Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

that with them the head is the higher degree, the heart the lower degree of light, and so all is but a different light; from whence affection, being judg. ment in its infancy, ceaseth when knowledge groweth mature: as the heat and blaze of fire is but its labouring towards purity and perfection, which there fure are no more when the clear flame reacheth its element. But other men think otherwise, and they do pitch all in the affections, and the meaner light in the understanding; and so turning the table, still one shall be the parcel of, or a step to the other, and each carry along both in equal measure, according to reality: how much true affection, so much know. ledge: and vice versá; as I shall shew in other two answers, on which I fix the strength of my thoughts in this point. And therefore,

Secondly, I affirm confidently, and I hope truly, that he who soars upon the wings of affection, and laying himself in the arms of Jesus Christ, though he amuse not his head with the mystical nature of the Trinity, with the procession of the spirit, with the incarnation of Jesus Christ, attempting to make that holy oil, touching the ark, this glory which is too high for him, losing himself while he laboureth to see how human nature can be raised so high, divine condescend so low, as to bring forth the hypostatiçal union; I say, such a one knoweth more of God than the other.

[ocr errors]

It is often seen, a working head is like an over hot liver, burneth up the heart, and so ruineth both: whereas sweet humble affections are the only way to keep the poor creature in a constancy of spiritual health. And in this care the apostle to Titus forbids“ foolish questions, endless genealogies, contentions, and brawlings about the law.”

This law is the rule of life; and if we know not the law, we cannot keep the law, and so we must perish; and yet we find the search of this forbidden.

Object. Some will say here is meant the ceremonial law.

Ans. I will allow it; but is not the ceremonial included under the second precept? The people upon Christ's sermon, wherein he taught, that “ he that looketh on a woman, to lust after her, hath committed adultery with her in his heart," (and so he gave the law its full latitude) say, “ he speaketh as one that haih authority, and not as the Scribes and Pharisees:" conceiving it their duty and happiness to know the law in its utmost limits; and yet we are restrained from any brain-head, nice enquiry, even into the law, scil. not to busy our heads with the knowing part, in over great proportion, but labour to bring our knowledge to practice.

If then all such knowledge (I mean all knowledge of this nature) be forbidden, it is because it is not

good; it is not knowledge, but a vain tumour instead of real greatness or growth; and that other of the affection, hath certainly more of God in it, and so more of truth.

The apostle is so great an enemy to this kind of knowledge, that having disputed such a point in disdain of gain-sayers, he concludeth, "if any man lust to be contentious, we have no such custom, nor the churches of God.

Demonstrat quælibet herba Deum. . He who, refreshed with the sweet odours, pleased with the various comely shapes of a flower, can say, this is sweet, this is lovely, lovely indeed; yet " Jesus Christ is a bed of spices, as the lily of the field, the rose of Sharon, sweeter, much sweeter, ten thousand times more lovely”-this man knoweth God, this man loveth God, this man knoweth him indeed; and this knowledge, as it is the most pleasant here, so it will certainly prove the most profitable hereafter, and always declare itself most real.

Doth not the apostle, doth not he most truly, most pathetically cry out; “ though I had the gift of prophecy, and knew all secrets, all knowledge, yea, if I had all faith, so that I could remove mountains, I were nothing; I were as sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal, if I have not charity.” When all these excellencies meet in a christian, as haply they may, yet it is charity that maketh him what he is,

and the other beings are but as phalere, as trappings, which give a handsome set-off, but not a being to a christian.

Love is lovely in gods; he is stiled the God of Love, the God Love. And in another place, the Scripture affirmeth, that in this we have fulfilled the will of God, if we love one another; for by this we are made one with God, and so dwell in true light.

The two tables are reduced to love of God and our neighbour. So that sweet affections do make the most sweet harmony in God's ears. Of the chorus of saints, the greatest number will be found amongst the feminine sex, because these are most naturally capable of affection, and so most apt to niake knowledge real. It is true, I confess, these affections misguided, led them first into transgression; but these same affections after, carried them first to the grave, then to the sight of a Saviour, gave them the enwombing of Christ, who in some sense) might have entertained our nature in another way (if he had so pleased), and these affections will one day raise

many of them into the sweet embraces of everlasting joy.

Amongst the church-officers, the pastor and the doctor, according to Timothy, are more eminent than the rest, because they labour in the word and doctrine. Of these two, the doctor is to have his sword always girt about his thigh, he must enter

[ocr errors]

into the lists with every uncircumcised Goliah. He must stand continual sentinel, that no heresies be forced upon the church. He must beat his brains in dissolving difficilia, and clearing obscura. He must sometimes faint away in watery cold fits, by picking up, and throwing out witless, sapless sophisms, which, though they cannot hurt the strong, may seduce the weak. In the mean time the pastor leadeth, the flock into the sweet and pleasant meadows, feeding them by the little brooks of seemingly shallow affections; and yet this man shall not only receive equal honour with the doctor, but be preferred before him; as appeareth clearly in Eph. iv. 11.-1 Cor. xii. 26. As it was with the Israelites, so it is here; those who keep the stuff, receive equal reward with the combatants. I do therefore conclude, he who hath the largest affections hath most of God, most of his image, which is renewed in knowledge.

Thirdly, sometimes it happeneth, that those who have the largest knowledge have the most enlarged affections, even to our eye; and this is happiness indeed. I confess, it doth not seem to an eye that would read it running ; but if it be exactly looked on, if it be presented to our view in the portrait of an example, I think it will be very clear.

David and Solomon, compared with Paul, will be as a thousand witnesses. The two first do seein to

« ElőzőTovább »