Imprimatur. …

Imprimatur.

Robert Grove R. P. Dno. Humfr. Episc. Lond. a sac. Dom.

A Funeral Handkerchief.

In Two Parts.

  • I. Part, Containing Arguments to comfort us at death of Friends.
  • II. Part, Containing several Uses which we ought to make of such losses.

To which is added, Three Sermons Preached at Coventry, in December last, 1670.

By THOMAS ALLESTREE, M. A. Rector of Ashow in the County of Warwick.

While the Child was yet alive, I fasted and wept — But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me, 2 Sam. 12.22, 23.

Parcamus Lachrymis nihil proficientibus, facilius illi nos dolor iste adjiciet, quàm illum nobis re­ducet. Sen. Consolat ad Polyb. c. 23.

LONDON, Printed for the Author, Anno Dom. 1671.

To the Right Honourable Thomas Lord Leigh, Baron of Stoneleigh, his singular good Lord and Patron. The Author wisheth con­tinuance of Health, en­crease of Honour, and in the World to come Life Eternal.

Right Honourable,

SOmeAret. in Luk. 1.3. Marlorat. in Luk. 1. Chemnit. Harm. Evan. Stella in Luk. 1.3. are of Opinion that St. Luke dedicated his Gospel, and the Acts of the Apostles, those two pieces of Divine Writ, to Theophilus, a [Page] Man of Eminencie in the Church. Stella saith he was Praesul Antio­chenus septimus: And the Epithet given him, shews he was some great man, for that Evangelist calls him [...], most Excellent, As Acts 23.26. Act. 24.3. Act. 26.25 which is a Title of Honour; Nomen honoris et dignitatis. Yet someDoctor Hammond his Annot. in Luke 1.3. Salv. in Epist. ded. before his Books ad Eccles. Cathol. learned Men are of another Opinion, (viz.) That Theophi­lus was not the proper name of a particular Man, but a feigned Title to signifie every Christi­an, who is, or ought to be a lover of God, to whom St. Luke addresseth his Discourse.

Sure I am of this, that St. Paul, as he prayed for Onesiphorus, who so oft refreshed him in his Bonds, so he made honourable mention of him in his Writ­ings, 2 Tim. 1.16, 17, 18.

My Lord, I think I should [Page] be guilty of that crying sin ofIngratum si dixeris, omnia. Ingratitude, (a sin, which a­mongst others makes the times so perillous, 2 Tim. 3.1, 2. [...]) if I should not, as I have often prayed for you, so upon occasi­on make honourable mention of you, who have so oft refreshed me in my wants. Since I first saw your smiling Countenance, I have oft thought of that Speech of Ruth to Boaz, Ruth 2.10. Why have I found grace in thine eyes, that thou shouldest take knowledge of me, seeing I am a Stranger? I was a stranger to your Lordship, yet you were pleased freely to be­stow a small Parsonage upon me. I call it a small one, (for so it is of it self) but it hath happily received amongst other Churches, for several years, an Augmentation of twenty pounds [Page] and upwards, paid duly, with­out trouble; for the Lady Alicia Duddely (that sweet Flower, whom God gathered early to himself, for she was ripe be­times) Daughter of that Pat­tern of Piety and good Works, the Lady DutchesSee the Narrative of her life & death, by Dr. Boreman. Duddely, late­ly deceased; This Daughter, I say (to whom I may apply that of the Wise Man, Prov. 31.29. Many Daughters have done vertuously, but thou excellest them all) left by her last Will an Estate of the yearly value of an 120 pounds, to be disposed for ever to such poor Vicaridges and Parsona­ges as the said Lady Mother should appoint: And accor­dingly it was performed by her Grace the Lady Dutchess Dud­deley, whose good Works, like Maries Oyntment, cast a sweet [Page] perfume. Mine is one of theManceter Stone­leigh. Ashow. Leek­wotton. Kenel­worth. Monks­kirby. six Churches that partaketh of this bountie. I know, my Lord, you will pardon this digression, for you love to make honoura­ble mention of your dear Aunt, this incomparable Dutchess, up­on all occasions.

I now return to your Lord­ship, who have not onely been my Patron, but in other respects a constant Benefactor; for you were pleased to receive me for your Chaplain, and accept my poor pains, for which (to your Noble Generosity, not to my desert, be it spoken) you gave me, besides other Favours, a considerable allowance. Meet then it is that you should have the first Fruits of my Labours in this kind, as a token of my real love, and testimony of a [Page] grateful heart, and I hope your Lordship will so interpret it.

Another Reason why I pre­sume to prefix your Lordships Name to the following Dis­course is this; that it being shrouded under your Honoura­ble Protection, may pass the more currant: We live in a carping Age; but if these Pa­pers find acceptance with you, (I know you to be so judicious and well-devoted) I do not much value the exceptions of o­thers.

This Paper-Present I call A Funeral Handkerchief, Con­taining Arguments to comfort us at death of Friends; and the several Uses we ought to make of such losses. Noble Sir, you have out-lived many Friends, you have buried many dear Children, and lately parted [Page] with a Religious Lady, who drew with you in the Yoke of Marriage above 59 years. [I am not afraid to call her Religious, Her daily respect to the Word and Prayer in private; Her love to the Publick Ordinances; Her strict ob­servation of the Lord's Day, and her pious care that others should do so: Her fastings and soul-afflictings upon occasion, together with her constant cir­cumspect walking, are to me undoubted signs of her Religious Disposition.] These afflictions, and many o­thers which God Almighty hath pleased to exercise your Lord­ship with, you have patiently undergone & overcome, through the Auxiliaries of Reason, and Divine Assistance. But, my Lord, have you learnt to make a right use of death of Friends and Relations? This is an hard [Page] lesson which few take forth: let me intreat you to cast your eye especially upon the second Part of this following Treatise, where you shall find several Uses set down; Copy them out in your daily practice, that so when the Sun of your life doth set, which declines apace, you may go to your Dormitorie in peace.

Though these Papers do not inform you of what you know not, yet they may serve to mind you of what you know. King Philip knew that he was a mortal Man, yet he would have his Mo­nitor every morning to tell him that he was so, uttering these words with a loud voice, [...]. I think it meet, my Lord, as St. Peter speaks, 2 Pet. 1.13. to stir you up, by putting you in re­membrance: And I hope your [Page] Lordship will suffer me to be your Remembrancer from the Press, as I was forI had the honour to be Chap­lain seven years. several years from the Pulpit, which was no small encouragement to me in my Ministerial Pains.

But fearing lest I should ex­ceed the bounds of an Epistle, craving your Lordships Patro­nage and Acceptance of these my Labours, I take leave, and rest,

My Lord,
Your Honours most humbly devoted Servant, Tho. Allestree.

To the Reader.

Courteous Reader,

SOme judicious Divines have looked upon these following Notes, as a Talent, not to be buried in a Napkin, or in a few sheets of Paper in my Study; I therefore resolved at last to press them for publick service. This I can say, I have not offered thee that which cost me nothing: I have spent much time and labour in the composure of this following Treatise. What I have met with in reading that might serve for my present purpose, I have digested into a method for thy benefit, and the principal Quotations I have set down. A Posy is not cast away because made up of several Flow­ers; nor Honey distasted, which the diligent Bee gathers here and there: nor I hope wilt thou like this Book the worse, because there are several Quotations in it.

The former part of this Funeral Hand­kerchief may teach thee to take patiently the death of Friends. We read Act. 19.12. That frō the body of Paul were brought to the sick, Handkerchiefs, or Aprons, and the Diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. [Page] This Handkerchief brought to thee from mine hand, may (through Gods blessing) be a means to cure thee of melancholly, immo­derate sorrow, discontent, and such like distempers of spirit, which may arise at death of Friends and Relations. Mine Arguments are grounded upon Divine Writ; And as David said of the Sword of Goliah, 1 Sam. 21.9. There is none like that, give it me: So say I of Scrip­ture-Arguments, there are none like them: These are right words, and so the more per­swasive; Job 6.25. How forcible are right words?

The latter part of this Treatise may teach thee several good uses which thou oughtest to make of the death of Friends and Relations. The first part is far larger than the second; what though? A large first, makes recompence for the shorter second Course at any mans Table. And this I also say, That though the first part be greater in bulk, yet the latter is of greater worth; both parts I hope may in some measure answer expecta­tion as to what they promise; but the latter chief­ly, if thou livest up to it, may be a means to pro­mote thy eternal Salvation, which is the hearty desire of

Thy faithful Friend and Servant, T. Allestree.

Errata in the Funeral Handkerchief.

PAge 3. line 13, read Telluris. p. 4. l. 21, r. are not. p. 5. l. 7, r. mourning. p. 6. l. 10, r. resorbebant. p. 11. l. 27, r. as his gift: so saith. p. 20. l. 1, r. Patimur. p. 59. l. 22, r. [...]. p. 60. l. 1, r. [...]. l. 2, r. a fixed. p. 61. l. 19, r. [...]. p. 62. l. 3, r. cast off. p. 64. l. 20, r. may be presently. p. 67. l. 3, after [...] insert [...]. p. 77. Marg. r. miserum. p. 84. l. 33, r. did so lively paint. p. 125. l. 13, r. whet. l. 14, r. Mowers. p. 130. l. 9, r. my Corn. p. 159. l. 24, r. meet. p. 190. l. 14, r. suffer pati­ently. p. 191. l. 26, r. secundae. p. 197. l. 12, r. manuum. p. 198. l. 22, r. be no. p. 217. l. 30, r. [...]. p. 254. l. 2, r. Gen. 47. l. 30, r. [...]. p. 266. l. 31, r. with the wicked. p. 277. l. 27, for within, r. with him. p. 279. l. 17, r. thy enquiries. p. 282. l. 25, r. putting. p. 297. l. 27, r. expectation. p. 299. l. 20, r. tormented in, which.

Errata in the three Sermons.

Page 7. line 7, read gratitudinem. l. 34, r. frequenti­am. p. 9. l. 13, f. them, r. him. l. 17, r. [...]. Marg. r. à morte remotus. p. 12. l. 20, r. saith, he hath. l. 21. r. there is sin. p. 22. l. 28, r. impenitent wretches. p. 31. l. 14. r. Afflictorum. p. 32. l. 1, r. erexit. p. 40. l. 12. r. strange­ly. p. 46. l. 24, r. devoted. p. 55. l. 9, r. his life.

These and some other small faults of the Printer, which thou mayest possibly meet with in reading, may be easily mended with a little Ink: But the Personal Faults of the Author can onely be done away by the Blood of Christ; for the effecting of which, thy prayers are desired.

Farewell.

A Funeral handkerchief.Part 1.

CHAP. I. The Porch, Entrance, or Preface to to the ensuing Discourse.

WHen a Friend is going a long Journey, it is a commendable piece of civility to go with him some part of the way, and to weep at parting: so civil were the people to St. Paul, Act. 20.37, 38. they accompanied him to the ship, and wept over him. So when our Friends depart and go to their long-home, from whence they shall never return till time shall be no more, is it not good manners to accompany them to the Grave, and shed some tears for them, whom we shall see no more with mortal eyes? Eccl. 12.5. Man goeth to his long-home, and the Mourners go about the streets. The Jews were wont to hire Mourners (2 Chron. 35.25. Jer. 9.17, 18. Amos 5.16.) and for the most part they were women called in Latin Praeficae: They [Page 2] profest an Art in Mourning and composing dole­ful Ditties: And for the greater solemnity, per­sons of worth or estate would hire them to ac­company the Hearse, and they would mourn for the Dead with such affection, gesture, and lamentation, that they would cause others to mourn for company. We find Eccles. 7.2, 4. the Wise-man calling the house where one dies, the house of Mourning, which he would not do, if it were not lawful to mourn upon such an oc­casion. We reade in Scripture how Abraham mourned for Sarah, Gen. 23.2. Joseph for his Father Jacob, Gen. 50.10. The Israelites wept for Moses, Deut. 34.8. so for Samuel, 1 Sam. 25.1. Elisha cryes after Elijah, 2 King. 2.12. Jeremiah weeps for Josiah, 2 Chro. 35.25. And under the New-Testament we find Act. 8.2. — devout man carried Stephen to his Burial, and made great Lamentation over him. And Act. 9.36, 37, 39. We find there the Widows embal­ming charitable Dorcas in tears: And before this we reade how Martha and Mary wept sore for their Brother Lazarus, John 11.19, 31, 33. Nay Christ himself wept, v. 35. and the Jews interpreted it as an argument of his love to La­zarus, v. 36. so that civility, custom, and love to deceased Friends call for weeping upon such an occasion.

It is pronounced as a judgment upon wicked men, when relations shed not a tear, nor pay a solemn sigh, but are rather glad to be rid of them; Job 27.15. Psa. 78.64. so God threat­ned Jehoiakim that he should die unlamented, and be buried with the burial of an Ass, Jer. 22. [Page 3] 18, 19. Herod looked on it so sad to die unla­mented, that he gave express command, that when he died, one of every Noble Family in his kingdom should be slain,Dr. Abbot 6th Lect. on Jonah, p. 124.1. that by that means his death might of necessity be lamented, if not for love of him (as the Tyrant had no reason to ex­pect) yet for the loss of others. Joseph. Antiquit.

The saying of Solon, Dr. Wil­let on Gen. p. 251. Mors mea non careat Lachrymis, and let not my death want tears, so it be done temperately; is to be preferred before that of Ennius, Nemo me lachrymis decoret, Let no man mourn for me.

He hath lived (Tellius inutile pondus) a very unprofitable wretch, who being dead, is carried forth as servants carry out the sweepings of the House, or guts of Birds, or entrails of Beasts, without any shew of sorrow: Tears then at death of Friends, are silent expressions of the usefulness of our dead Friend, (whilest living) and of our value and esteem of him.

And if we seriously consider losses of this nature, how can we chuse but weep? For a wife to lose her husband, the Guide of her Youth, Pro. 2.7. who was a shield to defend her, or as the Sun to chear her, (Gen. 37.9, 10.) must needs be a bitter loss: So for a Husband to lose his Wife, the Wife of his Youth, Prov. 5.18. or the Wife of his Bosom, Mic. 7.5. the desire of his eyes, Ezek. 24.16, 18. must needs be a bitter loss. So for Parents to lose Children, who have their be­ing from them, and from whom they expect com­fort in their old age, must needs be a bitter loss. So how can Children chuse but weep at death of Parents? to lose a Father that begot them, [Page 4] Prov. 23.22. and took pains to provide for them (1 Tim. 5.8.) so to lose a dear Mother that bare them nine months in her belly, twelve months in her arms, and many years in her mind and care, must needs be a bitter loss. Yet the Apo­stle in the catalogue of offenders that should come in the last dayes (and surely ours are the last) tells us of some that shall be ( [...], 2 Tim. 3.3.) without natural affection, unnatural to Re­lations whilst living, and when dead, as if their hearts were hewen out of a Rock, they are un­moved, they can with dry eyes and cheeks be­hold the Funeral Solemnities of Parents, Chil­dren, Husband, Wife, &c. without any shew of sorrow: Though God strikes them through their Relations, yet they have not grieved, Jer. 5.3. let such consider that of the Psalmist, Psal. 28.5. because they regard not the works of the Lord, nor the operations of his hands, he shall destroy them and not build them up: God there threatens such as are affected with sad passages of his pro­vidence; the chief of which we conclude are loss of Friends and Relations.

The Poet had observed an unnatural Son that before the time would be enquiring into his Fa­ther's age; ‘— Filius ante diem Patrios inquiret in annos.’ He would have his Father wrapt up in his wind­ing-sheet, [...], Mixtus fletui ri­sus. Sphinx Philos. p. 316. that he might rip open his Baggs; would have him in his Coffin, that he might enter into his Coffers: And when the time of his Fathers interment is at hand (which to him comes never sooner than expected or desired) this [Page 5] unnatural Son, it may be, goes clothed in black, having a light and merry heart under a sad and mournful habit. So, many Wives that have lived, it may be, too loosly and wantonly, at their hus­bands death, like that woman that Joab sent for (2 Sam. 14.2.) feigh themselves to be Mourn­ers, and put on monring Apparel. Thus Bath­sheba's mourning for her husband Uriah (2 Sam. 11.26.) is thought by some to be hypocritical; for by his death, she was freed from her husbands rage, from shame and punishment which she justly deserved; and withal she had hopes to become a Queen, as indeed she did. But let such hypocritical Mourners consider, without repentance, their portion will be with Hypo­crites, where (Mat. 24.51.) there shall be weep­ing and gnashing of teeth. In Hell there is weeping in good earnest: And every tear shed is so far from quenching Hell-fire, that like Oyl it will encrease the flame thereof: and here I leave such unnatural wretches.

On the other side, some there are that at death of Friends weep immoderately, they weep till they can weep no more, as the expression is 1 Sam. 30.4. they are so impatient, that for ever after they lead disconsolate lives, sitting daily inter suspiria & lachrymas, sighing, sobbing, and sor­rowing: they are so discomposed, that they can­not, as the Apostle commands, attend upon the Lord without distraction, 1 Cor. 7.35. They cannot pray, nor meditate, nor give thanks to God with that fixedness and composure as they ought to do, Psal. 57.7. And it may be they for­bear going to Church, because they cannot en­dure [Page 6] the sight of their friends grave. Nay fur­ther, they are not only inwardly pensive, but outwardly passionate, they fill Heaven and Earth with Exclamations.

Horrendis gravitèr Coelum pulsâsse querelis.

And many times passionate unsavory Speeches (the scum of a discontented spirit) proceed from them, as from Jonah when his Gourd wither­ed, Jonah 4.8, 9. He wish'd himself dead, and tells God, He did well to be angry, even unto death. St. Austin speaking of his Mothers Death said,Aug. Con­fess. lib 9 cap. 12. Oculi mei resorbebant fontem suum usque ad siccitatem; His eyes had drained his very Foun­tains dry, so excessive he was in weeping. Indeed this hath been an infirmity in the best of men and women. See Jacob at the supposed death of Jo­seph, Gen. 37.33, 34, 35. He rent his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his loins, and mourned for his son many dayes; and all his sons, and all his daughters rose up to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted; and he said, For I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning: thus his father wept for him; His mourning like the swelling of Jordan (Jer. 12.5.) impetuously, passed the banks of Reason. So if mischief (saith he) befal Benjamin by the way in which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave, Gen. 42.38. So David hearing news of the untimely death of Absalom, the text tells you, [...] Sam. 18.33. The king was much moved, and went up to the chamber over the gate, and as he went, thus he said, O my son Absalom, my son, my son Absalom, would God I had died for [Page 7] thee! O Absalom my son, my son! David is too excessive in his grief, and speaks things that were not fitting (as passionate men use to do) Would God I had died for thee! Why David, what would have become of the Kingdom, what mi­series would it have been involved in if Absalom had survived? The violence of Passion here makes David forget himself, Gods Church and People. So Naomi, Ruth 1.3, 5. had lost her Husband and two Sons, and vers. 19, 20. be­cause God had dealt thus bitterly with her, she refuseth her Name, will be called, Marah, that signifies bitterness; and not Naomi, that signi­fies pleasant; she refuseth this Name being so un­sutable to her condition. So the women of Beth­lehem at the untimely death of their Infants, (Mat. 2.16, 18) mourn, & will not be comforted And indeed the female kind naturally is more disposed to tenderness than the male (Isa. 49.15.) and so more apt to weep immoderately, and (as one saith) of the two, the more to be pitti­ed, and the more capable of excuse and pardon: But yet immoderate Sorrow in none is to be al­lowed.

As we approve not then of a Stoical Apathy (for the best of Gods Servants have passions in them,See Dr. Renolds on the Passions. Acts 14.15. James 5.17. and passions are the feet of the soul, placed in the sensitive appetite by the finger of God and Nature) so neither do we approve of passions when irregu­lar, for then they are diseases of the mind, de­pravers of reason, disturbers of the understand­ing, and cause the wisest men to speak and act not like themselves.

We find our Saviour Luke 7.12, 13. saying to the Widow who wept for her only son, Weep not, he doth not there forbid natural affection, but inordinate passion; not tears simply, but their excess; not tears of sympathy and parental ten­derness, but despairing repining tears. To shut up this,See Dr. VValkers Sermon on that Text. the Apostle would have us to mortify in­ordinate affection (Col. 3.4.) that of sorrow, as well as that of anger, &c. now it is inordinate when set on wrong objects, or when it is in ex­treams, either defective or excessive: This cor­ruption or disorder in our affections must be purged out.

Now I shall lay down several Arguments to prevent inordinate mourning at death of Friends. Take ten, which are as so many Corks to the Net, to keep the soul under such losses from sink­ing too deep in sorrow.

CHAP. II. Ten Considerations to prevent immode­rate Mourning at the Death of Friends.

IN the first place, Consider, the Necessity of Dying: For, We must needs dye, 2 Sam. 14.14. So, Eccles. 12.5. Man goeth to his long home; Man indefinitely, i. e. every man, high and low, rich and poor, beautiful and deform­ed, male and female, young and old, good and bad, all go to their long home, the Grave. So Ps. 89.48. What man is he that liveth and shall not see Death? See Mr. Dugards Sermon on that Text. Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the Grave? Selah. No, though he now liveth, yet he shall not alway live, but sooner or later shall see Death. Joshua and David call Death, The Way of all the Earth, Josh. 23.14. 1 King. 2.2. This way all Creatures of the Earth walk, and therefore Job calls the Grave, The House ap­pointed for all Living, Job. 30.23. No man hath power over the Spirit to retain the Spirit, Eccles. 8.8. But when his time is come, The Spirit shall return to God who gave it, Eccles. 12.7. Death, that black Prince, or King of Terrors (So called Job 18.14.) is an invincible Cham­pion, who riding on his pale Horse, for above these five thousand years, hath with an impartial [Page 10] stroke layd all flat before him. The long-liv'd Patriarchs, Adam, Seth, Enoch, &c. like stout Oaks held out long, but were forced at last to submit to Death's fatal stroak, as you my read, Gen. Chap. 5. Statutum est omnibus semel mori. Heb. 9.27. It is appointed for all men once to dye. It is Statute Law, enacted in the Court of Hea­ven, the decree is establisted, the writing signed, and like the Laws of the Medes and Persians, (Dan. chap. 6. vers. 8.) never to be reversed, whilest this world lasteth; we onely read of two exempted since the Creation of the World, Enoch and Elijah, who though they dyed not, yet underwent a change, and the like is not now to be expected. So then that all must dye is an universal rule, admitting of no exception: And how soon all we may be brought in as Examples to this general Rule, we know not. Even Kings on Earth are but Earthen Kings, and like Nebu­chadnezzars Image (Dan. 2.) stand on feet of clay, and moulder away as well as others. Aequo pede pulsat pauperum tabernas, regum (que) turres. Hor. I have said ye are gods, — but ye shall dye like men, Psal. 82.6, 7. Augustus mortuus est. Nay Christ himself dyed, the Lord of Life is put to Death; though he did not sin actually, yet because he had our sins by impu­tation, Isa. 53.6. 1 Pet. 2.24. He stood guilty of our sins (for he became our Surety) and therefore underwent a dissolution, though indeed he saw no corruption, Acts 2.27. so Acts 13.37. Now as Phocion said to one that was condemned to the same death with him. Art thou not glad to fare as Phocion doth? So shall [Page 11] we be too much cast down at death of our Friends, seeing the Patriarchs, Prophets, Apo­stles, nay Christ himself hath tasted death's bit­ter Cup. Well then, at death of your Friend consider that, Job 21.33. Every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him. Me-thinks this should somewhat alleviate our sorrow.Seneca de con­sol. ad Polib. .24. Quis tam superbae impotentisque arro­gantiae est, ut in hâc naturae necessitate (omnia in eundem finem revocantis) se unum ac suos seponi velit? An Heathen looked upon it as a great piece of weakness and pride for any man to ex­pect, that either he or any of his should be ex­empted from the general rule of mortality.

Consid. 2 Secondly consider, The friends you lose are not so much yours as God's. 1 Chron. 29.14. All things come of thee (saith David.) And St. James saith, Jam. 1.17. Every good gift, and eve­ry perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of Lights, &c. Children among other things are the gift of God. This Lesson our great Grandmother Eve taught us, calling her first-born, Cain, saying, I have gotten a man from the Lord, Gen. 4.1. Heb. [...] Septuag. [...], which is as much as [...], Mus­culus in locum. By the favour, help, and blessing of God, as his gift. So saith Jacob, Gen. 33.5. These are the Children which God hath graciously given me. And God tells us, he gave unto Isaac, Jacob and Esau, Josh. 24.4. Psal. 127.3. Lo Children are an heritage of the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is his reward. Clavis coeli, se­pulchri, cordis, & matricis in manu Dei. It is God that opens and shuts the Womb at his plea­sure. [Page 12] See Gen. 30.2, 22. God may say truly what Benhadad said falsly, 1 King 20.3. Thy silver and thy gold is mine thy wives also and thy children, even the goodliest are mine. We use to bestow upon relations a term of propriety, as my Husband, my Wife, my Father, my Mother, my Brother, my Sister, my Son, my Daughter, my Friend, &c. Whereas the truth is, they are not ours but Gods; he is the absolute owner of them: he made them, and hath freely lent them to us, without any certain time, or date, or promise of continuance; and what is lent freely (we cannot deny but) may be call'd for most justly at the pleasure of him that lent it. May not God most justly say, as the Owner of the Vineyard to the murmuring Labourer, Mat. 20.15. Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own? Well then, we hold our Friends (non jure, sed gratis) not by a juridical right, but upon favour and courtisie; and if we enjoyed our Relations some time, we should be thankful to God, that hath lent them to us so long, rather then murmur that he takes them so soon.

St. Jerome comforting Paula, for the death of her Daughter Bresilla, said, Durum quidem, sed tolerabile, quia sustulit ille qui dederat; It was a heavy loss, but to be born patiently, be­cause he took, that gave at first. This comfort­ed Job, when amongst other things he had lost his Children, Job 1.21, 22. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord. Job considered, that God had taken but what he gave at first, and so doth thankful­ly resign up his losses to him.

Consid. 3 Thirdly consider, God hath a hand in death of Friends, Psal. 31.15. My times are in thy hand, saith David, times of plenty and times of poverty, times of health, and times of sickness, living times, and dying times, are in the hand i. e. of the disposal of God. He measures time of life in what proportion he pleaseth; to some he gives a large piece, to others a small remnant, Job. 7.1: Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? Here he puts it by way of question; but Job 14.5. There he puts it out of question, and takes it for granted, That mans dayes are deter­mined, the number of his moneths are with thee (O Lord) thou hast appointed his bounds, that he cannot pass. So that when a Friend departs, that's the time that God hath appointed. So it is said of David, Acts 8.36. After he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, &c. Will of God, may be annexed to his falling asleep, as well as serving his generation; he dyed then by the will of God, and was gathered to his Fathers, and saw corruption. Job saith, Job 30.23. I know that thou wilt bring me unto death, and to the house appointed for all living. Naomi said, when she was deprived of her Hus­band and two Sons in a strange Land, The Al­mighty hath dealt very bitterly with me, and the Lord hath testifyed against me, and the Almighty hath afflicted me, Ruth 1.5, 20, 21. com­pared. So Moses, speaking of the frailty and shortness of mans life, saith, Thou turnest man to destruction, and sayest, Return ye children of men, Psal. 90.3. Gods dixit is his fecit; (as in the first Creation he said, Let there be light, and [Page 14] there was light, Gen. 1.3.) So God here saith, Return, i. e. he makes them to return (viz.) to their Original, The Body to the earth, and the Spirit to him that gave it, Eccles. 12.7. So David, tells us, God takes away mens breath, and then they dye and return to their dust, Psal. 104.29. God indeed is the orderer and ordainer of all conditions, 1 Sam. 2.6. The Lord killeth and maketh alive, he brings down to the grave, and bringeth up. So Isa. 45.7. I form the light, and create darkness; I make peace, and create evil; I the Lord do all these things. Our Saviour tells us, not a Sparrow falls to the ground, nor a hair from our heads, without the overruling providence of God, Mat. 10.29, 30. Here is Argumentum a minore ad majus, If not a Sparrow, a bird of small price and account, or an Hair, which is no essential part, but made for convenience and ornament; if these fall not to the ground with­out the will of our heavenly Father, surely a Friend cannot dye but God wills it. Let us then at loss of Friends patiently submit to Gods will. The Heathenish Idolaters were loth to cast Jonah overboard, but when they had cast lots, and found it to be Gods will it should be so, they patiently submitted, 1 Jonah 13.14. Let not Hea­thens outstrip Christians. Let us say with Christ, John 18.11. The Cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it? See Jobs carriage Job 1.20, 21, 22. He fell down and worshipped, not murmured; he charged not God foolishly, by railing as though he dealt unjustly with him, but saith, The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken; He saw the hand of God in whatever [Page 15] befel him, and this was a strong pillar of support­ment to his drooping spirit. It is no striving a­gainst the stream or current of Gods powerful will, Job 9.4. Isa. 45.9. Let Gods authority over thee prevent impatience in thee. God who doth what he will, and will do what he pleaseth, Psal. 115.3. So Psal. 135.6. He takes away and none can hinder him, who will say unto him, What dost thou? Job 9.12. Say then when a Friend is dead, Truly this is a grief, yet I must bear it, Jer. 10.19. And as Seneca saith, Ae­quum est ut patientèr feras quicquid corrigere est nefas, It is but fit to bear that patiently which we cannot remedy.

Consid. 4 Fourthly consider, God intends it for thy good, Psal. 119.68. Thou art good (O Lord) and doest good. So vers. 75. I know, O Lord, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faith­fulness hast afflicted me. So Psal. 145.17. [...]. Miseri­cors. The Lord is righteous in all his wayes, and holy (or ac­cording to Orig. merciful) in all his works. Plu­tarch in his Epistle consolatory to his Wife on the death of a Child, amongst others hath this Argument, We must always think well of what the Gods do. Christians should consider, that God, in the saddest passages of his providence, aims at their good: Though indeed his ways be sometimes hidden, yet they are alway just. When clouds and darkness are round about him, then righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his Throne, Psal. 97.2. Though his Providences sometimes seem to cross his Promises, yet in the conclusion you shall see all things work together for good, as Physick works for the good of the Patient, Rom. [Page 16] 8.28. Every Rod, like Jonathans, 1 Sam. 14.27. hath Honey at the end of it. All things, even loss of Friends, work together for good to those that love God. We read how Sampson fetch'd Honey out of the carcase of the Lyon, Judg. 14.8, 9. So may we find or fetch good instructions from the Carcase of a deceased Friend.

God (it may be) took away such or such a Relation (as the Widow of Sarepta said when her Son was dead) to call your sins to remem­brance, 1 King. 17.18. May be your sin might be foolish Indulgence, or too much Fondness; you loved your Relation too much, and there­fore God took him (or her) away, that you might not commit spiritual adultery, which you do when you bestow that love and delight upon the Creature that is due to the Creator, Psal. 73.27. God there threatens such as go a whoring from him. He will not suffer such behavi­our in those whom he hath marryed to himself, Hos. 2.19. God is a Jealous God, Exod. 20.5. And as a discreet Wife, if she perceives her Hus­band to be in love with her Maidservant, will presently put her away, that she may be chief in her Husbands affection; So if God loves us, he will take that away which steals our affecti­ons from him. Privat bonis, aut liberis, nimium amatis, ut desiderium bonorum praestantiorum at (que) coelestium magis in eis excitat. He deprives us, (saith Paraeus Paraeus, in Gen. 37. chap.) of Children, or some such out­ward good things which we love too much, that he may thereby excite us to love better things more. Or, your sin might be worldly-minded­ness, [Page 17] you were (it may be) over-worldly in providing portions for such or such a Child.Salvian, ad Ecles. Cathol. lib. 2 pag. 380. Quae insania est ô miserrimi! ut haeredes alios quoscunque faciatis, vos ipsos vero exhaeredetis. God saw thee well nigh lost in a croud of worldly cares; and therefore took away thy Child, that thou might­est sit loose to the world, and mind heavenly things. God is a gracious Father (as one saith) wisely tempering the Cup for his Children, lest they should surfeit on worldly enjoyments, which they might easily do, if they were not mixed with occasions of sorrow. Or (it may be) thou didst not think sufficiently on thy latter end, as God requires, Deut. 32.29. We are ready to say with Peter, It is good for us to be [...]ere, Mark 9.5. God therefore took away a near Relation, which speaks as Dalilah to Sampson, The Philistines be upon thee Sampson, Judg. 16.9. So thy dead friend speaks to thee, thou hast a mortal Body, Death is at the door. By this means God teach­eth thee to number thy dayes, and apply thy heart to wisdom, as Moses prayed, Ps. 90.12.

Or lastly, God (it may be) took away thy Friend to humble thee, and prove thee, to try thy Obedience, to exercise thy Faith and Pati­ence, as in Jobs case, James 5.11. Thus, as the Author to the Hebrews, Heb. 12.11. No chasten­ing for the present seemeth to be joyous but grie­vous: nevertheless afterwards it yeeldeth the peace­able fruit of Righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. So that this crossing of us is to do us more good at our latter end. Deut. 8.16. Moses with his Rod wrought wonders, Exod. 4.17. And God teacheth us many admirable and [Page 18] excellent Lessons with a Fescu made of a Rod, Job, 6.8, 9, 10. Mic. 6.9. [...], Nocumenta, documenta. Well then, as a Patient refuseth not from his Physitian a bit­ter Potion, or from the Chyrurgeon a corrhoding Plaister, because it makes way for healing, it is in order to a Cure. So, loss of Friends (though of all outward losses most bitter, yet) should be taken patiently: because it is a Medicine to heal spiritual Maladies; See Isa. 27.9. Me-thinks this consideration should make us not only sub­mit, but rejoyce under such losses.

Consid. 5 Fifthly consider, God is still with thee, Psal. 46.1. God is our refuge and strength, a very pre­sent help in trouble. So Psal. 90.2. From ever­lasting to everlasting, thou art God. Though Friends forsake us, through unavoidable mortali­ty, yet an Eternal God is still where he was, he keeps his standing: He can supply the place of Father, Mother, Husband, Wife, Son or Daugh­ter, for he is an All-sufficient God, (So it is in the Original, Gen. 17.1.) In him there is all excellency, beauty, comfort and good of the creature in a most superlative and glorious man­ner, sufficiently, eminently, transcendently; so that every loss is made up in him, as Philip said, Shew us the Father, and it sufficeth us, John 14.8. and St. Paul saith, Phil. 4.19. My God shall supply all your need. There is sweetness enough in God to sweeten all outward bitterness, so that though the Conduit Pipes, through which mer­cies were conveyed unto us, be taken away, yet the Fountain runs still entire in God. Hagar, we read, had a Fountain by, but her blubber­ing [Page 19] eyes kept her from seeing it, Gen. 21.17, 18, 19. God the fountain of happiness is still with thee, and thou maist have daily recourse to him, and therefore wipe thine eyes and [...]t con­tented. God saith to his People, what the King of Israel did to the King of Syria, I am thine, and all that I have, 1 Kings 20.4. Let us then under loss of Friends comfort our selves in the Lord our God; and say with David, Psal. 18.46. The Lord liveth, and blessed be my Rock, and praised be the God of my Salvation. When Cre­ture-crutches fail, we have the Rock of Ages to rely upon. Therefore, Rejoyce in the Lord, and again, I say, rejoyce, Phil. 4.4.

Consid. 6 Sixthly consider, Thou deservest greater losses and crosses than those thou meetest with. Thy sins are far heavier than thy sufferings. The shower of misery and trouble that befalls us, through loss of Friends, was raised by the ascending va­pour of our sin, Nehem. 9.33. So Psal. 39.10. God corrects man for his iniquity; and there­fore, Wherefore doth a living man complain, a man for the punishment of his sin? Lam. 3.39. Why doth vain man fret as though his sins cast not one mite into the treasury of his sufferings? Whereas indeed his sufferings are less than his sins. As Ezra said, Thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities deserve, Ezr. 9.13. And as Zophar told Job, Job 11.6. Know that God exacts of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth, So David, Psal. 103.10. He hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. Quamvis aspera & adversa patiamur, [Page 20] minora patiamur quàm meremur: Quid queri­mur, Salv. lib. 4 de gub. Dei. pag. 114. quod dure agat nobiscum Deus? multò nos cum Deo duriùs agimus. Exacerbamus quippe Deum impuritatibus nostris, & ad puniendum nos trahimus invitum. The fire of Gods wrath is not proportionable to the fuel of our sins whilst we live in this world. Let us then bear the in­dignation of the Lord, because we have sinned a­gainst him. Thus the Church resolves, Mich. 7.9. Let us not murmur that it is so bad, but ra­ther admire at Gods goodness, that it is not worse with us.

Consid. 7 Seventhly consider, The many undeserved fa­vours which God confers upon thee. He might have taken away all thy Relations, whereas he hath left several to chear thee: And therefore as Jo­nadab said to David, Let not my Lord suppose that they have slain all the young men the Kings Sons, for Amnon onely is dead: Now therefore let not my Lord the King take the thing to his heart, 2 Sam. 13.31, 32, 33. If God hath taken a­way but one relation at a time, let us not lay it to heart, to grieve excessively, seeing he con­tinues to us several other Relations, whom he, for our sins, might justly have deprived us of. Be­sides, God might have taken away our health, wealth, yea life it self, and sent us to Hell. It is of the Lords mercys, that we are not consumed, be­cause his compassio is fail not: They are new every morning, great is thy faithfulness, Lam. 3.22, 23. Look round about thee, and thou canst not chuse but see many precious mercies that thou still enjoyest. And thou shouldst be thankful for [Page 21] what thou hast, rather than repine at what thou hast lost. Lot had most of his goods (which he had not time to remove) and his Sons in Law consumed in a fearful fire from Heaven, and his Wise turned into a pillar of Salt before his eyes, (a fearful spectacle) as you may read, Gen. 19. Yet he counted it (notwithstanding his great losses) a great mercy that he had his life spared; Vers. 19. Behold, now thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my Life. And Job (whose case as to outward losses, was far worse than thine) thought him­self bound by the good to endure the bad, Job 2.10. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? It was a fear­ful miscarriage in Rachel, who, under the want of Children, cryed out to her Husband, Gen. 30.1. Give me children or else I die. She had no de­sire to live or she would die of discontent and grief under the want of Children. It was a great weakness in Jacob, that having so many Children left, and living in so great honour and plenty yet took the supposed death of his Son Joseph so impatiently, that he refuseth to be comforted, Gen. 37.34, 35. resolving to go to the grave mourning. And no less excusable was Jonah, who having his Gourd smitten, grows wonder­fully impatient, Jonah 4.8, 9. Whereas he might have thankfully reflected upon his late de­liverance out of the Whales-belly. Shall the want of one thing that we prize, deprive us of the comfort we should take in the rest we do en­joy? Shall great mercies sink to the bottom, and [Page 22] be buried in Oblivion, and light miseries swim on the top, and be always thought on with re­pining grief? God forbid. If man do us but a small courtesie, we usually are thankful, but if God load us (as he daily doth) with his bene­fits, Psal. 68.19. we make light of that load, and forget him. What ado we make with a little misery, and how little we make of much mercy? A little misery afflicts us much, and much mercy affects us but a little, God help us. I have read somewhere of Alcibiades an heathen, that being told of one that had stolen half his Plate, said chearfully, I have cause rather to be thankful that he hath stolen no more, than be trou­bled that he hath took so much. A shame it is for Christians to think so much of what they have lost, as quite to forget the mercies they do enjoy. To such we may apply that speech of Absalom to Hushai, Is this your kindness to your friend? 2 Sam. 16.17. Or as it is Deut. 32, 5, 6. Do you thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and un­wise? &c.

To end this, our condition here on earth is checker wrought, and like the Pillar of the Cloud, Exod. 14.20. It hath a light part as well as a black; mercies we have as well as mise­ries. Do not then stand alwayes poring on thy afflictions, but likewise be pondering on thy mer­cies; as the one will keep thee humble, so the o­ther thankful.

Consid. 8 Eighthly Consider, The invalidity of Weep­ing. If we could shed rivers of tears, and each tear were a Pearl, yet it would not redeem our [Page 23] departed Friends from the Prison of the Grave. If you could weep (as one saith) Aqua fortis, Dr. Wal­ker Funr. Serm. on Luk 7 12, 13 [...] 14 [...] [...]r [...]gia. nulla re­trorsum. your tears would not dissolve the chains of death 2 Sam. 14.14. We must neeeds die, and (if once dead) We are as water spilt on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again. Death is a strict door-keeper all that pass out that way, the door is shut on them, they shall never return (viz) to converse more with us in this world or to en­joy those worldly comforts they once had, and by death have lost. See Job 7.9, 10. So Job 10.21. and 14.7, 8, &c. and 16.22. So Psal. 39. last vers. All our groans, sighs, sobs, and pittiful out-cries cannot awaken them out of the sleep of Death: They shall never awake t [...]ll [...]hey be awakened by the shril noise of the [...] Tr [...]mp. Me-thinks I hear God saying to those that weep immoderately at death of Friends, as Judas did in another case, Ad quid perditio haec? Mat. 26.8. What needs all this waste? Tears are a pretious water, let them not be prodigally pour­ed out, and all to no purpose, into your friends Grave, reserve them for an ingredient into Pray­er, Repentance, &c. Let David be your Pattern in this: He prayed for his Child while living, He fasted and wept, for said he, Who can tell whe­ther God will be gracious to me, that the Child may live; but now he is dead, wherefore should I fast (and thus afflict my self) Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not re­turn to me, 2 Sam. 12.22, 23. The Child be­ing dead, he wipes his eyes and rests contented.Sen Con­sol. ad Polib. c. 23. Parcamus lachrymis nihil proficientibus. And a­gain, saith Seneca, Desinat dolor qui perit. He [Page 24] would have us not weep immoderately at death of Friends, because tears do not profit, nor can recal the dead.

Consid. 9 Ninthly consider, The evil that comes by dis­content and immoderate weeping.

1. It is extreamly afflictive to a man. A dis­contented man is ( [...]) a self-tor­mentor, he erects his own cross; Luke 21.19. In patience possess your souls. So that by impati­ence we are dispossessed of our souls, we are turn­ed our of our understanding, peace, and com­fort, while Passion playes the Tyrant. At such a time Reason and Judgment (those superiour faculties of the soul) are degraded, and Fancy and Phrenzy step up in their room making a ve­ry Bealam within our own bosom. It is called, The yoak of affliction, Lam. 3.27. Now you know fretting and vexing makes the yoke gaul and pinch the more. An impatient person is an Hercules furens, or like the man in the Gospel, possessed with the Devil, Mark 5.2, 3. He wounds and vexeth himself, none can bind him: Nay, as one observes, he is worse than the Dae­moniack there, for he was among the Tombs, but this impatient man is among the Living, and mo­lests and grieves those that are near him.

2. Immoderate sorrow wasteth the Spirits. See Prov. 15.13. By sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. It weakens the Body, and hastens Death; 2 Cor. 7.10. The sorrow of the world worketh Death, saith the Apostle: by sorrow of the world, we may understand immoderate sorrow about worldly things, hastens death, and [Page 25] eats out the very comfort of Life. You read of Moses, Deut. 34.7. He was an hundred and twenty years old when he dyed, his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. What should be the reason? Why, surely under God, his own meek­ness; For, Numb. 12.3. He was very meek a­bove all the men that were upon the face of the earth. Hippocrates saith, [...]. Animalia, quae felle carent, ut Cervi, sunt longae­va. So meek persons many times live longest: but impatient persons through fretting discon­tent bring their bodies into a Consumption. Sup­pose, as Job saith, Job. 6.12. Your strength was the strength of stones, yet continual dropping of tears, and drooping under sorrow would bring you down, and wear you away: for the same Job tells you, Job 14.19. The waters wear the stones.

[...].
Gutta cavat lapidem, non vi, sed saepè cadendo.

And the wise man tells you, Prov. 12.25. Heaviness in the heart of a man makes it stoop. Immoderate grief, like a heavy burthen laid up­on a man, will make him stoop and break him. Many a man looks wrinkled with sorrow and care, long before he is wrinkled with age.

Cura facit canos, quamvis homo non habet annos.

Let us then,Seneca Cons [...]l. ad Po [...]. c. 23. as an Heathen said, spare such grief as this is (Faciliùs illi nos dolor iste ad jiciet, quàm illum nobis reducet.) For soon [Page 6] will it send thee to him whom thou bewailest, than bring him back to thee.

3dly, and lastly, It greatly provokes God. In­deed, A meek and quiet spirit is in the sight of God of great price, 1 Pet. 3.4. but a froward peevish spirit is abomination to him; as you may read, Prov. 11.20. & 17.20. & 22.5. So Ps. 18.26. Discontent is a sin that God takes special no­tice of, Exod. 16.7, 8, 9, 12. So the Apostle tells us, God was not well pleased; The meaning is (for the words are a [...]) He was highly displeased; with the murmuring Israelites, for they were overthrown in the wilderness, 1 Cor. 10.5, 10, compared. This must needs he hateful to God, for it is a decompounded sin, made up of many bitter ingredients, as pride, passion, un­thankfulness, &c. Sighings, sobbings, sorrow­full exclamations do penetrate the heavens, and enter into the ears of the Lord of Hosts, but make no good musick there. God is thereby pro­voked to lengthen our miseries, and adjourn our mercies.

Paula Romana who carried it frowardly and fretfully at death of her Children, met with ma­ny losses of that nature. We say, Impatiens ae­grotus crudelem facit medicum. And so, it is strugling and stubbornness that makes the Fa­ther continue to beat the Child. Indeed God is an indulgent tender-hearted Father to his Chil­dren, Psal. 103.13. yet he will not burn the Rod, till their stout stomacks be taken down; How did he pursue Jonah with winds and tem­pests, nay he casts him over-board into the sea, and plunged him over head and ears, into the [Page 27] hell of the Whales belly, never leaving him till he submitted to his will to go to Niniveh.

Ferre minora volo, nè graviora feram.

Let us bear lesser troubles patiently, lest God lay greater troubles upon us.

To end this, A man in a seaver, the more he struggles, the more he encreaseth his pain. A wild Bull in a net, (Isa. 51.20.) instead of break­ing forth by strugling, he more entangles him­self. So we gain nothing by our strugling, im­patience, and obstinacy against God, but en­crease of our miseries. Oh! then, let us not by any means give passions a loose reign, for (Phai­ton-like, with his wild Horses) they'l do a world of mischief.

Consid. 10 Tenthly and lastly, consider, Death is very advantagious to the godly. Phil. 1.21. For me to die is gain. There is a privative and positive benefit that death brings to believers. To begin with the first; Death frees a believer,

1. From sin. Peccatum peperit mortem, & fi­lia devoravit matrem. Sin brought in death, (Rom. 5.12. and 6.23.) and death carryes out sin; Viper-like, it devoures that which brought it forth. He that is dead is freed from sin, Rom. 6.7. Here indeed is no perfection, 1 John 1.8. Grace is like Gold in the Oar, mingled with much dross, the most refined soul hath some dregs, and is daily contesting with home-bred corruptions. Cum avarit â nobis, cum impudicitiâ, cum irâ, cum ambitione congressis est. [Page 28] Cyprian. Here the best are continually afflicted, either for their sins, or with their sins: But death frees them from all sin. Rom. 7.24. O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me, (saith St. Paul) from the body of this death? Why by the death of the body, we are delivered from sin, which is the body of Death, 1 Cor. 15.26. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is Death. If sin continued after death, death were not a be­lievers last enemy. Dictum est primo homini mo­rieres si peccaveris, nunc dicitur morere nè pecces: nisi peccâssent illi non morerentur, peccarent autem justi nisi moriantur. St. August. de Civitate Dei, Lib. 13. Cap. 3. Whilst we are in the wilderness of this world, latet Anguis in herbâ, fiery Ser­pents sting us, sins stick close to us, but at death (as St. Paul cast the Viper off his hand, Acts 28.3, 5. so do) Believers shake off sin. Their dying day is the funeral of all their Vices, the least of which maks them grieve here, as the least hair makes the eye to water. After death they are like God himself, in perfect holiness and righ­teousness, not having spot or wrinkle, Ephes. 5.27.

2. From Satans temptations. The Devil, like to Joab, makes our miseries his sport and play, 2 Sam. 2.14. He is the great Peripatetick, go­ing up and down the World, Job 1.7. and 2.2. This roaring lyon is continually ranging for his prey, 1 Pet. 5.8. He assaulted Christ the Head, Mat. 4.1, &c. and so he doth the members. Quid aliud in mundo quàm pugna adversus Dia­bolum quotidiè geritur? Cypr. The righteous are the white at which the Devil most shoots the Ar­rows of temptation. Chrysostome somewhere in [Page 29] his Homilies, hath this comparison, [...], &c. As Pirats upon the Sea set upon the richest Vessels, so Sa­tan seeing a Vessel fraught with Grace, useth all art, and exerciseth all violence to master both the Vessel and the Prize: But in Heaven they shall no more be troubled with Satans fiery darts; for the Accuser of the Brethren is cast out, Rev. 12.9, 10. He is cast out, Ejectione firmâ, and shall never re-enter. He sets not his ugly Paw upon the pavement of Heaven: The tempter en­ters not into this Paradise, for Rev. 21.27. There shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth.

3. From Spiritual desertions. The Church like the Moon, hath her spots, and therefore sometimes her Eclipses, so long as she wanders in this Pla­netary world. See Isa. 50.10. The Prophet there intimates unto us, that A Child of God may walk in darkness, and see no light. So it was with David, Psal. 22.1. with Asaph, Psal. 77.7, 8, 9. with Heman, Psal. 88. with Ethan, Ps. 89.46. So it was with Jonah, Jon. 2.2, 4. Nay it was thus with Christ himself, Mat. 27.46. And thus to want the sense of Gods favour must needs be troublesom, Psal. 30.7. Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled. So Psal. 104.29. So Cant. 5.6. My beloved had with­drawn himself and was gone (saith the Spouse, and then it follows) my soul failed. Egressa est ani­ma mea: She was (as it were) without her soul, whilst without the sence of Gods favour: But Death frees Believers from such desertions, They shall be for ever with the Lord, 1 Thes. 4.17. [Page 30] There shall be no more suspensions of the light of God's countenance, no more eclipses of his savour: never cloud more shall interpose betwixt Heaven and their souls: but the Sun of Righte­ousness shall shine upon them with perpendicu­lar rayes of comfort to all eternity.

4. From evil Company. It is a sad affliction to live amongst the Wicked, Psal. 84.10. so Psal. 120.5. Wo is me, saith David, that I so­journ in Mesech, that I dwell in the tents of Ke­dar. And Isaiah sadly complains, Isa. 6.5. Wo is me for I am undone, because I am a man of un­clean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. Sad indeed it is to live amongst them, for their wicked manner of living is an heart-break to the Righteous. Psal. 119.136. Rivers of tears run down mine eyes, because they keep not thy Law. And St. Paul could not speak of their sins without tears in his eyes, Phil. 3.18. And before this, Lot was vexed with the filthy conversation of the Sodomites, 2 Pet. 2.7, 8.See Mr. Leigh's Crit. Sac. in vocem. [...] significat oppressus, fatiga­tus, graviter afflictus: We translate it vexed: but according to Orig. He was laboured against. He laboured under it as under a burden, he was even tired out under their wicked courses: Besides, the Wicked load the Righteous amongst whom they live, with calumnies, raylings, re­vilings, scoffs, jears, taunts, &c. if they run not with them to the same excess of riot, see 1 Pet. 4.4. like the troubled Seas, they'l cast forth mire and dirt upon them, Isa. 57.20. Thus the old world dealt with Noah that Preacher of Righ­teousness, 2 Pet. 2.5. So David was abused [Page 31] for his goodness, Psal. 69.12. he tells us he was spoken against, he was the Drunkards song, and v. 19. Lord (saith he) thou hast known my re­proach, and my shame, and my dishonour, mine adversaries are all before thee. See the complaint of the Church, Psal. 44.14. so 79.4. We are become a reproach to our neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us. No wonder it is thus with the servant, when it was so with the Lord and Master. Christ himself was set [...], as old Simeon said, Luke 2.34. He was set for a sign that shall be spoken against. To end this, The Righteous are the mark at which wicked men shoot their Arrows, even bitter words: but Death takes them out of their company, and from the reach of their malice. See Job 3.17. There the wicked (speaking of the Grave) cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest.

5. From bodily Aches and Diseases. The bo­dy here is the receptacle of innumerable distem­pers. St. Austin tells us, de ipso corpore tot ex­stant morborum mala, De Civit. Dei; lib. 22. c. 22. ut nec libris medicorum cuncta comprehensa. No Book, that ever Phy­sicians wrote, contains a perfect Narrative of all distempers. Many distempers daily arise un­known to our fore-fathers. One (alas!) lies languishing through a Consumption, another's tortured with the Stone, another with the Gout, another burnt with a Feaver, another complains under Head-ach, Tooth-ach, &c. some lie under one distemper, some under ano­ther: So that (as one alludes to the speech of our Saviour, Luke 17.37.) Where the body is, [Page 32] there sicknesses and sores as so many Eagles are preying upon it. And some, by reason of these distempers, lie under so great misery, that they wish for death, but it comes not; and would be glad and rejoyce exceedingly if they could find the grave, as Job tells you, Job 3.20, 21, 22. Some with Job, ch. 7.3, 4. Possess months of vanity, and have wearisom nights appointed for them: when they lie down, they say, When shall we arise and the night be gone? And they are full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day. And again v. 13, 14. saith Job, When I say, my Bed shall comfort me, my Couch shall ease my complaint, (as sick people think to change their pain with changing their place) then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me with visions; so that what with frightful dreams when sleeping, and evil thoughts whilst waking, the sick man takes little rest in his resting-time, and finds little ease in an easie bed: but now Death frees them from all pain, Rev. 21.4. There shall be no more sor­row, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain. Death frees Believers from heats and colds, from hunger and thirst, Rev. 7.16, 17. or any thing else that is painful to the body: It is the best Physician, curing them of all bodily di­stempers.

6. From troublesome works of Calling. Man at first before the fall was to labour, Gen. 2.15. Adam was not to live an idle life, but to imploy himself like a Gardener in pruning and dressing the trees and herbs of the Garden, &c. But this labour would not have been a toil, but a recrea­tion to him, had he not faln into sin. For weari­ness [Page 33] and sweat came as a curse upon him for the commission of sin, Gen. 3.17, 18, 19. In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, &c. By sweat we understand all manner of labour whe­ther of body or brain; and this he was doom'd unto; because he ate of the forbidden fruit. What is Mans diet now but bread of carefulness got with the sweat of his brows? what disqui­eting projects hath sinfull man to get worldly things? what riding up and down, what dig­ging and delving, toyling and moyling is there in the world? some taking pains in one calling, some in another, and all to get oyl to maintain the lamp of life? but after death there is no such working. Rev. 14.13. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, — they rest from their labours. [...] signifies both [...] & [...] Serm. 46. Orig. [...], as from troubles of condi­tion, so from labours of calling: as from pain, so from pains-taking. Mors remedium potiùs poenae quam vindicta culpae: saith St. Ambrose; for a punishment was it said to man, In the sweat of thy brows thou shalt eat thy bread, i. e. get thy living: but for his comfort was it added, until thou return to the Earth: for then no more toyling & wearying our selves about the things of the world. Our sweat aswel as our tears shall then be wiped away. Death gives a Quie­tus est, it brings to rest. The body shall no longer be worn with care, when laid up in the common Wardrobe of the Grave.

7. From Ignorance. Job 11.12. Man is born like a wild Asses Colt, he is a rude and silly creature. The most intelligent person may com­plain with Agur of his bruitishness, Prov. 30.2. [Page 34] David compares himself to a worm, Psal. 22.6. which is a poor sandblind creature: The best are ignorant of far more things than they know: Maxima pars eorum quae scimus, est minima pars eorum quae nescimus: Our understanding naturally is darkned, and we are alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in us, Ephes. 4.18. The Devil, who was a lyar from the beginning, told our first Parents, Gen. 3.5. In the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as Gods, knowing good and evil: As though the Tree of Knowledge should be Eye-bright to them; but, alas! by this means they lost their spiritual eye-sight. Ever since the fall the Lamp of Reason burns dim: how busie is Man to gain a little knowledge: and after all his industry, how staggering is he in the appre­hension of Truth! Even God's dear Children, whilst in this world, see many things darkly, 1 Cor. 13.12. Orig. [...]: many things seem to be a riddle and mystery to them which they cannot unfold: here they meet with (Ar­cana Naturae, Scripturae, Providentiae,) many knots in Nature, Scripture, and Providence, which they cannot untye: but hereafter when the dust of mortality is wiped from their eyes, and they placed in Heaven, then shall they see face to face, and know even as they are known: then shall they perfectly recover their eye-sight, and have the perfect use of their reason. In tuo Lumine videbimus lumen: In thy Light we shall see light, Psal. 36.9. And this Light shall be clear without any mixture of Errour.

8. And lastly. Death frees Believers from [Page 35] Death. As it was with Christ the Head, being raised from the dead, dieth no more, death hath no more dominion over him, Rom. 6.9. so it is with the members, being once dead, they die no more. Indeed while they live here, they die daily, 1 Cor. 15.31. for our life is in a dying condition: Infancy dies in childhood, child­hood in youth, youth in manhood, manhood in old age; we are never at one stay, till dust return to dust. But when the Righteous die, then they live. Rev. 21.4. There shall be no more death. Mr. Hill. Life-E­verlast­ing. p. 75. So that as the Greek Critick said of the Bow, [...], the name signifies life, but the work was death. We may say the contrary of Death, [...], Its name is Death, but it brings to Life everlasting: 2 Cor. 5.4. Morta­lity (at death) is swallowed up of Life.

I come now to the positive benefit that a Be­liever receiveth by death. But here I may take up that doleful Query of the captivated Jews, Psal. 137.4. How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange Land? how should we who are but strangers and pilgrims here on Earth, (1 Chron. 29.15.) speak of the happiness that Believers are enstated in when this life is ended. Had I the tongue of glorified Angels I could not fully ex­press it; and had you the hearts of glorified Saints, ye could not fully conceive it. David cryes out, O how great (as not able to express it) is thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee! Psal. 31.19. And Isaiah saith, (Isa. 64.4.) Since the beginning of the World men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither [Page 36] hath the eye seen, O God, besides thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. And St. John the beloved Disciple, that lay in his Master's bosom (John 13.23. and 21.20.) a place near his heart, & thence drank deep of the heavenly wisdom, tells us, Nemo scit, Rev. 2.17. No man knows it but he that receives it. St. Paul tells us, 1 Cor. 2.9. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entred into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him: Yea the same person caught up into Paradise, 2 Cor. 12.4. tells us, he heard [...], unspeakable words, which it is not lawful (or possible) for a man to utter. Whatever you reade of Heaven or future happiness, either in this or any other Book, whatever you hear of it, either from me or any other person, falls infinitely short of it, and you'l confess as much when you come to Heaven. As the Queen of Sheba said, 1 King. 10.4, 5, 6, 7. when she had seen all Solomon's Wisdom, and the House that he had built, &c. she said to the King, It was a true report that I heard in mine own Land of thy Acts, and of thy Wisdom: howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it; and behold, the half was not told me: thy Wisdom, and thy Prosperity exceedeth the Fame which I heard. So when a Child of God shall come to Heaven, and behold a far greater than Solomon, Mat. 12.42. even the Lord JESUS, hee'l find that not a quarter of the joy and glory of Hea­ven was told him. All that we can hear, speak, or conceive of it, is but as a drop to the main ocean. Yet we who have the Light of God's [Page 37] Word gloriously shining amongst us, cannot be altogether in darkness as to the Inheritance of the Saints in light, (Col. 1.12.) God's little Children (for so Believers are called, 1 Joh. 2.12) can lisp forth something (though but little) con­cerning their Father's Kingdom; To give you then a glimpse (for a full sight here is impossi­ble) of the happiness that Death invests a Be­liever in.

1. It brings to the beatifical vision and fruition of the blessed Trinity, so far as aDr. Scla­ters Fun. Serm. on 2 Tim. 4.7, 8. finite being (for our humane nature continues still, though glorified) may be capable to apprehend of that Majesty which is infinite. See Mat. 5.8. John 17.24. 2 Cor. 5.8. We reade Gen. 41.14. how Joseph was brought hastily out of the Dungeon, and came in unto Pharaoh King of Egypt. Sure I am, the soul of a Believer is no sooner let out of the prison of the body, but is brought to Heaven, the Presence-Chamber of God, who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, where we shall see him as he is; so saith St. John, 1 Joh. 3.2. And St. Paul tells us, 1 Cor. 13.12. We shall see him face to face, and know [...] him even as we are known. [...], asMr. Abr. Wright's Serm. on Luk. 16.9 one observes, is, No­ta similitudinis, non aequalitatis: As God knows me, so shall I know God; but I shall not know God so as God knows me: It is not quantum but sicut, not as much but as truly; as the Fire doth as truly shine as the Sun shines, though it shine not out so far, nor to so many purposes. Belie­vers at death know God perfectly, though not comprehensively: for asMr. Frost at the end of his Serm on Acts 17.23. another Divine saith well, God is infinitae Veritatis, Cognoscibilitatis, [Page 38] as well as Entitatis, and so must either lay aside his Infinity, and cease to be God, or elevate us a­bove the condition of finite creatures, before we can be capable of any comprehensive vision, which supposeth an equal commensuration be­tween the object and the faculty: but we shall know God so fully, see Christ so face to face, as that we shall be perfectly happy. The Wise­men rejoyced to see the Star that directed to Christ, Mat. 2.10. What exceeding Joy will it then be to see the Sun of Righteousness, (for so Christ is called, Mal. 4.2.) Old Simeon upon the sight of Christ in the flesh, got him into his arms, and desired to die, Luke 2.28, 29. We reade of some, John 12.21. that came to Philip and said, Sir, we would see Jesus. And to see Christ in the flesh, was one of the three things St. Austin much desired. And we read, John 20.20. The Disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. It was matter of joy to them to see Christ after he was risen from the dead. Now if it was so joyfull a sight to see Christ in the flesh, and to see him after he was risen before his Ascension: What a joyful sight will it be to see Christ in Glory, sitting at his Father's right­hand? If the enjoyment of God's Spirit in the Ordinances be so sweet to a Child of God, that one dayes communion with God there, is better than a thousand, Psal. 84.10. what will it be to enjoy the immediate Presence of God for ever? here the Soul's Beloved shews himself as it were through the Lattice, Cant. 2.9. (for clear visions of God are too glorious for this state) but here­after he will shew sorth himself in his full glo­ry. [Page 39] To end this, Moses prayed, Lord shew me thy Glory, Exod. 33.18. To whom God an­swered, v. 20. Thou canst not see my face, for there shall no man see me and live. Whereupon St. Austin meditating, cryed out, Moriar Do­mine ut te videam, Lord let me die that I may see thee. So that you see, Death brings a Believer to a sight of him.

2. Death brings a Believer to the society of glorified Saints and Angels. Heb. 12.22, 23. When godly Friends depart, they go to better company; from Church-militant to Church-triumphant. We find, Gen. 15.15. compared with Gen. 25.8. Abraham was gathered to godly Fathers, Adam, Seth, Enoch, Noah, &c. that went before him. So it is said, Isa. 57.1. The Righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart; and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the Righ­teous is taken away from the evil to come. The righteous man's perishing is but a taking away, Or, (according to the Original, [...] Collecti) a gathering to their Fathers and godly Friends. Many shall come (saith Christ) from the East and from the West (yea, and from the North and South, from all the quarters of the World, Luke 13.28, 29.) and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdome of Heaven, Mat. 8.11. I have read how Cato comforted himself in his old age with this consideration, that he should depart from the rude multitude, and go to the company of blessed Souls, O prae­clarum diem, cum ad illud animorum concilium coetumque proficiscar, & cum ex hâc turbâ & col­luvione discedam. And Socrates dying, rejoy­ced [Page 40] to go to the place where he should see Ho­mer, Hesiod, and other Worthies who lived in the Age before him.

Sure it will be very comfortable to Believers to see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Job, David, St. Paul, St. Austin, St. Jerom, and innumerable others in the Kingdom of Heaven, where, joynt­ly with the blessed Angels, as so many Quiri­sters, they sing continually divine Anthems of praise, Rev. 4.8, 10, 11. & 19.4, 5. David counted the Godly, The only Excellent, in whom was all his delight, Psal. 16.3. If it be so de­lightful to be in company with them here, where the best of their actions are mingled with many imperfections; Oh! how delightful will it be to be in their company in Heaven, where they serve God perfectly without sinning, day and night in his Temple, Rev. 7.15? We find, Luke 16.2 [...]. how that Lazarus departed, is carried by the Angels into Abrahams bosom; and then, v. 25. It is said, he is comforted: And no won­der; for if to be with glorified Saints and bles­sed Angels be not a comfort, I pray you tell me what is?

3dly and lastly. Death brings a Believer to joy unspeakable. We read, Heb. 12.2. Christ for the joy that was set before him, endured the Cross. And Saints are said, Rev. 7.9, 13. To be cloath­ed in white Robes. Now white, as it is an Em­blem of purity, so likewise of joy: And this heavenly joy is so great,Dr. Stu­arts Ca­thol. Di­vinity, pag. 249, 250. that we cannot express it. St. Austine said of Jerome, Quae Hieronymus nescivit, nullus hominum unquam scivit, that which Jerome knew not, no man ever knew. [Page 41] And St. Cyril said also to St. Austin, in magni­fying St. Jerome, That when a Catholick Priest disputed with an Heretick, and cited a passage of St. Jerome, and the Heretick said, Jerome lyed, instantly he was struck dumb. Yet of the joy of Heaven, this learned St. Jerome, would adventure to say nothing, no not when he was divested of his mortal Body; for as soon as he dyed at Bethleem, he came instantly to Hippo, St. Austins Bishoprick, and though he told him, Hieronymi anima sum, I am the soul of that Je­rome, to whom thou art now writing o [...] the joys and glory of Heaven;Mr. Abr. Wright's Serm. on Luk. 16.9 yet he said no more then this, Quid quaeris brevi immittere vasculo totum mare? Why goest thou about to pour the whole Sea into a Thimble? this is easier than to comprehend the joy and glory of Heaven in this Life. If all sublunary delights were put to­gether, yet were they but as a Candle to the Sun, or Drop to the main Ocean, if compared with Heavenly joyes. And whatever we de­liver on this point comes, as far short of the Truth it self, as the Picture of the Sun in the Wall, doth of the greatness and brightness of it in its Orbe. Gaudium erit in fine, sed gaudium erit sine fine. Bern. It shall be joy in the end, but joy without end. Carnal joy of wicked men is bruitish and sensual, Eccles. 2.2. I said of laughter, it is mad; and of mirth, what doth it? It is neither true nor lasting. It is not true, for saith the same wise-man, In the midst of laugh­ter, the heart is sorrowful, Prov. 14.13. Nor is it lasting, for The pleasures of sin are but for a season, Heb. 11.25. But now heavenly joy is [Page 42] both true and lasting. For, Psal. 16.11. In thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore. And Psal. 36.8, 9. They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house, and thou shalt make them drink of the River of thy pleasures, for with thee is the fountain of Life. They shall lye at the fountain, and be for ever bathing themselves in Rivers of Pleasures that flow from the ever­lasting Fountain. The joy that comes streaming into the soul of a Believer, that hath made his peace with God, it passes all understanding, Phil. 4.7. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, 1 Pet. 1.8. Yet this is but a dark representation of heavenly joy. God indeed gives his People here a little of the hidden Manna of joy, but here­after he will give into their bosoms, good mea­sure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, as expression is, Luke 6.38. Tanta est dul­cedo coelestis gaudii (saith St. Austin) ut si una guttula diffluerit in infernum totam amaritudi­nem inferni absorberet. The joyes of heaven (saithMr. Strode's Anatom. of Mor­tality, p. 294, 295. another) are so many, that God only can number them, so great that he onely can aestimate them, of such variety and perfection that this world hath no­thing comparable unto them; they are so great that they cannot be measured, so long that they cannot limitted, so many that they cannot be numbred, so pretious that they cannot be valued; yet we shall see them without weariness, love them without measure, and praise them without end. It is such joy as our Lord and Master hath: And be­cause too great to enter into us, he bids us enter into it; Mat. 25.23. Well done good and faithful [Page 43] servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. O joy surpassing all other joy, when shall I enjoy thee!

Thus courteous Reader, I have, like the sear­chers of Canaan, brought thee a cluster of Grapes, a taste as it were of the plentiful Vintage, which thou mayest expect in the heavenly Canaan.

Now considering these manifold benefits that come by death, both privative and positive, we may conclude on better grounds than the hea­then did, that the dead are blessed.

Faelices nimiùm quibus est fortuna peracta
Jam sua—

Blessed they are, and that by a voice from heaven, who dye in the Lord, Rev. 14.13. In Domino, i. e. in Domini favore. Happy they are that dye in the Lords favour: Death is so sanctified in Christs death, that of a curse it is changed into a blessing; Christ tasted deaths bitter Cup, and suck'd out the venom of it.

Now then (to conclude this Chapter) if death be so advantagious to Believers upon the account of Christ; Let us not sorrow as without hope for those that sleep in him, 1 Thes. 4.13, 14. If the dead in the Lord could speak, they would say as our Saviour did, to the women that lamented him: Luke 23.27, 28. Weep not for me, but weep for your selves, and for your Children. You and yours are in the valley of Bochim, subject to sin, sorrow, devils assaults, wicked mens rage, suspensions of the light of Gods countenance, &c. weep then for your selves and your children, [Page 44] that are thus tossed upon the waves of a trouble­some world: but weep not for us, who are at rest in the Haven of Heaven.

Me-thinks dear Friends, these several Consi­derations, as Davids Harp, should charm down all passions and distempers of spirit that arise at loss of Friends: They may be called Eshcol, for they are a whole cluster of Grapes, Numb. 13.24. Press them by Meditation, and squeeze out the wine that is in them to your comfort.

CHAP. III. Several Apologies answered.

NOtwithstanding what I have said to make us patient at death of Friends, me thinks I hear several complaining, every one thinking their burthen greatest; and they want not argu­ments and pleas to aggravate their sorrows. Eve­ry sin hides it self under some Fig-leaf Excuse, and this sin of Discontent at death of Friends hath several Apologies; Let us discuss the chief of them. I know most commonly sorrow stops its ears against the sweet charmes of Reason: yet for father satisfaction of the discontented, I shall give in Replys to several Pleas, and accord­ing to my ability I shall faithfully debate the case.

And to begin first with complaints that Pa­rents take up at loss of Children; for they usual­ly are most discontented.

One cryes out, My Child was still-born, or died presently after it was born, 1. Apolo­gy answ. and which most of all troubles me, it died unbaptized.

Answer. To have a Child still-born, or sud­denly expiring, is matter of grief, especially to the female Parent. Our Saviour observes, John 16.21. A woman when she is in travel, hath sor­row, because her hour is come; but as soon as she is delivered of her child, she remembreth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world. The sight of a living child is the best cordial that can be given to a fainting woman under her pain and travel: but if the child be still-born, or suddenly expiring, the pangs of grief conceived hereat, are greater to the ten­der mother than pangs of travel: For the former pangs at most do but rend the flesh, but these inward throes do tear the very soul, Luk. 2.35.

Yet for your comfort, consider these ensuing particulars.

1. Consider, He that hath taken this Child away, can give another. God gave Eve another seed, another son instead of Abel, Gen. 4. last. God took away Job's children, as you reade Job 1. but he gave him as many more afterwards, Job 42.13. God's hand is not shortned, nor grows he infirm in the latter end of the world: He can do the like for thee if it please him.

2. Consider, If your Child had lived, Moses-like, it had been exposed to the water of Affliction. For, as St. Austin saith,Aug. Ser. de bono pat. Infans nondum loquitur & tamen prophetat; The poor Infant that can­not speak, yet by crying when it comes into the world, prophesies of its future condition, as very[Page 46] lamentable. It cryes as soon as born, and can­not laugh (as some observe) till it hath been forty dayes in the world: And little cause it has (God-wot) to laugh then, for it sleeps by fits and starts; either cold starves it, or heat over­comes it, or hunger pines it, or wind pains it, sickness, sores, and teeth-breeding torture it. When it begins to go (if with Mephibosheth it be not lame on its feet, 2 Sam. 9.13.) it may meet with many a knock: And afterwards it is beset with bryars and thorns of temptations and trou­bles. So that in time (if thy Child had lived) it might have complained with Job, chap. 3.11. Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? for now should I have lyen still, and been quiet, I should have slept, then had I been at rest, v. 13. so Job 6.8, 9. & 10.18, 19. he still harps upon the doleful string, and continues his pittiful complaint as weary of life. Put case thy Child had not been so sorely afflicted, yet no mothers Child can e­scape scot-free: for, Job 5.7. Man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward; Blow the coal, and you shall see the sparks fly upward.

[...].
Haec enim levium Lex est.
Duport [...] in loc.

It is the nature of sparks to fly upwards: so it is ordinary for man to be in trouble. So Job 14.1. That is true of Bóetius, In hoc vitae salo circundantibus agitamur procellis: Whilst we are in this life we are tost on a sea of troubles. Shall we grieve that our Child is come so soon [Page 47] to the shoar, and freed from the winds and waves of care and trouble?

3. Consider, If your Child had lived, it would have been matter of pains and care to you. What great care do Parents take? what great pains are they at to provide for Children? Prov. 13.22. 2 Cor. 12.14. 1 Tim. 5.8.Nulli pa­rentibus magis noxii, quam filii nimis a­mati. Sal­vian. ad Eccl. Ca­thol. lib. 3. p. 435. The care of the Mother for the little Child is great, she hath troublesome dayes and wakeful nights in the nursing of it: How doth the Father cark and care for its Education and future Portion: The care of both eats out many times the heart of their Religion. St. Jerom reports of Metania, who when she saw her Husband dead, present­ly before he was cold, had two Children died also: whereupon she said, Expeditius sum tibi servitura, Domine, quia tanto me onere liberâsti; I will now serve thee more readily, being deli­vered from many encumberances.

4. Consider, If this Child had lived, it had been a great question whether you might have had any comfort of it or not. Who knows whether it might have proved a wise-man or a fool? Children are certain cares, but uncertain com­forts. Some Children, Viper-like, seek the death of those that were a means to give them life.Dr. Vanes Wisdome & Inno­cence, p. 143. Hecuba when with child of Paris, dreamed she was brought to bed of a Firebrand, and so in­deed he proved afterwards. Our first Parents had great hopes that their first-born would have been a comfort to them, and therefore gave him an honourable name, Gen. 4.1. calling him Cain, that signifies a Possession. They looked upon him as a choice Possession, but he proved a very [Page 48] wicked person; and, to the great grief of his Parents, murdered his Brother Abel, v. 8. How was Eli crossed in his Hophni and Phineas, see 1 Sam. 2.12. & 1 Sam. 3.13. compared. David promised himself some happiness in his son Ab­salom, which name signifies a Father of Peace; but the Child proved a Father of War and Mi­sery to him; 2 Sam. 16.11. David said to Abi­shai, and to all his Servants, Behold, my Son which came forth of my bowels, seeketh my life. So Adonijah, whom his Father David had not displeased at any time, even this his Darling u­surps his Fathers Kingdom, as you may see 1 Kin. 1.5, 6. Many times aged Parents are forced to complain, as the Tree did in the Fable, that it was rent and torn and split asunder with the same Wedg that was cut off from its own Body. Children many times are living Monuments of Disgrace to their Parents. Mic. 7.6. The Son dishonoureth the Father the Daughter riseth up against her Mother: So that instead of finding Honey, thou mightest have met with a Sting. To end this, the Wise-man saith, Prov. 17.21. He that begets a Fool, doth it to his sorrow; and the Father of a Fool hath no joy. And v. 25. A foolish Son is a grief to his Father, and bitterness to her that bear him. And who knows but thy Child might have proved such a one?

5. Lastly, consider, It had been better for the greatest part in the world they had died as soon as they were born. St. John tells us, The whole World (i. e. the greatest part of the World) lieth in wickedness, 1 Joh. 5.19. Few there be that serve God: And if we serve him not, as Christ [Page 49] said of Judas, Mat. 26.24. It had been good for us if we had not been born: Or, like Aristotle's Ephemeron, or Jonah's Gourd, we had perished the same day or night that we came into the world: For the longer we live, the more sin we commit, and the greater will be our damnation at last. Surely an untimely birth is better than he, that comes in with vanity, and departs in darkness, Eccl. 6.3, 4. Surely, The day of death is better than the day of ones birth, Eccles. 7.1. And the Heathen, as though he had lighted his Candle at this Torch, said right, Optimum non nasci, proximum quàm citò mori: It is best not to be born; or being born, to die soon: for by this means poor mortals are freed from much sin and misery. I conclude this with that of Lactantius, Lactant. de opifi­cio homi­nis. c. 4. Stultissimi sunt qui de morte imma­turâ quaeruntur; They are Fools in the Super­lative degree that complain because Friends die soon.

Object. But my chid dyed unbaptized?

Answ. Children of believing parents are with­in the Covenant, Act. 2.39. The Promise is to you and to your children &c. Rom. 11.16. 1 Cor. 7.14.See Mr. Attersal on Book of Num­bers pag. 1081. Unto Infants belongs the promise of Grace, the forgiveness of sins, the regeneration of the Spirit, the Imputation of Christs Righteousness, the Kingdom of Heaven, Mat. 19.13, 14. And therefore they ought by no means to be denyed the outward sign and ceremony, which is the least part of the Sacrament: if the things signi­fied belong to them, who shall dare to debar them of the outward sign? It is the duty of Pa­rents to bring their children to Baptism, which [Page 50] is the Seal of the Covenant, and Sacrament of admission or entrance into the Church. Besides, who knows not but Circumcision was a type of Baptism, Col. 2.11, 12. or that Baptism succeeded in the room of it? now we know children were circumcised the eighth day, Gen. 17.12. so 21.4. (before that time the child was too weak to bear the pain being in the blood of the mother) then the flesh was consolidated. Now under the Gos­pel God hath left Baptism to discretion of Pa­rents, and not tyed them strictly to the obser­vance of a day: but let not Parents create need­less delays to baptize the Child,Mr. Ful­ler in his Infants Advocat. Ne quod differa­tur auferatur, lest God in the interim take the Child from them; In which case faith Mr. Ful­ler, as I will not be Judg to condemn the Child, so, should I be one of the Jury, I would not aquit the Father. St. Austin was called durus Pater Infan­tum; and sure he was an hard-hearted Father to Infants, for his opinion was (as I have read) that children that dyed unbaptized were dam­ned. Indeed we read Gen. 17.14. The uncircum­cised Man-Child, whose flesh of his foreskin is not circumcised, that soul shall be cut off from his people: he hath broken my Covenant. Certainly this place is not to be interpreted of the infant breaking the Covenant, who can do nothing to the keeping of it:vid. Mus­culum in loc. pag. 407, 408. They therefore are here threatned by whose default Curcumcision was omitted; or it may be understood of those not circumcised in childhood, if they should after come to years of discretion, and refuse Circum­cision, they were to be cut off, and looked upon as breakers of the Covenant. But to come home to you

[Page 51]1. Consider, It is in the want of Baptism as in the want of Circumcision. The want of Circumci­sion, except in case of contempt or wilful neglect, was not so dangerous, Jos. 5.7. Circumcision (as may be gathered from that text) was omitted for forty years in the wilderness, and (as some observe) not reproved in Scripture. Indeed we say Contemptus damnat, the contempt of the Or­dinance is dangerous, without repentance and deep humiliation for it, (for God was displeased with Moses because he neglected to circumcise his son, Exod. 4.24.) but not the want of it when it was against your will.

2. Consider Davids child, he lived not to re­cieve the seal of Circumcision set upon him (for he dyed the seventh day, 2 Sam. 12.18. And it came to pass on the seventh day the Child dyed. Some understand the 7th day from the Child's sickness; others, in my conceit more rightly, un­derstand it the seventh day from the birth of it, so that the Child dyed before it was circumcised) yet v. 23. he had hopes of the Child's eternal welfare and therefore wipes his eyes and rests contented. Indeed Baptism under the Gospel requires not adjournment to the eighth day, as Circumcision did under the Law: But if your Child dyed suddenly, unexpectedly, before the Minister could be procured, and your desire was that your Child should be Baptised, surely you are herein excusable, for God hears the very desire of the humble, Psal. 10.17.

3. And lastly, consider, Though we be bound to observe Gods Ordinance, yet God himself is not tyed to the Sacrament. As a most learned and pi­ous [Page 52] Bishop said, That Spirit which worketh by means will not be tyed to means. Bp. Hall, 5th De­cad. Epistle 4th.Cast your eyes upon that good thief, good in his death, though in his life abominable; he was never washed in Jor­dan, yet is received into Paradise: his soul was foul with rapines and injustice, yea bloudy with murders: And yet being scoured only with the blood of his Saviour, not with water of Baptism, it is pre­sented glorious to God. Thus, as St. Austin saith, Non minus sine Sacramentis salvatus est latro, quam cum Sacramentis condemnatus est Judas. Thus God who usually works by the Ordinan­ces, can also work without them.

2d Apo­logy an­swered.Another cryes out, This Child that God hath taken away was my Darling, the Child I most af­fected, as Jacob did Joseph, Gen. 37.3. I could have wished God had taken some other of my chil­dren, so he had but spared this.

Answ. Thou sayest that thou hast lost a Child that thou most affectedst above all the rest of thy children: Yea and it is to be feared more then God too. It is, I concieve, lawful to love one child above another, (though it be not prudence to express it too fondly for fear of exasperating the rest, Gen. 37.3, 4. Col. 3.21.) thou mayest and oughtest to love that child most, which is most like thy Maker. Christ loved all his Disciples, Joh. 13.1. but John eminently, transcendently above the rest (John 13.23. and 20.2. and 21.20.) because, according to his name, he was most gracious. We may then love our children dear­ly,Salv. ad Eccles. Cathol. l. 1. p. 347 more then any other outward possessions. (Non Solum amandos dicimus filios, sed precipue ac super omnia amandos, nec quicquam his omnino [Page 53] anteponendum, nisi Deum solum.) But we must love no Child more then God: If we do, God will (if he bear special love to us) take away that little idol we too much dote upon, that he may be loved and admired the more, and the creature the less. God cannot away with Corrivals; he calls for the Heart, Prov. 23.26. and will have intensiveness of Affection, Matth. 22.37. and therefore removes from you that Child which was as a skreen to keep off the heat of your love from him: Hadst thou then loved thy Child less, thou mightest have enjoyed him longer. Parents may kill their Children by over-loving them, aswel as by over-laying them. Blame then thy self who too fondly lovedst thy Child, but blame not God who took away thy Child for thy good, lest thy soul should eternally mis­carry.

And whereas thou sayest, thou couldest have wished he had taken some other of thy children, so he had but spared this.

Answ. 1. Consider, Such kind of speeches are very offensive to God. It is not for silly man to prescribe, but to submit to God. Who art thou that replyest against God in his providential dis­pensations, Rom. 9.20? As God makes all in wisdom, Psa. 104.24. So he orders all things in wisdom, Eph. 1.11. Who worketh all things af­ter the counsel of his own will. He knows when he means to shoot, what Arrow in his Quiver to chuse: he sits at the Helm of this World, gui­ding all things in Wisdom; so that when things fall not out as we would have them, yet as God would: And, asSalv. lib. 1. De Gub. Dei pag. 23. Salvian speaks, Summa ju­stitia [Page 54] est voluntas Dei, His Will is the Rule of Rectitude, and therefore cannot do any thing unjustly, Job 34.10. Therefore we should say under cross providences that befall us, as 2 Sam. 15.26. Behold, here am I, let him do to me as seemeth good unto him. We read 2 Sam. 3.36. Whatsoever the King did, pleased all the people. Surely what the Kings King, the great Lord and Master of Heaven and Earth is pleased to do, should please us. For can poor mortals (as we are) be better disposed of then by Wisdom and Goodness it self?

Liberame Domine a meipso, Austin.2. Consider, God cannot punish a people more then in giving them their wills and desires. Israe­lites would have Quails, Ps. 78.29, 30, 31. They did eat and were well filled, for he gave them their own desire, they were not estranged from their lust, but (this But carries the arrows of Gods indig­nation in its side) while the meat was yet in their mouths, the wrath of God came upon them, and slew the fattest of them, Psa. 10.3 Ps. 81.12. &c. Rachel saith, Give me children, or else I die, Gen. 30.1. God gives her children, and she dies for it; for Benjamin that was her second child, and made up her wish, hastneth her death, as you may read, Gen. 35.16, 17, 18. before Rachel came to her jour­ney's end she travelled and had hard labour; sore travel indeed, for she went to her long home, she journeyed into another world. The Apostle saith, They that will be rich, fall into temptation, and a snare, &c. 1 Tim. 6.9. Our own will (if God should grant it) would soon ensnare us and occasion our destruction. I end this with that of a learned Dr Ab­bot upon Jonah 4.3, 4. Lect. 26. Doctor: God oft-times in love de­nyeth [Page 55] those things which we wish. Jonah in a pet wisheth for death, Jon. 4.3, 4. he would needs die, because the people of Niniveh lived: Had God taken him at his word, how unprovided had he been (being cloathed with frowardness) to appear before so high a Judge! with what comfort could he have stood before the dread­ful Tribunal! If God should suffer us to be our own carvers, we should soon cut our own fingers.

3dly and lastly, consider; A Christian of a right metal and stamp, one that hath the image and superscription of God upon him, and will pass currant in Heaven, he is content God should chuse his cross for him, both for kind and duration. Phil. 4.11. St. Paul had commenced Master in the Art of Divine Contentment. I have learned (saith he) [...], in whatever state I am, in whatever things befall me, as poverty, sickness, reproach, loss of friends, &c. to be content. Thus Christians should be content to be at God's finding, and their heavenly Father's disposing.

Another cryes out,3d Apo­logy an­swered. I have lost a beautifull Child: Nature was very indulgent to him, en­dowed him almost with all symetry imaginable; he had that by Nature, which others counterfeit by Art; he had a real, no adulterate or painted com­liness. How seemly was every part proportioned! what a curiously-wrought tabernacle was his body! Psal. 139.14, 15. He was curiously wrought in the lowest part of the Earth; i. e.See Dr Hamona on that place. in his Mother's belly: He had [...], a right posi­tion of colours, and disposition of members, which [Page 56] two make up a compleat beauty. Pulchritudo est membrorum omnium apta figura cum quâdam coloris suavitate. Pareus in Gen. 39.6. Now to have a Jewel so resplendent and sparkling, so sud­denly snatched out of my bosom, this troubles me.

Answ. Parents many times too foolishly set their affections most on that Child that is most beautiful, and therefore if God take away such a Child, they look upon their loss as great. How was David discomposed at the news of beauti­ful Absoloms death, 2 Sam. 18.33. And Jacob before him was inordinately moved at the sup­posed death of his beautiful Joseph, Gen. 37.33, 34, 35. But let such consider,

1. Beautiful persons many times die soonest. It is ordinary for fair flowers suddenly to wi­ther, Isa. 40.6, 7. Jam. 1.10, 11. 1 Pet. 1.24. Venice-Glasses are more brittle than Brass-Pots, or Earthen-Vessels. There is rottenness at the core of the most delicious Fruit, that makes it suddenly fall to the Earth.

2. Consider, If thy Child had lived, its beau­ty might have exposed it to manifold temptations and troubles. Beauty is a bait and provocation to filthiness: hence that of Solomon, Prov. 6.25. Lust not after her beauty in thine heart, nei­ther let her take thee with her eye-lids. Beauti­ful Sarah was taken by Pharaoh, Gen. 12.14, &c. and Abimelech, Gen. 20. And had been much abused by them both, had not God by a strong hand rescued her from the rage of their lust. In what a sad condition was defloured Dinah, and how much evil ensued upon it, you reade Gen. 34. How was beautiful Joseph assaul­ted [Page 57] by his Mistress, Gen. 39.6, 7. and had been supplanted, had he not had inward as well as outward beauty, (Joseph fuit pulcher formâ, sed pulchrior virtutibus; Pareus in Gen. 39.) Bath­sheba's beauty occasioned David's committing folly with her, 2 Sam. 11.1, 2, &c. and what mischief ensued, you may reade there in the murdering of Uriah. So beautiful Thamar be­ing defiled, was in a most disconsolate desolate condition, and blood-shed ensued upon it, 2 Sam. 13.1, 2, &c. Outward beauty without inward grace, is but fewel to maintain the fire of lust. This fond thing we call Beauty, is, as Pindarus terms it, [...], The Venerial Goddesse's Embassadour. So that, as the Wise­man saith, Prov. 11.22. As a Jewel of Gold in a Swines snout, so is a fair Woman that is without discretion. So then,

3dly, Consider, Thy fair Child might have had foul Conditions. Some have thought Beau­ty to be like a Circle, whose center they made goodness: and they were of opinion, that as a Circle cannot be without a Center, no more can a comely body be without good conditions. And the Hebricians oft call that fair, which is good, and that good which is fair: As Austin saith Consuetudo est Scripturae speciosos corpore bonos vocare. Yet it is evident by Scripture, and Ex­perience, that the fairest persons have many times the foulest conditions. Being like painted Sepul­chres containing much corruption, or like some weeds in the Corn-field, making a gaudy shew, yet are very hurtful. Saul was beautiful, so was Absolom, 2 Sam. 14.25. Goodly persons both, [Page 58] yet bad men. So Adonijah that would take the Crown from his Father's head, was a goodly man. As you may see 1 Kings 1.5, 7. compared: he was a goodly man, fair in face and proper in body: A goodly man he was, but no good man. And for the Female sex, who were worse then Dalilah, Jezebel, and yet who more beautiful? Outward beauty is at best but a common gift, given as other outward blessings, to bad, as well as good, Eccles. 9.1, 2, 3. So then

4thly. Consider, God respects not any for outside beauty. See Isa. 3.24. Amos 8.13. Indeed we say, Formosa facies muta commendatio est, An handsom face is silent letters of commendation, it draws the eyes and affections of men: but yet it works not upon God. For 1 Sam. 16.7. The Lord seeth not as man seeth, for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. God values not any for beauty or any other outward additament.

5thly, Consider, Beauty is a very uncertain possession; like a Rose, the cold soon nips it, or heat withers it, or wind shakes it, the beauty of it is soon gone, Psa. 103.15, 16.

O formose puer, nimium nè crede colori.

Virg. Eclog. 2.

The wise man tells us Beauty is vain, Pro. 31.30. Anceps forma bonum, mortalibus, exigui donum breve temporis, Senec. A fit of the Small Pox (which the purest complexions are most sub­ject to) may make such graves in thy childs face, as may bury (in case it live) all its beauty. An old Jezebel, albeit she be painted, 2 King. 9.30. [Page 59] is full of aged wrinkles. So that if sickness do not waste it, a few years will.

6thly and lastly, to shut up this, we say, and that truly ‘Gratior est pulchro veniens de corpore virtus.’

It is an exceeding great ornament to have in­ward Graces of the Soul, attended with outward gracefulness of the body, to have aVeniunt ad candi­da tecta Columbae. Ovid. Dovelike soul, in a fair Tabernacle: Now if thy child, was a proper child, or exceeding fair, as it is said of Moses Heb. 11.23. Acts 7.20. If he was (as it is according to the Orig. [...]) fair to God, or in his sight, then the King of Heaven took delight in thy childs beauty, Psal. 45.11. and hath taken away this Jewel out of the mire of this world, that it might shine in Heaven; And hast thou cause to be discontented at this? Surely no.

Another cryes out,4th Apo­logy an­swered. This Child of mine that God hath taken away was very hopeful, an ingeni­ous, witty Child, Divine Sentences dropt from his his lips like hony ( [...]. Hom.) He would have been an excellent pattern of Vir­tue; he was of a very sweet disposition, mild, hum­ble, temperate, modest, chaste, affable, &c. and what was said of Bonaventure, might be said of him, (if it be not a saying too hyperbolical) In hoc homine non peccavit Adam, Adam's depra­ved nature was scarce visible in him: Or, as Greg. Naz. said of Basil the Great, [...] [Page 60] [...], he held forth Learn­ing beyond his age, and affixed composure of Man­ners beyond his Learning: Or, as was said of Titus Vespasian, he was Deliciae Humani generis, the Darling and Delight of Mankind: he would have come in time to great preferment; he would have been a Jewel fit to hang at a Kings ear. This Plant, being watered by Heavens blessing, might have shot up in short time to great perfecti­on: but, alas! it is of a sudden cut down by the merciless syth of Death. And this troubles me.

Answ. Indeed by the sweetness of the Blos­som our expectations are raised to look for deli­ciousness in the Fruit: And when pregnant hopes prove abortive, it is extreamly afflictive to us. But,

Consider, Many seem hopeful and virtuous, Dum aetas, metus, Magister prohibeant; Ter. be­ing young under Tutors and Governours; but when once the reigns are laid on their necks, like Phaeton's wild Horses,Ovid. Metam. ‘Sponte suâ properant, labor est inhibere vo­lantes.’ They are too apt to fly out into licentious cour­ses; They many times meet with evil company, which corrupts good manners, 1 Cor. 15.33. Blazing Comets may shine for a while more bright than fixed Stars. Both Sacred and Pro­phane Story abounds with instances of this na­ture. Joash was seemingly good during the life of his Uncle Jehoiada, 2 Chro. 24.2, &c. but he being dead, his devotion died with him, for he became an Idolater, v. 16, 17, &c. So Uzziah sought the Lord in the dayes of Zechariah, [Page 61] 2 Chron. 26.5. who steered him in the right way to happiness: but afterwards his hypocrisie appeared, v. 16. So Judas carried it fairly for a time, as may be gathered from Mat. 26.21, 22. The Disciples there had good thoughts of him, better than of themselves; and yet he was a damnable hypocrite, Mat. 27.3. &c. I might tell you of Hymeneus and Alexander, 1 Tim. 1.19, 20. of Phygellus and Hermogenes, 2 Tim. 1.15. of Demas, 2 Tim. 4.10. and many others, who at first were seemingly religious, yet have departed from the Faith, giving heed to seducing Spirits, and doctrines of Devils, 1 Tim. 4.1.

Nero was hopeful in his youth,Quin­quennium Neronis. and his first five years of reigning fairly promising, but after­wards he became a most detestable Tyrant. It was said of Antiochus Epiphanes, that he was a good child, an ill youth, and a wicked old man, called in derision [...], which signifies a mad man. Julian the great Professour, became an Apostate, and a great Persecutor of God's Church, and at last died blaspheming, Vicisti ô Galilaee. Pelagius who (as some think) was fo­stered and brought up in Cheshire, was at first very hopeful, but afterwards became an Arch-Haeretick. Prosper Aquitanus in this Verse of his calls him the British Adder,

Pestifero vomuit coluber sermone Britannus.
Mr. Leigh's Observa­tions on Cheshire
A British Snake with venemous tongue,
Hath vomited his Poyson strong.

He died an enemy to the free-grace of God. We have many sad instances of this point in our [Page 62] dayes; God may complain of many in England, as once of Israel, Hos. 8.3. They have cast off the thing that is good. And as of Ephraim and Ju­dah, Hos. 6.4. Their goodness is as a morning cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away. Many that were seemingly religious, and forward for pray­ing, reading, hearing, receiving the Sacrament, &c. now have left off the thing that is good. But there are many sad Texts for such Apostates to champ upon. See Psal. 125.5. Ezek. 18.24. Hos. 7.13. Luke 11.24, 25, 26. 1 Tim. 5.12. Heb. 6.4, 5, 6. Heb. 10.26, 27, 28, 37. 2 Pet. 2.20, 21, 22. Their case must needs be sad: for, Corruptio optimi pessima, The purest flesh putri­fied is most loathsom: And the most generous Wine, degenerated, makes the sharpest Vine­gar:Buxtorf. floril. He­braicum. [...] Acetum filius Vini. These bring an ill report on Religion, as the Spyes did on Canaan, Numb. 13.32. as though there was no sweetness and comliness in the wayes of God. Hi sunt Christiani ad contumeliam Christi, Salv. lib. 8. de Gu­ber. pag. 290. as Sal­vian speaks. These cause the enemies of God to blaspheme, as David's partial backsliding did, 2 Sam. 12.14. Rom. 2.24. 1 Pet. 2.15. The fall of such causes others to fall with them; as the fall of Sampson was the fall of many Philistines. In a word, these are the greatest Factors for the Devil, and his Angels, who were the first Apo­states, Jude v. 6. Well then, this Child of thine, like some buds fairly promising, might have been blasted, and not come to greater perfection. He might have faln into gross sins, or grievous er­rors, wounding conscience, and staining reputa­tion, and this would have been just matter of grief to thee.

But if thy Child was really gracious, which is more than thou canst be assured of (for, as the Apostle saith of Sylvanus, 1 Pet. 5.12. a faith­ful Brother, as I suppose: so our knowledge of others sincerity is but opiniative, no certain knowledge) But suppose, I say, he was really gracious, and so might have persevered unto the end, as these Scriptures shew, (Psal. 125.1. Isa. 40.31. & 41.10. Jer. 32.39, 40. Mat. 16.18. & 24.24. John 10.28, 29. & 13. 1. Rom. 8.33, 34. & Rom. 11.29. Col. 3.3. 2 Tim. 2.19. 1 Pet. 1.5. 1 Joh. 2.19, 27 compared. Jude 1.) yet he is not the less mortal for being the more gracious; Nay, God usually takes them away the sooner from this miserable sinfull world, which is not worthy of them, Heb. 11.38.Dr Abbot Lect. 28. on Jonah p. 594. Sudden glories (saith a learned Doctor) decay suddenly: fruit soonest ripe is soonest rotten: when the green­ness, freshness and shade is extraordinary, fear some worm which may gnaw, as it did Jonah's refresh­ing Gourd. We know, sweetest fruit is soonest gathered. Thus the Child Abijah dies young, because in him was found some good thing towards the Lord God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam, 1 King. 4.12, 13. Those that are good betimes, are apt Scholars, [...]. which having quickly learnt the lessons of Christianity, God their Master hath set them, have leave to go home the sooner. God gathered thy Child betimes, because it was ripe betimes. We reade Mark 4.29. how the hus­band-man, when the fruit is ripe, immediately puts in the sickle, because the harvest is come: so God puts in the sickle of death when Children are ripe, and fit to be taken away. We judge him [Page 64] to blame, who when his fruit is ripe, doth not gather it: And shall we blame God for taking away relations when they are fit for him?

And whereas you say, He might have come to great preferment.

1. Consider, this is very uncertain. Many times men of great worth, pass their dayes in obscure privacy;Salvian lib. 4. de Gubern. Dei. pa. 114. and men of least desert, are highly promoted. Si bonus est quispiam quasi ma­lus spernitur: si malus est quasi bonus honoratur. Haman the Agagite, one base by birth, and base in life; like a dunghil vapour, was extracted to an high place of dignity by the influential Sun­shine of his Princes favour; and in the mean time godly, honest, loyal-hearted Mordecai, notwithstanding his good service, is forgotten, Esth. 6.1, 2, 3. till almost too late to remember him.

2. Consider, Those that are in favour may he present lie under a cloud. Favour is deceitful, Prov. 30.31. The Court is like Glass or Ice, cum maximè splendet, frangitur; when it shines brightest, then it is the brittlest. It is called [...], Phil. 2.3. vain-glory: It carries va­nity in its name. Joab who was once the great­est about David, is by David's appointment de­signed to execution, 1 King. 2.5. And Haman even now mentioned, that was so great a Favo­rite with Ahasuerus the King, is by the King appointed to be hanged on an high Gallows, Est. 7.9, 10. a just punishment for his ambitious climbing.

3dly and lastly, consider, Your Child is highly preferr'd by Death. He is possessed of Heavenly [Page 65] preferment which as far exceeds earthly, as the shining of the Sun in its Meridian Lustre, doth the shining of a Candle. Our Saviour tells us there was not a greater then John the Baptist, yet he that is least in the Kingdom of Heaven, is greater then he, Luke 7.28. The least in the Kingdom of Heaven is greater then the greatest on Earth, for he is above a state of Ignorance, Misery and Mortality. Joseph was highly pre­ferr'd by Pharaoh, who committed to him De­spotical Government over all Egypt, Gen. 41.40, &c. David, Esther, and several others of Gods dear Servants come to great preferment here on Earth; but what is this to the preferment of thy dear Child, who shines as the Sun in the King­dom of his Father, Mat. 13.43. He is in the Pre­sence-Chamber of the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. Surely thou hast no cause to weep, except it be for joy, that thou wast the Parent of such a Child, Who (as one saith) whilst he lived was the joy of Glorifyed Angels, Luk. 15.10. and being dead, encreaseth the number of Glorifyed Saints.

But saith another, This was an onely Child, 5th Apo­logy an­swered. I had but one onely Son or Daughter to delight in, to leave mine Estate unto, and to bear my Name. And God hath taken him (or her) away from me. Surely the Lord hath dealt bitterly with me.

Answ. Indeed Scripture Spectacles represent it as a sad loss, to lose an only Son or Daughter, Judg. 11.34. 1 King. 17.12, 17, &c. 2 King. 4.20, 27. compared. Jer. 6.26. Amos 8.10. [Page 66] Zach 12.10. Luk. 7.12, 13. Luk. 8.42. I have read of oneMr. Hausteds Serm. on Luke 19.41, 42. who being found weeping, and the cause of his grief being demanded, answered, Fi­lius unicus, habilis, & pollens ingenio Adolescens; An onely Son, a pritty, witty young man — and being able to go no further, had his faltring halt­ing speech made up by a stander-by, Obijt diem, is dead, which he, for the greatness of his grief, was not able to pronounce himself. An only Child is our Darling, as we translate [...], Psal. 22.20. Unicam meam. And the loss of an only Child must needs be sadly resented, because it is our Darling, or most dearly beloved: the stream of parental affection (like a River not parted into Chanels) is not divided amongst o­ther children, but runs whole and entire to­wards one object. But consider under this sad tryal a few things.

1. Consider, The greater the Tryal is, the greater is the commendation to bear it chearfully. It is a sign thou art a great Christian, when thou canst bear patiently great Tryals. A Wasp if not cross'd, puts not forth its sting: the most waspish and peevish person can carry it calmely and gently, while Providences of God please him: but to carry it patiently and evenly under great tryals is admirable. When Alexander met with great troubles he would say, here is a tryal for the mind of Alexander: he is truly Magna­nimous that holds up his Spirit under great af­flictions, Magnus est animus qui se Deo tradidit. Sen. Job met with great tryals.

[Page 67]
—' [...]
[...]
[...].
Mr. Du­port in his [...]. Job 1.18. p. 6, 7.
—Semper enim malum malo fulciebatur,
Sicut quando crebri sibi invicem superfusi sunt;
Ponti fluctus longi, antè quidem alius, alius verò post.

One affliction followed on the back of ano­ther, as wave after wave: the Sabeans took away Jobs Oxen and Asses, Lightning kild his Sheep, the Caldaeans carried away his Camels, and (which was the fluctus decumanus, the last, worst, and greatest wave of all the rest) the wind blows down the house upon the head of his Chil­dren; yet for all this see his submissive behaviour, Job. 1.20, 21, 22. he fell down upon the ground and worshiped, and said, Naked came I out of my Mothers Womb, and naked shall I return thither: The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, blessed be the Name of the Lord; In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly. How even and composed was he amidst the swelling waves! yea, he was like a Rock, Immotus in Undis. Ye have heard (saith St. James) of the Patience of Job. We had not heard so much of it, had it not been for great tryals, which God was pleased to exercise him with.

2. Consider, This tryal of thine is not a tenth part so great as Abrahams was. Compare Gen. 22.2. with Heb. 11.17, 18. his trial was cloath­ed with very sad circumstances. God commands him, (1) to take his Son, not his Sheep, or Oxen, Friend, or Servant, but his Son, his own flesh [Page 68] and blood: (2) his Son Isaac, not Ishmael which he had by Hagar his bond servant, but Isaac whom he had by his Wife Sarah. It was matter of joy to them that they had gotten a Son, and therefore call'd him Isaac, which signifies laugh­ter, Gen. 21.3, 6. compared. He was the joy of his aged Parents, he must take his Son Isaac, his laughter, joy and delight; (3) his begotten Son, not an adopted one, his own Son, not another mans; (4) his only begotten Son, not one amongst many Sons, but his only Son by Sarah the free­woman, by whom he had no more; (5) a Son whom he loved, not one that he hated, and no wonder that he loved him dearly, who was filius senectutis, the Son of his old age, Gen. 21.2, 5. Thus Jacob loved Joseph and Benjamin, be­cause Sons of his old age (Gen. 37.3. so Gen. 44.20.) more then the rest of his children: (6) the Son of promise, in whom it was said his seed shall be called, and all the Nations of the Earth blessed, Gen. 12.3. & 21.12. Christ the Messiah, the desire of all Nations, Hag. 2.7. was promised to come of his Line, so that if he offered up Isaac, the world, for ought he could see, must want a Messiah: He by this blow will kill as many thousands as there are Stars in the Firmament, Gen. 15.5. Furthermore (7) It was an Obedient Son, not a rebellious Absalom, 2 Sam. 16.11. nor a runagate Prodigal, Luk. 15. but a Son that served him, Mal. 3.17. & yet must not be spared; (8.) It was no Infant, but a Son that could prat­tle to his Father, yea and talk wisely too, Gen. 22.7. conceived to be about fifteen years of age. [...]5 (9.) This Son must be sacrificed as a burnt-offer­ing. [Page 69] Jephthah was much troubled, when ac­cording to his vow he did consecrate his only Daughter (for he had no Child besides her, Judg. 11.34.) unto the Lord.See Dr. Brown's vulg. Er­rors, lib. 5. p. 309. &c. I suppose he did not sacrifice her, but devote her as a Virgin to serve God in a single life, Judg. 11.38, 39. Yet he was much troubled because utterly hopeless of any posterity, v. 35. But Abraham's Son here must be sacrificed, his Throat must be cut, his Bowels ript up, and his Quarters be burnt to ashes on the Altar, so it was in burnt-offerings, Levit. 1.6, 8, 9. (10) This must be done in the Land of Moriah, old Abraham full of dayes and past travelling, must get him to the Land of Mo­riah. (11) All this must be done by a Father; It is not enough that he see it done by another, but he himself must be the Priest, Actor, and Executioner, his own hand must be upon his own only Child: he that was an instrument of giving, must be an instrument of taking away life. 12 and lastly, All this he must do without delay: God allows him not a dayes time to con­fer with any, that his poor distracted heart might receive comfort. Sarah must not be con­sulted with. Abraham must not take time to do it when he will: but he must do it now, with­out dispute or consultation. Take him now, saith God, Isaac and he must no longer sport toge­ther. Here was a whole cluster of sowr Grapes for Abraham to chew upon: what a sad Try­all was here? Yet Abraham without delay ad­dresseth himself to the sacrifice of his only Son. Thy tryal falls infinitely short of this.

3ly Consider, Did not God himself part with [Page 70] a Son an only begotten Son, the Son of his bosome, John 1.18. a beloved Son, in whom alone he was well pleased, Mat. 3.17. One that was his Isaac, his daily delight, Pro. 8.30. (and indeed Isaac, even now named, was a type of him); Did not God part with this Son for thy sake? and, dis­missing him from a place of happiness, sent him into a world of misery? see John 3.16. This Son sent, was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, Isa. 53.3. And wilt not thou be contented to part with thy son when God calls for him; and takes him from a world of misery to himself, in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right-hand there are pleasures for evermore, Psal. 16.11. Everlasting pleasures, without intermission or omission?

4. And lastly; Tell me if an Earthly King should have sent for thy Child, and promised that he should be one of his Favourites, would you not willingly have parted with him upon these terms, (yea, though you should never have seen him more) and rested contented, in as much as your Child should be well provided for? I think there are but few amongst us but would willingly yeeld to such a motion. How much rather sa­tisfied should we be when the King of Kings, the great God of Heaven and Earth (who is un­doubtedly unchangeable in his affection, John 13.1.) takes a Child from us unto himself, where there shall be pure joy, without any dose of grief, riches without poverty, honour with­out infamy; and this not by fits and starts, but ( [...]) continually; not after some long time to end, but ( [...]) for ever.

Thou sayest, Thou hast no Child to leave thine Estate unto.

Answer. Indeed Abraham once complained upon this very account, Gen. 15.2, 3. but Con­sider,

1. Thy Child (if he died a Child of God) hath taken possession of a better inheritance then thine is; he is an Inheritor of the Kingdom of Heaven, Luke 12.32. A partaker of the inheri­tance of the Saints in Light, Col. 1.12. he is an Heir of God, Joynt-heir with Christ, Rom. 8.17. This inheritance that thy Child hath taken pos­session of, excells all other inheritances, as being incorruptible, undefiled, and that fades not away, 1 Pet. 1.4. Thy Child then hath no need of thy Estate.

2. Consider, Poor hungry people, indigent per­sons, they are thine own flesh, so God tells thee, Isa. 58.7. Yea they are thy Brethren, Deut. 15.7, 8. so 1 Joh. 3.17. Thou mayest see many that are blind and lame, many Lazarus's, poor Wi­dows, and Fatherless Children, poor Ministers that have a great charge of children, and small means to maintain them with, these are thine own flesh, thy Brethren, and Kinsfolk; bestow thine estate on these, that they may bless thee and pray for thee! and let thine own hands in thy life-time be thine Executors, or else others may take possession of thine Estate, who (may be) will not thank thee, or may prodigally con­sume it. See Eccles. 2.18, 19. and Eccles. 4.8. And Salvian tells thee the naked truth,Salvian ad Eccles Cath. l. 3. p. 459. Vides extortas lachrymas, simulata suspiria, fictam an­xietatem, non optantem ut convalescas, sed expec­tantem [Page 72] quando moriaris. Vide defixos in te, et quasi accusantes tui obitus tarditatem omnium vultus. O infaelicem te ac miserrimum, cujus su­premum exitum tantus desiderat ac precatur nu­merus propinquonū! Such may be heirs to thine estate, that will feign grief at thy sickness, and think it long till thou be dead.Salv. ad Eccles Cath. lib. 4. p. 474. Therefore, as the same Author saith, Cum Christum egere videas, cur tu facultates tuas in quibuscun (que) non indi­gentibus derelinquis? Why do you not relieve Christ in his members who are in real want? I end this with that of Solomon, Eccles. 3.12. Let a man rejoyce and do good in his life. For as a worthy Divine saith, It is the life of a Gift to be given in the life of the Giver, Mr. Ful­ler in his Hist. of Cambr. far better than Funeral Legacies, which (like Benjamin) are born by the loss of a Parent; for it is not so kind­ly Charity for men to give when they can keep no longer.

Thou sayest, Thou hast none to bear thy Name.

Answ. Indeed this the world looks upon as sad. Numb. 27.3.4. So the Widow of Tekoah in a parable complains, they would slay her only son that was left, and so not leave to her husband neither name nor remainder upon the earth, 2 Sam. 14.6, 7. And we find Absalom having no son to continue his memory, erected a Pillar in the King's Dale, and call'd it after his own name, 2 Sam. 18.18. but it was Columna calumniae, a Pillar of disgrace, to mind the world there was once such a wicked man as Absalom was, as Lot's wife's Pillar of Salt was a Monument of her shame. But to answer the Plea:

[Page 73]1. Consider, To live in our Children, is but a poor kind of survival; for they may soon die, and our memorial be buried in their graves. But if they live long and be deboist, they are mo­numents of shame to Parents. The best way for men to immortalize their names, and consecrate their memories to posterity, is to erect a Pillar of virtuous deeds: for Psal. 112.6. The righte­ous shall he had in everlasting remembrance, and v. 9. he hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor, his righteousness endureth for ever, and then it follows, his horn shall be exalted with honour. So Isa. 58.10. If thou draw out thy soul to the hun­gry, and satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noon-day. Oh then if thy estate be great,Exegi monumentum aere pereuni­us. Hor. build an Hospital, or repair Gods material Temple, or relieve the living Temples of the holy Ghost; by this means thou shalt get a good name, and be remembred in future ages: Thy worth shall be engraven in lasting characters, [...] Eurip. not to be razed out by the hand of time. Good men will com­mend thee whilst living, and when dead a good report like a sweet perfume (Eccles. 7.1.) will accompany thee to the grave; so that thou shalt be buried in the odour of a good name. How will people be talking of thy good works, as the Widows shewed Peter the Coats and Garments which Dorcas made whilst she was with them, Act. 9.39. They'l say such a man was a good Land­lord, a good housekeeper, a very charitable person, &c. As Cornelius had a good report among all the nation of the Jews, for he was a devout man, and one that feared God, and gave much alms to the [Page 74] people, Act. 10.2, 22. compared. And as man, so God himself will remember such, as Cornelius his prayers and alms, are said to come up for a memo­rial before God, Act. 10.4. With such sacrifices God is well pleased, Heb. 13.18. see Mat. 25.34, 35, &c. Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you, from the foundation of the world; for I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat, &c. Thus you see virtuous men are em­balmed with Renown, they need not Children to eternize them, nor need they any Monument and Epitaph to enoble them, who live in the remembrance both of God and man.

2 Consider, If you belong to God, your names are written in the Book of Life, you are registred by God and matriculated in Heaven. Phil. 4.3. Rev. 3.5. There is often mention made of such a book: And it is Mr. At­tersal on Num. 1.5. p. 20. a borrowed speech from such records as are kept in a City, wherein the names of Freemen are written. Now it is exceeding mat­ter of joy to have our names written there, Luk. 10.20. Rejoyce, because your names are written in Heaven. This new name in the Book of Life, is a name better then of Sons and Daughters, an everlasting Name that shall not be cut off, as you may see, Isa. 56.5.

6th Apo­logy an­swered.Another cryes out, I have had several Chil­dren but lost them all, I have not one left to com­fort me.

Answ. 1. Consider, Thy case is not singular, thy betters by far have been in as bad a conditi­on or worse. Naomi was left of her Husband and two Sons in a strange land, Ruth 1.5. Job [Page 75] (who counted it no small part of his outward happiness to have his Children round about him, Job 29.5.) was sore troubled at the news of their sudden death, Job 1.18, 19, 20. yet he did not repine and murmur, v. 21, 22. his Wife was left indeed, but to be a cross to him: the Divel made use of this rib as a Bow to shoot the Arrows of temptation at Jobs heart, Job 2.9, 10. But it is otherwise with thee under loss of Children, thou hast possibly a good Husband, or a good Wife, or some other good Friend at hand, who may say to thee as Elkanah to Hannah, 1 Sam. 1.8. Am not I better to thee then ten Sons?

2 Consider, Children are no special evidences of Gods distinguishing love and favour. Remem­ber me O Lord, saith David, Psal. 106.4. with the favour that thou bearest unto thy people. God hath special favours for his peculiar people. Now if Children were distinguishing evidences of his signal favour, thou hast great cause to be troubled at the loss of them, but indeed they are not, as you may see Eccles. 9.1, 2. Nay, wicked men oft have them in abundance. Ha­man that boasted of the multitude of his Chil­dren, Esth. 5.11. had ten Sons hanged up toge­ther, Est. 9.13. so Job 21.11. prosperous wicked men are said to send forth their little ones like a flock, and their Children dance. So Psal. 17.14. wicked men that have their portion in this life, are said to be full of Children. Thou hast not then in losing thy Children lost choice favours, which God bestows on his chosen ones. Thou mayest be in special favour with God, notwith­standing he hath taken away thy Children.

[Page 76]3. Consider, Thy Children might have been a discomfort to thee. They might have been as so many Coals, 2 Sam. 14.7. not to warm, but to sully thee in thine old age.See Mr. Leigh's Observa­tions on Octavius Augustus Octavius Augustus said of some of his children, that they were not his Seed, but vomica & carcinomata, some Ulcers and Imposthumes broken from him; and he u­sed to cry out, ‘O utinam aut caelibs mansissem, aut prole ca­rerem!’

I would either I had remained unmarried, or wan­ted children. And Tiberius Caesar counted Pri­amus happy, Quòd superstes omnium suorum ex­titisset, That he outlived his Children. Indeed the Psalmist compares Children to Arrows, Psal. 127.4, 5. and saith, Happy is the Man that hath his Quiver full of them. It is worth observing how the Prophet compares them to Arrows: An Arrow, you know, is not so naturally, it is Art that makes it an Arrow: So if you do not through education artificially polish and shave off the knots of these youthful sprouts: I mean, if you keep not down the exorbitances of them, and streighten their crooked dispositions by care­ful correction, instead of Arrows they'l prove Thorns or Spears in your side to torment you, and bring down your gray hairs with sorrow to the grave. And it is observed that the miscar­riage of one Child robs Parents of the comfort they should take in all the rest.

4. And lastly, Consider the answer of the Man of God to King Amaziah, complaining for the hundred Talents, 2 Chron. 25.9. The Lord is able to give thee much more than this. He is, [Page 77] [...], the abridgment of all crea­ture-excellencies. All creature-comforts are sum'd up in him; and he can abundantly supply the want of Children.

Another cryes out, I have lost a Child that was a Joseph to me; the hope, joy, and honour of my gray hairs, the staff of mine old age: 7th Apo­logy an­swered. my out­ward means came in this way: Or, this Husband, this Wife, this Father or Mother that God hath deprived me of, brought me in yearly a comforta­ble subsistance: All which is now buried in my Friends Grave; so that I now being very poor, must leave my former habitation, I must fare hardly, and go cloathed in mean Apparel; I shall be slighted and disrespected, and (that which yet troubles me most of all, is) I have a great charge of Children, and so many Children, so many mouthes calling for help, and bemoaning their sad condition: what course to take for maintenance I know not: If God had spared him (or her) longer, it had been better for me, I am now utterly un­done. Miserum est fuisse. This is many times the lamentable case of a Ministers Widow, who in her Husbands life­time lived comfortably, but now being deprived of him, hath lost her Living and Livelihood to­gether, and it may be hath a great charge of Children left to the wide world. She may say, as Lam. 1.12. Is any sorrow like to my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of his fierce anger! Her condition indeed is so sad, that I must beg and borrow of the courteous Reader the help of his imagination to piece out the shortness of my ex­pression, for we may better conceive than express her disconsolate condition.

Answ. This indeed is a very sad Apology; for [...], life without maintenance is miserable. Hence the same word [...] signifies in Scripture both life and outward maintenance, Luke 8.43. & 21.4. Mark 12.44. That per­son must needs live miserably that wants a com­petency of outward maintenance. Luthers See A­bel Red. in Life of Luther. Wi­dow felt the smart of it. But yet, poor soul, it is better to hope the best than the worst: Do not antedate thy sorrows. I will for thy com­fort take this Apology in pieces, and answer the chief particulars distinctly, briefly, and withal very plainly, without Rhetorical flourishes, ‘Non est conveniens luctibus ille color.’

Are you very poor, your outward maintenance being buried in your friends grave?

1. Consider, You have more then you had when you came into the world, and more then you can carry out when you leave the world. Job was the greatest and richest of all the men of the East, Job 1.3. and when he had all taken from him, he was content upon this very account, that he came naked out of his Mothers womb, and naked should return thither, Job 1.21. And the Apo­stle useth a like argument to work in us content­ment in the like case, 1 Tim. 6.7, 8. We brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out; and having food and raiment, let us be therewith content.

2. Consider, You have more of worldly com­forts, then many that have been your betters by far in Grace. How poor was our Saviour Christ, 2 Cor. 8.9. Though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor. His Mother was a poor Vir­gin, [Page 79] the Manger was his Cradle, and the cob­webs his Canopy: he had no sums of money. He had not tribute money, Mat. 17.24. [...] was about fifteen pence of our money, as Dr. Hammond observes. Now our Saviour Christ was fain to work a Miracle for it, v. 27. he recieved collection or contribution whilst he lived, Luk. 8.2, 3. And being dead he was buri­ed at others charges, Luk. 23.53. Job, a non such for Religion, Job 1.8. lost a great estate sudden­ly, and it become a proverb, As poor as Job. Pe­ter the ApostleAl­though Papists talk so much of his keys) had neither Silver nor Gold, Acts 3.6. And St. Paul tells you of his great wants and sufferings, 2 Cor. 6.4, 10. and 2 Cor. 11.23, to 28. and yet withal you find he was content, Phil. 4.11.

3 Consider, You have more by far then you de­serve. Gen. 32.10. I am not worthy of the least of all thy Mercies, which thou hast shewed unto thy Servant. This was Jacob's motto. Art thou greater then our Father Jacob? sayth the woman of Samaria unto Christ, John 4.12. Though Christ was infinitely greater then that great Patriarch: yet we fall much short of him; And we are not worthy of the least of Gods mercies: we deserve not the thousandth part of what we have. Now methinks they that deserve nothing should be content with any thing; and they that deserve not any thing, should not be discontented though they have nothing.

4 Consider, It might have been far worse with you then it is. Have you lost some of your goods? Be of good chear that you have not lost your lives; with this argument St. Paul chea­red [Page 80] the shipwrackt persons, Act. 27.22. who to lighten the Ship, cast the Wheat into the Sea, v. 38. Job having lost his goods, he lost his health too, Job 2.7, 8. he was from the crown of the head to the soal of the foot, all of an angry burning boyl; and he is so loathsom a creature, that none would come nigh him, insomuch that he is fain to be his own Chirurgeon, and his dressing instrument is a peice of a broken pot. You might then have lost your health as well as your goods, but God continues this to you. 'Tis mercy that you are on this side Hell, Lam. 3.22, 23. The damned there have a bitter cup to drink of, and have nothing to sweeten it: but thou still enjoyest many precious mercies to allay the bitterness of thy poor condition. Sure I am, great cause thou hast to give thanks, but none to mur­mur.

5. Consider, A little will suffice nature. Na­tura paucis contenta. We say, and that truly, it is better to fill a gluttons belly then his eye, his hunger then his humour.

Discite quàm parvo liceat producere vitam,
Et quantum natura petat.— Lucan. lib. 4. Pharsal.

A man may live of a little. May be thou hast enough to satisfie necessity, though not prodi­gal curiosity. Having then food and raiment, i. e. necessaries for the preservation of your bodies, be therewith content, 1 Tim. 6.8.

6. Consider, Your life is short, you are but Strangers and Pilgrimes here. Psal. 39.12. Heb. 11.13. 1 Pet. 2.11. Parum viae quid multum viatici? you have but a little way to go, what [Page 81] need have you of much provision? A traveller burdens not himself with bag and baggage; a stranger is content with mean accommodations, and if he have but as much money as will defray his charges till he comes home, he cares for no more, he knows then he shall have enough. Oh Christian, be content, Heaven is thy home, and when thou comest thither (as thou shalt very shortly if thou belongest to God) thou shalt in­herit all things, Rev. 21.7. Well then, be content ( [...]) with things present, as it is in the Orig. Heb. 13.5. though you have but from hand to mouth, as Israel in the Wilderness; thou art nearer thy journeys end then thou art aware of; and if thy breath was but once stopt, thou wouldest have no need of these worldly things.

7. Consider, It is Gods doing to bring you in­to this condition. 1 Sam. 2.7. The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich. So Prov. 22.2. The rich and poor meet together; the Lord is the maker of them all. He makes them not only as they are men, but as poor and rich men. God is the or­derer of outward conditions. And therefore saith Agur. Prov. 30.8. Give me neither pover­ty nor riches. And Naomi saith, I went out full, and the Lord hath brought me home again empty, Ruth 1.21. Cum sint omnia ditionis sacrae et nutis Dei, cuncta moderentur, quicquid malorum quo­tidiè paenarum (que) perferimus, Lib. 8. p. 287, 288. censura est divinae manus. Salv. de Gub. Dei. God hath placed us in this world, as servants are in a great mans family, all are not placed in the same office, nor have all the same dyet and wages, yet all are (or at least should be) contented: So should [Page 82] we be content with the condition wherein God hath set us. Let us, like reeds, bend every way with the wind of providence: or, let us (as one saith) patiently steer our course as this wind blows. What if thou hast not so much as thou wouldst have, yet thou hast as much as God is pleased thou shouldst have. And therefore be content.

8. Consider, Thou hast as much as God sees good for thee. Your Heavenly Father knows what you have need of, Mat. 6.32. he sees what is best for you, Mat. 7.11. If ye being evill, know how to give good gifts unto your Children, how much more shall your Father which is in Heaven give good things to them that ask him? An earthly Father that loves his Child, will not give it poyson or edg-tools, because he knows them to be prejudicial and hurtful to him. God knows what is better for us then we our selves; he sees that Riches, though good in themselves; are not good for you, but (through your own corruption) will prove snares and temptations to you, 1 Tim. 6.9, 10, 11. God sees if you had more of the world, you would be more world­ly minded, proud, unthankful, intemperate, remiss in holy duties, &c. he sees this Wilderness-condition best for you who are travelling to the Heavenly Canaan. Well then, poor soul, be con­tent upon this consideration, that God in his infinite wisdom and goodness hath alotted that to thee, which he sees to be good for thee.

9. Consider, God can bless and sanctifie a lit­tle, that it shall be better then the abundance of the wicked. See Psal. 37.16. A little that a righte­ous man hath, is better than the riches of many [Page 83] wicked. So Prov. 15.16. Better is little with the fear of the Lord, then great treasure, and trouble therewith. It is Gods blessing that makes rich, Prov. 10.22. The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it. So Mat. 4.4. Man lives not by Bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. It is Gods blessing that makes food to nourish us, cloaths to warm us, &c. Oh how comfortably might men live of a little (through Gods bles­sing) if they had but thankful and contented Spirits! Therefore

10. Consider, If thou canst but be content with thy condition, thou art rich enough, Vera inopia cupiditatum copia; content is the poor mans riches, and discontent the rich mans po­verty; So that a man may be rich with a little and poor with much, St. Paul who had learned the lesson of contentment, Phil. 4.11. though his necessities were supplyed by the Philippians charity, Phil. 2.25. yet he triumpheth as though he had all things, Phil. 4.18. I have all, and abound; I am full, having recieved from Epaphro­ditus the things which were sent from you, &c. so 2 Cor. 6.10. As having nothing, yet possessing all things, because they had bridled their con­cupiscence. Omnia habit qui nihil concupiscit. Sen. It may be said of such, what the Spirit saith to the Angel of the Church of Smyrna, Rev. 2.9. I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, but thou art rich. Sphinae. Philos. p. 430. Faelix est non qui habit quae cupit, sed qui non cupit quae non habit. And as Quintilian saith, Satis est divitiarum nihil am­plius velle; That man hath riches enough that [Page 84] desires no more. Contentment indeed is a sove­raign remedy for every malady.

11. Consider, Riches are troublesom unsa­tisfying things, Eccles. 1.14. Behold all is vani­ty and vexation of spirit. Solomon had extracted the quintessence of all, yet could not get one drop of true contentment, Eccles. 5.10. He that loveth Silver, shall not be satisfied with Silver, nor he that loveth abundance, with increase. So v. 12. The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep; And in­deed how should he sleep? for riches are com­pared to thorns, Mat. 13.22. how should a man sleep among thorns? As the body cannot be sa­tisfied with Air, so neither can the soul be satis­fied with worldly things. Jesus said, John 4.13. Whosoever drinketh of this water (which the world affords) shall thirst again: So that like a man in a Feaver, ‘Quo plus sunt polae, plus sitiuntur aquae.’

The more he drinks the more he thirsts. Prov. 27.20. Hell and destruction are never full, so the eyes of man are never satisfied. There is no satis­faction to be drawn from the breast of the crea­ture. It is said of the Prodigal, Luke 15.16. That he would fain have filled his belly, with the husks that the Swine did eat; [...], he glad­ly would, that shews he could not; he would but could not fill his belly with these husks. Now these husks do rightly set forth these worldy things, that can afford poor man no real satisfaction. I have read how Zeuxes did paint some certain Grapes, that the Birds did fly [Page 85] to them, but could not feed and satisfy them­selves with them. No more can we satisfy our selves with worldly enjoyments, which are in­deed but pictures and meer delusions. We may assoon expect Grapes from Thorns, or Figs from Thistles, as content and satisfaction from world­ly possessions; which whilst some have coveted after, they have not only erred from the Faith, but pierced themselves through with many sorrows, 1 Tim. 6.10. Art thou then discontented that thou hast no more of worldly riches, which if thou hadst, possibly thou wouldst be less conten­ted then now thou art?

12. Consider, Rich men have great accounts to make. God will ere long say to every rich man, Redde rationem, Luk. 16.2. Give an ac­count of thy Stewardship, for thou maist be no longer Steward. They must give an account how they have mannaged their abundance, Luk. 12.48. Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required. It will be a sad day to them that have mispent this worlds goods: So much spent on whores, so much on pride, so much on belly, so much at such a merry meeting, so much lost in gaming, &c. this, like the hand writing on the wall to Belshazzer, Dan. 5.5, 6. will cause the rich mans Countenance to be changed, and his thoughts will trouble him, &c. hee'l then wish he had not been entrusted with so great an estate. We find Dives that feasted it every day, and would not relieve poor Lazarus, Luke 16.24. is in the place of torment, and wants a drop of water to cool his tongue. See 1 Tim. 6.9. They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into [Page 86] many foolish and hurtful lusts. Which drown men in destruction and perdition. Orig. [...], sink them to the bottom of Hell. And therefore St. Paul chargeth Timothy, to charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, v. 17. but that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate, v. 18. q. d. if they do not improve their riches to God's glory and the good of others, like so many clogs or weights at their heels, they'l sink them into the bottom of Hell fire. I have read of one who be­ing askt whether he had rather be Croesus, who was a rich King, or Socrates who was a poor honest Philosopher? he (knowing that great men have a great account to give) answered, Vi­vens Croesus, moriens Socrates: he would be Croesus whilst he lived, but Socrates when he died. Well then, poor Christian, be content, the less thou hast, the less will be thine account at the great Audit-day.

13. Consider, If thou belongest to God, thou hast better things then the world affords. Thou art blessed with Spiritual blessings, Ephes. 1.3. To name a few.

1. Thou hast the Favour of God, and this is better then Corn and Wine, Psal. 4.6, 7. yea it is better then life it self, Psal. 63.3. Artabazus a Courtier recieved from King Cyrus a cup of Gold, and Chrysantas the beloved Favourite, a kiss; which the other observing, said, (as Xeno­phon reports) The Cup you gave me was not so good Gold, as the kiss you gave Chrysantas. Sure I am, all Gold and Silver is not worth one kiss [Page 87] of Gods Mouth, nor one smile of his Counte­nance: And truly many never enjoy more kisses and embraces from God, then when they enjoy least of the creatures. Esau said he had much, so it is in the Original, Gen. 33.9. [...], but Jacob said he had enough, or according to the Original, [...], I have all; God's favour is all in all to Believers; he that hath this, hath enough, how little soever he hath. Deut. 2.7. These forty years the Lord thy God hath been with thee, (viz. in the dry and barren Wilderness) yet thou hast lacked nothing. So Neh. 9.21. And when Christ sent forth his Disciples with­out purse, scrip, and shoos, Lacked ye any thing, said he? and they said, Nothing, Luke 22.35. Gods gracious presence with you, is sufficient to make any condition comfortable unto you. This a good man prizeth above any thing else, Psa. 73.25. He that can say, the Lord is the por­tion of mine inheritance, Psal. 16.5. may well add. v. 6. The lines are falen unto me in plea­sant places, yea I have a goodly heritage. See Hab. 3.17, 18. Although the Fig-tree shall not blossome, neither shall fruit be in the Vines; the labour of the Olive shall fail, and the Fields shall yeeld no meat; the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stalls: yet (saith the Prophet in the midst of this penury) I will rejoyce in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my Salvation. The Apostle thought the consi­deration of Gods favourable presence with you, a good foundation to build contentment upon, Heb. 13.5. Be content with such things as you have, because God hath said, I will never leave [Page 88] thee nor forsake thee. In the Fountain it runs [...]. Here are five negatives that imply an unparallel'd vehe­mency. It may be thus rendered in English; No, I will not leave thee, nor no, I will not for­sake thee. Therefore Christian be content.

2. Consider, Thou hast thy Christ still. This made Job lift up his head amidst all the waves of affliction that he met with. Job 19.25. I know that my Redeemer liveth. Though he had lost his Children, and his Goods, yet it was a com­fort to him, that he had not lost his Saviour. He is still with thee, in whom dwels all fulness, Col. 1.19. Inexhaustible treasures are to be found in Christ. If we were Christless, then hopeless would our condition be, Ephes. 2.12. But so long as we have Christ we are well e­nough. It is enough (said Jacob in a time of want and misery,) Gen. 45.28. Joseph my Son is yet alive. So may a Christian say, It is enough, my Christ (Joseph was a type of him) is yet alive. Christ who is still with thee, he hath the sweet­ness & desirableness of all creature-comforts, he is able and willing to help in the greatest straits, Heb. 4.15, 16. and therfore Christian be content.

3. Consider, Thou hast the Comforter still, the holy Ghost abiding in thee for ever, John 14.16, 26. So John 15.26. This Comforter com­forts us in all our tribulation, 2 Cor. 1.4, 5. So 2 Cor. 7.4. Hos. 2.14. Peace of Conscience, which passeth all understanding, Phil. 4.7. Is the earnest and first fruits of the Spirit, Rom. 8.23. These Spiritual joyes that come streaming into thy soul, they are a cluster of Grapes, Numb. [Page 89] 13.24. A fore-taste of the exceeding great joy that thou shalt have in the Heavenly Canaan. Now as Eliphaz said to Job, Do the consolations of God seem small to thee? or as Gideon said, Is not the gleaning of the Grapes of Ephraim better then the Vintage of Abiezer? Judg. 8.2. Is not this gleaning of Spiritual joy, better then the whole vintage of carnal joy that the world af­fords? Therefore Christian be content.

4. Consider, Thou hast interest in many pre­tious promises, as 1. of Justification or pardoning Grace; see Isa. 43.25. so Jer. 31.34. & Mic. 7.19. [2.] Of Sanctification or Healing; see Isa. 1.18. Psal. 65.3. Ezek. 36.25, 26, 27. Zech. 13.1. Hos. 14 4. Rom. 6.14. [3.] Of Corroboration or Spiritual assistance, 1 Sam. 2.9. Psal. 37.17. Isa. 41.10. [4.] Of outward provision, Psal. 34.10. Psa. 132.15. Isa. 41.17. Mat. 6.33. 1 Cor. 3.21, 22. Phil. 4.19. 1 Tim. 4.8. [5.] Of outward protection, Psal. 31.20. Psal. 91.3, 4, &c. Rom. 8.31. 1 Pet. 3.13. [6.] Of direction in reference to soul and bo­dy, Neh. 9.20, 21. Prov. 3.5, 6. Psal. 25.12. Psal. 32.8. Psal. 48.14. Psal. 73.24. Isa. 58.11. They have the Spirit leading them into all truth, Joh. 14.26. and this is a great priviledge calling for thankfulness, v. 22. Luther preferr'd the un­derstanding one of David's Psalms above all the riches in the world. [7.] And lastly, Of Eternal Salvation, Psal. 73.24. 2 Cor. 4.17, 18. 2 Tim. 4, 8. Tit. 1.2. Heb. 4.9. 1 John 2.25. What if livelyhood be short, so long as Eternal Life will be thine shortly. Though thou hast little in hand, yet thou hast much in hope, and therefore [Page 90] rejoyce in hope of the glory of God, Rom. 5.2. We count not him poor that hath a great estate very shortly to fall into his hand. There is but one life betwixt thee and a great inheritance, and it is thine own life, when that is expired, thou shalt take possession of it. St. James tells us, James. 2.5. God hath chosen the poor of this world rich in Faith, and Heirs of the Kingdom, which he hath promised to them that love him. What, discontent, and Heir to a Kingdom! methinks you should take joyfully the spoiling (or loss) of your goods, knowing in your selves, that you have in Heaven a better and an enduring substance, Heb. 10.34.

Now Christian Reader, these are exceeding great and precious Promises, 2 Pet. 1.4. and the Righteous are Heirs to such Promises as these, Heb. 6.17. The Saints are there called [...]. There is never a Promise in the whole Bible, but a godly man may lay claim to it, and say, This is mine, I have an interest there. And far better it is to be Heirs to these Promises, than to a whole Kingdom; therefore Christian be content. These Promises are cer­tain things, 1 Thess. 5.24. Tit. 1.2. Heb. 6.17, 18. God's Word is more certain than any mor­tal man's Bond. I have not wrote down the words of these Promises, because I would have you to turn to them in your Bibles, and dwell upon them in your private thoughts. 'Tis Me­ditation that sucks sweetness out of the honey-comb of a Promise.

5. And lastly, consider, Thou hast many precious Graces, which are far better than all the [Page 91] Riches which the World affords; as Faith, which is more precious than Gold that perisheth, 1 Pet. 1.7. It is called Precious Faith, 2 Pet. 1.1. So Hope and Charity, Humility, Meeknesse, Chastity, Temperance, &c. are precious things. So Spiritual Wisdom is better than Rubies, Pro. 3.13, &c. and 8.11. These are the true Riches, Luke 16.11. These are the durable Riches, that cannot be taken away from us, Luk. 10.42. These are such things as accompany Salvation, Heb. 6 9. Now what saith Solomon, Prov. 14.14. The good man shall be satisfied from himself; that is, (as some expound it) from the Grace of God that is in him. Piety is a good founda­tion to build Contentment upon. Well then, poor Christian (if I may call thee poor who indeed art so rich) having the Graces of the Spirit, which are better than this world's goods, be content.

Thus you see, if you belong to God, you have better things than the World affords.

But some may say, I fear I belong not to God, I have not made my peace with him.

Ans. Methinks then the things of the World should be the least of thy care: and thou shouldst be most troubled that thou hast not made thy Calling and Election sure, as thou art commanded, 2 Pet. 1.10. and for the future shouldst give no sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eye-lids, (Prov. 4.4.) till by Faith, Prayer, and Repentance thou hast got a propriety in him.

14. Consider, God can, if it please him, raise thee to a great estate. 1 Sam. 2.7, 8. He bringeth low and lifteth up; he raiseth up the poor out of [Page 92] the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dung­hil. So Psal. 107.41. He setteth the poor on high from affliction; So Psal. 113.7, 8. Jacob became a great man from small beginnings, Gen. 32.10. God raised up Job again and made him greater then he was before, as you may see Job 42.10, 11, 12. Well then, remember this, that God that gave these things at first, may give them a second time, therefore be content.

15. Lastly, Consider Gods former loving kind­ness, let this support thee. It was God that did form us in the womb, through the midwifery of his providence we were brought forth into the world, and ever since we came into the world we have depended upon the breasts of divine providence; for Act. 17.28. In him we live, move, and have our being. We may say with Jacob, Gen. 48.15. God hath fed us all our life long unto this day; Why then should we distrust him now? former Experience of God's Mercies, should strengthen future confidence in the God of Mer­cies. 1 Sam. 17.37. The Lord that delivered me (saith David) out of the paw of the Lion, and out of the paw of the Bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And elsewhere, having experience of Gods goodness towards him, since he was taken out of his Mothers Belly, he is en­couraged to hope in God in all straights that may befal him, See Psal. 22.9, 10, 11, and Psal. 63.7. Because thou hast been mine help, therefore in the shadow of thy Wings will I rejoyce. So the A­postle, 2 Cor. 1.10. God delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver, in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us: So do you conclude, [Page 93] God hath maintained me and mine, he doth still maintain us, and we trust he will yet provide for us. You then that have found God so lo­ving and faithful, cast your care on him, 1 Pet. 5.7. and be content, how mean so-ever your condition be.

And Whereas you say, You must leave your former habitation.

I answer, It is indeed very sad when we are turned out of our houses, the places of our birth and constant abode. Great wailing there was in Sion, when the Inhabitants thereof were cast out of their dwellings, as you may read Jer. 9.19. Yet for your comfort,

1. Consider, Your betters have been sore put to't for a dwelling-place. Moses was forced to leave the place of his habitation, Exod. 2.15. and after called one of his sons Gershom, For he said, I have been a stranger in a strange Land, v. 22. So the Israelites wandred in the Wilderness in a solitary way, they found no City to dwell in; hun­gry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them; Psal. 107.4, 5. David was often in an unsetled wan­dring condition; Psal. 56.8. Thou tellest my wandrings. He was an Exile, as you may reade 2 Sam. 15.13, 14, &c. So the Jews lived in Ba­bylon, being taken captives, as you may read Psal. 137. So the Apostles, 1 Cor. 4.11. Even unto this present hour, (saith the Apostle) we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffetted, and have no certain dwelling place. So those Worthies, Heb. 11.38. Wandred in Deserts, and in Mountains, and in Dens, and in Caves of the Earth. Nay Christ himself the Lord of all [Page 94] did so far humble himself for our sakes, that he complains, Mat. 8.20. The Foxes have holes, and the Birds have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head. Thou deservest far worse then these did, and yet thy condition is not a quarter so bad as theirs was.

2. Consider, Your betters have been content with a very mean dwelling place. Abraham the Father of the Faithful, and Heir of the world (for so he is called, Rom. 4.11, 13.) yet sojourned in a strange Country, dwelling in Tabernacles, Heb. 11.9. so did Isaac his son, and thus did Jacob the son of Isaac. This Jacob as well as the rest, was a rich man, and a good man too, (for the Sunshine of prosperity did not put out the Fire of his devotion) yet dwelt in a tent, a poor move­able habitation, Gen. 25.27. Jacob was a plain man dwelling in Tents. Jonah the Prophet made him a booth and set under it in the shadow, Jon. 4.5.Dr Abbot on Jona 4.5. Lect. 27. p. 570 It was (as a worthy Bishop observes) but a silly house, a cottage, or a cabben, or such a place as beggers do sit in by the way, to ask alms of the passengers. There was not any Harbinger to take up his lodging before him, no carriages to convey his tents and bedding for him, no train to make all decent, but poor Prophet he is glad to get a shroud for his head, although a sheep-coat thatch'd or covered with reed, had been better.

3. Consider, God's gracious presence makes the meanest habitation a Paradise. Jacob as he went to his Uncle Laban, being benighted (for the Sun was set) tarried in a certain place (pro­bably some Field) and the ground was his bed, and certain stones his pillows, and the Heavens [Page 95] his canopy, oh how sweet were his dreams, God graciously appearing to him! as you may read, Gen. 28.11. &c. Paul and Silas sing in prison like two Birds in a Cage, Acts 16.25. Moses wisely chose rather to abide in the Wilderness with Gods gracious presence, then to go to Ca­naan without it, Exod. 33.15. God's gracious presence can make thy sleep sweet unto thee, Jer. 31.26. and make thee dwell in safty, Psal. 4.8. in a mean, as well as in a better habitation.

4. Consider, God sets to all men the bounds of their habitation, as you may see, Acts 17.26. God is the great Landlord, for Psal. 24.1. The Earth is the Lords, and the fulness thereof, the World, and they that dwell therein. He turns out his Tenants when he pleaseth, out of one house into another. Other Landlords do but act under God. Be content then to be at Gods finding, say with David, when forced to flee and leave his former habitation, 2 Sam. 15.26. Behold, here am I, let God do to me as seemeth good unto him.

5. Consider, God aims at thy good. Because they have no changes (saith the Psalmist, Psal. 55.19.) therefore they fear not God. God changeth thine habitation, that his fear might dwell in thine heart. See what is said of Moab, Jer. 48.11. Moab hath been at ease from his youth, and he hath setled on his lees, and hath not been emp­tied from vessel to vessel, neither hath he gone in­to captivity: Therefore his taste remained in him, and his scent is not changed. God then by un­setling thee, would keep thee from setling on thy lees. It had been better with Moab had he been disturbed and hurried from place to place, as [Page 96] Israel was, he had been freer from filthy set­lings.

6. Consid. If you belong to God, he dwells in you by his blessed Spirit, as these places shew, 1 Cor. 3.16. 2 Cor. 6.16. Eph. 2.22. Psal. 132.13, 14. If we love God and our neighbour, Joh. 14.23. 1 Joh. 4.16. If we believe in Jesus Christ, Eph. 3.17. 1 Joh. 4.15. If we have re­spect to God's Commands, 1 Joh. 3.24. God dwells in us, and we in him. And this is a greater priviledge than to dwell in the most glo­rious Palace without the inhabitation of his bles­sed Spirit.

7. Consid. If you belong to God, he is a dwel­ling-place to you. Psal. 9.9. The Lord also will be a refuge to the oppressed, a refuge in times of trouble; see Psal. 46. per totum. God was Da­vid's shelter in the time of his Exile, see Psal. 61.2, 3, 4. And Moses cryes out, Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations, Psal. 90.1.Dr. Ham­mond in Psa 90.1 This Psalm was penn'd by Moses, or by some other in his person, when the Chil­dren of Israel were sorely afflicted in the Wil­derness, in a wandring unsetled condition. So Isa. 25.4. God is there said to be a strength to the poor, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat. And Isa. 32.2. Christ is there pro­phesied of to be, as an hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest.

8. Consid. If you fear God, hee'l provide a dwelling-place for you. Exod. 1.21. And it came to pass, because the Midwives feared God, that he made them houses, i. e. he provided (a­mongst other blessings) places of habitation for [Page 97] them. This God promised David and Solomon, 2 Sam. 7.11. 1 King. 11.38. and was as good as his promise, and so he will be to thee, if he see it good for thee. Plead then that Promise, Isa. 65.21. They shall build houses, and inhabit them; and again, v. 22. they shall not build and another inhabit. He promiseth they should long enjoy them, and not be turned out till death. However,

9. And lastly, consider, If you belong to God, ye have an house in heaven, which Christ hath prepared for you, Joh. 14.1, 2. Christ himself is the [...] (Heb. 6.20.) the Harbinger, and is gone before to provide Lodgings for you; And this is an eternal house: it will never be out of repair, nor you ever be turned out of it, when once you have taken possession thereof, which will be shortly: for, saith the Apostle, 2 Cor. 5.1. We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens.

And whereas you say, you must fare hardly.

I answer; Christians should not make provi­sion for the flesh to fulfil the lusts thereof, Rom. 13.13. WeDr. Rey­nold's Treatise of the passions, p. 192. reade indeed, how Nero had an Of­ficer which was called Elegantiae Arbiter, the In­venter of new Lusts for him. And we reade in the same Author of Philoxenus, who wish'd he had the throat of a Crane or Vulture, that the pleasure of his taste might last the longer: but this (as my worthy Author saith) was a most sorded and brutish wish; Ibid. p. 168. for it was the wisdom of Nature, intending the chief perfection of Man to [Page 98] his Soul, to make his bodily pleasures the shorter. To complain of faring hardly, is an unworthy carriage in a Christian; now to prevent this, consider for thy comfort,

1. Consid. Thy betters have fared more hard­ly, and yet murmured not. We reade, 1 King. 17.8, &c. how Elijah and the Widow of Sarep­ta with her Family, did live many dayes upon an handful of Meal in a Barrel, and a little Oyl in a Cruse. So 1 King. 18.13. we reade of an hundred men of the Lord's Prophets, hid by fifty in a Cave, and fed with bread and water. So Mi­caiah, that faithful Prophet of the Lord, was put in prison, and fed with the bread and water of af­fliction, 1 King. 22.27. So the sons of the Pro­phets fared hardly, 2 King. 4.38, &c. David was sometimes sore put to't for-diet, 1 Sam. 25.8. And the Israelites in the Wilderness were hungry and thirsty, their soul fainted in them, Psal. 107.5. So we reade of Jeremy, Jer. 38.9. cast into the Dungeon, ready to die for hunger. John Baptist was a worthy person, Mat. 11.11. yet his diet mean; Mat. 3.4. his meat was Lo­custs and wild-Honey. So Luke 1.15. He shall neither drink Wine nor strong-drink. So we reade Luke 16.21. how Lazarus (that was after­wards translated into Abraham's bosom, v. 23.) lay at the rich-mans gate full of sores, and beg'd the crumbs that fell from the rich-man's table. Christ's Disciples for hunger did rub the ears of corn in their hands, and ate it when they had done, Mat. 12.1. The Apostles fared hardly, 1 Cor. 4.11. Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst. St. Paul himself was in hunger and [Page 99] thirst, in fasting often, 2 Cor. 11.27. So those of whom the world was not worthy, Heb. 11.37, 38. They were destitute, (viz.) of food and raiment. Jesus Christ himself fared hardly, he was often an hungry and thirsty, John 4.6, 7, 8, 9. John 19.28, 29. See Mark 11.11, 12. Christ was hungry, and seeing a fig-tree afar off, having leaves, he came if happily he might find any thing (he would have been glad of any thing that he could eat) thereon; and when he came to it he found nothing but leaves. Many of thy betters have been acquainted with greater wants than thine are, and yet have been thankful.

2 Consider. The mean Diet of our Fore-fa­thers; Musculus, Muscul. in Gen. 1.29 p. 48. a learned Expositer, observes from Gen. 1.29. compared with Gen. 9.3. that God appointed Herbs and the fruit of Trees to be mans food, and not Flesh, till after the Flood. Herbas & arborum fructus dedit in cibum, non carnem nisi post Diluvium.

And a learnedMr Ful­ler in Com­ment. on Ruth. Divine of our own, saith, That for a thousand five hundred and sixty years the World fed upon Herbs. And the Scripture makes mention since of mean fare of many godly men. Abraham, a great man, prepared for his great guests no curious diet, but only plain and wholesom country-fare, Gen. 18.5, &c. So Lot bakes unleavened bread for the same guests, Gen. 19.3. Luther speaking of excess in meats and drinks in his time, hath this speech. Si nunc Adam resurgeret, & videret hanc insaniam omni­um ordinum, profectò credo quòd prae stupore tan­quàm lapis staret, Luth. in Gen. 3. If our great Grandfather Adam should revive, and see the [Page 100] madness of people now a-dayes in making pro­vision, I believe he would stand amazed at it. Oh how do we degenerate from the simplicity and plainness of former ages!

3 Consider; It is a mercy thou hast any thing to feed upon. Bread to eat, and Raiment to put oh, is God's free gift, Gen. 28.20. So Mat. 6.11. What thou hast of mercy is more by far than thou deservest. Gen. 32.10. I am not wor­thy, (saith godly Jacob) of the least of all the mercies which thou hast shewed unto thy servant. You live on free Grace, indebted to God for eve­ry crust and crumb of Bread. A cup of cold wa­ter, a dinner of green herbs, a bit of dry bread is a mercy; It comes out of the alms-basket of Providence, and therefore be content.

4 Consider; God can make course diet as healthful. Learned Musculus, Muscul. in Gen. 1.29. p. 48. speaking of God's prescribing to man at first herbs and fruit of trees for his food, saith, Hoc cibi genus & para­bile & innoxium, dubio prócul erat & naturae com­modum & salubre; Without doubt this mean food was wholsom, as wel as ready at hand, for the supply of mans necessity. Gods blessing with a little sufficeth; Hence we have that precious Promise, that in case we serve the Lord, he will bless our bread and water, Exod. 23.25. so Deut. 8.3. Man lives not by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live, Mat. 4.4. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah did eat pulse and wa­ter, and their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh (through God's blessing) then they that did eat on the Kings portion, as you [Page 101] may read, Dan. 1.12. &c. Old Par in Shrop­shire by faring hardly had attained to above an hundred and forty years. Tenuis mensa sanita­tis mater. Delicate feeding renders the Body dull and diseased, whereas slender meals make it active and healthful.

5. Consid. God can make course diet as plea­sant to the taste. See Prov. 15.16, 17. Even a dinner of herbs is sweet, Prov. 27.7. The full soul loatheth an honey-combe: but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet. To the hungry soul how pleasant is a piece of bread and cheese!

6. Consid. God can make course diet as sa­tisfying, if you belong to him. Prov. 13.25. The righteous eateth to the satisfying of [...]his soul, but the belly of the wicked shall want. Indeed we read how they who have their portion in this life, God filleth their bellys with his hid treasure, Psal. 17.14. But many Epicures, though their Bellies are filled, yet their appetites are not satisfied, but they are still hankering after variety of dainties, Ecles. 6.7. But God hath promised to his People that he will satisfy the poorest of them with bread. Psal. 132.15. I end this with that of Musculus, Muscul. in Gen. 1 29. p. 48. Sic esse naturam humanam comparatam, ut quod cibum attinet, modico ac facili demitti posset, nisi ingluvies obtinuisset, cui nullo edulij genere satis­fieri potest.

7. Consid. God can make a little go far. As he multiplied the Sareptan Widows handful of Meal and little Oyl in a cruse, to the feeding of many, many dayes, 1 King. 17.15. and Christ in the dayes of his flesh, with five loves and two fishes, fed five thousand men, besides women and [Page 102] children, Mat. 14.17, &c. And though Mira­cles are now ceased, yet we see daily God feeds many poor people with a little, so that we won­der how they live, yet (through God's blessing) they live and look well. There is an expressi­on, Psal. 107.41. of God's making the poor man's families like a flock of sheep: which may imply thus much, that the poor godly man's children being divided into families, as so many flocks of sheep, shall live and look well with a little: as sheep you know gather fleece and flesh though they fare hardly.

8. Consid. God sees coarse diet to be most convenient for thee. Pro. 30.8. wise Agur pray­ed that God would give him food convenient for him. God sees that high feeding is not conveni­ent: For, 1. It unfits for good Duties, as Pray­ing, Reading, Hearing, Meditating, Receiving the Sacrament, &c. St. Chrysostom in the first Homily on Genesis hath this pretty conceit; That Moses when he came from the Mount, and brought the two Tables of the Command­ments with him, when he perceived the Isra­elites to whom he came, that they had fill'd themselves full, and were dancing and sporting, he threw down the Tables, because (saith that golden-mouth'd Father) he thought it an absurd thing to give Commandments for them to observe upon a full stomach. See Mr. Rams­den's Serm. on Luke 21.34. For, 2. It besots men, and makes them careless and sensless; It is the nurse of security, as you may see Luke 17.27, &c. so Luke 21.34.

Intrárunt Urbem somno Vimque sepultam.
Virg.
[Page 103]
—Corpus onustum
Hesternis vitiis animum quoque praegravat —
Horat.

Full meals, as they make dull bodies, so they make foggy minds. 3. It is accompanied usually with many sins. As great and delicate Persons have usually a great Retinue waiting upon them, so high and delicate feeding is generally accom­panied with many sins, as Pride and Idleness, Ezek. 16.49. Unthankfulness and Forgetful­ness of God, Deut. 32.15. & 8.10, 11. Prov. 30.8. Vomiting and Filthiness, Isa. 28.8. Lust and Uncleanness, Prov. 23.31, &c. Jer. 5.7, 8. Rom. 13.13. Rioting and Drunkenness, Cham­bring and Wantonness go together. Saturitas ven­tris, seminarium libidinis: A full belly and a foul heart seldom go uncoupled. 4. And last­ly. It brings down God's Judgments. It brought the Flood upon the old World, Mat. 24.38. Fire on Sodom, Ezek. 16.49, 50. The Sword on Israel, Amos 6.4, 7. compared. See what befell the murmuring Israelites that desired delicious fare, Psal. 78.30, 31. They were not estranged from their lusts, but whilst the meat was in their mouthes, the wrath of God fell upon them and slew the fattest of them, &c. We reade likewise of the rich-man that fared deliciously every day, was after his death in Hell, and lift up his eyes, being in torment, Luke 16.19, 23 compared. The Apostle tells you, Phil. 3.19. Whose god is their belly, their end is destruction. To shut up this, The Psalmist speaks of some, how God gave them their request, but sent leanness into their soul, Psal. 106.15. If God should give thee thy [Page 104] request, and bestow more delicious fare upon thee, (however thy body might come on, yet) thy soul would be but poor in grace, lean, and ill-favoured. It is well for God's Servants that their Master keeps them in good working case: for as an Heathen said, [...]. Menand. It is better to fare meanly and live well, then to fare delici­ously and live disorderly. A barren ground doth well for Gods sheep, fat pastures may rot them; And a full table may be a snare to Christi­ans, and that which should have been for their welfare (through an ill disposition in them) may become a trap unto them, Psal. 69.22. God then in giving thee course Diet sees it most fit for thee.

9. Consid. If you serve God you are not with­out your feasts: you have several Spiritual feasts which are far better then bodily. To name a few, 1. you have the feast of a good Conscience, Prov. 15.15. He that is of a merry heart hath a continual feast. The Scripture oft puts Heart for Conscience, 2 Sam. 24.10. Acts 15.9. 1 John 3.20. The Hebrews have no other word but [...] to express Conscience by. And because a good Conscience causeth joy, or mirth, therefore it's rendred a merry Heart, but it may be ren­dred according to the Original, A good Cons­cience is a feast alwayes, or at a feast continual­ly. 2. You have the Word of God which is a feast. This is [...], as Clemens calls it, Vitae aeternae viaticum. David looked upon it as such, Psal. 119.19. I am a stranger here on Earth, hide not thy Commandments from me. He [Page 105] looked upon Gods Commands, backt with Pro­mises, as his Spiritual food, whilst travelling to­wards Heaven his own Country. He esteemed it sweeter then honey, or the honey-comb, Psal. 19.10. and Job esteemed it more then his ordinary food, Job 23.12. [3.] You have the feast of the Lords Supper. This is Heavenly Manna, our viaticum to the Heavenly Canaan. This is Spiritual meat, 1 Cor. 10.3. It is Angelical food, indeed an ex­cellent banquet, for saith Christ, Joh. 6.55. My Flesh is meat indeed, and my Blood is drink indeed. Meat and drink indeed, by way of reallity, and by way of excellency, see Psal. 22.26, 29. and 36.8. so Isa. 25.6. and 55.1, 2. These and such like places signify celestial viands, wherewith God feeds his people by the ministry of his bles­sed Word and Sacraments. Hungry and thirsty souls get much refreshing by these, Luk. 1.53. [4.] and lastly, You have the rich graces of the Spirit of God which are a spiritual feast: of this Christ speaks Mat. 5.6. Such as hunger and thirst after the righteousness of Christ, after the gifts and graces of his blessed Spirit, they are blessed, and they shall be filled, as at a feast. So Rev. 3.20. If any man open the door of his heart, and recieve Christ with his graces, he hath pro­mised to come in and sup with him; They shall be merry and fully satisfied as at a feast. Thus the righteous have meat to eat, that the world knows not of.

10. And lastly, consider, If you belong to God, you shall ere long have better fare. You may be to morrow for ought you know at the Supper of the Lamb, Rev. 19.9. God (as one saith) is the foun­der [Page 106] of this feast, and none are admitted but Friends. Christ the Lamb of God, will gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them, Luke 12.37. What a strange expression is this! Christ him­self their Lord and Master will serve at the Ta­ble; he who is sweetness it self will afford them his presence to serve them, and to solace them. Future happiness is oft in Scripture set forth un­der the similitude of a feast; as Mat. 26.29. Mark 14.25. Luke 22.16, 18, 30. Mat. 8.11. so Luke 13.29. the Greek word [...], sig­nifies to sit down as at a feast or banquet: but let us not dream as possibly that Pharisee did, Luke 14.15. that there is eating and drinking in Heaven. For glorified bodies are freed from these and the like necessities, Rev. 7.16. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more— and then, v. 17. The Lamb which is in the midst of the Throne shall feed them, &c. The Lamb of God shall be instead of meat, drink, apparel, sleep, and the like.Muscul. in Gen. 1.29. p. 47. In coelesti vitâ corpus futu­rum est sine cibo perdurare. Glorified bodies shall stand in no need of any outward refreshments, no more then Spirits do: And therefore the Apostle tells you, It is sown a natural body, it is raised a Spritual body, 1 Cor. 15.44. The holy Ghost then by comparing the joys of Heaven to a Feast, shews that there is fulness of joy, as at a Feast. For as it is Psal. 16.11. In thy presence is fulness of joy, and at thy right hand there are pleasures for ever more. Well then, poor Christi­an, that fares so hardly, though it be bad with thee now, it will be better with thee shortly. [Page 107] Poor Lazaras that fared hardly here, being dead is comforted, Luke 16.25. and abundantly refresh­ed as at a feast.

And whereas you say, you must wear mean ap­parel.

Consider for your comfort,

1. Consider, Thy betters have gone in worse habit then thou wearest. John the Baptist had his Raiment of Camels hair, and a leathern girdle about his Loins, Mat. 3.4. so the Apostles 1 Cor. 4.11. We hunger and thirst, and are naked; so 2 Cor. 11.27. so those Worthies, Heb. 11.37. They wandred about in Sheep-skins, and Goat-skins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented. Our first Parents after the fall were no better cloathed then with Leather, Gen. 3.21.

2. Consider, Thy Garments how mean soever, are gifts from God. Gen. 28.20. Jacob acknow­ledged raiment to put on, as well as bread to eat, to be Gods gift. God ows thee nothing, thou de­servest nothing. It is a mercy that thou hast any thing to put on to cover thy nakedness. For thy unthankfulness God might justly strip thee of all. Hos. 2.8, 9.

3. Consider, God knows mean apparel is fittest for thee. Costly apparel is many times a provo­cation to lust, 1 Tim. 2.9. It is a consumer of a great estate, and so hinders works of charity. It brings down Gods judgments, Isa. 3.16. &c. Zeph. 1.8. It makes them proud usually that wear it: who more proud then your great Gal­lants? though there is little reason for it. For many inferior pitiful creatures excel man in his gallantry. Solomon in all his glory was not array­ed [Page 108] like a Lilly, Mat. 6.28, 29. And a poor But­ter-fly (asRefin'd Courtier. p. 47. one saith) outvies all the artificial colours of the Court. Besides, our clothes are ensigns of our sin and shame, compare Gen. 2.25. with Gen. 3.21. The same Hebrew word [...] that signifies a garment,Buxtorf. Heb. lex. signifies likewise sin; Had it not been for sin that caused shame, we had not needed apparel: And therefore to be proud of it, is as if a wounded man should be proud of his plaisters. Well then, God cloaths thee in mean apparel to prevent sin in thee.

4. Consider, To be desirous of rich apparel argues much vanity. St. Bernard saith, Vestium curiositas deformitatis mentium, et morum indi­cium est. It shews the deformed nakedness of the soul, and that virtue hangs but loosly on it. Attire was at first given (as I told you) to cover shame and sin, he therefore that is desirous of apparel, surely hath more sin to hide, more shame to cover then other men.

5. Consider, God respects no man a jot the more, for the richness af his outward apparel, see Jam. 2.5. God hath chosen the poor of this world, rich in Faith. Poor Lazarus was dear to him, and received into Abrahams bosom: but rich Dives, notwithstanding his gorgeous apparel, was cast into Hell, the place of torment, as you read Luke 16.19. &c.

6. Consider, Course garments may be as use­ful, Hos. 2.9. as costly apparel. Garments were given for these ends,

1. To cover our nakedness. Gen. 3.7. Our first Parents after the fall sewed fig leaves toge­ther (poor shifts) to cover their shame.

[Page 109]2. To defend and guard the body, from the injuries of the weather. Garments are munimenta corporis, the bodies defence and safe-guard: see Gen. 3.21. Our first Parents first covering was of fig-leaves, which would do them little ser­vice: but God afterwards provided them such cloathing as would defend them against the of­fence of heat, cold, wind, rain, &c.

3. To give warmth to the body, Joh 31.20. and Job 37.17.

4. and lastly, To distinguish persons, [1.] In respect of sex, that men may be known from women, and women from men, Deut. 22.5. The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth to the man, nor shall a man put on a womans gar­ment. Habits of men and women have been ever diverse. [2.] In respect of quality and condition. Conditions should thereby be distinguished as well as Sexes. Clergy should by their garments, be distinguished from Laity, Exod. 28.2. &c. Rich from Poor, Prince from Peasent, Master from Servant, Mat. 11.8. Luke 7.25. Well then, are not thy course garments as useful as more costly apparel? do they not cover thy na­kedness, defend thy body, keep thee warm, and distinguish thee in respect of sex and condition? Therefore be content.

7. And lastly, Consider, If you be cloathed with Christs Righteousness, and have upon your souls the graces of his blessed Spirit, you are better cloathed then he that goes in Scarlet, wanting this spiritual apparel. Christ with his Righte­ousness, and the graces of his Spirit in Scripture, is compared to a garment, Psal. 45.13, 14, [Page 110] Isa. 61.10. Mat. 22.11, 12. Rom. 13.14. Gal. 3.27. Ephes. 4.24. The white Raiment so oft mentioned in the Revelations (as Rev. 3 18. & 4.4. & 6.11. & 7.9, 13.) what is it but Jesus Christ imputed and applied to the soul, Christ with his graces, in which the soul of a Beleiver is invested, Rev. 19.8. Believers are candidati invested with the white Robes of Christ's Righ­teousness. This spiritual Garment doth most beautify a Christian, as the Apostle shews, 1 Pet. 3.3, 4. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not cor­ruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. And again, 1 Pet. 5.5. be cloathed with humi­lity. Humility is a garment becoming any Christian soul. The Greek word [...]; Illigare et innodare significat. Mr. Leigh's Crit. Sa­cra in vocem It signifies to [...]ye or bind together: or to tye knots, as delicate and curious women use to do of Ribands, to adorn their heads or bodies; as if Humility was the knot of every Vertue, and ornament of every Grace. And St. Paul adviseth, 1 Tim. 2.9, 10. That women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefastness, and sobriety, not with broidred Hair, or Gold, or Pearls, or costly Array, but (which becometh women professing Godliness) with good works. St. Cyprian writing to the Virgins of his time, said of them, Quaerentes ornamenta monilium, perdiderunt morum; That they looked so much after Jewels, they lost the Ornament of Vertue and good Manners. No such Jewels as [Page 111] Meekness, Humility, Chastity, Sobriety, &c. See a chain of Graces becoming any Christians neck, 2 Pet. 1.5, 6, 7. Salvian saith,Salv. l. 7. de gub. Dei. pe 235. Quid Deus a nobis exigit, quid praestari sibi a nobis jubet, nisi solùm tantummodò fidem castitatem, humili­tatem, sobrietatem, misericordiam, sanctitatem, quae utique omnia non onerant nos sed ornant. These graces will adorn, not burthen us. Put on there­fore (as the elect of God holy and beloved) bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meek­ness, long-suffering, forbearing one another, &c. Col. 3.12, 13. If these graces be in you and a­bound, you have no cause to complain, though your outward apparel be but mean.

But you say, You shall be slighted and disre­spected.

Answ. Indeed this is too much the guise of the world, Prov. 14.20. The poor is hated even of his neighbour, but the rich hath many friends.

Donec eris faelix, multos numerabis amicos:
Nullus ad amissas ibit amicus opes. Ovid.

It is with us usually, as with a Sun-dyal: you know in a cloudy day the Sun-dyal is not lookt upon; nor are we respected if a cloud of adversity overshadow us.

Tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris.

But let such consider for their comfort:

1. Consid. It hath been the common Lot of God's dear servants to be disrespected. Job's [Page 112] friends (like leaves from trees) dropt off from him when the winter of adversity drew on. See Job 12.4. I am as one mocked of his neigh­bour.— The just upright man is laughed to scorn. And Job 16.20. My friends scorn me. So Job 19.13, to 20. So David, Psal. 109.25. I became a reproach (saith he) unto them; when they looked upon me, they shaked their heads; (by way of derision, Psal. 22.7.) So Psal. 119.141. I am small and despised. So it was with the Apostles, 1 Cor. 4.10, 13. They were de­famed, and made as the filth of the world, and off-scouring of all things. So those Worthies, Heb. 11.36. Had tryal of cruel mockings. Nay Christ himself, our Lord and Master, was despised: See Psal. 22.6. I am a worm and no man, a re­proach of men, and despised of the people. (It is spoken Prophetically of Christ) So Isa. 53.3. He is despised and rejected of men. And Phil. 2.7. He made himself of no reputation. Nay God himself is despised, Exod. 5.2. Pharaoh said; Who is the Lord that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the Lord, neither will I let Israel go. So Job 21.14, 15. They say unto God, Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy wayes: What is the Almighty that we should serve him? And what profit shall we have if we pray unto him? So Psal. 73.9. Wicked men set their mouth against the Heavens. Melancton said right, Nullum hominem tantum sustinere malorum quantùm contumeliarum Deus. Our bet­ters then by far, are far more despised than we are or can be.

2. Consid. God hath an hand in all reproach [Page 113] and disrespect that we meet with. David under curses and great disrespect from Shimei, saw God's Providence in it, and was patient; 2 Sam. 16.10. Let him curse (said he) because the Lord hath said unto him, Curse David. And again, vers. 11. Let him alone, let him curse: for the Lord hath bidden him, &c. But where did God bid him?

Answ. Not by his revealed Word (for that forbidds cursing, especially a Magistrate, as Da­vid was, Exod. 22.28. Eccles. 10.20.) but (as some observe) by a secret act of Providence, disposing of Shimei's malice to chastise David for his sins, and hasten forward his own de­struction, as it did afterwards in Solomon's days, 1 King. 2.44.

That God hath a hand in the disrespect we meet with, will farther appear, Psal. 44.9. Thou hast cast us off (saith the Church) and put us to shame. So vers. 13. Thou makest us a re­proach to our Neighbours, a scorn and derision to them that are round about us. And again, vers. 14. Thou makest us a by-word among the heathen, a shaking of the head among the people. God him­self tells us, Isa. 43.28. I have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches. Submit therefore your selves to God, as St. James speaks, Jam. 4.7.

3. Consid. God layes upon you scorn and disre­spect for your good. David was patient under disrespect, not only because he saw the hand of God in it, but likewise because he thought God would do him good by it: as you may see, 2 Sam. 16.12. It may be (saith he) that the Lord will look on mine affliction, and that the [Page 114] Lord will requite good for his cursing this day. God hath several good ends in suffering thee to lie under disrespect: As,

1. For the Tryal and Exercise of Christian Graces, as Faith, Patience, Constancy, Courage, Sincerity, Zeal, Humility &c. 1 Pet. 4.12.

2. To wean thee from the world. We love to stay where we are much made of. God suffers thee to meet with disrespect, that as Aloes laid to the Breast of the World, it might wean thee from it.

See Dr. Hamond on that place.3. To drive thee to prayer. Psal. 69.12. They that sit in the Gate speak against me, and I was the song of the drunkards. Grave men that sit in the seat of Judicature (and as one would have thought should have had more wit) and vain men that spend their time in drinking excessively, both sorts despised him: but how doth David behave himself under this disrespect? see v. 13. But as for me, my prayer is to thee, O Lord, in an acceptable time. See the like carriage in the same person, under the like disrespect, Psal. 109.2, 3, 4.

4. And lastly, God suffers thee to lie under disrespect, to make thee walk circumspectly: Da­vid walkt so, because he had many enemies watched for his halting, as you may see, Psal. 27.11. Teach me thy way O Lord, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies. So Psal. 56.5, 6, 13. compared. Thus you see God in his providence orders it for good. So that we may say with Luther, Mihi maximè prosunt, qui mei pessimè meminerunt, Lutherus pascitur convi­tijs. Scornful enemies (if we have hearts right­ly [Page 115] to improve the affliction) are our best friends, though not intentionally yet eventually.

4. Consider, To complain of disrespect from the world, is unsutable to a Christian, and that in three respects.

1. It is unsutable to a Christian's Spirit. It is below the magnanimous spirit of a Christian to take notice of worldly disrespect. Noah met with much disrespect from the Old World, yet he binds their jeers, taunts, and reproaches as a Crown to his head, and advanceth couragiously forward in the race of Christianity. When the Senate had informed Augustus of some reproach­ful words and bad usage towards him, he repli­ed; non tantum habemus otij, I am not at leisure to mind such trivial things. He thought it not worth while to take notice of worldly disre­spect. Let not Christians for shame come short of Heathens.

2. It is unsutable to a Christians Profession, They profess themselves not to be of this World, Phil. 3.19, 20. and therefore no wonder that they are disrespected by the world, John 15.19. so 1 John 3.13. Marvel not my Brethren if the World hate you. Believers confess they are Strangers and Pilgrims on the Earth, Gen. 47.9, 1 Chron. 29.15. Heb. 11.13, 14, 15. Strangers look for no great respect, being from home in a far country. Strangers are content with mean usage, they know they shall be much made of when they are in their own country.

3. It is unsutable to a Christians practice. Wicked men are desirous of vain-glory, witness Phaeroh, Haman, Herod, &c. but for the Righte­ous [Page 116] the more holy; the more humble; and the less they care for worldly respect. A vessel upon the water the more it fills the more it sinks; the weightiest ears of corn bow down their heads the lowest. Ezra cryes out, Ezra 9.6. O my God, I am ashamed, and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God; for our iniquities are encreased over our head, and our trespass is grown up unto the Hea­vens. So wise Agur confesseth he is more brutish then any man, Prov. 30.2. So Isaiah confesseth he is a man of unclean lips, Isa. 6.5. And Daniel cryes out, Dan. 9.8. O Lord, to us belongeth con­fusion of face—because we have sinned against thee. So Paul, that eminent Apostle, counts himself less then the least of all Saints, Ephes. 3.8. and of sinners the chief, 1 Tim. 1.15. True Godliness dryes up all ambitious humours. The righteous have their eyes open to see their wretched vile­ness, sinfulness, nakedness, worthlesness, they are conscious to themselves of many sins committed before conversion, and many frailties since con­version, and they are so far from wondring at that disrespect they meet with, that they won­der they are no more disrespected.

5. Consid. If you serve the Lord, you are not without respect. Sin puts vileness upon the per­son that is great in the worlds esteem. Dan. 11.21. Nah. 1.14. A wicked person is called a vile person, Psal. 15.4. Sin renders a man vile and contemptible, and makes him (as Jacob said to Ruben, Gen. 49.4.) that he cannot excell. But Holiness renders a man honourable: The Righ­teous are the only excellent, Psal. 16.3. so Prov. 12.26. The Righteous is more excellent then his [Page 117] Neighbour. They are called Vessels of Honour, 2 Tim. 2.21. They are Vessels brim-full of ho­nour. But more particularly, if you serve God,

1. God himself respects you. Isa. 43.4. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been ho­nourable, and I have loved thee. He calls them his Jewels, Mal. 3.17. They are Hephzibah, the Lord's delight, Isa. 62.4. God respects their Persons, though never so poor: Psal. 40.17. I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinketh on me. So Psal. 138.6. Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly. And as their Per­sons, so their Prayers are precious. Cant. 2.14. Let me see thy Countenance, let me hear thy Voice (saith Christ to the Church) for sweet is thy Voice, and thy Countenance is comly. So Psal. 34.15, 17. He will regard the prayer of the destitute, and not despise their prayer. So Psal. 106.43, 44. and Mic. 7.7. My God will hear me saith the afflicted Church. And as their persons and pra­yers, so their tears are precious. God bottles them up, Psal. 56.8. so Psal. 126.5. They that sow in Tears, shall reap in Joy. Yea their very death is precious, Psal. 116.15. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints. Thus you see, they that honour God, are honoured by God, according to his promise, 1 Sam. 2.30. so Psa. 5.12. Thou Lord wilt bless the righteous, with favour wilt thou compass him as with ashield. Tantus quisque est quantus est apud Deum. Being then Gods favourit, value not the worlds frowns

2. Good Angels respect you, as they rejoy­ced at your conversion, Luke 15.10. so they now flock about you to do you good, Psal. 34.7. [Page 118] The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. So Psal. 91.11. so Heb. 1.14. Are they not all mi­nistring Spirits, (speaking of the Angels) sent forth to minister for them, who shall be Heirs of Salvation. The Righteous have Angels for their Life-guard.

3. And lastly, Good men respect you: they speak well of you, pray to God for you, and are ready to relieve you according to their abili­ty, Psal. 15.4. a good man honoureth them that fear the Lord. So Psal. 16.2, 3. My goodness (saith David) extends not to thee, but to the Saints that are in the Earth, and to the Excellent, in whom is all my delight. So Psal. 119.63. I am a compa­nion (saith he) of all them that fear thee and keep thy Precepts. The Apostle makes mention of Love to all the Saints, Ephes. 1.15. Col. 1.4. Phil. 5. A true Believer loves a Saint in Rags as well as a Saint in Robes; He loves God's Image (as one saith) though hung up in never so poor a frame. To be partial in affection, and to have the Faith of God in respect of persons, is at large forbidden, James 2.2, 3, 4. &c. Well then, con­sider, though wicked men slight thee, yet God, the blessed Angels and Saints, have thee in great esteem.

6. And lastly Consider, If you belong to God, you shall shortly be invested with Heavenly glory. Sometimes God's dear Children, after great dis­respect, meet with much honour in this world; as Joseph, David, Daniel and others did: but if they miss of it here, they shall be sure to have a Crown of Glory hereafter. Rom. 2.6, 7. God will [Page 119] render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing, seek for Glory, and Honour, and Immortality, Eternal life. So v. 10. Glory, Honour, and Peace, to every one that worketh good. They shall be as the An­gels of God in Heaven, Mat. 22.30. they shall shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father, Mat. 13.43. What made St. Paul so pa­tient under all indignities he met with, but the thoughts of his future Glory! for saith he, Rom. 8.18. I reckon that the sufferings of this present time, are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us; therefore, as it is, Rom. 5.2. Rejoyce in hope of the glory of God.

You say, You have many Children to provide for.

Answ. Indeed it is a sad condition to have Children, and little left to maintain them with. It was one of the greatest outward curses David could ban the enemies of God withal, Psal. 109.9, 10. Let his Children be Eatherless, and his Wife a Widow; let his Children be continually va­gabonds, and beg: Let them seek their bread also out of their desolate places. But consider for your comfort.

1. Consider, God feeds other creatures and their young. God provides for all creatures, they live upon his bounty, Psal. 104.27, 28. All wait upon thee that thou maist give them their meat in due season: that thou givest them, they gather: thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good. So Psal. 145.15, 16. & Psal. 147.9. he giveth to the beast his food, and to the young Ravens which cry. Job also takes notice of God's pro­viding [Page 120] for the Ravens young ones, Job. 38.41. Some say that the Raven,Mr Gore in his Serm. on Ps. 37.25 when the young ones are new hatched, flyes away and leaves them destitute of Food, and there they lie in the nest croaking and crying, ready to starve for want of sustenance; but God takes pity upon them, and creates a Worm out of their excrements, which crawleth into their mouths, and so feeds them, and keeps them alive. How true this is I know not; I rather think otherwise, that the old Ra­vens go abroad to seek food for their young, who in the mean time cry for hunger in their nests, and God gives food to the old ones to carry it to their young: And when the old ones will no longer feed them, being able to fly them­selves, they wander for lack of meat, and God gives it to them. It is one of our Saviour's Ar­guments to beat down distracting care for world­ly things, Mat. 6.26. Behold the Fowls of the Air (he saith not those about the house that are fed by the hand, at or about the barn-door, but those of the Air, which fly about and no man provides for) they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them: Are ye not much better then they? God feeds the Sparrows, then fear not, ye are of more value then many Sparrows, Luke 12.7. Nay ye are better then Sheep, Mat. 12.12. bet­ter then Oxen, whom God takes care for, 1 Cor. 9.9, 10. Now if God take care of more con­temptible creatures and their young, surely he will provide for rational creatures and their Children, whom he hath made but little lower then the Angels, and put all other creatures under [Page 121] their feet, Psal. 8.5, 6, 7, 8. We have an usual saying, he that sends mouths will send meat. Lect 30. on Jonah p. 629. Sure­ly as Dr. Abbot saith, God never made a belly, but he made meat for that belly; he never framed a back, but he made cloaths to cover it.

2. Consider, God is said in Scripture to be an helper of the Fatherless, poor, and friendless. God indeed is called the preserver of men, Job 7.20. and he preserveth all men; but for the comfort of the poor, he is said to be their helper. Psal. 10.14. The poor committeth himself unto thee, thou art the helper of the fatherless. So Psal. 107.9. he satisfieth the longing soul, and filleth the hungry soul with goodness. So Luke 1.53. he filleth the hungry with good things. So Psal. 146.9. The Lord preserveth the Stranger, he relieveth the Fatherless and Widow. So Hos. 14.3. In thee the Fatherless findeth mercy.

3. Consider, God hath promised to help such. Psal. 132.15. I will satisfie her poor with bread, saith God. So Isa. 41.17, 18. When the poor and needy seek water and there is none, and their tongue faileth for thirst, I the Lord will hear them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them: I will open Rivers in high places, and Fountains in the midst of the Valleyes, I will make the Wilderness a Pool of water, and the dry-land Springs of water. So Isa. 49.15. & 66.13. so Jer. 49.11. Leave thy Fatherless Children, I will preserve them alive, and let thy Widows trust in me. God in these and the like places engageth (as it were) under hand and seal, for their necessary provisi­on: God hath (as it were) entered into bond, for the better security of the poor. And there­fore [Page 122] the poor that belong to God should con­clude with David, Psal. 27.10. When my Father and my Mother forsake me (either through unna­tural cruelty, or unavoidable mortality) then the Lord will take me up. He'l be my Guardian, and take care of me, for (Tit. 1.2.) he that cannot lye hath promised so to do.

4. Consider, God oft times raiseth up for his Children unexpected help. God put it into the mind of Pharaohs Daughter to pitty poor drowning Moses and nurse him at her own char­ges, as you read Exod. 2.5, 6. &c. Distressed Naomi met with a friendly Daughter-in-law, whose name was Ruth, Ruth 1.16, 17. She loved her, and was better to her then seven Sons, Ruth 4.15. And Ruth met with Boaz whose kindness was great towards her. When Esters Father and Mother were dead, Mordecai bred her up as his own Daughter, Ester 2.7. And in process of time she became a Queen. God hath in his hand the hearts of all, even the greatest, and can turn them whithersoever he will, Psal. 106.46. Prov. 21.1. he can raise thee up friends to relieve thee, whom thou thinkest not of: fresh supplies are coming, though thou seest not from whence.

5 Consider, When outward expectations fail, then God usually helps. God doth not help his People presently out of their straits, because he would humble them, wean them from the world, make them prize his mercy the more, when it comes; and give him the sole praise of all to whom it is due. Therefore do not think that God hath forgotten thee, and utterly forsaken thee, because things go cross to thine expectati­on, [Page 123] and thou growest poorer and poorer. Mans extremity is many times Gods opportunity. God came to Isaac's relief in his greatest necessities, Gen. 22.14. When the Israelites were much oppressed and cryed to the Lord,Cum du­plicantur Lateres, venit Moses. Exod. 5.9 by reason of their hard usage, God raiseth up Moses to be their deliverer, Exod. 3. When Sampson was ready to die for thirst, God brings water out of a jaw bone for him, Judg. 5.18, 19. When Elijah was in great want, God made the Ravens (creatures likely to devour him, Prov. 30.17.) his caterers to provide food for him, 1. [...]in. 17.6. When the Israelites were in great straits in the Wilderness, he brought Manna out of the Clouds, and Water out of the Rock, Neh. 9.15. Psal. 114.8. And David tells us when he was brought low, God helped him, Psal. 116.6. & 130.1. Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord. The Lord saw him sinking all the while, and when at the bottom, he helps him. Sinking Peter cryed out, Lord save me, Mat. 14.30, 31. And Christ gave him his helping hand. Ubi humanum defuit, ibi incipit Divinum auxilium. When outward helps fail, then God begins to work. When the water was spent in the bottle, God leads Hagar to a Well, Gen. 21.15, 19. com­pared. And when Wine was spent at a Marri­age-feast, Christ turned Water into Wine, as you may see, John 2. beginning. When all is spent, God can relieve thee some way or other. Though we see no way to get out of our straights, yet God can break a bar of brass or bow of steel, and give an happy issue, as he caus­ed Peters Chains to fall from his hands, and the [Page 124] Iron-gate to open of its own accord, Acts 12.7, 10. Therefore be not discouraged under your greatest wants, but rely upon God, who can do more abundantly for us above what we can either ask or think, Ephes. 3.20. Christ in the dayes of his flesh, had compassion on the multitude which had nothing to eat, and would not send them away fasting, lest they should faint by the way, and there­fore wrought a Miracle in their behalf, Mark 8.1, 2, 3. &c. Surely now he is ascended into the Heavens, he is as compassionate as ever, Heb. 4.15, 16. and if you seek unto him, you shall find mercy and grace to help in time of need.

You say, What course to take for maintenance you know not?

Answ. Our Saviour would not have you too solicitously careful for the things of this life, as you may see Mat. 6.25. to the end of that chap­ter. So St. Paul adviseth to be careful for no­thing, Phil. 4.6. he there forbids a distracting, distrustful care. Yet the same Apostle to Timo­thy saith, 1 Tim. 5.8. If any man provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denyed the Faith, and is worse then an Infidel. q. d. such an one hath neither Religion nor Humanity in him. I shall therefore, with what brevity and plainness I can, shew you what to do, that you may have maintenance for your selves, and such as belong to you. Take these following Directions, and put them into speedy practise.

1. Direct. Be much in prayer. Pray to God that he would direct thee what course to take, [Page 125] Prov. 3.6. In all thy wayes acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Pray to God for his blessing upon thine endeavours. It is God that giveth thee power to get wealth, Deut. 8.18. so Psal. 127.1, 2. Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it.— It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eate the bread of sorrows. You may toil and moil and fare hard­ly, but except God bless your endeavours, you shall not thrive in your estates, Benè orâsse est benè laborâsse. They that pray well, are most likely to work well, and to have greatest success in their business they go about. A chet is no let, saith the proverb. Movers lose not any time, which they spend in whetting or grinding of their sythes. Our prayer in the morning (saithMr. Fuller's Com. on Ruth 2.7 a worthy Divine) sets an edg on our dull souls, and makes our minds to undertake our labours with the greater alacrity, and (I may add) with better success. We read how Ruth going to glean in Boaz's field, tarried a little in the house, Ruth 2.7. Probably (saith the former-quoted Divine) to say her Mattins, to do her Devotions, com­mend her self with fervent prayer unto the Lord, to bless her, and her endeavours the day following, as indeed God did. So Abraham's Servant pray­ed for good speed in a weighty undertaking, and how successively things fell out, you read Gen. 24.12. &c. Our Saviour hath taught us to pray dayly for our daily Bread, i. e. outward maintenance, Mat. 6.11. Moses in the behalf of himself and God's people, prayed for a bles­sing upon their labours, Psal. 90.17. Establish thou the work of our hands upon us, — it is in the [Page 126] old translation, Prosper thou the work of our hands upon us, yea prosper thou our handy-work. They that pray most are likely to prosper best. See Ps. 34.6. This poor man cryed, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles. So v. 10. The young Lyons do lack and suffer hunger, but they that seek the Lord shall not want any good thing. So vers. 17. The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth and delivereth them out of all their troubles. So Psal. 107.4, 5, 6, 9 compared. Thus the Lord is good unto them that wait for him, to the soul that seeketh him, Lam. 3.25.

2. Direct. Labour diligently in some honest calling. God would have men to get their livings this way. Gen. 3.19. Prov. 6.6, 7, 8. Eph. 4.28. 1 Thes. 4.11. 2 Thes. 3.10, 11. These places shew God expects we should labour in some honest calling, and those that do so may expect to thrive in their estate. Prov. 10.4. The hand of the diligent maketh rich. Prov. 13.11. Wealth gotten by vanity (i. e. by vain courses, as by gaming, cheating, lying, wantonness, &c.) shall be diminished; but he that gathereth by labour shall encrease. So Prov. 22.29. Seest thou a man diligent in his business, he shall stand before Kings, he shall not stand before mean men. This shews that such many times come to great pre­ferment.

3. Direct. Trust and rely upon the Lord. God wonderfully provides for such, as these places shew. Psal. 33.18, 19. Psal. 34.22. Psal. 36.7, 8. and 37.3. So Prov. 28.25. So Jer. 17.7, 8. Ruth did rely upon the Lord, Ruth 2.12. and God did wonderfully provide for [Page 127] her, as you may read in that Book, which bears her name, because she is the chief subject there­of. Learned and godly Musculus was very poor, and when his Wife and Children beg'd bread of him, to divert his cares, he fell to making of Verses.

Est Deus in coelis qui providus omnia curat,
Mr. Fuller's Serm. on Mat. 4 4.
Credentes nunquam destituisse potest.
A God in heaven for all things care doth take,
And such as trust in him, he'l ner'e forsake.

Therefore, as the Psalmist saith, Psal. 55.22. Cast thy burthen upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee. And as the Apostle saith, Cast all your care upon him, for he careth for you, 1 Pet 5.7. The ready way to want maintenance, is to distrust Providence; as you may see Jer. 17. and 6. Rely then on the never-failing Providence of your heavenly Father.

4. Direct. Give something to the poor. This may seem a riddle to some, how giving away should be a means to encrease our estate: Yet so it is; Prov. 11.25. The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth shall be watered also him­self. Alms to the poor (as one faith) is like powring a pail of water into a dry pump, that fetcheth up a great deal more. See for far­ther proof, Prov. 19.17. and 22.9. and 28.27. So Luke 6.38. Give (saith our blessed Sa­viour) and it shall be given you, good measure, pr [...]ssed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. I have [Page 128] See Mr Clark in his Serm on Heb. 10.24. read, how there was a certain charitabe Bi­shop of Millain, who journying with his servant, was met by some poor people that begg'd an alms of him. The Bishop commanded his man to give them all that little money which he had, which was three Crowns: But his servant thinking to be a better husband for his Master, gave them but two Crowns, reserving the third for their expences at night. Soon after certain Noblemen meeting the Bishop, and knowing him to be a liberal man, commanded two hun­dred Crowns to be given to the Bishops servant, for his Masters use. The man having received the money, ran with joy and told his Master of it. Ah! said the Bishop, What wrong hast thou done both to me and thy self? Si enim trees dedis­ses, trecentas accepisses. If thou hadst given those three Crowns, as I appointed thee, thou shouldst have received three hundred, as Melancton relates it. Never any were poorer for discreetly relieving objects of charity. St. Basil saith, [...]. Wells that have their water drawn, spring ever more freely. And Sal­vian Salvian ad Eccl. Cath. lib 3. p. 413. tells us, Pecunia quae pauperibus dispensatur, augetur: cum usuris absque dubio Deo redditur, quicquid egentibus erogatur. Money given to the poor is put out to use (as it were) into the hands of God, and it shall bring in a great en­crease. Giving to the poor is called a dispersing, Psal. 112.9. 2 Cor. 9.9. It is a Metaphor taken from an husbandman, that scattering his seed in the ground, hath a plentiful encrease.

Obj. But it may be thou sayest, thou art so poor that thou hast little to give.

Answ. That little thou givest is much in Gods account, if chearfully given. Mark 12.41, &c. The poor widows two mites were accepted. And we read, how the Apostle by the example of the Macedonians, would stir up the Corinthians to a liberal contribution for the poor Saints at Jeru­salem, 2 Cor. 8.1, 2, &c. The Macedonians in the depth of poverty abounded in liberality, Yea beyond their power they were willing of them­selves: However if you be not able to hold out your hand to them, yet draw out your soul to the hungry, as the expression is, Isa. 58.11. If with Peter you have neither silver nor gold to give, Act. 3.6. give such as you have. Have pitty on them, Prov. 19.17. pray for them, give them good counsel, stir up others to relieve them; If there be first a willing mind it is accepted, 2 Cor. 8.12. by doing thus you may give them that which at least is as good as silver, for Prov. 10.20. The tongue of the just is as choice silver: Thus the Apostles, though very poor, yet made many rich, 2 Cor. 6.10. I end this with that of the wise man, Prov. 11.24. There is that scattereth and yet encreaseth, and there is that with-holdeth more than is meet, and it tendeth to poverty.

5. Direct. Take heed of impoverishing sins. Sin lived in, brings a curse upon us, and all that belongs unto us, as you may see, Deut. 28.15, 16, &c. It is said of those Psal. 106.43. They were brought low for their iniquity. Any sin wit­tingly and constantly lived in, may cause God to blow upon our labours and blast all. But there are some sins have poverty more especially entail'd upon them, and what these sins are you shall [Page 130] hear out of Gods Word, I pray you observe them to avoid them. Impoverishing sinsImpove­rishing sins. are such as these.

1. Unthankfulness for what we have. See Hos. 2.8, 9. She did not know (i. e. thankfully ac­knowledge) that I gave her corn, and wine, and oyl, and multiplyed her silver and gold, which they prepared for Baal: therefore will I return, and take away their corn in the time thereof, and my wine in the season thereof; and will recover my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness.

2. Rashness Prov. 21.5. The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness, but of every one that is hasty, onely to want. q. d. The dili­gent man that doth his business discreetly, shall prosper, but he that doth it rashly, and unadvi­sedly, shall come to want. We have two Pro­verbs agreeable to this of Solomons, Haste makes waste. [...] pau­per. And, The more haste, the worse speed. [...] ash in Hebrew signifies poor, I think rash men sel­dome die rich men.

3. Making too much hast to be rich. Prov. 28.22. He that hasteth to be rich hath an evil eye, (that is, a covetous eye) and considereth not that poverty shall come upon him. Covetousness brings little home at last; as we say Proverbially, All covet, all lose.

4. Refusing reproof and instruction. Prov. 13.18. Poverty and shame shall be to him that refu­seth instruction, but he that regardeth reproof shall be honoured.

5. Oppressing the poor, and giving of bribes. Prov. 22.16. He that oppresseth the poor to en­crease his riches, and he that giveth to the rich, [Page 131] shall surely come to want. Most Interpreters that I have met with, understand the words as spo­ken of one man, and then the sense is this: He that oppresseth the poor, and bribes the rich, that he may do it more securely (a thing oft practi­sed by men of no conscience) such a person shall not long thrive by it. See Job 15.20, 21, 29, compared. And Job 20.15, to the end of that Chapter. An heathen observed; ‘De malè quaesitis vix gaudet tertius haeres.’

6. Idleness. Prov. 6.9, 10, 11. How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? Yet a little sleep, a little slumber (saith the sluggard) a little folding of the hands to sleep: so shall thy poverty (saith the wise man) come, as one that travelleth (i. e. It shall come suddenly, certainly, and painfully) and thy want as an armed man, so as it cannot be resisted. See likewise Prov. 13.4. and 18.9. and 20.4. and 24.30, 31, 32, 33, 34.

7. Keeping wicked company. Prov. 28.19. He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread, but he that followeth after vain persons (and so neglects his business, which he must needs do) shall have poverty enough.

8. Talkativeness, as lying, slandering, rail­ing, talking of other folks business, which con­cerns us not, &c. Prov. 14.23. The talk of the lips tend only to penury.

9. Pride. Prov. 29.23. A mans pride shall bring him low. Pride is a costly sin, a consumer of a considerable estate in a short time. See 1 Tim. 2.9. and 1 Pet. 3.3. Besides, God re­sisteth [Page 132] the proud person, Jam. 4.6. how then should he prosper?

10. And lastly. Sensuality and love of plea­sures, as Hawking, Hunting, Gaming, Gluttony, Drunkenness, Whoring, &c. Prov. 21.17. He that loveth pleasure, shall be a poor man: He that loveth Wine and Oyl shall not be rich. Prov. 23.20, 21. Be not amongst Wine-bibbers, amongst riotous eaters of flesh; for the Drunkard and the Glutton shall come to poverty, and drousiness shall cloath a man with rags. Prov. 6.26. By means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread. So Prov. 29.3. He that keepeth company with Harlots, spends his substance. So did the Prodigal, Luk. 15.30, 13v. compared. Well then, take heed of all sin, especially avoid these which I have mentioned, that are, as so many Rocks, to split an Estate. If you be rich, these sins lived in, will bring you low; and if you be low in estate, they will keep you from thriving in the world. Eliphaz tells Job, he must return to the Almighty, and put iniquity far from his taberna­cles, if he would have plenty of Gold and Silver, as you may see Job 22.23, 24, 25.

6. And last Direction is this, Follow holiness. As you must avoid what God forbids, so you must observe to do what he commands. God provides for such, as these places shew, 2 Chron. 17.4, 5. Job. 8.6, 7. Psal. 23.1, 5. Psal. 34.9. & 37.25. & 111.5. Prov. 10.3. God hath pro­mised plenty upon condition of obedience, as these places shew, Exod. 23.25, 26. Levit. 26.3, 4, 5, 6. Deut. 7.12, 13, 14, 15. Deut. 28. from v. 1, to 14. Job. 36.11. Psal. 37.3, 4. & 81. [Page 133] 13, 15, 16. & 115.13, 14. so Isa. 1.19. & 1 Cor. 3.21, 22, 23. Now if we look God should per­form his promise, we must look to perform the condition. When we obey him, we are in a fair way to have a supply from him. Mat. 6.33. Seek ye first (saith Christ) the Kingdom of God, and his Righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you, the Greek word [...] sig­nifies, shall be cast in as overplus. A good Master provides for his Servants, though never so ma­ny, Luke 15.17. Surely then God will provide for his Servants. Rom. 8.32. He that spared not his Son, but delivered him up for us all: how shall he not with him (saith the Apostle) freely give us all things? He that hath given his Servants Christ, the Pearl of price, surely will not deny them pebbles (for worldly things are no better in comparison) if he see them good for them. Thus the Lord God is a Sun and a Sheild, the Lord will give Grace and Glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly, Psal. 84.11. No good thing (saith the Psalmist) will he withhold. Therefore if they want any thing, this very want they may conclude to be for their good. God is so careful a Father, that he will not give his Children a knife to cut their own Fingers with, and this is for the better still. Well then, if we serve the Lord, he will either supply, or (which is better) sanctifie our wants.

Lastly whereas you say, If God had spared him (or her) longer, it had been better for you, now you are utterly undone.

Answ. 1. You should look upon your present [Page 134] condition whatever it be, to be best for you. Dr. Hammond Dr. Fell in Life of Doctor Hamond. that eminent Divine, was wont to give this mandate to himself and his friends. Quod sis esse velis, nihilque malis, in his English to Rather nothing, not only to be content or acquiesce, but be resolved the present state to be the very best that could be wished, or phansied. And in the midst of most dismal appearance of event he made this constant motto, [...], even this for good. God knows what is best for thee, and if thou belongest to him, he is more tender over thee, then a Mother over her suck­ing Child, Isa. 49.15. and what thou thinkest a means of thy undoing, saveth thee. God by taking away such a friend, if he bring you into poverty, doth it for the purging out of sin, and for the exercise of Grace.

1. Consider, God doth it for the purging out of some sins, which prosperity breeds. God casts this rub in thy way, to keep thee from going on in a full career after-sin. It can be said of few, as of good Jehosaphat, 2 Chron. 17.5, 6. He had Riches and Honour in abundance, and his heart was lift up in the wayes of God. Usually it is with us, as it was with Uzziah, 2 Chr. 26.16. who when he was strong (and prospered) his heart was lifted up to his destruction. Riches, though good things in themselves, yet through the corruption of our natures, we oft-times make an ill use of them.Salv. ad Eccles. Cath l. 2. p 406. Salvian speaking of riches, saith, Impedimenta sunt, non adjumenta; onera, non subsidia: possessione enim & usu opum, non sufful­citur Religio, sed evertitur. And a little after, saith he, Bona & putantur & appellantur, ac per [Page 135] hoc fallunt homines nomine praesentium bonorum, cum sint causae malorum aeternorum. Riches are called thick clay, by the Prophet, Hab. 2.6. They are, as St. Austine calleth them, Viscus pennarum Spiritualium, As Bird-lime to the wings of the Soul, hindring it from soaring a­bove. Our Saviour compares them to Thorns, Mat. 13.22. they hinder us in our spiritual race. How hardly shall a rich man enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, Mat. 19.23, 24. so 2 Tim. 6.9. They that will be rich, fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdi­tion. Crescit cum prosperitate vitiositas, Salv. de Gub Dei. l. 7. p. 273. prosperi­ty makes few men better, it makes many men worse. But more particularly, I shall mention several sins that plenty and prosperity expose men to: As

1. To Pride. Psal. 73.2, 6. compared. It is there said of prosperous wicked men, Pride compasseth them about as a Chain. They glory in their pride, as proud men do in a chain of gold: so 1 Tim. 6.17. Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded.

2. To creature confidence: So 1 Tim. 6.17. we must charge rich men, that they be not high minded, so that they trust not in uncertain riches, which they are apt to do; thus did Doeg, Psal. 52.7. and the rich Farmer, Luke 12.18, 19.

3. To oppression: see Psal. 73.3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. So Amos in his herds-mans dialect, calls the rich and great ones of Samaria, Kine of Bashan, they were fat and frolick, and did gore their inferi­ours, Amos 4.1. Hear this word, ye Kine of [Page 136] Bashan, which oppress the poor, which crush the needy. So Jam. 2.6. Do not rich men oppress you?

4. To uncharitableness, cruelty, contention. (I put them together, for they are nigh of kin.) Rich Nabal was churlish, and uncharitable to fainting David and his company, 1 Sam. 25.10, 11. so the rich man denied Lazarus relief, Luke 16.19, 20, 21. Pity it is (yet usually so it is) that the more men have, the more they would have, and the less they'l part with. Yea they are not only uncharitable, but cruel too, Psal. 73.6. Violence (or cruelty) covers them as a garment. So Prov. 18.23. The rich an­swereth roughly. They are rough in their speeches and carriage to the poor. So Jam. 5.6. Yea have condemned, and killed the just, speaking of the rich men, v. 1. Who so given to Law-suits, Quarels, and Contentions as the rich? Whilst the Families of Abraham and Lot were not so great, there was peace and quiet, but so soon as they and their possessions were encreased, they grew contentious, Gen. 13.7, 8.9. Wealth parted those, whom neither Adversity, nor Fa­mine, nor Exile could part asunder. So Jam. 2.6. Do not rich men draw you before the Judg­ment-seats?

5. To Luxury and Intemperance. Luke 12.19. The rich Farmer sung a Requiem to his soul; Soul, take thine ease, thou hast goods laid up for many years; Eat, drink, and be merry. So Luke 16.19. Dives fared sumptuously every day. So Isa. 56.12. and Amos 6.4, 5, 6.

6. To Lust and Uncleanness. This sin the rich [Page 137] Sodomites were much addicted to, Gen. 19.4, 5. They burnt in lust, and followed strange flesh, Jude 7. Where there is no want, usually there is much wantonness, Jam. 5.1, 5 compared, Ye have lived in pleasure on the Earth, and been wanton, ye have nourished your hearts as in a day of slaughter.

7. To Security. Psal. 30.6. In my prosperity I said I shall never be moved. So Jer. 22.21. I spake unto thee in thy prosperity, but thou saidst, I will not hear. So Prov. 1.24, 31 compared.

8. And lastly. To contempt of God, his Word and Judgments. As Exod. 5.2. Job 21.14, 15. Psal. 55.19. Prov. 30.8, 9. Amos 6.3. You see what abundance of sins rich men are exposed to. These sins (and more that might be men­tioned) are waiters in ordinary attending great­ness. God therefore, by taking away such a Friend, and bringing you into a poor condition, would prevent, or cure in you such sins, as pro­sperity and plenty exposeth us unto. God, like a skilful Goldsmith, casts his Children into fiery tryals, to purge away their dross of sin, as you may see Isa. 27.9. & 48.10. Prov. 25.4.Sphinx, Philos. p. 311. Fiery tryals make pure Christians, Job 23.10. Magna est miseria à peccatis non retrahi: To go on in sin without controul is miserable. O blessed po­verty that starves our sins!

2. Consid. As God brings you into poverty for the purging out of sin, so for the exercise of grace. Poverty, like a File, brightens the Graces of Gods Spirit in his Children, and makes them shine forth to the World. I shall name several Graces that Poverty is a means to set a work: As,

[Page 138]1. Faith. In Poverty God saith, Let the Wi­dows trust in me, Jer. 49.11. so Zeph. 3.12. I will leave (saith God) in the midst of thee an af­flicted and poor People, and they shall trust in the Name of the Lord. 1 Tim. 5.5. She that is a Widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God. So Jam. 2.5. God hath chosen the Poor of this World rich in Faith. God by pulling away the pillow of creature-comforts, teacheth you to rest on him alone. As the Israelites in the Wilderness lived by Faith for their daily bread, Exod. 16.19, &c. Deut. 8.3. When we have little, and know not how to get more, then to depend on invisible bounty, is a true and noble act of Faith.

2. Prayer. 1 Tim. 5.5. She that is a Widow indeed, and desolate, not only trusteth in God, but continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. David being brought low, and refuge failing him, he prayed earnestly to the Lord, Psa. 142.4, 5, 6. Affliction sets Prayer at work, as Psal. 107.6, 13, 19, 28. so Jer. 31.18. Hos. 5.15. so Isa. 26.16. They poured out a prayer (saith the Prophet) when thy chastening was upon them. Before, they dropt out a prayer, now and then a prayer, as water drops through the Limbeck: but in affliction they poured them out, as water is poured out plentifully in rainy weather tho­row the spout. In Poverty people pray more earnestly and frequently for their daily bread.

3. Thankfulness. Man usually is unthankful: Generale firmè est omni homini, Salv. de Gub. Dei, l. 1 p. 35. ut Deo semper in­gratus sit. But rich men most of all unthankful; like Hogs eating up the Maste, but never looking to the place from whence it comes: But when [Page 139] God brings them into Poverty, then they prize his creatures, and him that sends them. Qui non agrotat, nescit quantum valet sanitas, saith Jerom. As a sick man prizeth health, so an hungry man prizeth plenty. Those that have the shortest Meals, usually have the longest Graces. Poor people, like birds, sip a little and look upwards.

4. Heavenly-mindedness. Rich-men, whose God usually is their Belly, mind earthly things, Phil. 3.19. but poor Christians, as the Apostles were, have their conversation in Heaven, v. 20. The Prodigal when he ate husks with swine, and was in great want, he thinks seriously of return­ing to his Father's house, Luke 15.14, &c. St. Paul in Poverty is willing to be gone, Phil. 1.23. Waters of Affliction, as the Waters to the Ark, mount us nearer Heaven. Some never look Hea­ven-wards but when God casts them on their backs, (I mean) reduceth them to poverty and misery. God then dams up outward comforts, that the stream of our affections may run faster another way.

5. Humility. God led the Israelites through the Wilderness to humble them, Deut. 8.16. God sees a Wilderness, a desolate condition may be a means to humble thee. Drinking Wormwood (say some) will take down a full body. Sure I am the Wormwood of Poverty is a proper reme­dy for an high and lofty spirit, Lam. 3.19, 20. Poverty clips the wings of Pride, and keeps the heart humble.

6. Patience. Rom. 5.3. We glory in tribula­tions, knowing that tribulation worketh patience. St. John the Divine, speaking of the Saints suffe­rings, [Page 140] saith, Here is the Patience, and Faith of the Saints, [...]. Rev. 13.10. The meaning is, here is matter for their Patience and Faith to be exer­cised about. Jam. 5.11. Ye have heard of the Pa­tience of Job. Job's Poverty amongst other affli­ctions, set Patience at work.

7. Frugality. Rich men many times are ad­dicted to prodigal spending. They are exces­sive many times in their expences upon back and belly: And they give that to their Dogs and Hogs which is fit for poor Christians to feed up­on; God therefore by sending Poverty, teacheth a Lesson of Frugality, to gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost, Joh. 6.12.

8. And lastly, Constancy and sincerity of your love to God. It is ordinary to see many follow Christ for loaves, and express their love towards him so long as they reap outward gain by him; but to see a man cleave to him, and follow him through a wilderness of temptations and tryals, when he sees nothing but signs of his displeasure, this argues the strength and sincerity of his af­fection towards him. Job's love was seen and set at work in the midst of poverty, and other tryals that he met with. Job 27.5, 6. Till I die (saith he) I will not remove mine integrity from me; my righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go.— Now if God take away outward possessions, and by this means work in us these and the like graces, we have no cause to com­plain as if we were undone, or losers by such an exchange. If a man go backward in estate, yet if he thrive in grace, this is uberrimus quaestus, and what he loseth one way, he gains another.

[Page 141]2. Answ. A man is never utterly undone till he be in Hell. And wilt thou say thou art utterly undone, when God by this affliction would pre­vent thy coming thither? 1 Cor. 11.32. When we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. The Captain of our Salvation was made perfect by suf­fering, Heb. 2.10. Though the cup be bitter, yet Gods wisdom tempers, and love sweetens all the bitter ingredients. God saith, he will do us no hurt, Jer. 25.6. He sees it needful for you to be thus afflicted, 1 Pet. 1.6. For a season (if need be) ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations. God, who afflicts not willingly, Lam. 3.33. sends no more affliction then you need. God, who is a dieting of thee, sees it best for thy souls health to be kept fasting, or to be stint­ed in thy allowance: It is good for the Patient to be at the finding and disposing of so wise a Physitian, and withall so careful. It is good for me (saith David) that I have been afflicted, Psal. 119.71. Volo mihi irascare Pater mise­ricordiarum, sed illâ irâ quâ corrigis devium, non quâ excludis, curiâ. Bern. Per diversam medi­caminum opem ad unam nos vult Deus perducere salutem. Salvian. de Gub. Dei, lib. 6. p. 224. Alas! poor silly man knows not what is good for him, like a Child, led by sence, he prefers sweet­meats before bitter pills that are more wholsom. Assure thy self, dear friend, Non caeco impetu vol­vuntur rota: The motions of Providence are all juditious, these wheels are full of eyes. God knows these worldly things have ruined thou­sands of souls; God knows a great estate hath [Page 142] hindred many from entring in at the narrow­gate, and therefore he cuts you short, as a man cuts off a gangren'd Leg to preserve Life. It is thy ignorance of Gods design that makes thee quarrel with him.

Moreover, the greatest Mercies have oft-times issued from the womb of greatest Disappoint­ments. How ill does Jacob resent Josephs absence, Gen. 37. latter end. & 42.36. He concludes all against him, when indeed all made for him, for preservation of himself, and the life of his whole family in Egypt, Gen. 45.5. Nay we read that Jo­seph himself was sold, Gen. 37. and after that cast into Prison, Gen. 39. What could Joseph expect but utter ruine, Retrò omnia, all things went so cross and ill-favoured with him! yet Divine Providence so ordered the matter, that Joseph is advanced, Religion propagated in Aegypt, and the Reliques of the Church preserved in a time of great Famine, Gen. 50.20. Patitur eum in Carcere aliquantulum sudare, laborare, clama­re, precari, lachrymari, ut eum in pietate probè exerceat, tandem verò Carcerem in salutem ejus convertit, nisi enim in Carcerem & quidem Regi­um fuisset conjectus, non innotuisset Regi, nec fuis­set hoc modo exaltatus, saith Pareus, in Gen. cap. 39. It was a great mercy for Israel to be in the Wilderness, for that was the right way to Ca­naan: And though God suffered them there to meet with much hardship, yet it was to humble them, to prove them, and do do them good at their latter end, Deut. 8.15, 16. yet they thought and concluded, they were brought to be slain, Exod. 16.2, 3. Num. 14.2, 3. & 20.4. One [Page 143] attempting to kill Prometheus the Thessalian, [Tully reports the like of Phereus Jason; Cic. l. 3. de Nat. Deorum. Sic ca­su fortuito Phereo Jasoni profuit hostis, qui gladio vomicam ejus aperuit, quam sanare medici non po­terant.] run him so deep with his sword into an. Imposthume, that he let out corruption and sa­ved his life. So this bitter stroke of God, which thou thinkest God intends for thy undoing, is a means to purge out corruption, and save thy soul. Therefore say with Themistocles, Periissem, nisi periissem; I had been lost if God had not pre­vented me with this happy losse: It is well with me it is so ill with me, for if God had not thus cross'd me, I had been in a cursed condition. Job calls Gods afflicting of us, his magnifying of us, Job. 7.17. And vers. 18. he calls afflicti­ons Gods visitations: They are God's friendly visits, he corrects out of love. As Josephs Cup was put in Benjamins Sack, whom he most lo­ved, so the Cup of Affliction is the Lot of God's most affected Children, Prov. 3.12. & 27.6. Heb. 12.9, 10. Rev. 3.19. Et cum blandiris Pater es, & Pater es cum caedis; Augustine saith well, he is a Father when he strikes us, as well as when he stroaks us. The Cross is the way to the Crown; Via, non Causa. 2 Cor. 4.17. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. That God that brought light out of darkness, and erected the glorious Fabrick of the World out of a confused Chaos, and made Clay and Spittle (likely to put out sight) a means to recover it; this God, I say, can bring it to pass, that what thou thinkest will un­do [Page 144] thee, shall be a means to promote thy eter­nal good. Oh the admirable harmony of Di­vine Dispensations in reference to mans Salvati­on!

To shut up this, you know, several herbs have several qualities, some of them very bitter; yet if a skilful simpler have the mixing of them, he will make you a pleasing and wholsom sallade: so there are many interchangable passages of Pro­vidence, and some of them very bitter to flesh and blood; yet divine Wisdom and Goodness will so order the matter, that they shall in the end be both pleasing and profitable. Jam. 1.2. My brethren count it all joy, when ye fall into di­vers temptations: For, vers. 12. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the Crown of Life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

Indeed we read, Psal. 36.6. Gods judgements are a great deep. And again, Psal. 77.19. Gods way is in the Sea, and his path in the great waters, and his footsteps are not known. Which words some apply to the bringing of his People through the Sea, and the waters returning to their course; of which you read, Exod, 14.28, 29. Others apply the words to the interchangable passages of Providence, in reference to his Church, the administration of the World, and of every mans Salvation. And so Rom. 11.33. How unsearch­able are his judgements, and his ways past finding out! Gods wayes are many times, cryptical, full of Meanders, we cannot trace them, they are a compendious heap of intricacies, oft going [Page 145] contrary to mans judgment and expectation, and to our apprehended rules of common right. Yet all his wayes are judgment (that is justice and equity) for he is a God of truth, and without ini­quity; just and right is he, Deut. 32.4. Much may be above us, because our ignorance is such that we cannot see a reason of his wayes; but nothing is unreasonable or evil, that proceeds from an holy, wise, loving, and just God.

I end this with that of the Psalmist, Psal. 25.10. All the pathes of the Lord (how rugged and severe soever to flesh and blood) are mercy and truth to such as keep his Covenant and his te­stimonies. They may seem cruelty, but indeed they are mercy; though thou can'st not see it for the present, yet thou may'st hereafter.

Another crys out,7th Apo­logy an­swered. This relation of mine dyed in the best of his age, in the prime of his strength, in the acuteness of his parts, his Sun set at noon­day; he fixed a Period where we made account of a Comma; hoping at least half the Sentence of his Life was behind, but it was broken off in haste, and this troubles me.

Answ. We do not much lament the death of Old persons, because we know they could not live long; Every mans Life (as one saith) is a Lease, and an old mans Life is an old worn Lease ready to drop into the Land-Lords hand. We ex­pect a Taper should go out when the Wax is spent: but to see the Lamp of a friends Life ex­tinguished in its brightest and strongest lustre; This troubles us. But,

[Page 146]1. Consid. 'Tis ordinary for man to dye in his full strength, Job 21.23, 24. One dyeth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet; his breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moist­ned with marrow, &c. King Edward the 6th that hopeful Prince fell asleep before noon, and was laid untainted in the Bed of Honour. So that good King Josiah died before he was 40 years of age, as may be gathered from 2 Chron. 34.1. Nay Christ himself was cut off before he attained one half of the age of man, described by Moses Psal. 90.10. Nay David tells us, Psal. 39.5. Every man at his best state (whether of age or honour) is altogether vanity. It being so ordi­nary for man to dye at, or about the vigour of his age, it should be the less troublesom.

2. Consid. If thy Friend had lived to old age, what is that but an age of misery, a stage of va­nity, an hospital of Diseases. The dayes of Old Age are called, Evil dayes, by the Wise man, Eccles. 12.1. Remember now thy Creator in the dayes of thy youth, while the evil dayes come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them, q. d. The dayes of old age bring so many aches and troubles along with them, that if they be lengthened into years, yet a man can find no pleasure or content: but whole years together shall be full of weariness and sorrow. Nay the very strength of the years of an Old man is labour and sorrow, saith Moses, Psal. 90.10. Old people are oft-times a trouble to themselves and others.

[Page 147]3. And lastly, consid. Thy Friend must at last have died. Man's Life is by some fitly compared to a Lamp, which may be soon extinguished by some fall or violent blast; but if it escape these, there is but a set proportion of oyl, which will soon be consumed, and then it goes forth of its own accord. The Clock, though it goes slow­ly, strikes surely at last: And the Sun in the longest day of its perambulation at last goes out of sight. He that walks longest over the graves of others, comes at last to his own. So that if thy Friend had not died now, he must have dyed some other time. And if another time, why not now?

Another cryes out,8th Apo­logy an­swered. This Relation of mine was loth to die, he died comfortless; desperate words, idle vain talk, unseemly gestures and speeches pro­ceeded from him; and this troubles me.

Answ. Was your Relation loth to dye?

1. Consid. Many of Gods dear Children have at some time or other been loth to depart. So was David, Psal. 55.4, 5. and Psal. 102.24. And Hezekiah, Isa. 38.1. And Peter, out of a sudden apprehension of death and fear of it, denyed his Lord and Master. The Godly cease not to be Men by becoming Christians: as men they are sometimes afraid of Death, which is, [...], Malum corruptivum, destructive to nature. God hath imprinted (saith aDr. Abbot Lect. 6. on Jonah p. 126, 127. judicious Divine) a passionate love betwixt the soul and the body, that they grieve to leave one another: So that the spirit may be willing, yet the flesh is weak. [Page 148] What man is he, whom God's Spirit hath not in a great measure mortified, that feels not in himself oft-times, an horror and a quaking to think of his dissolution?

2. Consid. Thy Friend though he might fear the pain of death, yet he might rejoyce at the gain of death; as many a man desires the Haven, yet trembles at the voyage. The pangs of death might a little affright him, yet being dead (if a good man) let us not question his happiness: Christ went to the Cross with much care and many a­gonies; nay the Apostle tells you, that he fear­ed, Heb. 5.7.

Did he die comfortless?

Answ. 1. Consid. It is one thing to have true comfort, another thing to have the sence of it. The sence of it (as Divines say) may be taken away for a while through the violence of the distemper, or through Satans malice, who is most busie at such a time to disturb a good man's peace. The Devil, that roaring Lyon (who at all times goes about seeking whom he may devour, 1 Pet. 5.8.) at such a time plays the Devil in­deed, and exerciseth what cruelty he may, be­cause his time is short, Rev. 12.12. But though the sence of comfort for a while may be taken away, yet their comfort is not quite gone; See Isa. 54.7, 8. The holy Ghost, the comforter, where he once takes possession, abides for ever, John 14.16.

2. Consid. Our Saviour Christ, He who was [Page 149] the only begotten Son, in whom alone God was well pleased, Mat. 3. last. As he had not al­wayes a sence and feeling of Gods love, Mat. 27.46. so, nor of spiritual and heavenly joy, Mat. 26.38, 39. His soul was exceeding sorrow­ful. [...], declarat animum undique moe­rore obsessum & circumvallatum; His soul was besieged with grief, and sorrow compassed it a­bout; So Luke 22.44. He was in an agony.

3. And lastly, Consid. Though a good man seem to dye comfortless, yet his end is comfortable, Ps. 37.37. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of that man is peace. If peace did not enter into him whilst living, yet being dead, he enters into peace. Isa. 57.2. He shall enter into peace, that walks in his upright­ness. The Godly, through tedious conflicts (as the Israelites through a crooked and tedious wil­derness) come to the promised Land at last.

Did desperate words, idle vain talk, unseemly gestures and speeches proceed from him?

Answ. Indeed many of God's dear servants have given sweet exhortations at the time of their death, heavenly discourses have proceeded from them. Jacob blessed his Sons, Gen. 49. so Heb. 11.21. See the sweet carriage and pious discourses of Moses a little before his departure, Deut. 31, 32, 33, Chapt. So Joshua dying, ex­horts the people to obedience, Jos. 23.14. and Chap. 24. So David, when he was dying pro­fesseth his faith in Gods promises, and declares the different state of the wicked, 2 Sam. 23. [Page 150] beginning; and instructs his son Solomon, 1 Kin. 2.2. Blessed Stephen made a sweet end, praying for his enemies, Act. 7. latter end. So blessed Peter, about to put off his tabernacle, ceaseth not to give good instructions and exhortations, 2 Pet. 1.13, 14, 15. Such serious discourses of dying Christians, as they instruct by standers, and make deepest impressions upon their spirits, so they afford abundance of comfort to living Friends to see so blessed a departure.

But if it fell out otherwise with thy Godly-Friend, Consider for thy comfort, That these frenzies, and raving unseemly speeches and car­riage (if they proceeded onely from the person while sick) did not proceed ex animo, but ex animi morbo; they proceeded not so much from the person, as from his distemper, fuming up in­to the brain, or from want of sleep, &c. So it was with Job, that God boasts of for his Servant as a Nonsuch, Job 1.8. & 2.3. when he was sadly diseased in body, he was sadly di­stemper'd in mind; for in chap. 3. he curseth the day of his birth: and chap. 6. so chap. 9. wish­eth God would destroy him, and cut him off. And Job 13.14. like a mad-man, he takes his flesh in his teeth. And chap. 16.9. he said God hated him. What unseemly speeches and carriage were in this good man in the time of his sickness! So David under bodily distemper, said, he was cut off, Psal. 31.10, 22 compared. Asaph behaves himself as strangely, see Psal 77.7, &c. but these desperat words proceded from him in his sickness, v. 2. Such speeches as these proceed not from the disposition of the heart, but from the distemper of [Page 151] the head, & lightness of the phansie, caused by the distemper of the body.Mr. Smith's Essex-Dove. T. 3. p. 143. A Christian may dye (saith a Godly Divine) of so strange a disease, of the Flux, Burning-Ague, Stone, Convulsion, when either the Choler shooting up into the head, or the disease working furiously upon the tender vital parts, the party may dye strangely, talk idely, &c. nay, he may have his face and mouth drawn awry, & yet for all this be a dear Child of God. Some may dye of an Apoplexy, or dead Palsy, in which case a man shall have his senses benum'd so, as he may dye like a block without shew of judgment or reason, yet may be in a blessed state: For though the state of his body be changed, yet the state of his mind and soul remains untouched.August. Tom. 9. de Disci­plin. c. 2. We may conclude for our comfort, as St. Austine saith, Non potest malè mori qui benè vixerit: Audéo dicere non po­test-malè mori qui benè vixerit. I dare say it, and say it again, that he cannot die ill that hath lived well.

Another cryes out,9th Apo­logy an­swered. This Friend of mine was much tortured with his disease; Oh the sad casts of his countenance! how did he tumble and toss upon the bed of languishment without any intervals of rest? nothing could tempt his eyes to let their curtains down: Groans, and sighs, and sobs were his soul's passing-bell. There was a sad parting betwixt soul and body. And this troubles me.

Answ. Indeed many are sore troubled to con­sider God should deal so severely with their re­lations in the time of their sickness. They can­not chuse but sympathize with them, and sadly [Page 152] reflect upon the groans and pains of deceased Friends: But, Consider,

1. God is absolute Lord over all his creatures, and his dispensations towards them are various. God deals with some as with Enoch, he takes them away and they hardly see or feel death, whereas many others as dear to him, are with Elijah car­r [...]ed to Heaven as it were in a fiery-Chariot, and by a Whirlwind. Luther Abel Re­divivus in Life of Luther without any bodi­ly pain that could be discerned, departed this life; whereas Calvin was miserably wrack'd before he dyed, having the Gout, Feaver and Cholick all at one time. Nah. 1.3. The Lord hath his way in the Whirlwind. We cannot give a reason of all God's dealings towards the sons of men: but considering he is absolute Lord o­ver all his creatures, this is reason sufficient we should submit unto him.

2. Consid. Thy Friend dyed not so cruel a death as many of God's dear Servants have done. Christ himself dyed the death of the Cross, which was a painful as well as a shameful death, Phil. 2.6, 7, 8. Heb. 12.2. Naboth was stoned, 1 Kin. 21.13. so was Zacharias, 2 Chron. 24.22. and the Protomartyr St. Stephen, Act. 7.59. You may read, Heb. 11. (that Chapter is a little Martyrology) ver. 35, 36, 37. how some were tortured, scourged, stoned, sawn asunder, slain with the sword, &c. Mr. Fox, or Mr. Clark in his Martyrology will tell you, that many Mar­tyrs had their skins pulled off, joynts racked, bodies torn in pieces, &c. willing to endure for Christ's sake what the wit of man could invent, or cruelty impose. Now God might have called [Page 153] thy Friend to such a death, which would have been far more sad, cruel, and painful as to out­ward appearance. Well then, consider, God might have delivered thy Friend into the hands of cruel man (which would have been very sad, as appears by David's speech 2 Sam. 24.14.) but God cast him on a soft Bed amongst Friends, who did carefully attend him, and minister un­to him.

3. Consid. The greater thy Friends pain was, the more fervent prayers were put up for him. You find David in Psal. 38. lying under God's afflicting hand, what servent ejaculations he sent up towards the Throne of Grace. So Asaph Ps. 77.2. In the day of his trouble sought the Lord. So Jesus Christ in his Agony prayed more earnestly, Luke 22.44. Great Miseries make the loudest Eccho's in the ears of Mercy. And as the af­flicted party himself, so all that saw him, or heard of his misery, would be ready to pity and pray for him. Methinks the sad groans of a dy­ing Friend are sufficient to dissolve an heart of stone into prayers and tears, especially godly Friends would pray fervently for him: And these are most likely to prevail; for Jam. 5.16. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man a­vaileth much. That Ship saileth the surest to the haven of Heaven, which is driven with the breath of godly mens prayers.

4. Consid. The greater the pain was, the shorter was the continuance of it. Dolor si gravis brevis, si longus levis. We reade how Aeneas kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the Pal­sie, Act. 9.33. We read of one that had an issue [Page 154] of blood twelve years, Mat. 9.20. and had suffered many things of many Physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, Mark 5.26. So John 5.5. there we read of one that had an infirmity thirty eight years. Now if thy Friend's pain had not been so great, he might have continued still a burden to thee and to himself; but the greatness of his pain hastened death, which put an end to all trouble and grief: his great pangs and strug­lings (as throes of a travelling woman) made way for deliverance. And therefore,

5. And lastly, Consider, Thy Friend is now at rest. Rev. 14.13. Let them die of never so cruel a death, if they die in the favour of God, they are blessed, for they rest from their labours. It may be thou grievedst but little whilest thy Friend laboured for rest, and wilt thou grieve much when he rests from his labours? Whilst thy Friend was ground with the Stone, or burnt up with a Feaver, and rouled upon his bed without sleep, thou hadst cause to weep, and it was thy duty to sympathize with him, Rom. 12.15. but being dead he is at rest, Isa. 57.2. (for death to a Child of God is but a sleep, Joh. 11.11, 12, 13. so Act. 7.60.) and being buried he hath laid his head upon the lap of his mo­ther, (for so the Earth is called Job 1.21.) to be awakened again at the last Trump, to the everlasting comfort both of soul and body: And shall we now weep? Surely this sorrow is unseasonable. We prayed (or else we were to blame) whilst our Friend was in pain, that God would deliver him, and therefore when God by [Page 155] death hath put an end to all his pain, we should give thanks to God, and rejoyce rather than weep. The Church, our careful Mother, hath taught us as much in the Funerals of the Dead, We give thee hearty thanks for that it hath plea­sed thee to deliver this our Brother (or Sister) out of the miseries of this sinful world.

Another cryes out,10th Apology answerd This Eriend of mine dyed of a sad mischance, he fell into the Fire or Water, or was kill'd of Lightning, fell off a Horse, or Cart, or was shot in War, or otherwise, or he was kill'd by Thieves or wicked men, &c. or he fell suddenly sick, groan'd, sigh'd, dyed. And this troubles me that he dyed such a sudden, violent and untimely death.

Answ. From sudden death (i. e. from death not thought-of, and so not provided-for) good Lord deliver us; not only for our own sakes, but for our Friends sakes too; they'l take it, the less sudden it is, the more patiently. See how sadly Jacob takes the supposed death of his son Joseph; upon the sight of his bloudy coat, he too rashly concluded his son was dead, that he was devoured by some cruel beast:Signifi­cans in­ [...]ternum animi di­lacerati­onem seu moestitiaē And the Text tells you, Gen. 37.33, 34. He rent his cloaths, in token, as Pareus saith upon the place, that his heart was rent through with sorrow, and he put on sackcloth, a coarse and sorry stuff which was the usual Mourning-Weed in those times: And he refused to be comforted: Thus his father wept for him, for Joseph, who dyed (as he thought) a sudden death. David himself proclaimed a solemn and publick Funeral-Mour­ning [Page 156] for the death of Abner, who was coward­ly and suddenly slain, when he did least suspect it, by one that pretended peace and friendship: And David himself laid aside his Royal Digni­ty and attended the Corps, joyning with the People in that sad Consort, as you may reade 2 Sam. 3. towards the latter end of the chapter. So David weeps excessively for the space of three whole years, because his son Amnon dyed so un­naturally, untimely, & unexpectedly, being kill'd by Absalom, 2 Sam. 13.28, &c. And we reade how the true Mother of the living Child had rather her Adversary should have the comfort of her Child, than that it should dye a violent and untimely death, 1 King. 3.26. And in that appeared both the truth of her affection towards it, and that she was the true Mother of it, v. 27. Job hearing the heavy tydings of the sudden death of his Children, could no longer con­tain, but vents his grief in words, being more affected with the sudden loss of his Children, than all the rest of his Goods, Job 1.18, 19, 20. But for your comfort,

1. Consid. It hath been the lot of some of Gods dear Servants to dye so. Thus righteous Abel was suddenly butchered by his brother Cain, Gen. 4.8. So old Eli (though indeed he had his failings in not correcting and severely pu­nishing his wicked Sons, 1 Sam. 2.23, &c. and 1 Sam. 3.13. as he should have done, being chief-Magistrate as well as Parent, yet) question­less was a good man, as may be gathered from sacred Story; and the manner of his death was sudden, he fell off from his seat backward, and his [Page 157] neck brake, and he dyed, 1 Sam. 4.18. So that good King Josiah, 2 King. 22.19, 20. was suddenly cut off in War, 2 King. 23.29, 30. So the Pro­phet that came out of Judah (whether Shemaiah, mentioned 1 King. 12.22. or some other Pro­phet I know not, neither ought we curiously to enquire, or positively determine any thing, where Scripture is silent, yet) he was a true Prophet, as appeareth by his title (1 King. 13.1. call'd a Man of God) by the Message it self, and confir­mation thereof by miracles, ver. 4, 5, 6. And as a true Prophet, so questionless a pious Man: yet because he was too credulous in believing the lie of the old Prophet, and did eat and drink contrary to God's Command, a Lion met him, and slew him, v. 24. So blessed Stephen, stoned in a popular fury, was put to a sudden and vio­lent death, Act. 7.57, 59. Let us not conclude any to be in a damnable state, meerly because they die suddenly. Indeed God threatens the Wicked with sudden destruction, as Job 15.32, 33, 34. so Job 22.15, 16. Psal. 37.35, 36, 38. & 55.23. Prov. 10.27. Eccl. 7.17. and else­where. And I know that wicked men many times are suddenly cut off in their wickedness, when they might have lived much longer as to the course of nature. But all that die suddenly are not to be reputed wicked men: For the God­ly, as you have heard, may dye sudden, violent, and untimely deaths. And the Wise-man tells you, Eccl. 9.1, 2. —No man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before him: All things come alike to all, there is one event to the Righte­ous and to the Wicked, &c. The Barbarians seeing [Page 158] the Viper on Pauls hand (thinking the venom would presently have invaded his heart and vi­tal spirits, so that he would have died presently) rashly concluded him to be a Murtherer, and that Divine vengeance would not suffer him to live, Act. 28.3, 4, 6. Let not Christians (like these Barbarians) be rash censurers of any that dye suddenly, seeing that Gods dear and pecu­liar People may dye so.

2. Consid. A sudden death is best, if we be prepared for it. Octavius Augustus, as oft as he heard of any man that had a quick passage out of this world, with little sense of pain, he wish­ed for himself and his ( [...], Similem, Sueton.) such an easie death. Suddenness (saith that Prodigy of Learning, Mr. Hooker) because it shortens grief, Eccles. Polit. pag. 277. should in reason be most accepta­ble: and therefore Tyrants use what art they can to encrease the slowness of death. That monster of cruelty, Caius Caligula, would not permit those that he put to death to be speedily dispatched, his command was this, Ita feri, ut se mori sen­tiat. Sueton. Strike so, that they may feel them­selves dying, and endure the pains of an endu­ring death. Quick riddance out of Life is of­ten both requested and bestowed as a benefit. We read, Judg. 8.20, 21. that Zeba and Zal­munna chose rather to fall by Gideon than by Je­ther his son; either because it was more hono­rable to be killed by a man like themselves, ra­ther than by a boy;Mr. Ful­ler in his Coment on Ruth, 1 Chap. Or rather (as a learned Divine observes) Because the Childs want of strength, would cause the more pain. And he adds, [Page 159] Better to be speedily dispatched by a violent Dis­ease, than to have ones Life prolonged by a ling­ring torture. And Erasmus, somewhere saith, (Si pio homini deligere fas esset mortis genus, nullum arbitror magis optandum quàm subitum.) If it were lawful for a godly man to choose the man­ner of his death, I think a sudden death most to be desired; and he gives this reason of it, because (Non potest malè mori, qui benè vixerit) he can­not dye ill, that hath lived well: For though death be sudden in its self, yet in regard of his preparation for it, and expectation of it, to him it is not sudden. Improvisa nulli mors, cui pro­vida vita. Sad indeed it is to dye as Onan, Ab­salom, Amnon, Ananias and Sapphira, and seve­ral others that we read of in Scripture, who were suddenly snatcht away in their wickedness, From such a sudden death, Good Lord deliver us; For it is a speedy downfall to the bottomless-pit of Hell. But if a man live (as he ought to do) in continual expectation of death, and so set his house and his soul in order, surely sudden death is best for him, for it prevents much torturing pain, which others met with upon their beds of languishment: and besides this, it is a speedy passage into Life Eternal.

3. And lastly, Consid. Be thy Friends death never so sudden and violent, it is that death which God in his providence hath allotted him. God or­daineth our end by an immutable decree, See Jer. 43.11. When he commeth, Dr. Abbot on Jonah 4.3, 4. Lect. 26. pag. 543 he shall smite the Land of Egypt, and deliver such as are for death to death; and such as are for captivity, to captivity; [Page 160] and such as are for the sword, to the sword. This intimates, that by the Providence of the Lord, who did set that King on work, several persons in their times are determined to their several ends. We must not attribute any friends death, as the Philistines would their destruction, to Chance, 1 Sam. 6.9.

Homer, speaking of Achilles, that slew many worthy Grecians, saith, ‘— [...]. Iliad. α. v. 5. Joves will was fulfilled. Homer, though blind (as some report) yet saw the hand of God in their destruction. AndMr. Ful­ler in his Coment on Ruth 2.3, 4. some observe the word ( [...], or) Fortune, is not used in all his Works. It was only the ignorance of true causes that made the name of Fortune.

Nullum numen abest, si sit prudentia, sed te,
Nos facimus fortuna Deum— Juven. Sat. 10.

For there is nothing fortuitous in it self, seeing Gods Providence orders all events. Indeed some things are said to happen in Scripture, Ruth 2.3.4. Luke 10.31. but this is spoken not in respect of God, but in respect of us, because oft­times they come to pass not only without our purpose and forecast, but even against our inten­tions and determinations; but yet those things which thus fall out, are ordered by the secret working of Gods providence. We read 1 Kings 22.34. A certain man drew a Bow at a venture (or according to the Orig. in his Simplicity, [Page 161] 2 Sam. 15.11.) not intending to bit Ahab, yet God's purpose was to have Ahab slain, and ac­cordingly it came to pass, for he smote the King of Israel between the joynts of the har­ness, and the King dyed, vers. 37. Thus provi­dence orders even casual events. Christ's death, with the manner, was decreed by God, Acts 4.27, 28. Of a truth against thy holy Child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Ponti­us Pilate, with the Gentiles and People of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel (that is, power and provi­dence) determined before to be done. Wicked men that kill our friends, they are God's Sword, or his Hand; God works by them, Psal. 17.13, 14. Old Eli saw Gods hand in the violent and untimely death of his two sons Hophni and Phineas, and he took it patiently; 1 Sam. 3.18. It is the Lord, let him do what seems him good. Say then with Job, whose Children were vio­lently cut off, Job 1.21. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away, (Septuag. inserts, [...], as it pleaseth the Lord, so come things to pass) blessed be the Name of the Lord.

Another cries out,11. Apo­logie an­swered. My Friend died of the Plague, that loathsom disease, and there was no funeral solemnity: but he was carried forth like some sorry carrion, and buried, I know not where, may be in some sorry pit; and this troubles me.

Answ. God lately in our dayes,Anno Domini, 1665. sent a fear­full Plague amongst us; There dyed at London, [Page 162] (as appeared by the weekly Bill.) above eight thousand some weeks. The Metropolis of this Nation hath been (as it were) plowed up and sown thick with dead Corpses. Great pits were digged where the dead lay together, as Sampson said of the slaughtered Philistines, by heaps up­on heaps, Judg. 15.16. A sad time God knows they had, Bells sadly toling, People sadly sigh­ing, crying, dying. I believe many to this very day, have sad thoughts of heart for the loss of dear friends, and think they were not buried like Christians, because there were no Funeral solemnities. I shall therefore to chear up such, answer the particulars.

Did your Friend dye of the noysom Pestilence, for so it is called, Psal. 91.3?

1. Consid. Gods dear servants have lain un­der such distempers. Hezekiah was sick unto death 2 Kings 20.1. Some think he had the Plague, vers. 7. there is mention made of his Boyl, which some conceive did arise from the Plague.

Job laboured under a Plague sore, Job 2.7. He was smitten [...] with an angry burning Boyl, insomuch, that his skin was broken and be­came loathsom, Job 7.5. So David cryes out, Ps. 39.10. Remove thy stroak away from me, some render, Plagam tuam, thy Plague, which is a fearful stroak from God. Indeed God promiseth Psal. 91.3. &c. To deliver his people from the noysome Pestilence: But this, as other promises of outward blessings, is a conditional promise. God [Page 163] will deliver his People, if he sees it makes most for his glory and his Peoples good. But God sees it good for them to dye of the Plague, which (though a sad affliction in it self) is a means to hasten their glory. God sent a fearful sickness amongst the Corinthians (some think it might be the Plague) because they did not receive the Sa­crament of the Lord's Supper with due prepa­ration, 1 Cor. 11.30. and yet they were chastened of the Lord (saith the Apostle) that they should not be condemned with the World, v. 32. Godly Junius and his Wife died of the Plague, as some report. The Plague, that hot burning distemper (if God send it to his Children, so that they dye of it) like Elijah's fiery Chariot, is a means to convey them more speedily to Heaven.

2. Consid. The Plague (as all other sickness) cometh by Divine Appointment. See Exod. 15.26. Numb. 14.12. & 16.46. Deut. 28.21. 2 Sam. 24.14, 15. Ps. 39.10. The Plague is an Arrow of God's shooting, a Messenger of God's sending. And as the Centurion in the Gospel said to his under-Souldiers, Go, and he goeth: Come, and he cometh: Do this, and he doth it, Mat 8.9. so God gives this Messenger charge whither it shall go, how far it shall advance, what execution it shall do, and it faithfully obeys him. There­fore say with David, Ps. 39.9. I was dumb, and opened not my mouth (he means murmuringly, impatiently, &c.) because, O Lord, thou didst it.

3. Consid. God prizeth his People let them die of what distemper soever. Psal. 116.15. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints; [Page 164] He likes them not the worse for dying of the Plague.

4. Lastly, Consider, They are happy, let them dye of what distemper soever, if they dye in God's favour. Rev. 14.13. Their souls for the present are happy; and at Christ's second coming their bodies shall be glorious. 1 Cor. 15.43. The body, though sown in dishonour, is raised in glory. Bodies spotted through sickness, shall then be made beautiful bodies, and all their deformities be done away. Then shall the Righteous shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father, Mat. 13.43. For, Col. 3.4. When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall these also appear with him in glory.

Was there no Funeral Solemnity?

Answ. It hath been an ancient custom to at­tend at the Funeral of Friends.De Civit. Dei lib. 11. c. 13. St. Austin saith, Non contemnenda sunt & abjicienda Corpora De­functorum: Bodies of deceased Friends are not slightly and contemptibly to be cast away. And again he saith, Antiquorum Justorum Funera cu­rata sunt, De Cura pro Mor­tuis. & Exequiae celebratae; & Sepultura provisa: The Funerals of good men were for­merly celebrated with great solemnity. Abra­ham takes care for the Funeral of his Wife Sa­rah, Gen. 23.3, 4. And his sons Isaac and Ish­mael buried him in the Cave of Machpelah, where his Wife lay, Gen. 25.9, 10. Jacob made Joseph swear to perform his Funeral Rites, Gen. 47 29, 30, 31. and accordingly it was done with great solemnity, Gen. 50, 7, 8, &c. So all [Page 165] Israel lamented Samuel and buried him, 1 Sam. 25.1. And David spake it to the commendati­on of the men of Jabesh-Gilead, those loyal and grateful Subjects, that they shewed kindness to their Lord Saul, and buried him honourably, 2 Sam. 2.4, 5, 6. so Jehoida was buried ho­nourably, 2 Chron. 24.15, 16. so much people accompanied the Widows son of Naim to his Burial, Luke 7.12. And devout men carried Stephen to his Burial, and made great Lamen­tation over him, Act. 8.2. Our Saviour Christ, who was alwayes moderate in his expences, and would have the fragments gathered up that no­thing might be lost, John 6.12. yet admitted Mary's costly Oyntment, because against his Bu­rial, Mat. 26.7, &c.

Indeed it is promised as a mercy, to have de­cent Burial, Job 5.26. Thus God promised Abraham, that he should be buried in peace, and in a good old age, Gen. 15.15. And it was promised Abijah, 1 King. 14.12, 13. that all Israel should mourn for him, and bury him, for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the Grave, be­cause in him there was found some good thing, &c. and it was accordingly performed, ver. 18. so the like was promised to Josiah, 2 King. 22.20. and he was peaceably buried, though kill'd in War, 2 King. 23.29, 30.

It is a part of humane misery to be with­out decent Burial, and it is threatned as a judg­ment on the Wicked, to lie unburied, and dye unlamented; Deut. 28.26. 1 King. 21.23, 24. 1 King. 14.11. 2 Chron. 21.19. Isa. 14.20. [Page 166] Jer. 7.33. & 8.2. & 14.16. & 16.4. and 22.19.

Fit then it is that we attend at the Obsequies of deceased Friends; not that it helps the Dead.

But, 1. For their Honour; it being a decent respect we pay to their name and memory; for it is an honour to live desired, and die lamented.

See Dr. Walker Fun. Ser­mon on Luke 7.12, 13.2. In Charity to the Living, for their com­fort, and alleviating their sorrow, while the burden is made lighter by many helping them to bear it. John 11.31. The Jews were with Mary to comfort her at the death and burial of her Brother Lazarus. Curatio Funeris, conditio Sepulturae, pompa Exequiarum, magis vivorum solatia sunt, quàm subsidia mortuorum. Aug.

3. For our own advantage, and encrease of Piety, Eccles. 7.2, 3, 4.

4. And lastly. To testifie our faith in that great Article of the Resurrection of the Dead. For if in this life onely we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable, 1 Cor. 15.19. Now it strengthens our faith of the Resurrection, when bodies of Christians are not cast away as beasts bodies are.

But if thy Friend wanted decent Burial, if there was no Funeral-solemnity, for thy com­fort,

1. Consid. It cannot reasonably be expected that there should be Funeral-Solemnities in Pesti­lential-places; for this would occasion further in­fection. We read Luke 7.12. how the Widows son of Naim was carried out of the City to be bu­ried. [Page 167] Hinc collige Judeos Sepulchra sua habuisse non in Urbe, sed extra Urbem, idque tùm ob nito­rem, tùm ob sanitatem, nè cadavera suo faetore, & putredine aerem inficerent. Cornel. à. Lap. The Jewes buried out of the City, that the Graves might not deface the comliness of their Cities, nor noysome Exhalations and Vapours of the Graves infect the Air, and hazard the health of the Living. Great care is to be had that the Living be not infected with the Contagion of the Dead. For if a living Dog be better than a dead Lion, as Solomon concludes Eccles. 9.4. Surely the persons of Christians that survive, are more to be respected than the bodies of those that are dead. Now how dangerous were it for the Living to accompany the Corps of such as dyed of the Plague, how noysome to bury them there, where the Living have often occa­sion to make their recourse? so that it were in­commodious to humane society to perform so­lemn Funeral Rites at such a time.

I end this with words taken out of that god­ly Exhortation at the end of Divine-Service, ap­pointed to be used on the Monthly-Fast during the continuance of the Plague, The words are these; Though it be a Christian and laudable custom, to accompany the Bodies of the Dead unto the Grave, and commend them in decent manner unto their rest: yet seeing the end of such As­semblies as are then gathered together, is, by the use of Prayer, and the Word preached, rather to give comfort unto the Living, than any benefit unto the Dead; let men be advised, perswaded [Page 168] and content, that their Dead should be buried with no more company than is needful for the inter­ring and laying them up in the Earth, because the gathering together of Friends and Neighbours in so common a Contagion, cannot be without present danger, and hazard of their health and lives; and it is verily thought that Infection by this means of meeting hath ensued unto many.

2 Consid. It is all one to the Dead whether their Bodies be drown'd, or burnt, or buried; and if buried, it is all one where the Grave is made for them.

—Facilis jactura Sepulchri. Lucan. lib. 16.

If they fail of the Burying-Place they expected, the loss is not great: for the Body is not sensible how it is used: Neither do such Solemnities do the Dead either good or hurt. Though they adde to the comfort of the Living, yet not of the Dead.

3 Consid. What if the Body be thus used, the Soul is safe, if thy Friend belonged to God. The Soul of man is his Darling, Psal. 22.20. and 35.17. If this Jewel be preserved; no mat­ter what becomes of the Cabinet.

4 Consid. Many of Gods dear Servants have wanted decent Burial. See Psal. 79.2, 3. The dead Bodies of thy Servants have they given to be meat unto the Fowls of the Heaven; the Flesh of thy Saints unto the Beasts of the Earth, their [Page 169] Blood have they shed like water round about Je­rusalem, and there was none to bury them. There was none to bury them, either none that durst for fear of the enemy: or so many slain by the enemy, that the living sufficed not to bury the dead. In persecuting times many Martyrs have been devoured of wild-beasts, torn in pie­ces, hang'd on gibbets, burnt to ashes, drowned &c. so that they have wanted burial. Moses himself, a dear Servant of the Lord, was buried no man knows where, Deut. 34.6.

5. And lastly, consider, The Dead in the Lord are never the worse thought of by God, if without decent burial. Sore Lazarus had little cost bestowed on him at his Death, that found so little mercy in his Life. It is said, Luke 16.22. This Beggar died, no mention made of his Burial: yet he was carried by the Angels in­to Abraham's bosom; which as St. Ambrose Ambros. Orat. fun. de obitu Valent. saith, is a certain retiring-place of eternal rest; (Sinus Patriarcharum recessus quidam est quietis aeternae.) But it is said of the Rich-man, that he died, and was buried: buried he was, and pro­bably with great pomp; yet the next news we hear of him is, that in Hell he lift up his eyes, being in torment, ver. 23.

Another cryes out,12. Apo­logy an­swered. It troubles me to think the body should lye rotting and stinking in the grave, and be eaten up of wormes, and be turned to dust, disrobed of all amiable features; so that after a few years, there are but few remains of our dear friend; here perhaps a scalp, and there a bone, &c.

Answer.

1. Consid. The Soul of thy Friend (if a Child of God) is in bliss whilest the Body lies in the grave, that place of silence, rottenness, stench, and corruption. That the Soul dyes not with the Body, these places of Scripture shew.

See 1 King. 17.21. Elijah raising to life the Widows Son of Sareptah, cryed unto the Lord, and said, O Lord my God, I pray thee let this Childs Soul come into him again. Which expres­sion, as it shews the Child was really dead, and that death separates the Soul from the Body, so it shews that after death the soul lives or hath a being; for he said, Let this Childs Soul come in­to him again, or, let it return; He doth not say, let a new one be made for him. So Eccles. 12.7. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was, and the Spirit shall return to God who gave it. So Mat. 10.28. our Saviour teach­eth that the Soul cannot be kill'd, though the Bo­dy be. So Mat. 22.32. God is not the God of the dead, yet he is said to be the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: These Patriarchs then were alive as to their Souls. You see then the Soul dyes not with the Body. And, if the Soul of a good man, it is in bliss and happiness, even in the state of separation, as these places shew, Luke 23.43. 2 Cor. 5.1, 8. Phil. 1.23. Rev. 14.13. The Body is as it were the Nest or Cage of the Soul: Death disturbs this Nest, opens this Cage, and then the Soul, that Bird of Paradise, flyes away to the kingdom of Heaven.

Seneca Seneca ad Merc. cap. 24. could tell disconsolate Mercia, Imago duntaxat filii tui periit— ipse quidem aeternus, melioris (que) nunc status est, despoliatus onexibus ali­enis, & sibi relictus. That the Image only of of her Son was defaced by death, and that him­self was Eternal, in a better state, eased of his un­easie burdens, and now at freedom to enjoy himself.

2. Consid. There is not a fitter place for the Body of thy deceased Friend than the Grave is. Gen. 23.4. Give me a possession of a burying place with you (saith Abraham to the Children of Heth) that I may bury my dead out of my sight. He would be rid of Sarah when she was dead; he would have beautiful Sarah removed out of his sight, he would have the Wife of his bosom laid under foot. When once we are dead, all beauty and glory ceaseth, and we become loath­some to our best friends, and the Grave is the fittest place for us.

3. Consid. Thy friend fares no worse than Prin­ces do. The Grave is called, The house appointed for all living, Job. 30.23. Living men in short time become dead men, and are housed there. Psal. 89.48. What man is he that liveth, and shall not see death? Shall he deliver his soul from the hand of the Grave? No, death will attach the greatest, and the Grave be a Prison to hold their bodyes fast.

4. Consid. Is not the Grave a desirable place? Death is a sleep, and the Vault or Grave is a [Page 172] Dormitory or Bed for the Body to rest in; See Isa. 57.1, 2. The Righteous that are taken away, are said to enter into peace, and rest in their beds. Poor afflicted Saints are glad when they can find the Grave. See, Job desired it, Job 3.13. &c. and 14.13. O that thou wouldest hide me in the Grave! he longed for it.

5. And lastly, Consid. Thy Friends Body shall rise again, and (if he dyed in the Lord) be made a glorious body. The Body of man shall rise again, as appears by holy Writ, Deut. 32.39. 1 Sam. 2.6. Job 14.7, &c. Job 19.25, 26, 27. Isa. 26.19. Ezek 37.1, 5. Dan. 12.2. Joh. 11.23, 24. [...] Cor. 15. The Apostle spends the longest Chapter in all his Epistles in proving the Resurrection of the Body, against some in the Church of Corinth that denyed it. Most of the Heathens dreamed of an everlasting Separation.

Nobis cum semel occidit brevis lux,
Nox est perpetuò una dormienda. Catullus.

But Christians make the Resurrection of the Bo­dy an article of their Faith.Manchest All mon. in con­templa­tio mor­tis & im­mortali­tatis. And truly when we see (as an honourable person observed) worms, and flyes, and other creatures, that spend the winter season in a kind of Death, revive in the Spring; when we see our selves dead every night, and alive in the morning, we may easily conclude and believe the Resurrection of the Body.

No stone great enough could be laid in the mouth of Christs Sepulchre to hinder him from [Page 173] rising again; and nothing shall hinder the rising of God's dear servants.

St. Austin saith, Bodyes of Believers shall be raised tantâ facilitate, quantâ faelicitate, with as much facility as felicity, with as much ease as happiness.

The Body of a Believer is a pretious treasure, which God locks up in the Cabinet of the Grave; (so much is implyed in that Phrase, Job 14.13. O that thou wouldest hide me in the Grave! We use to hide our choicest treasure) At the great day of Judgement he will open his Cabinet, and take out the Body, and it shall be as good, nay better than before. There shall then be a new Edition of the Body in a fairer Letter more a­mended; for Phil. 3.20, 21. Our conversation is in Heaven (saith the Apostle) from whence we look for a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile Body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious Body, according to the work­ing, whereby he is able to subdue all things to him­self. The same Body shall rise again, the same for substance but not for quality; a change of it there shall be, but 'tis for the better; The vile body shall be changed, that it may be fashioned like unto Christs glorious body; and that you should not doubt of it, he tells you it is done according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself. q. d. There is nothing too hard for Omnipotency to effect. Your friends body, though sown in corruption, is raised in incorrupti­on: sown in dishonour, yet raised in glory, 1 Cor. 15.42, &c. It shall then be a glorious body[Page 174] indeed, for it shall be beautiful, full of bright­ness, active and nimble, not stand in need of outward refreshment, it shall not be subject to irksom labours, afflictions and diseases, it shall not dispose the soul to sin, nor the soul make use of the body, as a weapon to fight against God; it shall be an immortal body, and every part and member of it shall have as much happiness as it is capable of. Such honour have all the bodies of Believers at Christ's second coming.

So then, thy Friends Soul is not eternally di­vorced from his Body, nor shall the Body lye for ever in the grave, but at Christ's second coming (which will be shortly) it shall rise again, and his Soul be re-united to it in a more glorious and firm contract, and they shall enter together into the Kingdom of Heaven, Mat. 25.34.

Dr. Abbot on Jonah Lect. 15.To end this; You know a Watch is taken in pieces before it be mended; and things new cast are broken first: So thy Friend's Body must be knockt in pieces by death and the power of the grave, that it may be new cast, not only in its old fi­gure, but to a better form in the day of the Re­surrection, Wherefore comfort one another with these words, 1 Thes. 4.18. With what words? with those words going before, vers. 13, &c. Whereof this is the summe, that they shall rise again, and be for ever with the Lord.

13th Apology answerdAnother cryes out, This Friend or Relation that God hath taken away, was a good and useful person, a very charitable man, &c. not only I my self, but the whole Town and Country too will have [Page 175] a loss of him, for the streams of his goodness flowed abroad plentifully to the refreshing of many.

Answ. Indeed the loss of a good man is a great loss, if we consider,

1. Good men are very scarce; See Psal. 12.1. Help Lord, for the godly man ceaseth, the faith­ful fail from among the children of men. So Ps. 14.1, 2, 3. The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God; they are corrupt, they have done abomi­nable works, there is none that doth good. The Lord look'd down from heaven, upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did under­stand and seek God: They are all gone aside, they are altogether become filthy, there is none that doth good, no not one. So Rom. 3.10, &c. Good men are as the shaking of an Olive tree, and as the gleaning Grapes when the Vintage is done: as it is Isa. 24.13. So Mic. 7.1, 2, 3, 4. The Church there complains of her small number. Christ's flock is called a little flock, Luke 12.32. Orig. [...], a little little flock. They are indeed little in their own eyes, little in the eyes of the world, and little or few in number.

In God's field there are many Tares, little good Corn: In this great house of the World, many Vessells of dishonour, but few there are of honour; SalvianSalvian de Gub. Dei, lib. 3 pag. 87. crys out, Ipsa Dei Ecclesia quae in omnibus esse debet placatrix Dei, quid est ali­ud quàm exacerbatrix Dei, aut praeter paucissimos quosdam, qui mala fugiunt, quid est aliud penè omnis coetus Christianorum quàm sentina vitiorum. So then they can ill be spared, they are so few.

[Page 176]2. Good men are blessings to the places where, and persons among whom they live. See Exod. 32.9, 10, 14 compared. God oft spared Is­rael at the prayer of Moses. The Righteous keep off God's Judgments, as these places shew, Job 22.30. Prov. 29.8. Jer. 5.1. Ezek. 22.30, 31. Had there been but ten righteous per­sons in Sodom, it had not been destroyed, Gen. 18.32. And God tells us he would not destroy it, till righteous Lot was gone forth, Gen. 19.22. And God oft-times for the sake of the Righteous, removes Judgements inflicted, see Psal. 106.23, 29, 30. so Isa. 65.8. It is an ex­traordinary case when God will not spare for the sake of Moses and Samuel, Jer. 15.1. so, when Noah, Daniel and Job shall deliver but their own souls, Ezek. 14.14. The Tares are usually spared till the Harvest, for the Wheat's sake. A cursed Cham was preserved in the Ark with Noah, Gen. 7.1. St. Paul saved the lives of all that sailed with him in the Ship, two hun­dred threescore and fifteen souls, see Act. 27.22, 23, 24, 37 compared. Indeed the Righte­ous are Conduit-pipes of Blessings, the greatest Benefactors to the places where they live. See what Jacob saith to Laban, Gen. 30.30. It was little that thou hadst before I came, [...]. and it is now encreased to a multitude since my coming; or, according to the Original, at my feet. Blessings are sent to every place where the Saints feet tread. So God blessed the Egyptians house for Joseph's sake, Gen. 39.5. Wicked men are be­holden to the Godly for their Lives, Liberties, [Page 177] estates, &c. In a word, the Righteous are the Equites cataphracti, the Chariots and horsemen of Israel, 2 King. 2.12. They are the glory and safety of a Nation; they are instruments of do­ing much good by their purses, prayers, coun­sels, reproofs, and good example: They, like Lamps, spend themselves for the good of others; and when such Lights are extinguished by death, how can we choose (if we seriously con­sider it) but be overcast with darkness and sorrow.

3. And lastly, The loss of a good man is great, if we consider that the death of good men bodes mi­sery. It is a sad symptom or prognostication of approaching Judgments. The people of Rome when they heard Germanicus was recovered of his sickness, they sang it about the streets, Salva Roma, salva Patria, salvus est Germanicus: While that good man was well, they thought it could not be ill with them. And indeed a good man is [...], as Greg. Nazianzene Gregor. Nazian. Orat in laudem Patres. calls him, a crutch, prop, or pillar to support the Church: when these pillars are taken away, the building of frame of outward prosperity continues not long: It is like Samp­sons pulling down the pillars, whereupon ensued a great destruction, as you may read, Judg. 16.29, 30. A man intending to break up House, re­moves his goods; and truly God usually removes his People (which are his peculiar treasure, Exod. 19.5.) either into some other place of the World, or out of the World, when he in­tends [Page 178] to leave a sinful people naked, and desti­tute of defence and safety.

When Noah was housed in the Arke, the storm came, and the whole world (save some few with him) were buried in a watry winding-sheet, Gen. 7. When Lot entered into Zoar, the Sun was risen upon the Earth, Gen. 19.23. The Sun was risen, and the wicked Sodomites thought they should have had a fair day on't, but it was presently overclouded, and there followed a fearful showre of fire and brimstone, vers 24. Then (when Lot was removed) the Lord rain­ed upon Sodom and Gomorrah, brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven.

After the death of good Josiah, evil ensued up­on Israel, 2 King. 22.20. And this was a chief reason why Jeremy and others made such sad moan at the loss of that good man, and ever af­ter in their doleful Elegies made mention of his death, as you see they did, 2 Chron. 35.25. After the death of St Austin, Hippo was sack'd by the Vandals: when Luther was dead, then the civil wars broke out in Germany. So then, as the Prophet speaks, Isa. 57.1. The Righteous are taken away from the Evil to come. And he there complains of a peoples stupidity, when they do not lay to heart the death of righteous and merciful men. We should weep, if not for them, yet for, our own sakes, who may justly fear miserys coming upon us: Yet we must not weep immoderately, or murmur at God's handy­work.

To this end, let us consider,

[Page 179]1. Consid. Good men must dye as well as others. It is said, Gen. 47.29. The time drew nigh that Israel must die. The godly must of necessity dye one time or other. All the Patri­archs and godly Prophets are dead, Zach. 1.5. John 8.52. The Apostles and Ministers are Earthen vessels, 2 Cor. 4.7. like those Pitchers of Gideon, Judg. 7. they are Earthen pitchers, and have a Lamp in them: they are chosen Vessels to bear the name of Christ, to witness to his truth, Acts 9.15. but earthen pitchers still, and must shortly be broken by death. We are all made of the same clay, Isa. 64.8. And as rich gilding upon an earthen pot keeps it not from breaking, no more doth righteousness (the rich work­manship of God's blessed Spirit, Ephes. 2.10.) preserve any man from mouldring to dust. Mo­ses, Joshua, David, Job, Daniel, &c. are dead and gone. Dorcas, that woman full of God works and almsdeeds which she did, fell sick and died, Acts 9.36, 37. Holiness is no armour of proof to keep off the dart of Death. The shield of faith and brest-plate of righteousness, which are able to resist the fiery darts of Satan, Ephes. 6.16. yet are not able to defend a man from the dart of Death. The best persons are not persons privi­ledged from the arrest of Death, that surly Sergeant.

2. Consid. God can raise up other good men in their stead. A Phoenix may arise out of the ashes. There may hopeful branches come in their stead.

—Uno avulso non deficit alter,
Aureus, & simili frondescit virg [...]metallo.
Virgil.

See 2 Epist. of John 1st & 4th verses compared, That Elect Lady, that worthy Matron, honoured for her wealth and liberality to the poor, had Children constantly professing the true Religion, and living according to it, who might succeed her in works of charity and piety.

Buxtorf. floril. Heb. p. 204.The Jews have a saying, Quandò occidit Sol (vir illustris & utilis) oritur Sol: (viz. alius similis ipsi.) That never doth there die any il­lustrious man, but there is another born as bright on the same day. To which they accommodate that place,See Mr. Patricks Serm. on Psa. 90.12. Eccles. 1.5. Nay they observe fur­ther, that he makes some Star or other arise be­fore the Sun be set; as Joshua began to shine be­fore Moses his light was darkned. And before Joshua went to bed, Othniel the Son of Kenaz was risen up to judge. Eli was not gathered to his fathers before Samuel appeared to be a most hopeful youth; and among the other sex they also note, that Sarah was not taken away till Rebeccah was ready to come in her stead. Fur­thermore we find in Scripture, how Elisha suc­ceeded Elijah; Eleazer, Aaron; Haggai and Ze­chary supplyed the loss of Daniel and Christ arose in John Baptists stead: And hopeful Timo­thy, in the room of Paul the aged. Consider then that others as good and useful in their gene­rations may succeed in their stead.

3. Lastly consid. The happiness that a good man is estated in at death. The righteous like Stars, though they set in one place, yet they rise in another. These trees of righteousness are [Page 181] translated into the Coelestial Paradise, so that though they be not with us, yet they are with God. If we truly love them, we cannot but con­gratulate their feasts of joy, their rivers of plea­sures, their palms of victory,Dr. Stu­arts Ca­thol. Di­vin. pag. 158. Aug. Ma­nuals c. 7 de gau­dio. their robes of ma­jesty, their crown of glory. O vita vitalis, vita sempiterna, & sempiternè beata, ubi gaudium sine moerore, requies sine labore, sanitas sine languore, opes sine amissione, perpetuitas sine corruptione. In heaven there is life indeed, an eternal blessed life, where there is joy without sorrow, rest without labour, health without sickness, riches without loss, everlastingness without corruption. Even Balaam saw the happy condition of such as dye in the Lord, which made him cry out, Let me dye the death of the Righteous, and let my last end be like his, Numb. 23.10. Let us not then weep immoderately for those from whose eyes God hath wiped away all tears. Let us rejoyce in their joy, as we are commanded, Rom. 12.15. and not weep as though we envied their happiness. Indeed we have great loss when good men are taken away: but let us not look alto­gether upon our loss, but likewise on their gain, and let the one at least counterballance the other.

14. And last Apology answered.

Another cryes out,14th Apology answerd This Friend or Relation of mine lived an openly profane wretch, and he died without any shew of penitential sorrow: As he lived sottishly, (so for ought I could see) he died securely. I fear he is a damned creature, and this troubles me.

Answ. This complaint usually Parents take up over their wicked Children: And if Parents have the least spark of grace, or true love to their Children, they cannot chuse but grieve to see their Children cut off in their wicked courses: Sad it is to consider that their Children should be companions with Divels, that their own flesh and blood should be fuel for the fire of Hell. In­deed this is just matter of humility, but not of discontented sullenness: mourn under it you may, but you must not mourn immoderately, or mur­mur through discontent.

To this end let Parents consider;

1. Consid. Many of Gods dear Servants have had wicked Children. Our first Parents Adam and Eve (as Divines generally observe) had laid hold on that promise, Gen. 3.15. and were renewed by faith and repentance, yet they had a very wicked Son, their first-born Cain was an hypocrite and a murderer, Gen. 4. So Noah, a just man and upright in his generation, and one that walked with God, Gen. 6.9. had a cursed Cham. Gen. 9.22. Abraham, whom God boasts of, Gen. 18.19. had a persecuting Ishmael, Gen. 16.12. Gal. 4.19. Isaac, a good man, had Esau a prophane wretch, Heb. 12.16. Jacob, who wrestled with God in prayer, and prevailed, Gen. 32.28. had Simeon and Levi as well as Joseph and Benjamin. Samuel, one devoted to the Lord, when he was old, made his sons Judges over Israel, but they walked not in his wayes, but turned aside after lucre. 1 Sam. 8.3. David, a [Page 183] man after Gods own heart, had not only Salomon that was beloved of God, but likewise incestuous Amnon, ambitious Absalom, and treacherous A­donijah, 1 King. 1.5. Josiah, that good King, left wicked sons behind him, Jehoahaz, 2 King 23.30, 31, 32, and Jehoiakim, vers. 34, 36, 37. so Jer. 22.18. Many more examples might be brought out of Scripture to prove this; but in a point so clear, and known to be too true by daily experience, let these suffice. Be content then thy case is not singular.

Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris.

2. Consid. Gods servants have been patient when God hath before their eyes cut off their chil­dren in their wickedness. When Nadab and Abi­hu offered strange fire before the Lord, by fire from the Lord as with lightning they were de­stroyed, Livit. 10.1, 2. And how doth their Father take it? See vers. 3. Aaron held his peace, either because his grief was so great, as that he could not vent himself in answerable ex­pressions; Curae leves loquuntur, ingentes stupent; or rather, he held his peace, being convinced of the justice of divine vengeance, for Moses had said to Aaron, This is that the Lord spake, say­ing, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the People I will be glorified. So old Eli's sons were sons of Belial, they knew not the Lord, 1 Sam. 2.12. though indeed being edu­cated by their godly Father, they had a notio­nal knowledge of God and his Laws, yet they [Page 184] had not a spiritual, practical, saving knowledge: You may read of their wickedness, and how God threatned to cut off Eli's posterity, Samuel tells him this sad news, 1 Sam. 3.11, 12. What saith Eli, vers. 18. It is the Lord, let him do what seems him good. Job's Children were no better than they should be, they used to feast much, and Job was afraid lest they should sin much at such a time, Job. 1.5. he feared lest at such a time of feasting, they should offend God (as we are apt so to do) by excessive mirth, immodest gestures, luxury, intemperance, forgetfulness of the poor, &c. or by having irre­verent thoughts of God: and at a feast his Chil­dren were suddenly swept away by a great wind in the midst of their jolity, vers. 18.19. Yet see Jobs patient carriage, vers. 20, 21, 22. He charged not God foolishly, but thought well of him and his providence, notwithstanding the manifold miseries that befel him.

3. Consid. Weeping, though never so excessive, cannot recall them, either from the gates of death or hell. Incestuous Amnon being slain when drunk, 2 Sam. 13.28. David bewailed him for a great while together, vers. 37, 38, 39. but as you may there read, David at last ceased mourning, because it would not fetch him again. He was comforted concerning Amnon seeing he was dead.

4. Consid. God is glorified even in the de­struction of the wicked, Prov. 16.4. The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea, even the [Page 185] wicked for the day of evil. So Job 21.30. God got himself glory by wicked Pharaoh, Exod. 9.16. So Exod. 14.4, 17. Moses told Aaron, even now mentioned, that God would be glorified, and this made Aaron hold his peace, when his sons were cut off in their act of sin, Levit. 10.3. See Rom. 9.21, 22, 23.

5. Consid. If thy Child had lived longer, he might have been a greater grief and burthen to thee. He might with the Prodigal have spent thy substance in riotous living, Luke 15.13, 30. and so he would have brought shame to thee: for he that is a companion of riotous men shameth his Fa­ther, Pro. 28.7. Yea thy whole family might have fared the worse for him; he might have taken such courses as would have brought him to the gallows, which would have been a greater shame and grief to thee; nay farther yet, if he had lived longer, he might have gone about to take away thy life; from all which frights, fear and shame, God by cutting him off hath delivered thee. It was sure a great weakness in David so pathetical­ly to lament the death of Absalom, 2 Sam. 18.33. who went about to take away his life, 2 Sam. 16.11. and was a continual grief and vexation to him.

6. Consid. If he had lived longer, he would have multiplied his sin here, and sorrow hereafter. Impenitent wretches, (as it is said of the Croco­dile, quàm diu vivit crescit) daily add some­thing to their stature in sin, Job 36.13. The hypocrites (or, as it is in the Orig. Prophane [Page 186] men) in heart heap up wrath. So Isa. 1.5. Why should ye be smitten any more? ye will revolt more and more. Jer. 9.3. They proceed from evil to evil, and they know not me, saith the Lord. 2 Tim. 3.13. Evil men, and Seducers shall wax worse and worse. It was a sad curse wherewith David did imprecate some of God's implacable enemies, Psal. 69.27. Add iniquity unto their iniquity; q. d. Give them over to a Reprobate sense, as a punishment of their incorrigibleness, that so they may encrease their sin here, and sorrow hereafter. Such as these do treasure up wrath against the day of wrath, Rom. 2.5. They do [...], heap up wrath in manner of a trea­sure, which you know encreaseth by daily ad­dition. Forbearance (we say) is no acquittance. God suffers some to run their race to the utmost length, as the Amorites were suffered to make up the full measure of their offences to the full, Gen. 15.16. He lets some wicked men live, be­come old, &c. Job 21.7. but it is for their greater punishment at last. For God will more severely punish these. Psal. 50.21. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest (saith God to the impenitent wicked wretch) that I was altogether such a one as thy self: but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes. Confusion will cover that mans face, whose sins God sets in order before his eyes. Lasa pa­tientia fit furor: The longer the hand is in lifting up when it str [...]kes, the greater will the blow be when it falls The Water-course the longer it is stopped, the more violently it breaks fo [...]th. The Justice of God (as one saith) whilst [Page 187] dormant, is crescent, and though couchant will be rampant. Psal. 50.22. Consider this, ye that forget God, lest I tear you in pieces, (saith God) and there be none to deliver you. Well then, consider, if thy Child had lived longer, it might have been worse for him.

7. And lastly, consider, If he be damned, who can help it? Religion cannot be conveyed to Children, as House and Lands, &c. it de­scends not from Father to Son, John 1.12, 13. What the Apostle speaks of Ministers, may be here applied, 1 Cor. 3.6, 7. Paul may plant, Apol­los water, but God gives the increase: so then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth, but God that giveth the encrease. The Husbandman may plant and sow, yet he cannot bring down the early and latter rain, to bring seed to perfection. So Parents may in­struct, reprove, exhort, correct, pray for Chil­dren, and go before them by good example, but it is God that must reform them; It is God that quickneth such as are dead in trespasses and sins, as we are all by nature, Eph. 2.1, 2, 3, 5. Re­generation is Creation-work, v. 10. which is only proper to God. A Parent can but shew the way wherein a Child should walk; It is God that must draw him that way, Cant. 1.4. John 6.44. It is God that delivers from the power of darkness, and translates us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, Col. 1.13. It is he that effectually calls us out of darkness into his marvelous Light, 1 Pet. 2.9. It is God that gives Faith, Phil. 1.29. Ephes. 2.8. He gives [Page 188] Repentance, Act. 5.31. 2 Tim. 2.25. He sancti­fies us, Jude 1. He saves us, Eph. 2.5, 8. Rom. 8.30. Well then, if we have done our duty, and yet fail of our end and desire, (viz.) the conversion of our Children, or any other Friends and Relations, let us rest contented, assuring our selves, 1 Cor. 3.8. Every one shall receive his own reward according to his own labour; not accord­ing to our success, but according to our labour: We may say, Liberavimus animas, we have freed our souls from the guilt we might have contract­ed through negligence, (Ezek. 3.18, 19, 20, 21) And so the Will of the Lord be done. Why should we vex our selves for what we cannot redress? Arch-bishop Abbot saith well to this purpose,Lect. 24. on Jonah 4.1.157.158. If God according to his unsearchable purpose, after we have done our duties, leave our Friends in darkness, let us admire God's Justice towards them, and his Favour to us; stand amazed at the one, and kindly imbrace the other, but be pa­tient in both. We may not take upon us to be more pitiful to our friends, than God who is perfect Pity; Let us in humility sigh and groan for them, and be thankfull for our selves, but let there be no anger, no displeasure.

To shut up this: We reade Exod. 14.31. That when the Egyptians were overwhelmed in the Cataracts of God's displeasure, The People feared the Lord. And when Ananias and Sap­phira were suddenly struck dead for their hypo­crisie, it is said, Act. 5.11. Great fear came upon all the Church, and upon as many as heard these things. So let the death of thy Relation, cut off in his wickedness, work a fear in thee, and turn [Page 189] thy sorrow for him into sorrow for thine own self, and manifold sins, lest thou come also into the place of torment.

CHAP. IV. Containing some Practical Directions to prevent immoderate Weeping.

WHat I have delivered in former Chapters may suffice by way of consideration; I shall now Direct to something by way of Pra­ctice to prevent excessive grief at death of friends. I pray you observe these 8 Directions and put them into speedy practice.

1. Direct. Accustome thy self to bear lesser afflictions which you may daily meet with.

There is scarce a day passeth over our heads but God doth try our patience in one kind or other. Job 5.7. Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. Prov. 27.1. Boast not thy self of to morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. Every day, like a big-bellied woman, is with child of somewhat, and we know not before-hand what trouble it may produce, whe­ther great or small, but Mat. 6.34. Sufficient to the day is the evil thereof. q. d. Every day may bring enough grief and vexation with it, do [Page 190] not by distracting care antedate the evil of it, or add sorrow to it. A Disciple of Christ must take up his cross daily, Luke 9.23. If we daily bear lesser afflictions patiently, we may be inabled to bear stronger tryals. St. Paul by inuring him­self to bear lesser crosses which he daily met with he could in time bear the greatest that God did lay upon him. Phil. 4.11. I have learnt in what ever state I am, therewith to be content. Nay, he makes a light matter of all afflictions, 2 Cor. 4.17. The Prophet tells us, Lam. 3.27. It is good for a man that he bear the yoke in his youth. Much good comes by a timely bearing the cross: It will make a man suffer willingly, v. 28. He sits alone and keeps silence, because he hath born it up­on him. It will make a man suffer humbly, ver. 29. He putteth his mouth in the dust: It will make him suffer willingly, vers. 30. He gives his cheek to him that smiteth him. Milo could carry a Bull, being used to carry it daily when it was a Calf; by daily bearing lesser troubles you may be enabled for greater tryals. But if you sink under light burthens, what will you do when great ones come?

2. Direct. Expect such losses before hand.

It is reported of Anaxagoras, (and some re­port the like of Xenophon) that he was not much troubled at the death of his son, for said he Me­mini me genuisse mortalem, I lookt upon him as a mortal man. Troubles that come of a sudden, and unexpected, are most troublesome, because [Page 191] they find u [...] unprepared to bear them. An hea­vy burth [...] cast on a mans shoulders unawares, startles him, sinks him, and makes him cry out, because he thought not of it, and so was not pre­pared to bear it. Weigh then such burthens in your thoughts aforehand.

Qui sua metitur pondera ferre queat. Spinx Philosophica. p. 635.

Look upon Friends and Relations, standing like Nebuchadnezzars Image, on feet of clay, frail and mortal, and that death ere long will separate betwixt dearest friends, Ruth 1.17. Expect the worst that may befall thee. Make account the time we live here is short: Man and Wife and such like Relations must shortly part, and then when this divorce comes, you'l weep as if you wept not, 1 Cor. 7.29, 30, 31. so moderate will you be in weeping.

3. Direct. Set not your affection too much upon any Relation.

The more we love any thing, the more loath we are to leave it. Isidore saith, Cum gravi do­lore amittuntur quae cum magno amore habentur. Isodor. de sum. bo­nor. Inordinate affection causeth extraordinary af­fliction, according to that of the Poet,

Quem res plus nimio delectavere secudae
Mutatae quatient, si quid mirabere pones
Invitus, — Horat. Epist. 10. lib. 1.

[Page 192] If we love and rejoyce too much in Relations whilst we have them, we shall grie [...] too much when we lose them. How impatiently did Ja­cob take the supposed death of Joseph, you may read Gen. 37.33, 34, 35. There was such a vain of grief opened as could not be stenched, and the reason was (if any reason can be given for it) He loved him more then the rest of his Children, vers. 3. So he is impatient of Benja­mins going out of his sight, Gen. 42.38. and all was because he loved him so dearly, Gen. 44.20. Jonah overjoyed in his Gourd whilst he had it, Jonah 4.6. But when the next morning God withered his Gourd, vers. 7. he takes it so impatiently that he wisheth his own death, vers. 8.9. We find Judg. 18.24. Micah was sore troubled when his Idol-Gods were taken away; Many make Idols of their Children and Rela­tions (poor Idol-Gods that cannot defend them­selves from death) and when they are taken a­way, they are sore troubled, ready to weep themselves into their Graves with them, whom they too much affected.

4. Direct. Labour to clear up your interest in God.

Make him your friend, who will be light to you when you sit in darkness, Mic. 7.8. and com­fort you under any trouble, 2 Cor. 1.4, 5, 6. Such an one that hath an interest in God may say in midst of trouble, Psal. 116.7. Return to thy rest O my soul. God is indeed the souls only rest­ing-place, Jer. 50.6. God is Centrum quietati­vum animae. Jehovah is compounded of quies­cent [Page 193] letters ( [...], Literae quiescentes) to shew there is no true rest but in him. And in him there is rest. As Noah was safe in the Ark, whilst toss'd with tempests. Make then but God thy Friend, and thou maist with Noah's Dove have recourse to the Ark, and find rest there, when flouds of miseries are abroad. We read, Mat. 8.26. Christ rebuked the Winds and Waves, so that there was a great calm. In him we may have peace in the midst of worldly troubles, John 16.33. Tranquillus Deus tranquillat om­nia. If God give comfort, who or what can create trouble, Job 34.29? Indeed it is a sad case when we are without our Friends and God too: But if we have made our peace with God, whatever storms come, we know where to cast Anchor and put in for Harbour. See Psal. 46.1 2, 3. God is our refuge and strength, a very pre­sent help in trouble: Therefore will we not fear, though the Earth be removed: and though the Mountains be carried into the midst of the Sea. Though the waters thereof roar, and be troubled, though the Mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

We find, 1 Sam. 30. beginning of that chap­ter, David was greatly distressed, Ziglag was burnt, his two Wives amongst others taken cap­tives, and the People (looking upon David as the chief cause of all their loss and misery) spoke of stoning him: But David (v. 6.) encouraged himself in the Lord his God. God being his God, he chears up: And no wonder, for all that is in God, is for that man's good that hath an interest in him: and if this will not satisfie, I [Page 194] know not what can, Wherefore, as it is Job 22.21. Acquaint now thy self with him, and be at peace, thereby much good shall come unto thee.

5. Direct. Acquaint thy self with the Word of God.

The two Testaments are two breasts of Chri­stian Consolation. The Word of God is more precious than Gold, sweeter than Honey, Psal. 19.10. & 119.72. It quickens and comforts the soul, as you may read, Psal. 119.25, 50, 54, 81, 82, 92, 111 verses. so Rom. 15.4. the Apostle mentions the comfort of the Scriptures. Especially hoord up, or have in readiness Scrip­ture-promises, which are as so many clusters of sweet Grapes growing on the Vine CHRIST, (John 15.1. 2 Cor. 1.20.) and Faith presseth out of them the Wine of Consolation.

What the Jews write falsly of their Manna, that it had omne delectamentum and was suit­ing to every mans palate: we may most truly say of the Promises of the Word, that they are very sweet, and suitable to Christians in every condition; that such as are heirs of them, may have a strong consolation Heb. 6.16, 17, 18. As bladders, they keep Christians from sinking, when cast on the waters of affliction.

The Cloud of Calamity can never be so great and spreading, so black and dismal, but they (whom the Spirit of God perswades of an in­terest in the Promises) may see some Sunshine through it. Well then, read plentifully the Word of God, Let it dwell richly amongst you, Col. 3.16. especially have recourse to Scripture-promises [Page 195] (such as I have before-mentioned pag. 89, 90.) and from thence, as the Bee gathers Honey from several flowers, so you may distill the sweet Spirits and Quintessence of Christian-Consolation.

6. Direct. Be much in the exercise of Faith.

A Ship resteth quiet when Anchor is cast, notwithstanding the winds and waves that beat against it. So a Christian being anchor'd on God by Faith, is at rest amidst the manifold afflicti­ons he meets with. Abraham, Job, David, and such like Scripture-Worthies that lived much in the exercise of Faith, could undergo patiently great tryals. Peter sunk not, before his Faith began to sink, Mat. 14.31. One that is rooted and built up in Christ, and established in the faith, as that expression is Col. 2.7. such a one, I say, is not easily overturned and unsetled, but is like that House built upon a Rock, and the rain de­scended, and the flouds came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that House, and it fell not, for it was founded upon a Rock, Mat. 7.24, 25. True Faith puts to flight vain fears and need­less troubles. Joh. 14.1. Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. It is not a little that can disquiet a strong Chri­stian that lives in the exercise of Faith.

7. Direct. Study the Art of Self-denyal.

That man that hath learnt to deny himself, is likeliest to bear his cross; according to that of our Saviour, Mat. 16.24. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his [Page 196] cross. Take heed of self-reasonings, of confer­ring with flesh and blood, that cannot away with trouble, Gal. 1.16. Take heed of self­will: get your will melted into the very will of God. Crosses can be no crosses to that man that submits his will to the will of God.

8th and last Direction. Pray to God to give you Patience.

A very worthyDr. Ab­bot on Jo­nah 4.2. Lect 25. p. 522. Divine (whom I have often quoted upon occasion) saith, If there be any thing which may appease sorrow, and ease the grieved heart, oppressed with the feeling of tem­poral occurrents, or wounded with the want of spiritual consolations, it is to have recourse to the Throne of Grace, and there with watred eyes, and cheeks bedewed with tears, to lay open those grie­vances which breed sorrow unto us. And again he saith, The burthen of affliction is best supported with this firm underlyer of Prayer. See what Christ saith, John 16.24. Ask and ye shall re­ceive, that your joy may be full: And the A­postle prescribeth instant continuance in prayer, as a means to make us patient in tribulation, Rom. 12.12. So Phil. 4.6, 7. Be careful for nothing, but in every thing by prayer and suppli­cation, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the Peace of God which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. God is stiled the God of all Comfort, 2 Cor. 1.3. The God of all Grace, 1 Pet. 5.10. from whom comes every good and perfect gift, Jam. 1.17. and in particular he is called the God of Patience, Rom. [Page 197] 15.5. Therefore go to him whose grace is suffici­ent for you, and whose strength is made perfect in weakness, 2 Cor. 12.9. pray him to put under his everlasting Arms, Deut. 33.27. and plead that promise in prayer, Isa. 41.10. Fear thou not, for I am with thee: be not dismayed, for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee, yea I will help thee, yea, I will uphold thee with the right-hand of my Righteousness. God there promiseth to strengthen, to help, to uphold (not with either hand, but) with the right-hand, which is the stronger hand of the two: Manum fortior est dextra. If God put under his helping-hand, you may bear any burden he layeth upon you.

Multorum manibus grande levatur onus.

St. Paul tells us, Phil. 4.11. I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. How came he to learn this hard lesson? Why, Christ was his Teacher and Assistant, Ver. 13. I can do all things (saith he) through Christ which strengthneth me. O then, pray for patience, and get others too to pray for thee. The more com­pany, the more cry, and the likelier to prevail, Mat. 18.20. Joyning of hands in prayer makes us stand the surer. St. Paul prayes for the Colossians, that they might be strengthened with all might, according to his glorious Power, unto all patience and long-suffering with joyfulness, Col. 1.9, 11 compared. I know there is a kind of bastard counterfeit patience, which (as one saith) ariseth from the natural constitution, where­by the heat not abounding too much, the man is [Page 198] not so prone as some others, to choler and discon­tent, but useth his reason in ordering of himself, and bears what he cannot avoid: but this is but [...], the shadow and picture of true patience, which indeed is an herb of Grace, not growing in Natures Garden; or, if you will, it is a Slip taken from the Tree of Life, and plant­ed in the Soul by the finger of God, it is of an heavenly extract or descent, from God as well as Faith, Phil. 1.29. Men naturally meek (good natures, as we call them) may bear a little, but not enough, nor in a right manner, nor to right ends, without the supernatural work of patience: The Apostle placeth it amongst the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. 5.22, 23. Well then, If any man be afflicted, let him pray, Jam. 5.13. Let him (under loss of Friends, or any other Affliction) lay open his sad condition before God in prayer, as a man opens his mind to his Friend; So did Hannah, 1 Sam. 1.12. and then with her (ver. 18.) he may in time come from prayer, and his countenance no be more sad.

The End of the First Part.
Deo gratias.
A Funeral Handkerchi …

A Funeral Handkerchief.

The Second Part.

Containing severall Uses which we ought to make of the Death of Friends.

By Thomas Allestree, M. A. Rector of Ashow in the County of Warwick.

[...].

Nocumenta, documenta.

Hear the Rod, and who hath appointed it, Mic. 6.9.

So teach us to number our dayes, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Psal. 90.12.

LONDON, Printed for the Author, Anno Dom. 1671.

To that Worthy Gentleman, and my much esteemed Kinsman, Mr. William Allestree, Living in Darby; Grace and Peace be multiplied.

Dear Sir,

DIvine Providence hath de­prived you of many dear Friends and Relations, amongst others he hath ta­ken away your Religious Parents, and lately your dearM [...]is. Frances Lorymore Wife, the choicest under heaven of all your outward Possessions and Delights, [Page 202] made nearer unto you by Marriage than either Father or Mother. I call her one of Gods Jewels (such there are Mal. 3.17.) she was little of stature, but of great worth: She was a Great Fortune, but, which is more considerable, she was an huge good person. She was a constant frequenter of the Ordinances, a strict observer of the Sabbath; her Family-devotion was great, and her secret ejaculations fer­vent and constant. She was meek, mo­dest, chaste, courteous, charitable, pa­tient, humble, &c. These and the like Virtues came streaming into her Soul from the Fountain of Divine Grace. She was no scoffing Michal, nor you a churlish Nabal: The onely strife betwixt you was this, which should shew most dearness and tenderness; so pleasing was your deport­ment each to other, that one would think, one Soul animated two Bodyes. You did never grieve her Spirit but by your exces­sive grief to see her in that extreamity ofShe dyed in child­bed. pain; which, with greatest care you could not remedy, and with admirable patience and Christian courage she chearfully under­went. [Page 203] She was not afraid of Death. Though she loved her Husband as dearly as any Christian ought to do, yet she loved him much less than her Saviour, and she knew that Death would bring her to an hap­py sight of him; and I doubt not but she is with him whom her soul longed for.

What remains, sweet Sir, but that you look upon your self, at least as half dead, and become a most serious and mortified man. I know when God first snatched this precious Jewel out of your bosom, you were sadly affected with your loss (indeed her Funerals were celebrated with great solem­nity, with many a weeping eye and sorrow­ful heart) let not sensual delights make you to forget it. Labour to get good by this affliction: Let her Memory be still preti­ous with you, not for adoration (leave that foppery, to the Papists) but for imita­tion.

And that you may make a right use of this, and such like losses, which have and may still befal you, let me entreat you to peruse this [Page 204] following Treatise, to which I take the boldness to prefix your Name, to testify my thankfulness for former Favours, and to de­clare to the world, That I am

SIR,
Yours unfainedly, T. Allestree.

A Funeral Handkerchief.Part 2.

CHAP. I. Containing several Uses which we ought to make of the Death of Friends.

SAint Austin cryed out against some who did not profit by afflictions,August. de Civit. Dei lib. 2 cap. 33. Perdidistis utilita­tem calamitatis: Ye have lost the benefit of your affliction.

Christians should improve cross Providences to their spi­ritual advantage. Sad it is when (as Salvian Salvian lib. 7. de Cub. Dei p. 231. complains, Curâ ipsâ deteriores sumus) we are made worse by that which should make us bet­ter. It is with Spiritual as with bodily Phy­sick, if it makes us not better, it leaves us worse than we were before.

I shall therefore, Courteous Reader, for thy [Page 206] spiritual benefit, shew thee what Use ought to be made of the Death of Friends; which dis­course, like the Wine in the Gospel, John 2.10. though it come now at last, yet through God's blessing may be best of all. And here my Pray­er is, That my Doctrine may drop as the Rain, my speech distil as the Dew, as the small Rain upon the tender Herb, and as the Showers upon the Grass, Deut. 32.2.

Now if you would make a right Use and spiritual improvement of the Death of Friends and Relations, you must

Use 1 1. Eye the hand of God in such losses.

Gods Providence reacheth to all worldly oc­currences. Not a Sparrow falls to the ground, nor an Hair from our Heads, without the will of our heavenly Father, Mat. 10.29.30. Of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be glory for ever, Amen. Rom. 11.36. God worketh all things after the Counsel of his own will, Ephes. 1.11. There is no evil befalls us but God hath a hand in it. Amos 3.6. Shall there be evil in a City (he speaks of malum culpae, of the evil of punishment) and the Lord hath not done it? God is the appointer of the Rod, as the Prophet Micah tells us, Mic. 6.9. In particular, God hath an hand in loss of Friends, as I shewed at large in the former Treatise; and therefore under such losses, look up to God, and give him the glory of all. The Psalmist, Psal. 28.5. there threatens with destruction all such as regard not the works of the Lord, nor [Page 207] the operation of his hands. So Isa. 26.11. Lord (saith the Prophet) when thine hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be asha­med—. It is a most grievous sin, when people do (like the Dog) snap at the stone, forgetting the hand of him that sent it. It is a belying of God so to eye second causes, as to forget the first. Jer. 5.12. They have belyed the Lord, and said, It is not be. Let not therefore loss of Friends be imputed to chance, or secondary causes, but to God the supream efficient: For, as Eliphaz saith, Job 5.6. Affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground. He looks too low, that under loss of Earthly-Friends looks lower than the Hand of Heaven.

Use 2 2. Have good thoughts of God and his wayes, under such losses.

Many at such a time have hard thoughts of God, as though he dealt hardly with them, and strange thoughts of his wayes, as though it was in vain to serve him. They have little mind to pray, read, hear the Word, &c. some refraining the Church, as though they had cast off all care of Religion. Satan, who hath his devices to ruine souls, and rob them of spiritual comfort, is very busie at such a time to suggest, that God intends their ruine, endeavouring by this means to drive them to despair of God's mercies, and withal he tells them, It is in vain to serve God: Hence it is that many are ready to say (with that wicked King in a time of Fa­mine) 2 King. 6.33. Behold, this evil is of the [Page 208] Lord, what should I wait for the Lord any longer? and, as they said, Mal. 3.14. It is vain to serve God, and what profit is it that we have kept his Ordinances, and that we have walked mournfully before the Lord of Hosts? Even Job that eminent Servant of God, lying under sad afflictions, the saddest of which were the loss of his Children; though you read, Job 1.21. That in all this, or hitherto Job sinned not, nor charged God fool­ishly; so the like you read, Job 2.10. Yet after­wards when affliction did lodge with him, and he began to be wet to the skin, we find him ut­tering many unsavoury speeches: In the third Chapter you find him cursing the day of his birth: And Chap. 6. ver. 8, 9. he wisheth God would destroy him, and cut him off: And chapt. 16.9. he said, God hated him; and chap. 30.21. he said, God was become cruel to him. So David lying under much affliction whilst the wicked prospered, had much ado to keep his feet in the wayes of Godliness, Psal. 73.2. As for me (said he) my feet were almost gone, my steps had well-nigh slipt: and ver. 13, 14. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency; for all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning. But though God's Children through the prevalency of temptation have spoken unbeseeming things of God and his Ways, yet upon second thoughts (which are everSecundae cogitatio­nes meli­ores. better) they have humbled themselves for such speeches. So did Job, Job 42.3, 6 compared. And the like did David, Psa. 73.22. he confesseth there, that in speaking dishonourably of God and his wayes, he had [Page 209] played the fool, and acted the part of a Beast rather than a Christian; and ver. 28. he con­cludes, That it was good for him to draw near to God. It is good for us under greatest losses to draw near to God, and to have good thoughts of him and his wayes: for, as Azariah said to Asa, Judah, and Benjamin, 2 Chron. 15.2. The Lord is with you while you be with him: And if ye seek him, hee'l be found of you: but if you forsake him, hee'l forsake you. So Ezra 9.22. The hand of our God is upon all them for good that seek him; but his power and his wrath is against all them that forsake him. Heb. 10.38. God's Soul hath no pleasure in such as draw back; they that draw back, do it to their perdition, v. 39. O then, part not with your Religion when you part with your Friends; neither have hard thoughts of God: Look upon him with Scrip­ture-Spectacles, which represent him to be (as indeed he is) a most wise, just, holy, faithful, and merciful God. Even in his terrible Acts there is abundance of his Goodness and Righte­ousness appears, Psal. 145.6, 7. His end and design is (as you heard in the former Treatise) to purge out sin, to implant holiness in thee, and so to fit thee for future happiness. There­fore let God be exalted in his Judgments, Isa. 5.16. Sing a part in that Heavenly Hymn, Rev. 15.3, 4. Great and marvelous are thy Works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy wayes, thou King of Saints. Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorifie thy Name? for thou only art holy.

Use 3 3. Labour to find out the particular sin that hath provoked God to deprive thee of such a Friend or Relation; and having found it, confess it, be deeply humbled for it, pray for pardon thereof, and be careful for the future to avoid it.

This Use I shall divide into three parts, which I shall speak unto distinctly.

1. Labour to find out the particular sin that hath provok'd God to deprive thee of such a Friend or Relation. Nos coelestis ira ignem accendimus, et excitamus incendia quibus ardeamus, Salvian lib. 8. de Gub. Dei p. 288. as Salvian speaks, We kindle the sparks of God's wrath, that burn up all our comforts. Isa. 50.11. We are the cause of our own calamities, Nos calami­tatum nostrarum authores sumus. Ibid. And he adds a little after, A Deo punimur, sed ipsi faci­mus ut puniamur: Cum autem punire nos ipsi fa­cimus, cui dubium est, quin ipsi nos nostris crimi­nibus puniamus? Salv. Ibid pag 288, 229. quia quicun (que) dat causam quâ puniatur, ipse se punit: Our sins procure our sor­rows. That Cloud of Calamity that hangs black over our heads, and is rained down in Judgment upon us, was first raised by the as­cending vapours of our sins. Jer. 2.19. Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and thy back­slidings shall reprove thee: know therefore and see, that it is an evil thing and bitter, that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy God. — We find in a great tempest, the Heathens said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is come upon us, [Page 211] Jona 1.7. They concluded it was sin that cau­sed that fearful tempest: so (as a worthyDr. Ab­bot on Jo­nah 1.5, 6. p. 77. Di­vine saith) if any cross befal us, let us straight­way with fear and trembling examine our selves, and enter into our consciences, and sift them in sincerity as in the sight of God, what sin it is that plucks this cross upon us. God's People have enquired of the Lord by Prayer and deep Humiliation when disasters have befaln them, as you may read Judg. 20.26. so 2 Sam. 21.1. so Jer. 16.10. & Lam. 3.40. Job looked upon his sins as the procuring cause of all his miseries, Job 13.23. How many are mine iniquities and my sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin: And before this he had said to God, Job 10.2. Shew me wherefore thou contendest with me. When God takes away Relations he testifieth against you (as he did against Naomi, who had lost her husband and two sons, Ruth 1.5, 21 compared) that something in your lives hath been displeasing to him. God oft-times visits the iniquity of the Fathers upon the Chil­dren, Exod. 20.5. & 34.7. 2 Sam. 12.14. 1 King. 15.29, 30. Isa. 14.21. Parents may by their sins provoke God to bring upon their chil­dren a temporal, but not an eternal death: for, Ezek. 18.20. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. Indeed all persons, as well Children as Parents, ow a death to God; if not by reason of actual, yet of original corruption that is in them; Psa. 51.5. Rom. 5.12. Yet God many times takes away Children and other Relations, not having an eye so much to their sins, as to the sins of pa­rents and others, that provoke God to inflict a [Page 212] penal evil. Well then, pray to the Lord to discover to thee thy sin, which provoked him so soon to take away thy Friend. Psal. 4.4. Com­mune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. When others are a sleeping, do you be a thinking what sins you were guilty of, that might cause God to deprive you of such a Re­lation. Search into God's Word, and see for what sins God usually punisheth with loss of Friends. Now God might take away thy Re­lation for such sins as these;

1. Thy sin might be undervaluing thy Friend. May be thou didst not prize him according to his worth, and now God will teach thee the worth of him by the want of him: You would not follow his good counsels, reproofs, exam­ple, &c. and therefore God might (because you did not work by it) put out this burning and shining Light. It may be you dealt by him as the Philistines did by Sampson, make sport with him, and a laughing-stock of him, and there­fore God took him away. Or,

2dly. Thy sin might be overvaluing thy Friend. You might over-love him, too much rejoyce in him, or trust in him too much. God breaks the Conduit-pipes when you forget the Fountain. Gustavus the renowned King of Sweden, said, God would take him away, because he was too much admired; and his words were too true a pro­phecy. Indeed hopeful Children, godly Rela­tions they are Jewels, Mal. 3.17. but if you take them, and make a golden calf of them, and ido­lize them, God may justly break them to pou­der, as Moses dealt with the golden Calf, Exod. [Page 213] 32.3, 4, 20 compared. So Hezekiah brake in pieces the brazen Serpent that Moses had made, when he saw the people give divine worship un­to it, 2 King. 18.4. When you make Idols of Friends and Relations, bestowing that love, joy, and delight upon them, which is due to God, he may justly break them to pieces. Jonah took more delight than he should have done in his refreshing Gourd, and that hand that sent it, sent a worm to destroy it. Fond Parents, like foolish Apes, kill their young ones with im­braces. Or,

3dly. Thy sin might be foolish indulgence. Eli was too indulgent towards his Sons, 1 Sam. 3.13. his Sons made themselves vile, and he re­strained them not, or (according to the Original) frowned not upon them: he was too gentle in his reproofs and corrections, as you may see 1 Sam. 2.22, &c. and God threatned that all the encrease of his house should die in the flower of their age, and his two sons, Hophni and Phineas, should in one day die both of them, ver. 33, 34. And accordingly it came to pass, 1 Sam. 4.17. So David too fondly affected Absolom, and he lived to see him come to an untimely death. Or,

4thly. Thy sin might be undutifulness to thy own Parents. Absalom (even now mentioned) had once three sons, as you may read 2 Sam. 14.27. but he lived to see them all buried, as you may gather from 2 Sam. 18.18. Absalom was an undutiful child, seeking to take away the life of his Father, and God takes away his childrens lives. Or,

[Page 214]5thly. Thy sin might be Lasciviousness or Wantonness. You read 2 Sam. 12.14. The Child gotten in Adultery dieth. Solomon loved many strange women, 1 King. 11.1. and he left but one son behind him, as we read of in Scripture, Rehoboam by name, v. 43. and he no wiser than he should be, as you may reade 1 King. 12. Or,

6thly. Thy sin might be Bloodshed or Mur­der. God threatned Ahab's posterity for his murdering of Naboth, 1 King. 21.21. so God threatned David for his murdering Uriah, 2 Sam. 12.9, 10. that the Sword-should never depart from his house; and he lived to see two of his Children slain, incestuous Amnon, 2 Sam. 13. and rebellious Absalom, 2 Sam. 18. Or,

7thly. Thy sin might be Oppression. See Job 27.13, 14, 15. God there threatens that the Sword, or Famine, or some such sudden and fearful Judgment shall sweep away the Oppres­sors Children. So Amos 4.1, 2. There is the posterity of Oppressors threatned. God may most justly take away the lives of their Chil­dren, who take away the livelihood of others Children. It is seldom seen that a covetous griping Oppressor or Usurer leaves many Chil­dren behind him. For these and some other sins (mentioned before) God may suddenly deprive us of dear and near Relations. Now what saith Conscience? doth it not fly in your face and tell you, that you have been guilty of some one or more of these sins? With Pharoah's Butler call to mind thy fault this day, Gen. 41.9. And having thus found it out,

[Page 215]2. Confess it to God, be deeply humbled for it, and pray heartily for pardon thereof. Say as Jo­sephs Brethren did, Gen. 42.21. We are verily guilty concerning our Brother. Let your uncir­cumcised hearts be humbled, and accept of the punishment of your iniquity, as the Expression is, Levit. 26.41. Turn sorrowing for your Friend, into sorrowing for your Sins, that have depri­ved you of his sweet society. We find, 2 Sam. 24. David sin'd in numbering of the People; and God punisheth him in lessening the num­ber of them. See what David doth, vers. 10. His heart smote him after he had numbred the People: and he said unto the Lord, I have sin­ned greatly in that I have done: And now I be­seech thee, O Lord, take away the iniquity of thy Servant, for I have done very foolishly. No sooner was David convinced of his sin, by the testimony of his Conscience, acted by the Spi­rit of God, but presently makes his humble ad­dresses to God, confessing his sin, and heartily bewailing his folly, he prayes to God for par­don thereof: vers. 17. David seeing the People smitten by the destroying Angel, he cries out, Lo, I have sinned, and I have done wickedly; but these Sheep what have they done? David knew very well that the People were not with­out their faults, justly deserving this and a greater judgment; yet reflecting upon his sin as an occasion of this judgment, he endeavours to acquit them, taking the fault wholly upon himself, and yearning in his bowels with bitter grief, that he should be the cause of bringing this destruction upon his dearly beloved Peo­ple. [Page 216] So should we, when our sins have been a cause to hasten the death of our dear Friend, confess them unto God, be deeply humbled for them, and pray heartily for pardon thereof. And then,

Thirdly and lastly, Let us be careful to avoid these sins for the future. This God expects, Job 36.9, 10. He shews them (who are hol­den in the Cords of Affliction) their work, and their transgressions, that they have exceeded; he openeth also their ear to discipline, and command­eth that they return from iniquity. This the Church hath practised in times of great distress, Lam. 3.40. Let us search and try our wayes, and turn again unto the Lord. Oh! how should our hearts rise against such sins as rob us of our dear Friends. If any mortal man had mur­dered our Father or Mother, Son or Daugh­ter, Brother or Sister, or any other near and dear Friend or Relation: We would not en­dure that man, but prosecute the Law on him to the uttermost; and we would rejoyce to see justice done upon him: Our hand would not spare, our eye would not pitty him. Oh then, take an holy revenge upon your Lusts, which have provoked God to take away such or such Relations, let your hearts be transported with infinite indignation against them, 2 Cor. 7.11. Say in the Language of Elihu, Job 34.31. I have born chastisement, I will not offend any more, nor provoke God in this manner by my sins to take away my Friends. Mortifie there­fore your earthly members, fornication, unclean­ness, [Page 217] inordinate affection, &c. Coloss. 3.5. [...], kill or make dead. Pursue these sins with a deadly implacable hatred, (not only odio aversationis, but inimicitiae). Oh! let not your sins survive any longer, but as they have killed your Friend, so let them be buried with him in his Grave.

Use 4 4. Imitate deceased Friends in what is good.

There is no Friend so universally bad, but there is something of good in him worth imi­tation; some good might be distil'd from him, if we put under the fire of Charity. Who so deeply buried (Refined Courtier p. 58. saith a learned man) under the rubbish of his own ruines, that something of good­ness may not be discerned by a charitable Survey­or. We find David commending Saul in that Panegyrick, or Funeral Oration, mentioned, 2 Sam. 1. Do not, like the silly Sheep leaping off a Bridge, follow one another in irregular wayes to your destruction. Nequaquàm face­re nos improbos improbitas debeat aliena, Salv.Salv. de Gub. Dei lib. 7 p. 241. What you find in any materially good, follow it; but chiefly imitate your godly Friends, Phil. 3.17. But in as much as they have their failings, (as pure Gold hath its dross, and the purest Wheat its Chaff) follow them so far onely as they follow Christ, 1 Cor. 11.1. Make then your godly Parents your Paterns, asMr. Du­gard in Epist. de­ [...]icat. to his Ser­mon on Ps. 89 48 Constan­tines Sons are said to resemble him to the life. [...], Euseb. Write after those good Copies which deceased Friends have [Page 218] set you. Jerom having read the Life and Death of Hilarion, who died Christianly as he lived Religiously; Well, said he, Hilarion shall be the Champion whom I will follow. Zeno Cilliaeus consulted with the Oracle how he might live well, and he received this answer, [...], If he was of the same colour with the dead: This he interpreted to mean, That he should get and read all the antient Books that he could hear of, and then steep and die his mind in those sacred Notions. AMr. Pa­trick in his Serm on Psal. 90.12. Re­verend Divine saith of this Sentence, what St. Paul did of Epimenides's Sentence, Tit. 1.13. This testimony is true: If you would live well, Look as like to the dead in the Lord as ever you can, and labour to turn your Souls into their shape. As living Examples are to be followed, so the dead are not to be forgotten. Heb. 6.12. Be not slothful, but followers of them, who through Faith and Patience, inherit the Promises. It is said of Abel, Heb. 11.4. That being dead, yet speaketh, which as it may be understood of his blood calling for Vengeance, Gen. 4.10. Heb. 12.24. So likewise of his example calling for our imitation, Heb. 12.1. Well then was thy Friend a strict observer of the Sabbath, a constant frequenter of the Ordinances, a dili­gent reader of God's Word, a faithful Instru­cter of his Children and Servants? Was he a lover of good Ministers, a reliever of good Peo­ple, a reprover of Vice, an encourager of Ver­tue? Was he much in praying, laborious in his Calling? Was he serviceable to his Neigh­bour, faithful to his Friend, a forgiver of his [Page 219] Enemies? In a word, Was he temperate, meek, patient, peaceable, humble, honest, heavenly-minded, &c? If these and the like vertues were conspicuous in thy Friend, Go thou and do likewise, Luke 10.37: Though your Friend be dead and buried, yet let his vertues live in your practice.

Use 5 5. Admire Gods goodness, who as yet conti­nues thee in the land of the Living.

Life is a mercy that we ought to bless God for, Psal. 66.8, 9. O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard, who holdeth our soul in life. — So Ps. 103.1, 2, 3, 4. The Psalmist there, amongst other mercies, bles­seth God for healing his Diseases, and redeeming his life from destruction. Indeed God's deli­vering our Soul from Death, is an effect of his bounty, as ye may gather from Psal. 116.7, 8. It is of the Lords mercies that we are not con­sumed, Lam. 3.22. For God to maintain that radical moisture, that Oyl that feeds the Lamp and Light of thy Life, is (asMr. Goodwin on Rom. 2.4, 5. one saith) as great a miracle, as the maintaining the Oil in the cruse of the poor famished Widow, 1 Kings 17.16. When thou therefore hearest of the death of any Friend, Neighbour, or Relation, con­sider with thy self, it might have been thine own case; thou art made of no better Mould then he was: 'Tis God only that preserveth the House of Clay from falling to the ground. As thou accompaniest him to the Grave to pay the last office of Love; consider thou mightest have [Page 220] been carried forth, and others have accompani­ed thee. Is it not a miracle of mercy, that the Dart of Death should kill many round about thee, and yet miss thee! Conclude, that the Hand of God guides it, and it is his meer mercy that thou art yet spared. When Lot (as I told you before) had his Wife turned into a Pillar of Salt, and his Sons in Law swept away by a fearful showr of Fire and Brimstone, he took it for a great favour that God had spared his life; Gen. 19.19. Behold now, thy Servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me, in saving my life. Oh then, let death of others put thee upon blessing and praising God for sparing thee; and not only praise him with thy Lips, but with thy Life too; Love him, obey him, cleave to him, for he is thy Life, and the length of thy dayes, Deut. 30.20.

Use 6 6. Let death of Friends teach you not to trust in the arm of flesh.

God would not have us, by any means, to put our trust in man, as these places shew, Isa. 2.22. Isa. 30.23. Isa. 36.6. Jer. 17.5, 7. So Psal. 118.8, 9. Luther on that place, [It is better to trust in the Lord, than to put confidence in man, &c.] calls it, Artem artium & mirifi­cam, & sacrificium omnium gratissimum, & suavissimum, & cultum omnium pulcherrimum, To trust in God, and not in man, is the Art of Arts, the wonderful and great Art, a most ex­cellent Sacrifice, and commendable piece of [Page 221] Religion. He that builds his hopes on so weak a foundation as the life of Man, he is like that foolish Man in the Gospel that built his House on the Sand, Mat. 7.26. Or like a foolish Mer­chant that ventures all his substance in a crazy Vessel. The Psalmist tells you, Men of low degree are a vanity, and men of high degree are a lie, (he gives great ones the lie) Psal. 62.9. He means all Friends both of high and low de­gree, are lying vanities, and perform not what they seem to promise; so that whoever trust in any Friends, as it is said in another case, Isa. 28.15. They have made lies their refuge, and under falshood they have hid themselves. And these Friends that they trust in, like Absaloms Mule, 2 Sam. 18.9. many times give them the slip, when they have most need of their support and assistance; for if they fail them not through willful treachery, (as many times they do, Psal. 55.12. Mic. 7.5, 6. Luke 21.16.) yet they may, through unavoidable mortality, as Jonathan failed and disappointed David, of whom he saith, I am distressed for thee my Bro­ther Jonathan, 2 Sam. 1.26, 27.Mr. Du­guard's Sermon on Psal. 89.48. p. 17, 18. Caesar Bor­gia, that wicked Son, of a more wicked Father, Pope Alexander the sixth, grounded many de­signs on his relation to the Pope; but the Pope suddenly dies and dashes all: And Borgia, when he heard of his death, cryed out, I ne­ver dreamed of such an accident, now all my pur­poses and projects are stifled and come to nothing. He that knows man well enough, knows him better then to trust in him. Wherefore as it is Psal. 146.3, 4. Put not your trust in Princes, [Page 222] nor in the Son of man, in whom there is no help; his breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; in that very day his thoughts perish. His thoughts and designs of doing thee good (if he had any) die with him, and thine hopes and expections are buried in his Grave: therefore, as it follows, vers. 5. Happy is he that hath the God of Jacob for his help, whose hope is in the Lord his God. He casts Anchor amiss, that casts it any where else save on the Rock of Ages.

Use 7 7. Let death of Friends teach you not to set your affections too much upon any Re­lation.

We see Friends stay but a short time with us; who would be too fond of them? We may love and rejoyce one in another, Husband in Wife, Wife in Husband; Parents in Children, Chil­dren in Parents, &c. But it must be moderate­ly, as though we rejoyced not, seeing the time of enjoying is short, and will quickly be expi­red, 1 Cor. 7.29, 30, 31. The rivolet of our affections may run to other things, but the full stream must run towards God. Luke 14.26. If any man come to me (saith Christ) and hate not (that is, loveth not less then me, Mat. 10.37.) Father and Mother, Wife and Children, Brethren and Sisters, yea, and his own life al­so, he cannot be my Disciple. Say then with the Psalmist, Psal. 73.25. Whom have I in Hea­ven but thee? And there is none upon Earth that I desire besides thee. God is called the Living God, Psal. 42.2. Let therefore the life and [Page 223] vigour of your affections, as love, joy, delight, &c. be for ever set upon him, and not upon mortal Friends, which like Noah's Dove, how­ever they bring an Olive Branch promising peace and comfort, yet they are upon the Wing, and presently fly from us: Or like Thorns under a Pot, though they give a little blaze, shining, and comfort for a while, yet they presently drop into ashes. When you too fondly set your af­fections on them, and think to hold them fast, they give you the slip, as Juno did Ixion, or as Joseph did his Mistress when she laid hold on his Coat, Gen. 39.12, 13. Let therefore these perishing comforts have perishing affections.

Use 8 8. Let death of Friends put a stop to covetous­ness, and immoderate desires after the riches of this World.

The wise man saith, Prov. 23.4. Labour not to be rich. And the Prophet Jeremiah saith to Baruch, Jer. 45.5. Seekest thou great things for thy self? Seek them not. And David saith, Psal. 62.10. If riches increase, set not your heart upon them. Riches indeed are a very un­certain tenure, 1 Tim. 6.17. Orig. [...]. Silver and Gold, those refined parts of the Earth, are but corruptible things, 1 Pet. 1.18. Worldly possessions are nothing certain, Prov. 23.5. If they leave not us, (which they may do, for they are subject to ma­ny casualties, Fire may burn them, Thieves steal them, &c.) yet we must ere long leave them. Death gives a Bill of Ejectment: It di­vorceth [Page 224] from Gold and Silver, Houses and Lands, &c. It squeezeth those Spunges that have suckt themselves full, and leaves them as dry and empty as they were at first, Job 1.21. Eccles. 5.15, 16. Psal. 49.10, 17. comp. Luke 12.20. 1 Tim. 6.7, 8. Death that surly Serjeant (as you see daily) will not be bribed to put off his Arrest. In a word, you may be sick and die, and be turned to dust, yea and be dam­ned too for any thing your riches can help you, Prov. 11.4. And therefore project not for time to come, as if this life would never be done.

Use 9 9. Let death of Friends be a curbing-bit to restrain intemperance in eating and drink­ing, and an eager prosecution of sinful pleasures.

Many in the last dayes of this Worlds conti­nuance, Jehu-like, drive on furiously in sinful pleasures. They are lovers of pleasures more then lovers of God, 2 Tim. 3.4. but God would not have us to indulge our selves in rio­ting and drunkenness, in chambering and wan­tonness; he would not have us to make provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lust thereof, Rom. 13.13, 14. And methinks the meditation of death of Friends should be a means to prevent intem­perance. As I have read of one, who had con­tinually, amidst the multitude of his dainties, a Deaths Head served up in a Charger, to mind him of his mortality, and keep him temperate in the use of Gods good Creatures. Oh consi­der, [Page 225] thou wretched Epicure, that thy pamper'd body will shortly be a most noysome Corps. Job 24.20. The Worm shall feed sweetly on it. Consider, the pleasures of sin are but for a season, Heb. 11.25. Thou mayest hear that voice this present hour in the midst of Drinking, Dancing, Feasting, Gaming, Whoring, &c. which Pope Innocentius the 4th heard in his Court, and was found dead the next day. Veni miser ad judicium, Come thou wretch to judg­ment.

Use 10 10. Let death of Friends give a check to pride and ambition.

Dr. Stu­arts Ca­thol. Di­vin. pag. 150.Some say, The hand of a dead man stroak­ing the part, cures the Tympany. Methinks the spectacles of mortality, presented so frequent­ly before us, should asswage the swelling of pride that is within us. Who would be proud of po­pular applause, which is indeed but a fancy, (for so Agrippa's pomp is called, Acts 25.23. Orig. [...]) did he consider his own mortality? Herod would not have e­rected the plumes of pride, as he did, when the people flattered him, had he looked on himself as a mortal man, and that he should be so soon eaten up of Worms, the vilest of Creatures, Acts 12.21, 22, 23. Who would be proud of beauty, considering if Deaths Hand do but touch the best complection'd Persons, like theContacto [...] cineres­cunt. Apples of Sodom, they drop speedily into dust and ashes? Who would be proud of Gifts and Parts, seeing the Wise Man dies as well as the Fool? Psal. 49.10. Who would be proud [Page 226] of stately and pleasant Houses, considering short­ly he must be housed in dark and dankish rooms under ground, Job 17.13? Who would be proud of his Pedigree, considering he must say ere long to corruption, Thou art my Father: and to the worm, Thou art my Mother, and my Sister, Job 17.14? Who would be proud of Apparel, which must shortly be laid aside? Or, who would be proud of Riches, which must be left at death, and we know not to whom, Psal. 39.6? Who would be ambitious of great swelling titles, as your Worship, your Honour, your Grace, your Excellency, your Greatness, your High­ness, &c. considering that the Greatest die, and their Titles with them, and their Glory will not descend after them, Psal. 49.17? Ambition, like a blazing Comet, portends no good, and in a while vanisheth and comes to nothing. How unbefitting a thing is it for man to be daily a­spiring, who is daily expiring; to soar so high, who must lie so low, even under the feet of those whom he desires to tread upon? Ahasue­rus that could reckon 127 Provinces under his command, Esth. 1.1. had but about seven foot Sepulchre at most, being dead: And Alexan­der that sweated within the compass of the world, as too narrow for him,

Aestuat infoelix angusto limite mundi.

Juvenal Sat. 10.

Yet being dead, had but a little patch of ground to contain his Body, and that was with much difficulty obtained.

There is indeed some odds betwixt men whilst living, in respect of birth, education, wealth, wit, alliance, honour, beauty, &c. yet to pull down the top-sail of pride, man should consi­der that the same God made us all, Job 31.15. Mal. 2.10. and of the same matter, and we all at last return alike to the same earth, Gen. 3.19. Eccl. 12.7. There is no odds amongst dead men. Re­spice sepulchra, & vide quis servus, quis dominus, quis dives, & quis pauper, discerne si potes vin­ctum a Rege, fortem a debili, pulchrum a defor­mi. Aug. lib. de nat. et grat. Aust. Take a view of the Graves of men, and you shall find all there have a like hollow eyes, flat noses, ghastly looks, noysom scents, &c. there Dives cannot be distinguished from La­zarus, nor beautiful Rachel from blear-ey'd Leah.

At a game of Chess (as a learned * Doctor ob­serves) we see Kings, and Queens, and Bishops,Dr. Stuart's Catholic. Divinity pag. 151, 152. and Knights upon the board, and they have their several walks, and contest one with ano­ther in points of state and honour; but when the game is done, all together with the pawns are shuffled in one bag. In like manner in this life men appear in different garbes, and take di­verse courses, some are Kings, some are Officers, some Bishops, some Knights, some of other ranks and orders. But when this life, like a game, is done, which is sometimes sooner, sometimes la­ter, all are shuffled together, with the many or vulgar sort of people, and lie in darkness and ob­scurity. All their pomp is brought down to the grave, and the worms shall cover them; Isa. 14.11.

To shut up this point. A proud man is a vain supercilious bubble, that swells for a while, and danceth about with a splendid gaiety upon the surface of the waters, but presently disappears and is seen no more. Who would then boast himself with Theudas to be some body, Act. 5.36. or, with Simon-Magus, look upon himself as [...], Act. 8.9. some grand Magnifico, whereas in his best state he is but altogether va­nity, Psal. 39.5.

Use 11 11. Let death of Friends be a Cordial to keep you from fainting under any affliction.

You see Friends die daily, assure your self ere long your turn will come, and by death you shall be delivered from all your sorrows. A Christian may say with Jacob, Gen. 47.9. Few and evil have the dayes of the years of my life been. This is Jacobs Arithmetick: he casting the account of his days, tells you, they were by substraction and di­minution, Few, by addition and multiplication, full of evil. Indeed, Psal. 34.19. Many are the afflictions of the Righteous. The Latin word Quies, which signifies rest, wanteth the plural number, for there is little rest in this world. A good man meets with contempt from the world, temptations from the Devil, assaults from the flesh, sometimes with rebukes from God, checks from Conscience, with spiritual desertions, with poverty, sickness, reproach, &c. like a Ship say­ling on the Sea of this world, no sooner is he freed from one waye but he is immediatly lifted up by another; but when he dyes, he is safely [Page 229] landed on the shoar in the haven of Heaven, above a state of misery and mortality too.

Old Chaucer's Epitaph is a good one,Manch. Al. Mond p. 61. Mors aerumnarum requies: Death puts an end to all sorrow. We may write upon the Grave-stone of a Spiritual Pilgrim,

Hic mortuus requiescit semel,
Qui vivus requievit nunquam.

Death is a Sleep, and the Coffin a Couch; In quo illé mollius dormit quisquis durius in hâc vità se gèsserit. Ambros. The Sepulcher is a place of rest, for the Antients called it Requietorium, or Dormitorium: And the Prophet Isaiah calleth it a Bed, Isa. 57.2. They shall rest in their Beds. Men being hard-work't all day, sleep sweetly at night: So the Righteous when the night of Death approachcth, after all their hardship and sore labours, have their bodies laid down to rest in the Grave, where they sleep quietly until the Resurrection. Chear up then, ye Servants of the Lord, under all your Grievances, your Af­flictions cannot continue long, because your life is short. See 1 Cor. 7.29, 30. Weep as if you wept not, for it will be shortly better with you than now it is. God will wipe away all tears from your eyes, Rev. 7.17. & 21.4. As Athanasius said of his Banishment, so may you of your Af­fliction, what ever it be,Bp. Pil­kington, on Neh. 4.16. it is but Nubecula cito transitura, a little Cloud that will soon be dissi­pated and blown over. Niceph. 10. cap. 19.

Thus, as the Psalmist saith, Psal. 30.5. Weep­ing may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. After a wet night of Affliction comes [Page 230] a bright morning of Consolation, which no night shall ever overtake.

Though Spectacles of Mortality administer Comfort to the Righteous under Affliction, yet they may strike terror into the hearts of impe­nitent Wretches: for they may reade their own death in the death of their Friends. They must shortly die aswell as others; Job 24.24. Psal. 37.35, 36. & 49.10. And though Death put a period to the sorrows of the Righteous, yet it is an inlet to the wicked man's misery. See Job 20.5, 6, &c. The Lord laughs at the cruel wic­ked man, for he seeth that his day is coming, Psal. 37.13. The day of vengeance is drawing on, therefore envy him not, v. 1, 2. Neither be afraid of him, Isa. 51.12. To end this, we read Dan. 5.5, 6. There came forth fingers of a mans hand, and wrote over against the Candle­stick upon the plaister of the wall of the Kings Pa­lace: and the King saw the part of the hand that wrote: These fingers did not snuff the Candle of Belshazzars joy to make it burn the brighter, but quite put it out: for the King's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his bones were loosed, and his knees smote one against another. Methinks eve­ry Spectacle of Mortality should be to wicked­men as this Hand-writing upon the wall to Bel­shazzar, It should make them crest-faln & stand in fear: For Death, like Israels Pillar of the Cloud Exod. 14.20. as it brings Light to the Godly, so Darkness to the Wicked: Prov. 13.9. The Light of the Righteous rejoyceth, but the Lamp of the Wicked shall be put out.

Use 12 12. Let death of Friends make us careful to do all good with as much speed as we can.

It is said, Gen. 47.29. The time drew nigh that Israel must die. So the time of thy Depar­ture draws nigh: therefore whatever thine hand finds to do, do it with all thy might, Eccl. 9.10. hide not thy Talent in a Napkin, thou knowest not how soon thou mayest be called to an account; assure thy self, when a night of Death comes, no man can work, John 9.4. Why stand you idle, the day of your life being (for ought ye know) well-nigh spent? A man can­not think to have his money when he hath spent it; you cannot spend your time and have it. As you have therefore opportunity, do good to all, especially to them of the houshold of Faith, Gal. 6.10. Make to your selves friends of the Mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may re­ceive you into everlasting habitations, Luk. 16.9. and, as Solomon adviseth, Withhold not good from them to whom it is due, when it is in the power of thine hand to do it: Say not to thy neighbour, Go, and come again, and to morrow I will give, when thou hast it by thee, Prov. 3.27, 28. Be provi­dent to lay up something for Wife and Chil­dren, Prov. 13.22. 1 Tim. 5.8. We hold our life with great uncertainty; be careful as may be with a good conscience, to lay up something for posterity to live upon. Joseph in a time of plenty laid up against dearth and scarcity, Gen. 41.48. especially labour to promote the spiri­tual welfare of Relations and others whom you [Page 232] converse with; lead an exemplary life, reprove, rebuke, instruct and pray for them. Ministers should do so ex officio, they are called and ap­pointed hereunto, Isa. 58.1. 2 Tim. 4.2. Pri­vate Christians should likewise do it ex chari­tate, out of christian care and charity, Levit. 19.17. so 1 Pet. 4.10. And for encourage­ment consider Prov. 11.30. He that winneth souls is wise. And Dan. 12.3. They that be wise, shall shine as the brightness of the Firmament; and they that turn many unto righteousness, as the Stars for ever and ever. So Jam. 5.19, 20. Bre­thren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, let him know, that he which con­verteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multi­tude of sins.

Furthermore, if we endeavour the conversion of souls and do not effect it, yet the Apostle tels us for our comfort, we shall not lose our reward; 1 Cor. 3.8. Every man shall receive his own re­ward according to his own labour. It is not said according to success, but according to labour. Heb. 6.10. God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love. This comforted the Prophet, Isa. 49.4. Then I said I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain; yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work (or reward) with my God. However as another Prophet shews, Liberavimus animas, Ezek. 3.17, 18, &c. we free our selves from that guilt which we might have contracted through negligence. Well then, hast thou a treasure of spiritual Wisdom and Grace, labour [Page 233] to communicate it betimes, for Death ere long may stop either your mouth, or the ears of others, and then it will be too late to make Dives's mo­tion, to forewarn your Brethren, lest they come in­to the place of torment, Luke 16. latter end.

The Apostle Peter was diligent in putting people in remembrance of good things, knowing that shortly he must put off his tabernacle, 2 Pet. 1.13, 14, 15. And St. Paul is earnest in his exhortations and spiritual directions to Timothy, especially knowing the time of his departure to be at hand, 2 Tim. 4.5, 6.

Mr. Perkins his Motto was, Hoc age, do the business you are about, what concerns you most,Abel-Re­divivus in Life of Mr. Perkins. do it speedily, exactly; And truly that good man, as if presaging that his life was likely to be short (for he dyed at the 44th year of his age) husbanded his time with double diligence to God's glory, and the good of many others. Oh then, let us consider, the taper of our life may be almost spent, and therefore (tanquam ultimus lucernae fulgor) let us now shine most gloriously to the good of others. And truly (as some think) if there were grief in Heaven, it would be most of all for this, that Believers did no more for their God, who now doth so much for them; that they did not glorifie him more on Earth, who glorifies them so much in Heaven.

Use 13 13. Let death of Friends put us on to get what good we can by living Friends, we see they die soon.

We hold our Friends but durante beneplacito Dei, how soon he may call for them, we know [Page 234] not: And therefore (as one saith) let us do with them as with some Books which we borrow, let us reade them presently, and take out thence profitable lessons as soon as we can, for we know not how soon the owner may take them from us: Books of our own lye by us, and we may reade them at leisure. Thus if Friends were so our own that we might have them by us at our own command, we might be the more care­less; but in regard they are but lent us, and may speedily be call'd for again: It is good to improve their company whilest we have them; and gather from them what may make for our profit both temporal and spiritual; espe­cially let us improve their society to our eternal advantage.

The old World was to blame in not being better'd by the good example of Enoch, Me­thuselah, Noah, and some other few good per­sons that were amongst them: And the wicked Sodomites to blame for not improving the society of Godly Lot to their spiritual advantage, Gen. 19.7, 8, 9. 2 Pet. 2.5, 6, 7. Let the patience of good men, check thy impatience; their zeal, thy luke-warmness; their charity, thy cruel­ty; their temperance, thy luxury; their strict­ness, thy loosness. Yet a little while (saith Christ) is the Light with you, walk while ye have the Light, Joh. 12.35.

The Light of God's Word is principally to be followed, Psal. 119.105. Gal. 6.16. yet the light of good Example is not to be neglected, Mat. 5.16. Heb. 12.1. Walk and work by the Light of both, and that with all possible speed that may be.

To shut up this; Death silenceth the best Preachers, breaks up the best Company; and therefore deal with gracious Companions and faithful Guides, as Elisha did by Elijah, who would not leave him, till he had gotten his Spi­rit doubled upon him, 2 Kings 2. from ver. 1, to 16. Or, as Jacob dealt with the Angel, who would not let him go until he blessed him, Gen. 32.26, 27, 28. So let us be careful so to improve their company, that before they leave us we may get a blessing from them.

Use 14 14. Let death of Friends mind us of our own death.

Eccles. 7.2. It is better to go to the House of Mourning, than to the House of Feasting: for that is the end of all men, and the living will lay it to heart. The house of Feasting is apt to put out of our minds the thoughts of goodness, Deut. 8.12. Job 1.5. but the house of Mourn­ing may seriously affect the heart with good thoughts; as of the greatness of God's Power, who taketh away our breath, Psal. 104.29. and with thoughts of our own frailty and mortali­ty: for, as it is said of Abel, he being dead, yet speaketh, Heb. 11.4. So the dead corps in the house of Mourning, seems to speak our inevita­ble mortality. We may call the death of a Friend or Neighbour (saith a worthyMr. Harrison in his Serm. on Isa. 57.1. p. 42. Divine) as some do the Sacrament, Visibile Verbum, a visible Word, a Sermon teaching us our Morta­lity; for what we are, they were; and what they are, we may be, and we know not how soon. [Page 236] Quod tueris, tu eris; dost thou behold a dead corps carried forth, thou shalt shortly be such an one thy self. Alas! Alas! what is this life that we make such account of, that we so much talk of? It is rapidissimus cursus a tumulo ad tumu­lum, a very swift motion from the womb of our Mother, to the womb of the Earth. Natures dim eye saw the shortness of it. Will you hear what it is? One compares it to an Herb green now,See Mr. Ambroses Serm. on Gen. 47.9 and presently withering (Ut Herba Sol­stitialis. Plaut.) Another calls Life the Image of Death. (Mortis Imago. Cato.) Another calls Man a Dream of a Shadow ( [...]. Pindar.) Another, a shadow of Smoak, ( [...]. Aeschyl.) Another compares it to Leaves on Trees soon falling,

[...].

Tale genus hominum, quale foliorum. Homer. Iliad. 3.

Another saith, Our whole life is but a point of time, ( [...]. Plutarch.) which Seneca well interprets, saying, Punctum est quod vivimus, & adhuc puncto minus: The time we live is but a point, yea less than a point. It is but an instant, for what is past we enjoy not, and what is to come is uncertain; so that the present instant is the time we live, and that gone as soon as spoken.

You have heard some of the Heathens speak of the Life of Man, I pray you hearken to what the holy Ghost speaks of it in Scripture. Job compares it to a Weavers Shuttle, Job 7.6. which being thrown by the hand of the Wea­ver, [Page 237] speedily passeth from one end of the Web to the other; and v. 7. compares it to the Wind, that passes speedily away: what more swift or uncertain than the Wind? he compares it to a Shadow that passeth away, Job 8.9. (so doth David, Psal. 102.11. so doth Solomon, Eccles. 6.12.) Job likewise compares his Life to a Post, that runs or rides swiftly on the Earth; to a Ship that moves swiftly on the Waters; and to an Eagle hastning after her prey, that moves swiftly in the Air; Job 9.25, 26.

David compares the Life of Man to Grass, (Muscul. in Gen. 1. p. 13. Manè quidem floridum, vesperi vero aridum); and to the Flower of the Field, which soon wi­thereth and fadeth away, Ps. 103.15, 16. So doth Moses, Psal. 90.5, 6. So doth the Pro­phet Isaiah, Isa. 40.6, 7. David likewise com­pares it to Smoak which is quickly dispersed, Psal. 102.3. He likewise compares it to an [...] pal­mus, est mensura 4 digito­rum jun­ctorum. Byth. Hand-breadth, Psal. 39.5. which is one of the shortest of measures, the breadth onely of four fingers put close together. Our Saviour would have us look upon our Life but as a Day, Mat. 6.11. and Moses reckons by Dayes, Psal. 90.12. so did Jacob before him, Gen. 47.9. And indeed (vita nostra non est diuturna, Propera vivere, et singulos dies sin­gulas vi­tas puta, nihil in­terest in­ter diem & secu­lum. Sen. sed di­urna) every day is a little Map of our Life: for as the poor Hireling when the day is spent, goes home with his wages with him; so when the day of man's life is spent, with his wages about him he returns to his long-home, the Grave.

St. Paul calls our Bodies Earthen vessels, 2 Cor. 4.7. and 2 Cor. 5.1. The earthly house of this tabernacle: Here the Apostle who was [Page 238] a Tent-maker, compares the Body to a Tent or Tabernacle, which is speedily taken down and removed.

St. James catechizing us in this point, asks us a question, and answers it himself, Jam 4.14. What is your life? it is even a vapour that ap­pears for a while, and then vanisheth away. It is a vapour, and that is such a thing as is next to nothing, an apparition rather than reality, and that apparition vanishing out of sight.

Moses tells us, Psal. 90.9. We spend our years as a tale that is told: A tale is not long in tel­ling. Thus the Life of Man is short considered in it self, but very short compared with the ex­istence of God: For, as the same Moses tells us, v. 4. A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past; and as a watch in the night, which is but three hours continuance. Christ calls it an hour, John 5.25. The Wise­man calls it a moment, Prov. 12.19. so doth St. Paul, 2 Cor. 4.17. Our life-time here is but as a watch in the night, as an hour, yea but a moment, compared with the existence of God, and duration of eternity.

David sets out Man in his fading colours, Psal. 39.5. Mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man in his best state is altogether va­nity. Selah. Or, according to the* [...] Original, it may be rendred, All vanity every man living, or every living man is every vanity: Universa vanitas omnis homo subsistens. Byth. Or, Uni­versa vanitas omnis homo stans. Pagnin. Take man standing on his Pantofles in all his beauty and bravery, and he is no other than a compen­dium [Page 239] of all vanities under the Sun. Name what vanity you can or will, man is that: call him any thing but vanity and you call him too much. Some have comprized the vanity of man's life in these verses,

Somnus, bulla, vitrum, glacies, flos, fabula, foenū,
Umbra, cinis, punctum, vox, sonus, aura, nihil.

Man is not only vain, but vanity in the abstract (et abstracta sunt significatiora) not vanity in the worst, but best state; nay, not vanity only, but altogether vanity. There is not a verier vanity than vain man is: And that we may not doubt it, he ushers it in with a Verily, and concludes it with Selah. Which word (growing of a root which signifies to lift up) being added,a [...] elevavit. Byth. shews we should lift up our minds seriously to consider the vanity of man. Nay, not only every man, but all Nations before him are as no­thing, and they are counted to him less than no­thing, and vanity, Isa. 40.17.

Yet though Man be so vain, his life so short, some are loth to acknowledge it. Agnoscere no­lumus quod ignorare non possumus. Cyp. de mort. David prayes, Put the Heathen in fear, that they may know themselves to be but men, Psal. 9.20. It seems they took themselves to be more than men. So did Empedocles,

— Deus immortalis haberi
Dum cupit Empedocles. Horat. Arte Poet. Dr. Pri­deaux his Introdu­ction to Histories p. 198.

And Domitian the Emperor arrogated to himself Divine Honours, and would be stiled, Dominus [Page 240] et Deus noster, Our Lord and God; to which afterwards the Canonists entitled the Pope. But the Pope hath little reason to admit this title, for (as Dr. Prideaux observes else-where) one year,Introduc History, p. 151. four months and three dayes made an end of four Popes, (viz.) Sextus the 5th, Urbane the 7th, Gregory the 14th, and Innocent the 9th.

Most know they must die, but they seldome think of it. Thoughts of the last end, are the last end of many mens thoughts; Witness that prophane Proverb which is much in use amongst us, when we would express that we never thought of such a thing, we say, we thought no more of it than of our dying-day. Most sad it is that where spectacles of Mortality are most frequent, as in Cities and Corporations, and great Towns, there they are the least regarded. Mr. Fuller tells us of a Bird peculiar to Ireland, called the Cock of the Wood; these Birds will fly many together in Woods, and if one of them be shot, the rest remove but to the next bough or tree at the fur­thest, and there they stand staring at the Shoo­ter, till the whole company be destroyed. As foolish as the Bird is, it is wise enough (saith he) to be the emblem of most in point of mortality. Death sweeps away one, and one, and one, and the rest remain nothing moved at it, or minding of it, till at last a whole generation is consumed.

When we are in health we put Death far from us: And when we are sick we are apt to say, as our Saviour did of Lazaru's sickness, Jo. 11.4. This sickness is not unto death. Thus men spend their days in wealth, or mirth (for the Orig. [Page 241] will bear either) and in a moment (when they little think of it) they go down into the Grave, Job 21.13. We read of some, Isa. 28.15. that said, They had made a covenant with Death, and with Hell (or the Grave) were at agree­ment. A League or Covenant is made betwixt Parties consenting, but merciles Death makes a League with none: so that there is no Covenant made indeed, but only in the wicked mans ima­gination, who without any ground for it, thinks Death will not yet seize on him. So those Epi­cures said, Isa. 56.12. They would fetch Wine, and fill themselves with strong Drink, and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more a­bundant. It is said of Jerusalem, Her filthiness is in her Skirts, she remembreth not her last end, Lam. 1. [...]9. So the rich Farmer sang a Requi­em to his Soul, Luke 12.19, 20. Soul, take thine ease, thou hast Goods laid up for many years, eat, drink, and be merry. He reckoned on ma­ny years, but reckoned without his Host, and so was brought to a second reckoning far more sad than he thought on, for God said to him, Thou Fool, this night shall thy Soul be required of thee. He is branded with the name of a Fool for so doing to succeeding Generations. So there were some in St. James's time, James 4.13. That said, To day or to morrow we will go into such a City, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain. We read, Isa. 40.6. the Prophet was to cry, All flesh is Grass: This crying doth intimate, that men drowned in security, forget their own mortality.

Now the reason why many presume upon long life, is either,

1. Because they would have it so; for, faci­lè credimus quod volumus, We are apt to believe what we would have come to pass: Or,

2. Because they reckon by falseSee Mr. Patrick's Serm. on Ps. 90.12. rules; as, (1.) Some reckon by their Age: They are young, healthful, and strong, of good Constitutions, and so think to live many dayes: Whereas (ac­cording to what a worthyDr. Wal­ker in his Serm. on Luk. 7.12, 13. p. 13. Dr. saith) Their less confirmed constitution is sooner discomposed and out of temper: Their fresher blood is more susceptive of infection; their warmer and agil spirits more easily blown up into a feaverish heat and flame. Infectious Distempers, as Plague, Measels, Small-Pox, &c. soonest seize on the purest Complexions, and speedily overturn the best-built structures of Nature. The purest Fruit soonest perisheth. When Jonah's Gourd was fullest of Sap and Verdure, then the Worm smites it, and it is gone. Strong Cedars, sturdy Oaks, are hewen down, when Death layes the Ax to the Root of the Tree. Great Zerxes wept to think that the strength of his Army could not keep Death out of his Quarters. If thou beest as strong as Sampson, or David's three Worthies, whom you read of in 2 Sam. 23.8. yet sickness may soon weaken thee, and Death lay thee flat on thy back. (2.) Some measure their life by the lives of others, as their Neigh­bours, and their own Kindred. They see ma­ny Neighbours older than they by many years; and besides, their Father is alive, and Grand­father lived long: Their Generation used to be [Page 243] long-liv'd, and therefore they reckon on many years: But this is deceitful reckoning, for young men die as well as those that are striken in years, see Job 21.23, 24, 25, 26. So Job 36.14. They die in youth. So Jer. 9.21. Death is come up into our Windows, and is entered in at our Pa­laces, to cut off the Children from without, and the young Men from the streets. Old Age is a Distemper that very few (in comparison) die of. And though your Father be alive, and your Grandfather lived long, yet many times Chil­dren die before their Parents. Gen. 11.28. Haran died before his Father Terah. Absalom out-lived all his Children. Naomi lived to see her Children buried as well as her Husband, Ruth 1.5. So did Job, Job 1.18, 19. To end this, The Sons of Jacob, (asMr. Ful­ler in his Com­ment on some of Ruth. one ob­serves) when they came to the Table of Jo­seph, sat down, the eldest according to his Age, and the youngest according to his Youth, Gen. 43.33. But Death observes not this method, he takes not Men in seniority, but sometimes sends them first to their Burial, that came last from the Birth; and those that came last from the Womb, first to their Winding-sheet. (3.) Some think they shall live long, because they are temperate and chast. Intemperance doubtless destroys many. Plures gulâ quàm gla­dio, More perish by gluttony than by the Sword. Multos morbos multa fecerunt fercula. Seneca Epist. 95. And drunkenness is destructive to the bodies of those that delight in it, Prov. 23.29, 30. Whence come Dropsies, Gouts, Fea­vers, Rheums, and such like Distempers, but [Page 244] usually from excess in eating and drinking. Las­civiousness and excessive wantonness is likewise an impairer of strength, Prov. 5.11. so Prov. 31.5. But yet the most temperate and chast men may die soon. For these are very subject to infecti­ous Maladies, neither are they priviledged from manifold chances, and unexpected surprisals, which may suddenly put an end to life. (4. and lastly,) Others because they have been sick and are recovered, they hope to see many dayes. But alas! how ordinary are relapses into the same distemper that men think they are recovered of: And those relapses (as Physitians say, and Ex­perience doth witness) most dangerous. But if a man be perfectly recovered of one distem­per, how ordinary is it for that man to fall ir­recoverably into another.Ambros. de Obitu fratris. 3 Tom. p. 16. Satyrus (St. Am­brose's Brother) returned from Africk by a pe­rilous Voyage, (for he suffered shipwrack, and escaped drowning very narrowly by swimming) yet having escaped so great a danger, within a short t me after his arrival and return to his Friends, fell sick and died amongst them. If you escape one danger, you know not how soon you may fall into another: If you recover of one distemper, you are but reprieved, for how short a time God only knows.

O courteous Reader, deceive thy self no lon­ger, Death like a Mole is secretly undermining thee. Thou art far nearer Death and the Grave than thou art aware of. Consider,

1. How many Diseases thou art subject to, which like so many Worms lie gnawing at the Tree of Life. The very eye (as some Oculists [Page 245] observe) hath above sixty Diseases attending it. Innumerable then must the diseases be which the whole body is subject unto. This Body of ours, which is fearfully and wonderfully made, Psal. 139.14. like a curious Watch, is soon out of order; and oft-times Physicians with all their skill cannot mend it again.

Non est in medico semper relevetur ut aeger:
Ovid de Pont. Lib. 1. Eleg. 4.
Interdum doctá plus valet arte malum.

Some mens Bodies are ground to pieces with the Stone; some destroyed with the Epilepsie,See Mr. Ley's Ser­mon on Jam. 4.14. or an Imposthume, which insensibly gathers to an head, breaks in a moment, and stops the breath of mans Bosom, or stifles the spirits of his Brain. Some Bodies are blown up with the Cholick or Illiaca Passio: Some eaten up insen­sibly by a Consumption; some drowned with the Dropsie; some burnt with a Feaver. And indeed many new Diseases break forth amongst us, which puzzle Physitians not only how to cure them, but how to call them. These bodi­ly Distempers, are as so many warning-pieces which God many times shoots off, before he send his murdering-piece.

2.De civit. Dei, lib. 22 cap. 22. Consider the manifold chances which may befal thee. Quid de innumeris casibus qui fo­rinsecùs corpori formidantur. Aug. There are casual mishaps (as well as Diseases) innumera­ble, which may prove destructive to life. We all receive life but one way, viz. by Generation, but we may lose it manyMille modis morimur, Sen. l. 7. 1. Contro­vers. wayes: As we see in a Garden-Pot, the Water is poured in but at [Page 246] one place, viz. the narrow mouth, but it runs out at an hundred holes. If we ride on Horse­back, the Horse may start or stumble, and cast us that we may rise no more. Absaloms Mule running from under him, hastned his destructi­on, 2 Sam. 18.9, &c. If we walk on foot, we may take immoderate heats and colds, which may bring with them incurable Distempers. Thieves and Robbers may surprize us, wound us, and leave us for dead, Luke 10.30. Some Beast or other may kill us, as the disobedient Prophet was slain with a Lyon, 1 Kings 13.24. Or a Drunkard, worse then a Beast, enra­ged by strong drink, Prov. 20.1. may speedily dispatch us. Walking in the streets, a piece of Timber, a Stone, or Tile from an House, may suddenly fall upon thee, and strike thee dead: As a piece of a Mill-stone thrown from a Tower, broke the Skull of Abimelech, Judg. 9.53.D. Stuarts Catholick Divinity, p. 163. Martial makes mention of one that was kill'd with the fall of an Ice-sicle, which caused the Poet to melt into tears, saying, ‘O ubi Mors non est, si jugulatis aquae?’

What cannot make an end of us, if a little con­gealed Water can do it? Aeschylus the Trage­dian was killed by a Crab-fish, which fell from an Eagles talons, who mistook (as it was thought) his bald Head for a Stone. If thou stayest within doors, thou art not there safe neither. The House may fall upon thee, as upon Job's Children: Fire may burn thee, a Spider may poyson thee: Or thou mayest have a deadly fall [Page 247] from some upper Room. As Ahaziah falling through a Lattess in his upper Chamber, fell sick and died, 2 Kings 1.2, 17, compared. And Eutychus falling into a deep-sleep, fell down from the third lost, and was taken up dead, Acts 20.9. Pliny Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. 7. cap. 53. reports of Emilius Lepidus, that he did but hit his Toe upon the Door-sil, yet (though the hurt was so far from his heart) he died upon it. And the same Author tells us, That Anacreon the Poet was choaked with the Kernel of a Grape: And an Hair in a mess of Milk choaked Fabius. See Dr. Abbot on Jonah 4.3, 4. Lect. 26. p. 543. And we read else­where how a Fly in the Cup choaked Pope Adri­an the 4th. And Pope Victor was poysoned with Wine, and one of the Emperors with the Bread he received in the Sacrament. When we lie down to rest, we are not sure we shall arise again in safety. Sisera slept, but never awaked more in this World, Judg. 4.21. Benhadad being sick, was confined to his Bed, yet his sickness was not so destructive to take away his life; therefore Hazael, that treacherous Ser­vant, under pretence of doing him a kindness, cunningly stifies him, as you may read 2 Kings 8. chap.

Furthermore we read in Scripture how Joab was slain at the Altar, Zachariah in the Tem­ple, Amnon at his Table. And prophane sto­ries tell us, That Carus the Emperor was slain by a Thunder-bolt; so was the Emperor Ana­statius. Antiochus was murdered in his Coach. Domitian in his Chamber. Caligula in the Theatre. Caesar in the Senate-house; and Ca­racalla was put to death whilst he was about to [Page 248] case Nature. Thus we are not safe by Land, much less by Sea, for there men are within a few inches of Death.

Qui nescit orare, dis­cat navi­gare.The Poet said, Illi robur & as triplex circa pectus qui fragilem commisit pelago ratem, Hor. He was a very bold man who first exposed him­self to the Seas in so frail a Vessel as a Ship is: How soon may it be split upon a Rock, and cast forth its burden! So uncertain a thing is Life, that it is like a Candle carried in the open Air, which every blast is ready to extinguish.

Thus, as Seneca saith, Mors ubique nos expe­ctat, tu si sapiens eris, ubique eam expectabis. Death waits upon us every where, both at Sea and Land, at home and abroad; let us in every place, and at all times, wait for it; sure I am it will be our wisdom so to do. Deut. 32.29. O that they were wise, that they would consider their latter end.

The Servants of the Lord expect it, and look upon themselves as dying Creatures. Abraham counts himself but Dust and Ashes, Gen. 18.27. Jacob lookt upon himself as an Individuum Va­gum, as a Stranger or Pilgrim, here to day, and gone to morrow, Gen. 47.9. So did the rest of the Patriarchs, 1 Chron. 29.15. St. Paul durst not presume on much time, but said, He would do this and that, if the Lord permit, or if the Lord will, as you may read Acts 18.21. Rom. 1.10. 1 Cor. 4.19. 1 Cor. 16.7. he thought himself Tenant at Will in the Clay-farm of his body: So did St. James, James 4.13, 14, 15. St. Peter lookt not to dwell long in his earthly Tenement, 2 Pet. 1.14. Joseph of Arimathea [Page 249] erected his Tomb in his life-time in the midst of his Garden, (as some gather from Mat. 27.60. compared with John 19.41.) that in the midst of his delights and pleasant walks, he might think of Death.

The Heathens (some of them) have been ve­ry careful to preserve in their minds the thoughts of Death. Plato, one of the chief, defined Life to be Meditatio Mortis, a Meditation of Death: And truly Death (as the Philosopher writes of the Heart,Cor est primum vivens & ultimum mo [...]iens. [...], A­ristot.) should be the first thing that lives, and last that dies in our meditation. SomeManchest Al. Mond. p. 51. Philo­sophers had their Graves alway open before their Gates, that going out and coming in they might alway think of Death. And we read of oneIbid. p. 139, 140. Philostrates that lived seven years in his Tomb, that he might be acquainted with it against his Bones came to lie in it. And though Lewis the XI King of France of that Name, gave a strict charge that none should dare to name Death within his Court: Yet Philip the Father of Alexander, and King of Macedon, every mor­ning had a Monitor of Mortality; for a Trum­pet every morning was sounded at his Cham­ber, and these words uttered, with a loud Voice, by one whom he had appointed, [...], Remember thou art a mortal Man: He was willing every day to hear of Death, which might any day rush in upon him. Shall we, by putting the thoughts of Death from us, prove our selves to be worse than Heathens? God forbid.

God (as you have heard) hath compared our Life in Scripture to things of short continuance: And to such things as are oft in our eye, that so we might not forget Death. The two first Books of Moses, [...] Nativitas [...] Exitus. called Genesis and Exodus, should mind us of that of the Poet:

Nascentes morimur, finisque ab origine pendet.
At Birth begin we life to end;
This end doth on that Birth depend.

Every Dish of Meat that comes to our Table, stands as a dead Corps. So true is that of Se­neca, Mortibus vivimus, We live by the death of other Creatures.

The four Seasons of the Year, the Garments we wear, scarce any thing that we behold but may mind us of our change: for all things here below ring Changes. The Sun setting may mind us that ere long the Sun of our Life must set. Our very houses may mind us of our long homes. When we are in Bed, and darkness round about us, we should consider that ere long we must lie in the Grave, that House of Darkness, for so it is called, Job 17.13.

Furthermore, (for I would fain convince the Reader of the shortness and uncertainty of his life) every degree of Life is a step to Death; one day added to our lives, brings us nearer unto death. Your life is shorter to day than it was yesterday. God threatned Adam, Gen. 2.17. That in the day that he did eat the forbidden Fruit, he should surely die. Now we know [Page 251] Adam did eat, Gen. 3. and the threatning took effect; for after that he had eaten, every day some part of his life was gone. The wise Man tells us, Eccles. 3.2. There is a time to be born, and a time to die. What, no time to live? Truly it may be the wise man thought this life-time was so short, that it was not worth taking notice of; or it may be, he would give us to under­stand, that all the while we live we are in a dying condition.

An Heathen by the dim candle-light of Na­ture had a glymps of this: for saith Seneca, Quotidie morimur, quotidiè enim demitur aliqua pars vitae; Vita ho­minum dum cres­cit decres­cit, dum augetur, minuitur, Cylind. as a Candle you know is no sooner lighted but begins to waste; it is not the last blaze that spends it, but it spends all the while it burns. So an Hour-glass is no sooner turned, but presently the Sand begins to run out. The longer a man lives; the less he hath to live. Oh did we but see the Glass of our Life running, many of us would see but little Sand remaining. Well then, let your going to the House of Mourning, and following the Corps to the Grave, mind you of your mortality, that God will shortly bring you to the Grave, The House appointed for all men living, Job 30.23.

15th and last Use. Lastly, Let death of Friends put us upon preparing for Death.

Seneca said, Aetate fruere, mobili cursu fu­git; Use time while you have it. He meant it not in that sence in which the merry Greeks and voluptuous Epicures take it, 1 Cor. 15.32. [Page 252] Let us eat and drink, for to morrow we die: But he would have us to imploy our short time in doing vertuous actions. Labour that the Temple of Grace be erected in your souls, before the Temple of your bodies be pulled down.

I have read how Peter Waldo (about the year 1160.) a Merchant of Lyons, Mr. Fuller in his Ho­ly War. rich in substance and learning, was walking and talking with his Friends, when one of them suddenly sell down dead; which lively spectacle of mans mortality so impressed the soul of this Waldo, that instant­ly he resolved on a strict reformation of life, which to his power he performed.

Mr. Du­gard in his Serm. on Ps. 89 48. pag. 39. Ribad. de vita, Fr. Borgia, lib. 1. c. 9.It is likwise reported of Sir Francis Borgia, a Spanish Courtier, That having been at the Fu­neral of the Empress, and considering how little a Grave had devoured all earthly Greatness, he said, when he came home, Augustae mors mihi vitam attulit; The death of the Empress hath brought me life: and forthwith he became a wonderfully reformed man. So when Friends die, and we return from their burial, let us re­solve to lay aside worldly vanities, and return home more grave and serious: Let us set our House and Souls in order: Luke 12.40. Be ye therefore ready; for the Son of Man cometh at an hour when ye think not. As we know not the time of our general, so neither of our parti­cular judgment. It is good for us to stand up­on our watch, Mar. 13.32. and to improve all our opportunities both of doing and receiving good, that so we may be as the wise Virgins, (Mat. 25.) having Oyl in our Lamps, Grace in our Hearts; and may be fitted and prepared [Page 253] to meet the Bridegroom of our Souls when ever he cometh.

Now because preparation for Death (though last mentioned) is a chief and principal use that we should make of death of Friends; I shall therefore somewhat enlarge upon it, and shew you in the next Chapter wherein it consists.

CHAP. II. Shewing wherein preparation for Death consists.

NOW preparation for Death consists in these following Particulars.

1. In praying unto God.1. Dir. Praecandos

Confess thy manifold sins at the Throne of Grace, and pray to God for pardon thereof. Moses, David, Daniel, Paul, and other good men mentioned in Scripture were conversant in this duty of Prayer. Our Saviour himself, in the dayes of his flesh, offered up Prayers and Sup­plications with strong crying and tears, Heb. 5.7. ThePer mi­serere mei tollitur ira Dei. Publican confessing his sins, and most humbly suing out the pardon of them, went a­way justified, Luke 18.13, 14. How did Christ remember the Thief upon the Cross pray­ing to him, Luke 23. 42, 43. Jacob was fre­quent and prevalent with God in prayer, Gen. [Page 254] 32.28. even when he was old and weak, he humbly presented his devotion to God, Gen. 48.31. Heb. 11.21. Stephen that saw Heaven o­pened, Acts 7.56. as he lived, so he died pray­ing,Abel re­div. in life of Luther and Eras­mus. vers. 59. Luther he died praying and re­signing his Spirit into Gods hands. Erasmus breathed out his Soul in these Ejaculations, Mercy sweet Jesus; Lord loose these Bands; How long Lord Jesus? How long? Jesus Foun­tain of Mercy, have mercy upon me, &c. Bi­shopDr. Ber­nard in life of B. Ʋsher. Usher he died like Mr. Perkins, who ex­pired with crying for mercy and forgiveness. Pray then to God that he would pardon your manifold sins, and fit you for death: say with David, Psal. 39.4. Lord make me to know my end, and the measure of my dayes, that I may know how frail I am. Pray with Moses, Psal. 90.12.Dr. Abbot on Jonah 4.2. p. 521. So teach us to number our dayes, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Prayer rightly performed (as a learned Doctor saith) is the best Sacrifice which the Soul can send up into Heaven.

2. Preparation for Death consists in bewai­ling our sins. 2. Dir. Peccata deplorando

We should be like Doves of the Valleys, all of us mourning every one for his iniquity, as the Prophet speaks, Ezek. 7.16. A broken and contrite heart, (saith David) O God, thou wilt not despise, Psal. 51.17. The words are a [...]; [...]. he means, God highly prizeth a broken and contrite heart under the sence of sin. St. Bernard saith, Qui non plangit peccata, non sen­tit [Page 255] vulnera; He is not sensible of his spiritual wounds, who doth not bewail his sinful condi­tion. And again saith another Father, St. Au­stin, Gravissima peccata gravissimus lamentis in­digent; Great sins call for great sorrows. David saith, Psal. 6.6. All the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears: and Psal. 38.6. I go mourning all the day long: so that night and day he mourned for his sins. And Peter having sin'd, he went out and wept bitterly, Mat. 26.75. The crowing of the Cock was a Monitor of his fault: And some say he never heard a Cock crow after; but he wept bitterly for his offence in denying so shamefully (as he did) his Lord and Master. St. Paul com­plains of a Body of Death, Rom. 7.24.Tertul. lib. de Pa­nitent, c. ult. Ter­tullian said, Nulli rei natus nisi poenitentiae, That he was born for penitential sorrow. All that are fitted for death, are Benoni's, Sons of Sorrow, and their tears for sin are so many dissolved Pearls. Nay they do not only weep for their own sins, but likewise for the sins of others. So did Ezra, Nehemiah, Daniel, &c. They endeavour to wash away those sins with a flood of tears, which they cannot bear down with a stream of power. Thus did David, Psal. 119.136. So did Isaiah, Isa. 6.5. And Jeremiah wisheth his eyes were a Fountain, Jer. 9.1. he would have them not to drop as a Limbeck, but like a Fountain send forth streams of tears to bewail the sins and miseries of the People. So St. Paul could not speak of the sins of others without tears in his eyes, Phil. 3.18. Now as St. Ambrose told Monica, [Page 256] weeping for her Son Austine, Impossibile est tan­tarum lachrymarum filium perire: So may I say to those that weep for their own sins and the sins of others, it is impossible they should eternally miscarry. Yea, Austin himself said of his Mother and other good Women, Mulierculae istae la­chrymis suis Coelum nobis praeripiunt; when we have done all we can with our learning, these Women with their tears will get Heaven before us. Indeed the way to Heaven is by Weeping-Cross. Jacob, as you read Gen. 29. could not ob­tain Rachel, till he had first married Leah: Heaven is a beautiful place, as Rachel was a beautiful person: but there is no obtaining it, till we have got our eyes bleared (Leah-like) with penitential tears. To end this, Christ oft went (as we read in the Gospel) from Bethanie to Jerusalem. So a true Christian must go from the House of Sorrow to the Vision of Peace.

3. Preparation for Death consists, In for­saking the sins we mourn for.3. Dir. Deplorata relinquen­do.

After you have disgorged your sin by sorrow­ful confession, take heed you turn not again with the Dog to your former vomit, 2 Pet. 2.22. which if you do, it will highly aggravate your sin, not at all ease you of the burthen. So saith St. Austin, Qui pectus suum tundit, & se non corriget, aggravat peccata non tollit. And St. Bernard saith, Verus poenitens semper est in labo­re & dolore, dolet de praeteritis, laborat pro fu­turis cavendis; A true Penitent (saith he) is full of sorrow and care; sorrowful he is for what [Page 257] is past, careful he is for the future to avoid the sins he hath sorrowed for. And St. Ambrose saith, Ille vere plangit commissa, qui non com­mittit plangenda; He truly lamenteth the sins he hath committed, who doth not afterwards commit such things as are to be lamented. We ought to renounce all sin, Peccatum in deliciis, as St. Bernard calls it, that darling sin which lies nearest the heart: According to our Saviours Precept, we should pluck out a right eye, and cut off a right hand, i. e. Part with sins that are as near and dear unto us as the members of our body, Mat. 5.29, 30. Col. 3.5.

— Immedicabile vulnus
Ense recidendum est, ne pars sincera trahatur.

Better to part with a gangren'd Member that is offensive, then endanger the whole life. So it is better for you to leave your dearest sins, or the occasions and incentives thereto, then that the whole man should be utterly and eternally rui­ned by them. St.Jerom. lib. 2. Ep. 15. Jerom's counsel is to be followed, Nulli parcas, ut soli parcas animae; Spare not lust but let it be mortified, that so thy Soul may be spared; for fleshly lusts war a­gainst the Soul, 1 Pet. 2.11. Say not of any sin, as Lot did of Zoar, Gen. 19.20. Is it not a little one, and my Soul shall live? O my Friend! there is no little God to sin against, no little punishment reserved for any sin: for Rom. 6.23. The wages of sin is death, [...]. It is not said, that the wages of this or the other sin is death, but of sin indefinitely, [Page 258] i. e. of all sin, of every sin, of any sin. Death not onely temporal, but eternal too (for this is chiefly here meant, as it appears by the opposi­tion to eternal life in the Text) is as due to every sin lived in, as wages is to him that earns it. And thereupon St. Austin said, Audacior est qui cum uno peccato dormit, quàm qui cum septem ho­stibus: He is fool-hardy indeed that can sleep securely in any known sin. Even those sins which you count small faults, become great by frequent repetition, and in a short time lay Conscience waste: As small expences multiplied insensibly waste a vast Revenue: and therefore saith the sameAust. lib. De decem chordis. Father, Noli illa contemnere, quia minora sunt, sed cave quia plura sunt, &c. What your little sins (as you call them) want of other sins in weight, they make up in num­ber, and therefore take heed of them.See Re­sin'd Cour­tier. Small wounds multiplyed will let out life; and a great number of narrow leaks, endanger the sinking of the stateliest Ship; and several minute drops of Rain, swell to an overflowing deluge. Ehud kill'd Eglon, who was a very fat man, with a Dagger of a cubit long, as you may read, Judg. 3.16. a long Sword could have done no more, it may be not so much. A Pocket-Pistol, Pen-Knife, or Stilletto, are more dangerous many times than bigger Weapons, because not dis­cerned, and so no danger is suspected. Thus it is with your small sins, (as you are pleased to call them) they are not taken notice of by you, and therefore you fear no harm from them; whereas indeed because undiscerned they are the more deadly. Resolve then with David, [Page 259] to refrain thy feet from every evil way, Psalm 119.101. Yea, to hate every fable way, vers. 104. Vain thoughts; vers. 113. as well as lying, vers. 163. For Jam. 2.10. Whosoever shall keep the whole Law, and yet offend in one Point, he is guilty of all: That is, (say some) he makes it appear that he keeps no Precept in obedience to God, for if he did, he would refrain from every sin as well as any sin. Or according to Dr. Hammond's Paraphrase, 'Tis but a small excuse for you to think that this is but one transgression, and therefore not considerable; for obedience to God's Will is required universally to all that he commands, and he that offends in one, though he keep all the rest, is guilty of the breach of that obedience, and punishable as well as if he had broken all. In vain doth any man hope for Heaven that lives in any known sin. 1 John 3.3. He that hath this hope, (viz. of seeing God in glory, vers. 2.) purifieth himself even as he is pure. Heaven is not like your common Inns that receive all commers, or like the Ark in which entred both clean and unclean Beasts: No, there enters in nothing that defileth, Rev. 21.27. and Rev. 22.15. see 1 Cor. 6.9, 10, 11. and Gal. 5.19, 20, 21. There is a Catalogue of sins mentioned, I pray you observe them, and learn to avoid them, if you expect to have a better life when this is ended. He that dies to sin when he lives, shall live when he dies, and may say upon his death-bed as Myconius said to Luther his Friend that came to visit him,Dr. Bore­man's Ser­mon on Phil. 3.20 p. 47, 48. This sickness is not unto Death but unto Life: for when he dies to nature, he shall live with [Page 260] God unto all eternity. Let us therefore (as the Author to the Hebrews exhorts, Heb. 12.1.) lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. As Racers lay aside things burthensome and troublesome, so do you lay a­side sin, which is a burthen, and hinders you in your spiritual Race.See Crit. sacra in vocem [...]. Some say the Greek word [...], signifies a casting off, as a man doth a long worn sute, that begins to do him dis­credit to wear it; or rather, as a man coming out of Prison having filthy rags about him, and full of Vermine, hurls them away into a Dung­hill or Ditch, and never purposeth to touch them more. It is called [...], sin that doth beset us or wrap us about. A Me­taphor taken from a long Garment. Deal with the old worn Garment of sin, as Elijah did by his Mantle, 2 Kings 2.13. lay it aside, if ever you think to ascend to Heaven.

4. Preparation for Death consists in doing good works. 4. Dir. Benefaci­endo.

Negative Holiness will not bring with it Posi­tive Happiness. Many build their hopes of fu­ture happiness upon this sandy Foundation, That they are no Drunkards, Whoremasters, Swearers, Lyars, &c. Because they are not guilty of open scandalous miscarrages, there­fore they bless themselves in their condition, as the Pharisee did, Luke 18.11. God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this Publican. It [Page 261] is good indeed to keep our selves unspotted from the World, but this is not sufficient, we must do good works, visit the Fatherless and Widows in their affliction; This is pure Religion, and undefiled before God, as St. James tells us, Jam. 1.27. It is not enough not to do evil, but we must likewise do good, Ps. 34.14. Isa. 1.16, 17. Rom. 12.9. Sinful omissions are not to be looked upon as bare negations or privations, but as breaches of a positive Law, which commands the contrary; so that omission of duty is as dam­nable as commission of sin. God cursed Meroz, not for fighting against the People of God, but because they did not come out to their help a­gainst the Mighty, Judg. 5.23. It was as true a fault in them, Hag. 1.2. &c. not to set up the House of God, as in others to pull it down. The Tree that bears not good fruit, is fuel for the fire, as well as the Tree that bears evil fruit, Mat. 3.10. Mat. 7.19. The unprofitable Servant was cast into utter darkness, not for spending, but for not improving his Masters Talent, Mat. 25.30. So the five foolish Vir­gins (as you may read before, vers. 3. and 10. compared) were shut out of doors, not for a­busing in wasting, but for wanting of Oil: So you may read afterwards in that Chapter, many will be doomed to Hell because not active in works of charity, vers. 41, 42, &c. It is not said, ye took away my Meat, Drink, and Cloaths from me, but ye gave me no Meat, Drink, Cloathing, &c. therefore depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire, &c. SoLuk. 16.19. Di­ves was cast into the place of torment, (non [Page 262] quòd abstulit aliena, sed quòd non donavit sua) not for robbing,Greg. Hom 40. but for not relieving poor La­zarus. Good works are necessary, Salvation is not ordinarily, obtained without them, as these places shew, Mat. 25.34, &c. Luk. 16.9. Rom. 2.6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Gal. 6.9, 10. 1 Tim. 6.18, 19. Heb. 6.10. & 10.24. [Nemo malâ morte unquam moriebatur qui libentèr opera charitatis exercuit, Jerom. Bona opera sunt praedestina­tionis occultae indicta, futurae foelicitatis is praesagia, via regni, Bern. Tractat. de gratia. non causa regnandi, Bernard. Actus boni Christianae fidei quasi testes, quia Christianus nisi bona opera fecerit, fidem suam penitus appro­bare non possit, Salv.Salvian de gub. Dei lib. 4. p. 99.] Now when I speak of good Works, I do not only mean works of Cha­rity; for works of Piety, and of our particu­lar Callings, are also good works. Be much then in praying, reading, hearing, meditating, alms-deeds, and the like. To shut up this Particular, we read how Jacob when he went to his own Countrey, sent his Droves before him, Gen. 32.16. and he followed after them: Heaven is a Christians Countrey, send droves of duties thither afore-hand, as Prayers, Me­ditations, Affections, Longings, Alms-deeds, &c. that so when you depart this Life, you may follow after them.

5. Preparation for Death consists in putting on the Vertues of Christ.5. Dir. Virtutes Christi in­duendo.

You set your Watch not by the Clock but by the Sun; order your motion according to that of Christ, the Sun of Righteousness. Christ [Page 263] propounds himself an Example, and commands us to learn of him, Mat. 11.29. 1 Pet. 1.21, 22. He sets himself as a Pattern for us to work by, or as a Copy for us to write after. I'll name some Vertues that shined forth with greatest lustre in the Life of Christ, and should likewise be conspicuous in the lives of all such as expect Salvation by him.

1. There was in Christ Spiritual Wisdom.

Christ when he was a Child, was sitting a­mong the Doctors, and was able to pose them; Luke 2.46, 47. He was sitting among the Do­ctors, both hearing them, and asking them que­stions; and all that heard him, were astonished at his understanding and answers, Orig. [...], They were out of themselves with admiration. It was beyond their understanding what they heard from him in the praeludium of his Mini­stry. And he is said to encrease in Wisdom, Luk. 4.22. ver. 52. In respect of his humane nature he did so, but as God, he was absolutely perfect in knowledge. Solomon who was the Oracle of his Age, 1 Kings 4.29, 30, 31. was a Type of Christ, in whom are hid all the Treasures of Wisdom and Knowledge, Col. 2.3. A Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, of Counsel and Knowledge, did rest upon him, Isa. 11.2. Let us resemble him in Wisdom. Labour to be filled with the knowledge of God's Will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, — increasing in the knowledge of God, Col. 1.9, 10. The New Man is renewed in knowledge after the I­mage of him that created him, Col. 3.10. Gods Children are savingly enlightned, 2. Cor. 4.6. [Page 264] Such as have their understandings darkned through the ignorance that is in them, are alienated from the life of God, Ephes. 4.18. Yea, and from the life of Christ too.

2. There was in Christ meekness and patience.

Christ was a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief, Isa. 53.3. He was a Man of sor­rows; it is an Hebraism, and signifies the ma­nifold sorrows he met with, as though he had been wholly made up of sorrow: and he is said to be acquainted with grief; Grief was his Acquaintance,Tota vita Christi continuata passio. his Familiar, it lodged with him, it was no stranger to him. He was hur­ried from place to place, posted from Judge to Judge, put over from torment to torment, from the Garden to Annas, from Annas to Caiphas, from Caiphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, from Herod to Pilate again; Cruelty (as one faith) walking the Circle, and Impiety (if ever) now treading the Ring. Yet under all indigni­ties offered, he opened not his mouth murmur­ingly or impatiently: Isa. 53.7. He was op­pressed, he was afflicted, (saith theNon tam Propheta quam E­vangelista dicendus, Hieron. ad Paul. & Eust. Tom. 3. p. 26. Evangeli­cal Prophet) yet he opened not his mouth; he is brought as a Lamb to the slaughter, and as a Sheep before the shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He died the painful, shameful, and accursed death of the Cross, without the least bleating of impatience, see Heb. 12.2, 3. so 1 Pet. 2.21, 22.23. This Lesson he would have us learn from him, promising that thereby we shall find rest to our Souls, Matth. 11.29. Considering the manifold afflictions we may meet with in our Christian course, we have need [Page 265] of patience. Heb. 10.36. Ye have need of pa­tience, that after ye have done the Will of God, ye might receive the promise.

3. There was in Christ humility and self-de­nyal.

Gal. 4.4. When the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son. And this Son emptied himself of his glory,Bishop Andrews, on Gal. 4.4. [...]. He that thought it no robbery to be equal with God, made himself of no reputati­on, and took upon him the form of a Servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a Man, he humbled himself, &c. Phil. 2.5, 6, 7, 8. He was born in Beth­lem, a mean City, in a Stable, a very mean Room, the Manger was his Cradle, the Cob­webs his Canopy: He conversed with (not as a Companion, but as a Physitian) the meanest of men, Publicans and Sinners: He sought not humane applause, but suppres'd his own praises. We read in the Gospel how he forbad his Pati­ents to declare their Cure,Mr. Abraham Wrights 3d Serm. Cant. 2.2. and desired his Mi­racles might be as invisible as his God-head: He unlockt the mouth of the Dumb, and then cryed, See you tell no Man; which was to tie up that Organ which he had before loosed; so he drew the Curtain from the blind mans eyes, and yet commanded him not to see and take no­tice of his Physician; so he restored the wither­ed hand, and straight-way, as it were, dryed it up again in forbidding its use, crying, Point not at me. What greater token of his humility and self-denyal than this? Nay, when some would have made him King, he with-drew himself, [Page 266] John 6.15. and elsewhere told them, His Kingdom is not of this World. He washed his Disciples Feet, to teach us, by his own Exam­ple, a Lesson of loving condescention, John 13.14, 15. Let us resemble Christ in humility and self-denyal, Mat. 11.29. Learn of me (saith Christ) for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest to your souls. And Luke 9.23. Christ said,Descende ut ascen­das, humi­liare ut exalta is, Aug. If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his Cross daily, and follow me. A proud man that will not stoop, cannot enter into the narrow Wicket of Heaven. The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to the poor in Spirit, Mat. 5.3. and to such as are little in their own eyes, Luke 12.32.

4. There was in Christ harmlesness and in­offensiveness.

He is compared to a Lamb, John 1.29. A Lamb he was for innocency as well as meekness. The Spirit is said to descend upon him in the likeness of a Dove, Mat. 3.16. What Crea­ture more harmless then a Lamb among Beasts, and a Dove among Birds? They may suffer wrong from others, but they do none to others. Christ was very inoffensive, some of his very enemies acquit him, as you may read Luke 23.4, 22. Judas who betray'd him, said, He had sin'd in betraying innocent blood, Mat. 27.4. He walked very inoffensively both before God and Man, 1 Pet. 2.22. Though he made his Grave with the World, and suffered betwixt two Malefactors, yet he did no violence, nei­ther was any deceit in his mouth, Isa. 53.9. He is such an High Priest as is holy, harmless, un­defiled, [Page 267] Heb. 7.26. Indeed many took of­fence at Christ, at the meanness of his Person, strictness of his Life, purity of his Doctrine, &c. Mat. 15.12. Mar. 6.3. but he gave none offence. Thus ought we to walk inoffensively, with St. Paul, endeavouring to keep a Conscience void of offence both towards God and towards Man, Acts 24.16. so 1 Cor. 10.32. Give none offence, saith the Apostle. We should he blameless and harmless, Phil. 2.15. so 1 Thes. 2.10. Christ would have us to be harmless as Doves, as well as wise as Serpents, Mat. 10.16.

Ut nulli nocuisse potes, imitare columbam;
Serpentem, ut possit nemo nocere tibi.
5. There was in Christ usefulness and profi­tableness.

He did good both to the Souls and Bodies of all that came to him with a desire to profit by him. He was anointed for this purpose, Luke 4.18, 19. And we read Acts 10.38. He went about doing good. He did not confine him­self to one place, but as the Sun in its peram­bulation, so this Sun of Righteousness (for so he is called, Mal. 4.2.) went about that he might do the more good. So let us do what good we can both to the Souls and Bodies of such as we converse with. Let us be useful with our Purses, Prayers, and wholsome Instructions. Believers are profitable. Converted Onesimus was [...], according to his [...]; Ʋtilis fructuosus. Name (to which perhaps the Apostle alludeth) he was profitable. God bestows his Spirit upon them [Page 268] that they may be profitable, 1 Cor. 12.7. The Apostle sought the profit of many that they might be saved,Muscul. in Gen. 1. p. 23. 1 Cor. 10.33. Mundo fideles utilitatem suae praesentiae non denegant.

6. There was in Christ zeal for his Fathers Glory.

Christ though cool in his own, yet was hot in the concerns of his Father. See his holy in­dignation against such as prophaned his Temple, John 2.15, 16, 17. so John 4.34. He coun­ted it his meat to do the Will of him that sent him, and to finish his Work. When his Mother and Brethren would have taken him off from Preaching, he would not then own them, for he said, Who is my Mother or my Brethren? Mark 3.33. Not that he did despise them, but preferred the Service of God before them; see Luke 2.48, 49, 50, 51. so should we be zea­lous for God's Glory. We should be fervent in Spirit, serving the Lord, or according to Orig. [...], we should be seething hot in Spirit, Rom. 12.11. We should have a zeal for God, and the duty that we are to per­form. This God calls for, Rev. 3.19. And Christ died to redeem unto himself a peculiar People zealous of good Works, Tit. 2.14. Mo­ses was zealous, Exod. 32.19. so was Phineas, Numb. 25.11. so was David, Psal. 69.9. so St. Paul, Acts 17.16. and so are all true Christi­ans in some measure zealous. St. Cyprian speaks of Christians in his time that were Tanquam Leones ignem spirantes, Like Lyons breathing forth the Heavenly fire of Zeal.

7. There was in Christ compassion to his Enemies.

When his Enemies came to take him, one would have thought he should have call'd for fire from Heaven, (as Elijah did, 2 Kings 1.10.) and thereby have consumed his Adversa­ries: But this was against the loving Nature of Christ, as well as against theOmne leve sur­sum ten­dit. Nature of Fire, that it should descend to destroy them, Luke 9.54, 55, 56. Nay, Christ would not onely not destroy them, but he useth means to reclaim them from sinful courses, that he may save them. This good Samaritan would gladly have healed their spiritual Wounds. How passionately doth he complain! John 5.40. Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life. And again, Mat. 23.37. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the Prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee: how oft would I have gathered thy Children together, even as an Hen gathereth her Chickens under her Wings, (which would have been for your safety) and yet ye would not. When his Enemies hearts became (like to Clay) more hardned by the Sun-shine of those fa­vours which should have melted them, he then grieved for the hardness of their hearts, Mark 3.5. and like a Judge, passeth Sentence with tears in his eyes, Luke 19.41, 42. And when he was come near, he beheld the City, and wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known, (there he weeps) even thou, (there he weeps again) at least in this thy day (he goes on still weeping) the things that belong unto thy peace, (now he weeps a main, and tears do so fast trickle down [Page 270] his cheeks that they hinder him from speaking; and he breaks off abruptly as men do in a passi­on) but now they are hid from thine eyes. Our Saviour here shed tears for them who were about to shed his blood. Yea, we find him praying for his Enemies, when they had given him the worst that malice could invent, or cruelty im­pose. Luke 23.34. Then said Jesus, Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. Then said Jesus, — When said he this? Why even then when he was suffering the painful, shameful, and accursed death upon the Cross. Yea some think he prayed for his insulting Ene­mies, before he provided for his weeping Mo­ther, John 19.26, 27. Let us then pity and pray for our Enemies, so did Stephen, Acts 7.60. This Christ commands by Precept, as well as commends by Pattern, Matth. 5.44, &c. Let us bless them that curse us, Rom. 12.14. Nay, we should mourn for them in affliction, as David did, Psal 35.13, 14. In a word, if thine Enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink. — Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good, Rom. 12.20, 21.

8. There was in Christ love to the godly.

He loved them with a love of complacency and delight, John 13.1. He bare a constant love towards them. They were like golden Letters engraven indelibly upon his heart. His love to them appeared by his accompanying with them, by counselling, reproving, comforting, clearing their innocency, &c. Matth. 9.14. Mat. 12.3, 4. rejoycing in their welfare, Luk. 10.21. taking what is done to them as done to [Page 271] himself, be it good or bad, Mat. 25.40, 45. Acts 9.4. praying for them, Luke 22.31. John 17.9, 11, 17, 20, 21. But his dying for them was above all an eminent instance of his love, Gal. 2.20. He thought nothing too dear to part with for their sakes: He shed his precious Blood in great plenty for them, 1 Pet. 1.18, 19. Acts 20.28. When our Saviour shed but a few tears for Lazarus, the Jews col­lected thence his love towards him, John 11.35, 36. Surely Christ's shedding his precious Blood in great plenty for the Elect, is a manifest token of extraordinary love towards them. Let us imitate Christ in love to the godly. Let us delight in them, and accompany with them, as David did, Psal. 16.3. & 119.63. Let us sympathize with them, Rom. 12.15. Let us pray for them, so did St. Paul for the Colossians, Col. 1.9, 10, 11. and for the Thessalonians, 1 Thes. 5.23. In a word, We should be rea­dy to lay down our lives for them if need re­quire. 1 John 3.16. Hereby we perceive the love of God, because he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the Bre­thren. And this unfeigned love to the godly, is as sure a note to know whether a man be in the way to Heaven, as pronouncing the wordJudg. 12.6. Shib­boleth was to know an Ephramite from a Gilea­dite. Here what St. John the beloved Disciple saith, 1 John 3.14. We know that we have pas­sed from Death to Life, because we love the Brethren. Be ye therefore (as St. Paul saith, Ephes. 5.1, 2.) followers of God as dear Chil­dren; and walk in love, as Christ also hath lo­ved [Page 272] us, and hath given himself for us, an offer­ing and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour.

9. There was in Christ thanksgiving.

When Christ are Victuals, he lift up his eyes and gave thanks, John 6.11, 23. He was thankful for Spiritual Blessings. Mat. 11.25. At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them un­to Babes. This is spoken by Christ, after the seventy had returned and told him what good success they had, as may be gathered from Luk. 10.17, 21. He did thankfully acknowledge God's mercy in revealing Gospel-Mysteries to poor simple Creatures that knew no more in Gospel-Mysteries, then Babes knew in Worldly-Businesses. And John 11.41. Jesus lift up his eyes, and said, Father I thank thee that thou hast heard me. Indeed Christ's whole life was a glorifying of God: John 17.4. I have glorified thee on Earth. Let us imitate Christ in thankfulness; Let us thankfully acknowledge both spiritual and temporal Mercies to proceed from him, as the Apostle speaks, Eph. 5.20. Giving thanks alwayes for all things unto God and the Father, in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Thes. 5.18. In every thing give thanks, for this is the Will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Adam had he continued in Paradise, should have sung praise unto God: And the Saints now in Heaven, as so many blessed Quiristers, are continually chanting forth Divine Anthems of [Page 273] praise, Rev. 4.10, 11. And Dr. Sibs saith, They that begin not Heaven upon Earth, shall ne­ver go to Heaven when taken from the Earth. Let us then bear a part here in singing praises to God, (which is a pleasant and comely duty, Psal. 147.1.) if we would hereafter have ad­mittance into the Coelestial Quire, to sing forth perpetual Hallelujahs. Future happiness is cal­led Glorification, John 13.32. And he that gives not glory unto God here, shall not here­after be glorified by God. Let us then be much in thanksgiving; for as God saith, Psal. 50.23. Whoso offereth praise, glorifieth me; and to him that ordereth his conversaition aright, will I shew the Salvation of God.

10. And lastly, to name no more, There was in Christ Heavenly-mindedness.

He lived on Earth, as if he had been still in Heaven: The gaudy vanities of this World were too pittiful a lure for him to be taken with. So Heavenly-minded he was, that he extracted many spiritual contemplations & instructions from all sorts of earthly objects & occasions that were before him. Upon the sight of Jacob's Well, he preacheth to the Woman of Samaria con­cerning the Living-Water, John 4.10. By which Theophilact understands, (as we are told) [...]; the Grace of the Holy Spirit, which refresheth the weary Soul even to life eternal, vers. 14. So when he had wrought the Miracle in feeding five thousand with five Loaves and two Fishes, he teacheth them that sought after him, that they should not labour for that Meat that perisheth, but [Page 274] for that Meat which endureth to everlasting life, John 6.27. And after tells them, He was the Bread of Life, vers. 32.33. so John 15.1. passing through or by some Vineyard, he tells them, That he was the True Vine, and his Fa­ther the Husband-man. It was Christ's usual manner, upon the sight of things temporal, to raise Spiritual and Heavenly Meditations. Let us play the Divine Chymists, and extract Spiri­tual Instructions, and Heavenly Meditations, from Worldly Occurrences. The Moralist could say,Senec. Praefat. in Natural. Quest. Quàm contempta res est homo, si non supra humana se exercuerit! What a dung-hill wretch is Man, if he mind only earthly things! The Apostle tells you, The end of such is de­struction, Nos ut Coelorum cives, nos-met geri­mus, Beza Phil. 3.19. but saith he, vers. 20. Our conversation is in Heaven: Christians are (ad majora nati) born to look after greater things than the World affords. Let us then (as we are commanded, Col. 3.2.) set our affe­ctions upon, (or according to [...]. Orig.) let us sa­vour and mind the things that are above, and not the things upon earth. Let not the Heaven-born Soul be imprisoned in an earthly body,See Dr. Boreman's Serm. on Phil. 3.20 or be chained in Fetters of earthly cares, but let it be dilated in its ardent desires after Heaven and Heavenly Objects.

These and the like vertues which appeared in the Life of Christ, must appear in our lives and conversations, else we cannot be saved. 1 John 2.6. He that saith he abides in him, ought him­self also so to walk even as he walked. Christ was full of Grace, John 1.14. and true Chri­stians that are in Christ, not only in regard of [Page 275] outward profession, but likewise in respect of saving union, they partake of his fulness, vers. 16. All God's Elect are conformed to the Image of his Son, Rom. 8.29. 1 Cor. 11.1. The Oyl poured on Aaron's Head, ran down upon his Beard, and went down to the Skirts of his Garments, Psal. 133.2. by which was signifi­ed, That the very same Oyl of Grace that was poured on the Head Christ Jesus, is thence de­rived unto all, even the meanest of his Mem­bers. As Jacob was blessed by his Father Isaac in the goodly Raiment of his Elder Brother, Gen. 27.15, 27, compared. So must we have on the Spiritual Garment of Christ's Vertues, who is our Elder Brother, if we expect the Bles­sing of our Heavenly Father. These and the like Vertues are called Glory, because they un­doubtedly lead to Glory, 2 Cor. 3.18. View then Christ's Image in the Glass of the Gospel, and labour to be transformed into that Image. Put on therefore (as the Elect of God, Holy and Beloved) bowels of mercy, kindness, humbleness of mind, long-suffering, forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, &c. Col. 3.12, 13. And as St. Peter speaks, 2 Pet. 1.5, 6, 7, 10, compared, Giving all diligence, add to your Faith, Vertue; and to Vertue, Knowledge; and to Knowledge, Temperance; and to Temperance, Patience; and to Patience, Godliness; and to Godliness, Brotherly-kindness; and to Brotherly-kindness, Charity; — for if ye do these things ye shall never fall. And thus much for the fifth Direction.

6. And lastly, Preparation for Death con­sists in Believing.6th & last Direction, Fidendo.

This though [...] mentioned last, is not the least, but chief Direction; see John. 3.14, 15, 16, 18, 36. To this Paul directed the trembling Jaylor, Acts 16.31. Believe on the Lord Je­sus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Acts 10.43. To him give all the Prophets witness, that through his Name whosoever believeth in him, shall re­ceive remission of sins. Christ is the Lord our Righteousness, Jer. 23.6. He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, as he tells Thomas, John 14.6. He is the true way to Eternal Life, Qui aliter vadit, cadit; He that thinks to go to Heaven any other way, will fall short of it. For there is none other Name given among men whereby we must be saved, Acts 4.12. See for farther proof of this, Gal. 2.20. & 3.11. 1 Pet. 1.5, 9. 1 John 5.13. Those Worthies mentioned Heb. 11. died in the Faith. St. Paul would not be found at the Day of Judgment in the most righteous Work that ever he did, Phil. 3.8, 9. Nay Bellarmine himself, after a long Discourse concerning the merit of Works, he overturns all in his last conclusion, Propter incertitudinem propriae justitiae, & periculum ina­nis gloriae, tutissimum est fiduciam totam insolâ Dei misericordiâ reponere; He thought it the safest way to put his whole trust in the mercy of God alone. Works must needs be a Sandy Foundation to build hopes of Eternal Life upon: For our best Works are imperfect, they flow [Page 277] from a foul Fountain; (for there is no mind so illuminated, but there is some darkness in it;See Bp. Andrew's Serm. on Jer. 23.6. no Heart so sanctified, but there is some un­cleanness in it); and therefore actions issuing thence, cannot be perfect, and consequently not meritorious. Yet a true iustifying Faith is ever accompanied with purity and charity, Acts 15.9. Tit. 3.8. Jam. 2.14, &c. Jude 20.Macco­vius's Distinct. cap. 13. de Justif. Fi­des sola justificat, non solitaria; Faith alone doth justifie, yet that Faith which justifies is not alone; as the Eye alone seeth in the body, yet the Eye which seeth is not alone in the body without the other senses. Good Works are the Pulse and Breath of a lively Faith.Mr. Abraham Wright's Serm. on Luk. 16.9. It is as im­pious to deny the necessity, as to maintain the me­rits of good Works. God hath joyned good Works and Salvation together in his Word, and what God hath joyned together, let no man put asunder. But when we have done all we can do, let us confess our unprofitableness, and cast our selves upon Gods Love and Favour, as the surest hold. Let us build our hopes of happiness upon Christ's satisfaction only, for indeed there is no other way then by this Ark to escape drowning. The Church is described, Cant. 8.5. leaning on her Beloved, which as it betokens infinite familiarity within, so likewise faithful dependance upon him. Well then, as Joseph said to his Brethren, Ye shall not see my face, (he means with safety and favour) except your Brother Benjamen be with you, Gen. 43.5. So neither shall we comfortably see God's Face hereafter, except we bring the Lord Jesus (that Benjamin, the Son of his right Hand, Col. 3.1. [Page 278] Rom. 8.34.) with us in the Arms of Faith. Let us then act Faith upon the Lord Jesus, who a­lone delivereth us from wrath to come, 1 Thes. 1.10.

Thus much for the matter wherein prepara­tion for Death consists. I shall now shew you how you ought to put these Directions into pra­ctice.

CHAP. III. Shewing how we ought to put the fore­mentioned Directions into practice.

OUR Saviour saith, Luke 13.24. Many will seek to enter in at the strait Gate, and shall not be able. Stella, on Luk. 13.24. And Stella gives this reason, Quia tardè & insufficientèr quaerunt, because they seek not after a right manner. Right means are to be used after a right manner. Put then the forementioned Directions into Practice.

  • First, Early.
  • Secondly, Earnestly.
  • Thirdly and lastly, Constantly.

1. Festinan­ter.First, Early or speedily, whilst young, health­ful and strong.

This God calls for, Eccles. 12.1. Remem­ber now thy Creator in the dayes of thy youth. [Page 279] God's Adverb is manè, betimes or early; the Devil's Verb is mane, tarry till afterwards: Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto the Devil more than unto God, judge ye, Acts 4.19. O do not put off preparation for Death till sickness. Thou mayest perhaps die suddenly: An Imposthume, Squinancy, Apo­lexy, or some such Distemper may suddenly dispatch thee, in so much that thou shalt not have time to call upon God for mercy. Some that have gone to bed in good health, (as they thought) have been found dead the next mor­ning; dead they were before they could tell what ailed them. But in case God exercise thee with sickness, thou wilt be very unfit to go a­bout this great Work; thy thoughts will be up­on thy pain, and they enquieries will be after a Remedy proper for the removing the Malady. Friends about thee (without any ground for it) will be ready to tell thee, (what thou art glad to hear, and willing to believe) that there is great hopes of thy recovery. These flatterers are miserable comforters; for in case thou growest deadly sick, (as thou may'st do of a sudden) then it is ten to one thy Will is to make. World­ly things are to be disposed of, (for men gene­rally are too too blame herein, putting this off to extream sickness) and this making thy Will, takes up a considerable part of that little time allotted thee. Upon this follow exclamations and outcries of near Relations, together with the clamour of thy sins, (if Conscience be a­wakened) enough to distract thee: Imperti­nent visits of Friends which come only with an [Page 280] How do you? I am sorry to see you in this con­dition, &c. do rather hinder than further De­votion: And perhaps by this time, through want of sleep and extremity of pain, thou wilt be light-headed, unfit to listen to any good counsel, if given to thee; as the Israelites who hearkned not to Moses for anguish of Spirit, Exod. 6.9. Do not then put off this great Work till sickness, no nor till old Age neither; for Life is uncertain, as I have shewed. We know not how soon our Pulse may leave beating: We can call no time ours but the present. [...]; This day is mine and thine, whose to morrow may be we know not. To day then cannot be too soon to set upon this Work, because to morrow may be too late. I have read of Archias the Lacedemonian, that whilst he was in the midst of carnal Jollity quaffing with his Companions, one presented to him a Letter (wherein was signified that some did lie in wait to take away his life) and desired him to peruse it presently, for it was a Letter of serious concernment; but he carelesly replyed, Seria cras, let serious things alone till to mor­row; and that very night he was slain. Oh! then reckon not of many years, seeing thou art not Lord of to morrow, Prov. 27.1. But if God should grant thee longer space to repent in, yet he may deny thee the means of Grace, or he may deny his Grace to make a good improve­ment of the means. See what is said of Jeze­bel, I gave her space to repent of her Fornicati­on, but she repented not, Rev. 2.21. Repen­tance is not in our own power to be performed [Page 281] at pleasure, it is God's-Gift, Jer. 10.23. Acts 11.28. 2 Tim. 2.25. And if we slight God calling upon us now, (who in the seasons of Grace is willing to be found of us, 2 Cor. 6.2. Isa. 66.5. Prov. 8.17.) he may justly slight us in sickness and old age, when his judgements break forth upon us: We may then seek early, and that early be too late to find him, Prov. 1.24, &c. As Jeptha said to the Elders of Gi­lead, Judg. 11.7. Did not ye hate me, and expel me out of my Fathers House? And why are ye come unto me now when ye are in distress? So may God justly say to such as defer prepa­ration for Death till sickness or old Age: Did not ye hate me in your youthful time, whilst healthful and strong, and say unto me, Depart from us, we desire not the knowledge of thy wayes? Job 21.14. Why do you now, forced through fear or pain, come to me in your distress? Do we think God will be pleased with the Devils leavings? What King will receive a cripled Re­bel that hath spent the best of his strength and time under his Enemies Colours?Cum ne­mine ob­trudi po­test, itur, ad me, Ter. What Hus­band will receive his Wife that hath spent her youthful dayes amongst Ruffians and debauched Companions. If thou thinkest the flower of thine Age too good to give, God may justly think the dregs of it too bad to receive. How canst thou reasonably think that God should take pleasure in those dayes of which thou thy self wilt say, Thou hast no pleasure in them, Ec­cles. 12.1. 2 Sam. 19.35. 'Tis task suffici­ent for old Age to bear up under the infirmities of it. Preparation for Death in old Age or [Page 282] sickness, is usually weak and sickly like the par­ty, and proceeds rather from fear than love. How kindly doth God take it when we dedicate the firstling of our years to his service; Jer. 2.2. I remember thee (saith God) the kindness of thy youth. — Youthful bodies are most active and strong, and so most fit for the Service of God, who is a Spirit, a pure Act, and a li­ving God. He whose Name is I Am, Exod. 3.14. cares not for such as say, They will be, but are not. Now, Courteous Reader, what I have here spoken is out of a good intent, not to drive any to despair, but to prevent presumption. Well then, as Abraham rose early in the mor­ning to sacrifice his Son, Gen. 22.3. so let us early in the morning of youth sacrifice our sins, or dedicate our selves, both Soul and Body to God's Service.

2. Ardenter.2. Put the forementioned Directions into practice Earnestly.

This God calls for, Luk. 13.24. Strive to enter in at the strait Gate. ( [...] Corneli­us a Lap. in locum. Quasi in agone contendite, extremas summasque vires velut agonizantes exerite). Strive as Wrestlers do, put to all their strength: so the word signiffes. We should give diligence to make our Calling and Ele­ction sure, 2 Pet. 1.10. Yea, all diligence, v. 5. Thou hast commanded us (saith David, Psal. 119.4.) to keep thy Precepts diligently, [...] valde, that is, with all diligence and watchfulness, and ear­nest endeavour. So Dr. Hammond in Loc. Nay, we are not only to give diligence, but to put forth holy violence, Mat. 11.12. Luke 6.16. The twelve Tribes are said to serve God instant­ly, [Page 283] day and night, Acts 26.7. Orig. [...], with a kind of extension or vehemencie. [...], sig. Omni­bus viri­bus, vehe­menter, prolixe, liberali­ter, toto animo. Cornel. a Lap. in 1 Pet. 1.22. St. Paul tells you what he did, Phil. 3.13, 14. [...], Like a man running a race, he press'd forward, stretch'd forth his Neck and Arms, and ran swiftly towards the Mark. True Christians are called lively stones, 1 Pet. 2.5. They are compared to stones for solidity and stability, but called Lively Stones for their Zeal and Activity. Lazy wishes, and luke­warm desires, will not serve our turn. Numb. 23.10. He lies under the prophetick Curse, that doth the Work of the Lord negligently, Jer. 48.10. All that we do for God without zeal, is but opus operatum, meer performance of the Work, which can no more ascend to Heaven, than Vapours from the Still, unless there be fire under it, as a worthyMr. Ward in Serm. on Rev. 3.19. Divine tells us, Dul­ness, Drowsiness, Luke-warmness is unsutable to the work of the Lord. We should serve him with most awakened affections, and most serious inten­tions of Spirit, Deut. 11, 13. Mat. 22.37. God hath threatned to spue the luke-warm out of his mouth, Rev. 3.15, 16. Some say that Speech is drawn from warm-water, which the stomach cannot by any means brook: so God cannot away with luke-warm persons. Gregory somewhere saith, It is better to be cold, than luke-warm in Reli­gion; not because the luke-warm person sins more hainously, but because he is reclaimed more hardly. Dum enim se sanum putet, me­dicinae opem non quaerit, Marlor. A cursed for­mality, or customary performance of duties, without fervent love to them, undoes many, [Page 284] and renders the Times so perillous, 2 Tim. 3.5. — Having a [...]. form of Godliness, but denying the Power; from such turn away. Let us then with Caleb, follow God fully, Numb. 14.24. And as Barnabas exhorted, Let us with full purpose of heart cleave unto the Lord, Acts 11.23. As Peter and John strove which should come first to our Savious Sepulchre, Joh. 20.4. so let us strive which should attain first to true mortifica­tion of sin. Let us strive to out-strip one ano­ther in goodness. [...]. This is a commendable con­tention. The greatness of the Work, calleth for our greatest endeavours: We have many Duties to perform, many Graces to get, many Sins to subdue and conquer. The manifold op­position which we meet with in our way to Hea­ven from the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, should make us active, 1 Cor. 16.13. Ephes. 6.10, 11, 12, 13. 1 Pet. 5.8, 9. Former mispence of time should put us upon a more diligent im­provement of it for the future, Ephes. 5.16. 1 Pet. 4.3, 4. Vespatian an Heathen, lamen­ted the loss of a day wherein he had done no remarkable service. Heu diem perdidi! was his word, Alas! I have lost a day. We have let slip many days without doing good; squandred away many precious opportunities not to be re­gained. Let us improve time whilst we have it with the best diligence we can; shortly we would be glad to have it that we might improve it. If God would but vouchsafe to the damned creatures a little time of tryal here on earth again, how eagerly would they accept it! how holily would they spend it! like those Creatures men­tioned [Page 285] Ezek. 1.14. They would run and return as the apperance of a flash of Lightning: They would, Angel-like, be upon the Wing, ready to fly upon the hardest Errand God should send them about: But alas! their Glass is run, and shall never be turned more. The Door of Mer­cy is shut against them; their possibilities are ended. Let us be wise in time, and work whilst we may, for when the Night of Death comes, no man can work, John 9.4.Stella in Luk. 13.24. Nunc ergà poenitentiam age, nè praeoccupatus die mortis, quaeras locum, quando invenire non possis. The wise Man makes this consideration a Whetstone to Industry; Eccles. 9.10. Whatever thy hand finds to do, do it with all thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom in the Grave, whither thou goest. If thy Work be not done when Death comes, thou'lt be un­done for ever, for there will be no second Editi­on of thy Life to alter or amend what is done amiss. Nicodemus's saying according to the flesh is true, John 3.4. No man can enter the second time into his Mothers Womb, and be born. O then be not remiss and negligent in matters of such consequence. Let us pray in good earnest, repent in sober sadness; let us put on Christ's Vertues by imitation, and his Merits by appli­cation, with as much diligence as may be. Old men especially should bestir themselves who have (as we say) one foot in the Grave already. AOmnis motus na­turalis ve­lotior est in fine. Stone, the nearer it comes to the Center, the swifter it moves. The nearer any come to Death, the greater should their preparation be [Page 286] for it. It isAbel Re­div. in life of Mr Perkins. observed of the Birds of Norway, that they, having in Winter very short dayes, fly swifter than other Fowl in other Countries, as if principled by the instinct of Nature, thrif­tily to improve the little light allowed them, and by the swiftness of their Wings to regain the shortness of their time. How speedy and ear­nest should old men (especially) be in prepa­ring themselves for Death, who (if they have neglected God in their youthful dayes) have a great deal of work to do in a very short time.

3. Constanter3. And lastly, Prepare your selves for Death Constantly, so long as life shall last.

This God calls for, 1 Cor. 15. last verse, Be constant and immoveable, alway abounding in the Work of the Lord. This was David's resoluti­on, Psal. 119.112. I have enclined my heart to keep thy Statutes alway, even unto the end. So it was Job's, Job 14.14. All the dayes of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come. So Job 27.5, 6, — Till I die, I will not remove my integrity from me: My Righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not re­proach me so long as I live. The like did Saint Paul, as you may read Acts 20.24. Phil. 3.13, 14, 15. 2 Tim. 4.6, 7, 8. God hath promised to give the Crown of Glory, or Eter­nal Happiness, to such as persevere in a Christi­an course of life; see Rev. 2.10. so Rev. 3.11, 12. Heaven is not got per saltum, at one sud­den leap: you must set out betimes, and advance [Page 287] forward in the race of Christianity so long as you live. You must run, and not be weary; walk, and not faint, Isa. 40.31. Charles the fifths Motto [Ulterius] becomes every Christian, he must advance still forward, for he that runs half the Race and then gives it over, Ioseth the Wager as well as he that never set forth. See what is said, Ezek. 18.24. When the Righte­ous turneth away from his righteousness, and com­mitteth iniquity, and doth according to all the a­bominations that the wicked man doth, shall he live? All his righteousness that he hath done shall not be mentioned: in his trespass that he hath trespassed, and in his sin that he hath sin­ned, in them shall he die. If any man draw back, (saith God, Heb. 10.38.) my Soul shall have no pleasure in him; and again, ver. 39. They draw back unto perdition. Let Christians then, who expect the Crown, fight manfully under Christ's Banner against the World, Sin, and the Devil, and continue Christ's faithful Souldiers and Servants unto their lives end. Let them do that in their Spiritual, what Caesar is said to do in his Temporal-Warfare.

Nil actum credens, siquid superesset agendum.
Lucan. Pharsal. Lib. 2.

Be still doing, as though they had done no­thing, till all be done. Now there will be al­way something for a Christian to do till Death give him his Quietus est, a Writ of Ease. Rev. 14.13. Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord, — they rest from their labours: There must be no resting till death: We should be Vo­lunteers [Page 288] in God's Service till Death disband us. When William the Conqueror landed his men in Sussex, he caused all Ships to be sunk, that all hope of flying back might be taken away. We are here landed (saith an ingeniousDr. Boys in his Po­stils on Rev. 12.7. Divine) in this Valley of Tears, we must neither faint nor fly, but fight it out valiantly; till Death, the last Enemy, be destroyed. 1 Cor. 15.26. Good Christians are like Wine full of Spirits, that con­tinues good to the last drawing; yea, the older they are, like good Wines, the better they be, L [...]k. 5.39. They are compared to Trees in Scripture, Psal. r. 3. so Isa. 61.3. called Trees of Righteousness, because filled with the Fruits of Righteousness, Phil. 1.11. These Trees are never past bearing, They shall bring forth Fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing, Psal. 92.14. It is an honour to be thus gray-headed in Religion. Prov. 16.31. The hoary-head is a Crown of Glory, if it be found in the way of Righteousness. God highly prizeth a Mnason, an old Disciple (as he was, Acts 21.16.) that hath served him from his youth upwards. Well then, let us put the former directions constantly into practice: Let us pray continually, 1 Thess. 5.17. Let us have ourStata tempora. set-times for Prayer, and at least morning and evening let us offer unto God the sacrifice of Prayer. Let us daily mourn for the sins we daily commit. Nay, those sins which God hath pardned, we should reflect upon with grief of heart, and pray for a farther ma­nifestation of pardoning Grace, so did David; For the one and fiftieth Psalm was pen'd by [Page 289] David after he had gone into Bathsheba, and after Nathan had brought him the news of a Pardon, 2 Sam. 12.13. SomeMr. Smith in his Do­ctrine of Repen­tance, p. 105. observe, after God had cast Adam out of Paradise, he set him e regione Horti, over against the Garden, in the very sight and view of the place where he had offended; that so oft as he lookt towards the Garden he might remember his sin, and la­ment for it. Let us constantly avoid such sins as we do lament; So did St. Paul, Acts 24.16. Herein do I exercise my self to have alway a Con­science void of offence towards God, and towards men. Let us do good works constantly, Gal. 6.9, 2 Thes. 3.13. Let us constantly put on the vertues of Christ, growing in number, mea­sure, and exercise of grace. Let us daily act faith upon Christ. If we do thus, not only be­gin well, but continue in thus doing until death, we shall (when we have acted the last part of our life upon the Stage of this World) every one of us apart here that joyful Sentence pro­nounced by Christ himself, Eugè bone serve, Well done thou good and faithful Servant,Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord, Matth. 25.21.

Thus you see the forementioned Directions are to be practised Early, Earnestly, and Constant­ly; these three Ingredients make our Services a sweet Perfume. But because we are so back­ward to these things, I shall in the next Chap­ter lay down a few Considerations to quicken us to the performance of the whole, and so con­clude.

CHAP. IV. Containing certain Motives to move us to prepare for Death.

NO Man can truly say of mine advice touch­ing preparation for Death, as Hushai said of Ahitophel's, 2 Sam. 17.7. It is not good at this time. Sure I am, advice to it, or practice of it is never unseasonable, for this is the [...] the main business that we come into the World to perform. God sent us not into the World as he did thePsalm. 104.26. Leviathan into the Sea, to take our sport and pastime therein: but he sent us hither as into a School to learn this one Lesson to die well. Yet alas! how negligent are most as if unconcerned herein? This great concern is the least of their care. Tell them of preparing for Death, and they are ready to put us off as Felix did Paul, Acts 24.25. — Go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient sea­son, I will call for thee; but we never read that he call'd for him after. I shall therefore, Cour­teous Reader, lay before thee some Considerati­ons to move thee to prepare thy self for Death, according to the forementioned Directions. And here I have a large field before me; but as the Disciples passing through the Field of Corn, pluckt onely an ear or two and rubbed them in their hands; so shall I content my self with three [Page 291] Considerations amongst many, and handle them as briefly as I can with conveniency. First then,

Consider 1 1. By this means thou shalt live comfortably.

2 Cor. 1.12. Our rejoycing is this, the testi­mony of our Conscience, that in simplicity, and Godly sincerity, — we have had our conversation in the World. Rejoycing and working Righte­ousness is put together, Isa. 64.5. What joy and peace is there in believing? Rom. 15.13. If the Angels in Heaven rejoyce at the conversi­on of a sinner, as the Scripture affirms, Luk. 15.7, 10. surely the joy of a sinner converted must needs be very great in his heart. How can it otherwise be? For such an one is reconciled to God, his sins are pardoned; whereupon follows peace with God, and rejoycing in hope of the Glory of God, as you may see, Rom. 5.1, 2. And this peace of Conscience passeth all under­standing, Phil. 4.7. It is joy unspeakable and full of glory, 1 Pet. 1.8. A continual Ban­quet, together with the joy of the Harvest, and of such as divide the spoyl, are but dark re­presentations of it, Prov. 15.15. Isa. 9.3. This is Manna in the Wilderness, a foretaste and earnest of future Jubilees; such an one is even in the Suburbs of Heaven, so that the Term of a godly mans life (who is continually fitting himself for Death) may be truly called Hilary Term, for a pure Christal Torrent of Divine Joy comes streaming into his Soul from the God of all comfort: What should such an [Page 292] one fear? Of whom should he be afraid? At what should he be dismaid? If he lives, he lives to the Lord; if he dies, he dies in the Lord: Living or dying he is the Lords, Rom. 14.8.

Object. But do not we see those who take most pains in fitting themselves for Death, most sad and sorrowful, mourning for their own and other mens sins, do they not meet with most trouble and afflictions, so that their lives of all men are most uncomfortable?

Answ. A carnal man can no more judge of a good mans condition, than a pur-blind man can of Colours: He is not acquainted with a good mans joy, Prov. 14.10. The righteous have meat to eat which the World knows not of. They have hidden Manna, secret joy; 2 Cor. 6.10. As sorrowful, yet alwayes rejoycing: Their weeping for their own and other mens sins,Est que­dam flere voluptas. makes way for spiritual comfort. As April-showers refresh the face of the Earth: When the Righteous have been shedding tears at the Throne of Grace, they oft arise from their knees with their hearts brim full of comfort. If they meet with outward trouble, as the Waves en­crease, so doth the Ark of Comfort arise above these Waves. See 2 Cor. 1.3, 4, 5. Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Mercies, and the God of all Com­fort, who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we our selves are comforted of God; for as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abound­eth [Page 293] by Christ. We read, Acts 5.41. how the Apostles rejoyced that they were counted wor­thy to suffer. When Saint Paul was in that great storm at Sea, Acts 27. When neither Sun nor Stars in many dayes appeared, vers. 20. In the midst of that danger his Soul was ( [...], Chrysost.) in a quiet Haven,Dr. Bore­man in Serm. on Phil. 3.20. p. 33. even in the bosom of God: In that great darkness he had a light within, the light of joy and comfort, be­cause God was with and in him. I end this with that of Solomon, Prov. 29.6. In the trans­gression of an evil man there is a snare, (that strangleth his joy) but the Righteous doth sing and rejoyce.

Consider. 2 2. By this means you may die comfortably.

A man who in his life-time hath been fitting himself for death, is not afraid of it, when God shall please to send it: He can say, Come Death, come Lord Jesus, come and well-come. He can say to Death, as Adonijah did to Jona­than the Son of Abiathar the Priest, 1 King. 1.42. Come in, for thou art a valiant man, and bringest good tydings. He knows Death sets his Soul at liberty out of the Prison of the Body, as the Angel did Peter out of Prison, Acts 12.7. Upon the sight of Death his Spirit revives, as Jacob's did, when he saw the Wagons that were sent to carry him from a place of penury and mi­sery, to a place of plenty and happiness, Gen, 45.27. When Moses the Servant of the Lord had finisht his course, God bids him Go up and die in the Mount, Deut. 32.49, 50. & Deut. [Page 294] 34.5. It is there said, He died according to the Word of the Lord, (secundum os Domini). The Jews say that his Soul was suckt out of his mouth with a kiss. God dealt by him, as a fond Nurse by her Babe, kissed him and laid him down to sleep. Elijah requests God to take away his life, 1 King. 19.4. Aged Simeon, like a Swan, welcomed his approaching death with this melodious Song,Sapientis animus to­tus in mor­tem promi­net, hoc vult, hoc meditatur, hac sem­per cupi­dine fer­tur. Sen. ad Marci­um, c. 23. Nunc dimittis, &c. Luke 2.29. Lord, now lettest thou thy Servant depart in peace, according to thy Word, &c. St. Paul cries out, Cupio dissolvi, Phil. 1.23. I desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better. St. Ambrose ready to depart, said to his Friends, Non sic vixi ut me pudent inter vos vivere, sed nec mori timeo, quia bonum Do­minum habemus: He was neither ashamed to live, nor afraid to die. Old Hilarion being somewhat backward at first to entertain Death, he checkt himself for his vain fears, Egredore anima, quid times? Septuaginta annos servivi­sti Deo, & jam mori times? Egredere Anima; Go out my Soul, (said he) what fearest thou? Thou hast served God these threescore years and ten, and what art thou now afraid to depart? Go out my Soul. And with that he laid him­self down upon his Pillow and quietly slept in the Lord. That good man Oecolampadius when he lay a dying, being asked by some of his friends whether the light did not offend him? he clapt his hand on h s breast, saying, Hic sat lucis est, Here is light enough, meaning comfort. So that solid Divine and eminent Christian, Master Bolton, said to some of his Friends that came to [Page 295] visit him at the point of death, I am (said he) by the wonderful mercies of God, as full of com­fort as mine heart can hold, and feel nothing in my Soul but Christ. I could produce great store of such like Examples, but let these suf­fice.

Object. But are not some of God's dear Ser­vants unwilling to die, as was David, Psal. 102.24. and Hezekiah, Isa 38.1, 2, 3? Do not some die with little or no comfort?

Answ. As for David and Hezekiah, they were publick Magistrates, and desired to live longer, that they might be serviceable in their Generation, and bring glory to God: They knew if they had died at such a time, the wicked would have insulted and made Songs of Tryumph at their Funeral. They feared Di­stractions both in Church and State which might follow upon their death: And haply they were the more unwilling to die, because in their ap­prehensions not sufficiently prepared for Death: Possibly by falling unadvisedly into some sins, they had blurred their evidences, and wounded their Consciences. It is therefore good counsel whichDr. Bore­man in Serm. on Phil. 3 20. p. 45. Carthusianus gives, and that is, so to provide for the coming of Death, (ut nihil in mente resideat, quod Conscientiam mordeat, & cum quo mori timeat) that no sin reside or re­main in our breast, which may wound and trou­ble the Conscience, and with which we (being guilty) cannot die in peace and safety. Sin like Jonah in the Ship, raiseth a tempest in the Soul. The reason why many find so little comfort at death is, because they are too negligent in pre­paring [Page 296] themselves for it. I end this with that of the Psalmist, Psal. 37.37. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.

3. and last. Consider. 3. And lastly, By this means you shall arise again with comfort.

That there will be a Resurrection of the Body is clear from Scripture: Insomuch that our Savi­our told the Sadduces which said there is no Resurrection, Matth. 22.29. Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures. When Jesus told Mar­tha that her Brother should rise again, Joh. 11.23. she replyed, vers. 24. I know that he shall rise again in the Resurrection at the last Day. And the Apostle spends the largest Chapter in all his Epistles in proving this Point against some in the Church of Corinth who denied it, 1 Cor. 15.12. Well then, at Christs second coming to Judgment, we must all rise again with our own bodies, and give an account of our own Works, as you may see 2 Cor. 5.10. Rom. 14.12. This will be a joyful day to such as have lived in expectation of it, and preparation for it. For when Christ their life appears, they shall appear with him in glory, Col. 3.4. They shall have a Crown of Righteousness conferred upon them, 2 Tim. 4.7, 8. They shall rise to everlasting life, Dan. 12.2. John 5.29. They shall lift up their heads with joy; They shall have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming, 1 Joh. 2.28. For he who is their Saviour, Surety, Intercessor, Head, and [Page 297] Husband, will be their Judge. He will at that day gather them together, and place them on his right hand, and pronounce that blessed Sen­tence, Mat. 25.34. Come ye blessed of my Fa­ther, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the World. They shall be Assessores in judicio, like Justices of the Peace upon the Bench, with the Judge approving of that righteous Sentence which Christ shall pro­nounce upon the wicked, both Men and Devils. 1 Cor. 6.2, 3. Know ye not that the Saints shall judge the World? — Know ye not that we shall judge Angels? Psalm. 149.9. This, and much more, honour have all the Saints in that great day. They en­ter upon such happiness as shall never end; Dan. 12.3. — They shall shine as the brightness of the Firmament, — and as the Stars for ever and ever; see 1 Thes. 4.14, &c. After the Apostle had spoken of the Resurrection and se­cond coming of Christ, he tells us that Belie­vers shall be for ever with the Lord, vers. 17. And then he adds, Comfort one another with these words, vers. 18. This eternal happiness will make amends for all our pains and care in our Christian course.

Thus you see how comfortable their condi­tion is that live in continual expection of Death, and preparation for Death. They live comfor­tably, they die comfortably, and they shall rise again with comfort. Whereas on the other side, if men be careless herein, they have no true comfort whilst they live, even in laughter their heart is sorrowful, and the end of that mirth is heaviness, Prov. 14.13. So it was with Bel­shazzar, [Page 298] Dan. 5.4, 5. God saith again and again by the Prophet Isaiah, That there is no peace to the wicked, Isa. 48.22. & 57.21. And if they have no true peace and comfort whilst they live, I am sure they have none when they come to die. As Ahab said to Elijah, so may a wicked man say upon the approach of Death, 1 King. 21.20. Hast thou found me, O mine Enemy? Death to him is the King of Terrors, as Bildad in Job call'd it, Job 18.14. Or as the Philosopher,Arist. Eth. ad Nic, lib. 3. c. 9. [...], No­thing is so terrible to him as Death. The Soul at such a time is usually full of horrors and heavy apprehensions: Pangs of Death, hor­rour of Conscience, sense of Guilt, and frights of Hell, are sufficient to render him perfectly mise­rable. If there be any wicked men that die with little sense of pain, and less fear of Death, (as Psal. 73.4.) we must know that this is secu­rity and sensless stupidity, no true peace. And if they have no true peace and comfort neither in life nor at death, they'l have none after death, nor at the general Resurrection; for no sooner is the soul separated from the body, but God passeth a particular judgment upon it, Eccles. 12.7. Heb. 9.27. and dooms it to misery: Even as Sodom and Gomorrah — are set forth for an Example, suffering the vengeance of eter­nal fire, Jude 7. And at the second coming of Christ to Judgment, the body shall rise, and be reunited to the soul, and Christ will pronounce that dreadful Sentence upon all wicked persons, Mat. 25.41. Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the Devil and his [Page 299] angels. And this Sentence being once pass'd, shall never be alter'd: Hence it is called Eter­nal Judgment, Heb. 6.2. If Felix trembled to hear of judgment to come, as you may read he did, Acts 24.25. How will wicked men tremble when Christ comes to execute Judgment upon them, (as you read he will, Eccles. 11.9. & 12. last vers. 2 Thess. 1.7, 8, 9. Jude 15.) Wicked men will then cry to the Hills to fall upon them, and hide them from the face of him that sits upon the Throne, &c. Rev. 6.16, 17. They would then count it an happiness to be able to die; but alas, They shall seek for death, but they shall not find it, and they shall desire to die, but death shall flee from them, Rev. 9.6. So then wicked men shall rise again, but it will be to their everlasting shame and misery, Dan. 12.2. They shall come forth to the Resurrecti­on of [...] Damnation, John 5.29. And they shall have bodies to be tormented in, which Devils have not: and they shall be miserable as long as God is happy, and that is to all eternity, and for ever; Mat. 25.46. These shall go away into everlasting punishment. Sinner and Hell-fire shall never be parted: This word never breaks the heart of a sinner, and gives new life to those insufferable torments which exceed all expression or imagination. When ten hundred thousand millions of Ages are past, the misery of the dam­ned is as fresh to begin, as it was the first mo­ment they entred upon it. If there was any hope of an end, 'twould something ease the heart, but Eternity is intolerable. O Eterni­ty! Eternity! Eternity! Methinks the dread­ful [Page 300] terrors of Eternity should strike fire out of a Flint, and make the hardest heart to melt into tears for sin, and quicken the dullest soul to Godliness. Death, which is the end of all things,Ex hoc momento pendet Ae­ternitas. shall bring Man to a condition that shall never end. Vegetative and sensitive Creatures, when once dead, they have no more a Beeing. But Man, when this life is ended, shall live a­gain, and that to eternity, either in bliss or misery: Where are mens wits, or what think they on that they do not prepare? Wherefore, Courteous Reader, as David said to Solomon in another case, so say I to thee, 1 Chron. 22.16. Arise, and be doing, and the Lord be with thee. Amen.

FINIS. [...].

Epaphroditus's Sickness AND RECOVERY.

In three Sermons.

The First Preached at St. Michaels in Co­ventry, upon the 14th day of December in the morning, being the Lecture day.

And the two other Preached the Lords Day following, being the 18th of the same instant, in the same Church, Anno Dom. 1670.

By Thomas Allestree, M. A. Rector of Ashow in the County of Warwick.

I was brought low, and he helped me, Psal. 116.6.

The Lord hath chastned me sore; but he hath not given me over unto Death, Psal. 118.18.

Nè umbrâ quidem corporis, nedum vivo ac sano corpore dignus est, quisquis usque adeò Stoicus est factus, ut vitam ac sanitatem corporis, quâ utraque ad gloriam Dei uti poterit, non sentiat donum esse divinae munificentiae, sed susque de­que faciat, sive sanus sit sive aegrotet, vivatne vel moriatur. Musculus in Psal. 102.3, 4.

LONDON, Printed for the Author, Anno Dom. 1671.

To the Right Worshipful Mr. Thomas King Mayor, with the Aldermen his Brethren, and the rest of the Inhabitants of the City of Coventry.
The Author wisheth continuance of health with increase of grace and peace.

SIRS,

THese three following Sermons (though conceived elsewhere) were first brought forth in your Ancient & Honourable City. The subject matter of them is seasonable for these sickly times. Though you in your City, (as I am informed byMr. Feak and Mr. Wanley your pre­sent Mi­nisters. those who have best reason to know) have been this last year as healthful as at other times, (a mercy which you can never be too thank-full for) yet the Towns and Villages about you, yea the most part of this Nation (I hope you are sensible of it) have been sorely visited with sick­ness; I therefore, at the importunity of some Friends, thought good to make these Notes publick. The Word preached is too soonVox au­dita perit. sed litera scripta manebit. forgotten, and reacheth but to few, but Printed may be seen by many, and peru­sed at pleasure. I hope these Sermons that found acceptance with many when Preach­ed, will, being Printed, find the like accep­tance [Page] with the sober Christian. You have that here presented to the eye, which was de­livered to the ear; for I have made little or no alteration, onely I have inserted se­veral Latine Sentences, (which I did not mention in the Pulpit, partly because I would avoid the suspition of vain-glory, and partly because they would have taken up too much of that little time alotted, every Sand of which we should frugally improve to the profit of the bearer). You that under­stand Latine, may read these Quotations to your better satisfaction: You that like them not, because you cannot understand them, may over-look them. These Ser­mons, like the Author, come forth in a plain dress: My desire was not, with elegant cadencies of words, to please an itching ear, but with plain Scripture-evidence, to affect an honest heart: And strong-lines could not reasonably be expected from one so weak as I then was, being but lately reco­vered of a grievous sickness. Well, dear Friends, whatever they be, I humbly pre­sent them to your acceptance, as a testimo­ny of my thankfulness, and to shew how willing I am

To serve your Souls in what I may, T. Allestree.

Epaphroditus's sickness. First Sermon.

PHIL. 2.27.

For indeed he was sick, nigh unto death, but God had mercy on him. —

THE Philippians, to whom St. Paul wrote his Epistle, were Inhabitants of Philippi, which was a chief City of Macedonia, and a Colonie, Acts 16.12. It was the Metropolis of that part of Macedonia, and a Ro­man Colonie, whose Inhabitants came from Rome to dwell there, vers. 21. (Muscu­lus in Phil. 1.1: Coloniae sunt gentes ad terram aliquam habitandum missae, saith Mus­culus). It was formerly called Crenida, [...], because of the fruitful Fountains that issued from the Hill on which it was built. (Eò [Page 6] quòd circa collem cui inaedificata fuit uberrimi Fontes promanarent. Muscul. in Phil. 1. v. 1.) SomeItinera­rium toti­us sacrae scripturae, p. 539. say there were veins of Gold found close by it. Philip King of Macedon, Father of Alexander the Great, caused it in the year be­fore Christ, 354. to be reedified and enlarged, and then after his own name called it Philippos, or Philippi. (Hanc Philippus Rex Macedoniae munitiorem reddidit propter vicinos Thraces, ac in nominis sui memoriam Philippus vocavit. Mus­cul.).Muscul. in Phil. 1.1. It was enriched with many priviledges, much Gold found there: but it was not so hap­py in that, as in Pauls praying, who coming thi­ther wrought many Miracles, taught the Gospel, and converted many to the Faith and Know­ledge of Christ, as you may read, Acts 16. FromSee Dr. Hammond his Pre­face in Annot. on 2 Epist. Corinthi­ans. hence St. Paul wrote his second Epistle to the Corinthians, and sent it to Corinth by Ti­tus and Luke, which was, saith anSee Iti­ner. Tot. S. Scrip. 540. Author, 292 Dutch miles. He wrote also this Epistle to the Philippians from Rome, to the Inhabitants of Philippi, and sent it by the hands of Epa­phroditus, which was, saith the sameSee Iti­ner. Tot. S. Scrip. 540. Author, 628 miles; and he reckons by common Dutch miles, whereof four thousand paces make a mile, (p. 3.). The occasion of this Epistle was this, The Philippians hearing that St. Paul, who had planted a Church among them, was imprisoned at Rome, sent Epaphroditus to visit him, and supply his wants: From whom the Apostle ha­ving received the testimony of their kindness and constancy, and with-all hearing that false Apostles were crept in amongst them, who were enemies to the Cross of Christ, and per­verted [Page 7] the Doctrine of the Gospel, he writes back this Epistle as a necessary Antidote against these Seducers, and as an acknowledgment of their favours; for Christianity doth not abolish civility and good manners. [Heming. in argu­mentum, Epist. ad Phil. Cùm ut futuro periculo occurrat tùm ut suam erga Philippenses animi gratudinem declaret, hanc scribit Episto­lam. Heming.]. Paul in the front of this Epi­stle joyns Timothy with him, because as he had formerly been at Philippi with him, as you read Act. 16. so he was now at Rome with him, Phil. 2.19. being his constant compani­on and assistant. This Epistle he sent back by the hands of Epaphroditus, who was, as you may see vers. 25. a faithful Minister of the Go­spel, and their Messenger, that ministred to his wants, bringing that which the Philippians sent to the supply of his necessities. [Perferens ad ipsum quae Philippenses miserant. Heming. in locum.] The Apostle thought fit to send him back, having faithfully performed his Message. Epaphroditus himself was willing to return, as you may see vers. 26. for he longed after you all. [...], the word signifies a longing desire, as impatient of delayes. Epa­phroditus would stay no longer from his People than he needs must; he was detained by sick­ness, or else he had sooner returned. And he was full of heaviness, because that they had heard that he had been sick. He was not so much troubled because that he was sick, as because that they had heard of his sickness.Zanchius, in Phil. 2.26. [ [...], ab [...] privat. & [...], qui prae tristitiâ animi populi frequentum fugit.] The word sig­nifies, [Page 8] He sat solitary, as men in extream sorrow love to be alone: He was exceedingly disquieted to think what sorrow the report of his sickness brought to them. But, good God! how are people otherwise affected in these sinful times to­wards their faithful Ministers, wishing them sick, and transported with joy to hear of their sickness: So that it is matter of grief to many Ministers in their sickness to think that others do insult, and by their rejoycing, add affliction to affliction. But the Philippians love towards their faithful Pastour was so great, that they were even sick to hear of his sickness; nay, Epaphroditus feared lest this sad news would be their death. (Fuit anxius animi propter Phi­lippenses nè niminâ tristitiâ conficerentur, Muscul. in locum.) He was grievously afraid lest they should wear away with over-much grief at the sad tydings of his sickness.

For indeed, saith the Apostle in the words of my Text, he was sick nigh unto Death; but God had mercy on him.

In the words we have two parts.

1. Epaphroditus's Sickness; where observe, first, the Patient, Epaphroditus, he was sick. Secondly, The manner of his sickness, it was very grievous, for he was nigh unto Death.

In the second part we have Epaphroditus his Recovery set down; wherein observe, 1. the Physitian, that was God. 2. The cure wrought by him, he had mercy on him.

To begin with the first part, Epaphroditus was the Patient, and his Distemper very grie­vous, for he was sick nigh unto death.

The Greek word [...] signifies to be very weak and sick, even at deaths door. [ [...] infirmis viribus sum, langueo, gravitèr aegroto, Joh. 11.3. [...], hinc [...], ab [...] privat & [...] robur. Omnibus viribus destitutus & tum sibi tum aliis prorsus inutilis sicut cadaver. Beza in Rom. 5.6.] He had faciem cadavero­sam, Death had taken possession on this sick mans countenance: He was grown so weak (and it was matter of grief to them,Muscul. in locum. Quod Apostolo amplius subministrare non poterat) that he was a burden and not an help to the Apo­stle. But to shew yet further how near death he was, the Apostle adds [...]. [Which some render vicinus morti, so Marlo­rat. And Musculus who adds, Corripitur mor­bo tàm gravi ut ad ipsas portas mortis usque per­venisse videretur. Proximè mortem, Piscator, Hemingius. Proximè ad mortem, Beza. Usque ad mortem, Tremel. Aquinas, Osiander, Esti­us, who adds, Lethali morbo laborabat ita ut moriturum metuerem.] He was a Neighbour to Death, or neighbouring upon Death: He was even upon the confines of the King of Terrours. If every Man in his healthful state be like a Ma­riner (as some say) in the Sea of this World,Digitis a­mor tu re­motus, Quatuor aut Sep­tem. Ju­ven. within a few inches of Death: Surely languish­ing Epaphroditus was within a hairs breadth of it. But if you ask me what his particular Di­stemper was, I must tell you, I know not. The Physitian may be will say (Non erat assuetus [Page 10] mari ideoque inter navigandum contraxit corporis sui debilitatem. Muscul. in loc.) that he was Sea-sick:Heming. in Phil. 2.30. And indeed, as Hemingius observes, that long journey by Sea might be an occasion of his sickness, and the Apostle seems to insinu­ate as much, vers. 30. But what his particu­lar Distemper was, we must be content to be ig­norant, seeing the Holy Ghost doth not reveal it. Contenting my self with what the Text holds forth, that he was sick, yea, nigh unto death; I take up this Point of Doctrine.

Doct. That the best of God's dear Servants, whether Ministers or others, may be very sick, or sorely visited with sickness. Hinc li­quet vel sanctissi­mos ad­versa affi­ci valetu­dine. Bul­ling. in Phil. 2.27. Epaphroditus was a good Christian as well as a good Minister.

Many are the afflictions of the Righteous, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 34.19. Diseases, amongst other afflictions, are the portion of God's dear­est Children. Jacob was sick, Gen. 48.1. So was Hezekiah, 2 King. 20.1. So Job was smit­ten with a sore Boyl, from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, Job 2.7, 8. He was so loathsome a Creature none would come near him; he was fain to be his own Chyrur­geon, and his dressing Instrument was a piece of a broken Pot; see likewise Job 7.3, 4, 5, 13, 14, 15, 16. So David was sick nigh un­to death, read Psal. 6. & Psal. 38. So under the New Testament, we read Dorcas that Wo­man full of good Works, and Alms-deeds which she did, fell sick, — Acts 9.36, 37. So Paul himself saith, We had that Sentence of Death in [Page 11] our selves, &c. 2 Cor. 1.9. He means the great danger he was in by reason of his Adver­saries, or by reason of sickness, or both: Thus he was in deaths oft, i. e. in deadly dangers, 2 Cor. 11.23. So before this you read of some in the Church of Corinth that were chastned of the Lord by some violent sickness, that they might not be condemned with the World, 1 Cor. 11.30, 32. Timothy had but bad health, which made the Apostle to give him this advice, To drink no longer Water, but to use a little Wine for his Stomachs sake, and his often infirmities, 1 Tim. 5.23. So we read of Trophimus the Ephesian, Paul's Disciple and Companion in travels, Acts 20.4. & 21.29. left of Paul atThis Miletum, or rather Miletus, Act. 20.17. was a Ci­ty famous for Wool and Cloa­thing. Nec Mile­tus erat vellere digna tuo. Martial. Miletum sick, 2 Tim. 4.20. But we need not light up a Candle at noon-day, and seek for that which is neither hid nor lost. This truth is confirmed, or Proposition verified, by daily experience. I therefore pass on to the Reasons of the Point, which may be taken from three heads.

1. From their natural constitution.

The Godly, though they be the Sons of God by the grace of Adoption, yet they are the Sons of Adam by natural production: And as the Wood breeds a Worm that eats it, the Gar­ment a Moth that frets it, and Fruit that which doth corrupt it, so natural bodies produce Dis­eases to destroy them. The bodies of the best are earthly houses, 2 Cor. 5.1. which moulder away of themselves. The Apostle calls the [Page 12] body, even of the best men, a vile body, be­cause (Tot miseriis obnoxium) subject amongst other miseries to sickness and distempers.Calv: in Phil. 3.21. If the humours of the body be but a little stirred, they turn to the nutriment of a Disease: Our very blood, (as Dr. Taylor saith) wherein our life dwells, is the scene under which nature acts many sharp Feavers and heavy Sicknesses. Many men, (saith anotherMr. By­field, on 1 Pet. 2.24 p. 883. Divine) that for the present are free from the pains of Diseases, yet have their enemies in their bodies in divers parts of them laid, as it were, in Garison, which may and will break out upon them at a time they know not.

2. From inherent corruption.

The best besides original corruption, have many actual provocations, 1 King. 8.46. Psal. 19.12. Psal. 143.2. Prov. 20.9. Eccles. 7.20. 1 John 1.8. If we say we have no sin, we deceive our selves, and the truth is not in us. If the best of us, saith he hath no sin, he sins in saying so;De vero cultu, lib. 6. c. 13. for this is sin in the best. (Nemo esse sine delicto potest quamdiù indumento carnis oneratus est. Lactant.) Now sin is the procuring cause of sickness. Had not sin entred into the World, there had been no sickness. Had our first Parents continued in a state of holiness, they had continued in a state of health and happiness everlasting; but their eating the forbidden fruit, brought Diseases upon them and their posterity. It is sin that brings all mankind; even the best to the Grave, Rom. 5.12. And no wonder if it cast them upon a sick-bed. Sin is the Pandora's Box that filleth the World with [Page 13] innumerable diseases and calamities: Like ano­ther Jonah it raiseth storms and aestuations in the Body, as he did in the Sea, (Jonah. 1.4, 7. compared) What saith David, Psal. 31.10. My life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing: My strength faileth, because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed. It was sin that weakned him, and brought (as it were) his body into a consumption. So Psal. 38.3. There is no soundness in my flesh, because of thine anger, (Agnoscit morbi istius causam esse iram Dei propter selera sua in se accensam. Muscul. in loc.); neither is there any rest in my bones, be­cause of my sin. So vers. 5. My Wounds stink, and are corrupt; because of my foolishness. So Psal. 39.11. God with rebukes doth correct man for iniquity. Diseases are properly the Rod of the Lord, and, the Rod for the fools back, seems to have been a Proverb amongst the Jews, Prov. 10.13. & 26.3. Hence the Psalmist allusively tells us, Psal. 107.17. Fools because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities are afflicted. The best of men are no wiser than they should be; nay, they too oft play the fool as David did, 2 Sam. 24.10. and no wonder if God chastise them with sickness.

3. And lastly, From Divine Ordination, 1 Thes. 3.3.

The Devil cannot smite us with sores or sick­ness without God's Commission, or at least without his Permission, as you may see in the case of Job, Job 2.6. Whatever may be the [Page 14] instrumental or material cause of any affliction, yet God himself is the supream efficient; Job 5.6. as Eliphaz said, Affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground. By this proverbial Speech, he would have us look higher than to secondary causes, even to God himself as the Author; for so he is, Isa. 45.7. so Amos 3.6. Shall there be evil in a City, and the Lord hath not done it? It is not to be understood of the (ma­lum culpae, sed poenae) evil of sin, but of afflicti­on and punishment. God then sends sickness to his Children, or he is pleased to exercise them with sickness and such like afflictions for good ends; I'le name two especially.

1. For the purging out, or preventing of sin, Psal. 119.67, 71. so Isa. 1.25. & Isa. 27.9. so Heb. 12.10, 11. God sends sickness, as he sent an Angel with a drawn Sword in his hand to Balaam, Numb. 22.32. to divert us from sinful courses. God takes away corporal to recover spiritual health; he weakens thee in body, to weaken the body of sin in thee. If he cast thee into a Feaver or burning Ague, it is to refine thee, and make thee a Vessel unto Ho­nour, sanctified, and meet for the Masters use, and prepared unto every good work, as expressi­ons be 2 Tim. 2.21. I have somewhere read how Basil the Great, that holy Man, being much troubled with the Head-ach, prayed to God to remove it, and was at length healed of it, but afterwards he felt many bad motions and sinful lusts stirring in him; then he earnestly de­sired [Page 15] God to return to him the Head-ach again, rather than suffer the peace of his Soul to be disquieted with those lusts. So that you see bo­dily Pains and Diseases are sent by God to pre­vent or purge out sin. But more particularly God sends sickness to prevent or purge out these following sins; to name a few.

1. Pride.

See 2 Cor. 12.7. Some by the Thorn in the flesh understand some extream pain, as the Head-ach; so Theophilact. Some refer it to the Iliaca Passio, or Wind in the small Guts;See Mr. Leigh's Annot. on 2 Cor. 12.7. so Aquinas. Some to the Gout or pain in the Stomach, as Nazianzene and Basil are said to interpret it. These or the like bodily Distempers may be well compared to a Thorn in the flesh, because they are as painful to the body, as if a Thorn or Splinter was thrust into the flesh. This Thorn was sent o let out the wind of Pride; Lest, saith the Apostle, I should be exalted a­bove measure. Job under his sores and sickness, and other afflictions that God exercised him with, confessed his vileness, and abhord him­self in Dust and Ashes, Job 40.4. & 42.6.

2. Worldly-mindedness.

God sends sickness to withdraw their heart and affections from things here below, and to cause them to mount up and aspire more unto Heaven. The best are apt to fall in love with this wretched world, as Peter said, Luke 9.33. Master, it is good for us to be here. God in sickness makes his servants willing to remove: They see Riches and Friends cannot ease them of their pains, and therefore they desire to be gone, Phil. [Page 16] 1.23. and to be translated into the new Jeru­salem, where no Inhabitant shall say he is sick, Isa. 33.24.

3. Security.

In health and prosperity the best are apt to forget God. As David said, Psal. 30.6, 7. In his prosperity, I shall never be moved; Lord by thy favour thou hast made my Mountain to stand strong: but when God did hide his face, and left him to the dangerous assaults of his Enemies, or fury of some sickness, then he was troubled and cryed to the Lord, and pleaded with him in prayer, as you may read in the following verses, 8, 9, 10, 11. When he casts his people on their backs in a sick-bed, then espe­cially they look upward.

4. Insensibleness of others sufferings under sickness.

Most men are insensible of the sufferings of others, like those voluptuous Epicures, as if un­concerned in others miseries, they are not affected with their Brethrens calamities, Amos 6.3, 4, 5, 6. Even the best are too too stoical herein, whilst in Health, not sufficiently sensible of the miseries that others lie under by reason of sick­ness. But when God hath visited us with sick­ness, then we pity those that lie under the same or the like sufferings. The Poet Virgil brings in Dido speaking thus.

Non ignara mali miseris succurrere disco.

She being in misery, did pitty those that were in misery. David, whom God had much ex­ercised [Page 17] with sickness, had learnt to pity others, as, you may see Psal. 35.13, 14.

5. Unthankfulness.

We do not, whilst we are healthful and strong, rightly prize health, nor are we duly thankful for so great a mercy. Carendo magis quàm fruendo; We know the worth of things best by the want of them. As God threatned to take away Corn, and Wine, and Oyl from Judah, because she did not know, i. e. thank­fully acknowledge them to be Gods good Gifts, Hos. 2.8, 9. So God many times deprives his People of health, that they may learn to prize it the more, and to improve it more to his glo­ry when he sends it again.

6. The sixth and last sin that sickness sent by God is a means to purge out or pre­vent, is, Forgetfulness of Death.

Jerusalem in prosperity remembred not her last end, Lam. 1.9. The best of us, in times of health, too too seldom think of Death, which made Moses cry out, Deut. 32.29. O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end! God therefore sends sickness, which is, Ante-ambulo Mortis, the fore-runner of Death; to mind them that the King of Terrors is not far off: they at such a time expect Death, and look upon it as that which will certainly come.Abel Re­divivus in his life. Bishop Andrews said oft in his sickness, It must come once, and why not here? David in sickness saw the vanity of Man in his best state, Psalm. 39.5. Surely every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah. And vers. 11. he warbles it over again [Page 18] on his doleful Harp, — Surely every man is va­nity. Selah. So Moses under God's afflicting hand, Psalm. 90.7. saw the frailty of Man's life, and therefore prayed, vers. 12. So teach us to number our dayes, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom. Thus you see God sends sickness for the purging out or preventing of se­veral sins in his People.

2. The other end that God hath in such pas­sages of his providence towards his Servants, is for the tryal and exercise of their Graces.

Affliction is sent to try us, Psal. 66.10, 11. Jer. 9.7. 1 Pet. 4.12. It is both the Touch­stone and Whet-stone of Grace. A Feaver, or some such like Distemper, is as a fiery Tryal to try the truth of God's Graces in us, and to set them awork; in so much as the Apostle saith, 2 Cor. 12.10. I take pleasure in infirmities,— for when I am weak, then am I strong. When he was weak in Body, he was strong in Grace. But more particularly, God sends sickness to try and exercise these following Graces.

1. Faith and Hope, (I put them both toge­ther, for they are nigh of kin).

The Apostle speaks of God's suffering his People to be in heaviness through manifold temp­tations, that is afflictions, for the tryal of their Faith, as you may see 1 Pet. 1.6, 7. Job's Faith was seen and set awork under his suffer­ings. Job 13.15. Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him. It is Faith indeed to trust in that God that seems to frown. So hope is seen and set awork in a tempest. It is compared [Page 19] to an Anchor, Heb. 6.19. whose use is best seen in a storm.

2. Patience.

In times of affliction there is matter for pati­ence as well as faith to be exercised about, Rev. 13.10. so 2 Thess. 1.4. The Apostle saith, Tribulation worketh Patience, Rom. 5.3. He means, It occasions the exercise of Patience. James 5.11. Ye have heard of the Patience of Job, saith Saint James: Ye had not heard so much of his Patience, had it not been for his sickness, and such like afflictions which God exercised him with. Sickness is the School of Patience.

3. Love to God.

Jer. 2.2. I remember thee, (saith the Lord) the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espou­sals, when thou wentest after me in the Wilder­ness, in a Land that was not sown. It is love and kindness indeed to follow God in a Wilder­ness of temptations and tryals: to love him even when we groan under sad Distempers, and can feel nothing (as it were) but signs of his dis­pleasure. The World is apt to think that Be­lievers love God only for what they gain by his service, as though their love to God was purely mercinary; as the Devil said, Doth Job fear God for nought, &c. Job 1.9, 10, 11. so Job 2.4, 5. The Devil said, Skin for Skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life: but put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. God, as you read afterwards, suffered the Devil sore­ly to afflict Job, vers. 6, 7, 8. Yea, Job's [Page 20] Wife took the Devils part, as you see vers. 9. The Devil handed over a temptation to him by his Wife, hoping thereby to prevail with Job as he did by the Wife prevail with Adam, Gen. 3.6. But the Devil could not, nor Job's Wife (that crooked Rib, that cross piece) to help him, cause that good Man to curse his God: See how sharply he rebukes her for her folly, vers. 10. Thou speakest as one of the foolish Women speak­eth: What, shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this or hitherto did not Job sin with his lips. And though we read afterwards of his cursing the day of his birth, Chap. 3. and of other rash speeches proceeding from him, Chap. 6. and elsewhere: Yet his resolution was, Not to let go his integrity so long as he lived, Job 27.5, 6. Here was a full proof of the sincerity of his love to God, and strength of his Christian courage: For if thou faint in the day of adversity, thy strength is small, Prov. 24.10.

4. And lastly, Prayer.

Sickness sets Prayer awork like trouble, Psal. 18.4, 5, 6. Psal. 88. per totum. Psal. 116.3, 4. so Isa. 26.16. Lord, (saith the Prophet) in trouble have they visited thee: they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them. When God visits his People with sickness, or some such like affliction, then especially they visit him with prayers. Prayers which before did but, as it were, drop out, now and then a prayer, are in time of trouble frequently and fervently put up unto God. Christ in his agony prayed more earnestly, Luk. 22.44.

Thus when the outward man is ready to perish or decay, through sickness or some such like af­fliction, then the inward Man is renewed, i. e. gathereth strength (Isa. 40.31.) by daily pressures, 2 Cor. 4.16. As theDepressa resurgit, Ps 92.12. Palm-tree the more it is drepressed, the more it flourisheth. As Jacob said to Laban, Gen. 30.30. It was but little which thou hadst before I came: but it is now encreased to a multitude: And the Lord hath blessed thee since my coming. So may sick­ness say to many a child of God, It was but lit­tle (in comparison) which thou hadst before my coming, but little Faith, Patience, Love to God, Devotion, &c. but now it is much en­creased. Divine Graces, like Torches in a dark night, shine brightest 'midst manifold afflicti­ons.

Let us now come to Use and Application, which through Gods blessing may be most profi­table.

Ʋse 1 1. This consideration should be a Cordial to comfort us in sickness.

It should make thee and me patient under sickness, when God is pleased to send it: No­thing befals us, but what befals God's dearest Servants. David, Job, Hezekiah, Paul, Epa­phroditus, and others, (as you have heard) even the bravest-spirited, the wisest, the holiest have been sorely visited with sickness. There is no temptation (i. e. affliction) hath taken you but what is humane, (so the word is, [...]) or, as it is rendred, common to Man, 1 Cor. [Page 22] 10.13. Yea, to the best of men, and being thus ordinary, it may be the better endured.

Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris.

So then, as the Author to the Hebrews speaks, Seeing we are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses; I add, with so many exam­ples of good men in sickness, — Let us run with patience, Heb. 12.1. As Phocion said to one that was condemned to the same death with him, Art thou not glad to fare as Phocion doth? So shall not we be glad, or at least be con­tent and patient under sickness, seeing we fare no worse than God's dearest Servants do. Nay, let us cast our eyes abroad, and we shall find many our betters by far in Grace far more af­flicted than our selves be with sickness. Our sickness being neither so violent nor so perma­nent as theirs. Now shall not we be content to sip of that bitter Cup which they drink so deep­ly of? Epaphroditus's sickness, besides the vio­lence thereof, was cloathed with this sad cir­cumstance, that he wasMuscul. in loc. Procul à suis remotus, He was far from home in a strange place: But we at home amongst friends and acquaintance, who are at hand to give friendly visits, and to mini­ster to our necessities.

Ʋse 2 2. This consideration should strike terrour into the hearts of impatient wretches.

If sickness and pain be the condition of Gods dear Servants here, what will be the portion of [Page 23] the wicked hereafter in the day of their visitati­on? If they, who shall be Heirs of Salvation, Heb. 1.14. be in such a sick condition that they know not what to do, which way to turn them for ease; how easeless and painful will their condition one day be, who are Vessels of wrath fitted to destruction? Rom. 9.22. see 1 Pet. 4.17. For the time is come (it may be rendred, [...]. according to the Original, that it is the season) that judgment begin at the House of God; and if it first begin at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the Gospel of God? Now in this life judgments (i. e. chastisements, Psal. 7.11.) befall God's dear Servants for their sin­ful infirmities, who are here called the House of God, (for they are the Temples of the Holy-Ghost, 1 Cor. 3.16.) and if judgment begin at us first, what shall the end of them be that obey not the Gospel? However for the present they live, become old, yea are mighty in power, as Job speaks, Job 21.7. And their Houses are safe from fear, neither is the Rod of God upon them, vers. 9. Yet their end will be sad, vers. 30. The wicked is reserved to the day of destru­ction: They shall be brought forth to the day of wrath. So the Psalmist (whether Asaph or David it is uncertain) stumbled at the prosperi­ty of the wicked, Psal. 73.2, 3. He saw they lived merrily here, and when they died, they died without much pain in their sickness; for, saith he, vers. 4. There are no bonds, that is,See Dr. Hammond in Psalm. 73.4. no pangs in their death, q. d. Their death is not caused by those violent and painful assaults, as other mens frequently are. So vers. 5. They [Page 24] are not in trouble us other men, neither are they plagued like other men. This stumbled him, as you may read afterwards, but at last he re­covers himself, having made his resort to the Sanctuary of God, vers. 17. He learned out of his Word, that God governed all things wisely, and had Judgments in store for them, as you may read vers. 18, 19, 20. God lift them the higher, that their fall might be the greater.

— Tolluntur in altum
Ut lapsu graviore ruant.—

So then though wicked men sleep securely in sin, yet their damnation sleepeth not, 2 Pet. 2.3. When they say, Peace and safety, then sudden de­struction cometh upon them, as travel upon a Wo­man with Child, (which comes suddenly, cer­tainly, and painfully) and they shall not escape, 1 Thes. 5.3. The wicked shall be turned into Hell, Psal. 9.17. Jesus Christ will come up­on these with a vengeance, and they shall be pu­nished with everlasting destruction, as you may read 2 Thess. 1.7, 8, 9. I end this with that of David, Psal. 11.5, 6. The Lord tryeth the Righteous; but the wicked, and him that loveth violence, his soul hateth. Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brimstone, and an hor­rible tempest: this shall be the portion of their Cup. They shall be continually drinking the bitter cup of divine fury: There shall be no Lucida intervalla, no respite, no breathing fits, (as the Righteous have here in their sickness) but [Page 25] their pains shall be continual, without either intermission or mitigation.

Ʋse 3 3. This consideration should keep us from censuring those for the greatest sinners, that are in this kind the greatest suffe­rers.

Indeed we live in a censorious Age. The World judgeth those most wicked, that are most afflicted; we are apt to conclude, that God hates those most whom he visits with most sickness. Thus the Barbarians dealt with Paul, who seeing the venomous Beast hang on his hand, said among themselves, No doubt this Man is a murderer, whom though he hath esca­ped the Sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live, Acts 28.4. Thus David's Enemies, by the sharpness and violence of his Distemper, con­cluded God was become his Enemy,Verbum Belial effusum est in ipso, i. e. puni­tur divi­nitùs ob scelus ali­quod com­missum. Muscul. in locum. Psal. 41.8. Job's three Friends were to blame to accuse Job for an Hypocrite, because God had sorely visited him with sickness; he calls them truly, Forgers of lies, and Physitians of no value, Job 13.4. They forged lies both of God and Job, and like unskilful Physitians, applyed Corrasives instead of Cordials. And elsewhere he calls them, Miserable Comforters, Job 16.2. They came as Comforters, freely offering themselves, he sent not for them, Job 2.11. But they were pitiful ones in that sence, that Job calls them Miserable comforters, for by their censures and bitter speeches, instead of lessening, they did encrease his burthen; instead of easing, they [Page 26] did aggravate his grief. And God himself was highly displeased with Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, in as much as by their perverse dispu­tings, and false reasonings, they had wronged even God himself, Job 42.7, 8, 9. Let us then know that God's dear Children (as Epa­phroditus, a dear Servant of the Lord here did) may lie under great afflictions and dear affecti­ons at the same time.Job 1.8. and 2.3. Job, even now menti­oned, whom God boasts of again and again as a None-such for piety, was smitten ( [...], Job 2.7.) with such an angry burning Boyl as God plagued the Aegyptians with, Exod. 9.9, 10. and after threatned to punish a rebelli­ous people with, Deut. 28.27. If Job had measured God's displeasure by the sadness of his Distemper, he might have concluded indeed that God had hated him and cast him off: but upright Job doubted not of God's favour under his saddest tryals. We read of one Lazarus, the Brother of Mary and Martha, John 11.3. that was in his extream sickness beloved of Christ. And we read of another Lazarus, Luke 16.20. who was poor and pitiful, lying at the rich mans gate full of sores, yet after death carried by Angels into Abrahams Bosom, vers. 22. Let the words of the wise man shut up this, Eccles. 9.1, 2. — No man knoweth either love or hatred by all that is before them: All things come alike to all: there is one event to the righteous and to the wicked, &c.

Ʋse 4 4. Let this consideration keep us from weep­ing immoderately when Godly Friends de­part this life.

They are freed from those sicknesses and pains which here they groaned under. Rev. 14.13. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord, — for they rest from their labours, [...], from pain and pains-taking. The World to them is as Aegypt to the Israelites, a place of pains and sorrow, Exod. 3.7. When they die, God wipes away all tears from their eyes. See Rev. 21.4. There shall be no more death, nei­ther sorrow nor crying; neither shall there be any more pain; for the former things (as sin, sick­ness, &c.) are passed away. If the dead in the Lord could speak, they would say to survi­ving Friends that follow them to the Grave with sorrowful hearts, as Christ did to the Daugh­ters of Jerusalem, that followed him to his cru­cifixion sorrowing, Luk. 23.28. Weep not for me, but weep for your selves and for your chil­dren. Ye are in the Valley of Tears, toss'd upon the Waves of a troublesome World, sub­ject as to sin so to sickness and sorrow: But as for us, we are at the Haven of Eternal-rest. Weep not for us, but weep for your selves and your Children. Indeed did we but seriously consider the manifold miseries that God's dear Servants are subject unto whilst in this World, we would give thanks rather then murmer, when God by death sets them free. The Church in the Funerals of the Dead hath taught [Page 28] us as much: We give thee hearty thanks for that it hath pleased thee to deliver this our Bro­ther (or Sister) out of the miseries of this sin­ful World.

5. and last Ʋse. But fifthly and lastly, (for I hasten); This consideration me-thinks should put Christi­ans upon sympathizing one with another.

This God calls for, Rom. 12.15. 1 Pet. 3.8. see Heb. 13.3. Remember them that are in bonds as bound with them; and them which suffer adversitie, as being your selves also in the Body. In the Body, that is (say some) as Members of the same Body,Rom. 12.5 (for so believers are, Ephes. 5.23, 30. so Col. 1.18.) they are Members of Christ's Mystical and Spiritual Body: And as the Apostle speaks, 1 Cor. 12.25, 26. The Members should have the same care one for ano­ther; and if one Member suffer, all the Mem­bers suffer with it: So then if we take it in this sence, you are members of the same Body, and therefore ought to sympathize one with another. Others there are that by this expression, being your selves also in the body, understand it thus, as being your selves living Creatures, 2 Cor. 12.2.Dr. Ham­mond in Heb. 13.3. Natures Frame not being as yet dissolved, you are in the same frail humane estate, subject to all that befalls any man; and therefore you should be affected towards them, as though you personally shared in their sufferings.

Do not then, Christians, stand as Stoicks or stocks, as unconcerned with others sicknesses and sorrows: Put your selves (as it were) in [Page 29] their condition, and do as you would be done by; be as pitiful to them, as you would have others be to you if you were in their case. You know not how soon sickness may befall you, and so you stand in like need of help. If you stay at home, sickness may steal upon you: if you travel abroad, it may pursue you, as it did Epaphroditus, who being far from home fell sick, and his sickness was grievous, for he was nigh unto death.

Epaphroditus's Recovery. Second Sermon.

PHIL. 2.27.

— but God had mercy on him.—

ON the last Lecture-day I made an entrance upon this Text, and we spoke to Epaphroditus his sickness; I shall this day (God willing) speak of his recovery, which the Text clearly holds forth unto us. In which I observe two parts, which I intend to prosecute as time shall give leave.

  • 1. Epaphroditus's Physician, and that was God.
  • 2. The Cure wrought by him, Had mercy on him.

The Greek word [...], signifies to pity or have mercy upon; sō think it hath dependance upon the Hebrew Name of God, Elohim, be­cause it is the property of God to shew mercy.

Now mercy in God may be thus defined; Misericordia est quâ propensus est Deus ad suc­currendum suis creaturis in aliquâ miseriâ consti­tutis, iisque reipsâ succurrit. Wendelin. It is an attribute or property of God whereby he is inclined to help his creatures in misery, and doth really help them. So that Homo lapsus, Man considered as a sinner and in misery, is the object of it. And asIn Psal. 6.2. Musculus saith, Mise­ricordia Dei est unicum omnium afflictionum refu­gium. The mercy of God is the onely refuge for afflicted persons to have recourse unto.

Epaphroditus, this faithful Servant of the Lord, did much partake of God's mercy, God had been merciful to him with pardoning mer­cy, sanctifying mercy; and, had he died, God had crowned him with saving mercy, he had been freed from Hell, and enstated in everlasting happiness. But the mercy my Text speaks of, is temporal mercy, God delivering him from the great pain and peril he was in by reason of sickness.Estius in locum. Eripiens eum periculo, & sanitati restituens, quod quidem beneficium misericordia vocatur, quatenus est miseriae cujusdam remotio. And Calvin Calvin in locum. saith, (Exprimit morbi gravitatem ut clariús eniteret Dei bonitas in redditâ sanita­te). Paul first mentioned the grievousness of his sickness, that the goodness and mercy of God might more perspicuously appear in his re­covery. (Deus misertus est ejus; i. e. miseri­corditer [Page 32] illum erepit. Misericordiam Dei pro o­pere misericordiae Dei ponit, saith Musculus. Muscul. in locum.) It was mercy then in God to preserve his life, and restore him to health.

Hence I take up this point of Doctrine, which being so clearly implyed, must not be passed by without taking notice of, viz.

Doctr. That Life and Health are Mercies.

David in sickness prayed to God for health; Psal. 6.2. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak. (Muscul. in Ps. 6.2. Ergo sentit miserum esse morbo confici). O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed. (Est itaque sanum esse pars faelicitatis ac pro dono Dei habendum. Muscul.) And Ps. 103.3, 4. we find David there looked upon Gods healing his bodily diseases, and redeem­ing his life from destruction, to be a mercy, as well as pardoning his sin. Job, though sometimes under the raging heat and fury of his Distem­per, cursed the day of his birth, and wished God would cut him off; yet at other times, when he was more himself, he looked upon life as a mercy, see Job 10.12. He there asserts his life to be an act of divine favour, and the pre­serving his Spirit (viz.) from departing out of his body, to be a fruit of divine providence, which he calls a Visitation. Jacob prized his life, as you may gather from Gen. 32.11, &c. fearing his Brother would take revenge on him, (as he threatned to do, Gen. 27.41.) he prayeth to God, and useth lawful policy to save his life. So Mordecai and Esther tender'd [Page 33] their lives, and the lives of the Jews, Esther 4.13, 14. & 7.3. Hezekiah wept sore, when the Sentence went forth that he should die and not live, Isa. 38.1, 2, 3. And David cryed out, Psal. 102.24. O my God, Musculus in Psal. 102.24. take me not a­way in the midst of my dayes. [Naturale est & agnatum omnibus, ut dierum suorum plenitudi­nem consequi cupiant, ideòque agrè in medio vitae cursu migrent ex hoc saeculo. Muscul.] The Devil spake truly in that, (lyars sometimes may speak truth) Job 2.4. Skin for Skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. Men will part with Money, Cattels, Land, Liberty, and what not, to preserve life, as they did Gen. 47. Yea men will part with some mem­bers to preserve life.

— Immedicabile vulnus
Ense recidendum est nè pars sincera trahatur.

I end this with that of the wise man, Eccles. 11.7. Truly the light is sweet, and a pleasant thing it is for the eyes to behold the Sun.

But some may object and say,

Object. 1 If God send sickness for good ends to his People, as for the preventing and purging out of sin, and for the tryal and exercise of Christian Graces, surely it was no mercy in God to deliver this good man Epaphroditus from it.

Answ. Sickness in it self is a fruit of sin, and so a judgement and curse; it is a blessing [Page 34] onely to such as have a sanctified use of it. It was sanctified indeed to Epaphroditus, and so wrought for his good, as Physick for the good of the Patient, Heb. 12.10. but as it brought pain, it was grievous, and so his deliverance therefrom may be truly called a mercy,Estius in Phil. 2.27. Quate­nus est miseriae remotio; as it removed his pain, and rendered him more serviceable to the Church.

Object. 2 But how can Epaphroditus's Re­covery here be called a Mercy, when Death is far better than Life to Gods Children; which made the Apostle himself in the former Chapter, Phil. 1.23. desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, which (saith he) is far better? [...]; Multo magis melius; which may be thus rendred in English; More better by much. Had it not been far better for him to have been at the Haven of Rest, than to be, as it were, by a cross wind kept back and tost upon the Waves of a troublesome World? Is not this World like a round Ball stuck full of Pins, so that upon what part soever the Godly are cast, they meet with trouble and misery? According to that of our Saviour, John 16.33. In the World ye shall have tribulation: So that to have his life prolonged, what was it but a prolongation of his misery, and an adjournment of his happiness? Tiberius Caesar said to one that requested death rather than long imprisonment, Sueton. Nondum tecum redii in gratiam, he told him, He had not such a favour for him. The like favour God here [Page 35] denies for the present to Epaphroditus; and can this be truly call'd a Mercy?

Answ. It cannot be denied, but death is bet­ter than life to the Godly, and rather to be cho­sen; for it frees from sin, sickness, Satans temp­tations, &c. Yea, it brings them to the happy vision and fruition of God, to the society of blessed Saints and Angels, and puts them into possession of everlasting happiness.Calvin in Phil. 2.27. (Longum esset enumerare omnia quae faciunt, ut mors fide­libus potior sit vitâ & optabilior). Yet for all this, as that learned Author saith, (Vita per se aestimata est praeclarum Dei beneficium, praeser­tum qui Christo vivunt, iis vitam lucro esse di­cimus); Life considered in it self is a choice mercy of God, and advantagious to the God­ly: And to glorifie God in this bodily life, is, Non parva dignatio, no little savour which God vouchsafeth to us; so Calvin. And Musculus Muscul. in Phil. 2.27. saith, (Mors ipsa quatenus est peccati stipendi­um & horribilis naturae in seipsâ, considerata capax est misericordiae tàm coràm Deo quàm co­ràm hominibus); Death as it is the wages of sin, and terrible to nature, is capable of mercy both before God and Man. Besides, as the same Au­thor observes, there were several circumstances which would have rendered his death in a sort miserable, and no doubt did then trouble his mind, (Desolatio videlicet & perturbatio Eccle­siae) as the too much dejection of his people at the sad news of his death, and the desolation that might follow upon it, and withal, the con­sideration that he could be no longer serviceable [Page 36] to them, and to the Apostle in his bonds which he much desired. Besides we may farther add, that the continuance of a good mans life is a great blessing in this respect, that the longer he lives, the more good he doth, and so his re­ward will be the greater; 2 Cor. 9.6. He that soweth bountifully, shall reap bountifully. There are degrees of glory, as may be gathered from 1 Cor. 15.41, 42.1 Cor. 3.8. Secundum non prop­ter opera. The most gracious here, shall be most glorious hereafter. Those that do most for God here, shall receive most from God hereafter. So that had Epaphroditus died, he had had his reward the sooner; but living, he makes it the greater. For those of the longest standing, and greatest proficiency in the School of Grace here, shall take the greatest degrees of Glory hereafter.

I end this with the words of that truly pious and learnedDoctor Hammond in Phil. 1.22. Divine, Life in it self, and for the advantages of serving God, and encreasing our Crown, is a desirable thing.

Use and Application.

Ʋse 1 1. This may serve to confute or reprove the Manichees, or any others that hold this present life in it self is evil.

Heming. in Phil. 1.17. Manichei hanc praesentem vitam ut malum per se damnarunt. Heming. Surely God would never have made prolongation of life a motive to obedience, (as you find Deut. 6.2. & 30.16, &c. so Prov. 3.16. & 4.10, 22. & 9.10, 11. [Page 37] and elsewhere) nor would the Apostle here have reckoned Epaphroditus's recovery amongst the mercies of God, if this present life had been evil. This is such a mercy we ought to bless God for: Psal. 66.8, 9. O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard, who hol­deth our soul in life. Muscul. in Psal. 103.3, 4.(Nè umbrâ quidem cor­poris nedum vivo ac sano corpore dignus est, &c.) He is not worthy of the shadow and shape of a body, much less of a living and healthful body, that doth not look upon life and health as mercies.

Ʋse 2 2. This consideration should make us patient under afflictions that befal us.

So long as we have life and health, we have no cause to complain as though God dealt hard­ly with us. We read, Gen. 19. that Lot had most of his Goods (which he had not time to remove) and his Sons in Law consumed in a fearful fire from Heaven, and his Wife turned into a Pillar of Salt before his eyes, (a sad spe­ctacle); yet he counted it a mercy (amidst ma­nifold miseries) that God had spared his life. Vers. 19. Behold, now thy Servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast magnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life. — It is a mercy thou hast thy health, but if this be gone after loss of Goods and Chil­dren, as in Job's case, yet it is a mercy thy life is spared, that thou art on this side the Grave, and a sad eternity; Lam. 3.22, 23. It is of the Lords mercies that we are not consumed, because [Page 38] his compassions fail not: they are new every mor­ning: great is thy faithfulness. Therefore as he adds, vers. 39. Wherefore doth a living man complain? A living man hath cause to be thank­ful, but none to murmur, life and health being the choicest of outward mercies.

3. and last Ʋse.3. And lastly, Let us not, if life and health be such choice mercies, provoke God to deprive us of them.

Sin (as I told you before) is the procuring cause of sickness, yea, and of death too, Rom. 5.12. so Rom. 6.23. Death both Temporal and Eternal, is as due to sin, as wages to him that earns them. Temporal Death, 'tis true, sooner or later will seize on us all; yet many by sinning impair their health, and shorten their dayes, as these places shew, Job 15.32. Psal. 94.23. Prov. 10.27. Eccles. 7.17.

But more particularly I shall name several sins, some of which, in their own nature, tend to impairing of health, and shortening a mans dayes; and others of them God hath threat­ned with destruction: I pray you observe them, and learn to avoid them, as you love prolonga­tion of health and life.

1. Disobedience to Superiours.

See Exod. 20.12. This fiffh Commandement of honouring thy Father and Mother, is said to be the first Commandement with promise, Ephes. 6.2. It is the first Commandement [Page 39] that hath this special promise annexed to it, viz. Prolongation of dayes. By Father and Mother, we understand Political, Ecclesiastical, and Na­tural Parents. Take heed then of an irreverent and disobedient carriage towards the King, and those that are in authority under him. You read, Numb. 16. of the rebellion of Corah, and how the Earth opened her mouth and swal­lowed him up and his Company, vers. 32, 33. So rebellious Absalom came to an untimely death; and David was much moved with grief in that he died in rebellion, 2 Sam. 18.9, 33, compared. See Prov. 16.14. The wrath of a King is as Messengers of Death; but a wise man will pacifie it: and it follows, vers. 15. In the light of the Kings countenance is life. Be not disobedient and irreverent in your carriage to­wards Ministers which are your Spiritual Pa­rens. You may read, 2 King. 2.23, 24. Two She Bears destroyed forty two Children for mocking the Prophet. Though Children, yet God would not bear it in them. Possibly (as some think, because there were so many ga­thered together) they were set on by their Idolatrous Parents to do what they did, and therefore God justly punished them with the loss of their Children. Lastly, Be not disobedient to Natural Parents. God may justly deprive them of natural life, that are without natural affection. Prov. 30.17.Prov. 20.20. Mar. 7.20. The eye that mocketh at his Father, and despis­eth to obey his Mother, the Ravens of the Val­ley shall pick it out, and the young Eagles shall eat it. Homer, though commonly reported to [Page 40] be blind, yet saw and observed as much: for speaking of one that did not relieve his Parents, he tells us, he lived but a short time.

[...],
[...]
[...]. — Iliad. Δ.

Take heed then of disobedience to Magistrates, Ministers, or Natural Parents, as you love your lives.

2. Take heed of lustful uncleanness.

Sodom and Gomorrha, and the Cities about them, burnt strongly in lust, Jude 7. and God sent a strange fire to destroy them from off the face of the Earth, Gen. 19.24, 25. So God cut off Onan for his filthiness, Gen. 38.9, 10. So 1 Cor. 10.8. you read how that for un­cleanness there fell in one day three and twenty thousand.Plin. Nat. Hist. lib. 7. c. 53. Pliny tells us of Cornelius Gallus, and T. Aetherius, two great persons in Rome, that died in the act of unchastity. The Dog-dayes of lust are very dangerous. Indeed this sin consumes the radical moisture, and so in its own nature tends to weakness and sickness, and the shortening of a mans dayes. The wise Man tells you, The Harlots house enclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead, Prov. 2.18. so likewise Prov. 5.9, 11. & Prov. 6.26, 33, 34, 35. & Prov. 7.22, 23. & Prov. 31.3. Solomons Mother there adviseth him not to give his strength unto Women.

3. Take heed of intemperance in eating and drinking.

This is as a Knife to cut our own Throats; see Prov. 23.1, 2. When thou sittest to eat with a Ruler, (a Magistrate, or some great Man) con­sider diligently what is before thee; and put a Knife to thy Throat, if thou be a man given to appetite. Some read it, impones cultellum gut­turi tuo: and then the sence is this, thou dost as good as put a Knife to thy Throat, if thou be a man given to appetite, thou mayest endan­ger thy life if thou feedest too plentifully. So vers. 29, 30. Who hath wo? who hath sorrow? who hath wounds without cause? who hath redness of eyes? They that tarry long at the Wine. — Our own luxuries (as one saith) fill us full of Diseases, which shorten this our short day of life, and set our Clock forward, that it striketh dead before the time of our natural circle is gone a­bout. Deinde cogitemus, saith Musculus,Musculus in Ps. 6.2. quae sit illorum vaesania, qui per gulam & intempe­rantiam seipsos don [...] sanitatis privant, & va­riis morbis obnoxios reddunt. We may say of fasting and feasting, as the Wom [...]n sang of Saul and David, Sam. 18.7. Saul hath slain his thousands, and David his ten thousands: feasting kills more ten to one than fasting. Poor people who have the shortest meals, have com­monly the longest graces, and the best health. The Glutton digs his Grave with his own teeth; the Drunkard drinks healths so long to others, that he hath none to himself; [Page 42]Non est in potâ vera salute salus.’ And it is but just with God to strike him dead, that makes himself dead drunk. Take heed then of this sin, it is good advice at all times, but most seasonable at this time, which is a time of much feasting.

[...]. Pythag. Aurea Carmina.

We ought (saith an Heathen) to have a care of our bodily health, and to observe a mean in drinking, dyet, and recreation.

4. Take heed of immoderate sorrow.

This like an heavy burthen breaks a man, and makes him stoop. Prov. 12.25. Heaviness in the heart of man makes it stoop. So Prov. 15.13. A merry heart makes a chearful counte­nance; but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. David tells us, Psal. 31.10. My life is spent with grief, and my years with sigh­ing. And the Apostle saith, 2 Cor. 7.10. The sorrow of the World worketh death. Immode­rate sorrow for loss of worldly things, weakens the body, and hasteneth death.

5. Take heed of impatience, passion, and discontent.

The murmurring Israelites were destroyed of the destroyer. 1 Cor. 10.10. An impatient man is, [...], his own scourge. We say truly, the hasty man never wants wo. Pet­tish, fretful, passionate persons, like the Demo­niack in the Gospel, Mar. 5.2, 3. wound and cut themselves. Wrath is compared to fire in Scripture, Gen. 39.19, 20. Esth. 1.12.

— Est intus flamma medullas.

This fire of passion devours and consumes that which should maintain natural life. The passi­onate man, like Mount Aetna, consumes his own bowels with inward burnings. Thus as Eliphas tells Job, Job 5.2. Wrath killeth the foolish man. Vexing and fretting under pro­vidential dispensations, spends a mans spirits, and puts him upon taking such unlawful courses as are oft-times attended with destruction. Prov. 19.19. A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment; for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again. q. d. A passionate man is no sooner delivered from one danger, but he brings himself into another.

6. Take heed of Envy.

Job 5.2. Envy slayeth the silly one. If a man be so silly as to hug this Viper in his bosom, [Page 44] he doth it to his destruction. Envy, like a Moth, doth insensibly consume a man, depri­ving him of health, and the comforts of this life. Hence the wise Man calls envy the rotten­ness of the bones, Prov. 14.30. The envious man melts away at the prosperity of others, as you may see Psal. 112.10.

Invidus alterius rebus macrescit opimis.

The Dart of Envy is (as a worthy Divine ob­serves) like that in Homer. Dr. Pierce in Sinner implead­ed.

[...]
[...]. Iliad. γ. v. 348.
Reflexa est ei cuspis
Scuto in valido.—

It alway recoyls into the breast of him that shot it, and mischieves most at rebound.

7. Take heed of pride and ambition.

Prov. 16.28. Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall. Aspiring Ab­salom soon expired; so did ambitious Adonijah. Proud Haman had a sudden downfal, like the Toad in the Fable, he swell'd till he burst. He­rod when he took that glory to himself which was due to God, he was [...], eaten up of Worms, Acts 12.23.

8. Take heed of blood-shed and murder.

See Psalm. 55.23. Bloody and deceitful men, i. e. say some, deceitful murderers (that lie in wait privily for blood, see Prov. 1.10, to 20.) that can speak fair and seek your ruine, these shall not live out half their dayes, they shall be suddenly cut off and come to some fearful end: But whether blood-suckers do it by secret con­spiracy, or by open violence, God hath threat­ned them with death. So Psal. 140.11. Evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrow him. So Gen. 9.6. Whoso sheddeth mans blood, by man shall his blood be shed. The Sword of Justice is especially committed to the hand of Magistrates to cut off such offenders, Rom. 13.4. To this Head I may refer your Duellists, who for tri­fles challenge the field. If you be assaulted, you may justly defend your self, but to agree upon a bargain of blood-shed, (to use Bishop Hall'sBp. Hall in Decad. 2. case 2. expression) is wicked and damnable: And though both should come fairly off, yet the very intention to kill, is murder, saith that wor­thy Bishop. To end this, Prov. 28.17. A man that doth violence to the blood of any man, shall flee to the Pit, let no man stay him, or en­deavour his rescue.

9. Take heed of decit and fraud.

See that forementioned place, Prov. 55.23. I think we may safely make them two distinct Offenders; and deceitful men, as well as the [Page 46] blood-thirsty, shall not long prosper. The same Greek word [...] that signifies life, signifies likewise livelyhood, (1 John 3.17.) and it is a grievous sin to cheat another out of his lively­hood, as well as to take away anothers life: 1 Thess. 4.6. That no man go beyond and de­fraud his Brother in any matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such; as we also have forewarned you, and testified. But the worst piece of theft or fraud, is that Pia fraus, to take away, or alienate that which is given to pious uses; as to the relief of Ministers or poor Peo­ple;Mal. 3.8, 9. Prov. 20.25. It is a snare, i. e. destru­ction to the man who devoureth that which is ho­ly, i. e. Takes that to his own use, which was appointed to God's. Achans sin in stealing the Babylonish Garment, and the two hundred Shekels of Silver, and the Wedg of Gold, (Josh. 7.21.) was sacriledge as well as theft; for God had reserved the spoyls of Jericho for his own Treasury, Josh. 6.18, 19. and you see it cost him his life, Josh. 7.25. You read, Acts 5. beginning, Ananias there sells a Posses­sion, which he had devouted to the Churches use, and kept back a part of the price; and in this, as Chrysostome Chrysost. in Acts. Hom. 12. saith, he was [...], taken stealing his own Goods; and for this struck dead. Now if he that takes away from the Church but a little of that which was once his own, be so severely punished, how severely will divine Justice pursue those who by fraud and violence take away the posses­sions wherewith other men have endowed the Church: So Sapphira his Wife agreeing with [Page 47] him in this ungodly act, was struck dead im­mediately after her Husband, as you read vers. 10. These two, by their lying and fraudulent dealing, are said to tempt the Spirit of the Lord, vers. 9. You fraudulent Trades-men, that say your Commodities cost you so much, and you cannot afford them under such a rate, (and you have your Wives at your elbows rea­dy to back you in what you say) what do you by thus lying and sinning against your Con­sciences, but even presumptuously tempt the Spi­rit of the Lord, to try whether he will be just or no? Remember Ananias and Sapphira, ha­ving lyed to God, and dealt fraudulently, sunk down, being stark dead. Deal fairly then above-board (as we say) lest God strike you dead beside the Counter.

10. Take heed of covetousness or worldly-mindedness.

Great and earnest care for the things of this life, is called [...], which signifies heart-dividing, and heart-distracting care, (Matth. 6.25. Phil. 4.6.) excessive care for the things of this life, spends a mans spirits.

Cura facit canos, quamvis homo non habet annos.

See 1 Tim. 6.9, 10. The wise Man tells us, He that hateth covetousness, shall prolong his dayes, Prov. 28.16. but covetousness may pro­voke God to shorten them. Gehezi by his covetousness provoked God to plague him with [Page 48] the Leprosie, 2 King. 5.27. Take heed then, as Christ saith, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged, as with surfetting and drunken­ness, so with the cares of this life, Luk. 21.34.

Deluculò surgere saluberri­mum est.11. Take heed of Idleness.

Labour in an honest Calling, provided it be moderate, (Ad ruborem non ad sudorem) is most healthful. Prov. 10.16. The labour of the Righteous tends to life. Moderate exercise preserves health, but a sedentary idle life, sub­jects a man to diseases. Prov. 21.25. The de­sire of the sloathful kills him, for his hands re­fuse to labour. Otium est vivi ho­minis se­pultura. Sen. That which the slothful man desires, which is his ease and rest, layes his soul open to temptations, and his body to dis­eases; as standing Waters most putrifie. [...]. Chrysost. Of idleness comes no goodness, therefore take heed of it.

12. Take heed of unworthy receiving the Sacrament.

See 1 Cor. 11.29. For this cause, viz. for want of due preparation when they came to the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, God sent a fearful sickness amongst them, whereof some were then weak, others sick, and many fallen asleep, that is, taken away by temporal death. This Sacrament, (which to the worthy commu­nicant is [...], a wholesome potion of immortality) to the wicked impeni­tent wretch (through an ill disposition in him) [Page 49] turns to the bane and ruine (except speedy re­pentance step in) both of soul and body. I gave you notice this morning, that your Minister purposeth the next Lord's Day, through God's assistance, to administer the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper; be exhorted to fit and prepare your selves,See Ex­hortation at the Ce­lebration of the Commu­nion. else by receiaing the same unworthi­ly, you become guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ your Saviour. You eat and drink your own damnation, not considering the Lords Body: You kindle Gods wrath against you; you provoke him to plague you with divers Diseases, and sun­dry kinds of death.

13. Take heed of rejoycing at the calamity of others.

Prov. 17.5. He that mocketh the poor, re­proacheth his Maker; and he that is glad at ca­lamities, shall not go unpunished. So Prov. 24.17, 18. Rejoyce not when thine Enemy falleth; and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth, lest the Lord see it, and it displease him, Job 31.29. and he turn away his wrath from him, and lay it upon thee. See Obad. 12.13, 14, 15. God there threatneth the Edomites for rejoycing at the ca­lamity that befel the Israelites. This sin call'd [...], was condemned by the Heathens. It is most opposite to the rule of charity, which rejoyceth not in iniquity, 1 Cor. 13.6. It maketh not others evil, be it of sin or suffering, matter of rejoycing.

14. Take heed of innovating in God's Worship.

Nadab and Abihu for offering strange fire, by fire from the Lord, as with lightning, were destroyed, as you may read Levit. 10.1, 2.

15. Take heed of invading the Ministers Office without a Call.

See Numb. 16.35. You read there of two hundred and fifty men that offered Incense, usurping the Priests Office, were punished by fire, wherein they offended. So Ʋzziahs rash adventure to do the like, was punished with the Leprosie, as you read 2 Chron. 26.16, &c.

16. Lastly, Take heed of sins of the tongue, as Lying, Swearing, Forswearing, Cursing, False-accusing, Backbiting, Brawling, Blasphemy, &c.

See Prov. 17.20. He that hath a perverse tongue, falleth into mischief. And Prov. 13.3. He that keepeth his mouth, keepeth his life; but he that openeth wide his lips, shall have destructi­on. So Prov. 18.21. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they that love it, shall eat the fruit thereof. The Psalmists words shall shut up this Point; Psal. 34.12, 13, 14. What man is he that desireth life, and loveth many dayes, that he may see good? Keep thy [Page 51] tongue from evil, and thy lips from speaking guile. Depart from evil, and do good: seek peace and ensue it.

I might add to these sins which endanger health and life, bold and audacious attempts, as leaping Hedges, swimming Waters, &c. when there is no necessity for either. This is called properly a tempting of God, when men, without any warrant from God's Word, make tryal of his Wisdom, Power, and Goodness, which is expresly forbidden, Deut. 6.16. Ye shall not tempt the Lord your God, as ye tempted him in Massah: whereof you read, Exod. 17.2. where they are said to tempt God by requi­ring a miraculus evidence of his presence among them. Our Saviour did beat back the Devil with this Text out of Deuteronomy, when he would have had him to cast down himself from theDoctor Hammond Annot. on Mat. 4.5. Pinacle, i. e. out-wing or battlement of the Temple, Mat. 4.7. If Christ had cast himself down into a needless danger, God might have justly left him to destruction, with­out breach of his Promise. God indeed hath promised to keep us, but it must be in all our wayes; Psal. 91.11. (which necessary part of the Sentence the Devil left out, Mat. 4.6.) God hath promised to keep us in all our wayes, or warrantable courses, but not in our wan­derings. The Israelites fell in the Wilderness when they tempted God, 1 Cor. 10.9.

Object. But some may say, Are not they [Page 52] that tempt God delivered? Mal. 3.15. Do not we daily see many wicked men that are diso­bedient to Superiours, drunkards, lustful, im­patient, envious, ambitious, &c. live, become old, and are mighty in power; yea, and the Rod of God is not upon them? Job 21.7, 9. Did not the Psalmist see, such were not in trou­ble like other men, nor plagued like other men, that made conscience of their wayes? Psal. 73.5.

Answ. Indeed it may so fall out, that a wicked man may prolong his life in his wickedness, Eccles. 7.15. God may bear long with some such notorious offenders, to shew his own pati­ence and long suffering, to exercise the faith and patience of his Servants. To teach that there is a day of judgment, wherein he hath appointed to judge the World in Righteousness, Acts 17.31. God may bear with them to leave them inexcusable, that they may fill up the measure of their sins, and for their greater damnation at last, Rom. 9.22. For these and other reasons best known unto himself, he may suffer some wicked men to live and prosper: But let not us let loose the reyns to sin, and make the impuni­ty of some few an encouragement to wickedness. It is folly and madness to be careless, because some few have escaped shipwrack. Certainly, as the Apostle saith, after he had told us of seve­ral punishments befalling several Offenders for several sins, 1 Cor. 10.11. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples, and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends [Page 53] of the World are come. And as an Heathen Author said.

Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum.

Happy is he whom other mens harms do make to beware.

Well then, life being so great a mercy, let us avoid all such sins as may be a means to shor­ten it; and let us use all lawful means to pre­serve it, as Food and Physick which God hath appointed. Let us not, through discourage­ment of Spirit because of deadly dangers which we meet with in our Christian Callings,Numb. 10.14, 15. as wea­ry of life, wish for death, which was an infir­mity in that good Man Elijah, 1 King. 19.4. Much less ought we through discontent (as Jo­nah did, Jonah 4.3, 8.) wish for death. But most prodigiously to blame are they that lay violent hands upon themselves. Man's breath (saith a worthy Bishop) is put into his body as a Tenant at Will into an house, Dr. Abbot on Jonah 4.3, 4. Lect. 26. p. 543. whereinto it may not enter without the good will of the Land-lord; and being once in, it must keep there and hold the building upright, till it have its discharge to re­move somewhere else.

Yet after all this that I have spoken concer­ning the care you should have to maintain health and preserve life: Give me leave to put in a Caveat or cautionary Proposition to prevent a mistake: And it is this,Caution. That you ought to ha­zard health and life for the Churches sake, and [Page 54] for Christs sake, (to witness to his Truth) if called to it. 1 John 3.16. — We ought to lay down our lives for the Brethren. St. Paul was willing to spend and be spent, 2 Cor. 12.15. for the propogation of the Gospel, and good of God's Church and People; see Acts 20.24. and 21.13. Truth hath been sealed with the blood of many Martyrs. An Heathen set such a price on Truth, that he thought it worth our lives.

— Vitamque impendere vero
Nec propter vitam, vivendi perdere causam.

What saith the Apostle of Epaphroditus, see Phil. 2.30. For the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding his life to supply your lack of service towards me. Epaphroditus un­dertook a great Journey to minister to Pauls ne­cessity, which is here called the Work of Christ; (for what is done to his Members, he takes it as done to himself, Mat. 25.40.). This Jour­ney occasioned his sickness; but Epaphroditus did not regard his life to supply the Philippians lack of service towards Paul. Heming. in Phil. 2.30. [...]. ( [...] significat perperam consulere, uti faciunt qui se in apertum vitae peri­culum conjiciunt.) Epaphroditus was willing to hazard health and life to supply St. Pauls wants. And as Hemingius saith, (Hoc facere in loco pro Christo non est stultitiae aut imprudentiae sed verè coelestis sapientiae, &c.) Thus to hazard life is not folly, but true wisdom. And as Mus­culus [Page 55] saith of Epaphroditus's sickness,Muscul. in Phil. 2.27. (Id omni­um erat optimum quòd in tàm pio & verè Chri­stiano opere incidit in hanc morbum: beati sunt qui hoc mortis genere auferuntur ex hoc saeculo.) It was best of all that he fell sick in so good a work: and happy are all they that die thus in the Work of the Lord, Rev. 14.13.

I end this point with that of our Saviour, John 12.25. He that loveth his ( [...]. Chrysost. Hom. 66. Luk. 14.26 more then is fitting, more then Christ, his Church, or Truth) shall lose it, (in another World); but he that hateth his life in this World, loving it less (for that's the hatred here meant, Gen. 29.31.) then the Truth and Church of Christ, shall keep it unto life eternal.

So much for this time.

Epaphroditus's Recovery. Third Sermon.

PHIL: 2.27.

— but God had mercy on him. —

Dearly Beloved,

I Handled in the morning a Do­ctrine implyed, which was this, That life and health are mercies: And in handling that Point, as a Divine; (though Theologorū minimus) I shewed you Viam rectam ad vitam longam, the true way to health and long life according to the Scriptures. I shall not trouble you with repetition of what I then de­livered, because I have much matter before me, and I would willingly finish this Text at this time.

I come then to the last and chief Point these words import, which is this, ‘That God doth sometimes graciously recover, or mercifully restore his People, though they be grievously visited with sickness.’

That God that knockt off Peters Chains, and released him from Prison, brought forth this E­paphroditus, who like a Prisoner was confined to a sick Bed, with few Attendants about him. That God that ruleth the raging of the Sea, Job 38.11. and stilleth the Waves thereof when they arise, as it is Psal. 89.9. put a stop in his due time to the fury of his Distemper. We read of Dr. Willet, that [...], that in his Journey from London, he was forced to take up his lodging at Hodsdon in Hertfordshire, having by a fall from his Horse, broken his right Leg; there being sick, he continued God's Prisoner about nine dayes together, and died. It plea­sed God, (as myAbel Re­diviv [...] in life of Dr. Willet. Author speaks) who hath appointed to every man [...], his own proper and peculi­ar kind of death, and without whose provi­dence not a Leaf falls from the Tree, so to dis­pose of this Godly mans death, that as a Pil­grim here on earth, he must die in an Inn: He was carried thence by Coach to his Town of Barley, where he was Preacher, and there buried: He fell sick not far from home, yet recovered not to go alive thither. But Epaphroditus, who fell sick at Rome above six hundred miles from Phi­lippi, through God's mercy was restored to [Page 58] health, and returned to his People, who were not a little comforted at the sight of him.

Now that God doth sometimes deliver his, when nigh unto death, is clear; 1. From Scripture Texts; see 1 Sam. 2, 6. so Deut. 32.39. so Job 5.18, 19. Eliphaz speaking of God, saith, He maketh sore, and bindeth up; he woundeth, and his hands make whole. He shall deliver thee in six troubles; yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee. So saith David, Psalm 34.19. Many are the afflictions of the Righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all. So Psal. 68.20. He that is our God, is the God of Salvation; [...] Ad salutes Bythner. according to the Ori­ginal it is Salvations, in the plural Number, because he delivers several wayes, and at several times, and is the God of all manner of Salvati­on, Temporal, Spiritual, and Eternal; and then it follows, [...] Exitus, i e Domini est educere a morte. Bythner. in locum. Unto God the Lord belong the issues from death: in most deadly dangers he oft-times sends in help. 2. The Point is clear by Scripture-Examples. God recovered Heze­kiah who was deadly sick, 1 King. 20.1.5. So he did Job, yea and David oft, insomuch that he describes God by this Periphrasis, Psal. 9.13. Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death: That is, from the power of death. (E portis mortis, i. e. è potestate mortis, sumi­ter enim porta in Scripturis pro magistratu & po­testate, quòd in portis solerent exerceri judicia. Muscul.Muscul. in Psul. 9.13. in loc.). So Psal. 116.6. I was brought low and he helped me. So God delivered Paul from deadly dangers, as you may gather from [Page 59] 2 Cor. 1.8, 9, 10. Thus it was with Epaphro­ditus in my Text, who being sick, nigh unto death, the Lord had mercy on him. (Significat quod attinebat naturae vires actum fuisse de vitâ illius, ideóque quòd sanitatè restitutus erat, sin­gulari fuisse ope ac virtute Dei factum. Muscul.Muscul. in Phil 2.27. Ʋbi hu­manum deficit ibi incipit di­vinum auxiliums) Many thousands in this Nation, who have been sick even unto death, both in the apprehension of themselves and others, have been raised up again by God, as so many Acts and Monuments of his mercy.

I therefore cease any farther proof of this known Point, and shall proceed to give you the reasons of it. And here, for your profit, I will take the Proposition into two parts, and accordingly to each give in the Reasons of the Point, and then I shall put them together a­gain, and make application of the whole.

The first part is this, God is the Deliverer of his People: And the chief Reasons why he doth deliver them, I conceive to be these three.

1. Because he is related to them, and they to him.

He is their Husband, Head, King, Master, Father, &c. and they are his peculiar People, his Spouse, Members, Subjects, Servants, Chil­dren, and what not, that speak; th [...]m a Peo­ple near and dear unto him. Surely then, as Samuel said, 1 Sam. 12.22. The Lord will not forsake his People for his great Names [Page 60] sake; because it hath pleased the Lord to make you his People.

2. Because of his Promises of deliverance which he hath made to them.

See Psal. 41.3. Psal. 50.15. Isa. 41.10. 1 Cor. 10.13. These are precious Promises, 2 Pet. 1.4. which God hath given to his Peo­ple, and in Christ they are yea and Amen, 2 Cor. 1.20. that is, They are certain things, and shall be effected in his due time; if God see that the accomplishment of them make for his Glory and his Peoples good. Psalm. 84.11. For he is faithful that hath promised, Heb. 10.23.

3. And lastly, Because he would have his People delivered to praise him.

See Psal. 50.15. Call upon me (saith God) in the day of trouble, and I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorifie me. God delivers them that they might glorifie him with their lips and with their lives. Of which you shall hear more hereafter.

The second part is this, God suffers his Peo­ple to be very sick, before he hath mercy on them, or sends in deliverance. And this I conceive he doth likewise for three Reasons.

1. Because God is delighted with his Peoples Prayers, he loves to hear often from them.

And they pray most frequently and fervently when they are in greatest danger, and outward means seem to fail. So the Church, Psal. 108.12. Give us help from trouble, for vain is the help of man. So the Disciples came to Christ in a great tempest, and awoke him, saying, Lord save us, we perish, Matth. 8.24, 25. So we read, Acts 12.5. how Prayer was made, with­out ceasing, of the Church unto God for Peter when in most deadly danger. Christ saith to the Spouse, Cant. 2.14.— Let me hear thy Voice, for sweet is thy Voice. Their Voice is sweet at all times, but as Musick, it is most plea­sant, proceeding from persons upon the Waters of affliction. God loves (as one saith) to see his People in a praying posture, and to hear them in a weeping tune, Jer. 31.9. As therefore we deal with Musicians, deferring their pay, that they may play the more: So God deals with his People, (sic parvis componere magna—) deferring their deliverance, that they may pray the more earnestly unto him.

2. Because by this means deliverance will be more prized when it comes.

We usually say, Lightly come, lighty go, That which is soon got, is soon forgot, [...] [Page 62] [...], difficilia quae pulchra, Things got with difficulty are most prized. How welcome was Isaac to Abraham and Sarah! Jacob and Esau, to Isaac and Rebekah! Joseph to Jacob and Ra­chel! Samuel to Hannah! How were these Children prized by their Parents, whom God gave to them after abundance of prayer and waiting? How welcome was the Dove to Noah when she returned with an Olive Leaf in her mouth, in token that the Waters were abated, which thing he desired to see, Gen. 8.8, 11. So David said of the Sword of Goliah, 1 Sam. 21.9. There is none like that, because it was got with difficulty, and might serve to mind him of God's gracious assistance, and to encourage his Faith in the like future dangers. So Psal. 126. we find the Church joyfully celebrating their incredible return out of captivity. This deliverance out of sickness is most prized, when it is a fruit of Prayer, and unexpectedly comes in when all hopes of recovery seem to fail.

3. And lastly, Because by this means God gets most glory.

Zelatur Deus propter gloriam; God will not part with his Glory, This he will not give to another. He therefore helps not many times till persons be deadly sick, that so they might see, Digitum Dei, the Finger of God in their deliverance, and give him the sole praise of all; As Christ said of Lazarus's sickness, It was for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be [Page 63] glorified thereby, John 11.4. As Aquinas Aquin. in Phil. 2.27. said here of Epaphroditus's sickness, Erat su­pra judicium medicorum, non autem supra pro­videntiam divinam, sed ad honorem Dei. Gods glory appeareth in recovering him, whom Physi­cians and Friends have given over for a dead man. God at such a time of extremity hath an opportunity of shewing forth those three great Attributes, (which are as Pearls of his Crown) Wisdom, Power, and Goodness. It is called the Veil of Christs flesh, Heb. 10.20. For as the Veil of the Temple did hide the Holy of Ho­lies, so Christ's humane Nature did hide and obscure the Glory of the Divine, so that but little in comparison appeared. Truly my Belo­ved, in a deliverance where there is much of flesh or humane assistance, there is but little Di­vine Glory taken notice of: but when humane helps fail, then God's Glory is most seen in a deliverance.

To shut up this, as the Limner layes the Foun­dation of every curious Picture in dark Ground-work to set it off: So God layes the Ground-work of a merciful deliverance in sad distresses, that his glory may the more appear.

Having thus taken the parts asunder, I should put them together again (according to my pro­mise) and make some application of the whole: which I intend to do, but give me leave first to answer a Scruple or Question which may hence arise, and here most fitly receive an answer.

Quest. Why did not the Apostle cure Epa­phroditus, seeing he had the gift of Miracles as well as others? Mat. 10.8. Do we not read how he cured a Cripple from his Mothers Womb, Acts 14.8. How he cast out a spirit of Divina­tion, Acts 16.16. How he restored to life Eu­tychus, who falling asleep, as Paul was long preaching, fell down dead from the third Loft, (which Example should awaken all Church-sleepers): So we read he cured the Father of Publius, who lay sick of a Feaver and Bloody-flux; and many that were in the Island came and were healed by him, Acts 28.8, 9. Why did he not then cure Epaphroditus, whom he so dearly affected, and whose recovery he so much desired?

Answ. The Apostles could not heal the sick, or work Miracles (as Piscator Piscat. in Phil. 2.27. saith, Propriâ virtute ac pro suo arbitrio) by their own power, and at their own pleasure: but only when there was a necessity for Conversion or Conviction of Unbelievers, then onely the Holy-Ghost ena­bled them to do it, see Acts 3.12. so Acts 9.41, 42.Act. 4.4. Peter's restoring Dorcas to life, (as well as healing the Cripple) converted many to the Faith. Paul though sometimes he wrought Miracles, yet he was not the Author, but Instru­ment in the Miracles he wrought, acting onely when, how, where, and on whom the Spirit of God pleased. Paul could not cure Epaphro­ditus, no nor Trophimus, 2 Tim. 4.20. nor [Page 65] Timothy neither; but onely Consilio medicinae, saith Aquinas, Aquinas in 1 Tim. 5.23. per quod datur intelligi quod non ad omnes utebatur miraculis sed quando expedie­bat propter fidem. The reason then why the Apostle did not miraculously cure his beloved Epaphroditus, was because he could not, the Holy-Ghost not exciting him thereto.

Use and Application.

1. By way of comfort. Ʋse 1

This Text affords abundance of comfort to several persons in several cases.

1. This Consideration affords comfort to God's Servants under sickness and deadly dangers. See that former-quoted place, Psalm. 68.20. He that is our God, is the God of Salvation; and to God the Lord belongs the issues from death. This God, whom the Righteous are related to, and have an interest in, can help in greatest straits, and send in deliverance when they are nigh unto death, and stand in most need of help. That God that kept Moses's Bush bur­ning, yet it was not consumed, Exod. 3.2. and preserved Noah's Ark upon the Waters from perishing in the Waters, This God can pre­serve his People under sickness and their saddest tryals, and in his due time give them an happy issue out of all afflictions. See what the Psal­mist saith, Psal. 73.26. My flesh and my heart [Page 66] faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, (or according to Orig. The Rock of my heart; or according to Septuag. [...], The God of mine heart) and my portion for ever. When the Godly Man's flesh fails, health de­clines, strength is weakned, then is God ready to support him under sickness, and to ease him of his pains, either by restoring him to health, or by taking him out of the miseries of this sinful World by death. So that if we belong to God, as Bullinger Bulling in phil. 2.27. saith, (Optimè nobiscum agitur, sive revalescamus sive moriamur) it will go well with us, whether we live or die.

2. This Consideration affords comfort, not only to believers 'midst personal sickness, but likewise to God's Church 'midst national calami­ties. Though Church and State lie as it were bed-rid, languishing unto Death under Schism and Division, Sin and Errour, and other natio­nal Calamities: Yet let us not despair of help, for he that cured Epaphroditus here, who was sick nigh unto death, can help us even in this extremity. See Ezek. 37.11, 12, 13. God like a skilful Bone-setter or Chyrurgeon can bind up the breach of his People, and heal the stroak of their Wound, as the expression is, Isa. 30.26. God hath promised to heal, in case we return unto him by prayer and unfeigned repentance, Isa. 19.22. so Jer. 33.6. None indeed can heal us but he, Hos. 5.13. All others, except God be of the Quorum, are Physitians of no value; Let us then, as it is Hos. 6.1. Come [Page 67] and return unto the Lord, for he hath torn, and he will heal us: he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.

Una eademque manus vulnus opemque feret.

3. This consideration may afford comfort to such as are spiritually sick, and in their appre­hensions nigh unto eternal death and destruction. That God that raised Epaphroditus, who was deadly sick in body, can cure thy Soul mortally wounded with sin: Let such as are wounded in conscience, consider this, Though your wounds have been grievous and of a long standing, yet they exceed not the skill and power of God, the spiritual Physitian. God can, yea and will cure you, if you turn to him and relie upon him, Take my word for it. Nay it is not only mine but God's Word, or I should be loth to speak it in this place. See Isa. 55.7. Let the wicked forsake his way, Ezek. 18.27. and the unrighteous man his thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. So Matth. 11.28. Come unto me (saith Christ) all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Come to Christ and wellcome; he keeps open house to all comers.

4. And lastly, Gods dear People that by their sinning have blurred their evidences for Heaven, and fallen from some degrees of Grace and Spi­ritual Comfort, as David did, Psal. 51.8, 12. [Page 68] Let them not despair of recovery. That God that restored Epaphroditus's sick body to its pristine health,Ps. 147.3. can restore thy soul to spiritual health, peace, and comfort. Thus he dealt by David, Psal. 23.3. He restoreth my soul. He is the Creator of Peace and Comfort, Isa. 45.7. so Isa. 57.17, 18, 19. and hath promised in his due time, to speak peace unto his People, and to his Saints, but let them not turn again to folly, Psal. 85.8. I end this with that of the Evangelical Prophet, Isa. 50.10. Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of his Servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light? (a Child of light it seems may walk in darkness, i. e. have little or no comfort for the present, yet) let him trust in the Name of the Lord, and stay upon his God. Let him still wait on God prayingly, believingly, obedient­ly, &c. in God's due time, which is ever best, comfort will come.

And so much for this Use by way of comfort.

Ʋse 2 2. By way of instruction.

We learn, if God cure the body of sickness as he did Epaphroditus here, surely it is he that cures the Soul of sin, which is a far harder work. God upon the account of Christ, (who as at this time came into the World to undertake for us) heals our souls of sin, by applying Christs perfect Righteousness to the soul, he removes the guilt; and by his blessed Spirit implanting in the soul the Seeds of Divine Grace, he heals it of the [Page 69] filth of sin. Psal. 103.3. Who pardoneth all thine Iniquities; who healeth all thy Diseases. God alone, that cures the body of its distem­pers, heals the soul of its spiritual maladies. The Scribes and Pharisees acknowledged as much, Luke 5.21. The Pope cannot pardon sins. The Ministers of the Church of England absolve no otherwise then (declarativè) as the Embassadors of Christ. God doth it (auto­ritativè) the authority is wholly his. We do but pronounce the Pardon, which before we speak, is really done in Heaven to sincere Pe­nitents.

Ʋse. 3 and last 3. And lastly, By way of Exhortation.

1. To all in general; Let us be exhorted to go to God for help in time of sickness. It was he that cured Epaphroditus when sick nigh unto death. Too too blame are they who in sickness and such like straits consult Astrologers, Witch­es, Devils, and I know not whom for help. It was an inexcusable sin in Ahaziah King of Is­rael, who in his sickness sought to Baalzebub the Godd of Ekron for recovery of his health; and for so doing, God threatned him (and accor­dingly brought it to pass) that he should not come down from his sick-bed, but should surely die. Read the passage in 2 King. 1.2, &c. What good got Saul by consulting the Witch of Endor? Surely the Wounds of God are ra­ther to be chosen than the Devils Plaisters. In­deed their best cures are deadly wounds: For [Page 70] if the mortal body should be restored by such unlawful means; yet the immortal soul, which is the far better part, is thereby much endan­gered.Habes hoc loco qui omnes de­pollit morbos. Bul in Phil. 2.27. O do not go about indirectly to wind your selves out of trouble: you have a God to repair unto, who can help at all straits, and at every turn; your head cannot ake without his leave, nor leave aking without his help.

Quest. But what, would you have us to use no outward means, to take no Medicines, to con­sult no Physicians?

Answ. Not so, I would have lawful means to be used, Physicians to be consulted and that betimes, before Distempers become inveterate, and so scorn the vertue of soveraign Drugs.

Ovid. Principiis obsta.
Pharmaca nascenti sunt adhibenda malo.

Our Saviour saith, Mat. 9.12. The whole need not the Physician, but they that are sick. The sick then do need him, and ought to seek unto him. So we read Luke 8.43. of a woman that had an issue of blood twelve years, and had spent all her Living upon Physitians, neither could be healed of any. Yet our Saviour did not blame her for seeking to them for help, nor the Phy­sitians for taking their Fees, though they did her no good, for she rather grew worse, saith another Evangelist, Mark 5.26. Yet consi­dering that life is so great a mercy (as you heard in the morning) methinks Physitians should [Page 71] not be too exacting, but do something for the poorer sort of people for charity-sake, and for conscience-sake. (I hope Physitians will par­don me this short digression, for I am pleading for them). Asa is not blamed for seeking unto Physitians, but because he sought to them chief­ly▪ neglecting God, 2 Chron. 16.12. And in the very next verse you read of his death, vers. 13. Means never help without God, Jer. 46.11. nor doth God now-adayes usually help without means. God requires we should use means, as a learnedMr. Corbet in Serm. on 1 Cor. 1.27. Divine saith, Ex in­dulgentiâ non ex indigentiâ, To honour us, not to help him. The same reasons which moved God to make the Creatures, move him still to use them; not necessity and want of power, but love and goodness.

Object. 1 If God have decreed I shall reco­ver, I shall recover, though I use no means.

Answ. Non sequitur. It doth not follow, that if God have decreed you shall recover, you shall recover without using means. You may as well say, If God have decreed I shall have a Crop of Corn this ensuing year, I shall have it without Ploughing and Sowing; If God have decreed I shall come to my journeys end, I shall come thither, though I sit still, or walk a contra­ry way. It is a known rule, Praedestinatus ad finem, ad media etiam praedestinatus; God hath appointed means in order to the end; and what God hath joyned together, let no man put [Page 72] asunder: He may justly lose the fruit of an hap­py end, that neglects the use of lawful means. God had promised to add fifteen years to Heze­kiah's life, Isa. 38. and Hezekiah was assured of it by a certain sign from the Lord, yet he must take a lump of Figs and lay it for a Play­ster upon the Bile, vers. 21. God assured Paul in that great tempest, that there should be no loss of any mans life among them, but of the Ship, Acts 27.22, 23, 24. and St. Paul him­self believed as much, vers. 25. yet tells them, vers. 31. Except these abide in the Ship, ye can­not be saved.

Object. 2 But cannot God cure, if he will, without means, or by weake and improbable means?

Answ. Yes, God nourished Moses and Elias forty dayes without food; he made Clay and Spittle, which one would think should put out sight, a means to recover it, John 9.6, 7. He so wrought that the very shadow of Peter should heal multitudes of all Diseases, Acts 5.15. God's hand is not now shortned: nor doth the antient of dayes, like an old man, grow weak and infirm in the latter end of the World. What he hath done he can still do, if it please him, Psal. 115.3. But we are not to expect, now-adayes, God's miraculous working. A potentiâ Dei ad actum non valet consequentia nisi etiam accedat voluntas Dei. God commonly sets down a course of means which he will not [Page 73] alter; and then (as one saith) it concerns us to answer providence with industry, and to put forth our strength, and use such means as God vouch­safes. We are now to expect a concourse of se­cond causes, which in their Sphere may derive to every effect a proper vertue, through God's ordinary blessing.

Object. 3 Best Physitians kill more than they cure. Turba medicorum Cesarem perdidit.

Answ. I think not so, but the chief reason why so many die in their hands, is this, Because people repair to them when it is too late.

— Serò Medicina paratur.

Hopes of outwrestling the Distemper, fear of expences, or some prejudice against Physitians, make many people to delay making application to them. Or it may be they have been tamper­ing with some Quacksalvers or Mountebanks, for cheapness, (and indeed these may afford their Physick for little, for it is little worth, and their knowledge cost them little, having never seen the Universities, except in some journey) who not understanding the nature of the Di­stemper, apply wrong means, so that the Pa­tients growing worse, betake themselves to a more learned man; but it is too late for him to cure them, so that men dying in his hand, he shall be sure to have his back sadled with illfa­voured language, though he deserves it not. [Page 74] Have recourse then betimes to learned and expe­rienced Doctors in that Art for the cure of your Distempers: Thousands in this Nation, as well as my self, can tell you experimentally of the good service done this way.

Object. 4 (Last) If my appointed time be run up, means are not available.

Answ. But who knows when his appointed time is run up? Old Isaac said, I know not the day of my death, Gen. 27.2. Christ told the Apostles, Acts 1.7. It is not for you to know the times or the seasons which the Father hath put in his own power. God makes none of his Privy Council herein. What saith Moses, Deut. 29.29. Secret things (such as this is) belong unto the Lord our God; but revealed things to us, &c. Let us do our duty in consulting Physitians, and then let God do his pleasure. Let us use means, and leave the success to God.

Means then are to be used, Physitians to be consulted, but God is principally to be eyed as the best Physitian, for so indeed he is. And that you may find him ready to help you in your sickness, put these following Directions into practice.

1. Pray, and get others to pray for thee.

Thus did David in sickness and the like straits, as you may see Psal. 6.2, 3, 4, 5. so Psal. 25. [Page 75] 16, 17, 18. so Psal. 39.10. The Title of the 142 Psalm is, Maschil of David; a Prayer when he was in the Cave. When thou art pur­sued with some violent Distemper, and confined to a sick-bed, as to a Cave, then make thy sup­plication unto God, as David did. I doubt not, as Musculus Musculus in Ps. 6.2. saith, but David in sickness made use of Medicines, but he prayes to God to bless those outward means, as knowing (Ni­hil est omnis Medicorum ars & opera, cura & diligentia nisi Deus virtute suâ det sanandi effica­ciam) that the Prescriptions and diligence of best Physicians, are of no worth and efficacy without God. David thus praying unto God, was healed by him, Psal. 30.2, 3. O Lord my God, I cryed unto thee and thou hast healed me. So Psal. 116.3, 4, 6, 8. compared. So He­zekiah by prayer unto God, had his deadly sick­ness removed, and life prolonged, Isa. 38.2. Hezekiah having received a message of death, turned his face towards the Wall and prayed to the Lord. But why towards the Wall? either because by this means he withdrew himself from company, & his eyes from such objects as might distract and disturb his devotions; or as others say, Because there was but one single Wall be­tween the Bed of the Kings of Judea and the Al­tar of God,See Caus­sin's Holy Court, p. 1 (Juxta parietum Templi Salomon extruxit palatium) and they used to pray with their faces towards the Temple, (1 King. 8.35, 48. Dan. 6.10. Psal. 5.6.). Hezekiah thus turning himself toward the Wall over a­gainst the Temple, and praying fervently to [Page 76] God, was healed, as you may see vers. 5. Prayer is that which God directs his People unto in sickness and such like straits. Psal. 50.15: Call upon me in time of trouble, and I will deli­ver thee. Job 33.26. He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him. So Jam. 5.13. Is any man afflicted? let him pray.

Quest. But if God send sickness, and for good ends unto his Children, is it not a sin in them to pray God to remove it, and to heal their bodily Distempers?

Answ. No; All flesh naturally desires health and preservation of life: And Grace in God's Children, doth not abolish but rectifie Nature, (Deus hoc carni naturaliter dedit ut sanitatem, Musculus in Ps. 6.2. ubi plura. i. e. conservationem sui cupidè petat. — Piis hanc naturam fides, non adimit sed dirigit.) So then God allows us to pray to him for health, so we do it with submission to the good Will of God, (as Christ prayed three times to his Fa­ther in his agony, Mat. 26.39. O my Father, if it be possible, let this Cup pass from me: ne­vertheless, not as I will, but as thou wilt) and with a resolution to serve him better if he spare us. Pray then that God would be pleased to have mercy upon you in your sickness, and to ease you of your pains, and restore you to health, and bless the means you use in order thereunto, if it be his blessed will. And as you ought to pray your selves, so you should get others (Ministers and good People) to pray for [Page 77] you, see James 5.14, 15, 16. God hears the prayers of his People, and oft-times for their sakes lengtheneth the life and outward prosperi­ty of the wicked. God spared Zoar at the request of Lot, Gen. 19.20, 21, 22. Those that sayled with St. Paul in the Ship, had their lives spared for his sake, see Acts 27.24. for saith the Angel of God to Paul, Lo, God hath given thee all them that sayl with thee, (Orig. [...], will give thee as a favour) no less then two hundred threescore and fifteen Souls, vers. 37. were saved in extremity of danger for Paul's sake, and at his request. Get then others, especially the Godly, who are God's Favourites to pray for thee. No doubt but Paul was a constant Sollicitor at the Throne of Grace in the behalf of Epaphroditus, who lay sick nigh unto death, and God had mercy on him.

2. Relie confidently upon God.

Though we make use of the Physitians Di­rections, yet we must not trust in them but in God: for means and second causes work by his continual influences, and receive their ends from his eternal order. As the Psalmist saith, Psal. 127.1. Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. So except the Lord cooperate, means and second causes, which receive their being and efficacy from God, are vain and ineffectual. Faith was required in all those under the Gospel whom Christ cured, Mat. 9.2. Luk. 8 48. As we must not neglect [Page 78] means, so neither must we trust in them, nor relie upon them; which if we do, it is the rea­dy way to render them useless, see Jer. 17.5, 6, 7, 8. He that puts his trust in the Lord, saith the wise Man, Prov. 28.25. shall be made fat, q. d. shall be lusty and well. Relie then upon God's mercy for deliverance. He that highly esteems of God, is high in Gods esteem.

3. Be merciful your selves to others in misery, if you would find mercy from God when you are in misery.

Psal. 41.1, 2, 3. Blessed is the man that consi­dereth the poor; the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble: the Lord will preserve him and keep him alive. — The Lord will strengthen him on the bed of languishing; thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness. Prov. 11.25. See likewise Isa. 58.6, 7, 8. After he had spoken of works of charity, he adds, Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily. So Mat. 5.7. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. Epaphroditus went a long and pe­rillous voyage to minister to the Apostles wants, Phil. 2.25, 30. and when he was sick, nigh unto death, God had mercy on him.

4. Lastly, Be deeply humbled for your sins.

This humiliation consists in confessing your sins with grief of heart, and putting away the sins you have lamented; and if we do thus, we [Page 79] shall find mercy in sickness. David in sickness confessed and lamented his sins with a sorrow­ful heart, as you may read Psal. 32.4, 5. & 38.3, 4, 5, 18. so Psal. 41.4. Heal my Soul, saith David under sickness, for I have sinned against thee. What a plea is this? Heal my Soul, for I have sinned against thee. Doth God delight in mens sins? Is he thereby allured to do them good? One would think as Musculus Muscul. in Psal. 41.4. saith, Ma­gis faceret ad impedimentum quàm ad causam im­petrandae sanitatis; this should be rather an hin­drance then furtherance to his cure: But the truth is, God, who loves not sin, yet loves to see sinners confess and bewail their sins; and if we do so, and withall forsake them, we shall find mercy in sickness as David did; for Prov. 28.13. He that covereth his sin shall not prosper; but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them, shall have mercy. If sickness be epidemical,Exod. 23.25. Deut. 7.12, 15. a general hu­miliation is a means to remove it, Levit. 26.40, 41, 42. so 2 Chron. 3.14. God sends sickness for sin; if sin be removed, he'l remove his stroak: but he will not take off the Playster (so careful he is) till the Wound be throughly cured, and corruption purged out. Sins are as so many Scotches in the way that hinder the Charriot Wheels of a Deliverance from moving swiftly towards us; if these sins were removed, deli­verance would come on apace. When God then casts thee upon a sick-bed, commune with thine own heart, and let thy spirit make diligent search, Psal. 77.6. Conscience at such a time, that bosom Preacher (if God in justice hath not silenced it for willful disobedience) will preach to thee thy [Page 80] particular sins. Affliction oft-times awakens a drowsie Conscience. Particular straits many times bring particular sins to remembrance, which have been long forgotten, as you may see Gen. 42.21. so Job 36.8, 9, 10. Hearken then to the voice of Conscience, which may bring to mind thy particular sins, and seriously meditate upon the forementioned sins that tend to the impairing of health; and with Job, in sickness and sores, pray to God to shew thee wherefore he contend­eth with thee, Job 10.2. And again saith he, Job 13.23. Make me to know my transgression and my sin. And as Elibu speaks, Job 34.31. That which I see not, teach thou me; if I have done iniquity, I will do no more. Having thus found out thy sins, confess them with grief of heart, and deal with them, (as the Marriners dealt by Jonah, Jon. 1.15.) cast them overboard, forsake them utterly so the storm may cease. If we thus humble our selves under the mighty hand of God, he will exalt us in due time, 1 Pet. 5.6. and raise us up from beds of languishment, (if he see it best for us) as he did Epaphroditus here, who was sick, nigh unto death, but God had mercy on him.

And so much for the first branch of this Use of Exhortation. I come now to the second branch, and it is a word of Exhortation to such as have been sick, and God in mercy hath restored to health. Let them be exhorted to take forth these following Lessons.

1. Live in constant expectation of death, and preparation for death. Many are too too confi­dent of health after sickness, whereas it is ordi­nary [Page 81] for poor man to recover of one Distemper, and fall irrecoverably into the same again, or some other. Non est sic illius misertus Deus ut ab hoc mortis debito in posterum prorsus esset libera­tus. Muscul.Muscul. in Phil. 2.27: God was not so merciful unto E­paphroditus as that he should never die. The best of men, one time or other, how soon God knows, must pay the debt to extorting Nature, Ps. 89.48. The Apostle speaks of the dissolution of the earthly house of this Tabernacle, 2 Cor. 5.1. ( [...] de re periturâ) as of a thing that will shortly perish. So speaks St. Peter, 2 Pet. 1.14. I must shortly put off this my Tabernacle. And truly after sickness we may rationally conclude, That the house cannot stand long that hath been so terribly shaken. Let us then, though reprieved for the present, expect death, and speedily pre­pare our selves for it: Eccl. 9.10. Whatever thy hand finds to do, do it with all thy might. Let us bring our selves daily to a strict scrutiny, set soul and house in order, and speedily dress our selves for immortality; for we see, when sickness comes, we have work enough to wrestle with the Di­stemper. Oh my beloved, Put not off soul-con­cerns till old age or sickness; this is to lay the greatest burthen upon the weakest horse. Re­pentance is too great a task to be rightly perfor­med upon a sick-bed, and usually like the party, it is at best but weak and sickly. Do not we who have been sick know by experience how unfit we are for any work at such a time, especially for this great work of repentance, which indeed should be an entire act of the whole life? And therefore,

[Page 82]2. Live circumspectly. Most men in sickness are seemingly devout, and therefore the Holy Ghost sets a brand upon Ahaz, who in the time of distress did trespass yet more against the Lord, 2 Chron. 28.22. This is that King Ahaz; he points at him as a monster of man-kind: for men usually, during the continuance of distress, do seek unto the Lord, Hos. 5.15. and bewail their sins and promise fair, as Pharaoh, Ahab, and others; but when the force of his hand is remo­ved, they return again to their old bias, they are as bad, if not worse then ever; like a dung­hill, the more the Sun of Mercy shines upon them, the more they stink and putrifie in all sin. See an unworthy carriage in Hezekiah, though for the main a good man, 2 Chron. 32.24. there you read of his recovery from deadly sickness; and vers. 25. But Hezekiah rendred not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up. His heart was not lift up in the wayes of God (as it is said of Jehoshaphat, 2 Chron. 17.6.) but in sinful wayes, as pride, self-conceit, &c. Therefore there was wrath upon him, and upon Judah and Jerusalem; and this wrath had broken forth upon them, had they not humbled themselves, and with tears of contrition quenched those flames, as you read v. 26. The Devil himself (as the story goes) when he was sick would be holy and turn Monk, but when he was recovered, he was as much a Devil as before.

Dr. Vanes Wisdom and Inno­cence; p. 119.
Aegrotat Daemon, Monachus tunc esse volebat;
Convaluit Daemon, Daemon ut ante fuit.
The Devil was sick, the Devil a Monk would be;
The Devil was well, the Devil a Monk was he.

But, O my Friends, let us labour to preserve that gracious frame that was in us in our sickness. If we be not careful, either wicked Company, or the cares of this World, will soon make us luke­warm or key-cold. Methinks the mercy of God in recovering us, should mightily affect us. We read 1 Sam. 24.16, 17, 18. how David got Saul at an advantage, and spared him when he had [...]. power to destroy him, whereupon Saul lift up his voice and wept; God that cast us on a sick-bed, might justly have cast us thence into Hell. He spared us when he might have destroyed us; O let it grieve us at the heart that ever we offen­ded so good a God: And as the Apostle speaks, 1 Cor. 6.15. Shall I take the Members of Christ, and make them Members of an Harlot? God for­bid. So let every one which God hath raised up again, say, Shall I take the members of my body, which God hath delivered from grievous pains, and imploy them in sin and wickedness? God forbid I should be so vile a wretch. Methinks the remem­brance of the great pain that we underwent in sickness, should humble us for our miscarriages all the days of our life after; Lam. 3.19, 20. Remem­bring my affliction & my misery, the Wormwood and the Gall; my soul hath them still in remembrance, and is humbled in me. Besides, are not the vows of God upon us, as David speaks Psal. 56.12? Sacramental Vows, Personal Vows; Did we not promise and vow, That if God restored us, we would be more holy and strict then ever? It is best for us to pay our Vows, Deut. 23.21. Eccl. 5.4, 5. we are perjur'd persons & truce-breakers if we do not. Defer not to put into action what [Page 84] God's Spirit in sickness put into intention. Do as David did, when he was brought low God helped him, Psal. 116.6. God delivered his soul from death, v. 8. See his resolution, v. 9. I will walk before the Lord in the land of the living. He de­voted himself to God's Service, v. 16. Truly, O Lord, I am thy Servant, I am thy Servant: And he likewise resolved to pay his Vows, v. 14. so v. 18. so likewise Psal. 66.13, 14. I will go into thine house with burnt-offerings: I will pay thee my Vows, which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble. Let health, strength, life, soul, and body, the pro­ducts of Gods mercy be presented to his service, Rom. 12.1. I end this with that advice which Christ gave to one whom he cured, John 5.14. Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worse thing come unto thee.

3. Apply your selves to God in future straits; pray unto him, trust in him. Thus did David, Psal. 116.2. Because he hath enclined his ear un­to me, therefore will I call upon him as long as I live. So v. 17. I will call upon the Name of the Lord. So Ps. 56.3. What time I am afraid, I will put my trust in thee; for v. 13. Thou hast deliver­ed my soul from death.— So Ps. 63.7. Thou hast been my help; therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoyce. See 1 Sam. 17.37. so 2 Cor. 1.9, 10. We had the sentence of death (saith the A­postle) in our selves, that we should not trust in our selves, but in God which raised the dead; who delivered us from so great a death, and doth de­liver; in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us. It is good Scripture-logick (asMr. Rey­ners Prae­cepts, p. 266. one saith) [Page 85] to draw conclusions of confidence from premises of experience. Such then whom God hath resto­red to health, when God casts them again into the Prison of a sick-bed, let them be still Priso­ners of Hope, as the expression is, Zach. 9.12. Suffer not Faith to flag, and Hope to hang wing. Lam. 3.26. It is good that a man should both hope and patiently wait for the salvation of the Lord.

4. Sympathize with others that are in misery. If God have had mercy on thee, go thou and have mercy on others. Be not straitned in your bowels, as some in the Church of Corinth were, 2 Cor. 6.12. Oh pity and pray for such as are in sick­ness and misery, and do them all offices of love and kindness that may be. Not only God calls for this, but the Law of friendship calls for it; Job 6.14. To him that is afflicted, pity should be shewed from his friend. But yet Job's friends dealt very unfriendly with him, as you may see v. 15. whom he compares to a Brook, which in open weather, when people have least need of water, promiseth refreshment, but in cold wea­ther is frozen up, and in hot weather is become dry; so that the weary Travellers fall short of their expectation: So you may find him com­plaining how he was forsaken of all Relations, Job 19.2, &c. insomuch that he begs their pity upon the account of friendship, v. 21. Have pi­ty upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my Friends, for the hand of God hath touched me: here is ano­ther Argument, for if you touch or strike upon the string of an Instrument, other strings move too: When God strikes another with sickness, we our selves should be moved with compassion [Page 86] towards them; the sicknesses and miseries of others call for your help; Jos. 10.6. Acts 16.9. As the Father said of Lazarus's sores, Quot ul­cera tot ora, so many sores, so many mouths cal­ling for the rich mans help. Yea, though they be their enemies, you should pity them as David did, Psal. 35.11, 12, 13, 14. Though compassi­on begin at the heart, yet it should proceed to the hand and mouth; help them with your counsels and prayers, and purses too. Sic mens per compassionem doleat ut larga manus affectum doloris ostendat. What the good Samaritan did, Luk. 10.30, &c. By which passage our Saviour would teach us to have pity on those, whether friends or enemies, acquaintance or strangers that stand in need of our help, v. 37. Go thou and do likewise. The Greek word [...], that signifies Alms, comes from [...], that signifies Pity: Alms should be a fruit of pity, 1 Joh. 3.17. If you who have known what it is to lie un­der sickness do not pity such folk, who should? if you do not, who will?

5. Lastly, Give God the sole praise of all; let him have the glory of the cure, for to him it belongs, and it is a piece of sacriledge to rob God of his due. We should not give, nor should any man take to himself the glory of a cure. Neither Peter nor John, Act. 3.12. Paul nor Barnabas, Act. 14.11, &c. durst take to them­selves the glory of a cure. Every Physitian should say as the King of Israel in another case said to the Woman crying out to him for help, 2 King. 6.26, 27. If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? The best Physitians can do nothing [Page 87] without Gods assistance: Simples are but simple things without the blessing of God upon them. Who put medicinal qualities into Drugs, but the God of Nature? Whence had the Physitian his skill to find out the quality of the Distemper, and apply sutable means but from the God of Wis­dom, Jam. 1.5? Christ said, Mat. 4.4. Man lives not by bread alone, &c. Nor is man recover­ed by Physick alone without Gods blessing. Ps. 107.18, 19, 20. Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat, and they draw near to the gates of death: then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble: he saveth them out of their distress: he sent his Word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions. It follows, v. 21. O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his won­derful works to the children of men!

Quest. But may we not thank our Physitian?

Answ. Yes, and you are too blame if you do not. Ingratitude is an odious sin, Gen. 40.23. compared with Gen. 41.9. It is one of the sins that makes the last times so perillous, 2 Tim. 3.2. The Heathen thought you could not give a man a more odious ti­tle then to call him ungrateful, (Ingratum si dixeris omnia) as though it was a compendium of all vices; and indeed it is a decompounded sin. Ahasuerus was too blame to forget loyal-hearted Mordecai so long, (who had been a means to save his life) till it was almost too late to remember him; He was to be com­mended for conferring civil dignities upon him after­wards, as you read he did Esth. 6. Let such as are unthankful to Physitians, and to such as are a means to save their lives from destruction, go to School to those Barbarians, Acts 28.8, 9, 10. from whom they may learn lessons of Civility; They honoured Saint Paul (who healed many amongst them of many Diseases) with many honours; and when he with the rest of his company departed, they laded them with such things as were necessary. Well then, you may [Page 88] and ought to thank them as Instruments, but remem­ber that God is the supream efficient. They are to be rewarded and respected for their pains and care with us, but God alone is to be praised for the Cure wrought upon us: God is the Fountain, they are but as Pipes to convey God's mercies to us. Let us then give God the praise of all, as the Angels sung, Gloria in Excelsis, Glory be to God on high, Luk. 2.14. And as Christ hath taught us, Mat. 6.13. For thine is the Kingdom, and the Power, and the Glory, for ever, Amen. That Woman in the Gospel cured of the Distemper, called by the Greeks [...], Glorified God, as you may read Luke 13.13. There were ten Lepers that lift up their voices, and said, Jesus, Master, have mercy on us, Luk. 17.13. Yet be­ing cleansed, there was but one of them that turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God, vers. 15. But Christ took notice of their ingratitude, v. 17, 18. There was but one of ten that returned to give thanks. 'Tis ten to one if God cure us but we prove un­grateful. Oh let us not in sickness pray for mercy, and in health forget to return thanks for the receit of mercy. Non sonet illud tantum miserere Deus, sed sonet etiam laus & gratianum actio pro accepta illius misericordia. Muscul. in Phil. 2.27. David was much in praising God for delivering him from deadly dangers, as the Psalms testifie, Psal. 30.1, 3, 4. & 86.12, 13. & 103.3. & 104.33. & 116.6, 12, 17. & 118.14. & 146. v. 1, 2. So He­zekiah being recovered, pens a Song of Thanks­giving, Isa. 38.9, &c. Oh my beloved extraordi­nary mercies call for more then ordinary thanks, Exod. 12.42. Communicate your experiences, Psalm 66.16. Tell others of the cures God hath wrought, Joh. 5.15. Mar. 5.19. The tongue is called our glory, Psal. 16.9. Let your glory sing praise to God, and not be silent, Psal. 30.12. Wherein is your tongue a glo­ry, if not in setting forth the glory of God? I end all with that Doxology of the Apostle, 1 Tim. 1.17. Now unto the King Eternal, Immortal, Invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever▪ Amen.

[...]. FINIS.

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