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them, and keeps them fafe and clean, but the child is forgotten and loft. My body which is but the garment of my foul, I kept and nourished with exceffive care, but my foul was long forgotten, and had been loft for ever, as others daily are, had not God rouz ed it, by the convictions of his Spirit, out of that deep oblivion and deadly flumber.

When the God that formed it, out of free grace to the work of his own hands, had thus recovered it to a fenfe of its own worth and danger, my next work was to get it united with Christ, and thereby fecured from the wrath to come; which I found to be a work difficult to effect, (if it be yet effected), and a work of time to clear, though but to the degree of good hope through grace.

And fince the hopes and evidences of falvation began to fpring up in my foul, and settle the state thereof, I found these three great words, viz. Chrift, foul, and eternity, to have a far different, and more awful found in my ear, than ever they used to have. I looked on them from that time, as things of the greateft certainty, and most awful folemnity. These things have laid fome weight upon my thoughts, and I felt, at certain feasons, a ftrong inclination to fequefter myself from all other studies, and spend my last days, and most fixed meditations upon these three great and weighty fubjects.

I know the fubject matter of my ftudies and enquiries (be it never fo weighty) doth not therefore make my meditations and difcourfe upon it great and weighty: nor am I fuch a vain opi-. nienator, as to imagine my difcourfes every way fuitable to the dignity of fuch fubjects; no, no, the more I think and study about them, the more I difcern the indiftinctness, darkness, crudity, and confufion of my own conceptions, and expreffion of fuch great.and tranfcendent things as thofe : but, In magnis voluiffe fat eft, I refolved to do what I could and accordingly fome years past I finished and published, in two parts, the Doctrine of Chrift; and by the acceptation and fuccefs the Lord gave that, he hath encouraged me to go on in this fecond part of my work, how unequal foever my fhoulders are to the burden of it.


The nature, original, immortality, and capacity of mine own foul, for the prefent lodged in and related to this vile bo- dy, deftined to corruption; together with its exiflence, employment, perfection, converfe with God, and other spirits, both of its own, and of a fuperior rank and order, when it fhall (as I know it fhortly muli) put off this its tabernacle; these things have a long time been the matters of my limited defires to un

derstand, so far as I could fee the pillar of fire (God in his word) enlightening my way to the knowledge of them. Yea, fuch is the value I have for them, that I have given them the next place in my esteem, to the knowledge of Jefus Chrift, and my interest in him.

God hath formed me, as he hath other men, a prospecting creature. I feel myself yet uncentered, and short of that state of relt and fatisfaction to which my foul, in its natural and spiritual capacity, hath a designation. I find that I am in a continual motion towards my everlasting abode, and the expence of my time; and many infirmities tell me that I am not far from it by all which I am ftrongly prompted to look forward, and acquaint my felf as much as I can, with my next place and employment. I look with a greedy and inquifitive eye that


Yet would I not be guilty of an unwarrantable curiofity in fearching into revealed things; how willing foever I am to put my head by faith into the world above, and to know the things which Jefus Chrift hath purchased and prepared for me, and all the reft that are waiting for his appearance and kingdom. I feel my curiofity checked and repreffed by that elegant paronomafia, Rom. xii. 3. Μη υπερφρονείν παρ ο δεν φρονείν, αλλά Opověsv 45 to ow povery, In all things I would be wife unto fobriety. I groan under the effects of Adam's itching ambition to know, and would not by repeating his fin, encrease my own mifery; nor yet would I be scared, by his example, into the contrary evil of neglecting the means God hath afforded me, to know all that I can of his revealed will.

* The helps philofophy affords in fome parts of this discourse, are too great to be defpifed, and too fmall to be admired. I confefs I read the definitions of the foul given by the antient philofophers, with a compaffionate fmile. When Thales calls. it a nature without repose; Afclepiades, an exercitation of sense; Hefiod, a thing composed of earth and water; Parmenides, a thing compofed of earth and fire; Galen faith it is heat; Hippocrates, a fpirit diffused through the body; Plato, a felf-moving fubftance; Ariftotle calls it Entelechia, that by which the body is moved: If my opinion fhould be asked, which of all these definitions I like beft, I fhould give the fame anfwer which Theo critus gave an ill poet, repeating many of his verfes, and ask

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* For to whom is the truth known with certainty without God? or God without Chrift? or Chrift explorated without the Spirit? or the Spirit vouchsafed without faith? Tertullian on the foul.

ing which he liked beft; Those (faid he) which you have emitted. Or if they must have the garland as the prize they have thot for, let them have it upon the fame reason that was once given to him that always fhot wide. Difficilius eft toties non attingere, Because it was the greatcft difficulty to aim fo often at the mark, and never come near it. One word of God gives me more light than a thousand fuch laborious trifles. As Caefar was beft able to write his own commentaries, fo God only can give the best account of his own creature, on which he hath impreffed his own image.

Modern philofophers, affifted by the divine oracles, muft needs come clofer to the mark, and give us a far better account of the nature of the foul. Yet I have endeavoured not to cloud this fubject with their controverfies, or abftrufe notions; remembring what a fmart, but deferved check, Tertullian gives thofe, Qui Platonicum et Ariftotelicum Chriftianifmum producunt Chriftianis. Words are but the fervants of matter, I value them as merchants do their fhips, not by the gilded head and stern, the neatness of their mould, or curious flags and ftreamers, but by the foundness of their bottom, largenefs of their capacity, and richness of their cargo and loading. The quality of this fubject neceffitates, in many places, the ufe of fcholastic terms, which will be obfcure to the vulgar reader: but apt and proper words muft not be rejected for their obfcurity, except plainer words could be found that fit the fubject as well, and are as fully expreffive of the matter. The unneceffary I have avoided, and the reft explained as I could.

The principal fruits I efpecially aim at, both to my own and the reader's foul, are, That whilft we contemplate the freedom, pleasure, and fatisfaction of that spiritual, incorporeal people, who dwell in the region of light and joy, and are hereby forming to ourselves a true fcriptural idea of the bleffed ftate of those difembodied fpirits, with whom we are to serve, and converse in the temple-worfhip in heaven; and come more explicitly and diftinctly to understand the conftitution, order, and delightful employments of those our everlasting affociates; we may an fwerably feel the found and inordinate love of this animal life fubacted and wrought down; the frightful vizard of death drop off, and a more pleafing afpect appear; that no upright foul that fhall read thefe difcourfes may henceforth be convulfed at the name of death, but chearfully afpire, and with a pleasant expectation wait for the bleffed feason of its tranfportation to that blessed assembly. It is certainly our ignorance of the life of hea ven, that makes us dote as we do upon the prefent life. There

is a gloom, a thick mift overspreading the next life, and hiding, even from the eyes of believers, the glory that is there. We fend forth our thoughts to penetrate this cloud, but they return to us without the defired fuccefs. We reinforce them with a fally of new and more vigorous thoughts, but still they come back in confufion and disappointment, as to any perfect account they can bring us from thence; though the oftner and clofer we think, ftill the more we grow up into acquaintance with thefe excellent things.

Another benefit I pray for, and expect from these labours, is, that by defcribing the horrid eftate of those fouls which go the other way, and fhewing to the living the difmal condition of fouls departed in their unregenerate ftate; fome may be awakened to a feasonable and effectual confideration of their wretched condition, whilst they yet continue under the means and among the inftruments of their falvation.

Whatever the fruit of this difcourfe fhall be to others, I have cause to blefs God for the advantage it hath already given me. I begin to find more than ever I have done, in the feparate state of fanctified fouls, all that is capable of attracting an intellectual nature; and if God will but fix my mind upon this ftate, and cause my pleafed thoughts about it to fettle into fteddy frame and temper, I hope I fhall daily more and more depreciate and defpife this common way of existence in a corporeal prifon; and when the bleffed feafon of my departure is at hand, I fhall take a chearful farewel of the greater and leffer elementary world, to which my foul hath been confined, and have an abundant entrance through the broad gate of affurance, unto the blessed, unbodied inhabitants of the world to


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GEN. ii. 7. And the Lord God formed man out of the duft of the ground, and breathed into his noftrils the breath of life; and man became a living foul.


HREE things (faith * Athanafius) are unknown to men according to their effence, viz. God, angels, and the fouls of men." Of the nature of the divine and high-born foul, we may fay, as the learned + Whitaker doth of the way of its infection by original fin, "it is eafier fought than "understood, and better underflood than explicated:" And for its original, the moft fagacious and renowned for wifdom amongst the ancient philofophers understood nothing of it. It is faid of Democritus, that there is nothing in the "whole workmanship of nature of which he did not write;" and in a more lofty and fwelling hyperbole, they file their eagleey'd Ariftotle, "the rule, yea, and miracle of nature; learning "itfelf, the very fun of knowledge:" yet both thefe are not only faid, but proved by Lactantius to be learned ideots. How have the schools of Epicurus, and Ariftotle, the Cartefians, and other fects of philofophers, abused and troubled the world with a kind of philofophical enthufiafm, and a great many ridiculous

*Tria funt quæ fecundum effentiam hominibus funt aylw5a, xas aopisa, Deus, angelus, et anima hominis. Ath. in Tract, de defin. Quæri facilius eft quam intelligitur, et melius intelligitur quam explicatur.

Plato doubted, Ariftotle denied, and Galen derided the doctrine of the world's creation.

|| Nihil eft in toto opificio naturæ, de quo non fcripfit Democritus. And for Aristotle, they ftiled him, Regula natura, Natura miraeulum, ipfa eruditio, fol fcientiarum, Antiftes literarum et fapien tia. Lactantius, lib. iii, cap. 17, 18.

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