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The Preface.

Being through weakness to the house confin’d,

My mentall powers seeming long to sleep,

were summond up, by want of wakeing mind,

Their wonted course of exercise to keep,

And not to waste themselves in slumber deep;

Though no work can bee so from error kept

But some against it boldly will except:

Yet sith it was my morning exercise

The fruit of intellectuals to vent,

In Songs or counterfets of Poesies,

And haveing therein found no small content,

To keep that course my thoughts are therfore bent,

And rather former workes to vindicate

Than any new conception to relate.

Our glorious God his creatures weaknesse sees,

And therefore deales with them accordingly,

Giveing the meanes of knowledg by degrees,

Vnfoulding more and more the Mystery,

And opening the Seales successively, Rev. 6.

So of his goodnesse gives forth demonstracions,

To his Elect in divers Dispensacions.

In legall wise hee did himself expresse

To be the only Lord Omnipotent

A just avenger of all wickednesse,

A jelous God in power emminent,

Which terror workes, and pale astonishment;

Sith plagues for sin are holden forth thereby,

But with no strength to crush inniquity.

Now with the Law the Gospell oft appeares,

But under vailes, perspicuous unto few

Who were as those which of good tydings heares,

Rejoyceing much at the report or show

Of that the Saints now by possessing know;

Oft spake the Prophets Evangelicall,

Whose words like kindly drops of rain did fall.

But when the plenerie of time was come

The springs of grace their plesant streams out deald

Felicitie did evidence on her some

Salvacion and the way thereto reveald,

Who wounded were in spirit, might be heald;

Here God declares the Beauties of his Face,

Great Love, rich Mercy, free Eternall Grace.

This time was when the Sonne of Righteousnesse

His Luster in the world began to spread,

Which more and more to his he doth expresse

In tearms so large that they that run may read,

And to himselfe he doth the weaker lead;

He to his bosum will his Lambs collect,

And gently those that feeble are direct. Isa. 40. 11

And so in them a life of grace instill

Whereby they shall be able to obay

All Gospell precepts suting with his will,

And that without regard of servill pay,

But with free hearts, where Christ alone doth sway

Causing the apprehensions of his love,

To gender love, which still doth active prove.

Where Christ thus ruleth, I suppose remaines

No heart that hankers after Novelties

Whose ground is but the Scum of frothy braines

Perhaps extracted from old Heresies,

New formd with Glosses to deceive the eyes

Of those who like to Children, do incline

To every new device that seemes to shine.

I am perswaded they that relish right,

The Dainties of Religion, Food divine,

Have therby such a permanent delight,

And of best Treasures, such a lasting mine,

As that their hearts to change do not incline,

I therfore think theyr tastes of Truth is ill,

Who Truths profession, quickly alter will.

I speak not this to manifest despight

To tru Religions growth or augmentacion,

Nor do I take offence of greater Light

Which brings probatum est, or commendacion

From Truth it selfe, having therto relacion,

But rather with the Saints I doe rejoyce,

When God appeares to his in Gospel-voyce.

Now touching that I hasten to expresse

Concerning these, the ofspring of my mind,

Who though they here appeare in homly dresse

And as they are my works, I do not find

But ranked with others, they may go behind,

Yet for theyr matter, I suppose they bee

Not worthlesse quite, whilst they with Truth agree.

Indeed I grant that sounder judgments may

(Directed by a greater Light) declare

The ground of Truth more in a Gospel-way,

But who time past with present will compare

Shall find more mysteries unfolded are,

So that they may who have right informacion

More plainly shew the path-way to Salvacion.

Yet this cannot prevayl to hinder me

From publishing those Truths I do intend,

As strong perfumes will not concealed be,

And who esteemes the favours of a Freind,

So little, as in silence let them end,

Nor will I therfore only keep in thought,

But tell what God still for my Soule hath wrought.

When Clouds of Melancholy over-cast

My heart, sustaining heavinesse therby,

But long that sad condicion would not last

For soon the Spring of Light would blessedly

Send forth a beam, for helps discovery,

Then dark discomforts would give place to joy,

Which not the World could give or quite destroy.

So sorrow serv’d but as springing raine

To ripen fruits, indowments of the minde,

VVho thereby did abillitie attaine

To send forth flowers, of so rare a kinde,

VVhich wither not by force of Sun or VVinde:

Retaining vertue in their operacions,

VVhich are the matter of those Meditacions.

From whence if evill matter be extracted

Tis only by a spider generacion,

Whose natures are of vennom so compacted,

As that their touch occasions depravacion

Though lighting in the fragrantest plantacion:

Let such conceale the evill hence they pluck

And not disgorg themselves of what they suck.

So shall they not the humble sort offend

Who like the Bee, by natures secret act

Convert to sweetnesse, fit for some good end

That which they from small things of worth extract,

Wisely supplying every place that lackt,

By helping to discover what was meant

Where they perceive there is a good intent.

So trusting that the only Sov’rain Power

Which in this work alwaies assisted mee,

Will still remain its firme defensive Tower,

From spite of enemies the same to free

And make it useful in some sort to bee,

That Rock I trust on whom I doe depend,

Will his and all their works for him defend.

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