has furnished us with Arguments of a peculiar Nature. St Paul, writing to the Philippians, propounds his own Practice, as a Pattern for their Imitation ; Beloved, be Followers together of me, and mark them which walk fo, as ye bave us for an Ensample ; for our Conversation is in Heaven, from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ : The Word, which we render Conversation, signifies Citizenship, and alludes to a Practice frequent among the Romans in particular, whereby not only private Persons, but whole Cities and Provinces, were admitted to certain Rights and Immunities peculiar to that Commonwealth and Constitution, though they were neither Natives, nor Inhabitants of the City of Rome. These were sometimes bestowed freely, as a Mark of Friendship and Favour; sometimes purchased at a considerable Price; sometimes inherited by Descent : But, which Way foever conveyed, the Poffeffion of them was esteemed a very valuable Advantage: And, in Allusion to this, the Apostle intimates, that Christians are Denizens of Heaven, and, though living now at some Distance from thence, are nevertheless incorporated there; 'ruled by the same Laws, and admitted to the same Privileges, and therefore ought to live in the same Manner with the blessed Inhabitants of that City which is above.
We cannot, indeed, in all Points, come up to their Perfection, till we come to live in the same Place where they do ; but we are bound to aspire at as great a Resemblance of them, as our present Condition will admit; as therefore they are happy, beyond all Imagination, in the Vision and Fruition of Almighty God, so should we, by devout E 4