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vors on. We may with astonishment contemplate that strange contest between divine patience and human wickedness, striving which of them should excel; when we do peruse and weigh those enigmatical passages, God accused by man of blasphemy, the eternal wisdom aspersed with folly, truth itself impleaded of imposture, essential love made guilty of mischief, and supreme goodness styled a malefactor; infinite power beat down, and trampled on by impotent malice; the judge of all the world, the fountain of all authority and right, arraigned, condemned, and executed for injustice; the “desire of all nations’ rejected by his own country and kindred; the joy of paradise (whose lightsome countenance doth cheer heaven itself) almost overwhelmed with grief, uttering lamentable groans, tortured with grievous agonies; the very heart of God bleeding, and the sole Author of life expiring. We may farther study Jesus, with a hearty compassion, and tears gushing from his inmost bowels, pitying not these his own sufferings, but for the vengeance for them due and decreed unto his persecutors: we should mark him excusing their fault, and praying for their pardon; dying willingly for their good, when he died violently by their hand; passionately desiring their salvation, when they maliciously procured his destruction. We should mind all the actions of the Son of God, our Saviour, with the most wise grounds, endearing circumstances, and precious fruits of them; his birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, intercession; as containing instances of the greatest charity and humility possible showed unto us, as arguments of the greatest love and gratitude due from us: mind them we should most seriously, so as to be heartily affected with them, so as to esteem worthily the transcendent honor done us by God assuming our nature, and exalting us to a conjunction with the divine nature; so as to be deeply sensible of our obligation to so immense a charity, that could do and suffer so much for us, without any desert of ours, yea, notwithstanding our exceedingly bad deserts, our rebellions and enmities against him; so as to detest the heinousness of our sins, that needed so mighty an expiation, that caused so horrid a tragedy; so as not to neglect so great salvation so frankly offered, so dearly pur
chased for us; not to frustrate the designs of so unconceivable love and goodness, so as to obey readily so gracious a Master; to follow carefully so admirable an example; so as in imitation of him, and for his sake, to be meek and humble in heart, and in deed, seeing he did so infinitely condescend and abase himself for us; to be patient and submissive to his will, who stooped so low, and suffered so much for us; so as to bear a general affection to mankind, grounded like his, not on any particular interests, nor limited by any partial respects, but extended freely, in real desire and intention toward all ; liberally to impart the good things we possess, and patiently to brook the crosses we meet with, and heartily to forgive the offences done to us; for that he freely did part with the greatest glories of eternity, with the highest dignities and the richest treasures of heaven, for our sake; when we were “enemies in our minds by wicked works, dead in trespasses and sins,’ guilty of numberless grievous offences against him, by his blood redeeming us from wrath, reconciling us to the mercy and favor of God. 3. We should also meditate on the blessed spirit of God, with equal goodness conspiring, and co-operating with all the purposes, to all the effects of grace, which conduce to our everlasting happiness; more especially as the repairer of our decayed frames, the enlivener of our dead souls, the infuser of spiritual light into our dark minds, the kindler of spiritual warmth into our cold hearts; the raiser of spiritual appetite to righteousness, and the relish of goodness in our stupid senses; the imparter of spiritual strength and vigor to our feeble powers; the author of all liberty, loosing us from captivity under the tyranny of Satan, from vassalage unto our own carnal lusts and passions; from subjection to a hard and imperious law, from bondage to the terrors of a guilty conscience: as him, that enableth us to perform the duties, and accomplish the conditions, required of us in order to our salvation, that qualifieth us to be the sons of God by his effectual grace, and assureth us that we are so by his comfortable testimony; as our sure guide in the ways of truth and virtue; our faithful counsellor in all doubts and darknesses; our mighty support and succor in all needs, in all distresses; our ready guard against all assaults and temptations; our sweet comforter in all sadnesses and afflictions: who doth insinuate good thoughts, doth kindle holy desires, doth cherish pious resolutions, doth further honest endeavors in us: who only doth inflame our hearts with devotion toward God; doth encourage, doth enable us to approach unto him ; doth prompt us with fit matter of request, and becometh advocate for the good success of our prayers. We should mind him as the root of all good fruits growing in us, or sprouting from us ; the producer of all good habits formed in us, the assister of all good works performed by us, the spring of all true content that we enjoy; to whom our embracing the faith, our continuing in hope, our working in charity, the purification of our hearts, the mortification of our lusts, the sanctification of our lives, the salvation of our souls are principally due, are most justly ascribed : as the author and preserver of so inestimable benefits unto us, let us mind him ; and withal let us consider him as condescending to be a loving friend and constant guest to so mean and unworthy creatures: vouchsafing to attend over us, to converse with us, to dwell in us, rendering our souls holy temples of his divinity, royal thrones of his majesty, bright orbs of his heavenly light, pleasant paradises of his blissful presence; our souls, which naturally are profane receptacles of wicked and impure affections, dark cells of false and fond imaginations, close prisons of black and sad thoughts: as graciously “striving with us,’ striving to open and enter into our hearts, barred against him by vain conceits and vicious inclinations: striving to reclaim us from the sins and errors into which we are wont heedlessly or wilfully to precipitate ourselves; striving to make us, what in all duty and wisdom we should be, capable of divine favor, and fit for everlasting happiness: as enduring patiently manifold displeasures and disrespects from us, our rude oppositions against him, our frequent neglects of his kind admonitions, our many perverse humors, wanton freaks, wilful miscarriages, and unworthy dealings toward him. We should thus mind the blessed Spirit of God, and be suitably affected toward him; so as to be duly sensible and thankful for those unexpressible gifts and blessings indulged to us by him; so as to render all love and reverence, all praise and glory, all obedience and service to him, especially so as to admit him cheerfully into our hearts; yea, invite him thither by our earnest prayers; to make fit preparations for his reception and entertainment, (by cleansing our hearts from all loathsome impurities,) to make him welcome, and treat him kindly, with all civil respect, with all humble observance; not grieving and vexing him by our distasteful crossness and peevishness; not tempting him by our fond presumption, or base treachery; not extinguishing his heavenly light and holy fire by our foul lusts, our damp stupidities, our cold neglects, our neglects to foment and nourish them by the food of devout meditations and zealous desires: so let us mind him, as to admit gladly his gentle illapses, to delight in his most pleasant society, to hearken to his faithful suggestions, to comply with all his kindly motions, to behave ourselves modestly, consistently, and officiously toward him. Thus should we employ our mind, all the faculties of our soul, our understanding, our will, our affections on the blessed Trinity, the Supreme of all things above, the Founder of that celestial society, into which as Christians we are inserted; the Sovereign of that heavenly kingdom of which we are subjects; the Fountain of all the good and happiness we can hope for in that superior state. To the performance of which duty there be arguments and inducements innumerable; it is the most proper and connatural object of our mind, that for which it is fittest, and for which it was designed ; the best intelligible, and infinitely most amiable of all things. It is the most worthy and noble object, the contemplation of which, and affection whereto, will most elevate, most enrich, most adorn, most enlarge the capacities, and most satisfy the appetites of our souls; it is the most sweet and pleasant object, wherein all light, all beauty, all perfection do shine; the sight and love of which do constitute paradise, and beatify heaven itself. It is the most useful and beneficial object of our mind, which will best instruct us in what it concerneth us to know, will most incite us
to those duties which we are obliged to perform, will be most efficacious to the begetting in us those dispositions, which are indispensably requisite for the attainment and for the enjoyment of that everlasting bliss; unto which that one blessed Unity and glorious Trinity in its infinite mercy bring us all: to whom be all glory, honor, and praise for ever. Amen.