Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

and build and plant, and stir awhile about the earth, and have his will over others, and his fleshly pleasure, and then die, then the ungodly may be called wise ; but if he be made to prepare for another world, and to know and love, and live to God, they are then worse than lunatics, and more dangerously beside themselves.

5. A holy soul knowing God the beginning and end, knoweth all things ; because he knoweth them, 1. In the chief excellency of their natures, as they bear the impress of God; 2. And in their order as governed by him ; 3. And in their usefulness as tending to him : though neither they, nor any others, be well acquainted with their material part, which the philosopher thinketh that he knoweth best. Who think you best knoweth what money is ? He that knoweth the king's impress, and the value, and what it is good for, and how to get and use it? or he that can only tell you, whether it be copper or silver, or gold, not knowing well the use of any of these : I tell you, the humble holy person, that seeth God in all, and knoweth all things to be of him, and by him, and to him, and loveth him in and for all, and serveth him by all, is the best philosopher, and hath the greatest, most excel. lent and most profitable knowledge. In comparison of which, the unholy learning of the world, is well called foolishness with God. (For I believe not that paraphraser who would persuade us, that it is but the fanatic conceits and pretensions of the Gnostics, that the apostle here and elsewhere ! speaketh of. But I rest satisfied, that it is primarily the unholy arts and sciences of the phi. pilosophic heathens ; and secondarily the Platonic

heretics' pretensions to extraordinary wisdom, because of their speculations about angels, spirits, and other invisible and mysterious things, which they thought were peculiarly opened unto them.) Doting about questions that engender strife and not edification,

and to increase in ungodly acquire. ments, is the true description of unboly learning.

6. The lovers of God are wise for perpetuity : they see before them : they know what is to come; even as far as to eternity. They know what will be best at last, and what will be valued, and serve our turn in the hour of our extremity : they judge of things, as all will judge of them; and as they shall constantly judge of them for ever. But others are wise but for a few hours, or a present job: they see not before them; they are preparing for repentance. They are shamefully mutable in their judgments : magnifying those pleasures, gains, and honours to-day, which they vilify and cry out against at death and to eternity! A pang of sickness, the sight of a grave, the sentence of death, the awakening of conscience, can change their judgments, and make them speak in other language, and confess a thousand times over that they were fools : and if they come to anything like wisdom, it is too late, when time is past, and hope is gone. But the godly know the day of their visitation, and are wise in time; as knowing the season of all duties, and the duties of every season.

And as some schoolmen say, that all things are known to the glorified, “in speculo Trinitatis ;' so I may say, that all things are morally and savingly known, to him that knoweth and loveth God, as the efficient Governor, and End of all. ,

K

Yet, to avoid mistakes and cavils, remember, that I take no true knowledge as contemptible. And when I truly say that he knoweth nothing as he ought to know, that doth not know and love his God, and is not wise to his duty and salvation ; yet if this fundamental knowledge be presupposed, we should build all other useful knowledge on it, to the utmost of our capacity: and from this one stock, may spring and spread a thousand branches, which may all bear fruit. I would put no limits to a Christian's desires and endeavours to know, but that he desire only to know useful and revealed things. Every degree of knowledge tendeth to more: and every known truth befriends others; and like fire, tendeth to the spreading of our knowledge, to all neighbouring truths that are intelligible. And the want of acquaintance with some one truth among an hundred, may hinder us from knowing rightly most of the rest ; or may breed an hundred errors in us. As the absence of one wheel or particle in a watch, or the ignorance of it, may put all the rest into useless disorder. What if I say that wisdom lieth more in knowing the things that belong to salvation, to public good, to life, health, and solid comfort, than in knowing how to sing, or play on the lute, or to speak or carry ourselves with commendable decency,

&c. It doth not follow that all these are of no worth at all; and that in their places these little matters may not be allowed and desired : for even hair and nails are appurtenances of a man, which a wise man would not be without ; though they are small matters in comparison of the animal, vital and nobler parts. And indeed, he

that can see God in all things, and that hath all this sanctified by the love of God, should above all men value each particle of knowledge, of which so holy an use may be made ; as we value every grain of puregold.

CHAP. V. INFERENCE 1. BY WHAT MEASURES TO ESTI.

MATE MEN'S KNOWLEDGE. From hence then we may learn how to value the understandings of ourselves and others : that is good which doth good. Would God but give me one beam more of the heavenly light, and a little clearer knowledge of himself, how joyfully could I exchange a thousand lower notions for it! I feel not myself at all miserable, for want of knowing the number and order of the stars, the nature of the meteors, the causes of the ebbing and flowing of the sea, with many hundred other questions in physics, metaphysics, mathematics, &c: nor do I feel it any great addition to my happiness, when I think I know somewhat of such things which others know not. But I feel it is my misery to be ignorant of God, and ignorant of my state and duty, and ignorant of the world where I must live for ever. This is the dungeon where my wretched soul doth lie in captivity night and day, groaning and crying out, O when shall I know more of God! and more of the celestial habitations, and more of that which I was made to know ! 0 when shall I be delivered from this darkness and captivity ! Had I not one beam that pierceth through this lantern of flesh, this dungeon were a bell, even the outer darkness. I find books that help me to names, and notions ; but O for that Spirit that must give me light to know the things, the spiritual, great and excellent things, which these names import! O how ignorant am I of those same things, which I can truly and methodically speak and write of ! O that God would have mercy on my dark understanding, that I be not as a clock, to tell others that which itself understandeth not ! O how gladly would I consent to be a fool in all common arts and sciences, if I might but be ever the wiser in the knowledge of God! Did I know better him by whom I live, who upholdeth all things; before whom my soul must shortly appear ; whose favour is my life ; whom I hope to love and praise for ever : of what concern were all other things to me? O for one beam more of his light ! for one taste of his love! for one clear conception of the heavenly glory! I should then scarcely have leisure, to think of a thousand inferior speculations, which are now magnified and agitated in the world.

But much more miserable do I find myself, for want of more love to the blessed God, who is love itself. O happy exchange ! did I part with all the pleasures of the world, for one flame, one spark more of the love of God! I hate not myself for my ignorance in the common arts and sciences ; but my God knoweth, that I even ab. hor and loathe myself, because I love and delight in him no more! O what a hell is this dead and disaffected heart! O what a foretaste of heaven would it be, could I but feel the fervours of Devine love! Well may that be called the firstfruits of heaven, and the Divine nature and life,

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »