Billeder på siden

From the several Considerations which have been mentioned, it appears that a steady Faith in God, which lies at the Foundation of all Religion, and the Contemplation of his incomparable Perfections, is a Fund of inward Satisfaction and Joy to a religious Mind. And God's requiring us to delight ourselves in him, and proposing himself to us to be our chief Joy, is a manifest Proof of his great Goodness towards us, and of his earnest Desire of our Happiness. The immediate Vision and Fruition of the Deity shall be an everlasting Source of pure and refined Pleasures to Angels and Saints in the heavenly World, and, in Proportion to our acquainting ourselves with him in this present State, we fhall feel a divine Joy springing up in our hearts, and shall have Heaven brought down to us in some happy Beginnings here on Earth. How delightful is it to fix the Eye of the Mind upon the fupreme original Beauty and Excellence, and to lay ourselves open to it's infinite and facred Charms, compared with which the most lovely Objects in the whole Creation are Vanity and Emptiness !

What Enemies are they therefore to their own Joy and Happiness, who feldom

or never raise their Views to that most glorious and amiable Being! Strange that reasonable Creatures should have such a Disinclination to think of him, to whom they owe it that they are able to think at all, and in whom alone they can be happy! What a perverted Frame of Mind doth this argue! Many there are to whom that Character may be justly applied, which the Psalmist gives of the ungodly Man, that God is not in all his Thoughts. Pf. x. 4. They live us without God in the World; as little do they for the most Part think of him, as if there were no such Being : Or, if a Thought of God darteth into their Minds, it meets with no welcome Entertainment there: They say unto God, as Job represents them, Depart from us, we defire not the Knowledge of thy Ways. Job xxi. 14. Few there are indeed who would openly avow this in Words; but it is their real Language. And what is this but, as far as in them lies, to banish themselves from the Fountain of Joys ! Justly doth the Psalmist brand that Man with the Character of a Fool, who faith in bis Heart, There is no God, or whose secret Wish it is that there were none; a With infinitely more monstrous, than to with the Sun out of the Firmament !

It is in Effect to wish all Joy and Hape piness out of the World, and that univerfal Darkness and Confusion should cover the Face of Things:

How different from this is the Temper and Character of the Man who delightet) himself in God! What are all the low and evanid Pleasures of the voluptuous Sensualist, or of those who go on in a perpetual Round of Diversions and Amusements, compared with the solid and noble Satisfaction which this Man feels in his own Breaft! That we may be fitted for relilliing this divine Joy, let us labour to get our Hearts cleansed from base Lusts, and from corrupt and sensual Affections. Let us endeavour frequently to realise an invisible Deity to our Minds in the Meditations of Faith, at the same Time humbly and earnestly applying to him, the Father of Lights, that he would be graciously pleased to fine in upon our Souls, and cause us to behold more of his Glory. The more we habituate ourselves this Way, the greater Satisfaction we shall find in it, and the more freely and delightfully will our Thoughts go forth towards that glorious Being, so as to be able to join in that rapturous Strain of the devout Psalmist: I will sing unto the Lord


as loiig as I live; I will fing Praise unto my God, while I have any Being. My Meditation of bim shall be sweet, I will be glad in the Lord. Pl. civ. 33, 34.

Here it is observable, that he not only calls God the Lord, Jehovah, but he calls him bis God: Į will sing Praise unto my God. He claims a special Interest in him. And this is what raiseth the Joy of a Man of real Piety to the greatest Height. He doth not contemplate God and his Perfections, as we may admire a beautiful Object in which we have no Interest or Concern; but as it were appropriates him by a lively Faith, and can say, with humble Affiance, upon contemplating that glorious Being and his incomparable Perfections, This is my God, my rightful Lord, my fatisfying Portion, and chief Good: He is mine and I am bis.

Oh transporting Thought! The Joy that ariseth from a Sense of this is what no Words can fully express, but many excellent Persons have had Experience of it in their own Breasts. This Joy, where it is of the right Kind, ennobles and purifies the Soul, and will produce correspondent Effects in the Temper and Practice. And indeed what we are to have principally in View, in our Meditations of the Deity, is not merely


to furnish a speculative Entertainment to our Minds, but that we may be thereby formed into a divine and godlike Temper, and may have his amiable moral Excellencies copied out in our own Souls from that fair and glorious Original. When the Soul endeavoureth to lay itself open to his gracious Influences and Communications; when it is so captivated and inamoured with the View of the supreme Goodness, Righteousness, and Purity, that it receiveth it within itself, and is transformed into it's Nature and Likeness; it is then that it may most properly be said to delight in God. This it is to bave Communion with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ: God is Love, and be that dwelletb in Love dwelleth in God, and God in bim. 1 Joh. iv. 16. This is true Religion, this is the Divine Life. The Soul hath then an inward Fund of Happiness, a Source of pure and refined Joys, as being united to the fupreme Good, and taking in the lively and delightful Impressions of his most excellent Virtues, his Glory and Beauty: Beholding as in a Glass the Glory of the Lord, as the Apostle fpeaks, we are changed into the same Image from Glory to Glory. 2 Cor. iii. 18. Thus it is in some Measure here

we are


« ForrigeFortsæt »