CHAP. IX. Four Reasons why the Saints have their Conversations in Hea∣ven.
But now, If you demand the reason, why it is that the Saints have their Conversations in Heaven?
To that I answer briefly thus.
The first Reason.
Because their souls that are their better part, they are from Heaven. You know, that when God made Man, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. The Soul of man, it is as it were, the breath of God: God did not say of Mans Soul as of o∣ther creatures, Let it be made, let there be a soul in mans body. No, but when he had formed the body, he breathed the soul into him. It was to note, that the soul of man had a more Heavenly, and Divine original, than any of the other creatures that are here in this world; and because the ori∣ginal it is so Divine, and Heavenly, therefore it is, that when the soul is (as it were) its self, is set at liberty, it would be at its original: Indeed, though mans soul be of a Divine, and Heavenly Nature, yea through the fall of man, so it is, that the soul of man is even almost turned to be flesh, and so mingled with unclean drossie things as if it had no such Divine and Heavenly original? and therefore a natural man is called flesh, That that is born of the flesh, is flesh; as if he had no soul at all: for I say, the soul of man through his fall, the Nature of it seemed to be changed, it is at least depressed down to such vile things, as if it never had such a Divine and Heavenly original. But now, when God works grace in the soul, the soul of man begins to return to its self, and to know its self, and begins to return to its own nature that it had in its first creation: and as soon as ever the soul begins to know its self, it looks then presently at all these things that are here below as vile things in comparison, as contemptable; for indeed, all these things in this world are infinitly beneath the soul of a man: [Infinitly] that is, in comparison, we may even call it an infinite distance be∣tween mans soul and all these things that are here below in the world; the soul of man is neer unto God himself, and therefore when as the soul returne unto its self, it would be some where else than where it is, and would converse with those things that are sutable to its original. As it is with Page 229 a man that hath a noble birth, suppose a Prince is got in∣to another Country, and there being a child, is used like a slave, set to rake channels, and such mean imployment; now all the while that he is there and not know his original, he minds nothing but to get his victuals, and do his work that he is set about; but if once he come to know from whence he was, namely, born the Heir unto such a great Prince, or Emperour that lives in so much glory in such a Country; then he that liv'd like a slave, his thoughts, and mind, and longings are, to be in the Country where his birth was so high, Oh that he might be but there, he should be happy then; and it doth him good to hear any man speak of that Country. Truly, so it is with the souls of men, they are the birth (as I may so speak) of the high God, of the great King of Heaven and Earth, being breathed so into the no∣strils of man. Now through mans fall the soul comes to be a slave to the Devil, and is set about drudggery to provide for the flesh: but now, when God is pleased to convert the soul, the Lord comes then to declare to a man or woman, Oh man, woman! thou art born from on high, thy soul is (as it were) a sparkle of the Divinity (as I may so say) thy Father by creation, nay, not only by creation as he is the Creator of all Creatures, is God, but by a more special work of his, by a more special work (I say) than in the first creation of other things; thy soul is from God, and of a Divine Nature, and is therefore capable of Communion with Father, Son, and holy Ghost; Certainly, thou never hadst such a Divine and Excellent being given the meerly that thou shouldest delight in the flesh, and be servicable to thy body, in eating, and drinking here a while; Oh! consider of thy Country whence thou camest at first; here's one work of grace, to know the Excellency of our souls, and from whence they came: surely, if grace do this, it must needs turn the heart of one that is converted to God, to have his Conversation to be in Heaven. That's the first Reason.
The Second Reason.
But not only so, because the soul had a Heavenly ori∣ginal, and therefore will not be content with a portion here in this world, But secondly, When grace comes there, the soul hath a Divine Nature put into it beyond the excellency that it had in its first Creation: I say, there is a Divine Nature higher than is meer natural excellency; in the 2 Peter. 1. 3. Ac∣cording (saith he) as his Divine Power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, and whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these you might be partakers of the Divine Nature. Certainly the A∣postle did not here mean, meerly what Adam had in inno∣cency, I never read that that's cal'd the Divine Nature; though it's true, there is a renewing of the Image of God in man when he is converted; I but there is somewhat more in the soul of man than repairing of this; the holy Ghost coming and dwelling in the soul in a higher way than it dwelt in the soul of Adam at the first; indeed before it was a creature, but such a creature as only had reference to God, as God was the Creator, and man was the creature; but now it hath reference to God as being made one with the Second Person in Trinity, and so one with the Father: and therefore of a higher Nature than man was in the state of innocency. And you know what is said of Adam in Paradice, He was of the earth earthly, he was of the earth in comparison of the second Adam, (take Adam in innocen∣cy in comparison of the second Adam, he was but of the earth earthly) and so his posterity though Adam had stood should have been but of the earth earthly, & their portion its like should have bin but in a happines in this world: we never read in Scripture of a Heavenly condition Adam had been in though he had stood; but the second Adam is from Heaven Heavenly. And the posterity of the second Adam that is, those that are by Regeneration made the children of the everlasting Father, that are made the posterity of Page 231 Jesus Christ by faith are from Heaven Heavenly; therefore their souls are indued with a Divine Nature, with such high principles of grace as it must needs carry up their souls to Heaven: If a lump of earth should be so changed as to have a spirit and a life put into it, and to be made of such an Airial nature as any of the birds are, this lump of earth would fly in the air presently. It is so in the work of conversion, All men and women are earthly, and therefore they fink down to the earth, and the earth is their proper center; but when once they come to be converted, there is a spirit put into them whereby they come to mount up a∣loft: It is not more natural for the Earth to fall down low, than it is for the fire and air to ascend up high, be∣cause every creature doth move towards the Center of it, heavie things fall down because below is the proper place of them; light things rise up, because their proper place is to be above: and so, the Conversations of the Saints must needs be in Heaven, because there's their Center, there's that that's sutable to the Divine Nature that is put into them.
The Third Reason.
Their Conversations must needs be in Heaven, Because those things that are the most choice things unto them are in Hea∣ven. I should have named a great many particulars here to shew what are the choice things that concern the Saints, and how they are all in Heaven.
Their Father, God, is in Heaven: Our Father which art in Heaven. Jesus Christ he is in Heaven; Seek the things above where Jesus Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Father. Jesus Christ that is their Head in Heaven. Their Hus∣band is in Heaven. Their Elder Brother is in heaven. Their King is in heaven. Their Treasure is in heaven. Their Inheritance in heaven. Their Hope is in heaven. Their Mantion-house in heaven. Their chief Friends are in heaven. Their Substance is in heaven. Their Reward is in Page 232 heaven. Their wages are in heaven. All these things be∣ing in heaven, no marvail though their Conversations are in heaven. And they are going to Heaven; now being that they are going that way, travelling towards heaven, they must needs be there in their hearts, heaven is the place that they shal come to ere long, they shal be there, and they know that here in this world they are to be but a while, but for ever to be there, We shall be caught up into the clouds •nd be for ever with him: Yea, their Conversations must needs be in Heaven, for they have much of heaven alreadie, there's much of heaven in the Saints, the Kingdom of Hea∣ven it is within them, the Scripture saith: They having so much of Heaven for the present, it must needs be that their Conversation• are there, and so that Scripture in the 10. Heb. 34. Knowing in your selves that ye have in Heaven a better and enduring substance. You may reade it thus, Know∣ing you have Heaven: a better enduring substance in your selves; so that the words [knowing in your selves] hath not only reference to what they know by hear-say, though this be a true note, that they may know heaven by hear-say; they hear Ministers speak of Heaven, and reade it in the Word of God, but they know it in themselves, they know it by what God hath revealed in their own hearts, yea, though t•••• were no books that ever they should see more, though they be not book-learn'd, and though they cannot reade a letter in the book, though they should hear no more Sermons, yet by what is revealed in themselves, They know in themselves that they have a more better and enduring sub∣stance: That's a truth. But the words may be more pro∣per to the original, read thus: Kowing, that you have Hea∣ven in your selves, a Better and Enduring substance: Eternal life is begun alreadie in the hearts of the Saints, there is Heaven alreadie in the Saints; and therefore no marvel though their Conversations be in Heaven.
The Fourth Reason.
God hath so ordered things in this world on purpose, that he might wean the hearts of the Saints from the world. The Lord loves to have the hearts of his Saints to be in Heaven where he hath treasured up such glorious things for them, and because that the Saints while they are here in the world, & have so much of the world in them, they would feign be living here in the world; therefore God doth so order things that they shall meet with little content in this world, that they may be weary of it, and be wearied from it: and indeed, here's the reason why Gods people have met with such crosses in the world, why the Lord hath kept his Saints so low and mean in the world: It may be you are ready to draw ill conclusions from thence, and to think, I am afraid God doth not love me that he keeps me so low and mean, and I meet with such crosses, and o∣thers do not. Oh! gather not such ill conclusions as these are; It is, because he would gather your hearts to Heaven, and wean you from the world, that you might long to be with him in Heaven, for you are absent from him here in this world, and the Lord would have the full stream of your affections to run after those things that you shal have with him in Heaven. This use you are to make of those afflictions you meet withal, and those crosses that befall you in this world, And thus we have gone through the Doctrinal point, of the Saints having their Conversations in Heaven.