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me from myself, than keep concealed from Omniscience.
Would a king, or an emperor, travel round the globe, many times he would find himself in kingdoms where he could claim no interest; but, if I belong to God, I can claim his providence and protection in every dominion, and in every land. How well pleased would a young prince be, to travel home, in the dress of a stranger, through the extensive dominions of his royal father! Could he quarrel at hard usage, the homely fare, and the mean lodgings he must put up with by the way? Would it not quiet and content him under all, to call to mind that he is travelling home to the pa lace of his royal sire, where he should be welcomed by the loud acclamations of a splendid court, and embraced by the king himself? After this manner, while on his journey, would he address himself: Though I pass as a stranger in these remote parts of my father's possessions, and unobserved, because it is not as yet proper in the eyes of the king that I should be clothed in princely attire, yet how am I delighted that all these kingdoms are under his government, tremble at his frown, and own his sovereignty! and though I now seem poorer than many of his subjects in these provinces, who have small estates in hand, yet I am so happy in the nobleness of my descent, in the dignity of my relations, in the prospect of my future greatness and approaching glory, that I would not change states with any of them; for, on the day appointed for my coronation, by the mighty sovereign, to whom I am so nearly related, I shall, in the sight of assembled thousands, receive a sceptre and a crown.' Even so, the saints
are in all respects the happy ones, for the universe belongs to Him who has a care of them. Distant climates, therefore, need not look strange to them, for, if they live near God, they can never be far from home.
ON HEARING FROM FRIENDS.
St Helen's, July 5. 1758.
He that has not left his affections and care in his native country, as well as his friends, is not a little refreshed by frequent accounts from them, that they are alive, and in prosperity. But all this will not satisfy him that sore longeth to see his near re lations and his native country, after being long absent from them. A thousand letters, written with all the tenderness of a father, embellished with all the rhetoric of paternal endearments, must give place to an hour's conversation, mouth to mouth, with that father whose kind and affectionate letters increased the filial regard, with that mother whose continual prayers and good wishes have strengthened the affection of her son. Nothing less than seeing them face to face, talking with them friendly and freely, hearing all their state, and learning of all their welfare, can satisfy his longing, and quiet his struggling breast.
Even so, nothing can fully satisfy the desires of the soul that is born from above, and is a native of the better country, but the immediate vision of God. All he receives below, only begets a disquietude in his soul, (but such a disquietude as de
lights, that cannot be at rest till wafted to the fruition of God. The brighter his views of heavenly things, the more ardent his wishes for the possession of them. Hence says the aged, the experienced, and great apostle Paul, who had been caught up into the third heaven, carried into paradise, and heard the unutterable language of bliss, "I have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ."
All the bright displays of the glory and goodness of God which saints enjoy below, compared with what is reserved for eternity, is only a sight of his back-parts. Now, let us see the import of the metaphor: The face is like the fair epitome of the whole man, so that limners commonly draw no more than the countenance; the face turned away denotes indignation, but bright and smiling is a sign of favour; and, again, the countenance is like the index of the mind, where we can see clouds gather, and tempests break, or peace and tranquillity within. Accordingly, we have these expressions in scripture, "Blessed are the people that walk in the light of thy countenance: Cause thy face to shine on us: Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled: Neither will I hide my face any more from them: As for me, I shall behold thy face in righteousness." What, then, must the consummate happiness of that state-be, where we shall see God face to face!
Then, Lord, the most that I can find below, is but a crumb to the banquet above. When thy appointed time comes, with what joy will I leave all these merciful communications of thy grace and good-will, conveyed through thy word and ordinances, (which, like letters of favour, assure me of
the affection of my exalted Head, and cheer me in the house of my pilgrimage), and go home to eternal, uninterrupted communion with thee! When, dear Lord, may my love and longing ask, When shall I see the face of my Beloved, that face which is fairer than the sun? When shall all the vast expectations of my faith be realised in glory? When shall my well-beloved, who is unto me as a bundle of myrrh, lie, not for a short night, but through an endless day, between my breasts? When shall distance be done away, that I may approach thee; and never more be debarred from thy throne? When shall my soul, all eye, fix for eternity on thy excellent glory? As yet, I have only seen some passing glimpses of thy back-parts; but there is an abiding, permanent, assimilating gaze on thy glorious countenance, which shall crown my felicity through endless ages. May not the soul that is espoused to that glorious Husband, who is the chiefest among ten thousand, long to see her hus band, long for the marriage-supper of the Lamb, and weary for the day of being brought home, to be for ever in his house, for ever in his presence? Surely, were my love to him more, I should long more for him; but I am ready to take up with other lovers in his absence. The world, and the things of time, are busy to cool mine affection to the sacred suitor, the divine and unchangeable lover; but hence all things that would divert my flame from him who is altogether lovely! When shall these eyes see him for myself, and not for another? I am like one born abroad, that has never seen his father, nor his friends; but am travelling home, and shall never be happy till I be with my best Friend. I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, and the account has comforted my soul;
but now I long to see thee with my eyes, and be for ever ravished with the heavenly vision. Surely at my arrival at thy throne! O gracious Redeemer! when I shall see thy wonderful ascent to it, even by sufferings, the standing of thy saints about it, the apparel and entertainment of thy chosen ones, and all thy other glories, I shall know then, that all the account which I ever heard falls infinitely short of thy majesty and glory. Let it, then, comfort me, that in a little thou shalt fulfil my request, satisfy my longing, and bring me home to be for ever with the Lord.
ON THE WELL OF THE SHIP.
Spithead, July 7. 1758.
ONE might be surprised, that when the ship admits very little water within, they should by a pipe from the ocean convey such a quantity, that the pump must be set a-work before it can be cast out again Yet the device is highly praise-worthy; for thus the corrupted, stinking, and poisonous dregs, are cast out, which, without this large addition of water, would never come within the stroke of the chain-pump, but would grow intolerably putrid, as it is well known to discolour solid metals, and affect every thing near it. Even so, original sin is that poison that lies deep within, contaminates all around; whose filth defiles all the powers of the mind, all the members of the body, and whose guilt makes the whole man obnoxious