MEDITATIONS, DIVINE AND MORALL (1867)
There is no object that we see; no action that we doe; no good that we injoy; no evill that we feele or feare, but we may make some spiritu(a)ll, advantage of all: and he that makes such improvement is wise as well as pious.
It is reported of the peakcock that, prideing himself in his gay feathers, he ruffles them up; but, spying his black feet, he soon lets fall his plumes, so he that glorys in his gifts and adornings should look upon his Corruptions, and that will damp his high thoughts.
The finest bread hath the least bran; the purest hony, the least wax; and the sincerest Christian, the least self love.
Diverse children have their different natures; some are like flesh which nothing but salt will keep from putrefaction; some again like tender fruits that are best preserved with sugar: those parents are wise that can fit their nurture according to their Nature.
Authority without wisdome is like a heavy axe without an edge, fitter to bruise than polish.
The reason why Christians are so both to exchange this world for a better, is because they have more sence than faith: they se what they injoy, they do but hope for that which is to come.
A low man can goe upright under that door wher a taller is glad to stoop; so a man of weak faith, and mean abilities may undergo a crosse more patiently than he that excells him, both in gifts and graces.
Corne, till it has passed through the Mill and been ground to powder, is not fit for bread. God so deales with his servants: he grindes them with grief and pain till they turn to dust, and then are they fit manchet for his Mansion.
It is a pleasant thing to behold the light, but sore eyes are not able to look upon it; the pure in heart shall see God, but the defiled in conscience shall rather choose to be buried under rocks and mountains then to behold the presence of the Lamb.
Iron till it be thoroughly heat is uncapable to be wrought; so God sees good to cast some men into the furnace of affliction, and then beats them on his anvile into what frame he pleases.
Some Children are hardly weaned, although the breast be rub'd with wormwood or mustard, they will either wipe it off, or else suck down sweet and bitter together; so is it with some Christians, let God embitter all the sweets of this life, that so they might feed upon more substantiall food, yet they are so childishly sottish that they are still huging and sucking these empty brests, that God is forced to hedg up their way with thornes, or lay affliction on their loynes, that so they might shake hands with the world before it bid them farewell
The spring is a lively emblem of the resurrection. After a long winter we se the leavlesse trees and dry stocks (at the approach of the sun) to resume their former vigor and beauty in a more ample manner then what they lost in the Autumn; so shall it be at that great day after a long vacation, when the Sun of righteousness shall appear, those dry bones shall arise in far more glory then that which they lost at their creation, and in this transcends the spring, that their leafe shall never faile, nor their sap decline.
There is nothing admits of more admiration, then God's various dispensation of his gifts among the sons of men, betwixt whom he hath put so vast a disproportion that they scarcely seem made of the same lump, or sprung out of the loynes of one Adam; some set in the highest dignity that mortality is capable of; and some again so base, that they are viler then the earth; some so wise and learned, that they seem like Angells among men; and some again so ignorant and Sotish, that they are more like beasts then men: some pious saints; some incarnate Devils; some exceeding beautyfull; and some extreamly deformed; some so strong and healthfull that their bones are full of marrow; and their breasts of milk; and some again so weak and feeble, that, while they live, they are accounted among the dead—and no other reason can be given of all this, but so it pleased him, whose will is the perfect rule of righteousness.
He that is to saile into a farre country, although the ship, cabbin and provision, be all convenient and comfortable for him, yet he hath no desire to make that his place of residence, but longs to put in at that port where his bussines lyes; a Christian is sailing through this world unto his heavenly country, and heere he hath many conveniences and comforts; but he must beware of desire(ing) to make this the place of his abode, lest he meet with such tossings that may cause him to long for shore before he sees land. We must, therefore, be beer as strangers and pilgrims, that we may plainly declare that we seek a citty above, and wait all the dayes of our appointed time till our chang shall come.
All the works and doings of God are wonderfull, but none more awfull than his great worke of election and Reprobation; when we consider how many good parents have had bad children, and againe how many bad parents have had pious children, it should make us adore the Soverainty of God who will not be tyed to time nor place, nor yet to persons, but takes and chuses when and where and whom he pleases: it should alsoe teach the children of godly parents to walk with feare and trembling, lest they, through unbeleif, fall short of a promise: it may also be a support to such as have or had wicked parents, that, if they abide not in unbeleif, God is able to grasse them in: the upshot of all should make us, with the Apostle, to admire the justice and mercy of God, and say, how unsearchable are his wayes, and his footsteps past finding out.
As the brands of a fire, if once feverered, will of themselves goe out, altho you use no other meanes to extinguish them, so distance of place, together with length of time (if there be no intercourse) will cool the affectiones of intimate friends, though tjere should be no displeasance between them.
It is admirable to consider the power of faith, by which all things are (almost) possible to be done; it can remove mountaines (if need were) it hath stayd the course of the sun, raised the dead, cast out divels, reversed the order of nature, quenched the violence of the fire, made the water become firme footing for Peter to walk on; nay more than all these, it hath overcome the Omnipotent himself, as when Moses intercedes for the people, God sath to him, let me alone that I may destroy them, as if Moses had been able, by the hand of faith, to hold the everlasting arms of the mighty God of Jacob; yea, Jacob himself, when he wrestled with God face to face in Peniel: let me go! sath that Angell. I will not let thee go, replys Jacob, till thou blesse me, faith is not only thus potent, but it is so necessary that without faith there is no salvation, therefore, with all our seekings and gettings, let us above all seek to obtain this pearle of prise.
God hath by his providence so ordered, that no one country hath all Commoditys within itself, but what it wants, another shall supply, that so there may be a mutuall Commerce through the world. As it is with countrys so it is with men, there was never yet any one man that had all excellences, let his parts, naturall and acquired, spirituall and morall, be never so large, yet he stands in need of something which another man hath, (perhaps meaner than himself,) which shows us perfection is not below, as also, that God will have us beholden one to another.