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in that thou hast not thought thine own blood too dear to redeem it; that thou hast so far honoured it as to make it the temple of thy Holy Ghost, and to admit it into a blessed communion with thyself, and hast decreed to do so great things for it hereafter, even to clothe it with immortality, and to make it like unto thy glorious body, I can bless thee for so happy a mate ; and with patience bear all these necessary infirmities : and now I look upon this flesh, not as it is, withered and wrinkled ; but as it will be, shining and glorified. O Lord, how vile soever this clay is in itself, yet make me in thine interest and my hopes so enamoured of it, as if I did already find it made celestial. Oh that my faith could prevent * my change, and anticipate my ensuing glory.
XLIX. Lord, what an awful favour was that which thou showedst to thy prophet Elijah, to send a fiery chariot for him, to convey him up to heaven! I should have thought that the sight of so terrible a carriage should have fetched away his soul beforehand, and have left the body grovelling on the earth. But that good Spirit of thine, who had fore-signified that fiery rapture, had doubtless fore-armed thy servant with an answerable resolu. tion to expect and undergo it. Either he knew that chariot, however fearful in the appearance, was only glorious, and not penal; or else he cheerfully resolved that such a momentary pain in the change would be followed with an eternity of happiness. O God, we are not worthy to know where. to thou hast reserved us. Perhaps thou hast appointed us to be in the number of those whom
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thou shalt find alive at thy second coming; and then the case will be ours, we shall pass through fire to our immortality; or, if thou hast ordained us to a speedier despatch, perhaps thou hast decreed that our way to thee shall be through a fiery trial. O God, whatever course thou in thine holy wisdom hast determined for the fetching up my soul from this vale of misery and tears, prepare me thoroughly for it; and do thou work my heart to so lively a faith in thee, that all the terrors of my death may be swallowed up in an assured expecta. tion of my speedy glory ; and that my last groans shall be immediately seconded with eternal hallelujahs, in the glorious choir of thy saints and angels in heaven. Amen. Amen.
H 0 LY RAPTURE ;
A PATHETICAL MEDITATION ON THE LOVE OF CHRIST.
SECTION I. The love of Christ how passing knowledge, how free of us before we were.
What is it, o blessed apostle, what is it for which thou dost so earnestly bow thy knees, in the behalf of thine Ephesians, “unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ ?” Even this, that they may “know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,” Eph. iii. 14, 19. Give me leave first to wonder at thy suit, and then much more at what thou suest for. Were thine affections raised so high to thine Ephesians, that thou shouldst crave for them impossible favours ? Did thy love so far overshoot thy reason, as to pray they might attain to the knowledge of that which cannot be known? It is the love of Christ which thou wishest they may know, and it is that love which thou sayest is past all knowledge; what shall we say to this? Is it for that there may be holy ambitions of those heights of grace which we can never hope actually to attain? Or is it rather that thou supposest and prayest they may reach to the knowledge of