Baxter - BV4831 84 F3 1830

Chap. 12.] LIFE UPON EARTH. 195 ing tine devotions of others, especially preachers of the Gospel. O how easily may such be deceived ! while they do nothing so much as read and study of heaven ; preach, and pray, and talk of heaven ; is not this the heavenly life ? Alas ! all this is but mere preparation ; this is but collecting the materials, not erecting the building itself; it is but gathering the manna for others, and not eating and digesting it ourselves. As he that sits at home may draw exact maps of countries, and yet never see them, nor travel toward them ; so may you describe to others the joys of heaven, and yet never come near it in your own hearts. A blind man, by learning, may dispute of light and colors ; so may you set forth to others that heavenly light which never enlightened your own souls, and bring that fire from the hearts of your people which never warmed your own hearts. What heavenly passages had Balaam in his pro- phecies, yet how little of it in his spirit ! Nay, we are un- der a more subtle temptation than any other men to draw us from this heavenly life. Studying and preaching of heaven more resembles a heavenly life than thinking and talking of the world does; and the resemblance is apt to deceive us. This is to die the most miserable death, even to famish ourselves, because we have bread on our tables ; and to die for thirst, while we drawwater for others; think- ing it enough that we have daily to do with it, though we never drink for the refreshment of our own souls. Secondly, Having thus showed what hinderances will resist the work, I expect that thou resolve against them, consider them seriously, and avoid them faithfully, or else thy labor will be vain. I must also tell thee, that I here expect thy promise, as thou valuest the delights of these foretastes of heaven, to make conscience of performing the following duties; particularly, 1. Be convinced that heaven is the only treasure and hap- piness, and labor to know what a treasure and happiness it is. If thou do not believe it to be the chief good, thou wilt never set thy heart upon it; and this conviction must sink into thy affections ; for if it be only a notion, it will have little efficacy. If Eve once supposes she sees more worth in the forbidden fruit than in the love and enjoy- ment of God, no wonder if it have more of her heart than God. If your judgment once prefer the delights of the