THE ART OF DIVINE ME∣DITATION.
IT is not, I * suppose, a more bolde than profita∣ble labour, after the in∣deuours of so many cō∣tēplatiue men to teach Page 2 the Art of Meditation: An heauenly businesse, as any belongs either to man or Christian; and such as wherby the soule doeth vnspeakea∣bly benefit it selfe: For by this do we ransacke our deepe & false harts, find out our secret ene∣mies, buckle with them, expell them, arme our selues against their re∣entrance. By this wee make vse of all good means, fit our selues to all good dueties; by this we descrie our weake∣nesse, obtaine redresse, Page 3 preuēt tentatiōs, cheere vp our solitarines, tem∣per our occasions of delight; get more light to our knowledge, more heate to our af∣fections, more life to our deuotion: by this we grow to be (as wee are) straungers vpon earth, and out of a right estimation of all earth∣ly things, into a sweet fruitiō of inuisible com∣forts: by this, wee see our Sauiour with Ste∣uen, we talke with God as Moses▪ and by this we are rauished with bles∣sed Page 4Paul into Paradise; and see that heauen which we are loath to leaue, which we cannot vtter. This alone is the remedie of security and worldlines, the pastime of Saints, the ladder of heauen, and in short the best improuement of Christianitie: Learne it who can, and neglect it who list; hee shall neuer find ioy, neither in God nor in himselfe, which doeth not both knowe and practise it. And how euer of olde some hidden Cloyste∣rers Page 5 haue ingrossed it * to themselues, and con∣fined it within their Celles: who indeede professing nothing but contemplation, throgh their immunitie from those cares which ac∣company an actiue life, might haue the best leasure to this busines; Yet seeing there is no man so taken vp with action, as not some∣times to haue a free minde; and there is no reasonable minde so simple, as not to bee able both to discourse Page 6 somewhat, and to bet∣ter it selfe by her secret thoughts; I deeme it an enuious wrong to conceale that from a∣ny, whose benefit may bee vniuersall: Those that haue but a little stocke, had neede to knowe the best rules of thrift;
THe rather for that where∣as * our Diuine Meditation is Page 7 nothing else but a ben∣ding of the mind vpon some spirituall obiect, through diuers formes of discourse, vntill our thoughts come to an issue; and this must needs be either Extem∣porall, and occasioned by outward occurren∣ces offred to the mind, or Deliberate, and wrought out of our owne heart; which a∣gaine is either in Mat∣ter of Knowledge for the finding out of some hidden trueth, and con∣uincing of an heresie Page 8 by profound trauersing of reason, or in Matter of Affection, for the enkindling of our loue to God: the former of these two last wee sen∣ding to the Scholes and masters of Controuer∣sies, search after the la∣ter; which is both of larger vse, and such as no Christian can reiect, as either vnnecessary, or ouer-difficult. For both euery Christian had neede of fire put to his affections, and weaker iudgements are no lesse capable of this Page 9 diuine heate, which proceedes not so much from reason as from faith.
One sayes, (and I beleeue him) that Gods Schoole is more of Affection, than Vn∣derstanding: Both les∣sons very needefull, ve∣ry profitable; but for this our age, especi∣ally the later: For if there bee some that haue much zeale, little knowledge, there are more that haue much knoweledge without zeale. And hee that Page 10 hath much skill and no affection, may do good to others by informati∣on of iudgement, but shall neuer haue thanke either of his own heart, or of God; who vseth not to cast away his loue on those, of whom hee is but knowen, not loued.
OF Extempo∣ral Meditatiō * there may be much vse, no Page 11 rule: forasmuch as our conceits herein varie according to the infi∣nite multitude of ob∣iects, and their diuers manner of profering thēselues to the minde; as also for the sudden∣nesse of this acte. Man is placed in this Stage of the worlde to viewe the seuerall natures and actions of the creature; To view them, not idly, without his vse, as they doe him: God made all these for man, and man for his owne sake; Both these purposes Page 12 were lost, if man should let the creatures passe carelesly by him, onely seene, not thought vp∣on: He onely can make benefit of what he sees; which if hee doe not, it is all one, as if hee were blind, or brute. Whēce it is, that wise Salomon puttes the sluggard to schoole vnto the Ant; and our Sauiour sends the distrustfull to the Lillie of the field.
In this kinde was that Meditation of the Diuine Psalmist, which vpon the viewe of the Page 13 glorious frame of the Heauens, was led to woonder at the merci∣full respect GOD hath to so poore a crea∣ture as man. Thus our Sauiour tooke occasi∣on of the water fetcht vp solemnely to the Al∣tar, from the Well of Shilo, on the day of the great HOSANNAH, to meditate and dis∣course of the Water of life. Thus holy and sweete AVGVSTINE, from occasion of the water-course neere to his Lodging, running Page 14 among the pebbles, sometimes more silent∣ly, sometimes in a ba∣ser murmure, and some∣times in a shriller note, entred into the thought and discourse of that excellent order which God hath settled in all these inferiour things; Thus that learned and heauenly soule of our late Estye, when wee sate together, and heard a sweet consort of Mu∣sicke, seemed vpon this occasion carried vp for the time before-hand to the place of his rest, Page 15 saying, not without some passion, What Musicke may we thinke there is in heauen? Thus lastly (for who knowes not that examples of this kinde are infinite?) that faithfull and reue∣rend Deering, when the Sunne shined on his face, now lying on his death-bed, fell into a sweet meditation of the glory of God, and his approaching ioy. The thoughts of this nature are not onely lawfull, but so behooueful, that we cannot omit them, Page 16 without neglect of God, his creatures, our selues. The creatures are halfe lost if wee on∣ly imploy them, not learne somthing of thē: GOD is wronged if his creatures bee vnre∣garded; our selues most of all if wee reade this great volume of the creatures, and take out no lesson for our instru∣ction.
WHerein yet * cautiō is to be had that our Medi∣tatiōs be not either too farre-fetcht, or sauou∣ring of Superstition. Farre-fetcht I cal those, which haue not a faire & easie resemblāce vn∣to the matter frō whēce they are raised: in which case our thoghts proue loose & heartles; making no memorable Page 18 impression in the mind. Superstitious, when we make choice of those grounds of Meditation, which are forbidden vs as Teachers of Vanity; or imploy our owne deuices (though well grounded) to an vse a∣boue their reach; ma∣king them vpon our owne pleasures, not on∣ly furtherances, but parts of Gods worship; in both which, our Me∣ditations degenerate, and growe rather pe∣rillous to the soule: Whereto adde, that Page 19 the minde bee not too much cloyed with too frequent iteratiō of the same thought; which at last breedes a weari∣nesse in our selues, and an vnpleasantnesse of that conceit, which at the first entertainement promised much de∣light. Our nature is too ready to abuse familia∣ritie in any kinde: and it is with Meditations, as with Medicines; which with ouer-ordi∣nary vse lose their So∣ueraignety; and fill, in stead of purging. God Page 20 hath not straited vs for matter, hauing giuen vs the scope of the whole world; so that there is no creature, euent, acti∣on, speach which may not afford vs new mat∣ter of Meditation. And that which we are wont to say of fine wittes, we may as truely affirme of the Christian hart; that it can make vse of any thing. Wherefore as trauellers in a forreine countrey make euery fight a lesson; so ought wee in this our pilgri∣mage: Thou seest the Page 21 heauen rolling aboue thine head in a constāt and vnmoueable moti∣on; the starres so ouer-looking one another, that the greatest shewe little, the least grea∣test, all glorious; the ayre full of the bottles of raine, or fleeces of snowe, or diuers formes of fiery Exhalations: The sea vnder one v∣niforme face full of strange and monstrous shapes beneath; the earth so adorned with variety of plants, that thou canst not but tread Page 22 on many at once with euery foote; besides the store of creatures that flie aboue it, walke vpō it, liue in it: Thou idle Truant▪ doest thou learn nothing of so many masters? hast thou so long read these capitall letters of Gods great booke, and canst thou not yet spell one worde of them? The brute creatures see the same things, with as cleare, perhaps better eyes: if thine inward eyes see not their vse, aswell as thy bodily eyes their Page 23 shape, I knowe not whether is more rea∣sonable, or lesse brutish.
DEliberate Me∣ditation * is that wee chiefly in∣quire for; which both may be wel guided, and shall be not a little fur∣thered by precepts; part whereof the labours of of others shall yeeld vs, and part the plainest mistresse, Experience: Wherin order requires Page 24 of vs first the qualities * of the person fit for me∣ditatiō, thē the circum∣stances, maner & pro∣ceedings of the worke.
The hill of Meditati∣on may not be climbed with a profane foote; * But as in the deliuery of ye law, so here, no beast may touch Gods hill, lest he die: only the pure of heart haue promise to see God: sinne dim∣meth & dazeleth the eie that it cannot beholde spirituall things: The gard of heauenly Soul∣diers was about ElishaesPage 25 seruant before, hee saw thē not before throgh the scales of his infideli∣ty: The soule must ther∣fore bee purged, ere it can profitably meditate. And as of old they were wont to search for, and thrust out malefactors frō the presēce, ere they wēt to sacrifice; so must we our sins, ere we offer our thoughts to God. First, saith Dauid, I will wash my hands in inno∣cencie, then I wil com∣pas thine altar. Wher∣upō not vnfitly did that worthy Chauncellour Page 26 of Paris, make the first staire of his Ladder of Contemplation, Hum∣ble Repentaunce. The cloth that is white (which is wont to bee the colour of innocen∣cie) is capable of any Dye; the blacke, of none other: Not that we require an absolute perfection (which as it is incident vnto none, so if it were, would ex∣clude all neede and vse of Meditation) but ra∣ther an honest sincerity of the heart, not wil∣lingly sinning, wil∣lingly Page 27 repenting when we haue sinned; which, whoso findes in him∣selfe, let him not thinke any weakenesse a law∣full barre to Meditati∣on. He that pleades this excuse is like some sim∣ple man, which being halfe starued with cold, refuses to come neere the fire, because hee finds not heate enough in himselfe.
NEither may the * soule that ho∣peth to profite by meditation, suffer it selfe for the time in∣tāgled with the world; which is all one, as to come to GODS fla∣ming bush on the hill of visions, with our shooes on our feete. Thou seest the birde, whose feathers are li∣med, vnable to take her former flight: so Page 29 are wee when our thoughts are clingd together by the world, to soare vp to our hea∣uen in Meditation: The payre of brothers must leaue their nets if they wil folow Christ: Elisha his oxen, if hee will at∣tend a Prophet: It must bee a free and a light minde that can ascend this Mount of Con∣templation, ouercom∣ming this height, this steepenesse: Cares are an heauie lode, and vn∣easie; these must be laid downe at the bottome Page 30 of this hill, if wee euer looke to attain the top. Thou art loded with housholde-cares, per∣haps publike; I bid thee not cast them away: euen these haue their season, which thou canst not omitte with∣out impietie: I bid thee lay them downe at thy Closet doore, when thou attemptest this worke: Let thē in with thee, thou shalt finde them troublesom com∣panions, euer distra∣cting thee from thy best errand thou woul∣dest Page 31 thinke of heauen; thy Barne comes in thy way, or perhaps thy Count-booke, or thy Cofers, or it may bee thy minde is before hand trauailing vpon the morrowes iourney. So while thou thinkest of many things, thou thinkest of nothing; while thou wouldest goe many wayes, thou standest still. And as in a crowde, while many presse forward at once through one doore, none proceedeth: so whē variety of thoughts Page 32 tumultuously throng in vpon the minde, each prooueth a barre to the other, and all an hinde∣ranceto him that enter∣taines them.
ANd as our Clyent of * Meditation must both be pure and free in vn∣dertaking this taske, so also constant in conti∣nuing it; Constant both in time and in matter: Page 33 Both in a set course and * houre reserued for this worke, and in an vn∣wearied prosecution of it once begun. Those that meditate by snat∣ches and vncertaine fittes, when onely all other imploiments for∣sake thē, or when good motions are thrust vp∣on them by necessity, let them neuer hope to reach to any perfecti∣on. For those feeble beginnings of luke∣warm grace, which are wroght in them by one fit of serious meditatiō, Page 34 are soone extinguished by intermission, and by mis-wonting perish: This dayes meale (tho large & liberall) streng∣thens thee not for to morrow; the body lan∣guishes if there be not a daily supply of repast: thus feede thy soule by meditation; Set thine houres and keep them, and yeeld not to an ea∣sie distraction. There is no hardnesse in this practise, but in the be∣ginning; vse shall giue it, not ease onely, but delight. Thy compa∣nion Page 35 entertaines thee this while in louing dis∣courses, or some inex∣pected businesse offers to interrupt thee. Ne∣uer any good worke shall want some hinde∣rance: Either breake through thy lettes, ex∣cept it be with inciuility or losse; or if they bee importunate, pay thy selfe the time that was vnseasonably borrow∣ed; and recompence thine omitted houres with the double labors of another day: For thou shalt find, that dif∣ferring Page 36 breedes (beside the losse) an indispositi∣on to good; So that what was before plea∣sant to thee, being omit∣ted, to morrow growes harsh; the next day vn∣necessary; afterwardes odious. To day thou canst, but wilt not; to morrow thou couldst, but listest not; the next day thou neither wilt nor cāst bend thy mind on these thoughts: So I haue seene friends that vpon neglect of duetie growe ouerly, vpon o∣uerlinesse, strange; vpon Page 37 strangenes, to vtter de∣fiance. Those whose ve∣ry trade is Diuinity (me thinks) should omit no day without his line of Meditatiō: those which are secular men, not many; remēbring that they haue a common calling of Christianitie to attend, aswel as a spe∣ciall vocation in the worlde: and that other being more noble and important, may iustly challenge both often and diligent seruice.
ANd as this Cō∣stancy * requires thee to keepe day with thy selfe, vn∣lesse thou wilt prooue bankrupt in good exer∣cises; so also that thy mind should dwell vp∣on the same thought without flitting, with∣out wearinesse, vntill it haue attained to some issue of spirituall profit: Otherwise it attemp∣teth much, effecteth Page 39 nothing. What auailes it to knock at the doore of the heart, if wee de∣part ere we haue an an∣swere? What are wee the warmer if we passe hastily along by the hearth, stay not at it? Those that doe onely trauell through Africke become not Blacke∣mores, but those which are borne there, those that inhabit there: We account those damosels too light of their loue, which betroth them∣selues vpon the first sight, vpon the first mo∣tion: Page 38〈1 page duplicate〉Page 39〈1 page duplicate〉Page 40 & those we deeme of much price, which require long and ear∣nest soliciting: He de∣ceiues himselfe that thinkes grace so easily wonne; there must be much suit and impor∣tunitie ere it will yeeld to our desires. Not that we call for a per∣petuitie of this labour of Meditation; Humane frailty could neuer beare so great a toyle. No∣thing vnder heauen is capable of a continuall motion without com∣plaint: It is enough for Page 41 the glorified spirits a∣boue, to be euer think∣ing, & neuer weary: the minde of man is of a strange mettall; if it be not vsed, it rusteth; if vsed hardly, it breaketh: briefly, is sooner dulled, than satisfied with a continuall meditation: whēce it came to passe, that those auncient Monks who intermed∣dled bodily labor with their contēplatiōs, pro∣ued so excellent in this diuine businesse; when those at this day, which hauing mewd & mured Page 42 vp themselues from the world spēd themselues wholly vpō their beads and Crucifixe, preten∣ding no other work but meditation, haue colde hearts to God, & to the world shewe nothing but a dull shadowe of deuotion: for that (if the thoughts of these later were as diuine as they are superstitious) yet being without al in∣terchangeablenes, bent vpon the same dis∣course, the mind must needes growe weary, the thoughts remisse Page 43 and languishing, the obiects tedious: while the other refreshed thē∣selues with this wise va∣rietie, imploying the hands, while they cal∣led of the mind, as good Comedians so mixe their partes, that the pleasantnes of the one, may tēper the austere∣nes of the other; where∣upon they gained both enough to the body, & to the soule more than if it had beene all the while busied.
Besides, the excellen∣cie of the obiect letteth Page 44 this assiduity of medita∣tion; which is so glori∣ous, that like vnto the Sunne, it may abide to haue an eye cast vp to it for a while, will not be gazed vpon▪ whosoe∣uer ventureth so farre, loseth both his hope and his wits. If we hold with that blessed Moni∣ca, that such like cogi∣tations are the foode of the minde, yet euen the minde also hath her satietie, and may sur∣fet of too much. It shall be sufficient there∣fore, that wee perse∣uere Page 45 in our meditation without any such affe∣ctation of perpetuity, and leaue without a light ficklenesse; ma∣king alwayes not our houre-glasse, but some competent increase of our deuotion, the mea∣sure of our continu∣ance; knowing, that as for heauen, so for our pursuite of grace, it shall auaile vs little to haue begunne well, without perseuerance: and withall that the Soule of man is not alwayes in the like Page 46 disposition: but some∣times is lōger in settling through some vnquiet∣nesse, or more obstinate distraction; sometimes heauier, and sometimes more actiue, and nim∣ble to dispatch. *Ger∣son (whose authoritie I rather vse, because our aduersaries disclaim him for theirs) profes∣seth, he hath been som∣times foure houres to∣gether working his heart, ere hee could frame it to purpose: A singular patterne of vn∣wearied constancie, of Page 47 an vnconquerable spi∣rit; whom his present vnfitnesse did not so much discourage, as it wherted him to striue with himselfe till hee could ouercome. And surely other victories are hazzardous, this certaine, if we will per∣sist to striue: other fights are vpon hope, this vp∣on assurance; whiles our successe depends vpon the promise of God, which cannot dis∣appoint vs: Persist ther∣fore, and preuaile; per∣sist till thou hast preuai∣led: Page 48 so that which thou beganst with dif∣ficultie, shall ende in comfort.
FRom the quali∣ties of the per∣son, * we descēd towards the action it selfe: where first wee meete with those Cir∣cumstances which are necessary for our pre∣disposition to the work; Place, Time, Site of bodie.
Page 49Solitarinesse of Place* is fittest for Meditation: Retire thy selfe from o∣thers, if thou wouldst talke profitably with thy selfe. So IESVS me∣ditates alone in the Moūt, Isaac in the fields, Iohn Baptist in the de∣sert, Dauid on his bed, Chrysostome in the bath, each in seuerall places; but all solitary. There is no place free frō God, none to which hee is more tied: one finds his closet most conueniēt, where his eies being li∣mited by the knowen Page 50 walles, call in the mind after a sort from wan∣dering abroad; Ano∣ther findes his soule more free whē it behol∣deth his heauen aboue and about him; It mat∣ters not so we be solita∣rie and silent; It was a wittie and Diuine speach of Bernard, that the spouse of the foule, CHRIST IESVS, is bashfull, neither wil∣lingly comes to his bride in the presence of a multitude; And hence is that sweete inuitation which wee Page 51 finde of her; Come my welbeloued, let vs goe foorth into the fields, let vs lodge in the villages: Let vs go up early to the vines; let vs see if the Vine flourish, whether it hath disclosed the first grape, or whether the Pomegranates blossome; there will I giue thee my loue. Abandon there∣fore all worldly socie∣tie, that thou mayest change it for the com∣pany of GOD and his Angels; The society, I say, of the worlde, not outward onely, but in∣ward Page 52 also. There bee many that sequester themselues from the vi∣sible company of men, which yet carie a world within them; who be∣ing alone in bodie are haunted with a throng of fancies: as Ierome, in his wildest desert, foūd himselfe too oft in his thoughts amongst the daunces of the Roman dames; This compa∣ny is worse than the o∣ther: for it is more pos∣sible for some thought∣full men to haue a soli∣tary mind in the midst Page 53 of a market, than for a man thus disposed to be alone in a wildernes; Both companies are e∣nemies to Meditation; Whither tendeth that anciēt coūsell of a great Master in this Arte, of three thingsrequisite to this busines, Secrecy, Si∣lence, Rest: whereof the first excludeth compa∣ny, the second noise, the third motion. It cannot be spoken how subiect wee are in this worke, to distraction; Like Salomons old man whome the noyse of Page 52〈1 page duplicate〉Page 53〈1 page duplicate〉Page 54 euery bird wakeneth: sensuall delights we are not drawen from with the threefold cords of iudgmēt; but our spiri∣tual pleasures are easily hindered. Make choice therefore of that place, which shall admit the fewest occasiōs of with∣drawing thy soule from good thoughts: wher∣in also euen change of place is somewhat pre∣iudiciall; and I knowe not how it fals out, that we find God neerer vs in the place where wee haue been accustomed Page 55 familiarlie to meete him: Not for that his presence is confined to one place aboueothers, but that our thoughts are through custome more easily gathered to the place where wee haue ordinarily con∣uersed with him.
ONe Time cā∣not * bee pre∣scribed to al: For neither God bound to hours; Page 56 neither doeth the con∣trary dispositiō of men agree in one choice of opportunities: the gol∣den houres of the mor∣ning some finde fittest for Meditation, when the body newly raised, is well calmed with his late rest, and the soule hath not as yet had frō these outward things any motiues of aliena∣tion: Others find it best to learne wisedome of their reines in the night▪ hoping, with Iob, that their bedde will bring them comfort in their Page 57 meditation; when both all other things are still; and themselues weari∣ed with these earthly cares, doe out of a con∣tempt of them, growe into greater liking and loue of heauēly things: I haue euer found Isaacs time fittest, who went out in the euening to meditate. No precept, no practise of others can prescribe to vs in this circumstance: It shall bee enough, that first we set our selues a time; secondly, that we set apart that time, Page 58 wherein wee are aprest for this seruice: And as no time is preiudiced with vnfitnesse, but eue∣ry day is without diffe∣rēce seasonable for this worke, so especially Gods day; No day is barren of grace to the searcher of it, none a∣like fruitfull to this; which being by God sanctified to himselfe, and to bee sanctified by vs to God, is priuiled∣ged with blessings a∣boue others: for the plentifull instruction of that day stirtes thee vp Page 59 to this action, and filles thee with matter; and the zeale of thy pub∣like seruice warms thy heart to this other bu∣sinesse of deuotion. No MANNA fell to the Is∣raelites on their Saba∣oth; our spiritual MAN∣NA fals on ours, most frequent: If thou woul∣dest haue a full soule, gather as it fals; gather it by hearing, reading, meditatiō: spiritual idle∣nesse is a fault this day, perhaps not lesse than bodily worke.
NEither is ther esse variety * in the Site and gesture of the body: the due composednes whereof is no little aduantage to this exercise; euen in our speach to God, we obserue not alwaies one and the same position; sometimes we fall gro∣ueling on our faces, somtimes we bow our knees, sometimes stand Page 61 on our feete, somtimes we lift vp our handes, sometimes cast downe our eyes. God is a Spi∣rit, who therefore be∣ing a seuere obseruer of the disposition of the soule, is not scrupulous for the body; requiring not so much, that the gesture thereof should be vniforme as reuerēt: No maruell therefore, though in this, all our teachers of meditation haue commended se∣ueral positions of body, according to their dis∣position and practise; Page 62* One sitting with the face turned vp to hea∣uen-ward, according to the precept of the Phi∣losopher, who taught him, that by sitting and resting, the mind gathereth wisedome: ** Another leaning to some rest towardes the left side, for the greater quieting of the heart: * A third stan∣ding with the eyes lift vp to heauen, but shut for feare of distractiōs; But of all other (mee thinkes) Isaacs choice the best, who medita∣ted Page 63 walking. In this let euery man be his owne master; so bee wee vse that frame of body that may both testifie reue∣rence, and in some ca∣ses help to stirre vp fur∣ther deuotion; which also must needes be va∣ried according to the matter of our Meditati∣on. If we thinke of our sins, Ahabs soft pase, the Publicans deiected eyes, and his hand bea∣ting his breast, are not vnseasonable: If of the ioies of heauen, Steuens countenance fixed a∣boue, Page 64 and Dauids hands lift vp on hie, are most fitting; In all which the body, as it is the instru∣ment and vassall of the soule, so will easily fol∣low the affections ther∣of; and in trueth then is our deuotion most kindly, whē the body is thus commaunded his seruice by the spirit, and not suffered to goe be∣fore it, and by his for∣wardnesse to prouoke his master to emula∣tion.
NOw time and order cal vs frō * these circum∣stances to the matter and subiect of Medi∣tation: which must be Diuine & Spiritual; not euill, nor worldly. O the carnal and vnprofitable thoughts of men! We all meditate; one how to do ill to others; ano∣ther how to doe some earthly good to him∣selfe; another to hurt himselfe, vnder a co∣lour Page 66 of good; as how to accomplish his lewd desires, the fulfilling whereof prooues the bane of the soule, how he may sinne vnseene, and goe to hell with least noise of the world: Or perhaps some bet∣ter mindes bend their thoughts vpō the search of naturall things; the motions of euery hea∣uen, and of euery starre; the reason and course of the ebbing and flow∣ing of the Sea; the ma∣nifold kinds of simples that growe out of the Page 67 earth, & creatures that creepe vpon it; with all their strange qualities, and operatiōs; Or per∣haps the seueral formes of gouernement, and rules of State take vp their busie heads, so that while they would bee acquainted with the whole world, they are strangers at home; and while they seeke to knowe all other things, they remain vnknowen of thēselues: The God that made them, the vilenesse of their na∣ture, the danger of their Page 68 sinnes, the multitude of their imperfections, the Sauior that bought them, the heauen that he bought for them, are in the meane time as vnknowen, as vnregar∣ded, as if they were not.
Thus do foolish chil∣dren spend their time and labour in turning ouer leaues to looke for painted babes, not at all respecting the solide matter vnder their hāds. We fooles, when will we be wise, and turning our eyes from vanity with that sweete singer Page 69 of Israel, make Gods Statutes our song, and meditation in the house of our pilgrimage?
Earthly things profer themselues with im∣portunity; Heauenly things must with im∣portunitie bee sued to. Those, if they were not so little worth, would not be so forward; and being so forward, need not any meditation to solicite them: These by how much more hard they are to intreate, by so much more precious they are being obtai∣ned; Page 70 and therfore wor∣thier our indeuour: As then we cannot goe a∣misse, so long as wee keepe our selues in the tracke of Diuinitie; while the soule is taken vp with the thoughts, either of the Deitie in his essence, and persons (sparingly yet in this point, and more in faith and admiration then in∣quiry) or of his attri∣butes, his iustice, pow∣er, wisedome, mercie, trueth; or of his works, in the creation, preser∣uation, gouernement Page 71 of all things, according to the Psalmist, I will meditate of the beau∣tie of thy glorious Ma∣iestie, and thy wonder∣full workes; so most di∣rectly in our way, and best fitting our exercise of Meditation are those matters in Diuinity, which can most of all worke compunction in the hart, & most stirre vs vp to deuotiō: Of which kind are the Meditatiōs concerning CHRIST IESVS, our Mediatour, his Incarnation, Mira∣cles, Life, Passion, Buri∣al, Page 72 Resurrection, Ascen∣sion, Intercessiō, the be∣nefit of our Redēption, the certaintie of our E∣lection, the graces and proceeding of our san∣ctification, our glorious estate in Paradise lost in our first Parents, our present vilenes, our in∣clination to sin, our se∣uerall actuall offences; the tētations & sleights of euill Angels, the vse of the Sacraments, na∣ture & practise of faith & repentance: the mi∣series of our-life, with the frailty of it, the cer∣tainty Page 73 and vncertainty of our death, the glory of Gods Saints aboue, the awfulnes of iudge∣ment, the terrors of hel, and the rest of this qua∣litie: wherein both it is fit to haue variety (for that euen the strongest stomacke doeth not al∣wayes delight in one dish) & yet so to chāge, that our choice may be free from wildnesse and inconstancie.
NOW after that we haue * thus order∣ly suited the person & his qualities, with the due circūstan∣ces of Time, Place, dis∣position of body, and substance of the matter discussed; I knowe not what can remaine, be∣sides the maine busines it selfe, and the maner and degrees of our pro∣secution thereof; which Page 75 aboue all other calles for an intentiue Reader, and resolute practise; Wherein, that we may auoide all nicenesse and obscurity (since wee striue to profit) we will giue direction for the Entrance, Proceeding, Conclusion of this Di∣uine worke.
A Goodly build∣ing * must shew some magnifi∣cence in the gate: and great personages haue seemely Vshers to goe before them; who by their vncouered heads commaund reuerence and way; Euen verie Poets of old had wont, before their Ballads, to implore the aid of their Gods: And the heathen Page 77Romans entred not vpō any publike ciuile busi∣nes, without a solemne apprecation of good successe: How much lesse should a Christian dare to vndertake a spi∣rituall * worke of such importāce, not hauing craued the assistance of his GOD? which (me thinkes) is no lesse, than to professe hee could doe well without Gods leaue. When we thinke euill, it is frō our selues, when good from God. As prayer is our speach to God, so is each good Page 78 Meditation (according to Bernard) GODS speach to the heart; The heart must speake to God, that God may speake to it. Prayer therefore, and Medita∣tion are as those fa∣mous twinnes in the storie, or as two louing Turtles, whereof sepa∣rate one, the other lan∣guishes.
Prayer makes way for Meditation; Medi∣tation giues matter, strength, and life to our prayers. By which, as all other things are san∣ctified Page 79 to vs, so we are sanctified to all holy things: This is as some royall Eunuch to per∣fume and dresse our soules, that they may be fit to conuerse with the King of heauen.
But the prayer that leades in Meditation would not be long, re∣quiring rather that the extension and length should be put into the vigor and feruencie of it; for that it is not here intended to be the prin∣cipall businesse, but an introductiō to another; Page 80 and no otherwise than as a Portall to this buil∣ding of Meditation: The matter whereof shall be, that the course of our Meditation may bee guided aright and blessed; that all distra∣ctions may be auoided; our iudgements inligh∣tened, our inuentions quickned, our willes re∣ctified, our affections whetted to heauenly things, our harts enlar∣ged to God-ward, our deuotion enkindled; so that we may finde our corruptiōs abated, our Page 81 graces thriuē, oursoules & liues euery way bet∣tered by this exercise.
SVch is the cō∣mon * entrance into this work: There is another yet more particular & pro∣per; wherein the mind recollecting it self, ma∣keth choice of that Theme or matter wher∣upon it will bestowe it selfe for the present; settling it selfe on that Page 82 which it hath chosen: which is done by an in∣ward inquisition made into our heart of what we both doe, & should thinke vpon: reiecting what is vnexpedient & vnprofitable: In both which, the soule, like vnto some noble Hauk, lets passe the Crowes, and Larkes, and such o∣ther worthlesse birdes that crosse her way, and stoopeth vpon a foule of price, worthy of her flight: after this man∣ner,
What wilt thou muzePage 83vpon, O my soule? thou seest how little it auailes thee to wander and roue about in vncertainties: thou findest how little sauour there is in these earthly things, where∣with thou hast wearied thy selfe; Trouble not thy self any longer (with Martha) about the ma∣ny & needlesse thoughts of the world: None but heauenly things can af∣ford thee comfort: Vp then my soule, and mind those things that are a∣boue, whence thy selfe art: Amongst all which,Page 84whereon shouldest thou rather meditate than of the life & glory of Gods Saints. A worthier em∣ployment thou canst ne∣uer finde, than to thinke vpon that estate, thou shalt once possesse, and now desirest.
HItherto the Entrāce; af∣ter * which our Medita∣tion must Proceed in due order, not troubledly, not preposterously: It Page 85 begins in the vnderstā∣ding, ends in the affe∣ctions; It begins in the braine, descends to the heart; Begins on earth, ascends to heauen; Not suddenly, but by certain staires & degrees, til we come to the highest.
I haue found a subtill * Scale of Meditation, ad∣mired by some profes∣sors of this Arte, aboue all other humane de∣uises; and farre pre∣ferred by them to the best directiōs of Origen, Austen, Bernard, Hugo, Bonauenture, Gerson,Page 86 and whosoeuer hath been reputed of grea∣test perfection in this skil: The seueral staires whereof (lest I should seeme to defraud my Reader through enuie) I would willingly de∣scribe, were it not that I feared to scarre him ra∣ther with the danger of obscurity, from ventu∣ring further vpon this so worthy a businesse: yet, lest any man per∣haps might complaine of an vnknowen losse, my Margent shall find roume for that, which I Page 87 hold too knotty for my Text.
* In all which, (after the incre∣dible commen∣dations of some practicioners) I doubt not but an ordinary Reader will easily espie a double fault at the least, Darkenesse and Coincidence; that they are both too obscurely de∣liuered, and that diuers of them fal into other, not without som vain Page 88 superfluity. For this part therfore which cōcerneth the vnderstāding, I had rather to re∣quire only a deep and firme Consi∣deration of the thing propoun∣ded; which shall be done, if we fol∣lowe it in our dis∣course, through all, or the princi∣pall of those pla∣ces which natural reasō doth afford vs: wherein let no man plead ig∣norāce, Page 89 or feare difficul∣ty: we are all thus farre borne Logicians; Nei∣ther is there in this so much need of skil, as of industry. In which cours yet, we may not be too curious in a precise search of euery place, & argumēt without omis∣siō of any (though to be fetcht in with racking the inuētiō). For as the mind, if it go loose and without rule, roues to no purpose; so if it be too much fettred with the giues of strict regularity moueth nothing at all.
ERe I enter * therfore in∣to any par∣ticular tra∣ctatiō, There are three things whereof I would premonish my Reader, concerning this first part which is in the vn∣derstanding. First, that I desire not to binde e∣uery man to the same vniforme proceeding in this part. Practise and custome may per∣haps Page 91 haue taught other courses more familiar, and not lesse direct: If then we can, by anie o∣ther method, worke in our hearts so deepe an apprehension of the matter meditated, as it may duely stirre the af∣fections, it is that only wee require.
Secondly, that who∣soeuer applieth himself to this direction, thinke him not necessarily ty∣ed to the prosecution of all these Logicall pla∣ces, which hee findes in the sequell of our Page 92 Treatise, so as his Medi∣tation should be lame and imperfect without the whole number: for ther are some Themes which wil not beare all these; as when we me∣ditate of God, there is no roume for Causes or Comparisons; & others yeeld thē with such dif∣ficultie, that their search interrupteth the chiefe work intēded: It shalbe sufficient if we take the most pregnant, & most voluntary.
Thirdly, that whē we sticke in the disquisitiō Page 93 of any the places fol∣lowing, as if meditating of Sin, I cannot readily meet with the Material & Formal Causes, or the Appendances of it, wee rack not our minds too much with the inqui∣ry thereof; which were to striue more for Lo∣gique, than deuotion: But without too much disturbaunce of our thoughts, quietly passe ouer to the next. If we breake our teeth with the shell, we shall finde small pleasure in the kernell.
Page 94 Now then, for that my onely feare is, lest this part of my dis∣course shall seeme ouer perplexed vnto the vn∣learned Reader; I will in this whole processe, second my rule with his example; that so what might seeme ob∣scure in the one, may by the other be expla∣ned; and the same steps he sees me take in this, hee may accordingly treade in any other Theme.
FIrst therfore * it shalbe ex∣pedient to consider se∣riously, what the thing is whereof wee medi∣tate.
What then, O my soule, is the life of the Saints, whereof thou studiest? who are the Saints, but those which hauing been weakely holy vpon earth, are perfectly holy aboue? which euen on earth Page 96 were perfectly holy in their Sauiour, now are so in themselues? Which, ouercomming on earth, are truely canonized in heauen? What is their life, but that blessed estate aboue, wherein their glorified soule hath a full fruition of God?
THe nature wherof af∣ter * we haue thus shado∣wed out to our selues by a descriptiō, not cu∣rious alwaies, & exactly framed according to the rules of arte, but suf∣ficient for our own con∣ceit; the next is (if it shal seeme needfull, or if the matter will beare, or offer it) some easie and voluntary diuision, whereby our thoughts Page 98 shall haue more roume made for them, and our proceeding shall bee more distinct.
There is a life of na∣ture, whē thou, my soule, dwellest in this body, and informest thine earthly burden: There is a life of grace, when the spirit of God dwels in thee; There is a life of glory, whē thy body being vnited to thee, both shall bee v∣nited to God; or when, in the meane time, being separated from thy com∣paniō, thou enioyest God alone: This life of thine Page 99 therefore, as the other, hath his ages, hath his statures; for it enters vpon his birth, whē thou passest out of thy body, and changest this earthly house for an heauenly: It enters into his full vi∣gor, when at the day of the common resurrecti∣on, thou resumest this thy companion, vnlike to it selfe, like to thee, like to thy Sauiour, immor∣tall now, and glorious. In this life there may be degrees, there can be no imperfection: If some be like the skie, others like Page 100 the starres, yet all shine; If some sit at their Sa∣uiours right hand, o∣thers at his left, all are blessed; If some vessels hold more, all are full; none complaynes of want, none enuies at him that hath more.
WHich done it shalbe re∣quisite*for our perfiter vnderstanding, and for the laying grounds of matter for our affecti∣on, to carie it through those other principall places, and heads of reason, which nature hath taught euery man, both for knowledge & amplification: The first whereof are the Causes of all sorts.
Page 102 Whence is this eternal life, but from him which onely is eternall; which onely is the fountaine of life, yea, life it selfe? Who but the same God that giues our temporall life, giues also that eter∣nall? The Father be∣stowes it, the Sonne me∣rits it, the holy Ghost seales and applies it: Ex∣pect it onely from him, O my soule, whose frece∣lectiō gaue thee the first title to it, to bee purcha∣sed by the blood of thy Sauiour. For thou shall not therefore be happie, Page 103 because hee sawe thou wouldest bee good; but therefore art thou good, because he hath ordained thou shalt be happie: He hath ordained thee to life; he hath giuen thee a Sauiour to giue this life vnto thee; faith, where∣by thou mightest attaine to this Sauiour; his word, by which thou might'st attaine to this faith; what is there in this, not •is? And yet not so his ••mply, as that it is with∣out thee: without thy merit indeed, not with∣out thine acte; Thou li∣uest Page 104 here through his blessing, but by bread; thou shalt liue aboue through his mercy, but by thy faith belowe, appre∣hending the authour of thy life: And yet as he wil not saue thee without thy faith, so thou canst neuer haue faith without his gift; Looke vp to him therefore, O my soule, as the beginner & finisher of thy saluation; and while thou magnifiest the Author, be rauished with the glorie of the worke: which farre pas∣seth both the tongue of Page 105 Angels, and the heart of man: It can bee no good thing that is not there; Howe can they want water that haue the spring? where God is enioyed in whom only all things are good, what good can bee wanting? And what perfection of blisse is there where all goodnesse is mette and vnited? In thy presence is the fulnesse of ioye, and at thy right hand are pleasures for e∣vermore: O blessed re∣flection of glorie! wee ••e there, as wee are Page 106 seene: In that wee are seene, it is our glorie; in that wee see, it is Gods glory; Therefore doth he glorifie vs, that our glory should bee to his. Howe worthy art thou, ô Lord, that through vs thou shouldest looke at thy selfe!
THE next place*place shalbe the Fruits & Effectes fol∣lowing vpon their se∣uerallPage 107causes: which al∣so affoords very feeling and copious matter to our Meditation; where∣in it shall be euer best, not so much to seeke for all, as to chuse out the chiefest.
No maruell then if from this glory proceede nonspeakeable ioy, and from this ioy the sweete songs of praise & thāks∣giuing. The spirit bids vs, when wee are merrie, sing: How much more then, when wee are mer∣rie without all mixture of sorrowe, beyond all Page 108 measure of our earthly affections, shall wee sing ioyfull Hallelu-iahs, and Hosannahs to him that dwelleth in the highest heauens? Our hearts shal be so full that we cannot chuse but sing, and wee cannot but sing melodi∣ously; There is no iarre in this Musicke, no end of this song. Oblessed chāge of the Saints; they doe nothing but weepe be∣lowe, and now nothing but sing aboue; we sowed in teares, reape inioy; there was some comfort in those teares, when Page 109 they were at worst; but there is no danger of cō∣plaint in this heauenly mirth; If we cannot sing here with the Angels, On earth peace, yet there wee shall sing with them, Glory to God on hie; and ioyning our voi∣ces to theirs, shall make vp that celestial consort, which none can either heare or beare part in, and not be happie.
AFter which*comes to be conside∣red the Sub∣iect either wherein that is, or whereabout that is imployed, which wee meditate of: As,
And indeede, what lesse happinesse doth the very place promise, wherein this glory is ex∣hibited? which is no o∣ther than the Paradise of God: Here belowe wee Page 111 dwell, or rather we wan∣der in a continued wil∣dernesse; there wee shall rest vs in the true Eden; I am come into my gar∣dē, my sister, my spouse. Kings vse not to dwell in Cottages of clay; but in Royal Courts sit for their estate: How much more shall the King of heauen, who hath prepared for men so faire mansions on earth, make himselfe an habitation sutable to his Maiestie: Euen earth∣ly Princes haue dwelt in Cedar and Yuory: but the great Citie, Holy Ierusa∣lem,Page 112 the palace of the hi∣est hath her wall of Ias∣per, her building of gold, her foundation of preci∣ous stones, her gates of pearle: How glorious things are spoken of thee, O thou Citie of GOD! Wee see but the pauement, and yet how goodly it is! The belee¦uing Centurion thought himselfe vnworthy that Christ should come vn∣der his roofe; yet then wert thou, O Sauiour, in thine humbled estate, in the forme of a seruant: How then stall I thinke Page 113 my selfe worthy to come vnder this roof of thine, so shining and glorious? O if this clay of mine may come to this honour a∣boue, let it bee trampled vpon and despised on earth.
SIxtly, shall*followe the Appēdances, and Quali∣ties, which cleaue vnto the Subiect, wherof we meditate: As,
But were the place lesse Page 114 noble and maiesticall, yet the company which it af∣fords, hath enough to make the soule blessed: For not the place giues ornament to the guest, so much as the guest to the place. How loath are we to leaue this earth, onely for the societie of some few friends in whom we delight? which yet are subiect euery day to mu∣tuall dislikes: what plea∣sure shall wee then take in the enioying of the Saints? when there is nothing in them not ami∣able, nothing in vs that Page 115 may coole the feruor of our loue. There shalt thou my soule, thy selfe glorified, meete with thy deare Parēts and friends alike glorious, neuer to be seuered: There shalt thou see and conuerse with those ancient wor∣thies of the former worlde; the blessed Pa∣triarkes and Prophets, with the crowned Mar∣tyrs and Cōfessors; with the holy Apostles, and the Fathers of that Pri∣mitiue, and this present Church, shining each one according to the measure Page 116 of his blessed labours. There shalt thou liue fa∣miliarly in sight of those Angels, whom now thou receiuest good from, but seest not. There (which is the head of all thy fe∣licitie) thine eyes shall see him whom now thine heart longeth for (that Sauiour of thine) in the onely hope of whom now thou liuest. Alas how dimmely, and a farre off doest thou now beholde him? howe imperfectly doest thou enioy him? while euery tēptation be∣reaues thee, for the time, Page 117 of his presence. I sought him whom my soule lo∣ueth: I sought him, but I found him not; his backe is now towards thee ma∣ny times throgh thy sins, and therfore thou hard∣ly discernest him: Other∣while and ofter thy back is turned to him through negligence, that when thou mightest obscure∣lie see him, thou doest not: Now thou shalt see him, and thine eyes thus fixed shall not be remoo∣ued. Yet neither could this glory make vs happy, if being thus absolute, Page 118 it were not perpetuall. To be happie, is not so sweete a state, as it is miserable to haue beene happie. Least ought ther∣fore should bee wanting beholde, this felicitie knoweth no end, feareth no intermission, and is as eternall for the continu∣ance, as hee that had no beginning. O blessednes, truly infinite! Our earth∣ly ioyes doe scarce euer begin; but when they begin, their ende bor∣ders vpon their begin∣ning. One houre sees vs oft-times ioyful and mi∣serable: Page 119 Here alone is nothing but eternitie. If then the diuine Pro∣phet thought one day in Gods earthly house, bet∣ter than a thousand o∣ther-where; what shall I compare to thousands of millions of yeeres in Gods heauenly Temple? Yea, millions of yeeres are not so much as a mi∣nute to eternitie, and that other house not a cottage to this.
SEuenthly, our*thoughts lea∣uing a while the consideratiō of the thing as it is in it selfe, shal descēd vnto it as re∣spectiuely with others; and therefore first shall meditate of that which is Diuers from it, or Cō∣trary vnto it.
What doest thou here then, O my soule? What doest thou here groueling Page 121 vpon earth? where the best things are vanity; the rest no better than vexation. Looke round about thee, and see whe∣ther thine eyes can meet with any thing but either sinnes or miseries. Those few and short pleasures thou scest, end euer sor∣rowfully; and in the mean time are intermin∣gled with many grieuan∣ces. Here thou hearest one crie out of a sicke bodie, whereof ther is no part which affords not choice of diseases; This man layes his hande vpon Page 122 his consuming lungs, and complayneth of shorte winde; that other, vp∣on his rising spleene, a third shaketh his paine∣full head; another roares out for the torment of his reines or bladder; another for the racking of his goutie ioyntes; one is distempered with a watery dropsie, ano∣ther with a windy Co∣licke, a third with a fiery ague, a fourth with an earthen Melancholie; one grouels and fometh with the falling sicknes, another lies bed ridde Page 123 halfe senselesse with a dead Palsey: Ther are but few bodies that com∣plaine not of some dis∣ease; and that thou mayst not looke farre, it is a wonder if thy self feele not alwayes one of these euils within thee. There, thou hearest another la∣ment his losses: either his estate is impayred by suretyship, or stealth, or shipwracke, or oppressi∣on; or his childe is vnru∣ly, or miscarried; or his wife dead or disloyall; Another tormēted with passions; Each one is Page 124 some way miserable: But that which is yet more irkesome; thy one eare is beatē with cursings and blasphemies; thy other with scornefull, or wan∣ton, or murdering spea∣ches; thine eyes see no∣thing but pride filthines, profanenesse, blood, ex∣cesse; and whatsoeuer else might vexe a righ∣teous soule: and if all the world besides were inno∣cent, thou findest enough within thy selfe, to make thy selfe weary, and thy life loathsom: Thou nee∣dest not fetch cause of Page 125 complaint from others; thy corruptiōs yeeld thee too much at home; euer sinning, euer presuming; Sinning euen when thou hast repented, yea, euen while thou repentest, sin∣ning. Goe to nowe, my soule, and solace thy selfe here belowe, and suffer thy selfe besotted with these goodly cōtentmēts; worthy of no better while thou fixest thy selfe on these: see if thou cāst find any of these aboue; and if thou canst meete with any distemper, any losse, any sinne, any complaint, Page 126 frō thy selfe or any other aboue, despise thine hea∣uen as much as now thou louest the earth. Or if all this cannot enough com∣mend vnto thee the state of heauenly glory, cast down thine eyes yet low∣er, into that deep & bot∣tomles pit, ful of horror, full of torment, where there is nothing but flames, and teares, and shrikes, and gnashing of teeth; nothing but fiends and tortures: where there is palpable darke∣nesse, and yet perpetuall fire; where the damned Page 127 are euer boyling, neuer consumed; euer dying, neuer dead; euer com∣plaining, neuer pitied; where the Glutton, that once would not giue a crust of bread, now begs for one drop of water; and yet alas, if whole ri∣uers of water should fall into his mouth, howe should they quench those riuers of brimstone that feede this flame? where there is no intermission of complaints, no brea∣thing from paine, and after millions of yeeres, no possibility of comfort: Page 128 And if the rod where∣with thou chastisest thy children, O Lord, euen in this life be so smart and galling, that they haue been brought downe to the brim of despaire; and in the bitternesse of their soule haue intreated death to release them: What shal I think of their plagues in whose righte∣ous confusion thou insul∣test; and sayest, Aha, I wil auenge me of mine enemies? Euen that thou shalt not bee thus miserable, O my soule, is some kind of happines; Page 129 but that thou shalt bee as happie, as the repro∣bate are miserable, how worthy is it of more esti∣mation, than thy selfe is capable of?
AFterthis oppo∣sitiō * the mind shall make cō∣parison of the matter meditated with what may neerest resemble it; and shall illustrate it with fittest similitudes, which giue no small Page 130 light to the vnderstan∣ding nor lesse force to the affection.
Wonder then, O my soule, as much as thou canst, at this glory; and in comparison thereof, contemne this earth, which now thou treadest vpon; whose ioyes, if they were perfect, are but short; and if they were long, are imper∣fect: One day when thou art aboue, looking downe from the height of thy glory, and seeing the sons of men creeping like so many Ants on this mole∣hill Page 131 of earth, thou shalt thinke: Alas how base∣ly I once liued! was yon∣der silly dungeon the place I so loued, and was so loath to leaue! Thinke so now before-hand; and since of heauē thou canst not, yet account of the earth, as it is worthy: How hartlesse and irke∣some are yee, O yee best earthly pleasures, if ye be matched with the least of those aboue? Howe vile are you, O ye sump∣tuous buildings of kings, euen if all the entrailes of the earth had agreed Page 132 to enrich you, in compa∣son of this frame not made with hands? It is not so hie aboue the earth in distance of place, as in worth and maiestie: we may see the face of hea∣uen from the heart of the earth; but from the neerest part of the earth who can see the least glo∣ry of heauen? The three disciples on mount Ta∣bor, sawe but a glimpse of this glory shining vp∣on the face of their Sa∣uiour; and yet being ra∣uished with the sight, cry∣ed out, Master, It is good Page 133 being here; and thinking of building of three Ta∣bernacles, for Christ, Moses, Elias, could haue been content themselues to haue lien without shel∣ter, so they might alwaies haue enioyed that sight: Alas, how could earthly Tabernacles haue fitted those heuēly bodies? They knewe what they sawe, what they said they knew not: Lo these 3. disciples were not trāsfigured; yet how deeply they were af∣fected, euē with the glory of others? how happy shal wee be, when our selues Page 134 shal be changed into glo∣rious? and shall haue Ta∣bernacles not of our own making, but prepared for vs by God? and yet not Tabernacles, but e∣ternal mansions. Moses sawe God but a while, and shined; How shal we shine that shal behold his face for euer? What grea∣ter honour is there than in Souereignty? what greater pleasure than in feasting? This life is both a kingdome and a feast. A kingdome: He that o∣uercomes, shall rule the nations, and shall sitPage 135with me in my Throne: O blessed promotion, Oh large dominion, and roy∣all seate! to which Salo∣mons throne of yuory was not worthy to be∣come a footestoole. A feast; Blessed are they that are called to the Marriage supper of the Lambe: Feastes haue more than necessitie of prouision, more than or∣dinary diet; but marri∣age-feasts yet more than common abundance; But the marriage-feast of the Sonne of God to his bles∣sed spouse the Church, Page 136 must so farre exceed in all heauenly munificence and varietie, as the per∣sons are of greater State and Maiestie: There is new wine, pure Manna, and all manner of spiri∣tuall dainties; and with the continuall cheare, a sweete and aunswe∣rable welcome; while the bridegrome louingly cheares vs vp, Eate, O Friends, drinke & make you merrie, O welbelo∣ued: yea, There shalt thou be my soule not a guest, but (how vnworthy soe∣uer) the Bride her selfe; Page 137 whom hee hath euerla∣stingly espoused to him∣selfe in truth and righte∣ousnesse; The contract is passed here belowe, the mariage is cōsummate a∣boue, and solēnized with a perpetual feast: So that now thou mayest safe∣ly say, My welbeloued is mine, and I am his: Wherefore hearken, O my soule, and consi∣der, and incline thine eare, forget also thine owne people, and thy fathers house, (thy supposed home of this world) so shall the King Page 138 haue pleasure in thy beauty; for hee is thy Lord, and worship thou him.
THE verie Names, and* Titles of the matter cō∣sidered, yeeld no small store to our Meditati∣on which, being com∣monly so imposed that they secretly compre∣hend the nature of the thing which they repre∣sent,Page 139are not vnworthy of our discourse.
What neede I seeke these resemblances, whē the very name of life im∣plieth sweetnesse to men on earth; euen to them which confesse to liue with some discontent∣ment? Surely the light is a pleasant thing, and it is good to the eyes to see the Sunne: yet when Temporall is added to Life, I know not how this additiō detracteth som∣thing, and doth greatly abate the pleasure of life; for those which ioy Page 140 to thinke of Life grieue to thinke it but Tem∣porall: So vexing is the ende of that whose con∣tinuance was delight∣full; But nowe when there is an addition, a∣boue Time, of Eternitie, it makes life so much more sweete, as it is more lasting; and la∣sting infinitelie, what can it giue lesse than an infinite content∣ment? Oh dying and false life, which wee enioy here, and scarce a sha∣dowe and counterfeit of that other: What is more Page 141 esteemed than glory? which is so precious to men of spirit, that it makes them prodigall of their blood, proud of their wounds▪ carelesse of themselues: and yet alas, how pent and how fa∣ding is this glory, affe∣cted with such dangers and deaths? hardly after all Trophees and monu∣ments, either knowen to the next sea, or surui∣uing him that dyes for it: It is true glorie to triumph in heauen; where is neither en∣uie, nor forgetfulnesse.
Page 142 What is more deare to vs than our Countrey? which the worthy and faithfull Patriotes of all times, haue respected aboue their parēts, their children, their liues; counting it onely happie to liue in it, and to die for it: The banisht man pines for the want of it; the trauailer digests all the tediousnesse of his way, all the sorrowes of an ill iourney, in the only hope of home; forgetting all his forraine miseries, when hee feeles his owne smoake. Where is our Page 143 Countrey but aboue? Thence thou camest, O my soule; thither thou art going, in a short, but weary pilorimage: O mi∣serable men, if wee ac∣count our selues at home in our pilgrimage, if in our iourney we long not for home! Doest thou see men so in loue with their natiue soyle, that euen when it is all deformed with the desolations of warre, and turned in∣to rude heapes, or while it is euen now flaming with the fire of ciuill broiles, they couet yet stil Page 144 to liue in it; preferring it to all other places of more peace and plea∣sure; and shalt thou see∣ing nothing but peace and blessednes at home, nothing but trouble a∣broad, content thy selfe with a faint wish of thy dissolution? If heauen were thy Iayle, thou coul∣dest but thinke of it vn∣comfortably. Oh what af∣fection can be worthy of such an home?
LAstly, if we*can recall a∣ny pregnāt Testimonies of Scripture concer∣ning our Theme, those shall fitly conclude this part of our Meditation: Of Scripture; for that in these matters of God, none but diuine authoritie can cōmand assent, and settle the conscience: Witnesses of holy men may seruePage 146for colours; but the ground must bee onely from God.
There it is (saith the spirit of God, which can∣not deceiue thee) that all teares shall be wip't from our eyes; there shall bee no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more paine: yea, there shall not onely be an end of sorrowes, but an a∣bundant recompence for the sorrowes of our life; as hee that was rapt vp into the third heauen, and there saw what can∣not Page 147 hee spoken, speakes yet thus of what he saw: I count that the afflicti∣ons of this present time are not worthy of the glory which shall bee shewed to vs: It was shewed to him what should hereafter be shew∣ed to vs; and hee sawe, that if all the world full of miseries were layed in one balance, and the least glory of heauen in another, those would bee incomparably light yea (as that diuine Fa∣ther) that one dayes fe∣licitie aboue, were worth Page 148 a thousand yeeres tor∣ment belowe; what then can bee matched with the eternitie of such ioyes? Oh how great therefore is thy goodnes, O Lord, which thou hast layd vp for them that feare thee, and done to them that trust in thee, before the sonnes of men!
THE most * difficult and knotty part of Meditati∣on thus finished, there remayneth that which is both more liuely, and more easie to a good heart; to bee wrought altogether by the affections; which if our discourses reach not vnto, they prooue vain, and to no purpose; Page 150 That which followeth therefore, is the very soule of Meditation, whereto all that is past serueth but as an instru∣ment. A man is a man by his vnderstanding part: but he is a Chri∣stian by his will and af∣fections. Seeing there∣fore, that all our former labour of the braine, is only to affect the heart; after that the minde hath thus trauersed the * point proposed throgh all the heads of reason, it shall indeuour to find in the first place some Page 151 feeling touch, & sweete rellish in that which it hath thus chewed; which fruit, through the blessing of God will voluntarily follow vp∣on a serious Meditati∣on. Dauid sayes, Oh taste and see how sweete the Lord is: In Meditation wee doe both see and taste; but we see before we taste: sight is of the vnderstanding; taste, of the affection; Neither can we see, but we must •aste; we can not knowe •right, but wee must needes bee affected: Page 152 Let the heart there∣fore first conceiue and feele in it self the Sweet∣nesse or bitternesse of the matter meditated; which is neuer done without some passion; nor expressed without some hearty exclama∣tion.
Oh blessed estate of the Saints: O glorie not to bee expressed, euen by those which are glo∣rified! O incomprchen∣sible saluation! What sauour hath this earth to thee? Who can re∣garde the worlde thatPage 153beleeueth thee? Who can thinke of thee, and not bee rauished with woonder and desire? Who can hope for thee, and not reioyce? Who can knowe thee, and not bee swallowed vp with admiration at the mercie of him that be∣stowes thee? O blessed∣nesse worthy of Christs blood to purchase thee! worthie of the continu∣all songs of Saints and Angels to celebrate thee! Howe should I magnifie thee! Howe should I long for thee!Page 154how should I hate all this world for thee?
AFter this* Taste shall followe a Complaint, wherin the heart bewayleth to it selfe his owne pouerty, dulnesse, and imperfe∣ction; chiding and aba∣sing it selfe in respect of his wants and indispo∣sition: wherein Humili∣ation Page 155 truly goes before glory. For the more we are cast downe in our conceit, the higher shall GOD lift vs vp at the ende of this ex∣ercise, in spirituall re∣ioicing.
But alas, where is my loue? where is my lon∣ging? where art thou, O my soule? what hea∣uinesse hath ouertaken thee? Howe hath the worlde bewitched and possessed thee, that thou art become so carelesse of thine home, so sense∣lesse of spiritual delights, Page 156 so fond vpon these va∣nities? Doest thou doubt whether there bee an heauen? or whether thou haue a God, and a Sa∣uiour there? O farre bee frō thee this Atheisme; farre bee from thee the least thought of such de∣sperate impiety: Wo were thee if thou beleeuedst not: But O thou of little faith; doest thou beleeue there is happinesse, and happinesse for thee, and desirest it not, and de∣lightest not in it? A∣las, how weake and vn∣beleeuing is thy beleefe? Page 157 how cold and faint are thy desires? Tel me, what such goodly entertaine∣mēt hast thou met with∣all here on earth, that was worthy to with∣draw thee frō these hea∣uenly ioyes? what plea∣sure in it euer gaue thee contentment? or what cause of dislike findest thou aboue? Oh no, my soule, it is onely thy mi∣serable drowzinesse, on∣ly thy securitie: The world, the world hath besotted thee, hath vn∣done thee with careles∣nesse. Alas if thy delight Page 158 bee so colde, What diffe∣rence is there in thee frō an ignorant Heathē, that doubts of another life; yea, frō an Epicure that denies it? Artthou a chri¦stian, or art thou none? If thou be what thou pro∣fessest, away with this dul and senselesse world∣linesse; away with this earthly vnchearfulnesse; shake off at last this pro∣fane and godlesse securi∣tie that hath thus long weighed thee downe frō mounting vp to thy ioies; Looke vp to thy GOD, and to thy crowne, and Page 159 say with confidence, O Lord I haue wayted for thy saluation.
AFter this Cō∣plaint, *must succeede an harty & pas∣sionate Wish of the soule, which ariseth clearely from the two former degrees; For that which a man hath found sweete, and com∣fortable, & complaines that hee still wants; heePage 160cannot but wish to en∣ioy.
O Lord that I could waite and long for thy saluation; Oh that I could minde the things aboue; that as I am a stranger in deed, so I could be also in affectiō; Oh that mine eyes, like the eyes of thy first Martyr, could by the light of faith see but a glimpse of heauen; Oh that my heart could bee rapt vp thither in desire! How should I trample vpō these poore vanities of the earth? How wil∣lingly should I indure all Page 161 sorrowes, all torments? how scornefully should I passe by all pleasures? how should I be in trauel of my dissolution? Oh when shall that blessed day come, when all this wretched worldlines re∣moued I shall solace my selfe, in my God; Behold, as the Hart brayeth for the riuers of water, so panteth my soule after thee, O GOD; My soule thirsteth for God, euen for the liuing God; Oh when shal I come and ap∣peare before the presence of God?
AFter this Wi∣shing, *shall follow hū∣ble Confes∣sion, by iust order of na∣ture: For hauing be∣moned our want, and wished supplie, not finding this hope in our selues, we must needes acknowledge it to him, of whom only we may both seek & find; wher∣in it is to bee duely ob∣serued,Page 163how the mind is by turnes depressed and lifted vp: Being lifted vp with our Taste of ioy; it is cast downe with Complaint: lift vp with Wishes, it is cast downe with Confession; which order doeth best hold it in vre, and iust temper; and makes it more feeling of the cō∣fort which followes in the Conclusion. This Confession must dero∣gate all from our selues, and ascribe all to God.
Thus I desire, O Lord, to bee right affected to∣wards Page 164 thee and thy glo∣ry; I desire to come to thee: but, alas, how weak∣ly? how heartlesly? Thou knowest that I can nei∣ther come to thee, nor desire to come but from thee. It is Nature that holds me from thee; this treacherous Nature fa∣uors it selfe, loues the world, hates to thinke of a dissolution, and chooses rather to dwell in this dungeon with continuall sorrow and complaint, than to endure a parting although to liberty and ioy: Alas, Lord, it is my Page 165 misery that I loue my paine: How long shall these vanities thus besot me? It is thou onely that canst turne away mine eyes frō regarding these follies, and my heart from affecting them: Thou onely, who as thou shalt one day receiue my soule into heauen, so now before-hande canst fixe my soule vpon heauen and thee.
AFter Confessi∣on *naturally followes Pe∣tition, earnestly reque∣sting that at his handes, which we acknowledge our selues vnable, and none but GOD able to performe.
Oh carie it vp there∣fore, thou that hast cre∣ated, and redeemed it, carie it vp to thy glorie: Oh let mee not alwayes Page 167 bee thus dull and bru∣tish; Let not these scales of earthly affection al∣wayes dimme and blind mine eyes: Oh thou that layedst clay vpon the blind mans eyes, take a∣way this clay from mine eyes, wherewith alas they are so dawbed vp, that they cannot see heauen: Illuminate thē from aboue, and in thy light let me see light. Oh thou that hast prepared a place for my soule; pre∣pare my soule for that place; prepare it with holinesse, prepare it with Page 168 desire: and euen while it soiourneth on earth, let it dwell in heauen with thee, beholding euer the beauty of thy face, the glory of thy Saints and of it selfe.
AFter Petition, shall followe*the Enforcemēt of our request from ar∣gument and importu∣nate obsecration; wher∣in we must take heede of complementing inPage 169tearmes with God; as knowing that hee will not be mocked by any fashionable forme of sute, but requires holy and feeling intreatie.
How graciously hast thou proclaimed to the worlde, that who-euer wants wisedom shal aske it of thee, which neither deniest nor vpbraidest: O Lord, I want heauenly wisedome, to conceiue a∣right of heauen; I want it and aske it of thee; giue me to aske it instantly, and giue me according to thy promise abundantly. Page 168〈1 page duplicate〉Page 169〈1 page duplicate〉Page 170 Thou seest it is no strange fauour that I begge of thee; no other than that which thou hast richly bestowed vpon all thy valiant Martyrs, Con∣fessors, seruants from the beginning: who ne∣uer could haue so chear∣fully imbraced death and torment, if through the middest of their flames and paine they had not seene their crowne of glorie. The poore theefe of the Crosse had no sooner craued thy remembrance when thou camest to thy kingdome Page 171 than thou promisedst to to take him with thee in∣to heauen: Presence was better to him than remembrance. Behold, now thou art in thy king∣dome, I am on earth: remember thine vnwor∣thy seruant, and let my soule in conceit, in affe∣ction, in conuersation be this day & for euer with thee in Paradise. I see, man walketh in a vaine shadow, and disquieteth himself in vain; they are pitifull pleasures hee en∣ioyeth, while he forgets thee; I am as vaine, Page 170〈1 page duplicate〉Page 171〈1 page duplicate〉Page 172 make me more wise: Oh let mee see heauen, and I knowe I shall neuer en∣nie, nor followe them: My times are in thine hande: I am no better than my fathers, a stran∣ger on earth; As I speake of them, so the next; yea, this generation shall speake of mee as one that was; My life is a bubble, a smoake, a shadowe, a thought: I knowe it is no abiding in this tho∣row-fare: Oh suffer me not so madde, as while I passe on the waye, I Page 173 should forgette the ende; It is that other life that I must trust to. With thee it is that I shall continue; Oh let mee not bee so foolish as to settle my selfe on what I must leaue, and to neglect eterni∣tie; I haue seene e∣nough of this earthe, and yet I loue it too much; Oh let mee see heauen another while, and loue it so much more than the earth, by howe much the things there are more Page 174 worthy to be loued; Oh God, looke downe on thy wretched Pilgrim; and teach mee to looke vp to thee, and to see thy goodnesse in the land of the liuing. Thou that boughtest heauen for me, guide mee thither; and for the price that it cost thee, for thy loue and mercies sake, in spight of all tentations, enligh∣ten thou my soule, direct it, crowne it.
AFter this En∣forcement, *doeth fol∣lowe Confi∣dence; wherin the soule after many doubtfull and vnquiet bickerings, gathers vp her forces, and cheerefully rouzeth vp it selfe; and like one of Dauids Worthies, breaks through a whole armie of doubts, and fetches comfort fromPage 176the Well of life; which, though in some later, yet in all is a sure re∣ward from GOD of sincere Meditation.
Yea, bee thou bolde, O my soule, and doe not meerely craue, but chal∣lenge this fauour of God, as that which hee owes thee: Hee owes it thee because hee hath promi∣sed it, and by his mer∣cie hath made his gift, his debt; Faithfull is hee that hath promised▪ which will also doe it▪ Hath hee not giuen thee not onely his hand in the Page 177 sweete hopes of the Go∣spell, but his seale also in the Sacraments? Yea, besides promise, hand, seale; hath hee not giuen thee a sure earnest of thy saluation, in some weake, but true graces? Yet more: hath hee not giuen thee besides Earnest, pos∣session? while he that is the Trueth and Life, saith, Hee that belee∣ueth hath euerlasting life, and hath passed from death to life: Canst thou not then bee content to cast thy selfe vpon this blessed issue; Page 178 If God be faithfull, I am glorious; I haue thee al∣ready, O my life; God is faithfull, and I doe be∣leeue: who shall separate mee from the loue of Christ? from my glorie with Christ, who shall pull mee out of my hea∣uen? Goe to then, and returne to thy rest, O my soule; make vse of that heauen wherin thou art, and be happie.
Thus we haue found, that our Meditatiō like the winde, gathers strengthin proceeding;Page 179and as naturall bodies, the neerer they come to their places, moue with more celerity, so doeth the soule in this course of meditation, to the vnspeakeable be∣nefite of it selfe.
THe Conclu∣sion* remai∣neth; wher∣in we must aduise (like as Physici∣ans doe in their sweats Page 180 and exercise) that wee cease not ouer-sudden∣ly; but leaue off by lit∣tle and little. The mind may not bee suffered to fall headlong from this height, but must also descend by degrees.
The first whereof, After our Confidence, shall be an hearty Gra∣tulation,* and thankes∣giuing. For, as man naturally cannot bee miserable, but he must complaine, and craue remedie; so the good heart cannot finde it selfe happie, and not be Page 181 thankefull: and this thankefulnesse which it feeles and expresses, makes it yet more good, and affects it more.
What shall I then doe to thee for this mercie, Othou Sauiour of men? What should I render to my Lord, for all his be∣nefites? Alas, what can I giue thee which is not thine owne before? Oh that I could giue thee but all thine! Thou gi∣uest mee to drinke of this cuppe of saluation; I will therefore take the cuppePage 182of saluation, and call vp∣on the name of the Lord: Praise thou the Lorde, o my soule; and all that is within mee, praise his holy name: And since here thou beginnest thine heauen, begin here also that ioyfull song of thankes-giuing, which there thou shalt sing more sweetly, and neuer ende.
AFter this *Thankesgi∣uing, shall followe a faithful re∣commendation of our selues to God; where∣in the soule doth chear∣fully giue vp it selfe, and repose it selfe wholly vpon her Maker, and Redeemer; committing her selfe to him in all her wayes, submitting Page 184 her selfe to him in all his wayes, resoluing in all things to glorifie him; and to walke wor∣thy of her high & glo∣rious calling.
Both which later shal bee done (as I haue e∣uer found) with much life and comfort, if for the full conclusion, wee shall lift vp our heart and voyce to God, in singing some Versicle of Dauids diuine Psalmes, answerable to our dis∣position, and matter; whereby the heart clo∣ses vp it selfe with Page 185 much sweetenesse and contentment.
This course of Me∣ditation thus heartily obserued, let him that practises it, tell we whe∣ther he find not that his soule, which at the be∣ginning of this exercise did but creepe and gro∣uell vpon earth, doe not now in the Conclusion soare aloft in heauen; & being before aloofe off, doe not now find it selfe neere to God, yea with him, and in him.
THus haue I endeuoured, * (right Wor¦shipfull Sir) according to my slen∣der faculty, to prescribe a Methode of Medita∣tion: Not vpon so strict tearmes of Necessitie, that whosoeuer goeth not my way, erreth. Diuers paths leade oft∣times to the same end; and euery man aboun∣deth Page 187 in his owne sense: If experience and cu∣stome hath made ano∣ther forme familiar to any man, I forbid it not; as that learned Father sayde of his Tralation, Let him vse his owne, not contemne mine. If any man bee to chuse, and beginne, let him pra∣ctise mine, till he meete with a better Master: If an other course may be better, I am sure this is good. Neither is it to * be suffered, that like as fantasticall men, while they doubt what fashi∣on'd Page 188 sute they should we are, put on nothing; so, that wee Christians shuld neglect the mat∣ter of this worthy busi∣nesse, while we nicely stand vpon the forme thereof. Wherein giue mee leaue to complain with iust sorrowe and shame, that if there bee any Christian duetie, whose omission is no∣toriously shameful, and preiudicial to the soules of professors, it is this of Meditation: This is the very end God hath giuen vs our soules▪ we Page 189 misse-spend them, if we vse them not thus. How lamentable is it, that wee so imploy them, as if our facultie of discourse serued for nothing, but our earth∣ly prouision? as if our reasonable and Chri∣stian mindes were ap∣pointed for the slaues and drudges of this bo∣die; onely to bee the Caters and Cookes of our appetite.
The worlde filles vs, yea, cloyes vs: we finde our selues worke e∣nough to thinke; WhatPage 190haue I yet? Howe may I gette more? What must I lay out? What shall I leaue for posterity? How may I preuent the wrong of mine aduersarie, how may I returne it? What answeres shall I make to such allegati∣ons? What entertaine∣ment shall I giue to such friends? What courses shall I take in such suits? In what pastimes shall I spend this day, in what the next? What aduan∣tage shall I reape by this practise; what losse? What was sayd, answe∣red,Page 191replied, done, fol∣lowed?
Goodly thoughts, and fitte for Spirituall mindes! Say, there were no other worlde; how could wee spend our cares otherwise? Vn∣to this only neglect, let mee ascribe the com∣monnesse of that Lao∣dicean temper of men, or (if that bee worse) of the dead coldnesse which hath striken the hearts of many, hauing left them nothing but the bodies of men, and visors of Christians; to Page 192 this onely, They haue not meditated. It is not more impossible to liue * without an heart, than to bee deuout without Meditation: Woulde GOD therefore my words could be in this (as the wise man sayes the wordes of the wise are) like vnto Goades in the sides of euery Rea∣der, to quicken him vp out of this dull and lazy security, to a chear∣full practise of this Di∣uine Meditatiō. Let him curse mee vpon his death-bed, if looking Page 193 backe from thence to the bestowing of his former times, hee ac∣knowledge not these houres placed the most happily in his whole life? if he then wish not he had worne out more daies, in so profitable and heauenly a worke.