HEAVEN UPON EARTH: Jesus, The Best Friend in the Worst Times
James Janeway (1636-1674) was born in Hertfordshire, the son of a minister, at the end of 1636. He was educated at Christ's College, Oxford, and spent time as a private tutor in a home, as is true of many of the Puritans. He is listed as one of the ejected ministers of 1662. In 1672 his admirers built a large meeting house for him near London, where it is said that "he had a very numerous auditory, and a great reformation was wrought amongst many." But Janeway's popularity so enraged the Church of England that several times they threatened to shoot him, which was actually attempted on at least two occasions. On one of these occasions, Janeway was shot at, and the bullet pierced his hat, but did not harm his body. Soldiers destroyed the building in which he preached, but his congregation simply built another, larger one to accomodate all those who came to hear him preach.
"Heaven upon Earth is as precious as the finest gold. Its author, James Janeway, stirs the hearts of his readers, not to rest in a cold, speculative knowledge of God, but to seek that experimental knowledge of Him which enflames hearts, transforms lives, and affords unspeakable happiness throughout eternity. There is no friend in all the world Like Jesus Christ, our blessed Savior! So take this book, read it prayerfully, and discover for yourselves the intimacy of His blessed presence and company." -Malcolm H. Watts
As was true of many Puritan ministers, Janeway was afflicted with melancholy (depression), contracted tuberculosis, and died in his 38th year. The book for which he is most known is A Token for Children, in which he collected personal accounts of the conversions of a number of children in his parish, and published it. It became an effective evangelistic tool, and was the most widely read book in nurseries in England next to the Bible and Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan. The New England preacher Cotton Mather regarded that book so highly that he wrote his own version of it and called it A Token for the Children of New England.
The cover image is the painting of The Great Fire of London from 1666 which took place at the very time Janeway was delivering these addresses. The complete sub-title of this Puritan masterpiece is: Jesus, the Best Friend in the Worst Times, being an earnest exhortation to get acquainted with God, as the only way to real good and blessedness.
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Table of Contents
|Table of Contents
New Introduction by Dr. Joel Beeke
Introductory Essay by Rev. F.A. Cox
The Family of the Janeways and the Times they Lived
HEAVEN UPON EARTH
"Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace;
thereby good shall come unto thee." - Job 22:21
DOCTRINE - Acquaintance with God
1- A knowledge of God
2- Nigh access to God
3- Familiar converse with God
4- Mutual communication between us and God
5- An affectionate love towards God
DUTY - To Acquaint Oneself with God
1- Because this is the great design of the work of Christ
2- Because therein is the improvement of man's highest excellency
3- To refuse is to slight the greatest mercy God can show
4- For without it we are in a necessity of sin and misery
5- Because God himself doth acquaint himself with man
USES OF THIS DOCTRINE
1- Let us stand and wonder at the great condescension of God
2- Let us judge ourselves to be too high for this world
3- Let us inquire whether we are acquainted with him
First, the Nature of the Person I would have you acquainted with
1- He is a most loving and kind Friend
2- He is a most comfortable Friend
3- He is a most able and powerful Friend
4- He is a most active Friend
5- He is a most humble and condescending Friend
6- He is a most faithful Friend
7- He is a rich Friend
8- He is a sympathizing Friend
9- He is a most patient Friend
10- He is a most honorable Friend
11- He is a suitable Friend
12- He is a wise Friend
13- He is an immortal Friend
14- He is a present Friend
15- He is a soul-Friend
16- He is a necessary Friend
17- He is a tried Friend
18- He is an everlasting Friend
19- He is a Friend who is willing to be acquainted with you
20- He is a Friend who is altogether lovely
Second, the Glorious Effects of being Acquainted with God
1- It makes the soul humble
2- It makes a man fall upon sin in earnest
3- It makes one have low thoughts of the world
4- It will ease us of all sorrows, or cure them
5- It honors him more highly
6- It puts abundance of life and vigour into the soul
7- It will make a man patient under God's providence
8- It makes all enjoyments doubly sweet
9- It makes a man wise
10- It makes a man rich
11- It makes a man like God
12- It makes a man better in all stations and relations
Third, the Grave Danger of not being acquainted with God
Fourth, the examples of others who made all the friends they could get acquainted with God
Fifth, Acquaintance with God leads to Peace
Sixth, thereby good will come to you
1- Are these things you have heard true?
2- Are these things of weight and importance?
1- Why do you treat these things with such indifference?
2- Can you find a better friend than God?
3- Do you think this world will last always with you?
4- What will happen if you go on in your old ways?
5- Are you willing to bear the displeasure of God?
6- Are you contented to lose everlasting happiness?
7- How would you accept the service you give to God?
8- And now, what will you do?
1- Get a thorough sense of your estrangement from God
2- Get a humble heart
3- Visit him often in meditation, prayer, fasting...
4- Get Christ along with you when you go to God
5- Come much where he is wont to be
6- Get acquainted with his friends
7- Entertain all messengers he sends you
8- Seek his acquaintance most earnestly
9- Be much in expostulating your case with God
10- Look after this speedily, do not delay
1- Are these things necessary or not?
2- Do you expect to look after these things later in life?
3- When would you get acquainted with God?
4- Who deserves your best, the world, flesh, the devil or God?
5- How would you take it if others served you the same way you serve God?
6- Do you think you can make too much haste?
7- Are you sure you will live an hour longer?
8- What will become of you if you put it off too long?
9- What would you do if you were sure you would die or the judgment would come before week's end?
10- Do you think you will get acquainted with God in another world when you neglect him here?
11- Take heed of those things that keep God and man at a distance
12- Give yourself to God in a most solemn covenant