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he heard that his darling son was yet alive in Egypt, how doth he gather up his spirits, and take up a cheerful resolution, 'Joseph my son is yet alive, I will go and see him before I die!" Do we think his heart was any more in Canaan, after he heard where his Joseph was? And shall we, when we hear and know where our dearest Saviour, typified by that good patriarch, is; that he is gone before, to provide a place for us in the rich Goshen above; shall we be heartless in our desires towards him, and take up with earth ? How many poor souls take tedious, costly, perilous voyages to that land, which only the bodily presence of our Saviour could denominate holy, (their own wickedness justly styles accursed,) only to see the place where our dear Saviour trod, where he stood, where he sat, lay, set his last footing, and find a kind of contentment in this sacred curiosity, returning yet never the holier, never the happier !! How then should I be affected with the sight of that place where he is now in person, sitting gloriously at the right hand of Majesty, adored by all the powers of heaven! Let it be a covenant between me and my eyes, never to look up at heaven, (as how can I look beside it ?) but I shall, in the same instant, think of my blessed Saviour, sitting there in his glorified humanity, united to the incomprehensibly glorious Deity, attended and worshipped by thousand thousands of saints and angels, preparing a place for me and all his elect in those eternal mansions.
1 Gen. xlv. 26.
2 The numerous pilgrimages of Roman Catholics to the Holy Land were comparatively recent matters of popular tradition in Bishop Hall's time.-ED.
LXXVIII. How lively doth the Spirit of God describe the heavenly affections of faithful Abraham, that 'he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.'' What city was this but the celestial Jerusalem; the glorious seat of the great empire of heaven? The main strength of any building is in the foundation : if that be firm and sure, the fabric, well knit together, will stand; but if that be either not laid, or lie loose and unsettled, the tottering frame doth but wait upon the next wind for a ruin. The good patriarch had been used to dwell in tents, which were not capable of a foundation. It is like, he and his ancestors wanted not good houses in Chaldea, where they were formerly planted. God calls him forth of those fixed habitations in his own country, to sojourn in tabernacles, or booths, in a strange land; his faith carries him cheerfully along, his present fruition give way to hope for better things. Instead of those poor sheds of sticks and skins, he looks for a city; instead of those stakes and cords, he looks for foundations ; instead of men's work, he looks for the architecture of God. Alas, we men will be building castles and towers here upon earth, or in the air rather ; such as either have no foundation at all, or, at the best, only a foundation in the dust: neither can there be any other, while they are of man's making; for what can he make in better condition than himself? The city that is of God's building, is deep and firmly grounded upon the rock of his eternal decree; and hath more foun
dations than one, and all of them both sure and costly. God's material house, built by Solomon, had the foundation laid with great squared stone; but “the foundations of the wall of this city of God are ' garnished with all manner of precious stones :'' 'glorious things are spoken of thee, O thou city of God.' Why do I set up my rest in this house of clay, which is every day falling on my head, while I have the assured expectation of so glorious a dwelling above? •For we know, that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands, but eternal in the heavens.'?
LXXIX. God, though he be free of his entertainments, yet is curious of his guests. We know what the great house-keeper said to the sordid guest: ‘Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having on a wedding garment ?' To his feast of glory none can come but the pure; without this disposition no man shall so much as see God,» much less be entertained by him. To his feast of grace none may come but the clean, and those who, upon strict examination, have found themselves worthy. That we may be meet to sit at either of these tables, there must be a putting off, ere there can be a putting on; a putting off the old garments, ere there can be a putting on the new: the old are foul and ragged; the new clean and holy; for, if they should be worn at once, the foul under-garment would soil and defile the clean; the clean could not cleanse the foul. As it was in
i Rev. xxi. 19.
2 2 Cor. v. 1.
the Jewish law of holiness, holy flesh in the skirt of the garment could not infuse a holiness into the garment, but the touch of an unclean person might diffuse uncleanness to the garment;' thus our professed holiness and pretended graces are sure to be defiled by our secretly-maintained corruption, not our corruption sanctified by our graces : as, in common experience, if the sound person come to see the infected, the infected may easily taint the sound; the sound cannot, by his presence, heal the infected. If ever, therefore, we look to be welcome to the feasts of God, we must put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him.'?
LXXX. It is not for us to cast a disparagement upon any work of our Maker; much less upon a piece so near, so essential to us; yet, with what contempt doth the apostle seem still to mention our flesh! And, as if he would have it slighted for some forlorn outcast, he charges us not to make provision for the flesh !'3 What! shall we think the holy man was fallen out with a part of himself? Surely, sometimes, his language, that he gives it, is hard. The flesh rebels against the spirit: I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing;'* but how easy is it to observe, that the flesh sometimes goes for the body of man; sometimes for the body of sin! as the first, it is a partner with the soul; as the latter, it is an enemy; and the worst of enemies, spiritual. No marvel, then, if he would not have provision made for such an enemy. In outward and bodily enmity the case and his charge is otherwise : "If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink;' but here 'make no provision for the flesh.' What reason were there that a man should furnish and strengthen an enemy against himself? But if the flesh be the body of the man, it must challenge a respect; but the very name carries an intimation of baseness; at the best, it is that which is common to beasts with us : 'There is one flesh,' saith the apostle, of men, another flesh of beasts;'? both are but flesh! Alas! what is it but a clod of earth better moulded; the clog of the soul; a rotten pile; a pack of dust; a feast of worms? But, even as such, provision must be made for it; with a moderate and thrifty care, not with a solicitous; a provision for the necessities and convenience of life, not for the fulfilling of the lusts. This flesh must be fed and clad, not humoured, not pampered: so fed as to hold up nature, not inordinateness : shortly, such a hand must we hold over it, as that we may make it a good servant, not a lawless wanton.
1 Hag. ii. 12, 13.
Rom. xiii, 14.
? Col. iii. 9, 10. 4 Rom. vii. 18.