« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
tenderness and care of friends was an entanglement to a dying man; and that the unconcerned attendance of those that could be procured in such a place would give less disturbance. And he obtained what he desired; for he died at the Bell Inn, in Warwick Lane.
Another circumstance was, that, while he was bishop in Scotland, he took what his tenants were pleased to pay him ; so that there was a great arrear due, which was raised slowly by one whom he left in trust with his affairs there; and the last payment which he could expect from thence was returned up to him about six weeks before his death ; so that his provision and journey failed both at once.
(FROM " THE SAINTS' REST"; AND,“ NARRATIVE, &c."
Choose for devotional exercises the most seasonable time. All things are beautiful and excellent in their season. Unseasonableness may lose the fruit of thy labour, may raise difficulties in the work, and may turn a duty to a sin. The same hour may be seasonable to one, and unseasonable to another. Servants and labourers must take that season which their business will best afford; either while at work or in travelling, or when they lie awake in the night. Such as can choose what time of the day they will, should observe when they find their spirits most active and fit for contemplation, and fix upon that as the stated time. I have always found that the fittest time for myself is in the evening, from sun-setting, in the twilight. I the rather mention this, because it was the experience of a better and wiser man ; for it is expressly said, Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the even-tide. Genesis xxiv. 63.
The Lord's-day is exceeding seasonable for this exercise. When should we more seasonably contemplate on Rest, than on that day of rest which typifies it to us? It being a day appropriated to spiritual duties, methinks we should never exclude this duty, which is so eminently spiritual. I verily think this is the chief work of a Christian Sabbath, and most agreeable to the design of its positive institution. What fitter time to converse with our Lord, than on the Lord's-day? What fitter day to ascend to heaven, than that on which he arose from earth, and fully triumphed over death and hell? The fittest temper for a true Christian is, like John, to be “in the Spirit
on the Lord's day.” Rev. i. 10. And what can bring · us to this joy in the Spirit, but the spiritually beholding of our approaching glory?
Take notice of this, you that spend the Lord's-day only in public worship! Your allowing no time to private duty, and therefore neglecting this spiritual duty of meditation, is very hurtful to your souls. You
also, that have time, on the Lord's-day, for idleness · and vain discourse, were you but acquainted with
this duty of contemplation, you would need no other pastime ; you would think the longest day short, enough, and be sorry that the night had shortened your pleasure. Christians, let Heaven have more share in your Sabbaths, where you must shortly keep your everlasting Sabbath. Use your Sabbaths as steps to glory, till you have passed them all, and are there arrived. Especially, you that are poor, and cannot take time in the week as you desire, see that
you well improve this day: as your bodies rest from their labours, let your spirits seek after rest from God.
THE WISDOM OF EXPERIENCE.
PASSAGES OF AIS LIFE AND TIMES. The temper of my MIND hath somewhat altered with the temper of my BODY. When I was young, I was more vigorous, affectionate, and fervent in preaching, conference and prayer, than, ordinarily, I can be now : my style was more extemporate and lax, but, by the advantage of affection, and a very familiar moving voice and utterance, my preaching then did more affect the auditory than many of the last years before I gave over preaching ; but yet, what I delivered was much more raw, and had more passages that would not bear the trial of accurate judgments; and my discourses had both less substance and less judgment than of late.
My understanding was then quicker, and could easilier manage any thing that was newly presented to it upon a sudden; but it is since better furnished, and acquainted with the ways of truth and error, and with a multitude of particular mistakes of the world, which then I was the more in danger of, because I had only the faculty of knowing them, but did not actually know them. I was then like a man of a quick understanding, that was to travel a way which he never went before, or to cast up an account which
he never laboured in before, or to play on an instrument of music which he never saw before": and I am now like one of somewhat a slower understanding (by that præmatura senectus which weakness and excessive bleedings brought me to), who is travelling a way which he hath often gone, and is casting up an account which he hath often cast up, and hath ready at hand, and that is playing on an instrument which he hath often played on: so that I can very confidently say, that my judgment is much sounder and firmer now than it was then; for, though I am not now as competent judge of the actings of my own understanding then, yet I can judge of the effects ; and when I peruse the writings which I wrote in my younger years, I can find the footsteps of my unfurnished mind, and of my emptiness and insufficiency: so that the man that followed my judgment then, was likelier to have been misled by me, than he that should follow it now.
And withal I knew not how impatient divines were of being contradicted, nor how it would stir up all their powers to defend what they have once said, and to rise up against the truth which is thus thrust upon them, as the mortal enemy of their honour; and I knew not how hardly men's minds are changed from their former apprehensions, be the evidence never so plain. And I have perceived, that nothing so much hindereth the reception of the truth, as urging it on men with too harsh importunity, and falling too heavily on their errors: for hereby you engage their