CHAP. VIII. Seven Evidences of mens having their Conversation in Hea∣ven.
NOW then, there are some Evidences of Christians having their Conversation in Heaven. As we shewed you som Evidences of an Earthly Conver∣sation, so likewise of a Heavenly Conversation: that is, some demonstrations plainly to shew, That the Con∣versations of Christians are in Heaven.
In the first place, It's plain certainly, there are Christi∣ans that have their Conversations in Heaven; First, be∣cause there are Christians that can vilifie all the things of this earth: surely except they had their Conversations higher than the earth they could not so vilifie the things of the earth. It's an evidence of the height of Heaven, that a man is lifted up very high, that shall look vpon the very Globe of the earth as a very punctum, as a little thing: so an evidence that the hearts of the Saints are on high when they can look on the things of the earth as smal; it's true, we that are upon the earth look upon the stars as small, and the earth as great; but if we were in Heaven we would look upon the stars as great and the earth as small, as Paul did, accounted all things but as dung and drosse, dogs meat, for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ: and Luther, that accounted the whol Turkish Empire but a Crumb that the great Master of the Family casts to his dog: surely here's an argument that the Saints have their Con∣versations in Heaven that can look upon the things of the earth as so mean, and so little, as indeed they are.
A second Evidence is this, That they can be content with so little in this world, and can live such comfortable lives in the enjoyment of so little; perhaps you cannot tell Page 223 how to have comfortable lives except you have so much co∣ming in by the yeer, and so much provision: but now, one that is heavenly, a godly man or woman, can tell how to live a joyful and happie life in the want of the things of this world; though they have but little, though but bread and water, though but mean habitations, mean cloathes, though but of mean esteem in the world, yet can go through the world with a joyful heart, blessing God all his daies, nothing but admiring, praising, and magnify∣ing God for his rich mercie; and blessing himself in God, and accounting his portion to be a goodly portion, and his lot to be fallen into a fair ground. I verily beleeve that there are very many poor, mean people in this world, yet their houses are more fill'd with blessings of God in one day, than many Rich, Great, Noble men have their houses in twenty or fourty yeers: now this argues that they have their Conversations in Heaven, that though they want comfort never so much in this world, yet they can live comfortable lives; surely it is somthing that doth rejoyce them, when they can so rejoyce in the want of these out∣ward things, when their joy depend•〈◊〉 upon the things of this world; men that have earthly hearts, if they lose but their outward comforts, they cry our, Oh we are un∣done! And you may see mightie alteractions in their very countenances, they have nothing to joy their hearts when they lose the things of the world: but it is no• so with the Saints, whatsoever crosses they meet withal here in this world, yet still they rejoyce in Christ, blessing God, the course of their lives is nothing elle but a continual magni∣fying, and praising God for his mercie and goodness to them; surely they have their Conversations in Heaven.
Thirdly, Not onlie can live joyfullie in the want of ma∣nie comforts, but they can suffer the loss of all, yea, suf∣fer hard things, suffer afflictions, suffer torments and tortures with joyful hearts, reade but that 11. of the Heb. at your leisure, 13, 14 verses, They confessed that they were strangers, and pilgrims on the earth, for they that see such Page 218〈1 page duplicate〉Page 219〈1 page duplicate〉Page 220〈1 page duplicate〉Page 221〈1 page duplicate〉Page 222〈1 page duplicate〉Page 223〈1 page duplicate〉Page 224 things, declare plainly that they seek a Country (this Scrip∣ture is to be annexed to the second evidence) Mark, They that seek such things declare plainly that they seek a Coun∣trie, surelie there is somthing else that they seek after when they set so light by the things of this world, For the Saints are not fools, but there is some reason for what they do, surely there is somthing in it, for they have the same na∣ture as you have, and they have need of comfort as well as you, and had they not some other comfort besides out∣ward comforts, they could not live so comfortably in the want of outward comforts, but they that are content with a little, as pilgrims and strangers: they declare plainly that they seek a Country; that is the second Evidence.
And then, For the suffering of tortures and pains for the sake of Christ. This is another Evidence: and so you have in the 10. Heb. 32. But call to remembrance the former daies in which after ye were illuminated ye endured a great fight of afflicti∣ons, partly, whilst ye were made a gazing stock, both by reproa∣ches and afflictions, and partly whilst ye became companions of them that were so used, and then in the 34. verse, And took joyfully the spoiling of your goods, Why? knowing in your selves that ye have in Heaven a better and enduring substance: This made them take joyfully the spoiling of their goods. What? when their goods were spoil'd, did they take that joyfully? what were they mad men to rejoyce at the plundering of their estates? No, it was no madness, It was because they knew in themselves that they had in Heaven a better and an enduring substance, and that made them be willing to wander about in sheeps skins, and goats skins, in leather cloathes, as in the latter end of the 11. of Heb. reade but from the 36. verse to the end: this argued their Conversa∣tions to be in Heaven. If you reade in the storie of the Mar∣tyrs, you shall find verie often when they came to the stake, still their thoughts were in Heaven, and their hearts there, and encouraging one another what they should have in Heaven, and of the glorie that they should have there, that being willing to suffer such hard things for Christ, and Page 225 that being able to undergo all with so much joy, is an evi∣dence, that there have been Christians in the world that have had their Conversations in Heaven.
A Fourth Evidence of Christians having their Conversa∣tions in Heaven is this, That their hearts are so fill'd with Hea∣venly riches. It is an Argument of a man that trades much unto such a place, when he hath his Warehouse stor'd with the Commodities of such a Countrie: As now, though no man should tell me which way his trading lies, that such a man were a Spanish or Turkish Merchant; yet if I come into his Warehouse, & find that constantlie his Warehouse is fill'd with those Commodities, I may conclude, that cer∣tainlie this man is a Spanish or Turkish Merchant: he hath the Commodities of the Countrie continuallie in his ware∣house. So, the Saints have much of the riches of Heaven in their hearts continuallie, they have much grace, much holinesse, much of the Image of God, much spiritual life there is there in a Christian, and you may see in his Con∣versation he doth manifest (I say) much of the Excellencie of Heaven, much of the Glorie of Heaven shines in his face; surelie his Conversation is in Heaven who hath so much of the riches of Heaven in his heart: The heart of the wicked (saith the holy Ghost) is little worth: Look into the heart of a wicked man, or woman what is there: thy heart that should be thy storehouse, what is it fill'd withal? it's fill'd with dirt, and drosse, and filth, and uncleanness, the hearts of wicked men are stored with those things: but now, look into the hearts of the Saints, they are fill'd with God, with Christ, with the holie Ghost, with Grace, that shews that they have traded much in Heaven; in a constant way you shal find their hearts fild with grace, and manifesting much in their lives, and therefore, surelie their Conversation is in Heaven.
A fifth Evidence is this, That they are willing to purchase the Priviledges of Heaven at so dear a rate; namely, The Ordinances that are part of the Priviledges of the Kingdom of Heaven. Now the Ordinances that are the means whereby they come to Page 226 enjoy so much of Heaven, they are willing to purchase them at a dear rate, Oh how ever I live, yet let me live where I may enjoy the Ordinances of God, the wels of Sal∣vation, my life cannot be comfortable in the enjoyment of all things in this world if I should be deprived of the breasts of consolation; surelie they that are willing to pur∣chase Heavenly Commodities at so dear a rate as the Saints will do, this doth evidentlie declare their Conversations to be in Heaven.
Sixtlie, When they are so sensible of the stoppages between hea∣ven and their own souls. If there should be a general stoppage of ships that are in France, Turkie, or Spain, your Countrie∣men are not sensible at all of it; but your Merchants I'le warrant you would be sensible enough of it, and when they come together upon the Exchange, al their converse would be of it. So it is with those that have their conversations in Heaven; and here's a great difference between those and those that are earthlie minded; tell those that are earthlie of anie stoppage in the Intercourse between them and Hea∣ven, and they know not what you mean, they think you are fools and mad: but the Saints they are sensible of it, oh it is a sore and sad evil to them, I mean, when at anie time God hides his face from them, when at anie time they go into the presence of God & can hear nothing from him, can receive no Letters from Heaven (as I may so say.) If the Post doth not come from such a Countrie, the Merchants are troubled at it. So when the Saints send up their prayers to Heaven by which they trade thither and can hear no∣thing from God again; and when they cannot feel those influences from Heaven let into their souls as heretofore sometimes they have done, Oh! they bewail this as a great evil that is upon them above any evil in the world, that influences of Heaven are stop'd, and that God seems to be a stranger unto them, Oh these things they complain of one to another, and they make their moans when they feel the stoppages of Heaven; this plainlie declares, that they are Traders for Heaven, and that their Conversations are there.
Page 227 The last Evidence of a Saints having his Conversation in Heaven is; His willingness to die, to depart this world: The going out of this world with so much comfort, joy, peace, and triumph as many of the Saints have done; as we might give you the expressions of many of the Saints when they were readie to die, rejoycing at the hope of Eternal life, at their going out of the world; surely had they not conver∣sed in Heaven while they lived here, their souls would not have been so willing to have departed out of their bodies. A man that hath nothing to do in another Country, it may be shall be there as a dead man, he goes but with little joy thither: But now, a man that hath had trading to another Country, and he hath great riches, and so thriven there, that whatsoever he seems to be here, yet there he is a great man: Oh! how comfortably doth that man go to the Country! how glad is he when he takes ship and sees a fair gale, and prosperous wind to carry him to that Country! And so it is with the Saints who have their Conversations in Heaven, because they have so much riches there, when they come to die they die with joy, and blesse God for that day as the most blessed day that they have seen; for they are going now to the Country that they have been trading to all their daies, and where their riches lies. These are the Evidences and Demonstrations that the Saints have their Conversations in Heaven.