A SERMON Preached at the FUNERAL Of Reverend Mr. WILL. WHITAKER, Late MINISTER of Magdalen Bermondsey, Southwark.

BY Samuel Annesley, LL.D.

LONDON, Printed, for Nevill Simmons, at the Sign of the Princes Arms in St. Pauls Church-yard. 1673.

TO THE READER.

I Have more Arguments against, than for, the Printing of this Sermon; but yet there's one Argument, from time to time thundered in mine ears, which I must confess I cannot answer, and that is, if I will not Print it my self, it shall be Printed without me, by the Notes taken at the preaching of it: And this was sent me, by Word, by Writing; by Ministers, by private Christians: But this doth not (there's no reason it should) make me think the better of the Sermon, as well knowing, it is the Excellency of the Person at whose Funeral 'twas preach'd, not any thing in it self, that rendered it desirable. I must not con­ceal one reason I had against it, which is ear­nestly pleaded for it; viz that I more privately preach't something of it, some years before, after [Page]the Funeral of my precious and dear Friend Dr. Roger Drake, a Person of so transcendent worth, that were I an Orator fit for it, I could not forbear to set his Funeral Oration before this Funeral Sermon: Let it pass therefore for a par­donable rarity (for I have not two such Friends on this side Heaven) to gather a Nosegay off one Grave, to strow upon another, (though the other doth not need it.) They were so intimate while waking, that the same Sheets may shrowd them now they sleep in Jesus. I shall not speak much of either, where was nothing common, but every thing worthy of Wonder and Imitation. For the Doctor, consider him every way, and his Worth was unexpressible. For his Personal Graces, during his forty years standing in Christ, he was eminent­ly blameless, and singularly free from the defile­ments of Sin, and the buffetings of Satan; and above all this, his humility was unparallel'd. For his relative Piety, besides the family-duties that are common to all serious Christians, he kept a set-time of praying with his Wife every day. And for his way of instructing, reproving, convin­cing, and counselling every person of his family, seve­rally and privately in his Study as occasion required, praying with them ere he dismist them, that his words might abide; I never heard the like of any [Page]other. For his worldly incomes, he ever laid by the tenth part for the poor, before he used any for himself. For his Ministerial Excellencies, his engaging in, turning from, returning to, and diligence about the work of the Ministry, these are well known to those that knew him; but will be scarce credible to those that knew him not, and therefore I say so little of them. Those that heard him pray upon any extraordinary occasion, must be forc't to acknowledge, his praying by the Spirit, was not Phanatical. His Writings will be esteemed while there are Books in the world, for the stream of piety and learning that runs through his Sacred Chronology. But the elevation of his Graces in his death-bead Sickness was most remarkable: he went out like one of the Lamps of the Sanctuary, with a sweet perfume. I cannot tell you his Triumphs of faith, his foretastes of Heaven, his earnest and holy Discourse, his ad­mirings of God, his unwillingness to retreat into the Wilderness, his charge to his Children, that they should not dare to meet him at Judgement in an unregenerate state, saying if they did, he should laugh at them; and his sealing of his Ministry to his Parishioners that visited him. The last time I saw him, his Discourse was such of the love of God, that I expect not to hear such [Page]another till I come to Heaven. But I'le add no more, only his dying words, which were [Jesus take me, I am ready]. I need say no more, and I could say no less, as his memory is, so let his Posterity be blessed. My gleanings concerning this parallel Servant of Christ, you shall have them in the Sermon: that all I have, or can say, may provoke you to an holy emulation, and fit you to sit down with them in the Kingdom of God, is the hearty prayer of

Your Soul-servant, Samuel Annesley.
ZECHARIAH I. V, VI.

Verse 5. Your Fathers, where are they? and the Pro­phets, do they live for ever?

Verse 6. But my Words, and my Statutes, which I com­manded my servants the Prophets, did they not take hold of your Fathers? and they returned, and said, like as the Lord of Hosts thought to do unto us, according to our wayes, and according to our doings, so hath he dealt with us.

MY only Preface shall be this. I never did before, I never shall again, preach to this Assembly: All of us that are now met upon this sad occasion, shall never meet more, till the general resurrecti­on; it therefore concerns me to speak, and you to hear, as those that have one overture toge­ther for Heaven, which if it be lost, it is lost for ever.

The Prophet begins this Book with the heads of a [Page 2]Sermon of Repentance, which he prefixeth as a Preface to his other Prophecies, both of mercy, and judgement. And that fitly, Repentance being the only preparative for Mercy, and the only means to escape Judgement. He enforceth his Exhortation to repentance, from the consideration of Gods displeasure against their Fa­thers, Verse 2. and from the hope of his former fa­vour to them, Verse 3. and that they should not imi­tate their Fathers in contemning of God, Verse 4. for though their Fathers dye, and the Prophets that admo­nished them were all dead, yet the Word is perma­nent in all ages, and the truth of it appeared in the effects, which are yet to be seen, Verse 5, 6.

I find a threefold Interpretation of the words; and though the last I shall name, is that which I conceive to be the right, yet I will not conceal the other two, and I shall tell you anon, why. Some take these words to be Gods insulting over the Jews, as if he should say, Now bethink your selves what befell your Fathers, are they not all extinct, and destroyed? to which the Jews as it were answer, What do you tell us of our Fathers? what difference is between them and the Prophets that preached against them, are they not both dead? to which God as it were replyes, though they are both dead and gone, yet his word did not want its effects upon their fathers. This Exposition is received by many, and those that are most an­tient.

A second interpretation is that of Hierom, who takes this to be spoken of the false Prophets, as if he should say, Where are the Prophets that flattered your fathers with promises of happiness? are not they, and your fathers both dead?

But this third, which I take to be the genuine mean­ing [Page 3]of the words is this, as if he should say, Your fa­thers they are dead, and you cannot now tell how it fares with them: the Prophets were but men, and they are dead, neither can they live alwayes to preach, or to see their Prophecies fulfilled: but though your fathers are dead, their punishments ought not to be forgotten: and though the Prophets are also dead, their Prophecies are not to be buried with them: I appeal to your consci­ences and observation, did not the threatnings of the Prophets overtake your fathers, and catch them, as Huntsmen their prey, or one enemy another in slight, though they sought to make their escape: and when they felt Gods hand upon them, then they were better advised, and then they began to come to the right knowledge of their estate: as Mal. 3.18. Then they discerned between the righteous and the wicked, then they felt the difference between him that serveth God, and him that serveth him not! Thus Calvin and Pemble.

But yet Sanctius in his Paraphrase layes my Text the fairest for what I designed in the choice of it; bringing in the Prophet as it were thus enquiring, and advising. Where are those foolish Parents, that enter­tained my message with scorn and laughter, as if the threatnings would never reach them? and where are those Prophets, that foretold such hard things? Shall they live for ever, that they may daily admonish you? No truly; the time is coming wherein true Prophecie shall for a long time cease, and therefore hear while you may, the Prophets Oracles. The short result of the words is this.

DOCT. Though Ministers dye, their message is immortal: they should deliver it, and people receive it ac­cordingly.

Were it not for overcharging your memories, I would have given it you thus;

Seeing those that are taught, and those that teach them, are both mortal, but the Word of God is immortal, and will certainly overtake us in this world, and follow us into the next, it should therefore be a prevailing ar­gument to every one of us, to make the best use of the pre­sent help of Ministers for our thorow turning unto God.

People dye, and Ministers dye, but the Word lives. Men first or last shall feel that Word to be true, which they are most unwilling to believe to be so; and those things to overtake them, which they most industriously put farthest from them.

Christians we deliver our message, and we are cal­led home to give an account to him that sent us, men turn their backs upon the Word, and run away from it, and are never to seek for an excuse, why they do no more regard it, but all this will not serve their turn; dye they must, and be judged they must, according to what they have heard, and how they have lived, and therefore it will be your wisdom to turn to God, and make use of Ministers while you have them. Alas, my Brethren, you may use us at your pleasure (I do not mean you may lawfully do it, but you may really do it) and if your rejecting of our message could but shake off your obligation, or fright your Judge from medling with you, you might vapour [Page 5]over us, and count it a piece of Gallantry to out-face poor Ministers, and to out-brave their message; but how long will you be able to carry it? How soon may a burning Feavor cool your courage? and the King of Terrors change your thoughts? now is your hour, (alas, 'tis but an hour, a little while) and the power of your darkness, that will not endure the light. But, Sirs, be it known to you, your sleepy consciences shall be awakened, and your self-flattering dreams shall have an end, then that Word which you counted as wind, shall kindle upon you as fire, and there will be no standing before it. Jer. 5.13, 14. Christ told his hearers, Luke 11.49. That the wisdom of God said, I will send them Prophets and Apostles; and some of them they shall slay and persecute, &c. Here's unsearchable wisdom, which we cannot fully know the reason of, till we come to Heaven. In Jer. 26. you have an account of Gods Commission to Jeremy, the Spiritual Rulers entertainment of it, and the Prophets pressing of them to a better reception of his message, for their own sake. Verse 2. Thus saith the Lord, stand in the Court of the Lords house, and speak unto all the Cities of Judah, which come to worshiop in the Lords house, All the words that I command thee to speak unto them; diminish not a word. The substance of his message was the same with ours, [the same in all Ages] Re­pent, or perish. We have no authority to abate any thing; our Commission allows us not to alter a word, by way of indulgence to sin, or dispensation from du­ty; if you like not the terms, quarrel not with us. Verse 8. Now it came to pass, when Jeremiah had made an end of speaking all that the Lord hath com­manded him (it is well that they would give him the hearing, and that they would hear him speak out) [Page 6] that the Priests and the Prophets, and all the people took him, saying, thou shalt surely dye. Verse 12. Then spake Jeremiah unto all the Princes, and to all the peo­ple saying, the Lord sent me to prophesie against this City, all the words that ye have heard. Ver. 13. There­fore now amend your wayes, and your doings, &c. Verse 14. As for me, behold, I am in your hand: do with me as seemeth good and meet unto you. Ver. 15. He doth as it were say, you may rid your hands of your Prophet, but you cannot do so of your punish­ment, though the Prophet were dead, his word would live; and though you may shuffle through many tem­poral dangers, yet the Word of God will certainly overtake you according to that in 1 Kings 19.17. —Him that escapeth the sword of Hazael, shall Jehu slay; and him that escapeth from the sword of Jehu, shall Elisha slay. That is, though you escape falling by a forreign War, and though you may shift for your selves in a Civil War, yet you cannot escape the Words taking hold of you. Nay, though you were such Sons of Belial, such gyantly sinners, that no man living durst speak to you, yet the Word of God will reach you. One Scripture-story I commend to you, to this purpose; 2 Chron. 21.12. And there came a Writing to him from Elijah the Prophet, saying, &c. Not that this Letter was written by Elias in Paradise, and sent by the Ministry of Angels, as Menochius in­terprets it, but plainly; the Prophet wrote this before his rapture; and left it behind him, to be delivered to Jehoram, after he should have committed the fore­mentioned abominations; we read a Prophecy of Jo­siah by name, 1 Kings 13.2. which Prophecy was not accomplished till three hundred and thirty years after: Another of Cyrus by name, Isa. 45.1. almost two [Page 7]hundred years before the accomplishment. The plain truth was this, this Jehoram would not endure a living Prophet to declare the truth unto him; and therefore that he might be the more convinced, and confounded for his wickedness, here's a Writing brought him from one that was then in Heaven. These instances may serve for a Scripture-demonstration, That though Mi­nisters dye, their message is immortal.

It is your profit I aim at in treating of this Doctrine; that I may therefore be more distinct and particular, I will parcell it out into these following Propositions. And now Christians, I do in the name of my Supream Lord and Master solemnly require such attention, as becomes those that shall feel this truth in both worlds.

Proposition 1. Those that live in contempt of the Word, cannot out-live the power of it. Many per­sons live and dye in a self-flattery, that the threatnings against their sins (the sins that they are resolved to live in) shall never overtake them. How many are there that study to be Infidels, and strive to be Athe­ists; they would fain perswade themselves, that a Scri­pture faith is but a fancy; and that God will never be so severe, as we report him; but, yet a little while, and they shall feel the contrary. Others hear the Word, and are at present startled, but their convicti­ons wear off, and their sense of duty dyes before them: Alas, Sirs, our obligations to duty do not ebb and flow according to our apprehensions of it. The evil and danger of sin doth not abate as we would have it. Ezek. 2.4, 5. They are impudent children, and stiff­hearted: I do send thee unto them, and thou shalt say unto them, thus saith the Lord God. And they, whe­ther they will hear, or whether they will forbear (for they are a rebellious house) yet shall know that there [Page 8]hath been a Prophet among them. Beloved Christi­ans, I pray you consider it, The way of sin, is the way of the greatest folly in the world; for men will indu­striously live in sin, and as industriously avoid taking notice of Gods indignation against it; and because they take no notice, they are willing to perswade them­selves, God takes no notice of them. Yet these very persons, when they are under any qualms of consci­ence, and any tendency towards repentance, then they as industriously perswade themselves, God must needs take notice of them, and that a few gripes of consci­ence must needs be mortification sufficient. Why, Sirs, what do you make of God all this while? But what need I ask this question, seeing the Word of God hath so plainly resolved it. Psal. 50.21. Thou thoughtst (saith God) that I was altogether such an one as thy self. The sinner thinks, while he hath a kindness for sin, God must needs indulge it, and when he is never so little uneasie under it, God must needs pardon it; while he winks at sin, God must not see it; and when he never so slightly looks up for mercy, God must not deny it. Oh, how do poor Ministers find this by experience! Those that while they are well, all we can say will not move them: If they send for us when sick, we must say nothing to discourage them; we are harsh, and uncharitable, yea, uncivil, and not fit to visit a dying person, if we disturb them with any close questioning of their repentance. Oh, 'tis a piece of cruelty to thrust the probe of the Word into their festered consciences; we must take sins forsaking of them, when they can no longer commit it, to be their forsaking of sin: and though we with never so much tenderness suspect their estate, and beg of them to take heed of dying in a mistake, that will then cease [Page 9]to be cureable, yet such language is not to be endu­red, we must (at least) be dismist with Felix his com­plement, Acts 24, 25. Go thy way for this time, when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. But that season never comes: one while such melancholy (for so must all seriousness be called) will hinder the working of his Physick, another while 'twill break his rest, and so he must rather be let alone to go to Hell, than be troubled with directions how to get to Hea­ven. Well, in short, think what you will of us, and of our errand, both in health and in sickness; though you carry it, as if 'twere alwayes too soon, or too late for you to be serious in Religion; the warning we give you, will have its efficacy, one way or other, Isa. 55.10, 11. if your hearts be not melted, they will be hardned, by the shining of the Sun of Righteous­ness; if you make it not your business to lay hold on eternal life, you cannot avoid it, but eternal death will lay hold on you.

Proposition 2. Though Ministers dye, their message shall survive them. The authority and certainty of our message doth not depend upon our usage in the world, nor our going out of it. It is an easie matter to quarrel with the messenger, but it is impossible to evade the message. We are as subject to death as other men, and what if I should say (I speak it by way of enquiry, not positively) 'tis worth while to consider, Whether there be not fewer eminently faith­ful Ministers live to old age, than persons of any other Calling whatsoever. They live more time (time worth the name of living) in one year, than others do in twenty: The keener the Knife, the sooner it cuts the Sheath. Those that run hard, are soonest at the end of their race. But doth their message dye with [Page 10]them? No sure. What is said of young Samuel, that lived to see his words verified, may be said of those that dye before they see any effect of them, 1 Sam. 3.19. The Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. Though men let them fall to the ground, God will not. 2 Tim. 2.9. I (saith the Apostle) suffer trouble as an evil doer, even unto bonds, but the word of God is not bound. I know not why we should restrain this to the liberty the Apostle had while in prison to preach to those that were present, and to write Epistles to those that were absent, but it may also refer to the power and effica­cy of the Word, that it never returns in vain to him that sent it; those to whom it is sent, shall most cer­tainly be the captives of his love, or of his wrath. And let me here put in one word for the comfort of believers, As God in justice fulfills threatnings, after the Ministers, that publish them are dead; so God graciously fulfills Promises, after the Ministers that declare them are dead. How many troubled souls are ready to conclude, upon the death of their spiritual Physitian, to whom (to their comfort) they have opened their grief; Oh now they have none to speak to; now those refreshments they were wont to have shall cease. No. Dear Christians, fear it not; the Promises they have helpt you to apply, shall abide by you, and God will bring you into a profitable acquain­tance with others, that shall through grace help you to experiment, that spiritual Physick will not lose its efficacy by the death of the Physitian. Christ encou­rageth his Apostles with this, that they should reap, what the Prophets only lived to sow, John 4.37, 38. So that whether you are glad, or sorry, that God takes away your Guides, the words they have spoken in the [Page 11]name of the Lord, shall to your sorrow or comfort, certainly survive them.

Proposition 3. Though persons to whom God vouch­safeth the Means of Grace, withdraw themselves from under it, and remain willingly ignorant of their sin and duty, yet the Word will overtake them, and find them out, and they must stand, or fall according to their entertaiment of it. How dexterously do ma­ny persons distinguish themselves out of their duty? and how industriously do others remain wilfully igno­rant of it? little considering, that sins of wilful ig­norance are in some respects worse than sins against knowledge: e. g. Sins against knowledge are many times striven against, and so through grace more easily pardoned, than sins of wilful ignorance, which are alwayes industriously committed, and never striven against. Besides, sins of wilful ignorance are also sins against knowledge: for there's so much knowledge and sense of duty, that they think if they knew more, they must do otherwise, or their sin would be aggra­vated, and therefore they shut their eyes against the light, that they may sin more freely: So that here's sinning against knowledge, in their wilful igno­rance; and so there's a double guilt, each kind of which is very dreadful. James 4.17. To him that knoweth to do good, and doth it not, to him it is sin. Sin with a monstrous aggravation. And Job 21.14, 15. for those that say unto God, Depart from us: for 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? God an­swers him, that for this his wilful ignorance, his eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty. God will reward him, and [Page 12]he shall know it, Verse 19, 20. Do but see at what a rate men are willing to compound with God, so they might but keep their sin. Mic. 6.7. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of Rams, or with ten thousands of Rivers of Oyl? All this for one transgression: A dear bought sin sure! but he'l not stick at more than all this: Shall I give my first born for my transgres­sion, [...] Scelus meum, my Rebellion; the fruit of my body for the [...] peccatum, my error, or mi­stake of my soul? Lord, if I may not compound with thee for greater provocations, yet I hope thou wilt compound with me for my lesser sins, the sin that my soul is loth to part with, is but a little one: I'le do thee as much service as shall make amends for such a peccatillo, let me keep but this small sin, and I'le stick at no­thing else. Wicked men will pretend well, and pro­mise fair, and plead hard, so they may but keep their sin, so God would but let them do what they have a mind to; but if not, they care not for hearing from him. Take notice of a doleful instance of this in a reserved remnant, wonderfully delivered from seve­ral sweeping Judgments; those Jews I mean that were preserved from the Sword, Famine and Pestilence, by which so many were destroyed, that had escaped being carryed captive to Babylon, and were delivered from being carryed captive by Ishmael: we might ratio­nally think, the sense of these mercies being so fresh, and present, they would be very much afraid of dis­pleasing God, and that they would not venture upon a known sin, to prevent danger. But see the story, Jer. 42.2.—6. they would have the Prophet tell them from God what they should do, when as they were before hand resolved what they would do. Yea, fur­ther, they are so impudent as to call God to be a true [Page 13]and faithful witness to what they nothing less intend­ed, than what they so solemnly professed and pretend­ed. They seemed resolved to do what ever God di­rected, were it never so disadvantageous and dange­ous to them: but when God forbids what they have a mind to, then Jer. 43.2. they say to Jeremy, Thou speakest falsly: the Lord our God hath not sent thee to say, Go not into Aegypt to sojourn there. Whereas the plain truth is, had they not been resolved even to pick a quarrel with God himself, they would never have proposed a case so expresly already determined in Scripture, as this was, Deut. 17.16. You shall not re­turn to Aegypt—forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto them, ye shall henceforth return no more that way. Whence the Hebrews have a saying, That it is lawful to dwell in all the world, save in the Land of Aegypt: and therefore the Prophet might easily tell them, whence it was they pickt quarrels with the message, Jer. 42.20, 21. Ye dissembled in your hearts when ye sent me unto the Lord your God, saying, pray for us unto the Lord our God: and according to all that the Lord our God shall say, so declare unto us, and we will do it. Verse 21. And now I have this day declar­ed it to you, but ye have not obeyed the voice of the Lord your God, nor any thing for the which he hath sent me to you. And when they were a little heated by the Prophets unwelcome message, they plainly tell him, Jer. 44.16. As for the word that thou hast spoken unto us in the name of the Lord, we will not hearken unto thee. When once it comes to this, 'tis time for God to tell them, Jer. 44.28. You shall know whose words shall stand, mine or yours. They shuffle all they can before they come to tell God to his face, they will not obey him, but God tells them all along what [Page 14]they must trust to, God will neither be flatter'd nor hector'd to any gratifying them in sin.

Proposition 4. Former threatnings and the execu­tion of them should excite us to repentance, though the Prophets that denounc't the one, and the people that felt the other are dead and gone long since. The Apostle Peter tells the Israelites of Sodoms case, 2 Pet. 2.6. how God turn'd the Cities of Sodom and Go­morrah into ashes, condemning them with an over­throw, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly. And the Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians of Israels case, 1 Cor. 10.5, 6, &c. With many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the Wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted, &c. Christi­ans, you have the Scripture Records in your hands, how God hath dealt with such sinners as you are: In the very sins you are guilty of, you have instances of Gods displeasure. Is God more favourable to sin now than formerly? If he be not so quick in temporal ven­geance, you have the more cause to fear eternal. God is infinitely holy, and cannot be less holy than he is, unless he cease to be God, which is utterly impossi­ble. There's no way of getting off the guilt of sin without repentance (in grown persons I mean) the blood of Christ, will not do it without actual repen­tance, Christ himself tells you, that unless you will take warning by others, your selves may be made an example to others, Luke 13.1, 5. Those against whom God seems most severe in this world, are not greater sinners than others: But except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

Proposition 5. The death of some Ministers should provoke us to make better use of all Ministers, living and dying. And the speaking to this, may serve for Application of all the rest.

1. The death of bad Ministers should at least startle us. I begin with these, because some take my Text to speak of false Prophets, which though I think they mistake, yet we may gather instruction from it, ere we reject it. Wicked Ministers are Master-builders of the Synagogue of Satan; instead of attempting to break the heart with piercing convictions, they daub it over with untempered morter: Scripture they wrack 2 Pet. 3.16. ( [...]) to speak what the Ho­ly Ghost never intended: and they will put pillows un­der their elbows, that they may sin at ease. God chargeth them with hunting of souls, Ezek. 13.18. but 'tis not to save the souls alive that come to them; 'tis to destroy them, not to save them: whereas Christ employes his faithful Ministers to be fishers of men, Luke 5.10. [...], to catch them alive, that they may live, and that with God unto eternity. Now for those that strengthen the hands of the wicked, by promising them salvation, though they turn not from their evil way, Ezek. 13.22. Those spiritually blind Guides, and those hood-winkt sinners that are guided by them, shall both fall remedilesly into Hell. You that love your sins, love such Ministers as will least disturb you in the prosecution of them, but how long can you, or any for you, hush your consciences asleep? How long will these pleasing dreams last? Those that help them to cast off the thoughts of death, cannot secure themselves from the stroke of it. Methinks 'tis considerable, God made that Prophet who seduced another, to be the very Herald of Gods displeasure for [Page 16]his being seduced by him, 1 Kings 13.18, 22. And Zedekiah that encouraged Ahab against the warning of Micaiah, must himself upon the issue of his false Prophecy seek to hide himself from Ahahs children and friends, who would seek to be revenged on him for the death of the King, and the overthrow of the Army, 1 Kings 22.25. And Hananiah that flattered the Jews with an end of their Babylonian Captivity in two years, shall not himself live full two months, Jer. 28.3, 4, 16, 17. I will commend to your considera­tion the Prophet Jeremy's complaint to God, and Gods answer to the Prophet, Jer. 14.13. Ah Lord God, Behold the Prophets say unto them, ye shall not see the sword, neither shall ye have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place. 15. Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the Prophets that prophesie in my name and I sent them not, yet they say, sword and famine shall not be in this Land, by sword and famine shall those Prophets be consumed. 16. And the people to whom they prophesie, shall be cast out in the streets of Jerusalem, because of the famine and the sword, and they shall have none to bury them, their wives, nor their sons, nor their daughters: for I will pour their wickedness upon them. God will not perform the deceitful promises of the Ministers of Satan, but he will certainly execute his threatnings against them: that their end shall be according to their works. 2 Cor. 11.15. In a word, when Hell swallowed up quick some wicked Ministers for flattering the people, that they were holy enough; and for charging those that were more strict, that they took too much upon them, the Text sayes, All Israel that were round about them, fled at the cry of them, for they said, lest the earth swallow us up also, Numb. 16.3.32, 33, 34.

2. Much more should we make it our business to improve the death of good Ministers. We read 1 Sam. 25.1. When Samuel dyed, all the Israelites were gathered together, and lamented him. Some suppose Saul himself was a Mourner at the Funeral. But if that be a mistake, I am sure this is not, 2 Kings 13.14. When Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he dyed, Joash (one of the wicked Kings of Israel, for they were none of them good) came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, Oh my Father, my Father, the Chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. Christians, 'Tis not enough to breathe out a sigh, or to squeez out a tear, 'tis not enough to come fee a faithful Minister buried, as those went to see Christ crucified, Luke 23.48. And all the people that came together to that sight, smote their breasts and returned.

Christians, I must crave leave to be a little more plain and particular with you, for your improvement of this present stroke, in the Lords taking from us this pre­cious man of God. The fence of Gods Vineyard (as to men) is but a tottering hedge, and God hath pull'd up one of the best stakes of it. The Wall of Christs Garden is at present (as to men) but a bowing Wall, and God hath taken down one of the best Butteresses of it. But why should I speak thus to you? I can tell you nothing but what you know better than I: and what I shall say, 'tis in order to the pressing of what I hope you will do better than I. The truth is I must needs break out into that of Nehemiah, Neh. 13.22. O my God, spare me according to the great­ness of thy mercy. I fall short of what I shall mention of him: and yet more short of what I shall press upon you. I have something particularly to [Page 18]charge-upon all sorts of hearers, and Oh that it may take impression, and have an abiding upon your hearts. 1 Chron. 29.18. O Lord God, keep this for ever in the imagination of the thoughts of the heart of thy people, and prepare their heart unto thee.

1. You that were the dear Relations of this eminent Saint, that have the first smart of the stroke, I would give you the first of my poor counsel. Was he such a Husband, that what ever is desirable in that relati­on, may be truly affirmed to have been found in him. Was his love to your person, and his love to your soul so exceeding great, that it makes your loss very hard to be born? I shall say no more but this; Let your eminently gracious carriage through the remainder of your life, be an exemplary demonstration, that you had such a help about twenty six years: and then I dare assure you, that you will have the comfortable sense of that suitable Promise, Isa. 54.5. Thy Maker is thine Husband, (the Lord of Hosts is his Name) and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel, the God of the whole earth shall he be called. To you that had such a Brother, that was more than a Brother, I would beg of you such an universal imitation, such a com­mendable emulation, that both God and man may through Christ call you every one by the name of Goode that you may be seriously good, blamelesly good, exemplarily good.

2. To you that have in a special manner sate un­der his Ministry, that through this golden Pipe re­ceived the teachings of God, and the influences of his Spirit: to you I commend but this one thing, I will not clog your memories, but press upon your consci­ences this one thing, Live over what you have heard from him: I doubt not, but should I discourse with [Page 19]any of you, he that could scarce speak sense in other things, would be an Orator in his commendations: and those that are best able to judge, and to ex­press their judgement in the most florid strain, would (not only modestly, but) heartily confess, his Mini­sterial worth was above their commendations. Chri­stians, you are the persons, of whom I would have it said concerning him, as 'twas said of the Corinthians concerning Paul, 2 Cor. 3.1, 2, 3. That your whole Congregation is a large Epistle of his commendati­ons, sent forth into the world, well known, and read of all that know you, that you are Christs Epi­stle written by his Ministry, that Christ by his preach­ing hath written the blessed characters of his grace in your hearts, that is legible in your lives, that what ever his Ministry was to others, the efficacy of it is seen among You. And as the blessed Apostle bespeaks the Philippians, Chap. 4.9. Those things which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in him, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.

3. To you that are of this Parish, though you have not that cause of complaint, which many have upon their change of Ministers, yet I cannot but charge these things upon you.

Remember how he came to you: wherein there was not only your importunity, but the determina­tion of it, as a weighty case of conscience, by di­vers Reverend Ministers of the City, to whom it was referred; that he was as it were torn away from a People, to whom his labours and conversa­tion was most acceptable: where when he preached his Farewell Sermon, there was not only a flood of tears; but the Lamentations of many were so loud, [Page 20]that his own voyce could scarcely be heard. Yet to you he came, as 'twas judged he was in conscience bound, for greater advantage of doing good here, than another might probably have; that you sitting under the Ministry of such a Son, of such a Father, [I will thank that man that will shew me such a Fa­ther and Son left in England] Oh what Christians was it expected you would be? Have you answered the expectation of God and man in this matter? If not: How are you able to think of it? and to stand under your own thoughts? that such an one, who many a time hath adventured to go into the Pulpit, when others judged it more proper he should have gone into his Bed? That such an one, who hath done so much, I cannot say how much for the saving of your souls? That such an one, who hath spent his strength, and life, and now layes his bones amongst you, shall stand forth in the last day, and say, Lord I could not perswade them to come to Christ, that they might have life? I did not do the work of the Lord negligently amongst them, their consciences can witness? How many of you that shall sleep with him in the same dormitory, will be afraid of him, when you shall rise together, and go together to Judgement? Could we suppose there might be a Dialogue between you in your passage from the Grave to the Barr, how would you then say,

Oh that we had taken your counsel; you spake many a good word from Christ to us, Cannot you now speak one good word to Christ for us? Would he not give you some such answer?

I told you that sin would be bitter in the latter end, but you would venture it: I told you, your good opinion of sin would not hold, but you would not be­lieve [Page 21]it: I told you of the account you must give, but you would not regard it: My Commission is ex­pired, I cannot make you one offer of Christ more, re­pentance might have helpt you, but now, what repen­tance you have will be part of your torment: I have dealt plainly with you before, and I dare not flatter you now, I cannot speak a word for you.

Oh what would you reply to this? Do you not think you should cry out in some such, but more doleful language, Oh pity me, dear Sir, pity me, I well remember that I have heard and seen you pity poor undone sinners, and in a most melting manner, you have almost turned my heart within me, to hear you plead with them, and with God for them, you have lost none of your Graces, the Judge is your friend, he will deny you nothing. Speak one word for me, that I may have a little more time: Oh that God would spare me a little. But alas, what would the answer be?

'Tis true neighbour what you say, I have pitied you heartily, and prayed for you many a night when you were fast asleep, or worse employed, I have pleaded with you, till you were angry at my impor­tunity, and I have begged mercy for you, as for mine own soul; but I can do so no more, I have not lost my Graces, but they must henceforth be im­ployed in another kind of exercise: I thankfully grant, the Judge is my friend, but I must withal tell you, I must justifie his denying mercy to those that refused it; every thing of Religion was bur­densome to you, and now you are going where you shall never be troubled with it more; you have no cause to complain of any but your self, you have had [Page 22]time, and then cared not how you spent it, and now the Judge hath sworn, that time shall be no longer: Have you therefore any more to say? Oh that I might be but once heard before I am eternally con­cluded by an irreversible sentence.

I grant all that you say, my conscience is now awake; I have other thoughts of sin and Christ, of Heaven and Hell, than ever I had while upon earth; might I have a little respite; I would spend every moment of it about the working out of my salva­tion: Oh that God would trust me once more, I confess I have broke all the promises I have made, but I have now other kind of experiences than ever I had before; and therefore by all the arguments that your self have used to me, with the utmost im­portunity that ever poor creature begged any thing, I beg that you would now befriend me; beg me but one hours respite, but one hour to plead for my poor soul unto eternity. To all this and a thou­sand times more that extream anguish will force from you, you can expect but such a kind of answer.

I grant your case is dreadful, and I cannot blame you to be earnest to alter it, but it is now too late; the time of life is the only time of grace and mercy: the experience your soul hath had during its separation from the body attests this: I know mise­ry cannot but cry out, though to no purpose, and 'tis inhumanity on earth to insult over those that are miserable, but I must tell you, those that are most compassionate cannot now pity you. Those that with tears and importunities beg'd mercy for you as for themselves, now praise God for his most ter­rible [Page 23]vengeance; and God himself will laugh at your destruction; your day is past, the gulf is fixt, (Luke 16.20.) and there's no remedy.

Be intreated therefore forthwith to consider of these things: I must tell you, that though I have supposed this transient Dialogue, yet unless while you live, you make sure work for Heaven, you will not afterwards have so long a respite for so short a Discourse: Behold NOW is the accepted time: be­hold NOW is the day of salvation.

4. And now, my Dear Brethren of the Ministry, know you not that there is a Seer and a great man faln this day in Israel, and we are weak, though under some enlargement of liberty? The Protestant interest needs such Champions: 'Twas a William Whi­taker that gave the Beast a deadly wound in the Chair, and this William Whitaker, whose work lay most in the Pulpit, was well able to stop the mouths of gainsayers. Practical godliness wants such a Bar­nabas, Acts 11.24. Who was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and Faith, and much people was ad­ded unto the Lord. And alas my Brethren we want such a Gospel-Bishop. Titus 1.7, 8, 9. Who was blameless as the Steward of God: not self-willed, not soon angry, not given to wine; no striker, not given to filthy lucre, but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate, holding fast the faithful word, &c. I do not remember that ever he came among us, but we were all ready to rise up and call him blessed, his presence was so re­freshing. Should I trace him from his Cradle to his Grave, you will find nothing but what was lovely. Gal. 1.15, 16. It pleased God to separate him from [Page 24]his Mothers womb, and to call him to his grace, there's none can name the time of his unregeneracy: and to reveal Christ to him, that he might preach Christ both in City and Countrey, and he consulted not with flesh and blood. In the fifteenth year of his age he was admitted in Emanuel Colledge; whose first Tutor gave him this direction, which he con­stantly observed, viz. To note every day what, and how much he studied, that in after times reflecting on his life past, he might repent of the time he had lost. While himself was a Pupill, he was as it were a Tutor to many Tutors of the Colledge, diverse of the Fellows desiring, and receiving direction from him in the Oriental Tongues. Dr. Holsworth then Master of the Colledge took such notice of him while a Freshman, that he gave him the Keyes of the Col­ledge-Library, and appointed him Tasks in transla­ting Eustatius upon Homer, wherein he did so much, as is scarce to be imitated. But why should I be so particular in the former part of his life? Let it suffice to say in short, His Piety, Learning, sweetness of Disposition, Candour and Ingenuity were so emi­nent, that he was loved and honoured of all that knew him; and was for his time one of the great­est Ornaments and Tutors of the University; I may say something of him like to what was said of Mo­ses, Acts 7.22. he was learned in all necessary learn­ing, and was, in all he undertook, a workman that needed not to be ashamed. In the twenty fourth year of his age he entred into the Ministry, and how he hath fulfilled it, you all know. He took the counsel the Apostle gave to Timothy, 1 Tim. 4.15. [...], Give thy self wholly to them. A Ministers whole [Page 25]being should be in his Ministry; his soul, his body, his times, all his graces, all his learning, all his studies, all his interests, all laid out in the work of THE Ministry, in the work of HIS Mi­nistry, in the work of HIS OTHER MENS Mi­nistry: His deserved fame for this is not confined within the narrow Seas. I think I may say, you cannot shew me throughout England such a Schola illustris for forreign Divines; his house was for many years full, seldome at any time empty, of Candidates in Divinity, who returned so accomplisht for their work, that I fear not to say, They, and the Congregations, where they exercise their Ministry, will bless God to eterni­ty for his non-such help. I could name other things, that would be excellencies in others, that were so natural to him, that should I mention them, I must present you with a Journal of his life: I will therefore single out but one particu­lar; he was such a Peace-Preacher, and Peace-Maker, where ever he came, that at Horn-Church where he was Minister, he ended a Controversie of many years standing, about which they had expended above a thousand pound. What's there­fore to be done by us, now, in our circumstances upon the consideration of such a pattern? My dear Brethren, I would be truly sensible of my unfitness to advise, but seeing this service is un­expectedly cast upon me, I would be your remem­brancer in these things.

  • 1. Let it be your great care, jointly and seve­rally, that the Church of Christ may be as little a loser, as it is possible by his re­moval. [Page 26]Oh that the Spirit of Elijah may be doubled upon our Elisha's, that as the fewer hands, the more work, so we may find, the more work, the more grace; the more skill, the more strength; that we may experience, God can save souls by few, as well as by many; by the Minor, as well as by the Major Prophets. Let me a lit­tle more then allude to 2 Cor. 3.11. that as his Ministry who is gone away from us was glorious, much more may yours that remain­eth, be glorious.
  • 2. Lets make it our business to be as much Ministers out of the Pulpit, as in it. The well discharge of the Ministry is an intolera­ble drudgery to a carnal heart: to have not only our Sermons, but our occasional discourses; to have not only our words, but our silence speak us Ministers of Christ; to be al­wayes upon our watch (if I may so speak) sleeping and waking, that is, to sleep no more than is necessary to our watchfulness; who that is not gracious (I had almost said) eminently gracious, can endure it? At all times, in all places, to imitate our great Shepheard, who was anointed with the Holy Ghost, and with Power, who went about doing good, and healing all that were op­pressed of the Devil: for God was with him, Acts 10.38. Brethren, to have all our Sermons smell of the Lamp, and that Lamp supplyed from the Spirit of Grace; certain­ly, [Page 27]'twas not without great cause, that the Apostle puts an additional Petition into his prayer for Timothy and Titus, beyond all the Petitions for all the Churches he wrote unto, 1 Tim. 1.2. 2 Tim. 1. Titus 1.4. 'Twas only grace and peace for others, 'twas Grace, MERCY, and Peace for Ministers, plainly shewing that they want Mercy, more than any others in the world.
  • 3. Let's industriously live up to what is by all expected from us. God, Angels, and men, and those both good and bad do all expect great things from us.
  • 1 Cor. 4.9. God hath made us a spectacle to the world. We are in a more special man­ner than others under the jealous eye of God.
  • Good Angels that observe us, one of them told John the Divine, I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy Brethren the Prophets, and there­fore do not any thing unbecoming thee, Rev. 22.9.
  • And when ever we stand before the Lord, bad Angels are ready at our right hand to re­sist us, and to accuse us for any corrupti­ons he sees in us, Zech. 3.1, 3.
  • Good men they are commanded to observe us as Copies to write after, Heb. 13.7. Re­member them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God, whose faith follow, &c. And we are commanded so to walk, 1 Pet. 2.12. that they which speak against us as evil doers, [Page 28]may by our good works that they shall behold, glorifie God in the day of visitation.
  • Brethren, some may speak more good of you, than you dare owne; Look upon it as Gods gracious Stratagem, to provoke you to live up to it: Some speak more ill of you, than you deserve; Look upon it as the necessary and only way to confute them by an heaven­ly conversation. Do nothing through strife or vain glory, Phil. 2.3, 4, 5. but with an universal conformity unto Jesus Christ.

Pardon me, dear Brethren, I have trangressed my bounds in thus speaking to you; but 'tis on­ly to set your own thoughts and graces on work, to do more than I can press you to.

5. A word to all that this day hear me. It is but a few minutes ere death will stop our mouths that we shall speak to you no more. Methinks, if those that lived above twice so many hundred years, as men do now scores, counted their life by dayes, Gen. 5.27. the time we live should be counted by hours, and then of the hour of our life, how few minutes, are remaining, and there­fore this is my advice to all.

  • 1. Make that use of Ministers while they live, that you will wish you had made of them when they are dead. We read Luke 17.20. the Pharisces demanded of Christ, when the King­dom of God should come: they expected the Mes­siah, but would not owne Christ to be He; they reckoned he would come in more stately man­ner; [Page 29]Christ was in their eye contemptible: but Christ saith, Verse 22. The dayes will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the dayes of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. q. d. As much as you overlook me now, you would be glad I would make the same offer hereafter. Luke 19.42. Oh that thou hadst known, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace: but now they are hid from thine eyes. How many are ready to fancy, could they have the scattered excellencies of all Mi­nisters meet in one, that the same man were a Moses for Prayer, a Paul for Preaching, a John Baptist for frighting sinners to repentance, a Bar­nabas for comforting drooping Converts; an Apollos for convincing gainsayers; a Jeremy for weeping over the incorrigible; in short, could you have such a one, as there's never a one in the world, then you would attend his Ministry, love his converse, take his counsell, follow his example, be glad of his help towards Heaven; though by the way, you are miserably mistaken in all this: for you have Moses and the Pro­phets, Christ and his Apestles, and faithful Mi­nisters that watch for your souls, as those that must give an account, if you benefit not by these, Christ tells you plainly, neither would you be perswaded, though a Saint from Hea­ven, or a damned Person from Hell should tell you what may be enjoyed, or what must be suf­fered in those places, Luke 16.31. Christians, the Lord hath told us, that the wisdom of God sends us those faithful Ministers who deserve the [Page 30]best, but receive the worst entertainment, Luke 11.49. Be not so proud, as to think your wis­dom could contrive a better method of salvati­on, or fitter persons to publish it: make use of the helps God affords you, while they live, that you may not be ready to go to the Devil to speak with that Samuel when dead, whom you slighted while alive.
  • 2. Make that use of Ministers while you are well, that you will wish you had made of them when you are sick. Oh what alteration doth one hours heart-sickness make in mens thoughts! Then those that scarce ever spake of a Minister, un­less with scorn, that scarce ever spake to a Mi­nister, unless (at best) in complement, yet when they apprehend they shall dye, then send for a Minister, then they will do any thing, when the truth is, they are fit for nothing; then they will hear you speak of salvation, could you but tell them how they might be saved by miracle, to have a happy death, out of a wicked life: then they will tell you, how holy they will be if they live; though nothing more ordinary, than for those who repent only when they are sick, to repent of their repentance, so soon as they are well. Now therefore in time of health and strength make use of your Ministers, that you may not fruitlesly mourn at the last. When your flesh, and your body are consumed, and say, how have I hated instruction, and my heart despised reproof? and have not obeyed the voyce of my Teachers, nor enclined mine ear to [Page 31]them that instructed me? Prov. 5.11, 12. Chri­stians, we are Ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us; we now pray you in Christs stead be ye reconciled to God, 2 Cor. 5.20. We would give you all the help we can, that you may not receive the Gospel of Christ in vain, delay not to set about the things that accompany salvation one moment longer; for behold, now is the accepted time, behold now is the day of salvation, 2 Cor. 6.2. Now live as those that heartily believe, it is not long that either we shall Preach, or you shall hear the Word of Salvation. Hearken therefore while it is called to day, lest any of you be hard­ned through the deceitfulness of sin.
THE END.

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