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the present Fastidium and Indisposition, do but feed and increase a worse Ailment and Malady. Whereas in the Earthly Paradise, all would have been Healthy ; and so wholsome and pleasant were the Fruits and Waters there, as not only to Nourish, but also keep 'em still Hail and well, with a wonderful Delight.
But whatever was the condition of that Paradise , The Tree of Life, and Living Water in the City of God , (be sure) are no Meat and Drink common to Men with Brutes, * nor such as threaten any danger "in the Use,, nor will ever be attended with any sad'ning Perceptions in the Consequence .- But of such an excellent High and Divine nature, that they'll yield a full Satissaction, with a pure exquisite Pleasure: For so the Sacred Poet applauds the Happiness of such as are admitted to Feast upon em '. Pfetl. 36. 6. They shall be abundantly saltisfied with the Fatness of thy House: And thou flialt mnke'em drink of the River of thy Pleasure. These are no corporeal, but Spiritual Viands : The Tree of Life being that Bread of Understanding , and the Living Water thatFountain of Wisdom, wherewith the Author of Ecclus. Chap. Ij. 3. tells US the Lord jhcill fed and Refnsh such as Fear him. For, (as :?. Aug. observes^ In -what relates to the Body, Meat is one thing , and Drink another: But as to spirituals. Meat and Drink are one and the fame, i. e. Understanding and Wisdomj which, in the place cited, do signify but one thing, are the Meat which Nourifheth,and also the Drink which Quencheth and Refreflieth.
Yet might we take the Living Water for Wisdom ; and the Tree of Life for Love: According to the Dictates of that inspired Author, who gives the most accurate Description of this Heavenly City; 1 Joh. 3. 14. He that Loveth not, Abidetb In Death. And .we know, that we are pajjed from Death to Life, Because we Love the Brethren. Now, both to Understand and to Love are true Vital Actions; Therefore the Saints Drink, in the City of God, is out of the River that flows from the Fountain of Life., even God himself: i. e. To participate even of the same Wisdom, wherewith God himself is Wife j which is the chief and supream, beyond all that even we are able to declare or think. And, again, Their Meat which they eat of the Tree of Life, is to enjoy the participation of that unspeakable Love,, wherewith the Goodness which is clearly Seen, may be ardently Lov'd. Yea, that Love, wherewith God, who is an infinite Good, and the Fountain of all Goodness, Loves himself. And what this Wisdom, and this Love are , we may Conjecture as well as we can ; but must never expect throughly to comprehend , till we attain E 5 to
to be Fellow-Citizens with the Saints
above. '-' \'. .' '' t*'
. For as to what we are told of the Tree of Life on either fide the River , and producing its Fruits every Month, Tis only a Metaphorical Representation of things Spiritual, according to our Sense of the Natural. Thus the 6acred Writer would Decypber before our Eyes, a Tree of the utmost Goodness and Fruit fulness : Pursuant to which design, he sets it On the bank of a River j that through its own native Excellence, and that constant Imigation, from the adjacent Moisture, it mighc Luxuriate in a Fertility quite beyond all that is ordinaryj Not only to produce its Plenty, as other Trees do, Annually; but Repeat the Fruits Monthly. Twelve times every Year.
Nor is it a fingle Tree only here to be understood; but the sacred Synechdoche signifies many of the fame kind, on each side of that River flowing through the midst of the City j Not far asunder one from another: That so the whole City might equally enjoy both the River and the Fruit. Now, it speaks the Trees Goodness, That it is the Tree of Life j and its wonderful Fruitfulness, to bear so oft: That the Citizens may ever have Fruits New and Ripe : New, of the present Month; and Ripe, of that which is past: Never Putrid, Wither'd or Insipid. All denoting the Meat and Drink of the
fed j (i. e. the Wisdom , whereby they perfectly Know God, and the Charity where. with they perfectly Love him,) to be of the. very Best, and never to Fail.
What's added, That the Leaves are for. Healing of fie*Nations, serves to instruct us, That in this our Pilgrimage, the Fruin themselves of the Tree of Life do not here reach to usj Only some of the Leaves drop down upon us; which though they bring, not with 'em Eternal Life, yet are of singular use, to heal the Maladies of our present Life, and those sinful Ailments, of which now we all are sick, more or less. And what are these Leaves, but those of our Bibles, The Divine Words, by the Prophets and Apostles, brought from Heaven? Which O how sweet and wholsome an Odom do they breath and shed forth utjcn all that are influenced by theSpii it of God! Read the Prophets, Read the Psalms, Read -the Evangelists, Read the Apostles: AU these Sacred Leaves do savour such Humility, Charity, Purity, as are not taught by any Moral Discipline or Philosophy. And no marvel ; For those Leaves fall from the Trees of Paradise: But the humane Helps come no further than from some Higher, places of the Eirth.
. Therefore, O Christian Soul, Be still gathering up and applying these healing Leaves, To make thee wholsome Remedies
...... E 4 .for
raise thy Thoughts to some Admiring apprehensions of the Fruits. Leaving the Swines husks in the dirt, Look up with a Longing desire, and pant after the most satisfying Fruits of Eternal Life. Think frequently of 'em ; and in thy Mind and Memory, be.much Chewing upon 'em; 'Till thou reach at last indeed to see 'em, and for ever Enjoy 'em.
Of the Mystical Foundation of the . City of God.
WE have been Viewing one Structure of the Jerusalem above: But let us now take notice of another. For the City comprehends, not only Foundation, Gates, Walls, and Streets; But also a general Assembly, who for the variety of their Functions , may likewise themselves be called foundations, Gates, and Stones. Nay, peradventure, a City may more properly, go under the appellation of a Corporation, knit together by the same Laws and Customs; than so many Files of Building united within the same Walls and Bounds.