Owen - BX9315 O81

MEDITATIONS AND DISCOURSES. and doth not relieve it or strengthen it at all. Where- fore we have no way to take into our minds any true spiritual apprehensions of. the nature of immediate vi- sion, or what it is to see the glory of Christ in heaven, but by that view which we have by faith in this life of the same glory. Whatever otherwise falls into our minds, is but conjecture and imagination, such as are the contemplations of most about heavenly things, I have seen and read somewhat of the writings of learned men, concerning the stateof future glory: some of them are filled with excellent notions of truth, and elegancy of speech, whereby they cannot but much af- fect the minds of them who duly consider what they say.' But I know not well whence it comes to pass, many complain, that, in reading of such discourses they are like a man who beholds his natural face in a glass, and immediately forgets what manner ofman he svgs; as one of old complained to the same purpose up- on his perusal of Plato's contemplations about the im- mortality of the soul. The things spoken do not abide nor incorporate with our minds. They please and re- fresh for a little while, like a shower of rain in a dry season, that soaketh not unto the roots of things; the power of them doth not enter .into us, Is it not all from hence, that their notions of future things are not induced out of the experience which we have of the beginnings of them in this world; without which, they can make no permanent abode in our minds, nor con- tinue any influence upon our affections? Yea, the soul is disturbed, not edified, in all,contemplations of future glory, when things are proposed unto it, whereof in this life it hath neither foretaste, sense, experience, nor evidence. No man ought to look for any thing in hea- ven, but what one way or other he bath some experi- ence of in this life. If men were fully persuaded hereof, they would be, it may be, more in the exercise of faith and love about heavenly things, than for the most part they are. At present they know not what they enjoy, and they look for they know not what. Hence is it, that men utterly strangers unto all ex- perience of the beginning'of glory in themselves as an effect of faith, have filled their divine worship with ins ages, pictures, and music, to represent unto themselves somewhat of that glory which they fancy to be above. For into that which is truly so, they have no prospect, nor can have; because they have no experience of its power in themselves; nordo they taste of its goodness by any ofits first-fruits in their own minds. 'Wherefore by that view alone, and not otherwise, which we have of the glory of Christ by faith here in this world, we, may attain such blessed conceptions of our beholding his glory above by immediate vision, as shall draw out our hearts unto the admiration of it, and desires of its full enjoyment. 8. Herein then our present edification is principally concerned. For in this present beholding of the glory of Christ, the life and power of faith are most eminent- ly acted. And from this exercise of faith, loth love, unto Christ principally, if not solely, arise and spring. If therefore we desire to have faith in its vigour, or love in its power, giving rest, complacency, and satisfaction` unto our own souls, we are to seek for them in the dili- gent discharge of this duty; elsewhere they will not be found. Herein would I live; herein would I die; here- on would I dwell in my thoughts and affections; to the withering and consumption of all the painted beauties of this world, unto the crucifying all things herebelow, until they become unto me a dead and deformed thing, no way meet for affectionate embraces. For these, and the like reasons, I shall first inquire into our beholding of the glory of Christ in this world by faith; and therein endeavour to lead the souls of them that believe, into the more retired walks of faith, love, and holy meditation, .whereby the king is held in his galleries. Cant. vii. 5. But because there is no benefit in, nor advantage by the contemplation of this sacred truth, but what consists in an improvement of the practice of the duty declared in it, namely, the constant beholding of the gloryofChrist by faith: I shall for the promotion of it, premise some few advantages which we may have thereby. 1. We shall hereby be made fit and meet for heaven. Every man is not so, who desires it, and hopes for it. For some are not only . unworthy of it, and excluded from it by reason of sin; but they are onmeet for it, and incapable of any advantage by it, All men indeed think themselves fit enough for glory, (what should hin- der them ?) if they could attain it. But it is because they know not what it is. Men shall not be clothedwith glory, as it were, whether they will or no. It is to be received in that exercise of the faculties of their souls, which such persons have no ability for. Music hath no