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Oh, how love I thy law! &c.—Ver. 97.
I COME now to a second use, to press us to get this love. Take three arguments:—
1. This will wean us from sinful delights, that are apt to insinuate with us and take our hearts; it will draw us off from carnal pastimes, curious studies, vain pamphlets: if you had this love, here would be your recreation in the word of God. Castae deliciae meae sunt scripturae tuae, saith Austin—here are my chaste delights, thy holy scripture, to be ruminating and meditating there. Here you will be employing your time and strength of your thoughts. There are two things mightily concern us—to make religion our business and recreation; 473our business in regard of the seriousness, and our recreation and delight in regard of the sweetness. Now, if you have a word from God, here will be your delight; you will be exercising yourselves contemplating the height, depth, and breadth of God’s love in Christ Jesus, and turning over this blessed book: Job xxiii. 12, ‘I have esteemed the words of thy mouth more than my necessary food.’ Your very food for sustentation of your bodies will not l>e so sweet to you as the word of God for the comfort and refreshing of the soul. When the promises are as dry breasts and withered flowers, when men have little or no feeling of the power of it upon their hearts, no wonder they are besotted with the pleasures of sin. Men’s minds must have some pleasure and oblectation, but their hearts are chained to carnal delights, so that they cannot mind the business of their souls.
2. Your hearts will be more stable and upright with God, more constant in the profession of godliness, when you come to love the word and love the truth for the truth’s sake: 2 Thes. ii. 12, ‘Because they received not the truth in the love of it, therefore God gave them up to strong delusions, that they might believe lies.’ The Lord hath seen it fit ever to continue this dispensation in the course of his providence, to suffer seducing spirits to go forth to try how we have received the truth, whether only in the bare profession of it, or received it in the love of it. Many have received the truth in the light of it; that is, compelled by conscience, human tradition, current opinions, and custom of the country to profess it; but they do not love it, therefore they are easily carried away. There may be knowledge where there is not assent; there may be assent where there is not love; there may be some slight persuasion of the truth of evangelical doctrine, but if the heart be biassed with lust and sin, a man doth but lie open to temptations to apostasy. Therefore, until the heart be drawn out unto love to the truth it can never be stable with God.
3. This is that which will give you a clearer understanding in the mysteries of godliness. The more we love the word the more we study it, and the deeper insight and more spiritual discerning we have in the mysteries thereof. It is not acute parts, but strong affections to divine things, that maketh us to understand them in a spiritual manner. If a man hath acute parts, but yet hath vile affections and carnal passions, these will becloud the mind and fill us with prejudicate opinions, so that we cannot discern the mind of God in many cases, nor spiritually discern it in any. Men are darkened with their own lusts, their minds are darkened with carnal lusts; then ‘in seeing they see not, in hearing they hear not:’ they do not hear what they hear. Let me set it forth by this similitude. A blunt iron, if it be thoroughly heated in the fire, will sooner pierce through a thick board than a sharper tool that is cold; so in the order of the affections; when a man’s heart is heated and warmed with love to divine things, then it pierceth through; he hath such a sight of divine things as they shall affect and change his heart more than he that hath great parts. It is not acuteness of parts, so much as entireness of affection, which gives us a spiritual discerning of the mysteries of godliness; for when the heart is wedded to carnal lusts, the judgment is corrupted and partial, but when we have an affection to holiness we shall sooner 474discern the mind of God. Knowledge breeds love, and love increaseth knowledge, for it fortifieth and strengthened the other faculties of the soul, that they may be more ready in operation. Let this persuade you to get this love to the word of God.
Ay! but how shall we do to get this love?
Direct. 1. I told you before it is the fruit of regeneration; yet a little to quicken you hereunto, consider all the arguments which are brought. As whose word it is; it is God’s word, and if you love God, will you not love the word of God? Surely your best affections are due to him, and if you bear any affections to him you will bear an affection to his word: Isa. xxvi. 8, ‘Our desires are to thee, and to the remembrance of thy name.’ First to thee, and then to the remembrance of thy name; or, as it is in the original, to thy memorial. If you have desires to God, then you will love that blessed book wherein you shall read and hear of God, where God hath displayed his name to you. And then consider what benefits you have by the word. It serves—
1. To enlighten us and to direct us. This is our light in a dark place, and to guide us on all occasions. Solomon saith, Eccles. xi. 7, ‘Light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun.’ If light natural be so pleasant, what is light spiritual? And therefore the Psalmist compares the word of God to the sun, Ps. xix. First he speaks of the sun when he displayeth his beams upon the earth, then presently he comes to speak of the word of God. The world can no more be without the one than the other, without the word of God no more than without the sun; for as one doth revive the drooping plants, and cheer and refresh nature by his comfortable beams, so the word of God doth rejoice, refresh, and revive the hearts of God’s people by its light and influence, Ps. xix. 7, 8. Oh! it is a comfort to have light to see our way. When men begin to have a conscience about heavenly things they will judge so. Paul and his companions in the great storm at sea, when they saw no sun for many days, and when they were afraid to fall upon rocks and shelves, with what longing did they expect to see the sun! So a poor bewildered soul doth experiment such another case, when his way is dark, and hath no direction from the word of God what course to take; but when he can get a little light from the testimonies of the Lord to guide him in his way, how sweet, refreshing, and reviving is this to his heart!
2. It serves to comfort us in all straits. The word of God is, as Basil saith, a common shop of medicaments, where there is a salve for every sore, and a remedy for every malady, a promise for every condition. God hath plentifully opened his good-will and heart to sinners; whatever the burden and distress be, still there is some remedy from the word of God. Look, as David, Ps. xlviii. 2, 3, bids them to view Zion on all sides, to see if there were anything wanting necessary for ornament and defence, so we may say of the word of God, Go round about, see if there be anything wanting for the comfort of a Christian. There are promises of wisdom to manage our business, James i. 5; promises of defence in the midst of all calamities, Heb. iii. 5; promises of sustentation and support in God’s storehouse, blessings enough for every poor soul. Then the word of God serves to support and 475strengthen us in our conflicts, either with sins or with afflictions, to strengthen us against corruptions, and quicken us to duties; the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, the choicest weapon in the spiritual warfare, Eph. vi. 18. Here a Christian fetcheth his all from hence. Therefore, if you would have these affections to the word, think what a great deal of benefit is to be had by it, light, comfort, and strength.
Direct. 2. Be in a capacity to love the word. If you would have this strong affection David speaks of, you must be renewed and reconciled.
1. Renewed, for this love is an affection proper to the new nature: Rom. viii. 5, ‘They that are after the spirit do mind the things of the spirit.’ It is in vain to think of any such love to God’s word until we be renewed by God’s grace. A man, as a man, may delight in the knowledge of the word; but to receive the word of God as the word of God, there must be somewhat of the divine nature, or you will not have such a relish and savour to spiritual things.
2. Be reconciled to God. A guilty creature, what comfort can he take in the word of God, where he can see nothing but his accusation and his doom? When he looks into it, it shows him his natural face. A natural man cannot delight in the word of God, for it only revives his fears, and offers to his mind a sense of his misery. Therefore God’s witnesses are said to ‘torment them that dwell on the earth,’ Rev. xi. 10. God’s word is a torment to them; to come to the word, and study the word of God, and consider his mind revealed therein, this nothing but increaseth fears. It is a vexation to them, when they would sleep securely, to have their consciences rubbing up and reviving their fears. Therefore they are not in a capacity to delight in the word of God.
Direct. 3. If you would delight in the word of God, you must get an esteem of spiritual enjoyments. Why are wicked men so greedily carried out after worldly comforts? These are the only things which they value. But until a man learns to value knowledge, and spiritual comforts, and subjection to God, and conversion of his heart to God, he will not love the word, which is the instrument of all these benefits. When he counts these as the greatest blessings, then his heart will be carried on to them, for the word only hath a subserviency to these things. Poor low creatures value themselves by plentifulness of worldly accommodations; they will not be so much longing after them. But when they value instruction above silver, and knowledge more than their gold, as Prov. viii. 10, when the heart is set upon spiritual things, then they love the word by which they might be made partakers of it.
Direct. 4. Let a man live in awe of the word, and make it his business to maintain communion with God; for this will show him the necessity of his word to comfort and to strengthen him upon all occasions. A lively Christian, that in good earnest minds his work, must have the word by him for his strength and support, as he that labours must have his meals, otherwise he will faint. Painted fire needs no fuel, and when we content ourselves with a loose and careless profession, then we will not so delight ourselves in God’s book and in his statutes, 476and run to those things for the support of our souls. But when we make it our business, then naturally we will be carried out in love to the word.
Use 3. For trial. Have we this love to God’s word? God’s people love his word exceedingly. There are many do not hate it, do not oppose it, or have some cold affections this way; but have you that order of affection which the children of God do express?
1. If you have a true love to the word of God, you will much exercise yourselves therein in reading, hearing, praying, conferring, and meditating; these will be constant exercises of your souls. You will be much in reading the word, as the eunuch returning from public worship was reading a portion of scripture, Acts viii. 28. It is good to see with our own eyes, and drink out of the fountain; not barely to attend upon deductions from the word, and discourses built thereupon, but to read the book itself; and if it seem dark, God will s*end you an interpreter. Then you will be delighted in hearing the word. Certainly the saints will take all meet occasions for this. If he hath begotten you by the word of truth, you will be swift to hear, James i. 19. They which have experimented the power of it, there needs not much ado to press them to come and wait upon the dispensation of the word: Ps. cxxii. 1, ‘I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go up unto the house of the Lord.’ You should be glad of these occasions of hearing God’s word. Look, as in heaven all our comforts and all grace comes in there by vision, by sight, so now it comes in here in the church by hearing. Hearing is the sense exercised in the church, and therefore God’s children will be much in hearing the word. Then much in conferring of it; what a man delights in he will be talking of, and so should you at home and abroad: Deut. vi. 7, ‘Thou shalt be talking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest in the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.’ When you are at home you should be conferring of these holy things, and abroad seasoning your journey and business with gracious conference.
2. If you have this love to the word of God, you will delight to get it into your hearts. There is the great business of a Christian, that it may not only be in the Bible, but may be impressed on the heart, and expressed by a sincere, uniform, impartial obedience, when we study conformity thereto in heart and life. Hypocrites may delight in speculation, but a child of God is delighted in the obedience and in conformity to his word: Ps. cxix. 14, ‘I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies as much as in all riches.’ Not only in the testimonies themselves, in the naked contemplation of these blessed truths, reconciliation with God, and the way to true happiness, but in the way and practice of these things. He that loves his rule will study an exact conformity thereunto. The love a child of God hath to the word differs from the love of a hypocrite or a temporary believer thus, by this similitude: in a rare piece of painting, an ordinary beholder takes a great deal of comfort when he seeth it or looks upon it, but this is nothing to that contentment which an artist takes in imitating and copying it out, in expressing it, when he can by his own pencil copy it out to the life; so that which a child of God delights in is when he 477can copy out tins word of God, get it into his heart, and hold it forth in his conversation, for the scripture speaks of both. Of the word got into the heart: James i. 21, ‘Receive with meekness the ingrafted word:’ when it is not only an external rule, but an ingrafted word. So Ps. xxxvii. 31, ‘The law of God is in his heart,’ and Ps. xl. 8, ‘Thy law is in my heart.’ Here is the great testimony of our love to God’s law, when we strive to have it impressed on the heart and expressed in the conversation: Phil. iii. 16, ‘Let us walk by the same rule.’ This is a double contentment when it comes to that, not only to the view of truth, but when the heart is a ready transcript of the word of God, when these things are not only revealed to him, but revealed in him: Gal. i. 16, ‘It pleased God to reveal his Son in me.’ There is a revealing things to us and a revealing things in us. Now, when this is our business, that all this may be revealed in us, and we may be cast into the mould of this doctrine, then indeed do we love the law of God: Rom. vi. 17, ‘Ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you,’ or ‘whereto ye were delivered.’
3. They which love the word of God, love the whole word, even that which thwarts their natural desires, and discovers their sin to them. Paul saith, Rom. vii. 12, ‘The law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.’ What is the meaning of this disjunctive, the law and the commandment? By the commandment he means that particular law which had so strangely affected him, that had wrought such tragical effects upon his heart, made sin revive, disturbed him, discovered himself to himself; he loves that law which broke in upon his heart with so much power and evidence, and stirred up his affections. Carnal men love the comfortable part of the word, to be feasted with privileges; but that part which urgeth them to unpleasing duties, or discovers their sins, they love not: 1 Kings xxii. 8, ‘He doth not prophesy good concerning me, but evil:’ therefore I will not hear him. Though he was a prophet of the Lord, and came with the word of the Lord, yet, He never prophesied good to me; that is, such things as did please him. Do you think that was the temper of that wicked king alone? No; it is the temper of every wicked man’s heart: Amos v. 10, ‘They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly.’ All wicked men have such a disposition; they hate that part of the word which doth stir up their fears, revive their doubts, and is contrary to their lusts. It is their general disposition: John iii. 20, ‘Every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.’ They shun that part of the word whereby they might come to know themselves; either they could wish such things were not sins, or that they did not know them to be sins: 2 Peter iii. 5, ‘For this they willingly are ignorant of.’ A guilty soul hath a secret enmity to the word of God, being loath to read his own doom there, and be much occupied and employed in that which condemns and accuseth him; as a man that hath light ware is loath to come to the balance, or a man that hath counterfeit coin is loath to come to the touchstone; so they are loath to come too close and near the word of God, that their whole course may be discovered to themselves. None 478but a pure sincere heart can have such a universal love to God’s law.
4. If you love the word, you will ever love the word; for the same reasons that drew your heart at first continue still: Ps. cxix. 20, ‘My soul breaketh for the longing that it hath unto thy judgments at all times.’ By judgments is meant the word of God, which is the rule of God’s proceeding with sinners. It was not for a pang only that he had that strong and vehement affection, but it was a constant thing at all times, it was the ordinary frame of his heart. Many men have good affections for a while, but they i abide not with them; for some have an adulterous affection only:’ they may love the word of God while it is new, for novelty sake: John v. 35, ‘Ye rejoiced for a season in his light:’ and Acts xvii. 20, they flocked about Paul, because he seemed to be a ‘setter forth of new doctrine.’ This is but carnal love, that is soon altered. Or else it may be they have some love to the word during some qualm of conscience, and they may find some savour in it when they have a little trouble upon them, as we desire strong water in a pang, not as a constant diet. When they are under some working of conscience, then they run to the word; but as soon as they can lick themselves whole again, they slight it, and their love to the word is gone. As their trouble wears off, so their affection is worn off. These are driven by fearing the word, and not by the love of it. For a great while men are carried on pleasingly in their love to the word, but when it grates hard, bears hard upon conscience, and meets with their lusts, then they go away in discontent; as Herod ‘heard John gladly’ for a while, Mark vi. 20, until his Herodias was touched, and then follows his darling sin again. Their love is to the word if carnal credit accompany it, as John was welcome to the Jews until he fell under Herod’s displeasure. The stony ground received the word with much joy, ‘until the sun arose with a burning heat,’ Mat. xiii. There are certain times when it is a credit to be religious, and when the gospel is befriended in the world; then men will have some seeming affection, but it dies away. God’s children love the word for its own sake, therefore they ever love it. They which love the truth for foreign reasons, because of novelty, merely out of present necessity, public countenance, because it is in fashion and repute, or because they thought the word would flatter them more in their sins than it doth, these do not love the word. Thus David’s affection is asserted.
Secondly, We have David’s assertion demonstrated, ‘It is my meditation all the day.’
Doct. 2. They that love the word will be meditating therein continually.
There are two grounds for this—love causeth it, and love is in creased by it.
1. Love causeth it. We are continually thinking of whatsoever we love. Rich men, that affect worldly things, are always thinking of gathering substance and increasing their worldly portion; as that man, Luke xii. 17, 18, was dialogising and discoursing with himself. Carnal lovers are thinking of that they love, and ambitious men are feasting their souls with imaginations and suppositions of worldly 479greatness, pleasing themselves by framing images in their minds; and warriors are thinking of battles and wars, and voluptuaries are thinking of sports and pastimes, and a child of God is thinking of holy things. Love causes the soul to be more where it loves than where it lives; it is the best entertainment they can find for themselves to frame images of things loved in their minds.
2. As love begets meditation, so meditation cherishes love. Meditation is the life of all the means of grace, and that which makes them fruitful to our souls. What is the reason there is so much preaching and so little practice? For want of meditation. Constant thoughts are operative. If a hen straggleth out from her nest, she brings forth nothing, her eggs chill; so when we do not sit abrood upon holy thoughts, if we content ourselves with some few transient thoughts and glances about divine things, and do not dwell upon them, the truth is suddenly put off, and doth no good. All actions require time and space for their operation; if hastily slubbered over, they cool; if we give them time and space we shall feel their effects. So if we hold truths in our mind, and dwell upon them, there will be an answerable impression; but when they come like a flash of lightning, then they are gone, and we run them over cursorily. That truth may work there is required three things—sound belief, serious consideration, and close application: Job v. 27, ‘Lo, this we have searched it; so it is, hear it, and know thou it for thy good.’
[1.] A sound belief, for it is reality that will work upon us. Affection is always according to the strength of the persuasion.
[2.] There must be application. Every kind of operation is by the touch. The nearer the touch the greater the virtue; so the more close they are upon the heart, and touch, and concern us, the more they work upon us.
[3.] There must be consideration: we must seriously revolve these things in our mind, and debate with ourselves; as, for instance, what a strict and precise account we are to give at the day of judgment, the inexpressible pains of hell and ineffable joys of heaven. Generally we do not believe these things. If we were persuaded there is a heaven and hell, if we did think of them with application, and say, Soul, thou must one day go either to heaven or hell, thou must one day appear before God, and be put under a sentence of everlasting death, or receive a sentence of everlasting life; if we did consider them with serious and with inculcative thoughts: Is it indeed so? then let me consider what I must do; this reasoning and debating, and whetting these truths upon the heart, would work upon us, and we should sooner see the fruit. As Elisha stretched himself often upon the Shunamite’s son, and kept stretching himself till the child began to wax warm and sneezed, and then he opened his eyes, so we should spread truth upon the heart till affection begin to quicken it.
Use 1. Reproof, and that of three sorts of persons:—
1. Those that go musing of vanity all the day, and never can find a thought for God, for Christ, for the covenant, or for the great truths of the word. They have thoughts and to spare for other things. Do those love the word of God, and never spend a thought about it? Prov. vi. 21. If the word were bound upon us as a jewel and chain, 480then when thou goest it would lead thee, when thou sleepest it would keep thee, and when thou awakest it would talk with thee. The word would ever be running upon our minds if we had any hearty affections to it. Christians, think with yourselves; have you thoughts for other things, and none for God, Christ, heaven, and everlasting glory? Would you count him to be a charitable man that should throw away his meat and drink into the kennel, rather than give to him that needs and asks it? So, would you count him to be a godly man, one that hath a sincere love to God, that hath thoughts he knows not what to do with, but casts them away upon every idle toy and base inconsiderable thing, and not a thought for God? to suffer his thoughts to run waste; yea, run riot in envious ripenings, or unclean glances, or revengeful or proud imaginations; that can have thoughts for such trifles, and never a thought for God, and forget him days without number? Jer. ii. 32. Have these affections to the word of God?
2. It reproves those persons to whom good thoughts are looked upon as a burden and melancholy interruption, and when they rush into their minds, are thrown out again like unwelcome guests. These seem to be described by those words, Rom. i. 28, ‘They did not like to retain God in their knowledge;’ when men like not to entertain thoughts of God. If they fasten upon our hearts we soon grow weary of them. Christians, to a gracious heart, one that loves God and his word, thoughts of God and holy things are very comfortable and sweet: Ps. civ. 34, ‘My meditation of him shall be sweet.’ But when they are so unwelcome, and seem so troublesome to your souls, have you a love to them? To be weary of the thoughts of God is to degenerate into devils; for it is part of the devils’ torment to think of God: they believe and tremble; the more explicit thoughts they have of God, the more is their horror increased. If it be so with you, judge whether you have this affection.
3. Those that read and hear, but do not meditate in order to affection and practice. This duty must have its turn too. If you will ever manifest affection, and increase affection, you must take some time to meditate and season your thoughts: James i. 24, ‘For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.’ They lay aside thoughts of what they hear and read, and so go into their old course again. When you hear or read anything of the word of God, the greatest part of the task is yet behind; you are to meditate, to exercise your thoughts therein. When men hear and do not meditate, it is like the seed which fell upon the pathway: Mat. xiii., ‘The fowls of the air came and picked it up.’ When you do not labour to cover it, to get it into your heart by deep and ponderous thoughts, the devil comes and takes it away again, when you work it not into your souls. Bare hearing leaves but little impression, unless we debate and revolve it in our minds. ‘God spake once, and I heard it twice,’ saith Job. He had it not only at the first delivery, but at the rebound; he went it over again in his thoughts.
Use 2. Information. It informs us why we are so backward to meditate; it is for want of love: ‘Oh, how love I thy law!’ and then, ‘It is my meditation all the day.’ You think it is want of time, and want of parts and abilities. I tell you, it is want of love. It is but a 481vain boasting, and the greatest hypocrisy, to say we love the law of God, and never exercise our minds therein; for where there is love it will command our thoughts; and if once you have found a heart, you will find time, abilities, and thoughts to bestow upon holy things. Love sets all the wheels of the soul awork; and therefore the great reason why meditation is so difficult is we have not such strength and such ardour of affections to the things of God. The difficulty doth not lie in the duty itself, but in the awkwardness of our hearts to the duty. You can muse upon other things, why not muse upon that which is holy?
Use 3. To press you to show love to the word of God this way by often meditating upon it; meditate upon the doctrines, promises, threatenings, man’s misery, deliverance by Christ, necessity of regeneration, then of a holy life, the day of judgment. Fill the mind with such kind of thoughts, and continually dwell upon them. A good man should do so, and will do so. He should do so, Josh. i. 8; and he will do so, Ps. i. 2. Oh, do not begrudge a little time spent this way! for hereby we both evidence our love to the word and increase it.
But to quicken you hereunto:—
1. The more the heart is replenished with holy meditation, the less will it be pestered with worldly and carnal thoughts. The mind of man is restless, and cannot lie idle, therefore it is good to set it awork upon holy things. It will be working upon somewhat, and if you do not feed it with holy thoughts, what then? ‘All the imaginations of the heart will be evil, only evil, and that continually,’ Gen. vi. 5. These are the natural products and births of our spirits. And Mat. xv. 19, ‘Out of the heart proceeds evil thoughts,’ &c. When the heart is left to run loose, then we shall go musing of vanity and sin; therefore by frequent meditation this evil is prevented, because the mind is pre-occupied, and possessed already by better things; nay, the mind is seasoned, and vain and carnal thoughts grow distasteful to us when the heart is stored with good matter.
2. The more these thoughts abide with us, the more the heart is seasoned and fitted for all worldly comforts and affairs. It is hard to touch pitch and not be defiled, to go up and down with a serious heart in the midst of such temptations. Nothing makes you aweful and serious so much as inuring your minds with holy thoughts, so that you may go about worldly businesses in a heavenly manner. God’s children are sensible of this, therefore they make it their practice to begin the day with God: Ps. cxxxix. 18, ‘When I awake, I am still with thee.’ As soon as they are awake they are seasoning their minds with somewhat of God. And they not only begin with God, but take God along with them in all their comfort and business: Prov. xxiii. 17, ‘They are in the fear of the Lord all the day long.’ Why do vain thoughts haunt us in duty? Because it is our use to be vainly occupied. A carnal man goes about heavenly business with an earthly mind, and a godly man goes about earthly business with a heavenly mind. A carnal man’s thoughts are so used to these things that he cannot take them off; but a godly man hath inured his mind to better thoughts.
3. Thoughts will inflame and enkindle your affections after heavenly 482things. It is beating the steel upon the flint makes the sparks fly out. So by serious inculcative thoughts we beat out affections; these are the bellows to blow up the coals. It is a very deadening thing to be always musing on vanity: Cant. i. 3, ‘Thy name is as ointment poured forth, therefore do the virgins love thee.’ When a box i& broken, and the ointment poured out, when the name of God is taken in by serious thoughts, that stirs up affection.
4. By holy thoughts we do most resemble the purity and simplicity of God. We do not resemble God so much by speech and course of our actions as we do by our serious and holy thoughts, for his spiritual nature and being is best expressed by these operations of our own spirits. You can conceive of God as a spirit, always beholding him self, and loving himself; and so you come nearer as to the being of God, the more your thoughts are exercised and drawn out after holy things.
5. By these holy meditations the soul is present with God, and can solace itself with him. The apostle saith, We are absent from him in the body, but present with him by the spirit; present with him by the workings of our thoughts. This is the way to get into the company of the Spirit, to be with him, Ps. cxxxix. 18. How with him? By our thoughts, and by serious calling him to mind. God is not far from us, but we are far from him. God is not far from us in the effects of his power and goodness, but we are far from God, because our thoughts are so seldom set awork upon him. This is the way to solace ourselves with God, to be much in these holy things.
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