Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

BAXTER'S DYING THOUGHTS. 95 the testimony and promises of the word of God ; the testimonyof conscience, with the witness of the sanctifying Spirit of Christ; and in it the earnest and the foretaste of glory, and the beginnings of life eternal here; all which I have before considered. The Socinians, who would interpret this of the state of resur- rection only, againstplain evidence,'violaze the text ; seeing Paul expressly speaketh of his gain by death, which will be his abode with Christ, and this upon his departure hence ; which (in 2 Cor. v. 7, 8.) he calleth his being absent from the body, and present with the Lord: and Christ, to the penitent thief, calleth his being with him in Paradise : and (Lukexvi.) in the parable of the stew- ard, Christ intimateth to us, that wise preparers, when they i go hence, are received into the everlasting habitations; as he there further tells us Lazarus was in Abraham's bosom. Goodness is primaria et mensurans, vel secundaria et mensurat : the first is God's perfect essence and will : the second is either properly.and simply good,'or analogical. The former is the crea- ture's conformity to the will ofGod, or its pleasingness to his will : the latter is, 1. The greater, which is the welfare or perfection of the universe. 2. The lesser, which is the several parts of the uniyerse, either, 1. In the nobler respect, as they are parts contrib- uting to the perfection of the whole ; or 2. In the lower respect, as they are perfect or happy in themselves or, 3. In the lowest respect of all, as they are good to,their fellow-creatures which are below themselves. Accordingly, it is far better to be with Christ, I. Properly and simply, as it is the 'fulfilling of God's will. II. Analogically, as it tendeth to the perfection of the universe and the church. t III. And as it will be our own good or felicity. IV. And as it will be good to our inferior fellow-creatures ; though this last be most ques- tionable, and seemeth not included in the meaning of this text. Somewhat of these in order. I. It is an odious effect of idolatrous selfishness to acknowledge no goodness above our own felicity, and, accordingly, to make the goodness of God to be but formally his usefulness, benevolence, and beneficence, to his creatures, which is by makingthe creature the ultimate end, and, God but the means ; to make the creature to be God, and deny God, indeed, while we honor his name; as also it is to acknowledge no higher goodness formally in the creature, than in its own felicity as such ; as if neither the pleasing of God's will, nor the perfection of the church and world, were better than . we are. We are not of ourselves, and therefore we are not chiefly for ourselves ; and therefore we have a higher good to love. That is simply best which God willeth. Therefore, to live here is best whilst I do live here ; and to depart is best, when the time