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Yea, hath God said, I will be a God unto thee? Is it true indeed? Will the Lord be mine? Will he lay aside the controversy, and conclude a peace? Will he receive the rebel to mercy, and open his doors to his prodigal? I will surely go unto my Father; I will take unto me words, and bow myself before his footstool, and say, Lord, I have heard thy words, and do here lay hold on thy covenant. I accept the kindness of God, and will adventure myself upon thy fidelity, and trust my whole happiness here and hereafter upon these thy promises.
Farewell, deceitful world, get thee under my feet. Too long have I feared thy vain threats; too long have I been deluded with thy flattering promises. Canst thou promise me, or deny me such things as God hath covenanted to give me? I know thou canst not, and therefore I renounce thee for ever from being the object of my faith, or fear. No longer will I lean to this rotten reed, no longer will I trust to this broken idol. Away, Satan, with thy tempting baits. In vain dost thou dress the harlot in her paint and bravery; and tell me, All this will I give thee. Canst thou show me such a crown, such a kingdom as God has promised to settle upon me; or that which will balance the loss of an infinite God, who here gives himself unto me? Away, deceitful lusts and pleasures, get you hence; I have enough in Christ and his promise to give my soul full content; these have I lodged in my heart, and there is no longer room for such guests as you. Never shall you have quiet entertainment more within these doors.
Thou God of truth, I here take thee at thy word; thou requirest but my acceptance and consent, and here thou hast it. Good is the word of the Lord which he hath spoken, and as my Lord hath said, so will thy servant do. My soul catcheth hold of thy promises. These have I taken as my heritage for ever. Let others gain the preferments and possessions of this world, it shall be enough for me to be an heir of thy promises.
O happy soul, how rich art thou! What a booty have I gotten! It is all mine own. I have the promises of this life and of that which is to come. O what can I wish more? How full a charter is here! Now my doubting soul may boldly and believingly say with Thomas, My Lord, and my God. What need we any further witness? We have heard his words. He hath sworn by his holiness that his decree may not be changed, and hath signed it with his own signet.
Rejoice, ye heavens; strike up, ye celestial choirs. Help, heaven and earth. Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his. Bless the Lord, my soul. O had I the tongues of men and angels, all were too little for me. Had I ten thousand tongues, the whole were no sufficient to utter my Creator's praises.
My Beloved is mine, and I am his. The grant is clear, and my claim is firm. Who durst deny it, when God himself doth own it? Is it a hard adventure to speak after Christ himself? Why, this is the message that he hath sent me: I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God. He hath put words into my mouth, and bid me say, Our Father.
I believe; Lord, help my unbelief. O my God, and my Father, I accept thee with all humble thankfulness, and am bold to take hold of thee. O my King and my God, I subject my soul and all its powers to thee. O my glory, in thee will I boast all the day. O my rock, on thee will I build all my confidence and my hopes. O staff of my life, and strength of my heart, the life of my joys and joy of my life, I will sit and sing under thy shadow, and glory in thy holy name.
O my soul, arise and take possession. Inherit thy blessedness, and cast up thy riches. Thine is the kingdom, thine is the glory, and thine is the victory. The whole Trinity is thine. All the persons in the Godhead, all the attributes in the Godhead are thine. And behold, here is the evidence, and these are the writings, by which all is made sure to thee for ever.
And now, Return to thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee. Say if thy lines be not fallen to thee in a pleasant place, and if this be not a goodly heritage. O blasphemous discontent, how absurd and unreasonable an evil art thou, whom all the fulness of the Godhead cannot satisfy, because thou art denied in a petty comfort, or crossed in thy vain expectations from the world! O my unthankful soul, shall not a Trinity content thee; shall not all-sufficiency suffice thee? Silence, ye murmuring thoughts, for ever. I have enough, I abound, and am full. Infiniteness and eternity are mine, and what more can I ask?
But methinks I feel some secret damps upon my joy, and when I would soar aloft and triumph in the riches of my portion, a secret diffidence plucks me back, as the string doth the bird, and unbelief whispers in my ear,
1. "Surely this is too good to be true." But who art thou that disputest against God? The Lord hath spoken it, and shall not I believe him? Will he be angry if I give my assent, and speak it confidently upon the credit of his words? O my Lord, suffer me to spread the writing before thee. Hast thou not said, Thy Maker is thy husband, Isa. 54:5; I will betroth thee unto me, Hosea 2:19; Thou shalt call me, my Father? Jer. 3:19. I pray thee, Lord, was not this thy saying: I am God, even thy God, Psalm 50:7; I will be a Father unto you, and ye my sons and daughters? 2 Cor. 6:18. Why then should I doubt? Is not the truth of the living God sure footing for my faith?
Silence then, quarrelling unbelief. I know in whom I have believed. Not in friends, though numerous and potent; for they are men, and not God. Not in riches; for they make themselves wings. Not in princes; for their breath is in their nostrils. But let God be true, and every man a liar. In God have I put my trust, in his word do I hope. O sure word! Heaven and earth shall pass away, but not one jot or tittle of this: I have not built upon the sand of mortality. Let the rain descend, and the floods come, and the winds blow, nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure. His everlasting counsel and everlasting covenant are my stay. I am built upon his promises, and let hell and earth do their worst to blow up this foundation.
Now shall my faith triumph, and my heart be glad, and my glory rejoice. I will shout with the exulting multitude. The Lord he is the God, and he is not ashamed to be called my God. He is not ashamed of my rags or poverty, of my parentage or pedigree; and since his infinite condescension will own me, will he take it ill if I own him? Though I have nothing of my own to glory in, unless I should glory in my shame, yet I will glory in the Lord, and bless myself in him.
For who is like unto the God of Jeshurun? Bring forth your gods, O ye nations. Lift up your eyes, and behold who hath created all these things. Can any do for their friends as the Lord can? Or if he be angry, who is the god that shall deliver out of his hands? Will you set Dagon before the ark? Or shall mammon contend with the holy One? O ambitious Haman, where is now thine idol honor? O rich glutton, that madest a god of pleasure, where is now the god whom thou hast served? O sensual worldling, that knewest not where or how to bestow thy goods, do riches profit thee? Could mammon save thee? Deceived souls, go now to the gods that you have chosen. Alas, they cannot administer a drop of water to cool your tongues.
But the Portion of Jacob is not like them. From everlasting to everlasting he is God. His power is my confidence, his goodness is my maintenance, his truth is my shield and my buckler. But,
2. "My clamorous unbelief hath many wiles, and afresh assaults me with the difficulty of the things promised, and labors to nonplus and confound me with their amazing greatness." But why should I stagger at the promise through unbelief, robbing at once my Master of his glory, and my soul of her comfort? It is my great sin to doubt and dispute, and shall I be afraid to believe? O my soul, it is the highest honor thou canst put upon thy Lord, to believe against difficulties, and to look for and reckon upon great things and wonderful, passing all created power and human faith.
Let not the greatness nor the strangeness of the benefits bequeathed unto thee, put thee to a stand. It is with a God thou hast to do, and therefore thou must not look for little things; that were to darken the glory of his munificence, and the infiniteness of his power and goodness. Knowest thou not that it is his design to make his name glorious; and to make thee know he is able to do for thee above all thou canst ask or think? Surely they cannot be any small or ordinary things that shall be done for thee, when the Lord shall show in thee what a God can do, and shall carry thee in triumph before the world, and make proclamation before thee, Thus shall it be done to the man whom the Lord delighteth to honor. What wonder if thou canst not comprehend these things—if they exceed all thy apprehensions and conceptions? This is a good argument for thy faith; for this is that which the Lord hath said, that it hath not entered into the heart of man to conceive what things he hath prepared for them that love him. Now if thou couldst conceive and comprehend them, how should his word be made good? It is enough for thee that the Lord hath spoken it. Is not the word nigh thee? Hath God said, I will receive you; you shall be kings and priests unto God, and inherit all things; and shall sit on thrones, and judge angels, and be ever with the Lord: and shall I dare to say him nay? Unreasonable unbelief! What, never satisfied; still contradicting and blaspheming? False whisperer, no more of thy tales. I believe God, that it shall be as he hath told me.
And now, thanks be to God, who always causest us to triumph in Christ; therefore my lips shall praise thee, and my soul which thou hast redeemed. For thou hast made me glad through thy word, and I will triumph in the works of thy hands. I will praise the Lord while I live. I will sing praises to my God while I have any being. O my soul, if thou couldst wear out thy fingers upon the harp, and wear thy tongue to the roots, thou couldst yet never sufficiently praise thy Redeemer.
O my enemies, where is now your confidence, and where is your armor wherein you trusted? I will set Christ alone against all your multitudes, and all the power and malice and policy wherewith they are armed. The field is already won, and the Captain of our salvation returned with the spoils of his enemies, having made a show of them openly, triumphing over them in his cross. And thanks be to God who hath given us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Of whom, then, should I be afraid? Behold he is near that justifieth me; who shall plead with me?
O ye powers of hell, you are but chained captives, and we have a sure word, that the gates of hell shall not prevail against us. Though the world be in arms against us, and the devil at the head of them as their champion, yet who is this uncircumcised Philistine, that he should defy the armies of the living God? Behold, I am come out to thee, as the stripling against Goliath; not with sword, and with spear, but in the name of the Lord of hosts, in whose strength I am more than a conqueror.
O grave, where is now thy victory? Christ is risen, and hath broken up thy prison, and rolled away the stone, so that all thy prisoners have made an escape. Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy; though I fall, I shall rise again; though I lie in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. Enlarge not thy desires, O, Tophet, but shut up thy flaming mouth; for there is now no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus.
O deceitful world, thou art already overcome, and the conquered enemy is become my servant, and I am fed with the honey taken out of the carcass of the slain lion. I fear not thy threats, nor the enchantments of thy syren songs, being kept by the power of God, through a victorious faith unto salvation.
O my sins, you are already buried, never to have any resurrection, and the remembrance of you shall be no more. I see my sins nailed to the cross, and their dominion is taken away, though their lives be prolonged yet for a little season. Awake, therefore, O my glory; awake, psaltery and harp, and meet the Deliverer with triumph; for his right hand and his holy arm have gotten us the victory, and all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God.
3. "Yet methinks my unworthiness flies in my face, and I hear my cavilling unbelief thus upbraiding me, and crying out, 'O proud presumption, that thou who art conscious to thyself of thy great unworthiness, shouldst pretend a claim to God and glory! Shall daring dust think to share with the Almighty, and say of his endless perfections, They are my right? Bold sinner, stand off, and tremble at thy presumptuous arrogance.'"
O my God, I lay my hand upon my mouth. I confess the charge of mine unworthiness. My guilt and shame is such as I cannot cover, but thou canst,and dost. Thou hast cast a mantle upon my nakedness, and hast promised my transgressions shall not be mentioned, and that thou wilt multiply pardons. And shall I take up what thou hast buried, and then affright myself with the ghosts that unbelief has raised? Is it presumption to take the pardon that thou dost offer, or to receive and claim thee as mine, when it is but what thou hast promised? I durst not have approached thee, but upon thy call; nor have claimed a title, but upon thy grant. I should have thought it diabolical pride, to have pleaded an interest in thee, and claimed kindred to thee, but that thou hast showed me the way.
And thou, my soul, art thou ignorant of God's great design? Knowest thou not that it is his purpose to glorify free grace? And how should grace appear to be grace indeed, were there any worthiness in the subject? Thine unworthiness is but a foil to set off the beauty and riches of free grace and mercy.
4. "But I cannot shake off this brier: alas, what a cavilling sophister is unbelief, and will never be answered. Now is it ready to tell me, what if the promise should be a sure foundation, yet thou mayest not build upon another man's ground. What though the grace and mercies of God are infinite, yet dogs may not catch at the children's bread. Thou hast no right nor title to the promise, therefore cease thy pretended claim."
But, O my soul, wherefore shouldst thou doubt? Whose image and superscription is this? Dost thou not bear upon thee the marks of the Lord Jesus? I have given up my name to him, and taken hold of his covenant, and therefore may claim an interest. I have accepted the matter, and closed with the Mediator, and subscribed to the conditions of the covenant, and therefore cannot question but it is mine. The Lord hath offered to be my God, and I have taken hold of his offer. I have taken him as God, and given him the supremacy. O my soul, look round about thee, in heaven and in earth; is there any thou dost esteem or value in comparison with God? Is there any thou dost love like him, or take that content or felicity in, that thou dost in him? Are not thy chief desires and designs to glorify and enjoy him? Thou canst not deny but it is truly thus. I am sure nothing but God will content me. I am never so well in all the world as in his company. My soul seeketh him above all, and rests in him alone as my satisfactory portion. He offereth to take me as one of his people, and I have resigned myself accordingly to him as his, and have put both my inward and outward man under his government, and given up all to his disposal, and am resolved to be content with him, as my all-sufficient happiness.
Besides, I have taken him in his own way through Christ, whom he hath tendered to me as my head and husband, and I have accordingly solemnly and deliberately taken him. O my soul, dost not thou remember thy many debates? Hast thou not put Christ and all the world into the balance? Hast thou not cast up the cost, and reckoned upon the cross, and willingly put thy neck under Christ's yoke, and ventured thy salvation upon Christ alone, and trusted him with all thy happiness and all thy hopes? Hast thou not over and over resolved to take him with what comes, and that he shall be enough, though in the loss of all things? Thou canst not but know that these have been the transactions between Christ and thee; and therefore he is thine, and all the promises are yea and amen to thee through him.
And for the terms of the covenant, I love and like them; my soul embraceth them; neither do I desire to be saved in any other way, than by repentance towards God, and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, and sincere obedience to his gospel. I am willing to go out of my flesh, and do look unto Jesus for righteousness and strength, and trust my salvation wholly on this foundation. I am content to deal upon trust, and venture all in the hope of what is to come, and to tarry till the next world for my preferment. I am willing to wait till the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and have laid up my happiness on the other side the grave.
And though my sins be many, yet I should belie my own knowledge if I should say they were not my constant trouble and burden, and the enemies against which I daily watch, and with whom my soul hath no peace. My own heart knoweth that I hate them, and desire and endeavor their utter destruction, and do resolve against them all, and am willing to use all God's means to mortify them. It is too true that I often fall and fail; yet my conscience beareth me witness that I confess and bewail it, and do not ordinarily and deliberately allow myself in any sin whatsover against my knowledge. And though my obedience be miserably lame, yet, O Lord, thou knowest that I have respect unto all thy commandments, and do strive to come up to what thou requirest. The Holy Ghost is witness, and my conscience also, that I first seek the kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof, and that it is my chief care to please God, and keep from sin. Speak, O my soul, is not holiness thy design? Dost thou not thirst for it, and follow after it? Dost thou not in thy settled choice prefer the holy ways of God before all the pleasures and delights of sin? Thou knowest it is thus, and therefore no more disputing; thou hast sincerely taken hold of God's covenant, and without controversy it must be thine.
O my God, I see thou hast been at work with my soul. I find the prints, I see the footsteps. Surely this is the finger of God. I am thy servant, O Lord, truly I am thy servant, and my soul hath said unto the Lord, Thou art my Lord. It must be so. Wouldst thou ever set thy mark upon another's goods? Or shall God disown his own workmanship? My name is written in heaven. Thou hast written thy name upon my heart, and therefore I cannot question but thou hast my name on thy heart. I have chosen thee, O Lord, as my happiness and heritage, and therefore I am sure thou hast chosen me; for I could not have loved thee, except thou hadst loved me first. O my Lord, discern, I pray thee, whose are these, the signet, the bracelets, and the staff. I know thou wilt acknowledge them.
And now blessed be God, and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who of his abundant mercy HATH BEGOTTEN ME AGAIN TO A LIVELY HOPE.
And thou, my soul, believe and wait, look through the window, and cry through the lattice, and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. The vision is for an appointed time; wait for it. It will come in the end, and will not tarry. Hab. 2:3. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruits of the earth. Be thou also patient. He hath long patience, and wilt not thou have a little patience? He, for the fruits of the earth; but thou, for the joys of heaven. He, upon mere probabilities; but thou, upon infallible certainties. He, for a crop of corn; but thou, for a crown of glory. Were he but sure that every corn would bear a crown, how plentifully would he sow, how joyfully would he wait! Why, such is thy harvest. As sure as the summer's delights do follow the winter's severities—as sure as the wished-for harvest doth follow the toilsome and costly seed-time, so sure shall thy Lord return, and bring thy reward with him. Therefore, my soul, love and long for the approaching jubilee, and wait all the days of my appointed time, until my change shall come.
O blessed state that my Lord hath translated me into; O happy change that he hath made! I was a stranger, and he took me in and made me an heir, and preferred me from the dunghill to the throne, and from a hewer of wood and drawer of water to attend his court, and know his counsels, and do his pleasure. Happy am I that ever I was born to partake of this endless dignity.
O my Lord, it is no little thing thou hast given me in hand. I am already come to mount Zion, and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, and to God the Judge of all, and unto the spirits of just men made perfect, and unto Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and unto the blood of sprinkling. My heart reviveth as Jacob's, when I behold the tokens which thou hast sent me, the spirit of adoption, the pardon of my sins, my patent for heaven, the chain of thy graces, the Son of thy bosom, the new testament in his blood, and the letters of his love. My Lord hath said that he will love me, and manifest himself unto me; and that the Father will love me, and both will come unto me, and make their abode in me. But is it true indeed? Will the Lord dwell on earth? Or if he will, shall so foul a stable, so unclean a place as my heart hath been, shall this be the place that the Lord of life will take up his lodging and keep his court in? Will he indeed come with all his train of graces, and live and walk in me? How can these things be? But he hath said it, and I do, and I will believe it.
Yet all this is but the earnest of what is to come. O how great is thy goodness laid up for them that fear thee! Yet a little, and my warfare shall be accomplished, and the heavens must receive me till the time of the restitution of all things. It is but for a short term that I shall dwell in this flesh, in an earthen tabernacle. My Lord hath showed me, that where he is, there shall his servant be. Now the living is tied to the dead, and my soul is a stage of strife and a field of war. Yet, it is but a little moment, and that which is perfect shall come: perfect holiness and perfect peace, eternal serenity and a serene eternity.
O my sins, I am going where you cannot come—where no unclean thing shall enter, nor any thing that defileth. Methinks I see all my afflictions and and temptations, all my infirmities and corruptions, falling off me, as Elijah's mantle at his translation.
O my soul, dost thou not see the chariots of fire, and the horses of fire, come to take thee up? Be thou as poor as Lazarus, yet God will not disdain to send a party of angels to conduct thee home. How canst thou doubt of a ready reception, that hast such a Friend in court, who will lead thee with boldness into his Father's presence? If there was joy in Pharaoh's court when it was said, Joseph's brethren are come, surely it will be welcome news in heaven, when it is told, Jesus' brethren are come.
My soul, fear not to enter, though the Lord be clothed with terror and majesty; for thy Redeemer will procure thee favor, and plead thy right. I am sure of welcome, for the Father himself loveth me. I have tasted and tried his love; and when I had played the wicked prodigal, yet he despised not my rags, but fell on my neck and kissed me, and heaven itself rejoiced over me. Much more will he receive me gladly, and let out his love upon me, when presented to him by his Son, in his perfect likeness, as a fit object for his everlasting delight. Fear not, O my soul, as if thou wert going to a strange place. Why, heaven is thy country and thy home: wilt thou doubt of admission, or fear of welcome, when it is thine own home? Why, my soul, thou wast born from above, and here is thy kindred and thy Father's house, and therefore thou shalt surely be admitted. And then shall I see the glorious preparations of eternal love, and the blissful mansions of the heavenly inhabitants.
Doubtless it will be thus. These are not sick men's dreams, nor children's hopes. The living God cannot deceive me: and may not I certainly promise myself what the Lord hath promised me? I will sooner think that all my senses are deluded, and what I see and feel and taste is but a fancy, than think that the living God will deceive me, or that his unchangeable covenant will fail. Now I am a son of God, and it doth not yet appear what I shall be; but this I know, I shall be like him, and see him as he is.
I know it shall be thus. Why, what security should I ask of God? He hath given me all assurance in his word. And though the word of God be enough, yet he, willing to show more abundantly to the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, I might have strong consolation. O unreasonable unbelief! What, shall not the oath of God put an end to thy strife? O my God, I am satisfied; it is enough. Now I may be bold without presumption, and boast without pride; and will no more call my duty arrogance, nor my faith a fancy.
O my soul, there is but a short life between thee and glory, where holy angels and glorified saints shall be my associates, and love and praise my only employment. Methinks I hear already how the morning stars sing together, and all the sons of God shout for joy. O that I could come in! But it was said unto me, that I should rest yet for a little season, and I shall stand in my lot at the end of the days. It is well; Lord, thy word is enough; thy bond is as good as ready payment. The Holy Ghost tells me, that life and glory abide me; that what day I loose from the body, the same day I shall be landed in paradise. Amen. It is as I would have it.
But this is not all. When my body hath slept a short nap in the dust, Christ will call to it, Come up hither. Ah, true yoke-fellow, it will be a hard parting, but a welcome meeting. I could not leave thee, but to live with Christ. But he will raise thee a glorious temple; and when he shall appear, will bring me with himself in glory; and then I shall re-enter thee as a royal mansion, wherein I shall abide with the Lord for ever. For as we have served our Redeemer together, so we must be glorified together with him. And when the Lord hath married us together again, then will he marry us both unto himself. For I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the last day upon the earth. And though after my skin, worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh I shall see God; whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me. My Lord hath already told me how it shall be. He hath set down the time, and showed me the robes of immortality, and the crown of life, that I must put on; and the throne of glory, and the seat of judgment that I must sit in. He hath told me the manner in which I shall be presented to him, and espoused by him. He hath told me where he will set me, and what he will say to me, and how he will acknowledge my mean vices, and remember what I have forgotten; how he will praise the works that I have been ashamed of, and reward me openly for what I have buried in secrecy, and not forget the poorest alms that I have given for his name. Then will he confess me before his Father, and before the angels of God. Thus saith the true and faithful Witness, and we know that his testimony is true.
Ah, my soul, see that thou make not God a liar. 1 John 5:10. O my God, I have believed thy report, and do look for all these things, according to thy promise. I know thou intendest me but for a very little while in this lower region. This world is but the house of my pilgrimage, and my soul now is but like a bird in the shell; but when the shell is cracked, then shall she take wings like a dove, and soar aloft to thee, and fly away and be at rest. Yet I doubt not thy care for my despicable dust. I know that nothing will be lost: I know not where they will lay me; but thy wakeful eye observeth, and will not have to seek at what door to knock, nor at what grave to call for me. I believe, and am sure that I shall come a glorious work out of thy hands, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, crowned with honor and glory. And when my absolution is read, and sentence passed upon the world, then must I be taken up to dwell with thee.
Let not my Lord be angry, that thy dust and ashes speaketh thus unto thee. Thou, Lord, hast raised my expectations, and hast made me look for all these great things from thee. In vain hast thou written all these things unto me, if I should not believe them; and a distrustful diffidence would put a high dishonor upon thy truth.
O Lord, it repenteth me—it repenteth me of my jealousies, and my doubtful thoughts about thee. I know thou lovest an humble confidence, and delightest in nothing more than to see thy children trust thee. I know the building of my hopes reaches not a hair's breadth beyond the foundation of thy promises; yea, it is sure, my expectations are infinitely short of what I shall find. O my God, my heart trusteth safely in thee, and I here set to my seal that thou art true. Christ is the corner-stone on which I build, and therefore my building will challenge the winds and floods.
And now, O Lord, what wait I for? my hope is in thee. O my Blessedness, let me enjoy thee. O my Life, let me possess thee. O Desire of mine eyes, let me see thy face and hear thy voice; for thy voice is sweet, and thy countenance is comely. I ask but what thou hast promised; for thou hast told me that I shall see God, and thou wilt speak to me mouth to mouth, even apparently and not in dark speeches, and the similitude of God shall I behold. So shall my knowledge be perfected, and I shall see the inaccessible light, and my tender eye shall not water, nor my sight dazzle; but I shall with open face look steadfastly on the Sun of righteousness, and behold his glory. Then shall faith be turned into fruition, and hope into possession, and love shall arise like the full moon in her brightness, and never wax nor wane more.
O thou God of my hopes, I look for a new body, and a new soul—for new heavens, and for a new earth, according to thy promise, when my whole soul shall be wholly taken up with thee, and all my affections strained to the highest pitch, and all the wheels of my raised powers set in most vigorous and perpetual motion towards thee, still letting in, and still laying out; and thus shall there be an everlasting communication of joy and glory from thee, and of love and praise from me.
O my soul, thou art rich indeed, and increased in goods. Thou hast no reason to envy the glory or grandeur of the mightiest on earth; for their glory shall not descend after them: like sheep shall they be laid in their graves, and death shall feed upon them, and there is an eternal end of all their pomp and excellency. But my kingdom is an everlasting kingdom. My robes shall never wear, my crown shall never totter, my throne shall never be vacant, my bread shall never decay, my garland shall never wither, my house shall never moulder, my wine shall never sour, but everlasting joy shall be upon my head, and sorrow and sighing shall fly away.
O my God, how happy hast thou made me! It is better than I could have wished. Thou hast done all things well. Thou hast settled them for ever. The whole earth cannot show any such heritage or tenure. The world can deed out her possessions only for years, nor can she make a good title for that; but my inheritance is for ever, and none can put me out of possession. The thing is established in heaven, and in the volume of the book it is written of me. My evidence cannot be lost; it is recorded in the court above, and enrolled in the sacred leaves of the word, and entered upon the book of my conscience, and herein I do and will rejoice.
Now, my soul, wipe thine eyes, and go away like Hannah, and be no more sad. What though my house be not so with God; so happy, so prosperous as I could wish? What though they be increased that trouble me, and my temptations and afflictions are like the rolling billows, riding on one another's backs for haste, yet shall my soul be as a rock unmoved, and sit down satisfied in the security and amplitude of my portion. For God hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure; and herein is all my salvation, and all my desire.
And now, what remaineth, O Lord, but that I should spend the remainder of my days in loving, praising, and admiring thee? But wherewithal shall I come before the Lord, or bow myself before the most high God? What shall I give thee, to express my thankfulness, though not to requite thy bounty? Alas, my poor little soul; alas that thou art so little! How narrow are thy capacities; how disproportionate are thy powers! Alas that my voice can reach to no higher a note! But shall I do nothing, because I cannot do all?
Lord, I resign my all to thee. With the poor widow, I cast my two mites, my soul and body, into thy treasury. All my powers shall love and serve thee. All my members shall be weapons of righteousness for thee. Here is my good will. Behold, my substance is thy stock, mine interest is for thy service. I lay all at thy feet: there, thou hast them, they are thine. My children I enter as thy servants. My possessions I resign as thy right. I will call nothing mine but thee. All mine are thine. I can say, My Lord and my God, and that is enough; I thankfully quit my claim to all things else. I will no more say, My house is mine, or my estate mine; I myself am not mine own. Yet it is infinitely better for me to be thine, than if I were mine own. This is my happiness, that I can say, My own God, my own Father. And O what a blessed exchange hast thou made with me: to give me thyself, who art an infinite sum, for myself, who am but an insignificant cipher!
And now, Lord, do thou accept and own my claim. I am not worthy of any thing of thine, much less of thee. But since I have a deed to show, I bring thy word in my hand, and am bold to take possession. Dost thou not know this hand? wilt thou not own this name? wilt thou not confirm thine own grant? It were infidelity to doubt it. I will not disparage the faithfulness of my Lord, nor be afraid to aver and stand to what he hath said and sworn. Hast thou said thou art my God, and shall I fear thou art my enemy? Hast thou told me thou art my Father, and shall I stand aloof, as if I were a stranger? I will believe. Lord, silence my fears; and as thou hast given me the claim and title of a child, so give me the confidence of a child. Let my heart be daily kept alive by thy promises, and with this staff let me pass over Jordan. May these be my undivided companions and comforters. When I go, let them lead me; when I sleep, let them keep me; when I awake, let them talk with me. And do thou keep these things for ever upon the imaginations of the thoughts of the hearts of thy people, and prepare their hearts unto thee. And let the heart of thy servant be the ark of thy testament, wherein the sacred records of what hath passed between thee and my soul may for ever be preserved. Amen.
Thus far my friend. So may it be.