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A Meditation concerning the Sober usage both of the Body and Pleasures in this Life

We could not but use this our body, which God has made to be the tabernacle and mansion of our soul for this life, otherwise than are do, if we considered it accordingly. That is, we should use it for the soul's sake, being the guest thereof, and not for the body itself, and so should it be served in things to help, but not to hinder the soul. A servant it is, and therefore it ought to obey, to serve the soul, that the soul might serve God; not as the body will, neither as the soul itself will, but as God will; whose will we should learn to know, and behave ourselves thereafter. To observe which is hard for us now, by reason of sin, which has gained a mansion-house in our bodies, and dwells in us, as does the soul; to which (sin I mean) we are altogether of ourselves inclined, because we naturally are sinners, and born in sin; by reason whereof we are ready as servants to sin, and use our bodies accordingly, making the soul to sit at reward, and pampering up the servant to our shame. Oh! therefore, good Lord, that it would please thee to open this unto me, and to give me eyes effectually to consider what this my body is, namely, a servant lent for the soul to sojourn in, and serve thee in this life. Yea, it is by reason of sin, that has his dwelling there, become now to the soul nothing else but a prison, and that most strait, vile, stinking, filthy, and therefore in danger of miseries, to many in all ages, times, and places, till dead has turned it to dust, whereof it came, and whither shall return; that the soul may return to thee, from whence it came, until the day of judgment come, in the which thou shalt raise up the body, that then it may be partaker with the soul, and the soul with it, inseparably, of wealth or woe, according to that which is done in and by the same body here now in earth.

Oh! that I could consider these things often and heartily, then should I not pamper up this body to obey it, but bridle it, that it might obey the soul. Then should I fly the pain it puts my soul unto, by reason of sin and provocation to all evil, and continually desire the dissolution of it, with Paul, (Philip. i.) and the deliverance from it, as much as ever did prisoner his deliverance out of prison. For only by it the devil has a door to tempt, and so to hurt me; in it I am kept from thy presence, and thou from being so conversant with me as else thou would be. By it I am restrained in a great degree from the sense and feeling of all the joys and comforts which are to be taken as joys and comforts indeed. If it were dissolved, and I out of it, then Satan could no more hurt me; then would thou speak with me face to face; then the conflicting time were at an end; then sorrow would cease, and joy would increase, and I should enter into inestimable rest. Oh! that I considered this accordingly!

 

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