A SOVERAIGN ANTIDOTE AGAINST THE FEAR of DEATH: OR, A CORDIAL FOR A DYING CHRISTIAN. BEING Ten Select MEDITATIONS, wherein a Christians Objections are An­swered, and his Doubts and Fears Re­moved, and many convincing Motives and Arguments are laid down to perswade him to a willing Submission to Gods Will, whether he be sent for by a Natural or a Violent Death. By EDWARD BƲRY formerly Minister of Great Bolas in Shropshire.

For me to live is Christ, and to dye is gain, Phil. 1.21.
I am willing not only to be bound but to dye for Christ, Act. 21.13.
For I am in a strait between two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ which is better, &c. Phil. 1.23.

London, Printed by J. A. for Thomas Parkhurst, at the Bible and three Crowns at the lower end of Cheapside, near Mercers-Chappel, 1681.

To the Worshipful PHILIP FOLEY of Prestwood, Esquire; One of the Members of the present PARLIAMENT: AND TO THE Vertuous and truely Religious, The Lady PENELOPE, Daughter to the Right Honourable the Lord Paget, his pious Consort: E. B. wisheth increase of Grace here, and Glory hereafter.

Worshipful and Right Honourable,

I Have made bold here to present you with a Discourse of Death, or rather with a Discourse with my self concerning Death. I am not ignorant that 'tis an un­pleasing Theam to declaim upon before many of the great ones of the times, who fear [Page]Death more than Hell it self, as believing it to be a Reality; when God and Devil, Heaven and Hell, they would believe are Fictions: The apprehension of Death puts them into a cold sweat; it makes them tremble, not much unlike to Belshazzars hand-writing upon the wall; Dan. 5.5, 6. Mat. 8.29. and whosoever minds them of it, doth but torment them before the time; but such as wink, and then conceit Death doth not see them, will ere long find their mistake. But had I imagined you had been of this Gang, I should not have prefixt your Name to these Papers: They are intended for a Cordial against the fear of Death, but such as those should be perswaded to fear it more. But the Image of God, and those divine qualifi­cations which accompany salvation, appear­ing in you, I thought these Meditations, nay nor Death it self, would not startle you. For let me tell you, without flattery, that there are some qualifications in you that draw the eyes of the world after you, yea draw out their affections to you; such as Justice, Tem­perance, Prudence, Charity, &c. These, as they are rare in our times, in persons of your rank, so they are lovely; but there are other qualifications, such as Piety and Holiness, the Image of God, and the Graces of his Spirit, that make you lovely both to God and good men; these the World take no [Page]notice of, at least love not in you; for they [...]eem Grace and Holiness no better than [...]renzie or Madness: But the time is coming, [...]e greatest Gallants would be glad to be [...]und in this Garb, which now is grown so [...]uch out of fashion; they are now, like Da­ [...]ocles, sporting themselves amidst their [...]inties, and priding themselves in their [...]incely Attendants, but forget the Sword [...]at hangs over their heads, ready every mo­ [...]nt to end their dayes together with their [...]ner. But though God hath given you [...]ndance of these outward things beyond [...]ny others, yet you take them not, as they [...]e, for your portion, but say of them as [...]ther of the Cardinals Hat when offered the Pope, God shall not put me off with [...]h poor triffes; or as Galeacius, that [...]lian Marquess, when offered great riches forsake his Religion, Let their Money [...]ish with them, that hold all the Wealth [...]he world worth one dayes communion [...]h Christ. You seek after better Riches; [...] as Solomon found out by Experience, Eccles. 1.14. at all was Vanity and Vexation of spi­ [...] so you can write a Probatum est upon [...] I know you lye under great Temptati­ [...], but I hope Gods grace to you (as it was the Apostle) will be sufficient; 2 Cor. 12.9 and 'tis small measure of Grace will make you [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page]digest Prosperity without a surfeit. I spea [...] not these things to lay a stumbling-block o [...] pride before you; I stand in my own appre­hensions too near the brink of Eternity to b [...] guilty of this folly, and can say, 'tis your Hu­mility that makes you lovely in my eyes: [...] know the way to throw you down, is to lif [...] you up; and whosoever brings fuel to th [...] fire, is your Enemy and not your Friend [...] but seeing your works praise you in th [...] gates, Pro. 31.31. as Solomon saith of the good Hou [...] wife, why should not I and others praise yo [...] for them, as he doth her; that God may [...] glorified, your hands strengthened, and othe [...] encouraged by your Example to do the lik [...] hoping you will shine more and more unto t [...] perfect day, Pro. 4.18. untill you come to shine as t [...] Sun in the Kingdom of your Father? Mat. 13.4.

Now there are two or three things whi [...] you may desire to be satisfied in, in order [...] this Dedication: As first, Why I write up [...] this Subject? And to this I answer: That Discourse of this nature can never be out season; for as soon as we are born, we a [...] subject to die: And as 'tis suitable for [...] Times, so also for all Persons, none [...] exempted; and we have no greater work doe, than to prepare for Death: 'Tis g [...] therefore for us, 1 Cor. 15.31. with the Apostle, to d [...] daily; that is, every day be expecting Dea [...] [Page]and preparing for it. But more particularly, God was pleased to exercise me for a long [...]ime together with various distempers, in­somuch that I despaired of life, and received in my self the sentence of death, and was disabled for other concerns; and although my distempers were not so violent as to [...]hreaten a sudden dissolution, yet being so complicated, and continuing so long without check, notwithstanding all the means that were used, and I felt Nature so fast decay, that I thought God had spoken by this Pro­vidence to me, as sometime to Hezekiah, 2 King. 20.1. Put thy house in order, for thou shalt die and not live: And it being my Cly­masterical year, I thought it would prove fatal to me, as it had done to many old per­sons; and these apprehensions were much heightned by the continued rumors we then had, and still have, of Popish Plots, and [...]ur intended Massacre, and a little fastened also by Melancholy Conceits; so that be­tween the one and the other, I raised this Conclusion, My dayes were cut off, and my life drew near to a period; but whether a natural disease, or a violent hand would do my work, I was at a loss: Sometimes I con­cluded for the one, and sometime for the other, according as my disease or our weekly News prevailed. However, this put me on [Page]to have more serious thoughts of Death and Judgment than I usually have had; and I thought it my Interest to make preparation for death, yea for the worst of deaths; and therefore I did often ask my self this questi­on, What if Death should come? What if I should be brought to the Stake for Christ? what comfort could I find? And consider­ing my memory was treacherous, being much disabled by my distemper, lying much in my head, I wrote down the Answer as my mind dictated; and when God gave me any lu­cida intervalla, any breathing times, I lost few of them, but can say with the Philoso­pher, Nulla dies sine linia, no day pass'd but I did something; and thus in a little time the materials for this Structure were ga­thered together; yet in a rude, confused and disorderly Chaos, suitable to my distract­ed Thoughts and disturbed Fancy, suited also to my end, to have recourse thereto in my necessity. But when through Gods bles­sing upon my endeavour, those fogs were a little blown over, and my bodily strength a little restored, I began to think that the fear of Death was not my distemper alone, but an Epidemical disease; yea that some, and those not of the worser sort, through the fear of death are all their life-time subject to bondage; Heb. 2.15. and considering also the pre­sent [Page]at state of the Nation, which in the eyes [...] prudent persons is not free from danger [...] Foreign Invasion, or Domestick Insur­ [...]ction, I began to think an undertaking of [...]is nature might not be unsuitable, and to [...]any not unwelcome; and hereupon I review­ [...] my scattered Papers, set them in order, [...]d polished them, if not as I should, yet as [...] could, presuming a good Stomack (and for [...]ch I write) will digest wholsome meat, [...]ough not modishly drest: Those that are wil­ [...]ng to live holily as well as dye happily, to [...]ve to the Lord, and if cal'd to it, to die [...]r the Lord, yet are not without their [...]ears and doubts, these be they that I would [...]nimate; but those that esteem the appear­ance of Vertue better than the Vertue it self, I have here nothing to say to them, let them also think the appearance of Hap­piness better than Happiness and Heaven it [...]lf. However, my end drawing near, as I [...]ay without the Spirit of Prophesie foresee, I was willing to leave upon record what my present thoughts of death are, what I found benefit by, when in mine own apprehension I lay upon my death-bed, and what I hope may comfort others in the like condition. If it be objected, that many learned Treatises [...]are written by able Divines upon this Sub­ject, 'tis granted; and yet notwithstanding [Page]all those great Lamps, many are in th [...] dark, and who knows but my small Taper may be useful to light some one or other in some dark corner of the house? the Lesson is not sufficiently taught, that is not sufficient­ly learnt: Those that have no better, may make use of this; those that have, may be­stow this upon some one that wants it.

But you may demand, why I prefix your Name to these unpolisht lines? Truly, those that know you and your worth, and know me and my Engagements to you, need not wonder that I dedicate a Book to you, but ra­ther that I did it no sooner. That the present is so mean, the reason is, I had no better at hand, and I hope you will accept the will for the deed, and herein imitate God him­self, Exod. 35.5, 6. who accepted of a little Goats hair, where there was neither Gold nor Silver to be had [...] I was also encouraged hereunto by your rea­dy and thankeful acceptance of some for­mer discourses from me; and therefore have imitated herein that which is fabled of Pan the Rural God, who coming before Apollo to shew his Art, played upon his Oaten Reed, and being at first uncontrolled, he took courage, and plaid louder and louder: so it fares with me, when one check from you would have spoil'd my Musick. But that I present you with a Book of this nature, my Answer [Page]is ready: Discourses of this nature are never [...]ut of season. Solomon tells us, Eccl. 7.2. 'Tis better go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting, for this is the end of all flesh, and the living will lay it to heart. 'Tis true, you are in the flower of your age, and your bones are full of marrow, Job 21.24. yet may you be cut off in your full strength; and Solomon adviseth such to remember their Creator in the dayes of their youth, Eccles. 12.1. & 11.8. before the evil days come, before the dayes of darkness come, for they are many. My design in this Dedication is not that you should pro­tect it; if it be Truth God will protect it, if not, man cannot do it; let it therefore stand or fall accordingly: neither desire I hereby to escape the just reproach due to me for the ill handling hereof, yet would I de­sire that those that have death in their eyes, as I had, and not those upon the Ale­bench, that put far from them the evil day, may be my Judges. Neither is it because I think you have more need of such a discourse than others have, that I send it to you: I know you too well to have such a conceit; but it is to testifie the great respect I have for you, and hereby to acknowledge those debts that I cannot pay, when I am not able to give you any thing worthy your self. I would wil­lingly further you in your great design, and [Page]put a weapon into your hand against you come to fight against your last enemy, Death; and yet I send you this as a Tenant doth a present to his Landlord, not to relieve his wants, but to testifie his dependance, and as an ear­nest of his future service. I know you need not with Philip King of Macedonia to have a Monitor to mind you of your Mortality: I send it, as a bad Debtor when he cannot pay the Stock, he payes the Interest, or at least acknowledges the debt, and begs a long­er time of payment; so 'tis with me. Fain would I avoid the title of Ingratefull, which sounded so harshly in the ears of the Heathen, that they thought it to be the worst of sins; Ingratum dixeris, omnia dixeris. I look up­on you to be well skill'd in those mortifying Meditations, and as deeply learned in self-resignation of your will to Gods, as most are. The ground of my confidence is this; when God in a little time had made you both Fa­therless, (a loss which Thousands in England have cause to bewail) and as if this cup had not been bitter enough, took away about the same time your only Son, which might have been the staff of your age, the stay of your Family, and the preserver of your Name; though you were deeply sensible of this great breach God had made upon you, yet carried your selves with so much moderation, Christian [Page]Fortitude, Discretion and Patience, without the least murmuring, repining, or shew of dis­content, but with chearful submission to the [...]ill of God, that I clearly saw death was [...]o stranger to you, and that you had learnt [...]he Apostles lesson, 1 Thess. 4.13. Not to mourn as men [...]ithout hope for those that sleep in the [...]ord: you imitated David, who when his [...]n was living, fasted and prayed, but [...]hen dead, 2 Sam. 12.18. held his tongue and said no­ [...]ing, because God did it: Or said as [...]b, at the death of all his children, Job 1.21. [...]he Lord gave, and the Lord hath ta­ [...]en away, Blessed be the Name of the [...]ord. To mourn for our Relations is doubt­ [...]ss our duty, to mourn immoderately (as [...]achel) and will not be comforted, is doubt­les;s a sin, and implyes we think God hath [...]onged us in taking away our Relations without our leave; or serves to bespeak us [...] have more wisdom than God hath, and [...] know better than he when 'tis best for [...]hem to dye, and when their work is done. these considerations made me think these Meditations would not startle you, nay your own Death would not affright you; and yet considering that death is an enemy to Nature, and that you were Flesh as well as Spirit, and though the Spirit were willing yet the Flesh [...]s weak, I thought it would not be unsuit­able [Page]to put this weapon into your hand, in this conflict between the Flesh and the Spirit; for death sometimes comes with a grisly look, and terrible aspect: for, as a Heathen saith, of all Terribles Death is most terrible; and therefore the Scripture calls him the King of terrors, Job 18.14 and experience shews that he is a terror to Kings: Psal. 55.4. David complains, the ter­rors of death compassed him about; and the apprehensions of death struck a greater than David into an agony: Christianum agere non est hominem exuere; when we become Christians, we cease not to be men. Now though we cannot quite root out the fear of death, yet Christians may and many doe much abate it, yea and chuse it rather than life upon any sinful terms; those under great sufferings refused deliverance, Heb. 11.36 that is, upon any unlawful terms. The love of Christ in the Martyrs was hotter than the fire they burnt in; yea this made Paul willing not only to be bound, but to dye for Christ; yea desire to be dissolved and to be with him: so that although I think you have not so much need of a work of this nature as many have, yet I cannot think 'tis altogether useless; for you lye under greater temptations than many others, and have stronger gusts of wind to grapple with than low Shrubs; and haply Christ may cost you more than others, have­ing [Page]more to lose; and the world breaks many a match between Christ and the Soul: those that are rich fall into temptation; 1 Tim. 6.9 Luk. 18.23 remember the young man that parted with Christ upon this ground, and Demas that chose the world before him. 'Tis easier to steer a small Vessel in a storm than a great Ship, this may be thrust into any Creek or Harbour, where a tall Ship cannot ride: Cantabit vacuus co­ram latrone viator: Oh Death,Ecclus. 41.1.how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that lives at ease in his Possessions, and hath pro­sperity in all things! We may say of you as the people did of David, 2 Sam. 18.3. If many of us fall, it signifies little; the Enemyes great de­sign lyes against such as you; those that fall high, their fall will be the greater, and a great deal of Grace is necessary to support a great man: Till a man can see an empti­ness in the Creature, and a fulness in Christ, and enough in Heaven to, make amends for all his losses upon Earth, he will not be brought to lose all for Christ. It was no small measure of Grace that made Galeacius teave the Marquesdom of Vico, and come to Ge­neva for the Gospel sake. I know we live in such times as Salvian did, when Religion and Godliness are accounted a shame to Gentility, and a blemish to Nobility; and those very Ingredients, let their other quali­fications [Page]be what they will, will render the worlds greatest Favourites unlovely in their eyes. 1 Sam. 2.30. But those that honour God, God will honour, and those that despise him shall be lightly esteemed. St. Bernard tells So­phia, That it was a greater honour that God made her one of a few, than that she descended from Noble Parents; the one was Gods distin­guishing Badge, the other a common favour. Solomon tells us, A vertuous Woman, her [...] price is above Rubies, and no doubt a ver­tuous Man is as precious; but 'tis a good con­junction where Grace and Greatness meet, for although a Diamond hath the same vertue o [...] the Dunghill as in a Gold Ring, or the richest Cabinet, yet not so seemly: Grace loseth not it Vertue in a Country Clown, yet is it mo [...] ­splendid in a great man; and such a one thu [...] qualified, is capable of bringing more Glor [...] to God, and doing more good in his Genera­tion, than a poor man can: Religion in grea [...] persons, as 'tis most Rare, so 'tis most Con­spicuous; 'tis like a Beacon upon an hill, eve [...] eye is upon it; and the Country imitates th [...] Court: Qualis Rex, talis Grex. Greatne [...] makes men capable of doing God more work or the Devil more service: The great [...] need not be ashamed of going in th [...] Fashion, for Grace is the fairest Flower [...] their Garland; for none wear those Jewel [Page]but the Spouse of Christ. It was more ho­nour to David to be Gods Servant than Israels King; 'tis more honour to be in Co­venant with God, than to have Royal blood run in our Veins; to be an Heir of Hea­ven, than to be Heir to a Kingdom; to be the Children of God, than to be the Chil­dren of Nobles: Isai 43.4. since thou wast precious in my sight (saith God) thou wast ho­nourable: For Nobility it self is mortal, and many Noble Houses and Families dye and come to nothing, but Grace is longer liv'd: My desire is, that seeing God hath written Va­nity upon the Creatures, that you may be able to read it, and so may hang loose to the World; and so use it as not to abuse it. And seeing Death is certain, and the time of Death uncertain, that you will learn to dye daily, that when Death comes you may look upon it without Horror or Di­straction: In the mean time, Heb. 12.1, 2. that you may run the Race that is set before you, yea, so run that you may obtain; and with Christ endure the Cross and despise the Shame, 1 Cor. 9.24. that you may sit down with him in his Kingdom of Glory; that you may keep your Garments unspotted in the World, and have your Loyns girded, your Lamps alwayes Burning, and you your selves in a Centinel posture; that at what hour so­ever [Page]your Lord and Master comes, you may be found Watching: my desire is, that while you live you may shine as Stars of the first Magnitude in this our dark He­misphere, that your Lives may be exempla­ry, and your last Works better than your first; and when you shall be gathered unto your Fathers, it may be in a good Old Age, as a shock of Corn in its season; that while you live, you may shine as the Sun in his strength, until you set in the Infi­nite Ocean of endless Bliss, and lye for ever in the Bosom of your dear Redeemer, there to receive a Reward for all your pains and labour of love; and that those tender Plants which God hath given you, may be watered with the dew of Heaven, and may become Trees of righteousness, even Pillars in the House of God; and that in your Family there may never want those that may own Christ in sincerity: And that the remaining part of your time, Phil. 3.13, 14. 1 Tim. 6.12. forgetting what is past, you may reach forth unto those things that are before, pressing to­wards the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus; and fight the good fight of Faith, and lay hold on eternal Life: These are my Desires, and shall be my Prayers; and if these fol­lowing Meditations conduce any thing to [Page]the furtherance hereof, I have my desire; and who knows but some poor drooping Soul may receive benefit by it? the Seed may spring when the Seedsman is dead. And thus much in Answer to the Question, Why I Dedicate it to you? If you demand, why I prefix both your Names? I will answer with Jerom in the like case, Jungat Epistola quos junxit conjugium, charta non divi­dat quos Christi nescit amor; God hath made you not only one Flesh, but also one Heart, and it is the concern of the one as well as of the other: And thus having spoken to you jointly, give me leave to speak a few words to you severally and apart.

Sir, I shall first Address my self to you, whom your Countrey hath made choice of to serve in Parliament, and have intrusted you with their Estates, Liberties, Privi­ledges, Lives and Religion; Oh! what an Ingagement lyes upon you to be faithful in your Trust; and what a blurr have some in that relation brought upon themselves of late dayes? that for private Interest have betrayed their Trust: But Sir, those that know you, are free from these fears; you may easily see what confidence they have in your Fathers Family, when all his three Sons, besides Sons in Law, are chosen and Intrusted, as also other Relations, not only [Page]in this, but in the last Parliament also: Go on Sir therefore couragiously, and the Lord will prosper you; seek to set a stop to the deluge of Sin that is breaking in upon us, or otherwise God will pour out a deluge of Judgments also; God will stand by those that stand for him, and though you may lose something for him, you shall never lose by him: 'Tis your Duty to deny your self, and private Interest, when it comes in competition with Gods Cause and your Countreys good: Put your shoul­ders to the work, and if England be not reform'd, you shall not lose your Reward; Who knows but God will honour you now chosen with the Work, at least you shall be honoured for the work? The time was, Jerusalem had been spared had there been one man to stand in the gap to execute Judgment and Justice in it: Jer. 5.1. &c. There is now an opportunity put into your hand, a Ta­lent to improve, and God stands by to see how it is improved: Numb. 21.18. It is left upon recor [...] to the honour of the Rulers in Israel, that the Princes digged the Well, and the Noble [...] digged it with their staves: These stave are imagined to be Ensigns of honour, which here they employed to a publick good; an [...] 'tis a brand laid upon the Nobles of th [...] Tekoits, Nehe. 3.5. That they laid not their Neck [...] [Page]to the work of the Lord; and I wish none of our Nobles bear that reproach. My desire is, that you be not only blessed, but a blessing in your Generation; and though your pains be great, and your cost not small, yet remember whose the work is, and who will be your Pay-master; one who can make up all your losses, and whose is all that you expend in this service; and imitate herein your dear Father, who was a pub­lick spirited man, and for works of Piety and Charity, hath left such an Example, that I despair ever to see the like done by any one in those parts of England; he is now reciving his reward, and I doubt not but he hath left a Blessing behind upon his Posterity, which his Children and Childrens Children shall inherit to many Generations.

And to you, Madam, one word more and I have done: Though you are a Branch of a Noble Family, yet are you much more En­nobled by your second Birth, yea more no­bly Born than of Flesh and Blood; for God is your Father, Jerusalem which is above your Mother, Christ your elder Bro­ther, yea the Glorified Saints your Brethren and Sisters: so that you are more happy in your New Birth than eminent in the first; A vertuous woman (saith Solomon) her price is above Rubyes: The Children of Prin­ces [Page]and Nobles are the Foundation-stones whereupon Kingdoms are founded, Pro. 31.31. but had you not been polished by God himself, you had never been one of those choice Stones that must beautifie the New Jerusalem: My desire is, that God will give you more Sons, for those two which you have so free­ly lent to the Lord; at least give you a Name better than that of Sons and Daugh­ters: When Death comes, it must be Grace and not Titles of Honour that then will dignifie you; and Humility and Self-deni­al, which many think now unbeseeming [...] Gentleman, will be greater Ornaments that Jemms and Jewels, lofty Titles and Coat [...] of Arms; though these are not to be con­temned, yet the other are to be prefered Now if these poor Meditations conduce an [...] thing to the increasing of your Grace, th [...] strengthning of your resolution to live in th [...] Lord, and to the Lord, and if he require it, [...] dye for the Lord, I shall think my pains we bestowed, and my time well spent: And the it may be so, is the desire, and shall be th [...] Prayer of him who is, and resolves to be,

Yours to his Power to serve you, Edward Bury

To the READER.


WHoever thou art, I here pre­sent thee with a bundle of my Thoughts, when I apprehend­ed my self standing upon the brink of Eternity: What entertainment they will find with thee I know not, or what thy present thoughts of Death are I cannot tell; but had thy Soul stood in my Souls stead, when I apprehended Death at the door, if thy Eyes had been opened, and thy Conscience awakened, haply thy thoughts might have been like mine; especially if thou believe there is a God, a Devil, a Heaven, and a Hell, that the Soul is Im­mortal, and the Scripture the Word of God, (pardon the supposition, for some deny the whole, and most men live as if they did not believe it;) but whatever thy present thoughts be, if thou art unregenerate, thy future thoughts will shew thee thy folly, and thou wilt have time enough to wish thou hadst neglected thy Ease, Honour, Plea­sure, Grandure, yea, thy life it self, to have [Page]made thy peace with thy God, and made preparation for Eternity; for this prepara­tion would have made thee dye never the sooner, nor the neglect of it have made thy life the longer; whether thou art prepared or no, Death will make a very great change, when Eternity is an addition to thy weal or woe: If prepared, Death cannot hurt thee, for it hath lost his sting; if not, it cannot benefit thee, for it terminates thy happi­ness, and dates thy misery; the godly shall never have no more Suffering, because they have no more sin; the wicked, as they are never weary of sin, so God will never be weary of punishing: Haply thou maist live in great misery here, and thinkest Death will set thee at liberty, but if thou art in an unregenerate condition, 'tis but leaping out of the Frying-pan into the fire, from Temporal Troubles to Eternal Tor­ments, which are ten thousand times worse; and is it not then time to be serious? and haply thou art young and strong, and think­est thou maist live many a fair day yet; but what assurance hast, when younger and stronger are gone before thee? Job 21.23, &c. In Job's days such as thee have dyed, and so they do still; One dyes (saith he) in his full strength, being wholly in peace and quietness, his Breasts are full of Milk, and his bones [Page]are moistned with Marrow: And another dyes in the bitteeness of his Soul, and never eateth with pleasure: Some dye in the Ze­nith or heighth of their perfection, in the highest degree of worldly Prosperity, ha­ving abundance of good blood and fresh spirits, even compassed in their Fat, Psal. 17.10 as the Psalmist hath it; for a full Belly ma­ny times makes a foul heart, and most weeds grow in the fattest soil; and experi­ence teacheth, that present health and strength are no assurance of a long life; Amos 6.3. think not because thou puttest far from thee the evil day in thy thoughts, that therefore 'tis really at a great distance: It follows not that because thou winkest and wilt not see Death, therefore Death is blind and cannot see thee: No, No, he is stealing upon thee at unawares, tacito pede, with a swift but silent foot, and if he arrest thee before thou hast made thy peace with the Credi­tor, Mat. 5.26 thou wilt be cast into Prison till thou hast paid the utmost Farthing. Our time-wasting Gallants that spend their time idly, or worse than in doing nothing, will one day find the Bill of their accounts many fa­thoms longer than they imagined; then they will set a greater estimate upon time than now they do, and willingly would they redeem their lost hours (which now [Page]they know not how to pass away) at a high rate, but it will not be; now they set Death at defiance, and meet it half way, and ha­sten it by their Intemperance, Drinking, Whoring, or shorten their lives in a Drunken Fray, or Whores Quarrel; but when Death comes in good earnest, Dan. 5.5. it will seem as terrible as Belshazzers hand-wri­ting upon the wall, make their hearts to ake, and their joints to tremble; especi­ally did they know the consequences of Death, they would not be such prodigals of their lives, or did they mind their work which they have to do, they would not be such Prodigals of their time they should do it in, and would think it went away fast enough without driving: Oh! how a little time will alter these mens Judgments then their Feathers and Fancies will be laid aside, when they stand upon Christs left hand, and all their wealth will not purchase one drop of water to cool their tongues: 'Tis not then a Baalams wish will serve turn, nor a Lord have Mercy upon me, Mal. 7.22. & 25.11. will do their work; Lord, Lord, open to us, will not prevail; those are not like to receive the reward of the Righteous, that persecute them for righ­teousness sake: Then they will befool them­selves as fast as now they befool others wi­ser than themselves: Then they shall change [Page]their minds, and sigh for grief, and say, Wisd. 5.3. &c. This is he that we sometimes had in derision, and in a Parable of Reproach; we Fools thought his life Madness, and his End without honour; now he is reckoned among the Children of God, and his Portion is among the Saints, &c. What hath Pride profited us? or what hath Riches with our Vaunting brought us? all these things are passed away like a Shadow, and as a Post that passeth by, &c. Then our proudest Gallants willingly would be found in the garb or Fashion now they disdain and deride: Now they call those Fools that deny themselves, their Ease, their Pleasure, or Carnal Interest for Conscience sake; but then they will befool themselves for choos­ing Pebbles before Pearls, Earth before Heaven, and the Creature before God; for these things will prove but a pitiful Portion when there is most need. Now they think Heaven is held at a dear rate, and they will not come up to the price; but then they'l know that it was sold at a cheap rate, when they parted with it for a lust, and that the World was bought too dear when they gave the Soul for it: Mat. 16.26. Now like Damocles they feast themselves without fear, and see not the Sword that hangs over their heads, ready every moment to pierce into their Brains, and end their lives with their din­ner. [Page]Now they prize their honour more than their honesty, and consider not, that if the foundation of honour be not laid in Ver­tue, the building cannot stand; for those that lay the foundation in a shadow, the build­ing is but like a Castle built in the air, and will soon fall about their Ears; but that honour is lasting where God is the top of the Kin, and Religion lyes at the bottom.

But to pass over this, I shall give you some account of my present undertaking. Some there are that think Books of this nature are unseasonable, especially to our youthful Gallants, because it spoils their Mirth, and they have time enough to think of such things hereafter; and they cannot endure to have their Enemy brought upon the Stage, for this spoils the Play: But to this I answer, A young Sheep-skin is brought to the Market as soon as an old; and I see not but the Gentry die as well as others; yea many by Intemperance hasten their own death; and when the Disease is common, why should not the Remedy? 'Tis like enough these will not have time to read this, from their necessa­ry Recreation; but this is no fault of mine, 'tis doubt they will want time for other things also: but those that will not give themselves the trouble, 'tis doubt [Page]will ere long meet with trouble of ano­ther nature. Others may think the Book useless, because many have treated upon this Subject: To these I answer, The more shame they are practised no better. It was indeed Solons complaint, That there were many good Laws made, but one was wanting to put all the rest in execution: So many good Rules for Life and Death are published, but could a Book be published to perswade men to live by these Rules, it would be a happy work. I am not so vain or simple to think this may prove such a piece, yet I know not what better Subject to treat of, that is more likely to prevail, than a Treatise of Death, to per­swade men to practise the Rules of Life: for those that put far from them the evil day, are most like to neglect their daily Duty; and what hitherto is written, seems too little to effect the work, and therefore I have added my Testimony to the rest. I know 'tis easie for Momus to quarrel and find fault with another mans Tale, when perhaps he may tell it worse himself; 'tis easier to find fault with another, than to be free from faults himself: Those that have done better, or will do better, I shall give them their due respect; for others, I shall not value their censure; what I have [Page]done hath pleased my self, and the work was undertaken for my self, and I hope I shall not displease any sober or discreet person; but for those that God, his Word, his Works, or his Providences cannot please, I neither hope nor desire to please: what I have done is intended for a Cordial for those that have Death in their eyes, and the Fear of God in their hearts, and these usually have better Stomachs than to nauseate their meat, because not modishly drest; those I mean that have Gods beauty­spots, not the Worlds upon them; I mean Grace in the heart, not Spots on the face, to adorn them and make them lovely in the eyes of God and good men; 'tis these I speak to: As for those that take the World for their Portion, and therefore are loth to leave it, I shall not envy them, but pity them, their Portion is little worth; for Nobleness of Blood, Greatness of Birth, Crowns and Kingdoms, shine not so bright as the Image of God in poor Lazarus at the Gate, or Job upon the Dunghil; for Grace is better than a thousand Escutche­ons, for these are but empty badges of Ho­nour.

I have only two sorts of persons here to speak to: The first are poor Desponding Christians, that though they have right to and [Page]Interest in Christ and Glory, yet are under some black and direful apprehensions of Death; and though they would willingly live to God, and if required dye for God, yet are not out of fear of Death: To these I have spoke unto most in the Book, and and therefore shall say little to them in the Epistle: The other sort are such, that though they would dye the Death of the Righteous, and have the righteous mans reward, yet are they loth to live their-lives; they would have the wages, but none of the work; they would dye happily, but will not live holily; they would land in Heaven, but they sail the contrary way; they will not go into the Vineyard, and yet expect their penny at night: such as these haply are afraid of Death, and well they may, for it will speak no good to them, but evil, as Ahab said of Micaiah: Now I have said but a little to those in the Book, for it was not my business, and therefore I shall speak the more to them in the Epistle; not that I have any comfort for them in this Condition, but only this, that there is a possibility to get out, and therefore would willingly lend them my hand to help them [...]ut; and therefore I shall reach out some Directions, which if they take, they will [...]e capable of the comfort the Book it self [Page]holds forth, and the Directions are these that follow.

1. Direction. If you would look Death in the Face with comfort, get your Corrup­tions mortified, and the power of sin abated, for til then Death will be an Enemy: there is nothing that makes Death terrible, but unpardoned unmortified sin; an honest man can look the Judge in the face without fear, when the Malefactor trembles. Paul could triumphantly insult over it: 1 Cor. 15.54, 55, 56, 57. Oh Death where is thy sting? Oh Grave where is thy Victory? the sting of Death is sin, and the strength of sin is the Law, but thanks be to God who hath given us the Victory through our Lord Jesus Christ: You see sin is the sting of Death, and what hurt can the Ser­pent do that hath no Sting? what a bold challenge was this to Death? as if Paul had said, Death, do thy worst, I fear thee not: In like manner Ambrose could say, I am not ashamed to live, nor afraid to dye: and Ann Askew the Martyr, in her Confession, [...] neither wish for Death, neither do I fear it. As Christ hath not taken away sin it self but the guilt of it, so hath he not take [...] away Death it self the consequent of sin but the sting of it, so that every godly ma [...] may say with the Martyr, Kill me it may hurt me it cannot, the worst it can do, is b [...] [Page]to send me to my Fathers house the sooner; but to others the Serpent is dangerous, and his sting deadly, for if sin dye not the Soul can­not live: 'tis true, some there be that seem to brave Death to his Face, but this shews an ignorant mind, and a seared Conscience, and an hard heart; for 'tis impossible, if the Conscience be awake, that a man should look into Hell, yea leap into it, without horror: Death to such (if their eyes be open) will be terrible, yea of all Terribles the most terrible, saith a Heathen; yea the King of Terrors, saith Bildad, Job 18.14. yea, and as experience tells us, the Terror of Kings: Nothing can make Death look terrible but unpardoned sin; till therefore this Pardon be obtained, your condition is damnable, till you have assurance of it, it will be uncomfortable: Now Faith and Re­pentance have the Promise of Pardon and Eternal Life, and the want of this will make you liable to Eternal Death; Luk. 16.16 He that be­lieveth and is Baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be Damned. He that confesseth and forsaketh his sin, shall find Mer­cy: Leave off therefore lusting after Rich­es, Honours and Pleasures, and spend your time in minding your main Interest, fight against sin which is your greatest Enemy; for if sin dye not before you, your Souls [Page]must dye: 'tis not enough to quarrel s [...] but you must kill it; 'tis not enough to co [...] ­fess it, but you must forsake it; 'tis [...] enough to rail against it, but you must ha [...] it with an irreconcileable hatred, a [...] shake hands with it, and give it a bill [...] Divorce; and well you may, for it is y [...] implacable Enemy, and the cause of [...] your misery, and will be the cause of yo [...] Eternal Damnation if you repent not of [...] This is it that arms Death against you, [...] when 'tis mortified and subdued it will [...] pardoned, and when it is pardoned, De [...] may buzze about your ears like a D [...] Bee but cannot sting you; by stinging Ch [...] he lost his sting, that he cannot sting [...] of Christs faithful people: Hence man [...] the Martyrs went as chearfully to dye a [...] dine, and accounted their Dying-day t [...] Wedding-day, as indeed it is to all Bel [...] ­ers; for in this life they are betroathe [...] Christ, and at their Death the Mar [...] will be consummate, and they shall for [...] enjoy their Beloved, and be Eter [...] lodged in his Bosom: Oh the madne [...] the men of the World, who lodge this pent sin in their Bosom, which break [...] match between Christ and the Soul.

2. Direct. There is another Enemy that must be overcome as well as sin, or [Page]will not dye chearfully and happily, and that is the World; for till it be overcome and crucified, a man is not fit to dye, neither can he be willing to dye; Gal. 6.14. for who can willingly part with what he loves? By Christ (saith the Apostle) I am Crucified to the World, and the World to me; the world and he were at a point, there was no love lost; the World mattered him not, and he mattered the World as little; they were each to other as a dead Carkass, offensive and unsa­voury; and though the World should lay many Temptations before him, it would signifie no more than if they were presented to a dead man; though she draw forth her two breasts of Profit and Pleasure, he scorns to suck at such botches, he looks upon it as a dead thing, and behaves himself as dead to it: He had learned to want and to abound, and in every Estate to be content, and therefore mattered not her Superfluities, and for Necessaries he knew he should not want them: A prosperous Estate could not make him surfeit, nor a wanting Estate re­pine; he was semper idem, alwayes the same; as Job upon the Throne and upon the Dunghill, he still keeps his Integrity, he wears the world about him as a loose Garment, ready to cast off upon all occasi­ons, and he is at a point with all things [Page]under the Sun; if he may keep them with a good Conscience he is content; if not, he is content also; and it behooves others that would look Death in the face with com­fort, to learn this lesson; for if the affecti­ons close with the World, 'tis impossible Death should be either safe or comforta­ble: safe it cannot be, for it makes a man break his peace with God; for two such Masters as God and Mammon no man can serve; Mat. 6.24. for if he love the one, he will despise the other: Jam. 4.4. Know you not (saith the Apo­stle) that the friendship of the World; is En­mity to God? Whosoever therefore will be a Friend of the World, will be an Enemy to God: 1 John 2.15. And again, Love not the World, neither the things that are in the World, if any man love the World, the love of the Fa­ther is not in him: Those that goe a Whoring from God to the Creature, and woe this vile Strumpet the World, are very unfit to be received into the bosom of Christ; have it we may, use it we must, as a Traveller doth his Staff, so far as 'tis helpful, but love it we must not, if we will not renounce the love of God; a man may allow his wife a Servant to wait upon her, but not to lodg in her bosom: the love of the World is Enmity with the Lord, Enmi­ty both active and passive; it makes a man [Page]both to hate God, and to be hated by God; he cannot be espoused to the World, but he must be divorced from God; see this in Judas, in Demas, in Demetrius, in Ahab; he will have Naboath's Vineyard, or he will have his blood, though he lose his Soul for it; Col. 3.2. wise therefore was the Apostles Counsel, to set our affections on things above, and not on the Earth: Things on Earth are mutable and momentary, subject to vani­ty or violence, when things above are as the dayes of Heaven and run parllael with the Life of God, and line of Eternity; and as the love of the World makes a man dye unsafely, putting him out of a capacity of eternal happiness, so it makes him dye un­comfortably also: for who can willingly part with a present good, for a future un­certainty; with a thing he loves, for he knows not what? If the World seem a Pearl in his eye, he will not let it goe if he have no assurance of a better: Mat. 19.22 see this in the young man in the Gospel, that would not exchange Earth for Heaven, nor the Creature for God, that parted with Christ whom he pretended to love, rather than with his Estate which he did love: Oh World! how dost thou bewitch thy great­est admirers! how dost thou deceive those that trust in thee! But could we see the [Page]worth of Heaven, or had we but a Pisgah-sight of the Heavenly Canaan, we should soon make Moses's choice: but the blind Moles of the World think God holds it at too dear a rate, and if he will not abate he may keep it to himself; some indeed while Religion is in credit will follow the Cry, yet resolve they will, never lose by it; as the Young man before mention­ed, who came to Christ hastily but went away heavily: the world breaks many a match between Christ and the Soul, by bid­ding more as they think than God doth; but it will fail in the payment: but he that forsakes not all for Christ, cannot be his Disciple; the lesson I know is hard, but necessary, and there is a great reason it should be so; when we look upon the World as our chiefest Jewel, we are loth to throw it over-board; but when we see the Vanity, Emptiness, yea Nothingness that is in it, and can have recourse to a better Treasure, we shall not matter it; while we look upon it as our chiefest Trea­sure, we shall be unwilling to part with it; but when by the eye of Faith we can see better Treasure beyond Death, and ob­serve how little good it can do us at Death; or after, when we have most need, we shall not much value it: For indeed [Page]it proves like a bush of Thorns, the hard­er we grasp it, the more deeply it wounds; and when by Experience we find, that no Content, Satisfaction or Happiness is to be had in the enjoyment, we shall not much trouble at the loss: In a word, while the World is admired, Death is hated, but when Heaven is in our eye, Death looks more lovely. If ever therefore you would dye Happily and Comfortably, beware of letting out your affections upon the World, for you will never be willing to leave what you love, nor to pay so dear for Christ and Heaven till you affect them better.

3 Direct. If you would dye happily, then redeeem your Time carefully, make preparation for a dying time, and take heed of losing time, and spending it in vain; he that would win the Race, will set out with the first, and hold on to the last, and take all the advantages that are offered in the way; he that hath much work to do, and that of great concern, must not lose the Morning, or if he do, must ply it hard the rest of the day: You will find all your time that is allot­ted you little enough for the work you have to do, and not an hour to spare to spend in idleness; for delays and Idle­ness are the two Gulphs wherein many [Page]Souls are drown'd: Many when they are young, depending upon and trusting to their Youth, their health and strength, send Repentance thirty years before, and 'tis odds they never overtake it; many young men go to Hell that thought to repent when they were old, and many old men that thought they might have lived a little longer. Many are resolved to spend their youthful dayes in the Devils service, and then stop Gods mouth with the Blind and the Lame, but he seldom takes up with a death-bed Repentance from those that purposely put him off to the last; he usually reckons with such mis­penders of time for the Talents he hath lent them, and payes them off, not with a Penny but a Prison; for he expects what he hath given us to glorifie him, should be that way improved; upon this little inch of time Eternity doth depend, our Everlasting well or ill being, and therefore 'tis too precious to be spent in vanity and folly; and how then dare you spend a day, an hour vainly in an Ale­house or other Vanity, and not know whether you have another hour or day to live? I have read of a Gentlewoman, that usually spent her time in Cards and Dice, and other unnecessary Recreations; [Page]and coming from her Sport late in the night, found her Maid reading, (for she was godly,) and casting her eye upon the Book, reproved her thus: Thou poor me­lancholy Soul, what alwayes reading, and spending thy time thus; wilt thou take no comfort in thy life? And so passing into her Chamber went to bed, but could not sleep, but sigh and groan; her Maid lying in the room with her, demanded the reason of it, and whether she was well? Fox, Time and the End of Time, p. 70. She replyed, She had read the word Eternity in her Book, which had so pierced her heart, that she believed she should never sleep more till she had some better assurance of her Eternal condition: And if this word Eternity were but well considered, it might send our time-wasting Gallants trembling home from their Sports; but God hath hid these things from their eyes. There are more than those guil­ty, though few more guilty; there is many a man that is a good Husband for the World, and careless in nothing but in matters relating to his Soul; he can observe Times and Seasons for Plowing and Manuring of his ground, Seed-time and Harvest shall not be neglected, not the meanest Beast but shall be heeded, his Garden, Orchard, &c. shall be fenced, [Page]pruned, manured, weeded and preserved, his House well furnished, and Provision prepared, and yet his Soul altogether neglected, and neither Food nor Rai­ment prepared for it: for this life he is carefull that neither he nor his Posterity shall want, and yet hath no care for the Life to come; he can go from Fair to Market to prepare for the Body, and matters not the Harvest Season or Mar­ket-day for the Soul. The Mariners that observe the Wind and Tide, yet neg­lect the sweet gales of the Spirit of God, when they blow upon the Soul, and would waft them Heavenward, and help them forward to their Journeys end, to the desired Port. The Devil by his dili­gence condemns us, for where his work is, Latimer 1 Pet. 5.8. there is he; he is no Non-resident, but alwayes in his Diocess: He goes about like a roaring Lion, seeking whom he may devour: And shall we not be as vigilant to save our Souls, as he to destroy them? if he find us idle, he will soon imploy us. The heart of man is a Mill that will be alwayes grind­ing, if not Gods Wheat, then the Devils Tares: If the Devil spend all his time to deceive us, we should spend all our time to prevent him: All the time we have is little enough, and there is none to spare, and [Page]what is past is irrecoverably gone, though we could give a world of Treasure for an inch of time: Now if you would redeem time, beware of those great devourers of Time, which usually steal away a great part, such as vain and idle Thoughts; how much of our time is this way consumed! many an hour which might have been better spent, viz. in the Contemplation of God, of Christ, of Heaven, of Glory, is spent in roving vain imaginations, which bring no profit, do no good, and tend to no benefit. Yea, worldly thoughts and cares take up also a great part of our time; 'tis true, the World must have some of our thoughts and time, but most men make a bad division between God and it, they let the World run away with his part as well as their own; yea much of that Sacred time set a part for a better use; yea many times amidst our Religious duties the heart is stole away by the World; Idleness also consumes much, many enter not into the Vineyard till the eleventh hour, and then mind not their work, but their Wages; vain and unpro­fitable Discourse also is a Thief, and steals away much of our time, and many idle and unnecessary Visits also; and when all this is deducted, 'tis no wonder there is [Page]but little left for our grand business: to these may be added, immoderate lying in Bed, vain and time spending Dressings and Attirings, the whole Mornings work to our Female Gallants; immoderate and unnecessary Recreations, which some make all the Calling they follow, Drinking, Tip­ling, and what not? but if these, in this their idle expence of time, should ask themselves this question, Which of the Eternities lye before them? and to which of them they are going? it might spoil their sport; for when Death hath struck his stroak, the Soul is in a stated condi­tion, which Eternity it self cannot alter; and seriously, 'tis one of the saddest sights in the World, to a man apprehensive of the danger, to see an unconverted man fetch his last breath, and lanching forth into an infinite Ocean of boiling Lead and burning Brimstone; for the avoiding of that, take time while time serves, and lose not that Prodigally that cannot be redeem­ed with the whole World.

4 Direction. The next thing I would advise you to, which indeed is the chief of all, is to get an Interest in Christ, that so you may have a title to Glory; for till this be had, you cannot dye safely, and till it be cleared up, you cannot dye comfor­tably; [Page]for who would leave a present Possession, that hath no assurance of a fu­ture? and when this is done, Death will not be terrible. But what can bear up the Soul against the pangs of Death, if this be wanting? Now the way to get an Interest in Christ, is to espouse the Soul to him; now there is nothing but Ignorance can stave off our affections from him: ignotus nulla cupido; The blind World can see no Excellency in him, no need of him, nor any use of him, and therefore they have no love nor desire for him: but all that know him, will love him; who prizeth a Physician that is not convinc'd of his skill, and finds he hath a real need of him? for who will take Phy­sick before he be sick? or minds a Plaister before he have a Sore? But when the poor soul is convinced of her undone con­dition by Nature, and that there is nothing in her, or that can be done by her, will serve turn for Salvation; yea, that help is not to be had in any Creature, no not in the Angels themselves could she be Espoused to them; for they cannot pay her debts, nor secure the Soul; in this desparing condition, no wonder the Soul dreads death; but when it knows withall, that though there be an Emptiness [Page]in the Creature, there is a Fulness in Christ, and that he is fully able to make her eternally happy; and that Christ doth make love to her, and sends many Suit­ors in his behalf, to woe for her af­fection, and that he is the only suitable object in the world for her Affections, and that he can make her happy, when all the rest would leave her miserable: I say under these convictions she begins to hear­ken to Christs proposals, when she sees he is more useful than any other, and will stand her in more stead both in Pro­sperity and Adversity, in Health, Sickness, in Life and at Death, when all other helps fail her: While the world is lookt upon to be the best match, Christ will not be valued, till the cheat be found out; for who will forsake the better to choose the worse? but when they see Christ really better than the world, they will then part with the world for him; for who will stick at such a bargain, when a man considers that the world can do him no good at Death or Judgment; But Godliness hath the promise of this life, 1 Tim. 4.8. and that to come; and that it is profitable to all things; Rom. 8.32. and that having Christ, all shall be ours; for if he spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all, how [Page]shall he not with him freely give us all things? When the match is made up be­tween Christ and the Soul, all her Debts are made over to her Husband, and he is touched also with the feeling of her Infirmities, bears the heavier end of the Cross, and in all her afflictions, he is afflicted; Isa. 63.9. and he makes over all his riches to her, his Merits, his Righteousness, his Spirit, his Graces, and his Glory; Plal. 34.10. he hath pro­mised she shall want nothing that is good, and that he will never leave her nor for­sake her, Rom. 8.28. and that all things shall work to­gether for her good: Now whatever he hath promised, he can make it good; for he is both Omnipotent, and Omniscient, and he will make it good, for he is Faithfull, and the Experience of five thousand years prove it, in all which time no man could stand forth and say, This Promise God hath failed in; the world yields us some lit­tle comfort if God give it a Commission; but Christ is all and in all; all the ex­cellency that is in the Creature, is but as a Vein to lead us to this Mine, as a drop of this Ocean, and as a ray of this Sun; whatever our condition be, he can help us; if the Soul be sick, he is her Phy­sician, and all others are Physicians of no value; if wounded, he hath a Plaister of [Page]his own Blood to cure her; if she hun­ger, here is food, the Bread of life, and the Water of life; his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed; If she be Poor, and Blind, and Miserable, and Naked, he can make supplies; here is a Treasure to enrich her, a Pearl of great price, and spiritual Eye-salve to make her see; if she have Enemies he is her Champion, that can overcome the Devil and all his In­struments, and none can hurt her but through his sides: In a word, she can want nothing when her Lord and Husband pos­sesses all things; the Cattle of a thousand hills are his, yea all the beasts of the For­rest; with his own Robes he arrayes her, and with the Jewels of his Grace he a­dorns her, with his Spirit he directs her; and if heavy laden, bears her burden; if she be weary, he is her resting place, and hath promised never to leave her nor for­sake her; Heb. 13.5. and then no matter what others do: These promises the Soul may press home by Prayer, as Jacob did in a great dan­ger; Gen. 32.9. Lord, thou saidst thou wouldst do me good; and this was as good as present pay, for God loves to be bound by his word, and to be sued upon his own bond: Prayer is a putting the Promises in Suit; God can no more deny such Prayers, [Page]than he can deny himself: what need the Soul to fear when Gods Word is out upon it, That all things shall work together for her good? and if all things, then Afflicti­ons, nay Sin it self: Seneca. Venenum aliquando pro remedio fuit, saith a Heathen. 'Tis said, that to drink of the Wine wherein a Vi­per hath been drowned, cureth the Lepro­sie, and the Scorpion healeth his own wound, the flesh of the Viper cureth the biting of the Viper; and so God some­times cureth us by the wound Sin gives us: we usually say, The act increaseth the habit, but 'tis not so here; for the believer is like a Sheep, that by his fall into the mire is warned to take better heed. Now look over all the World, and see if you can find such a match for the Soul, whe­ther any Creature in Heaven or Earth hath deserved thy Affections better than he, or hath done more, or will do more than Jesus Christ; that is a greater Bene­factor than he, and hath bestowed better Gifts; whether any other can pay thy Debts, or make preparation for the Eter­nal well-being of the Soul; and if he prove the fittest Match, stand not upon Terms with him, think not to alter his Condi­tions, or make him abate of his Price; he expects neither Money nor Moneys­worth; [Page]worth with thee as a Dowry, yet will he make thee the largest Joynture; his Co­venants will be, only to carry thy self to him as a loving and obedient Wife ought to do to her Husband, to love him a­bove all, to obey all his Commands, and to submit thy self to his dispose; leave the Sin he forbids, do the Duties he com­mands, and forsake all others for his sake; resolve thus to do, give up thy self thus to him and thou needest not fear death, for it cannot hurt thee; for 'tis but his Pursi­vant he sends to fetch thee home to his Fathers house, where all things are made ready for thy Marriage with the Lamb: when thou canst say, Cant. 6.3. My beloved is mine, and I am his, thou art fit to Live and fit to Dye, and not till then: such a man that hath gotten a full gripe of Christ, is sure that neither Death, nor Life, nor Angels, nor Principalities, Rom. 8.38. nor Powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor Heighth, nor Depth, nor any other Creature, shall be able to se­perate him from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord: 1 Cor. 6.17. for he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit; As truely one as those members are one Body, that are animated by the same Soul, or as Husband and Wife are one flesh: All that I am and have, saith the Soul, is his, and [Page]all he hath is mine; he that hath this full assurance of Faith, looks death undaunted­ly in the face, and goes gallantly to Hea­ven.

5 Direct. If you would Dye well, your way is to Live well, for a holy life al­wayes ends in an happy death; Heb. 12.14 and a sin­full life, if true repentance prevent not, alwayes hath a Tragical end; for without holiness no man shall see God; and how can such a man think then to come to Hea­ven, when the beatifical vision of God is Hea­ven it self? but no unclean thing, Rev. 21.27 1 Cor. 6.10 no un­righteouss person shall ever enter there; no dirty Dog shall tread upon that pave­ment: As the tree falleth so it lyeth, Eccles. 11.3. and as death leaves us, so Judgment shall find us: Be not deceived, God is not mocked, for what­soever a man soweth that shall he also reap; Gal. 6.7. for he that soweth to the flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption, but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap Life ever­lasting: He that sails towards Hell, is not like to land in the Port of Heaven if he change not his course; the way of Sin is the direct road to Hell, and those that follow the broad Way, will ere long enter the wide Gate; but the way to Heaven is narrow, and the gate strait; he that swims down the stream, is not like to find the [Page]fountain-head; and he that goes down the hill, is not like to come to the top; but most men, like dead Fish, swim down the stream, even into the dead Sea of Eternal perdi­tion: Exo. 23.2 Take heed therefore of following a mul­titude to do evil, for the way to Hell is Broad and well trodden; beware of evil Company, lest thou learn to swear with Joseph, to curse with Peter, but be coura­gious for Heaven, and valiant for the Truth. 'Tis better go to Heaven alone, than to Hell with company; to be with Noah in the Ark, than with all the World in the Flood: the way of Holiness I know is not in fashion, but 'tis never the more to be shunned for the small company that walks in it; nor is the way of wickedness the more eligible because 'tis thronged: the way of Holiness haply may seem rugged and per­plexed by reason of the stumbling-blocks laid in it, 1 Sam. 14.4 13. like unto that of Jonathans and his Armor-bearers way, that had sharp rocks on either side, that they were forced to go upon hands and feet, yet consider it leads to Happiness; and who will not take pains for profit? Sic petitur Coelum sed fa­cilis descensus averni: Heaven is got by pains and patience, but a man may wink and go to Hell: To come to Heaven, Opus est pulveris non pulvinaris, (as one saith:) [Page]those that trade in Righteousness and Ho­liness, are most likely to treasure up Hap­piness; those that live uprightly to men, holily to God, and walk, as Zachary saith, Lu. 1.75. in Righteousness and Holiness before him all the dayes of their lives, men may be­fool them, but God will never condemn them; these men never need to fear Death, or any Messenger God sends; Act. 23.1. & 24.16. the that hath made his peace with God, and with Paul keeps a Conscience void of offence towards God and towards Men, though he may meet with troubles in his life, he shall meet with Comfort at death; when those that think to dance with the Devil all day and Sup with Christ at night, to do the Devils work and to receive Gods wages, that will not enter into the Vineyard and yet expect the penny, will find them­selves under a great mistake: for his ser­vants you are to whom you obey, and from him you work for you may expect wa­ges: you will find at last, that a Lord have mercy upon you will not serve turn: Mat. 7.21, 22. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Hea­ven; but he that doth the will of my fa­ther which is in heaven: many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name, and in thy name cast [Page]out Devils, and in thy Name done many wonderful works, and then will I profess un­to them, I never knew you, depart from me ye workers of iniquity. The like we see by the foolish Virgins, that cried, Lord, Lord, open to us, but the door was shut against them and they kept out: such mens hope will prove like the Spiders-web, or the giving up the Ghost, and but serve them as Absaloms Mule did him, bring them to destruction and there leave them: yet many verbal Professors we have, that if Heaven will be had for fair words will have it, but this is their best bid; as Epicte­tus complained in his time, That many would be Philosophers as far as a few good words would go, but no further; but it be those, and those alone that make Christi­anity their daily trade, and to please God their great design, that are worthy the name of Christians: when the heart is up­right God accepts the Sacrifice, as he did Abels; when the heart is rotten he disowns it, as he did Cains: Those fly­blown Sacrifices, such as the Pharisees of­fered, will not down with God: But when the chief design is to glorifie God, Mat. 6.1. &c. and that with a perfect heart, like Josiahs, with such Sacrifices God is well pleased; such a man, though he may lose something [Page] for Christ, will never lose any thing by Christ; death which sets a period to other mens happiness, will set an end to his misery; those only that live a holy life, can rationally expect a happy death.

6 Direct. If you would dye willingly and happily, learn with the Apostle to dye daily; have death alwayes in your eye, the strangeness of death makes it so terri­ble. The Fox in the Fable that had ne­ver before seen a Lion, trembles at the first sight, but after grew more bold: those that go first to Sea, are usually more time­rous in storms and tempests than the An­cient Mariners: sudden danger more sur­prizeth, when expected trouble is better born. Death is stealing upon us whether we mind it or no, and nothing more dis­covers our folly and madness than to neg­lect our watch when we are besieged by our Enemy, and know he intends to sur­prize us; to put far off the evil day when we know not but it is ready to dawn. 'Tis a folly for a Tenant to forget his Rent day, and then think his Landlord hath forgotten it also; or for a Malefactor to forget the day appointed for his Exe­cution: 'tis a folly for a needy man to forget the Market or Fair, where he should have supplyed his wants, Death is no Jest­ing [Page]matter, but a real thing, and will make a real change both to good and bad as to the Body; for haply both may say the next day to corruption, Thou art my father, and to the worm thou art my mother and my sister: then must they leave behind all their earthly Glory, and worldly Pomp, their friends and Relations, their pleasant Houses, yea Crowns and Kingdoms if they do enjoy them, and all their earthly comforts they enjoyed, and must march down to the Chambers of Death, and make their graves in the dust: but with the Soul is a greater change, either they must go to everlasting Torments, or endless Joyes; and should not such a change be mind­ed? did the greatest Prince upon earth, or our time-wasting Gallants consider, it would spoil their sport; did a Malefactor know that in a few dayes he should be dragg'd to Execution, would he take no notice of it, but spend his time as idly as before? and shall we only be unconcerned? they know in a few dayes, and they know not in how few, Eternity will shut her mouth upon them, and then their souls will be in a stated case, never to be changed. Oh what a prodigious Creature is a hard hearted Sinner! and how senceless is many a profane wretch, that know not but the night following their souls may be required of them, and yet regard it [Page]not; that feel this house of clay mouldering about their ears, and provide for no other Habitation; that sensibly feel Deaths ap­proaches by the many darts he throwes at them, and yet need to be minded that they must dye: the wisest Virgins had some­thing to do against the Bridegroom came, though they had Oyl in their Vessels, yet their Lamps must be trimmed, but the Fool­lish wanted Oyl to trimme them, and yet slept: the best of Saints should have their Loins girded, and be in a Centinel posture against the coming of their Lord and Master, and set themselves in order for so great a change; were a mean woman to be married to some mighty Prince, she would make some preparation against the Wedding-day; but 'tis the worst of sinners that least think of death, though they have most need, all the spectacles of mortality without, nor Mo­nitors of mortality within, cannot make them mind their latter end. Those should be like to Jonathans Arrows to David, warn them of approaching danger; our Children that rise up in our stead, and tread out our foot-steps, tell us that we are marching off the Stage, and they are coming in our room to act their parts. The Sun never sets but it may mind us of our latter end, and that now one day more is past of our determined num­ber [Page]of dayes that we had to live: 'tis good therefore to consider whether we are a days Journey nearer Heaven than we were in the morning, or what work we have done in reference to Eternity; every Bell that tolls may mind us of our Passing-bell; every time the Clock strikes, or the Glass is run out, may mind us how our time hasts away, and our death approaches; every breath we fetch, or every time our Pulse beats, may mind us of death, for the number of them is determined as well as the number of our months: Job. 14.5. Did men certainly know they should dye within a month, what a change would there be in the world? who then would mind earthly greatness or indulge his lust, which yet those that are not sure of a day do eagerly pursue? If you would dye happily, think on death to prepare for it; if comfortably, think on it to be acquainted with it.

7 Direction. It is not enough meerly to think of death, but you must also pre­pare for it; for the former is necessary in or­der to the latter: this preparation is your great Concern, the very business of your lives: God did not send you into the world as Leviathan into the Seas, to play therein, neither meerly to cark and care, to moil and toil, and drudge for the world; you [Page]were made for an higher end, and sent in­to the world upon another Errant, to make provision for your immortal souls: some may think this work is difficult, and so it is to flesh and blood, and cross to our carnal in­terest, but 'tis necessary, and the neglect dangerous: were but your houses on fire, we need not use many words to perswade you to quench them, though there were difficulty and danger in the enterprize; or were your lives in danger, you would en­dure hardship to save them; were you in danger of drowning, you would lay hold upon every twig, and take any offered ad­vantage to escape; were your Estates in dan­ger, you would spare no pains nor cost to clear it up; were but one of your beasts, though but a Sheep or Swine, in danger, you would seek for help; and is the immortal Soul only to be neglected? There are none but those that deny there is a God, a Devil, a Heaven or a Hell, or that think the Soul is mortal and shall dye with the body, and that the Scriptures are not Gods Word, but must needs confess there is great danger in dying unprepared, or in an unregenerate condition, and yet few live accordingly: but whatever men think, Hell will prove a real misery, and Heaven a real Happiness, and our Atheist will ere long be convinc'd of it [Page]to purpose: Luk. 16. God will be true, though every man be a lyar. The rich Glutton found to his full conviction, that Hell was no scare­crow, nor Gods Threats no Bugbear, but real things; and we have many in our Age far worse then he is there described, that yet have blind hopes it shall be well with them: and if these things be real, should not we be serious about them? is not Heaven worth having, and Hell worth the avoiding; and the soul worth saving? we are serious about the things of the world, and much more should we be to save our lives, and are Salvation and Damnation trifles not fit to be regarded? one year or month may make a great alteration in our Families or Neigh­bourhood, and many now living may then be dead and landed in Eternity, that thought they might have lived longer: sometimes death strikes the Child in the womb, when he spares him that stoopeth through Age, and this may be your case for ought you know. This was Jerusalems fault and ruine, She remembred not her latter end, Lam. 1.9. therefore she came down wonderfully; and many I fear dye of her disease. Now though our life is short, and time uncertain, yet our work is great, and of great Concernment, and requires time to do it in; and those that consider it well, know we have no time [Page]to spare, all is little enough for our work; and those that have been Prodigals of their time, have found their mistake when it hath been too late. We are in a race, and run for our lives, and shall we not set out with the first, and hold on to the last, and use our utmost diligence in the way? if we turn aside, or turn back, or slack our pace, or sit down, we are never like to win the prize; we stake our Souls to Heaven, and there­fore 'tis for no small wager; if we run well, heaven is ours; if not, the Soul our chiefest Jewel is lost; we have a great deal of work to do, and Night draws on; and the shadows of the Evening are stretched out, and when night comes no man can work; and is it not time to be up and doing? most men are be­wildred in the dark, and lose themselves with their reward, and miss their way, or fall short of their desired Journeys end, and this will be our case if we prevent it not; for the way is difficult, and delayes as well as mistakes are dangerous. Many that have wit enough to get an Estate, yea to deceive and to circumvent their Brethren, have yet been deceived themselves in this their great concern; yea many that have made a great profession of Religion, and have directed others, and have been their guides, for want of a guide have miscarried [Page]themselves, and lost their way: those that have lived under the powerful means of Grace, and performed many duties, and preacht and prayed, and thought them­selves wiser than others, and cast their ground, and thought to go a nearer way to Heaven than others, yet have been lost, and never came to the place they aimed at. Those that have exhorted others to take heed, have lost themselves for want of heed; and though they have been confident in the way, have yet miss'd of the way; and is it time for us that never arriv'd to that heighth to sit still and venture: there is but a little between us and death, and if death cut the thred of our lives before our peace be made with God, we are past remedy; for if once we fall into that gulph of Eternity, there is no getting out, we shall never find bank nor bottom: As the tree falls so it lyes, all the world cannot turn it; and if the Soul miscarry, our case will be worse than the beast that perisheth; for as now men are never weary of sinning, then God will be never weary of punishing, and all the racks, tortures and torments in the world will not equalize the torments of a miscarrying Soul: but if we are prepared for death, have made our peace with God, and even­ed our Accounts with him, have espoused [Page]the Soul to Christ, and cleared up our Evi­dences for Heaven, 'tis not the Devil, nor his Instruments, 'tis not death, nor him that hath the power of death, nay 'tis not Hell it self that can hinder a Believers happiness: for Assurance of Gods love will bear up the heart above water, and keep it from desponding or sinking even under the pangs of death. 2 Tim. 1.12 I know (saith Paul) whom I have Believed, and I am per­swaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day. And again, Rom. 8.38 39. I am perswaded that neither Death, nor Life, nor Angels, nor Principalities, nor Powers, nor things pre­sent, nor things to come, nor heighth, nor depth, nor any other Creature, shall be able to separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

8 Direct. For Preparation, 'tis necessa­ry to put your Hearts as well as your Houses in order, nay 'tis much more ne­cessary: if you would reform, begin at the right end; if you reform the heart the rest will follow, but all other refor­mation signifies little without it: the way to kill a Tree is not to lop off here a Bough, and there a Branch, but to stub it up by the root; and to destroy the tree of Sin, is not to be lopping off here one, [Page]and there another, but root up the whole; which will be done if the heart be reform­ed: 'tis not the Stream but the Fountain we must cleanse, if we will have clean water; the other will prove but labour in vain. Prov. 4.23. Keep the heart with all deligence (saith Solomon,) for out of it are the is­sues of life: Quod sanitas in corpore, id sanctitas in corde: if a Disease strike to the heart 'tis dangerous, but if the heart be sound there is hopes; if the Spring be clear the water will purge it self, Job 31.1. if that be infected or polluted 'tis in vain to purge the Stream: Eccles. 5.1. 'tis true, the Eye, the Foot, the Hand, must be heeded, but if the heart be not first Regulated, these will not be kept in order; the Eye will be full of Adultery, and the Hand swift to shed blood; for out of the heart proceed murders, Mat. 18.8. adul­terycs, &c. Look to the heart, and the heart will look to the rest. The heart of man is of so great a Concern, that it hath many Suitors; the world yields many of them; Riches, Honour, Pleasure, woe for the Affection, and seldom but one of these prevail; Pro. 23.26. and spiritual Powers make suit also; God saith, My Son give me thy heart, and happy are we if we give our consent: as the heart is defiled he will have none of it, and till it be renewed he will own [Page]nothing that man doth, nor any Sacrifice he Offereth; God sends many a Messenger to wo for it, and many a time he striveth by his own Spirit to win it, and many a Love Token he sends to oblige it, and many a promise he makes to win upon it: The Devil also contends more for it than a­bout the Body of Moses, for that is imagined to be but in reference to it, he owns it as his by nature, and would fain keep the possession, for while he keeps this fort all is safe; he can give the eyes, ears, the tongue their liberty, if the heart be his he mat­ters not, his Prisoner is secure; and to keep possession of the heart a thousand snares are laid in the way, and if any make an escape he sends out Hue and cry after them, stirs up all his Instruments to bring them back again; sets some to reproach them, some to perswade them, yea some to flatter, some to threaten, and some to persecute: for he knows the heart is the Master-wheel that guides all the rest; for a man is deno­minated good or bad according as his heart is either good or bad; this is the Shop wherein good or bad wares are forged: Mat. 2.35. 'tis fons boni vel pec [...]andi origo, the Foun­tain of good, or the Spring of evil: if there be a principle of life there, the acti­ons are pleasing to God; if not, they are but [Page]dead works. A carnal heart is a Stewes or Shambles, a place whence unclean and cruel thoughts are produced, the forge where wicked thoughts are framed, the Mint where they are coined, the very Anvil upon which all Sin is forged, an Augean Stable for Filthiness: the heart is the Temple wherein Gods Ark or the Devils Dagon are placed, Gal. 4.7. and worshipped; 'tis the Palace wherein dwelleth, the Throne wherein sitteth the King of Glory, or the Prince of darkness: Eph. 2.2 [...]. for the Devil works and acts in a wicked heart, as a Smith doth in his Forge, or an Artificer in his Shop, what he pleaseth, without controul; these two Princes cannot sit in the same Throne, or rule in the same heart; these two Masters cannot be served by the same man, their commands are so different, those that love the one will despise the other, and if one be obeyed the other must be neglected; he that gets possession of the heart is our Ma­ster, for we may know it by our obedi­ence: If Christ rule there, the Devils king­dom must down, and if the Devil rules, Christ will be gone: now his servants ye are to whom ye obey; the heart is the foun­tain out of which all water flows, whe­ther sweet or bitter, Mat. 7.26. and therefore it con­cerns us to see it be not defiled: It is a [Page]Tree, and we may know whether it be good or no by the fruit; By the fruit (saith Christ,) ye shall know them: 'Tis a Trea­sury out of which good or evil things are brought; 'tis the primum mobile, that sets all the rest in motion, and gives moti­on to the inferior Orbs; the hand, the eye, the foot, the tongue, are all moved by it, either in a direct or irregular motion: 'Tis the chief Monarch in the Isle of man, that gives Laws and Commands to all the rest: 'Tis like the Treble in a Viol, if this be in tune, the other are soon ordered; if out, the Musick is spoil'd; 'tis the spring or Ma­ster-wheel of all the curious Clock-work of the Soul, and sets all the rest in mo­tion: This is it that denominates an acti­on good or bad, as it differenced be­tween Cains sacrifice and Abels, and the fastings, prayers, and alms of the Pha­risees, and of the Apostles. The more of the heart is in the sin, the greater is the aggravation, but the more of the heart is in a duty, the better God accepts it. Where the heart goes not along with the sin, God will pardon it, but if the heart go not along with the du­ty he will not own it: weak performan­ces are accepted where the heart is right, glorious actions are abominable [Page]where the heart is rotten. Now the heart by nature is polluted, and must be clean­sed; it is deceitful, and if not lookt to will betray us; and when the heart is polluted the whole man is defiled, and till this be cleansed a man is neither fit to live, nor fit to dye, nor after death to come to Judgment. Get therefore the heart pu­rified by Faith, or never think to dye comfortably or happily.

9 Direction. As the Heart must be purged from sin, so 'tis necessary that it be replenished with Grace, for without this you can neither dye a happy nor comfortable death; for these are the Di­vine qualifications which God hath made necessary to salvation; this is the Oyl which the wise Virgins had in their Vessels, Mat. 25.4. &c. their Hearts, which the foolish did want, and therefore were shut out of the Bride­chamber: This is the wedding-garment, without which you will be bound hand and foot, Mat. 22.1. and cast into outer darkness; this is the Sheep-mark of Christ, those that have it he will own, and place them at his right hand, when all other like re­probate Goats shall be set on the left; This is the Ticket, whosoever hath it shall be admitted into Heaven, and whoso­ever hath it not Heaven gates will be [Page]shut against him; now how can that man be happy or comfortable in death, that hath not this Oyl, this Wedding-garment, this Sheep-mark, nor this Ticket; that hath nothing to shew for Heaven and happiness, or why he should not go to Hell and misery? These Graces are the Jemmes and Jewels that adorn the Spouse of Christ, and make her amiable in his eyes; this is the differencing badge be­tween the Children of God, and the men of the World, that shall have their portion in the Lake that burns with fire and brim­stone: These, these are the Evidences Be­lievers have for Heaven, and by these it is they hold God to his bargain; for he hath told them, he that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be con­demned: This is the witness of the Spirit, for 'tis the Spirit that worketh those graces in the soul, and also enables the Soul to read them thus written in the heart, by the Spirit; and so the Spirit witnesseth with our Spirits that we are the Children of God. Now can any man willingly leave a pre­sent Inheritance, that hath no assurance of any for the future? Holiness is the Image of God, the Livery that all that go to Heaven are clad with, and though now it be out of fashion, at death our greatest Gallants [Page]would willingly be found in this Livery; yea Balaam himself would dye the death of the righteous, though he liked not his life; other Jewels adorn the Body, but this adorns the Soul, these have this excellent vertue, they make a man live holily and dy happily, none can miscarry that wear them; these make men dye securely, but it is al­so requisite that they know they have them, for sometimes Believers lose their com­forts for want of clearing up their Eviden­ces for Heaven; 'tis necessary that a man have grace, and 'tis comfortable to know he hath it; to have it in the habit sufficeth not, if he act it not: he must not only have faith, but he must live by faith, and by faith suck sweetness from the promises: this will make a man look death in the face undauntedly; this grace will assure a man that life and death will prove advantagious to him, and that God and his departing soul are at peace, and that the Covenant re­mains firm even in the Grave it self; this makes a man look even beyond death it self, and see the Crown of glory, the re­compence of reward before him, and as­sures him death will do him more good than hurt, that it will set an end to his misery, and beginning to his happiness, and that when death hath struck the stroak, [Page]the Angels will carry the Soul into Abra­hams bosom, yea lodge it in the Arms of their dear Redeemer. These apprehen­sions made Paul to desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, and the Martyrs to be so willing to dye, and so chearfully to go to the stake: Love to God also is another grace which much sweetens the very thoughts of death; indeed this sweetens the sharpest passage of Providence, when we think, this is my Fathers will, whom I love, and who loves me, and knows best what is for my good; yea death it self shall be welcome when 'tis a Messenger from him I love, to fetch me home to his bosom: what will not a loving Wife suffer to en­joy her beloved Husband? love desires the strictest union, and most intimate communion with the party beloved, but this the Soul cannot obtain but by Death: O saith the Soul, now I lye under the hatches, troubled with a thousand infir­mities, I can seldom have a glimpse of Christ here; well, the time is at hand that I shall see him face to face, and enjoy him in glory, where I shall serve him without distraction, and never be troubled more with vain thoughts or roving imaginations, or any of Satans temptations: Oh when will this time be! The other graces of [Page]the Spirit are also necessary to this end, to sweeten death, such as Knowledge, Re­pentance, Obedience, Humility, Self-deni­al, Patience, Hope, &c. of which I shall not speak particularly. Now the Promi­ses are made to these graces not only of this life but of that to come; among the rest of the good things promised, is Hea­ven and Happiness, but what is a carnal man the better for these promises, that is not qualified for them? but when by Faith we can see this Crown of glory, and see our Names written upon it, and get a Pisgah-sight of this heavenly Canaan, we shall willingly venture over this Jordan, and encounter all the Sons of Anak we meet in our way, and not fear what Man, what Devils, what Death can do unto us: get these Graces in exercise, and you need not fear Fire and Faggot.

10 Direction. That you may thus emp­ty the heart of sin and wickedness, and re­plenish it with Grace and godliness, that so you may be fit to live and fit to dye, and fit to live with Christ-for ever, 'tis fit and necessary you take Gods way; for it can­not be done by your own strength. Im­prove therefore all the means which God hath afforded you for this end; for those that refuse the means seldom attain the end. [Page]Improve his Word and Ordinances; these are the appointed means, however some scorn at them, and some think they are above them, but those that go not this way seldom come to Heaven. In the Word are given Rules how to live, and how to dye, and how to behave ourselves in all Conditions; here is Oyl to be had, and those that neglect will be to seek when the Bridegroom comes. Those that now neg­lect the Wedding-garment, will want it when they have occasion to use it, and so be thrust out of the Bride-chamber. This Word of God should be our daily study, for here are directions both for life and death, and none but those that are bad Husbands for the soul, will neglect it: here are the precious Promises which are our Fathers Legacy, out of which the Soul by Faith sucks sweetness, which are special Cordials against fainting fits, which bear up the head above water, and the heart in all storms and tempests: here is directi­on in Heavens way, yea way-marks set up that we should not erre nor wander; here you may find what qualifications God requires in his servants, and what Eviden­ces for Heaven are good and authentick, and what God will own another day; and if by the help of the Spirit you can read [Page]them in your own hearts, as in a counter pane, there is no better Evidence for Hea­ven, no greater Cordial in the world to bear up the heart: here you may find com­forts and consolatious in all your condi­tions, and if you walk in this road you will meet with much help and assistance, yea many companions in your Journey: here you have the Spirit of God both to direct and comfort you, and who can erre that hath such a guide, or droop that hath such a comforter? here you shall hear a voice behind you saying, this is the way walk in it, turn not to the right hand or to the left: here you have the assistance of Gods Mi­nisters to direct you, but take heed of quenching the motions of his Spirit, or abusing his Messengers, lest his Spirit leave striving with you, and God take away his Messengers in his anger: here you may find many that have walked the same way, met with the same troubles, suffered the same afflictions, temptations, crosses and losses as you do, and yet have born it with patience, and overcome it with constancy and comfort; here you may know the worst that death can do to you is for your advantage, if you love God, for such death cannot hurt; kill you it may, hurt you it cannot; the worst it can do is but [Page]to send you to your Fathers house the soon­er. Meditate therefore upon this Word of God, and also upon the Attributes of God, and this must needs support you un­der sufferings. Meditate also upon mans Mortality to quicken you in your pace, of the Worlds vanity and emptiness to make you slight it, and the fulness of Christ to make you to desire him. The Meditati­on of death will not make you dye soon­er, but safer, and the Promises will yield sweetness even in the pangs of death; for death is to the godly but as a Pursivant to fetch them to Heaven, and his wisdom, power, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth, are Cordials also, and will help to keep the heart from fainting and despond­ing; and will shield the Spirits against all crosses and afflictions they shall meet with: and by Meditation in the Word, you may learn the happiness of the godly, and the miseries of the wicked, and what will be the end of both; yea you may find there what are the pains of Hell, and the Joyes of Heaven, and these may be used as mo­tives to a holy life: Prayer also is an ex­cellent duty to prepare for death; by this God is engaged to help at a time of need: Christian Conference also is another help, wherein one fire-stick helps to inkindle ano­ther, [Page]till all come into a flame. Now those that are constant and faithful in these and the rest of the Ordinances and means God hath appointed to this end, are like­lyest to have the qualifications before men­tioned, and those thus qualified need not fear death; those that walk evenly with God in Prosperity, are most like to hold out in Adversity, Heb. 2.14. and need not fear death, nor him that hath the power of death, the Devil. The more faithful and constant any one is in the Trade of Godliness, the more Assurance he may have of a happy death, and joyful Resurrection; and what hinders then but a chearful resigning our selves to death when God calls? a man will not willingly resign up his old Lease till he have assurance of a better: but who will not leave a Cottage for a Palace, or exchange an old Suit for a new, Rags for Robes? when assurance of Heaven is got, no wonder if earth be contemned; for who will not change a Temporal Life for Life Eternal?

And thus, (Courteous Reader) if thou art prepared, I have spoken to thee in the Book, if not in the Epistle, wherein I have given thee some direction how thou maist be prepared, and how thou maist come to be fit to live, and fit to dye, and fit to lye [Page]in the Arms of Christ for ever: What effect the Book will have upon the one, or the Directions on the other, I know not; but my desire is, and my Prayer shall be, that it may be beneficial both to the one, and to the other: This will be your own advantage, but the comfort of him who subscribes himself.

Yours for your Souls good, Edward Bury.

Books printed for and sold by Thomas Park­hurst at the Bible and Three Crowns at the lower end of Cheap-side near Mercers Chappel.

SErmons on the whole Epistle of Saint Paul to the Collossians by Mr. J. Daille, translated in­to English by F. S.

An Exposition of Christs Temptation, on Matth. 4. and Peters Sermons to Cornelius; and circum­spect walking, by Tho. Taylor. D. D.

A practical Exposition on the third Chapter of the first Epistle of St. Paul to the Corinthi­ans, with the Godly mans choice, on Psal. 4. vers. 6, 7. by Anthony Bargess.

Christianographia, or a description of the multi­tudes and sundry sorts of Christians in the world not subject to the Pope: by Eph. Pagit.

Dr. Donns 40 Sermons, being his 3 Volumes.

Forty six Sermons upon the whole Eighth Chap­ter of the Epistle of the Apostle Paul to the Ro­mans, by Tho. Horton, D. D. late Minister of St. Hellens.

An Analytical Exposition of Genesis, and of 23 Chapters of Exodus, by George Hughes, D. D.

The Door of Salvation opened by the Key of Re­generation, by George Swinnock, M. A.

An Exposition on the five first Chapters of Ezekiel, with useful Observations thereupon: by Wil­liam Greenhill.

Gods holy Mind touching matters Moral, which he uttered in ten Commandments: Also an Expo­sition on the Lords Prayer: by Edward Eston, B. D.

The Fiery Jesuit, or an Historical Collection of the rise, encrease, doctrines, and deeds of the Jesuits.

Horologiographia optica; Dyaling, universal and particular, speculative and practical; together with a description of the Court of Arts, by a new Me­thod: by Sylvanus Morgan.

A seasonable Apology for Religion, by Matthew Pool.

Separation no Schism, in Answer to a Sermon preached before the Lord Maior, by, J. S.

An Exercitation on a question in Divinity, and Case of Conscience, viz. Whether it be lawful for any person to act contrary to the opinion of his own conscience, formed from arguments that to him appear very probable, though not necessary or demonstrative.

The Creatures goodness as they came out of Gods hand, and the good mans mercy to the bruit-Creatures, in two Sermons, by Tho. Hodges, B. D.

Certain considerations tending to promote Peace and Unity amongst Protestants.

Mediocria, or the most plain and natural appre­hensions which the Scripture offers, concerning the great Doctrines of the Christian Religion: of Election, Redemption, the Covenant, the Law and Gospel, and Perfection.

A Soveraign Antidote AGAINST THE FEAR of DEATH: OR, A Cordial for a Dying Christian, being Ten Meditations suited to that End.

MEDITAT. I. What Death is to a Believer and to an Ʋnbeliever.

WHY art thou cast down, Psal. 42.11. O my Soul, and why art thou dis­quieted within me? hope thou in God, I shall yet praise him who is the health of my countenance, and my God. What [Page 2]is it that thus amazeth and terrifieth thee? Why art thou so distracted in thy duties, and so full of anxious fears and doubts? is it the apprehension of death that so dis­quiets thee? Why man, didst thou never look Death in the face till now? didst never behold his grisly looks and grim face? yea, thou hast many a time; and art thou yet afraid? is this the fruit of all thy prayers, and thy mortifying Meditations? hast not thou instructed many, Job 13.4, &c. and strengthned the weak hands? thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees, but now it is come upon thee dost thou faint? and when it toucheth thee, art thou troubled? Is a disease now more terrible than formerly? Or the apprehen­sions of death than in times past? or is it bad News that terrifies thee, and makes thee afraid? Some Papist plotting to take away thy life; Psal. 112.7. among others, the Psal­mist tells thee, he shall not be afraid of evil tidings whose heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. Suppose they seek thy life, and thirst after thy blood, hast thou no hiding place, no City of refuge to fly to, till the storm be over? Hast thou no interest in God? no Friend in the Court to make thy complaint to? Prov. 14.32. No comfort in time of need? But dye thou must; well, yet the [Page 3]righteous hath hope in his death; and doth thy hope and thy happiness then expire with thy life? Come let us reason the case, and see if there be so much cause of desponding as thou pretendest. Art thou from under the protecting hand of God? Ps. 59.1. Or is his hand shortned that he cannot save, Isa. 50. or his ear heavy that he cannot hear? Where is the bill of divorce that he hath given thee? Or hath the Lord put thy life into thine own hands, and dost thou think it will be wrested out by violence? Art thou thine own keeper, and dost mis­trust thy strength? Or is thy life put into thy Enemies hand, and by whom? Or can they take it away without a Com­mission? God usually keeps the Keyes of Life and Death at his own girdle. Or if thy Life be gone, is thy Happiness at an end? if not, what need all this conster­nation? this is more than thy Enemies can do without leave; and if they could, what a great matter is it for a man, an Old man to dye! but 'tis him whom thou callest thy Father, Numb. 16.22. that can kill and make alive, and brings to the gates of death, and back again; 'tis he that is the God of the Spirits of all flesh; are not thy Enemies also at his dispose? and their lives, are they not in his hands? Who was it that [Page 4]turned the counsel of Achitophel into foo­lishness, Exod. 14.28. Esth. 7.10. and drowned Pharaoh and his Army in the Sea; and caused Haman to be hanged upon the Gallows he had made for another; and can take his Enemies in their own snares, and the crafty in their own devices? And is not this God in Hea­ven yet? and doth he not rule among the children of men, and dispose the King­doms of the world to whom he pleaseth? and wilt thou fear man whose breath is in his nostrils, and the son of man that is va­nity? and cannot he deliver thee out of their hands if he see it good, and will do, if he have more work for thee to do? and if not, why shouldst thou desire to live longer? and if they must be the mes­sengers which thy Father sends to fetch thee home, what hurt is in that? what wrong is done thee? Heb. 9.27. If thy trouble be that thou must dye, it may be as well that thou wast made a man; for it is appointed unto man once to dye, and after death the Judgment: And if thou wouldst not have God to have the dispose of thy life, why dost thou not speak out, and renounce thy Christianity? Lu. 14.26. Was it not one of the first Conditions Christ required of thee, when he first admitted thee into his service; If any man (saith he) come unto me, and hate [Page 5]not his Father, and Mother, and Wife and Children, and Brethren and Sisters, Mat. 16.25. yea and his own Life also, he cannot be my disciple? And doth he not plainly tell thee, he that will save his life shall lose it, and he that will lose his life for his sake, shall find it? Is not this the lowest degree of true grace, and a necessary qualification, without which thou canst not be his Disciple? he told thee this at the beginning; he doth not impose upon thee, and put new Conditions into the Covenant, that were not agreed upon. Joh. 16.33. Heaven was never offered upon lower tearms, he always told thee that through many tribulations thou must enter into it; and if the World hate thee, and the seed of the Serpent persecute thee, 'tis no new thing, thou knewest it before; and if thou tookest up the profession of Religion, and not reckon the Charges, 'tis not Gods fault, but thy folly: Christ never indent­ed with thee to leave it at thy dispose, when, and how thou shouldst dye; if thou refuse to dye in the Cause of God, if he require it, the Heathens will condemn thee, who would venture their Lives for their Countrys good, and many times upon lower accounts, as to end their Miseries, to prevent a worse death, or to get them­selves a Name; and hast not thou a bet­ter [Page 6]call than any of those, when Christ and his Cause require it? Many of the Gallants of our time, that 'tis feared are not very well provided for Death, yet will venture their Lives in a drunken Fray, in a Whores quarrel, or to prevent the name of Coward; but if they well under­stood the consequents of their death, they would be more timerous; and wilt thou shrink back in the cause of Christ, when his Truth and thy own Soul ly at the stake? when thou canst not deny to dye, but thou must deny Christ and his Truth, and ha­zard the Salvation of thy Soul? Dye thou must, whether thou wilt or no, and there is no thanks to thee; Heb. 9.27. there is a Decree pass'd in Heaven, which cannot be rever­sed, more firm than the Laws of the Medes and Persians; and wilt thou lose thy God, thy Christ, thy Soul, thy Heaven, and Happiness, and all to prolong thy life a little longer, which yet thou knowest not whether thou canst do it or not? If thou dye for Christ, thou puttest off thy life at the greatest advantage imaginable; and if thou refuse when he requires it, thou run­nest thy self upon the most desperate dan­ger conceivable. Thou think'st perhaps the condition is hard, and so it is if thou only consult Flesh and Blood, and the Sensitive [Page 7]faculty; but if thou consult with Grace and rectified Reason, thou wilt find it much easier than at first it seems: There is greater reason God should dispose of thy Life who gave it thee, than that thou shouldst dispose of the lives of Bruits that thou didst not, canst not give them, and yet thou thinkest thou dost them no wrong; but God hath a better interest in thee, and a clearer title to thy life, than thou hast to them: Life indeed is a precious Jewel, and to be valued above all earth­ly enjoyments, but Christ and the Soul are more precious than Life it self; and when Life cannot be had, but Christ must be denyed, and the Soul lost, 'tis easie to determine what is to be preferred; for he that will preserve his Life at these rates, makes a bad bargain. 'Tis thy duty 'tis true to part with any earthly en­joyments for lifes sake; Job 2.7. Skin for skin and all that a man hath will he give for his life; but Life and all must go, to secure the Soul: Death 'tis true is an enemy to Na­ture, yet in some cases it must be chosen, and we must deny our selves: Hunger and Thirst are natural to us, and the Appetite requires Meat and Drink, and yet did we know there was Poyson put into our Cup or Dish, reason would restrain the Appe­tite, [Page 8]and rather choose Hunger or Thirst than a worser evil. Physick is not pleasing, neither to be chosen for its own sake; yet for healths sake we take bitter Pills, and unsavoury potions. Pain is not pleasant to the flesh, but an enemy to Sense, yet Reason perswades us sometimes to open a Vein, to prevent greater pain, and to cut off a Joynt, a Member, a Limb, to pre­vent greater mischief. Some discontented persons weary of a miserable life, not only wish for death, but lay violent hands upon themselves, choosing Death as the lesser evil; these leap out of the Frying-pan in­to the fire, and consider not what the Event of such a death is; these have low ends, and drive on a bad bargain, and seeking to avoid Scylla they fall into Charyb­dis; Job 3.21, 22. these obey not Gods Call but the De­vils Whistle. There are some that long for death but it cometh not, and dig for it more than for hid treasure; they rejoyce exceedingly and are glad when they can find the grave: This is unnatural joy, for as 'tis our duty to yield up our breath when he that gave it calls for it, so 'tis our duty to preserve our Lives, and our sin to ha­sten our death before he requires it: We must not leave our station till our Captain commands it; we must not leave the Vine­yard [Page 9]when we would, but when our work is done, and with our Master's leave: We must not with our own hands pluck down these earthly Tabernacles, neither deny our consent when God will pluck them down; we are Tenants at will, and must not think to have our Houses at our own dispose, whether they shall down or not: we came not into the world but at his appointment, and must not go out without his leave. I know, a Godly man though he have some assurance of a better habitation, is not so reconciled to death as to choose it for its own sake, for Deaths looks are not lovely, it being the King of terrors, Job 18.19. and the ter­ror of Kings, and in it self formidable, and hath daunted the courage of the stoutest Souldiers, and triumphs over the most triumphant Conquerour, and sometimes discomposeth the most composed Chri­stian. And therefore as on the one hand it should not be overmuch feared, so on the other it should not be overmuch slight­ed. Christ himself had some fearfull ap­prehensions of it, and well he might, know­ing what he had to suffer; the Sting was then in, but by his death it was taken out in reference to Believers; yet the Serpent is formidable, but not poysonful; it will strike still, though it cannot sting: and as [Page 10]'tis an Outlet to Life, so 'tis an Inlet to Eternity, and who can enter into so vast a Gulph and so boundless an Ocean without amazement, where he can find neither bank nor bottom? 'Tis impossible for men to put off Humanity, neither doth Christia­nity teach us to be Stoicks, yet it teach­eth us to bound and moderate our passions, and not overmuch to fear Death. When we have a lawful call to it, and when 'tis our duty to dye; when God sends, let who will be the Messenger, obey we must. Lu. 12.5. Fear not them (saith Christ) that can kill the body, and can do no more, but fear him that can cast both Soul and Body into Hell, yea I say unto you fear him. All outward things must be undervalued for Life sake, but Life it self must go for Gods sake: if thou sell thy life for any worldly advan­tage, thou wilt make a hard bargain. For what good will the world do thee when thou art dead? Luk. 12.20 Thou fool (saith Christ) this night will thy soul be required of thee, and then whose are these? Thou must part with any thing in the world to preserve it, but if thou sell thy Soul to save thy life, or part with Christ upon that account, thou wilt make a bad bargain; Mat. 16.26. for what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul? or what [Page 11]shall a man give in Exchange for his soul? This is not to prevent death, but to Ex­change one death for another, temporal death for eternal. 'Tis not a choosing death thou art Press'd to, but a submission to the will of God that is required at thy hands; and of two evils the least is to be chosen: if thou must either choose death, or choose sin, death is the more eligible; for sin will expose thee to the second death, and prove the everlasting separation of soul and body from God, which is worse a thou­sand times than death. If thou must lose thy life or thy soul, let life go; if thou must deny life, or deny Christ, Christ is better than thy life, being the very life of thy soul; and he that to avoid a little tem­poral pain, incurs eternal torments, makes a foolish bargain. Now though there be no reason to love death, yet is there great reason why thou shouldst love God bet­ter than life; Psal. 63.3. whose loving kindness is bet­ter than life: though life be dear, yet Christ is dearer. The Cup of death may be bitter, but Hell and Damnation, and the eternal Wrath of God are much bit­terer, which if thou forsake Christ thou must drink up to the bottom, which Eternity will be little enough to do: God puts Sugar into the former, none into the [Page 12]latter. Rev. 14.13. Blessed are the dead which dye in the Lord, even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their works fol­low them: But those that miscarry are sent away with a curse; Mat. 25.41 Go ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels, &c. 'Tis true, after the Fall death was threatned as a Curse, and a Judgment for sin, but by the death of Christ the nature of it is changed to Be­lievers, Psal. 116.15. and the malignity of it abated. Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints; the sting is taken out, and we may put the Serpent into our bosom; 'tis now to the godly a Sleep: Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; and so 'tis said of Stephen, he fell a sleep; and the Grave is but Gods Cabinet to hide his Jewels, where they are secured from the evil to come; Isa. 57.12. & 26.20. 'tis but a Chamber to hide them in till the indignati­on be past: And though Deaths chambers be dark, they are best to sleep in, where thou shalt meet with no disturbance, no noise without, or terrour within: thou shalt neither see, nor hear, nor feel, nor fear evil: death is but a sturdy Porter to open the door of thy Fathers house, the gates of Heaven to thee, to let thee in: And though it may expose thee to some pain for the present, 'tis not much, and 'tis but [Page 13]momentary, and not worthy the glory that shall be revealed, for endless Joy presently succeeds it, and pain will soon be forgot­ten. If thou canst but stoop a little and croud in at this strait gate, and narrow door, thou wilt enter into that spacious City the New Jerusalem. If thou canst not love death for its own sake, yet en­tertain him for his Masters sake, for it is the Embassadour of the great God, and for his Message sake, for he brings an Answer of peace. To submit unto the will of God, and to be obedient unto the death, is not only thy Duty, but thy Wisdom and In­terest, and to say with Christ, Not my will but thine be done; and with Samuel, 1 Sam. 3.10. Speak Lord, for thy Servant heareth. If thou de­ny thy Life when God requires it, Christ will deny thee entrance into those Heavenly Mansions; and 'tis a thousand times better lose thy life, than lose his love: think not yet that Heaven is had upon hard terms, thou maist haply lose something for Christ, but shalt never lose by him; the way to save thy life, is to hide it with God in Christ. The hardest terms that Christ pro­pounds are but reasonable; 'tis thy In­terest to go to Heaven though it were even through the flames of Hell, much more through the pangs of Death. Paul easily [Page 14]concludes, to dye for him was gain, and to be with Christ was best of all; he dyed daily, and carried his life in his hand, rea­dy to offer it up when God required it; Acts 21.13. and was willing not only to be bound, but to dye for Christ at Jerusalem: the recom­pence of reward was in his eye, the Crown of glory was in his sight, which Christ the righteous Judge should give him at the last day; Phil. 1.21. and his desire was that Christ might be magnified by him both by his life and by his death. Thou canst contentedly endure pain for health, and wilt thou not endure it for Christ and everlasting Happiness? Wilt thou not endure some few gripes for glory? Thou hadst thy life given thee upon this condition, to part with it when God requires it: thou art a Tenant at will, and so at anothers dispose, and if thou wilt surrender, God will build thee up a more sumptuous house; if thou wilt not, he will distrain upon thee, pluck down thy house shortly, and cast thee into Prison: Life it self was given on no other terms, but to be at Gods dispose, and think not that thou hast wrong: Death is the common road wherein all men walk; Kings and Empe­rours leave their Crowns and Scepters at his gate; rich and poor, great and small, bond and free, croud in at this door, and travail [Page 15]this road; if thou willingly resign, thou maist make an advantage; if not, ere long thou wilt be constrained to do it upon hard­er terms: and seeing a death thou must dye, what matter is it what Messenger 'tis that Death sends to distrain for this Rent, whether an ordinary disease, or an ex­traordinary Pursivant? whether thou dye in thy bed, or go to Heaven in a fiery Chariot; and if so, the Crown of Martyr­dom will be thy Reward. Death to the wicked is but an entrance into Hell, the beginning of sorrowes, yea of eternal death; Rev. 20.6. but those that have a part in the first resur­rection, the second death of them shall have no power. Oh my foul, why art thou a­fraid of death, seeing the sting is taken out, and the nature of it changed? let us view it a little better, and see what the godly have thought of it, and what the Scripture saith of it. Isaiah tells thee, Isa. 57.1, 2. The righteous are taken away from the evil to come, to enter into peace, and to rest in their beds: and is Rest so terrible to the weary man? Paul calls it, a departing, Phi. 1.23. and to be with Christ; and is this so dange­rous, to lye in Christs bosom in eternal bliss? Job makes no more of it than the cutting down of a flower, Job 14.1, 2. and is this a matter of such moment? Simeon calls it a [Page 16]departing in peace; Luk. 2.29. Lord now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace: Joshua calls it, The way of all the earth; Joshua 32.14. Behold (saith he) I am this day going the way of all the earth: and wilt thou be afraid of going in this beaten road? In Christs account 'tis but a falling asleep: Our friend Lazarus sleep­eth: the like was said of Stephen; And when he had said this, Act. 7.60. he fell asleep: and who is afraid of falling asleep? 'Tis call­ed also a finishing our course; 2 Tim. 4.7. I have fought a good fight (saith Paul) I have finished my course: And who would be afraid of his journeys end? 'Tis called a going hence; O spare me, Psal. 39.13. saith David, that I may re­cover strength, before I go hence and be no more: a going home; Man goeth to his long home, Eccle. 12.5. saith Solomon: and what danger is in going home? 'tis but a resting from our labour (saith the Spirit): Rev. 14.13. There the wic­ked (saith Job) cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest, Job there the Prisoners rest together, they hear not the voice of the Oppressor, the small and the great are there, and the Servant is free from his Master: And how sweet is rest to a weary man! and doubtless death to the godly is the end of all misery, and the beginning of Happiness. O my God, I am fully con­vinc'd, and I see great reason why I should [Page 17]submit to thee, and lay down my life at thy feet; and I resolve through thine assisting grace so to do, and to submit my self to the stroak of death, when and how it shall please thee. Lord assist me in these resolutions, lest my enemy surprize me, and my deceitful heart betray me, and my frail flesh insnare me, and make me disho­nour my God, deny my Redeemer, break my Peace with thee, wound my Consci­ence, and lose my soul, by any sin [...]l com­plyance, or denying my Life when thou cal'st for it.

MEDITAT. II. Death is common to Good and Bad.

O My Soul, why art thou yet afraid at the apprehension of death? why dost thou draw back? why dost thou frame excuses? is death any strange or unwont­ed thing, that thou hast not seen nor heard of before? then there were some cause: but is it not as common as 'tis for a man to be born? is it not the end of all flesh, the way of all the world? Omnibus una manet nox et calcanda semel via lethi: is it not [Page 18]the common road that all men tread, when they go out of the world? young and old, great and small, rich and poor, good and bad, all throng in at this Gate; and art thou loath to stoop so low? Death sometimes strikes the child in the womb, and sometimes the man that stoops for Age, and art thou afraid of that which unborn Babes, and crooked old age un­dergo? Heb. 9, 27. and that which is as sure as the coat upon thy back? It is appointed un­to all men once to dye, and after Death the Judgement. All men dye once, and most men twice, but the second Death is far more formidable: Job 14.1, 2, 5. Man that is born of a woman, is of a few dayes, and full of trouble; He cometh up like a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not: His dayes are determined, the number of his Months are with God; he hath appointed his Bounds that he cannot pass: Job 14.14. and 10.9. 'Tis therefore thy Duty, all the dayes of thy appointed time to wait till thy change come; for he hath made thee as the Clay, and will bring thee to Dust again: 1 Tim. 6.7. Wis. 7.16. Thou broughtest nothing into the world, and 'tis certain thou shalt carry nothing out; all have one entrance into Life, and a like going out; Death makes a very great change; so that wicked men have cause [Page 19]to fear it, the Godly to desire it, and all to expect it: Life flies away suddenly and cannot be retained, Death comes speedily and cannot be resisted; O death, Ecclus. 41.1.2. how bit­ter is the remembrance of thee to a man that lives at rest in his possessions! unto the man that hath nothing to vex him, and hath prosperity in all things; yea unto him that is able to receive meat; Oh Death, how acceptable is thy Judgment to the needy, and to him whose strength faileth him, &c. The best and holiest men have dyed; for Innocency it self is no Target against it; otherwise Christ had not dyed, in whose mouth was found no guile: The stoutest and strongest cannot resist death; Samp­son himself must yield him the victory: The wisest cannot preserve himself alive; Solomon himself, that had studied the na­ture of all Vegetables, 1 King 4.33. from the Cedar in Lebanon to the Hyssop that grows upon the wall, yet found out none that could cure the dint of Death: contra vim mor­tis non est medicamen in hortis. The worst of men also are subjected to his power; those that would sell their Souls to save their lives, cannot do it; there is no pow­er can resist it: at one time it prevail'd against almost all the world, as in the Flood; against populous Cities, as So­dom [Page 20]and Gomorrah, &c. against Potent Princes and great Armies, as over Pharaoh and his Host; Senacherib's Army, where an hundred fourscore and. five thousand were slain in one Night: thus good and bad pass through the same Gate, but then their way soon turns, the Godly to the right and the Wicked to the left hand; the one to Heaven, and the other to Hell; for as death is an outlet to let us out of the World, so 'tis an inlet to let us in to Eternity; to the Godly an inlet to Eter­nal Bliss, and to the wicked into Eternal misery. Then will a difference be made between the Good and the Bad, as wide as between Heaven and Hell. Death is a debt we owe to nature, and pay it we must, and tis not much matter whether it be sooner or later, or whether we dye a natural or violent Death; they both signifie the same thing; should'st thou turn every stone, and use all means direct or indirect, thou canst not long preserve thy life: possibly if thou deny payment of this debt, when God requires it, thou maist preserve it a little longer, and but a little; for God will ere long distrain for the Debt, and then cast thee into an Eternal Prison. Gods determinate counsel is upon thee, and he knows eventually when thy [Page 21]death shall be: he hath determined thy bounds that thou canst not pass; God com­manded Abraham to Sacrifice his Son, and it was his Duty so to do, and his sin if he refused, though God determi­ned eventually it should not be done, yet if he had refused it he had miss'd of the Blessing. Thy appointed time is with God, but unknown to thee; 'tis his re­vealed will that is thy duty, thou must look after, not eventually what shall come to pass; secret things belong to God, Deu. 29.29. but things revealed unto us: if God and his truth, his Gospel and his cause call thee to lay down thy life, and seal thy doctrine with thy blood, thou must carry thy life in thy hand, and lay it down at his feet: If God command thee to lose thy life, 'tis thy duty to dye, and if by denying Christ life be pro­longed, 'tis a hard bargain, and 'tis no less thy sin though God eventually deter­mined thy life to be prolonged. There are many that hasten their death by their intemperance, and sacrifice their lives to Bacchus and Venus, to drunkenness and lust, and so become a Victim to the Devil him­self; yet are not Gods decrees altered; for though many hasten their death, or use un­lawful means to preserve their lives, and so both the one and the other become Guilty, [Page 22]yet Gods decrees are not altered. If thou devote thy life to God, and fully resolvest to lose it for his sake, if he require it, though he never call thee forth to suffer, thou wilt not lose thy reward; and if thou re­solvest thou wilt part with Christ, and kick up thy profession rather than suffer for him, if he never put thee upon the trial, God will take the will for the deed; whe­ther thou wilt or no, dye thou must, for death will not be bribed: Crowns and King­doms will not prolong their owners lives; thou maist say of death as Paul of preach­ing, A necessity is laid upon me, will I, nill I, dye I must: if willing, I have a reward; if against my will, I cannot help it; death will not be corrupted with bribes, won with pro­mises, nor terrified with threats. When the time will be, 'tis not so much thy concern to know, as thy duty to prepare for it: thou maist lose thy self, but canst not pre­serve thy life one day beyond the appoint­ed time: if thou deny God a temporal life, he will deny thee eternal life. I have read of one in persecuting times, being called to suffer for the truth he had professed, cryes out, The fire is hot I cannot burn; but within a short space he was burnt in his own house, and we have cause to fear he finds the fire of Hell incomparably hotter than the flames [Page 23]he was burnt in, which yet he could not evade. Death triumphs over all ranks and Estates of men, from the King upon his Throne to his meanest Subject. Mors pauperum tabernas regumque turres aequo pulsat pede. Death makes no difference; ere long the grizly hand of Death will with a winding sheet cover those naked Breasts and spotted Faces, which have been the Looking-glasses of lust; And worms will ere long make their nest be­tween those Breasts which are now exposed to sight. and sale, and eat out those wanton windows of love, and messengers of lust; death will then cool the courage of the stoutest hot-spur. Crowns and Scepters are the spoils taken by this Conqueror as trophies of his victories: Job 14.7. man that is born of a woman is of short life, and full of trouble. Inward corruption disposeth us to Death as well as open violence; thy body is an earthen pitcher ready to break at every knock; this earthly tabernacle must be re­paired with food or Physick, or both daily, or it will soon fall about thy ears: many are the harbingers of death, many are the sensible decayes in nature, which tell thee thy end is approaching; the weakness of thy sight, the dulness of thy hearing, the rottenness of thy [...]eeth, the wrinkles [Page 24]in thy face, and thy gray hairs mind thee that this crazy Pitcher will not long come home from the water unbroken. The contrary Elements whereof thy bo­dy is compounded, the disagreeing qua­lities within thee of cold and heat, drought and moisture, will at length quarrel for the upper hand, and work the destructi­on of the compositum; were there no external cause of thy dissolution, these will effect what thy greatest enemy can but do; though haply not so soon. The fruit when 'tis once ripe, will fall if it be not gathered; the Rose will wither if not pluckt; the sturdiest Oak, or Elm, or Cedar will at length yield to time. Me­thusalems glass will run out; and these houses of clay will at last tumble down of themselves. 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: Mors omnibus communis est: 'Tis the common path all the world walks in, some sooner, some later; some in Infancy, and some in Youth, and in middle, and some in old age; And 'tis the best way for thee to put thy life into his hands that gave it, and who only is able to preserve it; and assure thy self he will dispose of it to thy advantage; and if he take it from [Page 25]thee, will exchange it for life Eternal: for a Believer to dye is but as the putting off an old suit of cloaths, 1 Cor. 5.6. and exchanging it for a new: and who will fear to put off his old nasty Rags at night for rich Robes in the morning? 'Tis but to change a Cottage for a Palace, Earth for Heaven, and the creatures for God; and who will not be willing of such a bar­gain? yea of a Peasant to be made a Prince? Whatever thou losest for Christ, thou shalt lose nothing by him; for he will repay thee a hundred fold: Mat. 19.29 This is the way to secure thy life, or to part with it at the best advantage, when otherwise thou wilt lose thy life as the Pharisees did their duties, for nothing; they prayed, they fasted, they gave alms, but by reflecting upon themselves, and not looking at God in what they did, they lost their Reward. If thou lose thy life and canst not help it, what praise­worthy thing dost thou? Thousands of men, it may be imagined, that never in­tended a life for Christ, have yet with others been bloodily Massacred upon a religious account, when something else lay at the bottom; these have suffered Death without a reward, and this may well be thy condition. 'Tis true thou [Page 26]shouldst not run before thou art sent, or expose thy life to danger without a call, so maist thou be guilty of thine own death, which is murder in the highest degree; this is the way to shorten thy life, but to hasten thy misery: But to dye for Christ is gain, and soul-advantage; and how canst thou that pretendest to be­lieve a Resurrection to Eternal Life, and pretendest an interest in it, yet fear to dye, which is the only way to enjoy it: we sow our seed willingly in hope of a plentiful crop, we go to bed willingly in hope of rest and sleep, and shall we fear to repose our body in the Grave in hope of a joyful Resurrection? O the Ignorance, the Infidelity, the want of Love that appears in thee! for didst thou really believe what thou pretendest to believe, or hadst thou that love for Christ which thou pretendest to have, thou would­est long for the time when thou should­est enjoy this happiness, when thou shouldst enjoy this God: Mat. 6.21. love would make thee run through fire and water to come to him; Love makes labour light, it makes a man slight all the difficulties that lye in the way: Ʋbi amor ibi animus; and where the treasure is, there will the heart be also; dost thou believe that at death this mor­tal [Page 27]shall put on immortality, 1 Cor. 15.54. and this corrup­tible shall put on incorruption, that death shall be swallowed up of victory; and that in Hea­ven thou shalt never hunger more, nor thirst more, nor have need of any creature supplies, and never meet with more losses, crosses or afflictions to molest thee, but shalt be as the Angels of God, which be­hold Gods face in glory? Dan. 12.3. Phil. 3.21. dost thou believe that thy glorified body shall shine as the Sun in the firmament, and be fashioned like unto Christs glorified body; and yet art afraid to dye, and come to glory? how can these things be reconciled? The question is not, Whether thou must dye or no, this is deter­mined by an irrevocable decree, but it is about the Time and the Manner of thy death: who is fittest to dispose of it, thee or the great God that gave it? wouldst thou have it at thine own will? alas! thou canst not preserve it a moment, and thou canst not preserve it from a violent death, and a languishing disease may haply be more painful than the death thy enemy puts thee to: thou canst not deny Christ thy life without hazard of eternal death, and wilt thou not rather suffer a few pangs than run this hazard, and be obnoxious to eternal torments? Thou hast a sickly weakly body, many distempers hang upon thee, from [Page 28]head to foot, scarce a free part, and sub­ject to more than yet thou feelest, and there is no other Physician can cure thee but Death; his stroak is the Catholicon, the universal Medicine for all distem­pers; and dost thou fear the potion which so many of the Saints have taken and did well; nay never any that miscarried un­der his hands: Christ by his death hath destroyed him who hath the power of death, Heb. 2.14, 15. even the Devil; to deliver them which through the fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage: Now the only way to be delivered from this fear, is to fall under this Stroak; for death frees us from this as well as from all other mise­ries. If thou shouldst yet deny thy life, and so think to save it, thou art much mi­staken, when God is thine enemy, and thine enemy then he will be. Every crea­ture will wait for a Commission to take away thy life: God can hide Death in the smallest creature: With what con­temptible things did he torment Phara­oh and his people, which had they not been withdrawn upon Moses supplicati­on would have been their destruction, as Frogs, and Lice, and Locusts, and Caterpillars, &c. Nay we may read of many that have lost their lives by such [Page 29]as these: some have been devoured by Rats and Mice; others destroyed by Leeches, some stung to death by Bees, Wasps and Hornets; some choakt with Flies, with Figs, with Grapes, Ward on Mat. part 329. with the kernel of Grapes, with Fish-bones, crums of bread, an hair in milk; some have been eaten of lice, others of worms; some have dyed in smelling of a flower, some with the prick of a pin, or thorn, and many other such like. God needs not muster any great Army to destroy thee; the least of his creatures can do it, if he give them a commission; and if thou deny thy life when he requires it, well maist thou fear this commission will be sealed; well maist thou fear the bread thou eatest will choak thee, the drink thou drinkest will be thy bane; and what ever judgment thou ever readest or heard'st of, that ever befell. a grace­less sinner, it may be thy portion; that the flouds may drown thee, as it did the old world, and Paraoh and his host; that the fire may burn thee, as it did Sodom and Gomorrah; that the earth may open her mouth and swallow thee up, as it did Corah, Dathan and Abiram. Or whatsoever other judgments have befaln the Enemies of God, may be thy porti­on: [Page 30]for Apostacy is a most dangerous sin, some creature or other may well di­strain of thee in Gods name, when thou denyest the debt. Hadst thou been the first that ever tasted of death, as Abel was, thou mightest have been afraid; had never any before thee entred into deaths darksome Cell, or gone through that dark and narrow entry, it were some­thing, but when ten thousand times ten thousand have gone before thee, what need this fear? and seeing, will we, nill we, all of us must dance after deaths pipe, why wilt thou not do it willingly? God loves a chearful giver, he loves a free­will Offering, and loves not grumbling Servants: millions of the Saints are now in Heaven that have travailed this road, yet none of them repent they came there too soon: Many of them have been taken out of the world by the hand of violence, and now have the crown of Martyrdome upon their heads; Rev. 12.11. they loved not their lives to the death, and now have received a crown of life; and if thou be faithful to the death, this will be thy reward when thou comest to thy Juorneys end, thou wilt be among the souls of just men made perfect, singing Halelujahs to God for ever and for ever; then wilt thou bid adieu to a vain, miserable [Page 31]cheating and deceitful world. But haply thou maist say, Here I am acquainted, but there I am a stranger, and what comfort can I have in the removing? Art thou a stranger! the more shame for thee; other Saints were strangers and pilgrims in this world, and made hast home into their own coun­try: if thou hadst been well acquainted with the Word, thou wouldst have seen the vani­ty, and emptiness of all earthly felicity; and that there was nothing in the world worth thy love; and hadst thou had thy conversa­tion in Heaven as thou hast pretended, thou wouldst not have been such a stranger there, as thou seemest to be: But stay, hast thou not many friends and relations there? is not almighty God there, whom thou callest Father? and art thou a stran­ger in thy Fathers house? hast had no com­munion, no trading with him in his Or­dinances? what is then become of all thy prayers, and other duties? are those all lost? 'tis true, thou never fawest his face, neither canst see it and live, but hast not seen him in his Word, in his Ordinances, in his promises, threatnings, providences, and Attributes? Blessed is he that hath not seen, Gal. 4.26. and yet believeth; and is not Jerusalem that is above the mother of as all? and is not the Lord Jesus Christ him whom thou callest thy [Page 32]Lord, and thy God, and thy Husband, and thy elder Brother, yea thy Head? and is a loving wife a stranger to her beloved husband? and is not the Holy Ghost there, from whom thou hast received such sweet consolations, in thy sinking fits? and are not the holy Angels there, beholding thy Fathers face in glory, who are now thy guardians that rejoyced at thy conver­sion, and will rejoyce at thy Coronation: 'Tis true thou seest them not, thou knowest them not, they are invisible; but they see and know thee, and then thou wilt be able to see and know them, for they shall be thy constant companions, and thy fellow brethren. And are there not millions of glorified Saints, which are thy Spiritual kindred, fellow members of Christs body, yea brethren in Christ? yea are there not some that thou knewest in the dayes of their flesh, whose company thou so much desiredst, and whose death thou so much la­mentedst? nay are there not some that were related to thee in the flesh, gone before thee, of whom thou hast comfortable hopes that they are with the Lord; and will not their company be now as comfortable as it was on earth? yea thou wilt know more there than ever thou didst here; for I question not but the Saints shall know [Page 33]each other: for, shall we sit with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Hea­ven, and not know them? All the Patri­archs, the Prophets, the Apostles, Martyrs and glorified Saints are here, and is not thine Inheritance, thy Crown, thy Mansion-house here? and art thou yet a stranger? is not this thy countrey which thou pretendest to be seeking, and all this while art thou a stranger to it? yea dost not live upon heavenly allowance, and hast thy meat, and thy drink, and thy cloathes for thy soul from hence? Or is it death that thou art a stranger to; why didst thou not know that thou wast mortal? why then didst not acquaint thy self with death? thou knewest all must dye, why didst not consider of it, and among the rest of thy own death? didst not believe God when he said, Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return? Heb. 9.27. or when he saith, 'Tis appointed unto all men once to dye, and after death the judgment: and when he told thee, that all flesh is grass, and the flower thereof as the flower of the field? But if thou hadst not believed God, couldst not believe thy own eyes and ears? dost not dayly see younger and stronger than thee go before thee? dost not hear of many round about thee strucken by death? many suddenly, many by a violent [Page 34]death, and many by diseases? Dost not remember a hundred thousand slain in London in one year? two or three hundred thousand in Ireland in a few weeks bloo­dily Massacred? hast thou not many Le­ctures of mortality read to thee, many Monitors of mortality within thee? doth not the dimness of thy eyes mind thee, the very Spectacles thou lookest through tell thee of the decayes in Nature; and canst expect greater warning? or hast any more considerable work to do than to provide for death? and is death yet a stranger? hast thou not visited many a sick bed, and been with many a departing soul, and receiv­ed their last breath into thy bosom, and yet hast not sufficient warning? God ne­ver ingaged to give thee so much; thou art his listed souldier, and hast taken press-money, and thou art ingaged to be in a continual readiness; yet God hath given thee many a particular warning to pre­pare for death: thou hast many a time look't death in the face, and God hath often pluckt thee by the shoulders, and shewed thee grim death before thee; and thou hast several times received the sen­tence of death within thee, and God hath in effect said to thee, Set thy house in or­der, for thou must dye; nay not only so, but [Page 35]God hath imployed thee to warn others, yet he hath forborn thee above sixty years, and every year given thee many warnings, and what wouldst thou have more? and yet art unacquainted with thy main work? What if he had taken thee hence thirty or forty years ago, as he did many that were companions with thee in vanity, what had been thy condition, that yet pretendest thou art not ready? and what hopes is there of thee, if God spare thee another year, that thou wilt bring forth better fruit? is old age the best and fittest for repentance, and preparation to dye? when thou wilt find enough to do to wrastle with pains and bodily distempers? would a Captain take it for a sufficient excuse, if a Souldier that is by ingagement to be rea­dy at an hours warning, and should give him a week, a month, a years time to make ready, and at the end of that time he should plead, his Arms are not fixed, nor other necessaries provided; and if the Captain give him another year, and at the end there­of he should plead the same excuse, would this be taken for a good excuse? yet this excuse hath been in thy mouth many years together, and 'tis doubt if God yet leng­then thy daies and give thee more years, it will be the same. Hath not death entred [Page 36]into thy habitation? hath it not taken away thy parents, thy loving wife, thy dear children, and other of thy near relations? and didst not yet lay it to heart? wast thou no wiser than fatted beasts, that are taken away one after another to the Shambles, and those that remain are senseless of the danger, neither consider their turn is coming? yea hath not death thrown many a dart at thee, and sometimes wounded thee in the head, sometimes in thy bow­els, and yet dost not consider that he hath a dart will reach thy heart? Yea sometimes thou hast thought thou hast had thy deaths wound, and yet wilt take no warning to get on thy Armour? doth not the pains, the aches, the distempers of thy body, under which thou daily groanest, bid thee pre­pare for thy winding-sheet? doth not news ring dayly in thy ear, this and that friend, relation, or neighbour is dead, and ere long others will say of thee, he is dead also? hast thou not interred many a dead corpse, and preacht may a Funeral Sermon, and given many an exhortation to the living to pre­pare for death, and comforted many that have lost their friends by death, and wast never yet satisfied that thou wast mortal, and must dye also? didst thou think thy self only exempted from the common lot [Page 37]of all men; or that God would bring thee to Heaven another way? or couldst thou wish thou wert immortal and shouldst live on earth to Eternity? art thou willing to take the Earth for Heaven, and the creature for God, and the happiness thou meetst with here for Heavens glory? hast enough to sa­tisfy thee here below, and desirest no more? if not, why wouldst not dye and come to happiness? if the earth be more desireable to thee one year, why not twenty, and why not to eternity? if God should bid thee choose thy time, and appoint it thy self, what time wouldst thou require? haply Methusalems daies; well, but these would ex­pire, and death at the end would be as bitter as now it is. If death were the road to Hell as 'tis to the wicked, thou mightest well star­tle at it: And I have wondred at those of them that have been so prodigal of their lives, when Life is the only preservative out of Hell. Or if thy case were that of the beasts, and thou were to be reduced unto the horrid estate of nothing, death might make thee shrug, but when thou believest that death to thee will be an entrance into glory, an outlet to misery, and an inlet to happi­ness, and the same road that Christ and all the glorified Saints have gone to Heaven in, how can this be reconciled with thy [Page 38]fears? Hast thou had so many discourses of death, and with death, and dost believe that the sting is taken out by Christ, and dost yet run from this Serpent, and take him for an enemy that is but thy Fathers Messenger, sent for thy good? This must needs be thy sin, and thy folly, and doth too evidently bespeak thy Infidelity, or the weakness of thy Faith. Thou hast com­forted others at the last gasp, and prayed with them; and for them, thou hast strengthened the weak hands, and feeble knees, and now dost faint under the same burden? But hadst thou had more mortify­ing Meditations of death, and with the Apostle hadst learned to dye daily, death would not have been so terrible a Bugbear to thee as now it seems: didst thou once a day look him in the face, by a serious me­ditation, and by a believing expectation, he would not look so grim and terrible. Bears and Tigers are not so terrible to those that are their keepers, and acquainted with them, as to others. The Lion in the Fa­ble was at first sight a terror to the Fox, but time much allayed his fear: the more thou beholdest death, the less deformed, yea the more lovely he doth appear: death will be no excepter of persons; the rich and poor, high and low, whether they will [Page 39]or no must dance in this Ring; when God commands, he must and will strike: death is written upon thy cradle, and thou wast rockt upon the mouth of the grave, and ever since no day hath been sure to thee, but it might have been thy dying day: 'tis not long since thou didst bewail the death of thy Pa­rents, and 'tis not long before thy chil­dren will bewail thine; one generation comes and another goes, and the latter treads out the steps of the former: we trod out the steps of our predecessors, and our posterity will do as much for us. The world is but a Tent to abide in for a time, an Inne to tarry in a night, a Lodging place for a way­faring man, a baiting-place in a Journey: Oh the folly of most men, that take it for their Inheritance, and look for no more; but to the Godly 'tis no continuing city, no abiding place, neither indeed worthy our love. Were the world as the garden of Eden, full of delights and pleasures, thou hadst some­thing to say for it, and yet the worm of time would eat out the very heart of it, the shortness of the continuance would spoyl the sport. Many doat on beauty, but none but the blind will fall in love with deformi­ty it self. The world is a Bochim, a place of Lamentation, and who falls in love with sorrow? 'tis a Golgotha, a place of dead mens [Page 40]skuls, and who but mad men converse among the Tombs? 'Tis a pest-house, an in­fected, and an infecting place, where most we converse with are infectious: 'tis a pri­son, a place of hardship, where the soul hath not liberty to act according to its nature: 'tis a place of Egyptian bondage and slavery, where there is little but moiling, toyling, working, caring, from morning till night, for a poor living, wherein we are so chained to our Oars, that we have scarce time to eat our meat; and what madness is it over eagerly to desire such a life, and to quarrel those that ease us of our burden, and put an end to our labours? Here thou livest under continual pains, aches, griefs, and troubles, sorrows, dangers and temp­tations, and what not; and is any poor prisoner lying in his fetters, or Gally-slave chained to his oars, unwilling of his liberty? nay would they not endure a little pain for their liberty? and is there but a little pain between thee and eternal happiness, and dost stick at that, when wicked men indure as much in the road to Hell? dost thou prize glory at so low a rate? wilt thou suf­fer pains and labour, and cark and care for worldly vanities, and wilt thou suffer nothing to enjoy bliss and happiness? the Physitian cures thee not without pain, thou takest bit­ter [Page 41]pills and unsavoury potions, when Su­gred with the hopes of Health; thou wouldst suffer the Surgeon to dress thy sores though he hurt thee, and if need require to cut, lance the flesh, yea to cut off a limb or joynt to save the rest; which is greater pain than many feel even in the pangs of death, and yet thou must pay them for their pains, and shall only the phy­sitian Death, which will cure thee of all thy pain and misery, be disrespected, and abhorred, and lookt upon as the worst of enemies, and all because he puts thee to a little pain, which ends in eternal glory; when many times the pains in dying is not so much as the raging pain of an aking tooth? but imagine it to be the worst thou canst, what proportion doth it bear to the succeeding joy? not so much as is between a Flea-biting and an earthly Crown, and who would not indure much more for a King­dom? what pain wouldst thou indure for an hour, to be freed from the Stone or Gout all thy life, if thou wert under the racking pain of it? or what pain would a poor man indure one day to have a Knights or Lords estate at night? Oh death, if thy pangs be grievous, they are but short, but what are the pains of Hell, which must be indured by those that deny their Redeem­er [Page 42]for Lifes sake? If thy Supper be sharp, thy rest will be sweet: this conside­ration made death it self welcom to the Martyrs; who for the joy that was set before them, indured the cross and despised the shame, and now are set down with Christ in his Kingdom of glory: Torments and tortures to them were Jocularia, matters of sport: The soul that sees the Crown, heeds not the weight of the Cross; and were there no other way to Heaven, but by the gates, nay through the flames of Hell, the believing soul would through. Luther would rather be with God in Hell, than without him in Heaven; but much more would they go through the gates of death: what though the passage be dark, a believer by the per­spective of Faith can see light at the other end. A Souldier that fights but for a tem­porary reward, yet with what violence doth he press through the thickest of his ene­mies, and carries his life in his hand, and all for a thing of nought call'd Honour; and doth not a crown of glory shine as bright in thy eye, as popular applause doth in his? dost thou believe eternal glory is of­fered to thee, and that thou maist have it for the suffering a little pain, and dost thou stick at the price, and let God bestow his favours where he pleaseth, thou wilt not [Page 43]have Heaven at so dear a rate? thou art well worthy then to lose it. If these out­ward enjoyments will give thee content, then the Atheist, the Epicure, the beastly belly-God, the Drunkard, the Adulterer, hath more pleasure than thee; the beast of the field, the fouls of the air, the fish in the sea, that have neither carking care, nor fretting fear, and many of them free from labours and pains, are in a happier condi­tion than poor Man is, if this be his all, and Believers then are of all men the most miserable. If this be the summ of thy hopes, why dost thou fast, and pray, and deny thy self these carnal pleasures which others take? if their reward will give thee content, why dost not swear with the Swearer, and drink with the Drunkard, and debauch thy self with the Adulterer? if thy portion and theirs be alike, why dost not run into the same excess of riot with them? Psal. 58.11. But there is a reward for the righteous, surely there is a God that judgeth the earth; and art thou afraid to receive the righteous mans re­ward? wilt thou after all thy profession content thy self with the Epicures portion, and lose all the pains thou hast taken in Heavens way? let them be loth to dye that are loth to be with Christ, or loth to be happy. Is God willing to glorifie thee, [Page 44]and art not thou willing to be glorified? is he willing to bestow Heaven upon thee, and art thou unwilling to take it, because 'tis up Hill? take heed lest for murmur­ing at the tearms, God swears thou shalt never enter into his rest; as he resolved those that made light of his Supper should never tast of it. Mat. 22.8. If thou make light of Christ and glory, so as to put them into the one end of the Scales, and a little pain in the other, and make this weigh down all the rest, Christ will make as light of thee, and resolve thou shalt never have him: if thou art unwil­ling to leave. Earth for Heaven, and the Creature for God, and to enter the purcha­sed Inheritance in the way he hath ap­pointed, God may justly give thee thy. Por­tion elsewhere. 'Tis the Devils grand de­sign to keep thee from God, from Christ, from Glory, and art thou as willing as he to stay thence? thou wilt do him the greatest courtesie, and thy self the greatest mischief imaginable. O my Soul, look well about thee, Heaven and Hell are before thee, if thou like not Heaven upon the offered terms, Hell is like to be thy portion: those that murmured at the land of Canaan by reason of some difficulty in the way, pe­rished in the Wilderness. The way to Heaven and Hell, is both by the Gates [Page 45]of Death; if thou give up thy life to Gods dispose, Heaven will be thine; if not, Hell is thy reward. Oh my God, I believe, help my unbelief; I know I must dye, I know 'tis my duty to dye for thee if thou requirest; thou gavest me my life, and hast most reason to dispose of it; Lord my Spirit is willing, but the Flesh is weak, I cannot stand by my own Strength, Lord I can do all things through thee that strengthenest me; let my re­solves be for Heaven, which way soever thou commandest me to come to thee, though through a Sea of Blood, or in a fiery Chariot; let me glorifie thee by my Life and by my Death, that I may be glorified by thee after my Death.

MEDITAT. III. God determines every ones Death, with the Time and Manner of it.

O My Soul, art thou afraid of a sud­den Death? why no Death is sudden to a prepared man: but 'tis a vi­olent Death thou fearest, to fall into the hands of the cruel, into the hand of thy [Page 46]blood-thirsty Enemies: but consider, who 'tis that appoints Death; is it not the great God that gives life? and is there any but he that can take it away? can any act without him, when they cannot breathe without him? is it not he that kills and makes alive, and brings to the Gates of Death and back again? is it not he without whose Providence a Sparrow cannot fall to the ground, by whom all the hairs of thy head are numbred? As thy life is not put into thy own hands, to live while thou listest, and to dye when thou pleasest, no more is it into thy enemies hands, to take it away when their pleasure is; but in the hand of thy mercifull Father, who best knows when thy work is done, and when thou art ripe for glory. 'Tis true, he useth Instruments, sometimes one, and sometimes another, but these instruments cannot go one link beyond their com­mission, and these are of his own choose­ing; sometimes inanimate creatures must do his Will, and prove his Executioners; thus the waters must drown the old world thus the Red Sea must overwhelm proud Pharaoh and his Host, thus the fire must burn up Sodom and Gomorrah and the Cities adjacent; thus the Earth must swallow up Corah, Dathan and Abiram, and their com­pany; [Page 47]sometimes bruit Beasts, 2 King 2.24. thus the two she-Bears that killed forty two Children that mocked the Prophet; 2 King 17.25, 26. thus he destroyed those that feared him not with Lions; yea sometimes very Insects are his Executioners; thus he plagued Pharaoh and his people, and many others; Herod was devoured of Worms, and many of Lice: and the least of creatures if animated by him can stop the breath of the proudest Tyrant; and the strong­est and most potent Prince without him can do nothing. The Devil himself cannot touch one of Jobs Cattel with­out his leave; the fire cannot burn the three children, nor the Lyons devour Daniel, ha­ving no Commission from him: A world of Arians could not destroy Athanasius, nor a world of Papists Luther and Calvin. God, as he hath appointed all men to dye, so he hath determined by what death, the time when, and the manner how, and the instruments by whom, and every cir­cumstance belonging to it. If he pleased he can make five of his people put a hun­dred to flight, Lev. 26.8. and a hundred chase ten thou­sand; Isa. 69.1. his hand is not shortned that he cannot save, neither is his ear heavy that he cannot hear. I know in our Creation we were by our composition made subject to death, but [Page 48]by his blessing, had we not sinn'd, we had not dyed; for sin brought death into the world, but when the Fall came, man had not only an aptitude to a dissolution, but an irrevocable decree past upon him, and dye he must; and ever since nature of it self tends to ruine, and our bodies like an old house must yield to time, and fall in pieces. God I know hath power in his hand to maintain life longer, or take it away sooner, and he acteth accordingly; he sets one a longer Lease than another, as he thinks fit: The Fathers of the first ages lived long, some of them near to a thou­sand years; in our age few reach a hun­dred, and there are but few that live so long as Nature might spin out their lives, but either by some disease, some accident, some violence or other offered to Nature, their lives are cut off. Mans body being compounded of the four elements, and of contrary qualities, heat and cold, drought and moisture, except God by his special blessing keep these in peace, they will strive for the predominancy, and indanger the compositum. When sin entred into the world, Rom. 5.12. death entred by sin, and so death passed over all, for as much as all have sinned; and Christ in the work of Redemption hath not freed us from the [Page 49]first, but the second death; not from the stroak, but the sting of death: Christ died not to deliver us from hunger and thirst, cold and nakedness, sickness and dis­eases, but so far forth as is for our good; and God himself, and not we our selves, must be Judge in the case: Christ him­self suffered these miseries, and dyed by the hand of cruelty, and greater than the Master is the Servant cannot be; and man is as liable to this as before Christs suffer­ing. Nature thou seest disposeth thee to death, and God hath determined the time when, for God is the God of Nature; and disposeth it as he sees good. Well maist thou expect death as the wages of sin, and every day doth expose thee to some danger or other, which may take away thy life. Death comes irresistible, like an armed man; thou hast no time certain, no time promised, no breath but what God puts into thee, and therefore thou shouldest daily expect death; let it come in what shape it will, or let God send by what messenger he pleaseth, thou shouldst bid him welcome, thou shouldst stoop willingly under the stroke, for 'tis but death still, thou canst not avoid it, therefore make a vertue of necessity. See­ing thy Lamp must out, 'tis not much, whe­ther [Page 50]it be put out, or burn out, whether the tree rot down, or be cut down, whether the Rose wither, or be gathered; if the later, 'tis like to be put into the bosom; all is but death, and a death thou owest, and a death thou must pay; thy natural constitu­tion adapts thee to it, and God by his decree designs thee to it, and 'tis thy duty to submit, and no reason to the contrary, for it is thy interest. The potion thou art to drink is prescribed and mixt by the wise Physician; the Cup thou art to drink comes out of thy Fathers hand, and no more, nay not so bitter as he gave his on­ly Son, and he drank up the very dregs of it for thy sake; yea, and there is Sugar put into thine to sweeten it. All the cir­cumstances of thy death are determined by him, and none can add one dram to the potion he hath mixed for thee, and yet dost thou grumble that it is too much, or too bitter? dost thou think thy self wise enough to alter Gods Eternal Decrees, who hath determined thy daies? the number of thy months are with him, Job 14.5. he hath appoint­ed thy bounds that thou canst not pass. Or wilt thou quarrel the messenger he sends, and like the foolish dog bite the stone, and let the passenger that threw it go free? is there evil in the city, [...] 3.6. and the Lord hath not [Page 51]done it? without his leave a dog cannot move his tongue against thee, nor an enemy his finger: whoever be the Instru­ment God is the Author; Isa. 10.5. if the King of Assyria be the rod, God is he that holds the rod, and when the Child is reformed the rod will be burnt. David could see God even in Shimei's cursing; 2 Sam. 16.10. The Lord (saith he) hath bid him curse David. God can, yea he will if it be good for thee, preserve thee from a violent death, and he will preserve thee till the appointed time come; they cannot antedate his Decree; thou shalt not be cut down sooner, neither canst thou stay longer than he hath ap­pointed: and dost call God thy God, and thy Father, and yet resist his will? dost pray, Thy will be done, and yet when he makes known his will dost thou oppose it? but haply thou maist say, How shall I know it is his will, that I shall lay down my life? why, when thou canst not save it without denying Christ, or his Truth, or committing sin; for he that commiteth sin, is of the Devil; and in such a case think not to wrestle out of the hands of God; sin will find thee out, and never any man set himself against God and prospered: There is no resisting of God, when thou canst not breathe without him; all diseases are [Page 52]his Executioners, and wicked men can do no more; to the one or the other of them thou must submit, and not much matter to which; to neither of them thou should submit willingly, but to God in both: thou shouldst seek all lawful means against the one and the other, but nothing but what is lawful: when God denies help, go not to the Devil for a medicine; to submit to death when thou canst not help it is no praise-worthy thing: when thou canst save thy life by unlawful means, and wilt not, this shall not be unreward­ed, a Crown of glory will be given thee. He deserves death that in time of danger deserteth his Captain, and falls off to the enemy. Keep thy life thou canst not without his leave, and if thou lay it down for his sake, 'tis not the way to lose it but to save it, to hide it with God in Christ; and doth not Reason tell thee, he is fittest to dispose of thy life that gave it? he is too righteous to do thee wrong, and too gracious to do thee hurt; never was indul­gent Father, or tender-hearted. Mother more carefull of their only Child, than God will be of thee; thou shalt not lye longer in the furnace than need is: he afflicts not willingly nor grieves the children of men: thou art but like a sleepy child, that [Page 53]wrests, and wrings, and cries, and will not be undrest; and thy Father must carry thee to bed against thy will; and what harm hath he done then? when thou awakest thou wilt thank him for it. When Corn is ripe it should be cut, and who is fitter to know when 'tis ripe than the great Husbandman? when thy work is done thou maist go to thy rest, and who better knows than the Lord of the Vineyard? if that he take thee off in the midst of thy day, and give thee the wages for the whole day, what cause is there of com­plaint? Nay, should he give thee the whole wages for one hours work? if God call thee off, 'tis not to stop thy wages, or to blame thee for working no longer. Thou must submit to the stroak of death, and do it willingly, whether it be natural or violent; for consider, God hath most right to thy life, and is the fittest per­son to determine of the Manner of thy death: He gives men Laws to live by, and yet many will take their own wills and waies, to their own destruction; he gives men Laws to dye by, look that thou follow not thy own will to perdition; thou art but a Tenant at will, if thou resign not at thy Landlords will, it will be the worse for thee; he will never provide a better [Page 54]house, but a Prison for thee; he is the fit­test to determine when to pull down these houses of clay, and who shall do it; and if thou willingly submit, he will raise thee up a Spiritual building, an house not made with hands, but eternal in the Heavens. Is it not unreasonble for thee to think to keep the keyes of life and death at thy girdle? why shouldst thou think to dis­pose of thy death any more than of thy birth, or of thy latter end more than thou didst of thy beginning? it was through him that thou wast born, and at his dispose shall be thy death: if thou wouldst wring this key out of Gods hand, into whose hands wouldst thou commit it? is any in the world fitter for it, than he is? nay, can any other in the world preserve thy life? thou art the clay and he is the Potter, and whose is the Pot but the pot-makers? and who may better dash it with his foot than he? may he not dispose of his own as he pleaseth? he is best able to maintain life, and best able to take it away; for if he tread upon thee, he leaves thee dead behind him: if he with-hold thy breath, thou returnest to thy dust, and all thy thoughts pe­rish. Doth not he rule in Heaven and in the Earth? doth not he direct the Sun, the Moon and the Stars in their courses? [Page 55]doth not he cause Summer and Winter, Cold and Heat, Seed-time and Harvest, Day and Night, and thou letst him alone with these? and why? because thou canst not take this work out of his hand: he makes the Grass to grow for the Cattel, and Corn for the service of Man; he wa­ters the earth with his Clouds, and cau­seth the Springs to run among the Hills; why dost not take these out of his hand? or must he rule all the rest, and only thee must be excepted? hath he more wis­dom than thou hast in all other things, only in the disposing of thy life thou out­wittest him? why, art thou not his creature as well as others? and how cam'st thou from under his dominion? doth it beseem a rational man, much less a gra­cious man, to argue at this rate, and ex­cept himself from Gods dispose, and argue himself from under his tuition, and think himself to be an independent crea­ture, fit to stand upon his own legs? Doth not he know best when his work is done, and when his Roses are ripe, and when his Children are fit for glory? or is any other fitter to determine these con­troversies? or wouldst thou dispose of thy own life? if so, wouldst have all men have the same priviledge? then Heaven, [Page 56]especially Hell, would be long empty; for what wicked man would leave the Earth to go thither? and God must be beholding to his people to come to him: how should Judgment and Justice then be executed? the sword of Justice would rust in the Scab­bard; for what offender would lay down his head upon the block willingly? How would the Earth then be filled with vio­lence, and all flagitious crimes? if thou wouldst not have others have the like privi­ledge, then thou art partial; if thou wouldst, thou art foolish: but if it were at thy own dispose, how couldst maintain it? Thou couldst neither provide thy self food, neither could thy life be preserved by food without Gods blessing; neither couldst thou preserve it from the hands of violence; and therefore 'tis best leave it in his hands where it is: or wouldst have God preserve thy life as long as thou pleasest, and till thou think 'tis fit to dye? why dost think thou canst put such a clause into the Covenant? or dost think 'tis fit it should be put in? wouldst thou have God alter his eternal decrees for thy sake? Oh the folly of such a conceit! the pride of such a desire! thou thinkest the life of the bruit beast should be at thy dispose, to save or to destroy, as thou thinkest fit, and yet thou thinkest thou dost them no [Page 57]wrong if thou kill them; and why? be­cause thou callest them thy own: but hath not God a better right to thee than thou hast to them? He gave thee thy life, but thou gavest them not the life thou takest. But 'tis a violent death thou fearest, and wouldst not fall into thine enemies hands; but if God make them his Messengers, they are thy Friends, though unwillingly, and promote thy glory; they cannot act without him, and therefore look not at the rod, but at the hand that holds it. The King of Assyria was sent as a scourge by God to do his work, Isa. 10.7.15. to reform his peo­ple; Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to de­stroy, and to cut off nations not a few, &c. Shall the Ax boast it self against him that heweth therewith? or shall the Saw mag­nify it self against him that shaketh it, &c? All are but instruments in the hand of God, they do his will, and what he ap­points; as Jehu cut off Ahabs family at his command, yet God punisht him for it, because he aimed not at Gods glory in the work, but at his own greatness: wick­ed men can neither maintain their own lives, when God calls for them, neither can they take away thine by their own power; for they can have no power but [Page 58]what they have from above; and if thou see Gods hand and seal to their Com­mission, murmur not at it, for 'tis not want of love to thee that made God set them on work, nor any love to them that made him imploy them; but it was to fill up the measure of their sins, that they may be ripe for Judgment, and to fill up the measure of thy sufferings, that thou maist be ripe for glory. The same love that sent Christ into the world to dye for thee, is exercised in sending thee to dye for him; in the one he prepared a King dom for thee, in the other he calls thee out of the world to enjoy it. By Christs death there is a possession purchased, and by thy death thou art put into the posses­sion of it; and what hurt is in all this? there is thy life, yea Eternal Life, put into the lease of it. Never fear miscarrying, i [...] thou wilt be ruled by God: for if thou shouldest, either it will be want of power, want of wisdom, or want of love tha [...] shall occasion it; not want of power, for the Lord is El-shaddai, God alsufficient able to remove all the rubs that lye in the way; thy enemies they cannot hurt thee without him, for they cannot breathe with­out him, nor move a finger but by his assistance: Neither can they out-wit him [Page 59]for he is Omniscient, the only wise God, Isa. 9.6. the everlasting counseller, the Prince of peace; who knows how to deliver his people, and to reserve the wicked for the day of wrath: they cannot hide their counsels from him, for he is every where present; if they dig down to Hell, he is there also, and can countermine them; he hath wrought wonderfully for the preservation of his people; witness Noah, Daniel, the three children, Jonah, Israel in Egypt, the Jews in Hamans time, Peter, Athanasius, Luther, Calvin, England; and many others, which he hath preserved against numerous ene­mies. And for love never any hath disco­vered more than Christ hath done for his people, and yet canst not trust Him with the dispose of thy life, that lost his own for the good of thy soul? Thou canst trust thy life in a narrow Ship upon the raging Sea, for gain, if thou think thou hast a skilful careful Pilot, and darest not sail in those narrow seas to the port of Rest, and Haven of happiness, when God him­self is thy Pilot, and steers thy Ship, when never any miscarried in the voyage? Thou canst trust a Lawyer with thy Estate, if thou think him honest and able, and dost mistrust the everlasting Counseller with thy eternal Estate, who neither can de­ceive, [Page 60]or be deceived? Thou wouldst trust a skilful Physitian with thy Body, and take bitter pills and unsavoury potions if he prescribe them, and darest thou not put thy life into the hands of the Phy­sician of Souls, in comparison of whom all others are Physicians of no value, because he prescribes a little unpleasing Physick, though no bitterer than needful? If thou mistrust him with thy life, either 'tis because thou fearest he will deceive thee, or may be deceived; but this intrenches upon his wisdom or fidelity; 'tis better for a child be under his Fathers protection than his own; much more for thee to be under Gods tuition, than at thy own dispose: he ne­ver yet betrayed his trust, neither can any pluck thee out of Gods hands; John 10.28. Rom. 8.21. he tells thee, all things shall work together for thy good, if thou love God, and then why not death? why not a violent death? hath he not told thee, Heb. 13.5. Mat. 16.18 he will never leave thee nor forsake thee; and that the gates of Hell shall not pre­vail against thee? and darest not take his word? was he ever known to falsify it? If life be good thou shalt have it, if not, why wilt desire it? But art afraid lest he should deal with thee when he takes thee hence, as the Prophet did with the Sy­rians, lead thee to Samaria, when thou [Page 61]thinkest thou art going to Dothan; lest thou shouldst go to Hell with hopes of Heaven in thy mouth? Never fear, if thou carry thy Evidences for Heaven with thee, he will never disinherit thee. Christ will not lose the purchase of his blood, and thou shalt not lose what he hath purchased for thee. If it be good for thee to dye, why wouldst thou live? A child cannot choose so well for himself as his Father can; and God knows better than thee what is belt: Many are loth to open a Vein, and yet in some cases 'tis best; yea to cut off a Limb may be necessary, though painful; the sensual faculty here must be ruled by the rational: that is not alwaies best that is most pleasing to the Appetite. If thou leave it to God what death thou shalt dye, he will make the best choice for thee, he will lay no more upon thee than he gives thee strength to bear; and through Christ assisting thee thou maist do all things. Trust not in thy own strength, lest with Pembleton thou failest in the performance. Mat. 9.17. God will not put new wine into old bottles, nor the heaviest burden upon the weakest Horse; the strongest if he leave them are weak, and the weakest in his strength are strong: if thy heart be upright, God will either free thee from thy suffering, or support [Page 62]thee under it; he will fit the back before he lay on the burden: if thou dye by a violent death, so do those many thousands that are slain with the Sword, and yet those that are slain by the sword are better than they that dye of famine; Lam. 4.9. many a wounded man that yet escapeth with his life, suffers more pains of his wounds than if he had been slain outright. If thou refuse a few pangs for Heaven, thou art not worthy of it: yea a natural death may be as painful, many times is more painful than a violent death; but the re­ward of the latter if it be for God, may clearly turn the scales, and make it more eligible. Thy enemies, as before was said, are not Masters of thy life, neither is it in their power to take it away; for they have no power but what they re­ceive from Heaven: 'tis he that disposes of Angels and Men, of Crowns and King­doms, of Heaven and Earth, that must dispose of thy life, and is not he the fittest for the work? is there any in the world can do it better? is there any in the world thou hadst rather trust with thy life? is not he the fittest to send for thee out of the world, that sent Christ into the world for thy sake? and wilt thou think thy life too dear for him, that thought [Page 63]not the pangs of death, nor the pains of Hell too much to suffer for thee? hath he suffered so much to purchase glory, and wilt thou suffer nothing to enjoy it? his suf­fering was a thousand times more for thee, than thine is like to be for him, or rather for thy self; for thou hadst the benefit of his death, but he will have none by thine: hath he provided a Man­sion, and wilt not leave thy Cottage to go to it? Death 'tis true is surly and grim, but 'tis thy Fathers Messenger, and must do the message he gives in charge; and 'tis an Ambassador from the great King, and Ambassadors are entertained not for their own, but their Masters sake, and death may be welcomed for the message sake he brings: He comes to tell thee, that thy work is done, and thy wages is rea­dy, thy Warfare is accomplished, the Field is won, and the Crown is thine; Mat. 25.21. that thou hast been faithful over a little, and now must be Ruler over much, and must en­ter into thy Masters joy: That the Bride­groom is come, and thou must go in with him to the wedding; that thou hast been faithful to the death, Rev. 2.10. and now shalt have a crown of life: And is not such a mes­sage welcome, and the Messenger that brings it? will any wise man rather stay in [Page 64] Egypt, than go through the red Sea at Gods command, or endure a few Wilderness troubles to come to Canaan, yea through a sea of blood to a Haven of rest? If the way be troublesome, the Journeys end is pleasant; if thou art stung with fiery Serpents, there is a brazen Serpent to hea [...] thee of thy wounds, and to draw ou [...] the venom. If the sea be rough, the Pilo [...] is skilful. If thy disease be dangerous this Physician is skilful; if thy wounds be deep, this Surgeon will cure thee, yea by Killing will cure thee of all distem­pers. Were Death a pursevant from Hell, as to many he is, well mightest thou fear; but being sent from Heaven, and coming in thy Fathers Livery, and his ugly Vizor taken off, he is more amiable. If thou have part in the first resurrection, the se­cond death on thee shall have, no power. Death 'tis true, Rev. 20.6. puts a cup of trembling into the hands of unrepentant sinners, even a cup of the Lords indignation filled to the brim, which they must drink up to the very dregs, and Eternity will be little enough to see the bottom; but what is this to thee? thy part is sugered, and 'tis but one sup, swallowed in a few mo­ments of time; to them it proves the first and second death, to thee but a Sleep: [Page 65] Our friend Lazarus sleepeth. Those sparks which wicked men now on earth kindle by their lusts, will there be blown up in­to an everlasting flame; Mar. 9.44. the worm dyeth not, and the fire never goeth out. That death that puffs out the candle of the wicked, only snuffs the other that it may burn brighter. The godly while they are in the world act a Comedy, which begins bad but ends well; the wicked act a Tra­gedy, which alwaies ends in blood and confusion; death sets an end to both, to the godliess miseries, and the wickeds happiness. Rev. 14.13. Blessed are the dead that dye in the Lord; even so saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their works fol­low them: And if this be the only way to blessedness, why art thou afraid to walk in it? death will be the Funeral of thy Vices, and the Resurrection of thy Graces: here Josephs feet shall no longer be hurt in the stocks, the iron shall no longer enter into his soul; neither shall Jeremy lye here in the miry dungeon, nor Daniel in the den of Lions, nor Jonah in the Whales belly: why wilt thou not be uncloathed, that thou maist be cloathed upon, and surrender this house of clay that thou maist have a bet­ter? Thou art like an ill debtor, that bor­towest with prayers, keepest with thanks, [Page 66]and partest with it with repining: Thy body is but lent thee, yet art thou loth to restore what was borrowed. Well, dye thou must, and whether it be fit that God or thee should determine of the Time and the Manner of thy death, is the question in hand; and is this be­come a controversie? and wilt dispute thy right? Heaven and Earth may stand a­mazed at thy folly: if thou wilt not yield him his due, he will ere long distrain for it, and try the Title at Judgment, where thou art like to be cast, and thrown into Prison, till thou hast paid the utmost far­thing: for if thou deny to glorifie God by thy death, he will glorifie himself by thy destruction. Oh my God, I yield, I surrender, I submit, I put my life in­to thy hands, send for me when and by whomsoever thou wilt; My spirit is wil­ling though my flesh is weak: I dare not trust my own deceitfull heart, lest it be­tray me; but thee I dare trust, Lord strengthen my Faith, confirm my Assu­rance, clear up my Evidences for Hea­ven, stand by me in all my Sufferings, and lay no more upon me than thou givest me strength to bear; then call me and I will run after thee, though it be by the very Gates of Hell; I can do all [Page 67]all things through Christ that strengthens me.

MEDITAT. IV. The Fear of Death is unsuitable to a Believer.

O My Soul, why art thou yet disqui­eted within me? why art thou cast down? why dost thou meditate terror; and all this when thou lookest Death in the face? Is this amazement suitable for a Christian Souldier? is this the fruit of all thy Preaching, Praying, Reading, Medi­tating, and thy other duties? is this the result of all the pains thou hast taken in Heavens way? Nay, hath God set thee to strengthen others against the fear of Death, to support the feeble hands, and drooping hearts, and art thou thy self ready to faint under the burden? why man rouse up thy self a little; didst never see death before, that thou tremblest at the apprehension? art thou fit to be a Cap­tain of the Lords Host, that art ready to fly at a shadow? If the Shepherd be terrified, well may the Sheep be affrighted; [Page 68]if the apprehension of Death be so amazing, what will the feeling of it be? well mayest thou say with Nehemiah, Shall such a man as I flee? Neh. 6.11. Is not death bitter enough, but thou must make it bit­terer? and dost faint before thou feel the burden? where is thy wonted cou­rage? where are now thy arguments where with thou wast wont to blunt the Dart of Death, and to uphold sinking Souls under the stroak of Death? Death hath been often in thy eye, in thy thoughts, in thy Meditations, and then it was not so terrible, and now with Agag thou thoughtest the bitterness of Death was past, and upon a new Apprehension o [...] it doth it seem so formidable? Call to mind thy former resolutions to suffer for Christ, yea thy Covenant engagement to him, wherein thou devotedst thy sell and that thine was to him, and at his dispose and dost now repent of thy repentings: death is not so great an Enemy as tho [...] supposest, nor so terrible as he seems; pluc [...] off his vizor and look him in the face and he will appear both thy Friend and thy Physician, to cure thee of all thy maladies: thou hast not now a day free from sin and sorrow; for where the on [...] is the other will be also, as the shadow [Page 69]will follow the substance, or rather as the effect follows the cause; neither art thou like to have, till death sets thee at liberty: thou art now a slave or servant, but the year of Jubilee is coming, when thou wilt be free: Job 3.17, 18, 19. There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest; there the Prisoners rest together, and they hear not the voice of the Oppres­sor; the small and the great are there, and the Servant is free from his Master: Death is sent by God as Moses into Egypt, to bring thee out of Egyptian bon­dage to the promised Land; and what if thy bondage like theirs be a little encrea­sed at the present, wilt thou murmur like them, when thy deliverance is in sight? though thou must through the red Sea, the way is safe if God go before thee; and if the way be dark, he will be a Pillar of fire to give thee light; thou needest not fear losing thy way that hast such a guide: Here thou canst not serve God but the Egyptians are ready to stone thee, but get but over this bridge of Death, over this Jordan, and thou maist serve him without distraction or disturb­ance: here thou canst hardly have a sight of God, but Death will bring thee to speak with him face to face, to know [Page 70]him as he is, and to enjoy him as thy own. In this Wilderness thou meetest with many troubles, many wants, some­times of meat, sometimes of drink, some­times of cloaths and other necessaries, but in Heaven there is no want, no need of creature-comforts; for what need the Pipe when we are at the Fountain-head? here are many troubles, many enemies, fiery Serpents, but when over this Jordan these troubles vanish, all thy fears husht, and thy self out of the reach of danger; the Devil nor his instruments cannot pursue thee beyond Death; here is thy promised Land, thy purchased Inheritance, thy Mansion­house, and can Death that puts thee in possession be lookt upon as thy Enemy? The thoughts of Death are many times worse than Death it self; as the Picture of the Lyon seems fiercer than the Lyon himself; Heb. 2.15. but Christ died to free those that through the fear of Death were all their life time subject to bondage. Oh the pre­cious hours that should be spent in so­lacing thy self with the thoughts of God, and the forethoughts of Glory, and taking a Pisgah sight of the Heavenly Canaan! which now are fruitlesly spent between hopes and fears, of our Jour­ney thither: not but that preparation [Page 71]should be made, but no desponding fears should discompose thee for the Journey. The thoughts of Eternal bliss and the weight of Glory that is before thee, should divert thy mind from all the pains and sorrows thou meetest with in thy journey thither; as the hopes of the prize makes him that runs the race overlook the foulness or rough­ness of the way, and the hopes of a reward makes the Souldier hew his way through the thickest of his enemies. That time which now is spent in sor­rowful thoughts how thou shouldest part with the world and endure the pangs of death, would be better spent in trimming up thy Lamp, getting Oyl in thy Vessel, and adorning thy self with thy Wedding garment, and in praising God that thinks thee worthy to suffer for him, and in consideration that after a little pain thou shalt enter into thy masters Joy, where there shall be no more pain; and that this light affli­ction which is but for a moment, worketh for thee a far more exceeding and eter­nal weight of Glory. 2 Cor. 4.17. Is this thy living by faith that thou talkest of? What can a coveteous worlding do more, that hath his portion in this life, than fear [Page 72]the time that he shall lose it? what can the voluptuous Epicure do more, that at death shall see an end of all his plea­sure? Is this thy living by Faith? is this the fruit of thy hope, and the evi­dences of thy love to God, and the other graces of the Spirit? Doth vain glory steel the Spirit of our Hectors, that look death in the face undauntedly, only in hopes of Honour, and a survive­ing Name? do the Mahometans venture their lives, upon conceipt that those that dye in the wars shall undoubtedly go to Heaven, and there for ever have their will with beautiful women, and all other sensual delights; and will not the Enjoyment of God in glory work thee to a willingness to suffer what he would have thee suffer? Is this thy professed obedience, when thou startest at hard and difficult dutyes, and only scum­mest off the fat and sweet of duty, and leavest self-denying dutyes undone? what dost thou in this more than an Hypocrite, or a carnal man can do? The Pharisees could fast, Mat. 6.1, 2. and pray, and give Alms, and what dost thou more? The Apostle tells believers, that to them it is given not only to believe on Christ, Phil. 1.29. but to suffer for his sake; and how wilt [Page 73]thou prove thy self a Believer, if thou refuse to suffer? Wouldst thou receive a Souldiers wages, and not do his work? wilt thou list thy self, and indent with thy Captain that thou wilt not fight? are all thy graces counterfeit? if not, why are they not reduced into act? will the Sword in the scabbard secure thee? why dost not finish thy course with joy, that a Crown of life may be laid up for thee? must God save thee whether thou wilt or no, and pluck thee hence by violence to receive thy Reward; or if he will not, he may keep Heaven to himself for thee? Doth thy faith and thy other graces now stand thee in no stead? hast thou no Oyl when the Bride­groom comes? or if thou hast, dost thou refuse to enter? to what end then serves thy Lamp? what mattereth it for a Wedding-garment, if when thou art in­vited to the Feast thou refusest to come? Hast thou no Armour on when thou art cal'd to fight, and thy enemy is in the field? or wilt thou cowardly turn thy back and fly, or suffer thy self to be captivated and inslaved? hast thou no Armour to defend thy heart? is no Cordi­al to keep thee from fainting, to be found in God? no promise in his Word, [Page 74]which may be a foundation of com­fort? what then is the difference be­tween thee and the Epicure? nay, his con­dition is much better, he hath something that he calls Pleasure to solace himself with. Are these anxious thoughts and fears suitable to a Christian, to a Mi­nister, to one that hath made Forty years profession of Religion? hast thou in all this time made no increase of thy Grace, no improvement of thy Talent? hast not yet learnt self-denyall, which is the first lesson in the School of Christ, and is it not yet taken out? hast not yet attained the lowest measure of true grace? to hate Father and Mother, Wife and Children, and thy own Life for him, without which thou canst not be his disciple? Is it suitable for a child of God to turn his back upon his Father when he calls him, and like guilty Adam hide himself? is it suitable for the Spouse of Christ to deny to come when her Husband sends for her? Art thou yet unresolved whether Christ or Life be the sweeter, whether Heaven or Earth be the better, or whether the Crea­ture or the Creator be to be chosen? If so, never call thy self a Christian more, never dishonour Christ more by thy pro­fession. [Page 75]Was ever Heir afraid of receiving his Inheritance? yet this is thy condition; thou rather choosest a miserable life, at­tended with eares and fears, with griefs and sorrows, rather than to dye and come to Christ. Thou hast devoted thy self to him as a Spouse to her husband, and hast formerly gloried in thy choice, and art now afraid of the time when the marriage shall be con­summate, and thou shalt be lodg'd in his bosom? if so, 'tis no wonder if he give thee a bill of Divorce, and put thee away, and what Condition art thou then in? where wilt thou find such ano­ther Match? nay, there is no other in Heaven or Earth that can boot thy needs, pay thy debts and save thy soul; the Angels themselves cannot do it. Esth. 1.10, &c. If Vasti the Queen were put away for refu­sing to come at her Husbands call, much more dost thou deserve a Divorce if thou refuse to come at Christs call. If thou go to him, thou leavest a vain, sinful, miserable and treacherous world, which hath laid many a snare in thy way, and more will do if thou live in it longer, and dost grieve at parting, and put it upon the debate whether it be best to go or no? and art ready to [Page 76]pass sentence in the Negative? art afraid of being put above all fear and dread? and wilt not go to Heaven because the way is not strewed with roses, or be­cause 'tis a little up the hill? thou hast but one stile to thy Fathers house; if thy Breakfast be bad, thy Dinner will make amends: Are the suares which the Devil, the world and the flesh have laid for thee, so strong, and thy Faith so weak, that thou art now leaving God, and choosing something else for thy por­tion; and that thou art detained in this Har­lots arms, when thine own husband calls thee? Art thou willing to lose all the pains thou hast taken in Heavens way, rather than go one step more? hast as­cended all the steps of Jacobs ladder but one, till thy head be in Heaven, and art now returning down again, because 'tis a little more difficult than the rest? wilt thou now take up with these things for thy portion, and art busily seeking after content in them, in which thou couldst never find satisfaction in thy life? hast exercised so much self-denial for Christ, hast thou forsaken Father and Mother, Wife and Children, Brothers and Sisters, yea thy Estate in the world, and exposed thy self to want and penury, to [Page 77]labour and travel, to scoffs and scorns, yea to persecutions and trials, and now wilt break with Christ for a trifle, and lose the reward of what thou hast done? wilt thou now prefer thy life before him that is Life it self? hast thou bid so much for Christ, and now dost stick at the price? if thou now forsake him, all is lost that thou hast paid. But what cause hath God given to forsake him? hath he ever failed of his word? hath he imposed upon thee, or foisted in any condition in the Covenant that was not mutually agreed upon? if not, what makes thee boggle at it? if Religi­on were not good, why didst thou profess it? if it be, why dost leave it? if Hea­ven be not worth what thou must pay for it, why didst not consider of it before? and if it be, why dost stick at the rates? or dost thou think that God will amend thy bargain, and let thee have it at Cheaper rates? If these be thy thoughts, thou art much mistaken; Mat. 13.45. if thou wilt have the Pearl, thou must sell all to pur­chase it; 'tis thy self and all thou hast that is the price he sets upon Christ, and Heaven, and Glory: If thou think him not worth it, thou maist let him alone, and no harm done; but assure thy [Page 78]self, there is no indenting with Christ; This I will do, and that I will not; this sin I will leave, but not that: thou must not, like Naaman the Assyrian, expect a toleration in any sin, or in the neglect of any du­ty. Well, whatever thy thoughts be, God will not abate one farthing; Gal. 6.7.8. If thou sow­est to the flesh, thou wilt of the flesh reap corruption; if thou sowest to the Spirit, thou wilt of the Spirit reap life everlasting: why haltest thou between two opinions? 1 King. 18.21. if the Lord be God, follow him; and if Baal be God, follow him. If God be better than the world, follow him fully; and if the world be best, then pursue it with all thy might; but consider well what thou dost, for this will be bitterness in the latter end. Hast thou so long laboured, and prayed, and ran, and wrestled, for a prize that now seems not worth ha­ving? dost thou now come within sight of Heaven, and doth thy heart fail thee? Hast thou put thy hand to the plow; and now lookest back? didst thou begin in the Spi­rit, and wilt now end in the flesh? wilt thou be like wicked men and Seducers, that grow worse and worse? Hath the world bribed thee, or the Devil stopt thy mouth? Take heed thou make not [Page 79] Judas's purchase, or Demas's choice. If thou change thy master, consider what is his wages as well as what is his work, and if this please thee, go on. Dost thou want nothing here to make thee happy, that thou art so loth to away? well, let me tell thee, if thou miss of Christ, thou wilt want nothing to make thee ever­lastingly miserable; if the world be all thou expectest, then 'tis no wonder thou art so loth to leave it; for who can willingly part with his only Happiness, and be stript of all his desired enjoy­ments? and not only so, but enter into everlasting misery, for so they will do that have their portion in this life, and those that make the world their God, or love any thing, though it be life it self, above Christ: 'Tis no wonder that these fear the Pursevant that fetches them to execution, and drags them to Hell. He that hath the world for his All, will be loth to lose all at one cast; these may look upon death as one that comes to torment them before the time; death to those is like as Belshazzars hand-writing was to him, a terror and amazment; and there is nothing that is in the world can speak peace to such a soul, if his conscience be awake. 'Tis [Page 80]not Lucretius his Epicurean Rules, nor Anacreons wanton Odes, can then lull it asleep, or cease the barking of it, or shift off the terror of death. A wounded Spirit who can bear, but one that be­lieveth that death is but a gathering to his Fathers, a sweet sleep, a going to Christ, and being with him; and that the body though laid in the grave shall not be lost, but raised up again at the last day, and made like unto the glo­rified body of Christ? How unsuitable is it for such to be terrifyed with the ap­prehensions of it! but the thoughts of the Immortality, and the Incorruptibili­ty, and the Spirituality and Glory of the body at the Resurrection, should drown the noise, silence the doubts and fears of the danger that lies in the way, and the pains and pangs of death it self. The pains of death to these are worse than being dead; and this is but a flea-biting to the joy that follows; but to the wicked the pain of dying is nothing in comparison of the consequences of death, and the tormenting pains of the second death: for were Hell no worse than the pangs which dying men suffer, it were not so formidable. Rev. [...].6. & 6.16. In misery, men shall seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to [Page 81]dye, and death shall flee from them; then will they say to the rocks and mountains, fall on us and cover us, &c. 'Tis wonder how wicked men can eat, and drink, and sleep, and all this while know they are in debt and danger; yea, that there is a Sergeant ready to arrest them whenso­ever the Creditor will, and to cast them into prison, out of which they are never like to get: sure some judiciary hard­ness is falne upon them, that they are sleeping thus on the top of the Mast, and playing securely before the mouth of the Lyon, or before the Cannons mouth, and are more insensible than brute Beasts of their danger approaching; yea they hasten their death and misery by the in­temperance of their lives, and sacrifice not only their health but life also to Lust and Drunkenness, to luxury and excess, and will not suffer Nature to spin out the thred of their lives to the utmost extent, but put a period to it themselves, and cut off the thred of their lives with their own hands; these men run head­long to Hell; and wilfully upon death, which they had cause most of all to fear and avoid. The apprehension of ap­proaching death is not the same to those men and to others, that believe that [Page 82]death will end all their miseries, and land them into everlasting happiness; the same Judge absolveth the innocent, and condemns the guilty; and those men have not the same apprehensions of him, the one longs for his coming, the other fears it. 'Tis rather a wonder, that the Saints that have assurance of their future glory, do not long for the time of their dissolution, and seek to hasten it by some illegal way, than use any indirect means to live when they are called to dye: I know the former is unlawful, for we must keep our station, while God appoints us; and so is the latter, for we must come off the Centinel when he calls us: but it is more natural to de­sire happiness than misery, and to use in­direct means to procure the former than the latter. We read in the primi­tive times, when many Christians were to suffer, of a Woman and her children that were hasting to the place, and be­ing met by one of the persecutors, who demanded whither she went, and why she made so much haste, she answered. She was a Christian, and hearing many Christians were that day to suffer, she hasted with her children to suffer with them, and feared lest she should come too [Page 83]late. Ignatius was afraid lest the Prayers of the Church should prevent him of suffering for Christ, and of his Crown of Martyrdome: These had not such fearful apprehensions of death as thou seemest to have. Sure those that look for perfection by death, should not be afraid of it; and if these tabernacles of our bodies must down, what matter is it whether they are taken down, or burnt down, seeing the materials both waies will be preserved; the one turns them to dust, the other to ashes; and in a little time they will moulder of themselves into dust. Death to the god­ly is but a parting of two intimate friends, the Soul and the Body, for a time; and both the one and the other will be gainers by the separation; the Soul goes immediately to Heaven, and the Body lies in the grave for a sea­son, and shall thence be raised in un­speakable glory, and God will build it up again an habitation for the soul, at his own proper cost and charges: Death to them is but a Gaol-delivery, where the soul that hath been long a prisoner shall be set at liberty; 'tis but the bodies sleep, and the Souls awaking; the bodies death and the Souls resurrection; where­in [Page 84]the Soul shall be freed from all those clogs which now presseth it down, that it cannot mount up into those heavenly Regions, and it shall live with God blessed for ever to eternity; and is this a thing to be feared? Hast not already had a sufficent time in the world, that yet thou desirest more? a thousand thou­sand have not lived so long, and yet none of those in Heaven complain their time was too short upon Earth, or that they came thither too soon; and it would be hard to perswade them to return with a promise of all the Excellencies that the world affords. This is the godly mans Purgatory, and should he not rather pray to be delivered out than continued in it? 'tis his Hell, all the Hells he is like to have, and shall he take up his station here, among miseries, and troubles? hadst thou in thy youthful daies had liberty to appoint out thy own time, and bound the tearm of thy life, haply thou mightest have thought the time thou hast already lived had been competent; and truely if there be much more be­hind, thou maist well fore-see it will be burthensome to thy self, and trou­blesome to others, by reason of thine infirmities. The world hath not been [Page 85]so great a friend to thee, as thus over eagerly to desire it; thy Lord and Ma­ster, and the most and best of his Ser­vants have not found it so kind; and thou hast had thy share of affliction even from thy youth up, upon the ac­count of Christ, and his Gospel; and must God put more gall and wormwood upon the breast to wean thee from the world? wilt thou still linger, and draw back like Lot in Sodom? or like Israel dost quarrel at the promised Land, be­cause there are some Anakims to be subdued, some troubles in the way, and art ever and anon returning back into Egypt, and longing after the Onions and Garlick and the Flesh-pots thereof? Thou hast long since taken press-money, and art now running away from thy Colours? thou hast promised to be alwaies in a readiness, and dost thou now frame ex­cuses? and woudlst be at thy own dis­pose, and not at thy Captains? Thou art in a journey, and dost thou sit down at the stile? and art glad when thou meet­est with some stop by the way to hin­der thee? and is there nothing that thou fearest more than that thou shouldst come to thy journeys end too soon? but haply thy work is not done, and there­fore [Page 86]thou darest not come into thy Masters sight: but how dost create thine own shame in so saying? hadst thou any greater business to do, and of greater importance? hast thou had time for every thing else, and this not done? art thou in a race, and is a Crown of glo­ry the prize if thou win, and thy own Soul at the Stake if thou lose; and hast been hunting Butterflies as thou wentest, which when they are taken serve but to soul the fingers? when thou didst ex­pect the Bridegroom, hast thou Slept, and neither trimmed thy Lamp, nor provided thy Oyl? when thou wast bid to the Wedding, hast provided no wedding-gar­ment? Thou hast been oft minded of this day, yea thou hast often minded others also; thou hast often had reso­lutions to do it, how have these dy­ed, and come to nothing? many a time thou hast renewed thy Covenant with God, and ratified thy baptismal vows: In many a danger thou hast made large promises if he would deliver thee what thou wouldst do, and what a reformed man thou wouldst be, that thou wouldst double thy diligence, and amend thy pace; and have these resolutions been stifled, and these promises broken? Oh [Page 87]horrid Ingratitude! what wouldst thou now desire of God, mightest thou have thy wish? wouldst thou desire to be immortal, and never dye? why this is impossible; Gods decree is otherwise: 'tis contrary to Nature, for this composition will work our destruction; and 'tis also inconstent with Grace: then it might be thy trouble that thou wast made a man: Or wouldst thou live to old age? but how old? wouldst thou desire to spin out thy life to an hundred? alas! what a life of misery wert thou like to lead! and when that time came, haply thou wouldst be as unwilling as now; and would not Thirty or Forty years be as delightfully spent in Heaven, as upon the Earth? thou hast far more cause to complain of the wic­kedness, than the shortness of thy time. Many that have had a shorter time, have done a great deal more work in it than thou hast done. If thou live long, thy corrupti­ons will not dye for age; a hard winter will not kill the weeds of sin, these may flourish when thy body decayes, and old age is not the fittest time for reformati­on, and for preparation: Old age is like an old Tree, it will hardly bend, when a young tree is pliable: when thou comest to give an account of ill-spent time, thou wilt [Page 88]think the reckoning large enough; if thy receivings are great, thy account will not be small. If thou improve thy ta­lents well, and God take them quickly out of thy hand, he will never blame thee thou hadst them no longer, nor require an account of thee for the time thou hadst them not: 'tis fit the Master not the Servants should determine what talents each one should have, and how long; for 'tis fit he dispose of his own goods as he pleaseth. The longer God makes the lease of thy life, the greater fine or the more rent is to be paid; for God will not be a loser by thee: well, if no­thing else will serve, God may deal with thee as he hath dealt with others, whip thee home by some severer scourge than yet thou hast met with, and pu­nish thee seven times more for this sin, and make thee glad to return home as he did holy Job, whose afflictions were so great that he chose strangling rather than life; he may lay thee under some raging pain, some torturing disease, some tormenting distemper, and so make thee weary of thy life; or he may make thee spend the rest of thy dayes in prison, and suffer hardship there; or he may make thee to be a Turkish Gally-slave, [Page 89]as many are, chained to thy Oars; or he may reduce thee to extream wants and pe­nury, to beg thy bread from door to door; to endure much hardship, hunger and cold, as many Protestants did in the Irish Massacre: and thus by putting more gall and wormwood upon the worlds Nipple, he can wean thee from the immoderate love of it, and the im­moderate desire of life. Oh my soul, wilt thou force thy loving Father to lay heavier stroaks upon thee than ever he did? Oh how unsuitable is this im­moderate desire of life, and fear of death, and murmuring under a divine dispensation of Providence, to a Christi­an, to an ancient Professor, to a Mini­ster! can any reason be given why God should not dispose of thee, as well as he doth of all the world? Shall the pot say to him that made it, Why hast thou made me thus? Art thou wiser than he, to know who is fit to be cal'd forth to suffer? and knowest thou better than he how to guide the affairs of the world? But thou art afraid thou shalt not hold out; but dost thou stand by thy own strength? and dost not think that God hath power enough to uphold thee, or wisdom enough to know what thou canst do? a wise Cap­tain [Page 90]will not put a fresh-water Souldi­er upon the hardest assaults, put expe­rienced Souldiers: God will not put new Wine into old Bettles; if thy heart be rotten, no wonder if thou miscarry; if it be right, God will not suffer thee to faint, having so many cordials by him. In Queen Maryes daies, we read of poor simple men and women, that never had the Learning, the means, the time, the help that thou hast had, nor never made the profession that thou hast made, yet were wonderfully supported by God under all their sufferings, and became glorious Martyrs; and cannot God up­hold thee also? and why then shouldst thou be so desirous of life, and fear­ful of death, and rather live a miserable life than dye a happy death? why wouldst thou still live in Meseck, and in the tents of Kedar, rather than in Gods own House, and in his presence, in whose presence is fulness of joy, and at whose right hand are pleasures for evermore? why dost desire to be present in the Flesh, and absent from the Lord, and preferrest misery before glory it self, and a vain empty nothing before eternal treasures? sure something is amiss with thee, that with Adam thou hidest thy self from [Page 91]God, and wilt not go when he calls thee: Heb. 10.22. couldst thou draw neer to him with a pure heart, in assurance of faith, with a heart sprinkled from an evil conscience, and thy body washed with pure water, thou maist find more delight in his presence, than the world can yield; and in sincerity will enable thee to delight in him, much more perfection; when all imperfections will be done away, then thou wilt find with David, that 'tis bet­ter be a door-keeper in the house of God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness; that a day in his courts, much more in Heaven, is better than a thousand else­where. But, Oh my soul, hast not thou plaid the Truant, and now darest not come into thy Masters sight? hast thou not with the slothful servant hid thy talent, or like the unjust Steward wa­sted thy masters goods, and now fear­est what account thou shalt give of thy Stewardship, or what answer thou shalt make about thy talent? Or hast thou not played the Coward, and runst away from thy Colours, or turned thy back upon the enemy, and now darest not look thy Captain in the face? Paul when he had fought the fight, and kept the Faith, and expected the crown, he [Page 92] desired to be dissolved, and to be with Christ; to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord; well may thy Lord and Saviour entertain thee with a check, Why art thou fearful, Oh thou of little faith? Art thou listed to fight against thy enemies, and now when the last enemy is to be destroyed dost thou turn thy back, throw down thy wea­pons, and quit the field? doth thy faith fail thee? and dost thou question whe­ther there be a reward for the righteous, and a God that judgeth the earth; and whether there be an eternal happiness to be had, or whither those that dye in the Lord are blessed, and do rest from their labours? dost now question whether death doth put an end to all the Saints mise­ries, and enter then into eternal joy if so, why hast thou preacht, and owned, and pleaded for these things? yea why hast thou suffered so much in hope of a joyful resurrection? but if thou be­lieve there is a God, and that the Scripture is the Word of God, and that God will do as he saith, and will make good all his promises, and all his threats, and that it shall go well with the righteous, and that he shall eat the fruit of his labour; Isa. 3.10. and that it shall go ill [Page 93]with the wicked, for the reward of his hands shall be given him: If thou do believe death is to the godly the Out­let to misery, and the Inlet to glory, and puts them into possession of all that is good, that it will cure all dis­eases, and heal all maladies, how can this stand with thy fear and dread? the very thoughts of eternal Joy draws up the heart to Heaven, and makes thee wish and long for the time of thy disso­lution, and much imbitters all earthly enjoyments, and makes the soul impa­tient of delayes, and to cry out, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly; when shall the time be that I shall Solace my Soul in the enjoyment of my Husband? when shall I lye in his bosom? when will my beloved send for me in his triumphant Chariot! O cursed sin, when shall I be rid of thee? thou art the Make-bate between my God and me, thou hidest his face from me, thou spoilest all my duties, thou art the cause of all my mi­sery, when shall I be rid of thee? when shall I give thee a bill of divorce? when shall it once be? Oh my soul, were but thy love as it should be to Christ, these would be thy breathings and thy pant­ings after him; thou wouldst be like a [Page 94]love-sick woman, never well till thou wert in the arms of thy beloved; thy thoughts would be upon him; ubi amor ibi animus; where the treasure is, there will the heart be also; where love is, the heart will be; and love makes labour light; the wife that loveth her husband, will rather ven­ture his displeasure in coming to him without his consent, than in staying from him when she is sent for; and thy unwil­llingness to dyeand come to Christ when he calls thee, doubtless proceeds from want of love to him: let them fear death that have Plague-sores running upon them, the marks and tokens of the second death; whose passing out of the world is but the di­rect road to Hell, whose life time is all the respite they have out of Hell, and the only breathing-time they are ever like to have free from torments: but to the godly it is not so, but their only Hell, and time of their misery. If a man were sore sick, and could certainly know that after one night he should be perfectly well, and never be sick more; or if a man in pinching penury and want, should know that after one Sleep he should awake a Prince, and all his wants should be sup­plyed; who would fear that Night, or be afraid of that Sleep? but such a Night, [Page 95]such a Sleep death is to the godly; it is but a sleep, and they shall wake in glo­ry; 'Tis but to wink, saith the Martyr, and we shall be in Heaven presently; 'tis but the weakness of thy faith and love, or thou wouldst not desire to be absent from Christ, upon such poor tearms. Oh the hourly danger thou art in by reason of enemies with­out, within, and round about thee! Oh the dangerous snares they lay for thy feet! Oh the fears, the cares and manyfold troubles thou daily meetest withall! enough to make thee weary of thy life, and with Job to wish for death! and wilt not indure a little pain when it would set thee out of harms way, out of the Devils reach, or mans malice. The love of Christ in the Martyrs was hotter than the flames they burnt in; they could cry out, None but Christ, none but Christ: true love desires union with the party beloved: and how canst thou say thou lovest Christ, when thy heart is not with him, when thou desirest not his company, or to enjoy him? thou pre­tendest love to him, and yet art willingly, desirously absent from him, and wilt not come to him at his call, but wilt rather deny him, and thy interest in him: thou cal'st him thy Husband, and pretendest [Page 96]thou hast devoted thy self wholly to him, and given up not only thy Name but thy Heart to him, and promised to forsake all other for him, and obey him whoever was disobeyed; yet when it comes to the trial, with Demas thou choosest the world before him; thou wilt not obey him, neither forsake the world for him, but lovest thy life above him: what hypocrisie, what dissimulation is this, to pretend to follow him, and yet really run from him, when he calls thee! well may he give thee a bill of divorce and put thee away, who dost thus wilfully de­sert him. Thou hast preacht for him, and spoke for him, and suffered for him, but all this will not serve thy turn if thou love any thing above him; thou must give up all, or thou canst not have him; he will admit of no Rival, he will have the pre­vailing degree of thy Love, or thou shalt have none of him: if thou prize thy life above him, he will prize himself to be too good for thee; 1 Cor. 13.1, 2, 3. for love is to him more ac­ceptable than any Sacrifice; his love to thee made him exchange Heaven for the Earth, and glory for misery, and will not thy love to him make thee willing to ex­change Earth for Heaven, and the Creature for God? though a wife pretend love to [Page 97]her husband, yet if in her husbands absence she desires not his return, and refuseth to go to him, 'tis a sign her love is cold, and she hath something else she affects above him; that she hath dealt treache­rously with him, and placed her affecti­ons elsewhere. Were thy love to thy Lord and Husband but as strong as a co­vetous mans love is to his Riches, or an ambitious mans to his Honour, or the un­clean persons to his Lust, thou wouldst not think a little pains too much to enjoy him; for these run through the pikes of danger, to obtain their end, and bring about their designs; and though Damnation lye in the way, they will venture one, and march up into the Cannons mouth, and expose themselves to the everlasting destruction of Body and Soul, which is a thousand times worse than death it self, before they will fail in their enterprize. Did but thy heart pant after God as Davids did, Psal. 42.1, 2. thou wouldst long for the time when thou shouldst appear before God: hadst thou but a believing sight of the Heavenly Canaan and its glory, thou wouldst then see the worlds emptiness, vanity, and misery, and be more senbsile of thy wilderness trou­bles, and long to pass over this Jordan; thou wouldst be more willing to leave [Page 98]the one, and go to the other. But it may be 'tis not thy dispute whether Heaven or Earth be the better choice, but thy own Interest that thou questionest; some enjoyments thou hast here, and loth thou art to leave them till thou art sure of better: but hath not this been thy obje­ction many years? and hast not yet got over this stile? why how hast thou spent thy time? what hast thou been doing? what is the result of thirty or forty years trial of the estate? hadst any greater work lay upon thy hand? did not God send thee into the world upon this very bu­siness, and hast thou spent thy time in hunting Butter-flyes, or weaving the Spiders web to catch flyes all this while? how canst eat, or drink, or sleep in quiet, without some comfortable assurance, when thou knowest not but the next morn­ing thou mayst awake with hell-flames about thy ears? thou art sent to run a race, to fight a fight, to lay hold upon Hea­ven by violence, and hast all this while sate idle? Heaven and Earth may stand amazed at thy folly. If God allow thee more time, what hopes is there that thou wilt make more haste, or get clearer Evi­dence for Heaven? think not that to deny Christ thy life, when he requires th [...] [...]o [Page 99]lay it down for him, is to gain time for bet­ter preparation; nay, it layes such a barr in thy way to Heaven which it is much to be feared thou wilt never remove; the very thoughts of using this unlawful means to save thy life, do evidence that grace is either weak or wanting in thy soul. Time was thou didst carry thy life in thy hand, and hold forth the contempt of the world, and mad'st a shew that thou matteredst the world no more than it did thee, and that thou didst believe true happiness was not to be had under the Sun, and is thy judgment now altered? and in thy elder dayes, art thou grown more wise? and by diligent search hast found out thy mistake, and not only thine but the mi­stake of all the godly? and now dost be­gin to grasp after the world, and art loth to leave it? why dost not recant in pub­lick? why dost not discover to the peo­ple thy former errour, and bid them look for their happiness here; Wisd. 2. [...] 9. and crown themselves with rose-buds before they wi­ther; let us be partakers of our wantonness, let us leave some tokens of our pleasure in every place, for that is our portion, and this is our lot? Is this the doctrine thou wouldst have others believe, and the counsel thou wouldst have them take? if not, why dost [Page 100]thou give them an Example to choose thy portion here, and let Christ which was thy pretended portion go, and grasp af­ter that little which the world calls Por­tion, so greedily? and why art thou so loth to go where true Treasure is to be had? why dost choose to be tossed to and fro by the billows of this raging Sea, and endure the tempest and storms of trouble, rather than come into a safe Harbour, an Heaven of rest, because the mouth of it is straight, and the entrance uneasie? Dost thou put thy self into the case of the wicked, and dost expect their portion, that thou lookest upon death as thy enemy also? 'tis true, it wounds thy body, but thy Soul is safe; but it de­stroyes them both in body and soul; and it brings more profit to the soul than dammage to the body; 'tis but as the prick of a pin to a dangerous Ulcer, which were it not prickt would prove mortal; it will put an end to thy pains, and a be­ginning to thy Joyes; for when thy life expires, sin also dyes; and sin and sorrow are breathed out with thy life, and from this day thy Lease in Heaven bears date, which shall never expire. Rouse up thy self, O my Soul, be not dejected, God minds thee no hurt: Death will not, cannot hurt [Page 101]thee: Kill me they may, (saith the Martyr) hurt me they cannot; the worst they can do, is but to send me to my Fathers house the sooner. Many a warning thou hast had, ma­ny a Corps thou hast interred, many a Fu­neral Sermon thou hast Preached; for shame say not thou hadst not sufficient warning: wast thou so mad as to think of going to Heaven another way, or that thou wast immortal, when thou sawest so many about thee dye daily; or that thou shouldst live to old age, when thou sawest so many dye young, and felt so many sensible Symptoms of thy approaching death? thou hast, as thou didst suppose, some grounded hopes that thou hadst a part in the first Resurrection, and that therefore the second death on thee had no power, and why then is death so terrible? Many have more distempers in their Souls than in their Bodies; 'tis true, this is thy case, yet thou hast hoped thine are not mortal, the malignity of the disease is over, when many others have Plague-Sores running upon them; these may ex­pect death, and have cause to fear it; it will but heal thy distempers, but inrage theirs: thou hast had many meditations of death, and many discourses with death, and you did seem pretty well agreed; thou hast [Page 102]looked death in the face, and is he now become more terrible, or art thou more timerous, that when he comes to thy Bed-side, draws thy Curtains, and shakes thee by the hand, thou tremblest? hath Christ done thee no good by his passion, by subduing Death, disarming him, pul­ling out the sting, and trampling him under foot, yea laying him prostrate at thy feet? hath all the pains thou hast taken in heavens way workt no more upon thee, set thee up no higher? where now is thy promised obedience, and thy prayers, Thy will be done, when thou art ready to resist Gods Will when 'tis manifested, and preferrest thine own before it? why dost call thy Father the only wise God, when thou thinkest thy own wit best, and that thou knowest best when 'tis best for thee to dye, and wilt not submit to his will; and that if thou wouldst speak out, thy mind is to indent with Christ; this thou wilt do or Suffer, but not that; this sin thou wilt leave, but that thou wilt not; thou wouldst pick and choose thy duties, and take the easiest part of it, and leave the diffi­cult, dangerous, and costly part undone, and wilt not have heaven at so dear a rate. Thou pretendest a desire to be happy, and who doth not? Balaam desires the death of the [Page 103]righteous, and that his end may be like his; but they will not live the righteous mans life, and thou art not willing to dye his death, for he is conformable to the will of God, both in life and death, which is that thou dost dislike. O my Soul, some great thing is amiss with thee, thy corrup­tions are as strong fetters to hold thee in the Devils Slavery: thy grace is weak, and cannot procure thy freedom; the Devil is too cunning for thee, the world subtil, and thy own heart deceitful, to be­tray thee into Satans hands. Oh my God, this is my condition, this is the estate of my Soul; here lyes my distemper, the world lyes too close to my heart, and Christ lyes at too great a distance; my cor­rupt deceitful heart is ever and anon put­ing me on to choose this for my happiness; a little Grace I see will not carry me through the temptations that lye before me, but Lord speak the word and grace will flourish, and corruption will dye: thou hast said, and I believe it, that thou wilt not break the bruised reed, Mat. 12.20. nor quench the smoaking flax, till thou bring forth Judg­ment unto victory: Lord, I believe, help my unbelief; and let not my little grace be lost in the great heap of the rubbish of my corruptions: Lord, if thou open [Page 104]mine eyes to see the emptiness of the crea­ture, and the fulness of Christ, then shall I love the one and despise the other; Psal. 119.32. and shall run the ways of thy Commandments when thou shalt inlarge my heart; I see no reason why I should be exempted from obey­ing thy Will, even to the laying down of my life, and though flesh and blood will not yield willing obedience to it, yet 'tis my resolution thus to do, Lord strengthen my resolution: I know my fears are the result of my Infidelity; Lord strengthen my faith, that I may overcome them; for by thy strength I shall stand, and without thy assisting grace I shall Apostatize, and fall back: Leave me not to my self, for then I shall undo my self, dishonour my God, scandalize Religion, bring a reproach upon the Gospel, wound my Conscience, break my Peace with my God, and undo my Soul. Luk. 9.62. Let me not, O Lord, now I have put my hand to the Plow look back again: Nor when I have begun in the Spirit, Gal. 3.3. end in the flesh. Rev. 2.10. Lord make me faithful to the death, and then give me a Crown of Life.

MEDITAT. V. The World is not desirable to a Chri­stian.

OH my Soul, why art thou desirous to stay in the World? and why so un­willing to go to thy Father? The time was when thou wast otherwise minded; thou lookedst upon it as Bochim, a place of tears, a Golgotha, an unlovely habitation: thou wast not willing to dwell in Meseck, and in the tents of Kedar; thy affections did like fire mount upward; and what Load-stone hast now to draw thee back? thou wast at a point with all things under the Sun, and didst wear the World about thee as a loose garment ready to cast off upon all occasions, and dost now spit upon thy hands and take better hold? dost now set up thy Staff, and with Peter say, 'tis good being here? Art now beginning to build Tabernacles here, and slight that house not made with hands, but eternal in the Hea­vens? thou didst conclude with Solomon, Eccles. 1.14. All is Vanity and vexation of spirit, and now at last hast found some solidity? 2 Pet. 2.22. art thou now returnining with the dog to his [Page 106]Vomit, and the washed Sow to her wallowing in the Mire? are the Scales of ignorance now fallen from thine eyes, and dost thou see some excellency in the worlds enjoy­ments, that before were hid from thee? take heed lest thou see through the Devils Spectacles, for these may deceive thee. Is the world now become a Pearle in thine eye, that thou despisest that Pearl of great price? be not deceived, it will not prove a true Diamond, but a Bristow Stone. Art thou now ready with Cardinal Burbon to say, thou wilt not leave thy part in Paris for a part in Paradice? consider well what thou dost before thou strike up the bar­gain, and take the world for thy portion; take a view of it again, and see it in its own dress, and not in the Devils paint and co­lours, or in his Glass: hadst thou indeed rather be absent from the Lord than from the World, and doth it yield thee better de­light and satisfaction? Well, and will it do so at death also? where will thy por­tion be, 2 Pet. 3.10. when the earth and all the works therein shall be burnt up? give not Christ a bill of divorce till thou art sure of a better match: will the World content thee here and hereafter? what provision can it make for thee for hereafter? if this be all thou takest for thy portion, then no wonder [Page 107]thou art loth to leave it; for where the treasure is, there will the heart be also. Hadst thou a great Estate in the World, there might be some temptation, but who will grieve to leave an empty Cell? hereto­fore when thou hadst a greater Estate in the World, thou wast crucified to the World and the World to thee, and now dost fall in love with Poverty and Want? thou didst look upon it as upon a dead Carkass, and now dost perceive some life in it? But stay a while, and consider well what the World hath, and whether her portion can pay thy debts, and make provision for thee to Eternity; thou canst expect no more portion than it hath; consider whe­ther it will serve thy turn: the Soul is an immortal piece, and must run parallel with the longest line of Eternity, will the world do so also? if not, what will the Soul do when the portion is spent? thou art in debt ten thousand Talents, and canst not pay one farthing, and it must be paid to the utmost mite, or thou wilt be cast into a Furnace of fire for ever; can the World, if thou espouse thy self to it, pay this debt? No, nor all the Angels in Heaven to help it: and what a case wilt thou then be in to Eternity! 'Tis best for thee to return to thy former Husband, for it's much better [Page 108]with thee then: Here is enough in him to pay thy debts, and provide for the future. But is thy forsaking Christ and choosing the World the result of all thy profession, and the fruit of all thy Mortification, Re­pentance, Self-denial, Preaching, Pray­ing, Hearing, Reading, Meditating, and of all thy other duties? and is the World a sufficient recompense for all the pains thou hast taken in Gods Service? and dost expect no more at his hands? and art thou willing to let go all thy right in the Promi­ses, and all thy hopes of a future reward? and doth the World make thee amends for all thy losses and crosses thou hast met with upon Religious accounts? hast thou reduced thy self to pinching wants, hard labour, how foolishly then hast thou be­haved thy self! if the world be thy portion how foolishly hast thou denyed thy self in thy portion! why hast thou not run down the current of the times as others have done, when it was the way to prefer­ment? why hast thou swam against the stream? why didst not take thy pleasure as others did, in thy sins and sinful com­pany? then mightst thou have enjoyed the World as they do, for their Porti­on in Externals is better than thine; they take their pleasures, they satisfie their [Page 109]lusts; and why dost then live a mortified life for the like portion? why didst thou take upon thee the profession of Religion, when thou knewest it would run counter with the times? why dost not swear with the Swearer, drink with the Drunkard, and be as debaucht as any other, if the reward be alike? but if thou look for another re­ward, why art thou afraid of the time when thou art to receive it? if Religion will not pay thee thy charges, why didst profess it? if it will, why dost forsake it? haft thou had a hard Master of Christ? hath he failed of his Word, or broke his pro­mise to thee? is his work or Wages worse than Covenant? if not, why dost leave thy Master? look about thee, within and with­out; consider while thou art here what thy wants are, what thy miseries, and whe­ther the world is like to free thee from the one or the other; if it can, how hap­pens it in all this time it is not done? thou hast spiritual wants, can the World relieve those? thou hast but a little know­ledge of God, and dost thou desire no more? if thou do, in what School wilt thou learn it? death will bring thee where all these clouds of ignorance shall be dispell'd, and thy knowledge shall be perfected: 1 Cor. 13.9, 10. Here thou knowest but in part, and under­standest [Page 110]but in part: But when that which is perfect is come, that which is in part shall be done away. Thou hast now but a little enjoyment of him, a few glimpses of him in a duty, and dost desire no more? what means then all thy Prayers and Duties tending this way? but thou art never like to have much more till thou come to Heaven: doubtless, if thou now take up with the World for thy porti­on, thou art of all men the most foolish; why dost thou run from it, when thou seekest to enjoy it? and why dost for­sake thy desired happiness? If the world will content thee, why dost seek after other things, and deny thy self that content the world offers thee? Art thou as holy as thou desirest to be, and as good as thou wouldst be? and hast thou as much satisfaction as thou desirest? what is the meaning then of all thy Prayers, Stu­dies, and other duties? why dost bewail thy sins, and implore Heaven for power against them? and if thou wouldst be bet­ter, why dost fear Heaven, where thou wilt be holy as God is holy? if thou be as good as thou desirest to be, why dost play the Hypocrite with God and man; and like a man in a Boat, look one way and row another? wouldst thou have no more [Page 111]power against thy sins, why then dost rail upon it and revile it, and profess that it is thy greatest trouble? why dost wrestle, and fight, and pray against it, and bring un­der thy body? and if thou wouldst have power, why dost thou fear Death which will free thee from this as well as other Enemies? art content to live in thy Pride, and Passion, and Ignorance, and Hypocri­sie? why dost not then speak plain? art thou like some Beggars, that have sores to shew to move compassion, but are not wil­ling to have them cured lest it marr their Trade? hast as much Grace as thou desi­rest; why then dost pray for an increase, and usest means to strengthen it? Why, Death will bring thee to perfection: canst thou content thy self with a low frame of Spirit, and a small measure of Grace? why dost thou the [...] complain, that thou canst not serve God with greater freedom, and that thy duties are performed so deadly, dully and drowsily, and with so much di­straction? and yet art content with them as they are, and longest not for the time when thou shalt serve him without distracti­on, and never have wandring thought more? thou complainest that thou feedest upon the husks of duty, and findest not God in the duty, and yet art willing to rest in this [Page 112]condition, and longest not for the time when thou shalt solace thy self in his love, serve him according to his will, and enjoy him for ever? dost thou do God as good service as thou desirest? and doth he re­ward thee here according to thy content? art thou fully satisfied, and dost expect no more at his hands? art thou satisfi­ed for all thy duties, losses, crosses, and afflictions? if so, why hast thou put up so many vain petitions, wherein thou beggedst for greater matters? nay, what matter had it been if thou hadst never put up any peti­tion? for such a portion is given to those that never care to Pray, Hear, Read, or do any Religious Duty; but if thou expect a better reward, why then art thou afraid of death, which puts thee into the possession of it? Why art thou afraid of having thy prayers answered, and thy requests grant­ed, and a reward given thee an hundred fold? if thou pressest after perfection, why art thou afraid of it, when it cannot be obtained on this side Death? wouldst not have thy prayers granted? death will con­duct thee where it shall be done; but it is in vain to expect it on this side Heaven: art thou afraid of being called out of the Vine­yard to receive thy wages? and wilt rather lose thy labour than go home for thy pay? [Page 113]hast so eagerly pursued after happiness, and when thou comest within sight of it, doth thy heart fall thee? or wouldst thou find happiness where no man ever did? or dost expect it to be sown in the furrows of thy field? art thou searching for Honey in a Wasps nest? None of these things can be had in this world, they are reserved for Heaven; sin will not dye till thou dyest, nor leave thee till body and Soul are sepa­rated: serve God thou canst not till thou come to Heaven without distraction; thy graces will be imperfect, thy knowledge weak, thy love cold, thy obedience im­perfect, and all thy Graces maimed; and thy corruptions will be strong, 1 Cor. 15.54. Lev. 14.44. till this cor­ruptible hath put on incorruption, and thi mortal hath put on immortality, and these natural bodies become spiritual, and then deathshall be swallowed up of Victory. Sin in thee here is like a Leprosie in the House, it will not be cleansed till the house be pull'd down; it is in thy very nature, and sticks as close as the skin to thy flesh; yea as the flesh to thy bones, and more close: these may be separated, but so cannot sin while we live, till Death make the division; this polluteth the heart, which is the fountain; and hence the streams are filthy; for like corrupti­on it lyes within, and will break out in some [Page 114]botch or other; the very heart and consci­ence, the affections, actions, life, and conversation are polluted, so that thou maist say with the Leapers, Ʋnclean, Ʋn­clean; and thus it will be while thou art in the world, and there is no other way to cleanse thee or make thee whole, but pas­sing under the stroak of Death, this lances the Ulcer, and heals the Sore; and while sin goes before, misery follows; for this follows sin as the Shadow the Substance, or the effect the cause; and the same hand that cures the one, heals the other also: for in Heaven sin and sorrow shall be no more, yea sorrow and sighing shall flee way, and there shall be no more pain; abut till we are rid of sin we shall never be rid of sorrow, the natural effect of it: Nil valet medicamen­tum dum ferrum in vulnere; thou maist as well expect fire without heat, or water without moisture, or a stone without weight, as sin without sorrow; here thou maist expect to lie under an afflicted condi­tion while thou livest; and the holier thou art, the worse entertainment thou art like to meet with in the world; it will love her own, but hate the godly, as it hated Christ; 'tis a Step-mother to them, but an own mo­ther to the wicked; these she nourishes, but would starve the other, if the their Fa­ther [Page 115]did not look to them. It is by reason of sin that our lives are so bitter, and we live inter suspiria & lachrymas, between sighs and groans; here thou livest alwaies under the hatches, 2 Cor. 12.7. and alwaies hast some thorn in the flesh, some messenger of Satan sent to buffet thee; and being amidst these storms and tempests driven from side to side, and alwaies in danger, canst thou fear a safe harbour? when thou art wea­ry canst thou be afraid of rest; or being hungry or thirsty art afraid of meat and drink? all manner of miseries attend us here in this vale of tears, and whatsoever outward misery a wicked man suffers, a child of God may suffer the like; Eccle. 9.2. all things fall alike to all, as to the good so to the bad: and is not that Physician welcome that will free us from all these? we pay our Physician if he heals us of one distemper, our Surgeon if he cure one wound, but death deserves more that cures us of all that is called evil: here thou livest in the midst of thy enemies, they are both with­in and without; some seek thy estate, others thy good name, some thy liberty, and some thy life, and others thy soul; and these lay snares accordingly to take their prey, and dost thou choose to live in such a Neighbourhood? thy very sen­ces [Page 116]are the floodgates to let in sin, thou canst scarcely open thy eyes, or ears, or any other sence but some bewitching ob­ject or other presents it self, and the De­vil baits his hooks with it, to Angle for thy soul; one vanity or other comes in at these windows, either to provoke pride, or covetousness, or passion, or luxury, or some vice or other that lodges in the heart; these are the five Cinque-Ports, and here the Devil many times sails in with the Tide; Jer. 17.9. And thy heart is deceitful also and desperately wicked, and ready to betray thee into thine enemies hands: thy very Relations many times prove a snare, and either draw away thy affections inordinate­ly to them, or incline thee more to accept of life upon unlawful terms: This was Spira's ruine, thy Children and Servants many times prove thy trouble, either be­holding them under Sufferings, or fearing their extravagant courses; thy Table also sometimes becomes a snare; thy Meat and thy Drink, the Cloaths thou wearest; the Neighbours among whom thou livest prove snares or troubles, sometimes vexing thee with their unjust dealings, sometimes pro­voking thee by passionate words, and sometimes grieving thee to see and hear their sinful words and actions; the most [Page 117]with whom thou livest have one plague­sore or other running upon them, giving and receiving infection one from another; the very duties thou performest are full of snares, the Devil doth what he can to thrust in base ends and motives, or to divert the heart in the performance, or he fly-blows them, and makes them stink in the nostrils God: thy very Calling is full of temptations and snares, all the Talents, Gifts or Endowments God hath lent thee, the Devil will do what he can to render them the fuel for Pride or some other lust; and how canst desire to live in such a world, among such snares, and such temp­tations? The world it self is a very Golgotha, there are few men but what are spiritually dead; a very Egypt for slavery, where there is little else but Moiling and Toiling, Carking and Caring, and a thousand trou­bles and anxieties do here accompany the Sons of men, and few men but be snares one to another, many pull-backs in Hea­vens way, but very few helpers forward: every man almost is like a Turkey Gally-Slave, chained to some oar or other, where he labours in the very fire, Isa. 55.2. and spends his money for that which is not bread, and his labour for that which satisfies not; he moils and toils night and day, works hard, and [Page 118]fares hard, and all this while thinks not of his latter end; and of any the Godly meet with most wrongs, most injuries, and most hardship, and all little enough to make them mind their Fathers house; yea Professors themselves many times help to increase each others Burthens, by their contentions, animosities, and reproach they fasten one upon anot [...]r, if they differ from one ano­ther in circumstances and modes of Wor­ship; and canst take delight in such a world, and exchange it for Heaven? What canst observe here but Pride and Covetousness, and Tyranny, and Oppression, Envy and Malice, Debate and Strife, Hypocrisie and dissimulation, and other works of the flesh; and little sincerity, and the power of godliness to be seen? now are these the things that take with thy affections? are these the flesh-pots, the Garlick and the Onions that tempt thee back into Egypt? look but within thee and without thee, and thou wilt see enough to wean thee from the world; within thee are many bodily distempers, Pains and Aches, Griefs and Infirmities, and apparent decayes in nature, languishing distempers, which hasten thy approaching death; decay of thy senses, thy sight dim, and thy hearing dull, many a broken nights sleep, many a waking [Page 119]hour, yet few free from pain, weakness, and trembling of Joints and Limbs, and several distempers which are not like to be cured by any Physician but Death; and look which way soever thou wilt without thee, and thou maist see some cloud or other pretending an approaching storm arising; some threatning wants and penury, and thou findest much adoe to provide ne­cessary Food and Raiment for thy Family; here one is sick, another lame, another lying under other Infirmity, and all causing thy grief and trouble. And if thou look abroad, what pleasing object canst thou fix thy eyes upon? what but prophaneness and debauchery doth appear in sight, and little of the fear of God is to be found? which way canst thou turn thy Eyes, but thou wilt see Prophaneness, Sabbath-breaking, and debauchery acted? or thy Ears, but thou wilt hear Swearing, Ly­ing, Filthy and Ribald speaking, mocking Taunts and Reproaches against the power of godliness, Gods ordinances contemned, and his Ministers abused? and is this thy pleasant sights, thy delightful Melody, the Syren Songs that inchant thee, and draw thy affections to the world? here, if thou delight in it, thou maist hear the god­ly made the Drunkards Songs, and with [Page 120]the Apostles, the Off-scowring of all things, a gazing-stock to Men and Angels, and those that depart from evil make themselves a Prey: Here thou canst scarce pray in thy Family, or sing forth the Praises of God, or fast to the humbling of thy Soul, but thou becomest a reproach and derision, and perhaps the Butt of persecution. And if thou look abroad in the Nation, thou wilt find it not much better, in some places much worse; if thou ascend the Courts of Judicature, in some of them thou maist find Judgment and Justice perverted, Ty­ranny and Oppression countenanced by Magistrates, great men like great Fishes eating up the rest, Covetousness and Extortion exercised, and the Righteous Oppressed in Judgment, and Pillows sown under great mens Elbows by many Ministers, and the Power of Godliness more than the Torrent of sin opposed and restrained, and sin and wickedness winked at, and tolerated by both Magistrates and Ministers, so that the Land is become a Sodom for Sin, and for Uncleaness, and may, for ought we know, equalize it in Sufferings, and few Mourners will be found in our Sion. If we look abroad, we have cause to fear a Foreign Invasion, and at home Domestick Insurrections; even [Page 121]Vipers breed in our own Bosom; many long to wash their hands in the blood of the Saints, yea in the best blood in the Nation; and which increases our misery and danger, our Councels are divided, and we know neither our Enemies nor the dan­ger we are in; only this we know, we are in the hands of God, and 'tis against him that we have sinned; and wilt thou fall in love with deformity it self, and desire to live amongst confusion? when God calls thee away from the evil to come, art thou loth to go? Sin is the ugliest Hag that ever the World brought forth, and destruction is her natural issue. The very best which the world can shew thee, is nothing else but the shadow of a Smoak, or the Dream of a Shadow; those that have most trusted to it, have been most deceived; there is no trust to be put in mortal man, nor confi­dence in Princes; there is nothing of soli­dity under the Sun, or any thing whereof we can say, there is satisfaction in it. The Devil doth what he can to dress it up in his Paint and Varnish, and shews it to us in its glory and splendor, but whoso hath the wearing of it will find it much worse than here it is described; so that death cannot be worse to a Saint than life, neither should it be less desired; and is this world now [Page 122]Christs Rival? and is the contention which will prove the better Match, or whether Heaven or Earth be to be preferred, or whether God or the Devil be the better master, or give the better Wages? and is God, and Christ, and Heaven, and Glory like to be cast off, and the world like to run away with thy affections? is this like best to maintain thee, and make thee most hap­py? Heaven and Earth may stand amazed at thy folly: surely, if thou hast met with no better usage than thy Neighbours, yea than thy Lord and Master hath done, the controversie would soon be at an end, and the question soon decided: Christ tells thee in plain terms, if thou belong to him the world cannot love thee, and I think thou hast had experience of it to thy cost; Joh. 15.18. wilt thou now proclaim to the world thy Hypocrisie, and make them believe thy Faith was but a fancy, and thy Love to God but a pretence? wilt thou now strengthen the hands of the wicked, that he shall not depart from his wickedness? hast thou all this while used Religion but as a stalking-horse, to take a prey? and what prey hast thou taken? nothing but Losses, and Crosses, Scoffs, and Scorns, and Persecution: sure thou hast plaid a low game; thou hast been under fears and [Page 123]doubts about thy sincerity, and wilt thou now determine it in the Negative? thou hast complained of the absence of thy Beloved, and now by thy willing deser­tion, wilt thou prove all was in Hypo­crisie? thou hast been persecuted for Righ­teousness sake, and wilt now convince the world that it wronged thee; and that thou wast not righteous, nor the man they took thee for? if not, why art unwilling to go to Heaven, where thou shalt never hear this grinning lan­guage more? here thy eyes affect thy heart, when thou seest the Oppression that is done under the Sun, but there thou shalt never more see unpleasant sight; here thy ears affect thy heart, for thou canst scarcely open them, but some bad news or other reaches thy heart to afflict it. If thou look upon the Churches of God in most Nations in the World, thou maist find them pickled in their tears, and wal­lowing in their blood, abroad and at home; thou maist see them under suffer­ings in many places, thou maist find the Prisons full of them, and many under tor­tures and torments, and bloodily butcher­ed for Religion sake; miserably slaughte­red in France, Spain, Italy, Hungary, Hel­vetia, Savoy, Piedmont, Bohemia, Germa­ny, [Page 124]New-England, Ireland, and many o­ther places; yea, England and Scotland have not been freed; and at this day if we look upon the face of the Prote­stant Churches throughout Europe, 'tis so deplorable, that there is cause enough for grief; yea in some places there is per­secution even by those of the same Re­ligion, only for some small differences about Modes and Circumstances of Wor­ship; they agree in all the Articles of Faith, and yet writing as bitterly one against another, as if they were Jews and Turks; and those that we may believe may agree together in the same Heaven, cannot be of the same Church; yea the Church it self is a very Hospital, every one hath one Disease or other; one complains, and not without cause, of a hard Heart, ano­ther of a Stubborn Will, and a third of a dark Understanding; one of Pride, ano­ther of Passion, another of Worldliness, and another of Hypocrisie; and yet, which is the mischief of it, there are many more distempers upon them than they know of. Look into the best Congregations, and here some are sick of a Lethargy, and sleep as they go about their work; others of a Consumption, and instead of growing in Grace, decline, and lose their [Page 125]first love; some of the Rickets, and these mens heads grow bigger than the rest, for they have some brain knowledge, which by reason of some obstructions never sinks into the Heart, or seasons the life; others have he Falling-sickness, some fall foully, and others fall quite away, and come to nothing; some have a Burning Feavour, and their fiery zeal sets the Church on a flame, and in some it heigh­tens to a Frenzy; these are alwayes ra­ving, and tearing in pieces all that come in their way, or all that thwart their humor; these are never so confident as when in an Error; as men at football they many times make such hast they overrun the Ball, so these men many times leave truth behind them, and out­run it. These men must have Religion model'd in their own Brain, or it plea­seth them not; those that go beyond them are too hot, and those that cannot reach them are too cold, or in plain terms prophane and irreligious; and their Heart like Jehu's must be the Standard to try all others by; 2. King 10.15. and all this while 'tis but their Distemper, and a fiery zeal like James and John that would have all others consumed but their own party, and rather had they rent the Church in pieces, [Page 126]than abate an Ace to dissenting Christians; and these many times spend themselves and their zeal upon circumstances, when the main substance is neglected, the very Vitals of Religion; yet these men think they have found out the nearest way to Heaven, when alas they run but the cir­cle of Errors; for the Devil leads them circular, when they thought they had ran straight forwards; and many of those that are in a little time above their Teachers, are quickly above Ordinances, and run from one opinion to another, till they end where they began, at Pro­phaneness; they are led by the Devil to­wards Hell, when they think they are in Heavens road, as the Syrians were to Samaria by the Prophet, 2 King. 6.19, 20. when they thought they had been going to Dothan; these men are like the Lapwing, who cryes most when farthest from her Nest; and so they are most confident when they have left the truth behind: some fall from their first love, others into er­rors, and some turn Apostates, yea per­secute the truth they once profest; and is this a delightful thing to thee? and maist not see also some of thy own Re­lations going towards Hell, with hopes of Heaven in their mouth, and will [Page 127]take no warning, although they live in the committing of those sins which God hath plainly told us such as commit them shall never enter into Heaven, 1 Cor. 6.9, 10. and yet they are as confident of Heaven as if they were there already; and after all this, canst thou delight to live in such a World, where thou canst meet with so little comfort from good or bad, but all thou conversest with help to increase thy sorrow, one way or other, some willingly and some against their wills? wouldst thou live among those hard task-masters, rather than go through the red Sea to Canaan? nay, hadst rather endure thy Wilderness troubles than go over this Jordan, and fight with this Anakim, Death, though thou have the Lord for thy Pro­tector? thou hast longed to enjoy thy In­heritance, and many a Prayer thou hast put up to this purpose; thou hast lookt upon the flesh as a Screen drawn between thy God and thee, and as a clog to the Soul, and breathed after more liberty in Gods service, and now art unwilling that the Screen should be removed, and thy liberty gained? was Daniel unwilling to come out of the Lyons den, or Jo­nah out of the Whales Belly, or Joseph, or Jeremy, or Paul, or Silas, or Peter, to [Page 128]come out of Prison, when the time of deli­verance came? was ever fick man afraid of Health, or Lame man of being restored to his Limbs, or a Blind man of being recovered to his sight? was ever Hungry man afraid of his meat, or thirsty man unwilling to drink, or weary man un­willing to rest? or was ever Turkish Slave unwilling to leave his Oars, or enjoy his freedom? yet have none of these so much cause to rejoyce in their freedom, as the poor Soul hath in the freedom purchased by Christ, and to be enjoyed at death. Doth not the Husbandman long for the Harvest, when he shall receive the fruits of the Field, the reward of his labour? doth not the Souldier long for the Victo­ry, when he shall receive the Crown? doth not the Traveller desire his Journeys end, and the Mariner his wished Port, and the Labourer for the Sun-setting, when his work is done, and his wages is due? and wilt thou only be afraid of the time when thy misery shall end, and thy Joyes commence? and all because there is a little dirty though not dangerous way to pass, though there be an eternal re­ward for a temporal, yea momentany Pain, yea a thousand weight of pleasure for an ounce of grief? Oh foolish Soul! [Page 129]hast thou fought the fight, and won the day, and is it but stooping down and take up the Crown, and wilt not be at so much pains? Is there but one stile more to thy Fathers house, and wilt thou sit down here, and go no further? but one hour between thee and Glory, and hast thou spent so many years in reference to it, and now wilt not add that hour to the rest? hast thou almost run the race, and shall one Lake in the way make thee to retire, when the end is in sight? hast subdued all the Ene­mies but one, and is he disarmed also, and lyes prostrate at thy feet, and yet faintest, and forsakest the Field? dost thou fly from the Serpent when the sting is out? hast thou vanquished the Flesh, the World and the Devil, and yet fearest Death which is a reconciled Friend? hast thou overcome him that hath the power of Death, and fearest thou Death it self? Hast thou overcome the substance, and dost quake at the shadow? many thousand lose their Lives upon lower ends, and venture them for a lower re­ward than here is propounded; some for vain glory, others for a corruptible Crown, and wilt not venture thy life for Eternal glory, and to secure thy [Page 130]Soul? some venture Life and Soul and all in a Whores Quarrel, or a Drunkards fray, and wilt thou not in the cause of God, and vindication of the truth, and that when thy Captain stands by thee? are the Gates of the Heavenly Jerusalem open, and wilt not enter? wilt lose all rather than strike one stroak more? O my God, let not the Flesh, the World, nor the Devil deceive me: let me not faint under the burden, nor ever turn my back upon thee. Lord strengthen me, and I will suffer for thee.

MEDITAT. VI. What hurt can Death do a Believer?

OH my Soul, what makes thee yet draw back? are not all these fore­going considerations enough to satisfie thee, but yet the thoughts of Death do appale thee, and the thoughts of the Grave make thee to shiver? heretofore thou hast even courted Death, and sola­ced thy self with the Meditation of the Grave, and the forethought of the time when Sin and Sorrow should be no more; [Page 131]and now dost quake at the apprehension of it, and art frighted at his grim coun­tenance? Consider a little, what he is, whence he comes, and what message he brings, and then see if he be so formi­dable as he seems: he is but a Messen­ger, and comes not upon his own er­rand, neither runs he before he be sent; he comes not from an Enemy, but a friend, yea, from one that loves thee, yea from that friend that sent Jesus Christ to dye for thee; and the same love is exercised in the one as in the other; he sent first to pur­chase an Inheritance for thee, and now sends to thee to receive it: He comes to tell thee, the Great King of Heaven and Earth Greets thee, and invites thee to the Marriage Feast, to the Wedding Supper, to drink Wine with Christ in his Fathers Court; he comes to tell thee, thou hast fought the good fight, thou hast finisht thy course, and from henceforth is laid up for thee a Crown of righteousness, which Christ the Righteous Judge shall give thee at the last day; that thou hast been faith­full over a few things, and shalt be Ruler over many things; and shalt enter into thy Masters Joy: He comes to tell thee thou art at Age, and must receive thine Inheritance; that thou hast been long e­nough [Page 132]tossed to and fro upon the Waves of trouble, and now must enter into the desired Port; that thou hast long enough fed upon husks, and now must come to thy Fathers house, where there is bread enough and to spare; he comes to tell thee, thy Warfare is accomplished, the race is run, the prize is won, and from hence­forth the Crown of Glory is thine own; and what hurt is in all this? or why is such a Messenger to be feared? he comes not, as haply thou mayst suppose, to break thy peace with thy God; no, but to make an everlasting peace, which shall never be broken; to assure thee, God and thy departing Soul are at peace, and all controversies are ended, and that thou shalt never more see one frown in the face of God, nor one wrinkle in his forehead; he comes not for thy hurt, but thy good; not to hinder thy pro­motion, but to promote it; not to de­stroy thy body, but only sow it in the Earth, that it may spring forth a glo­rious body; that corruption may put on in­corruption, 1 Cor. 15.55. and the mortal may put on im­mortality, that Death may be swallowed up of Victory. He comes not to make thee miserable, Rev. 14.13. but happy; Bl [...]ssed are the Dead which dye in the Lord, even so [Page 133]saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labours, and their works follow them. He comes not to separate thee from God, this he cannot do; For neither Death, Rom. 8.28.29. nor Life, nor Angels, nor Principalities, nor Powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. No, Death brings us into a nearer Union, and more close Communion. 'Tis not come to make void the Covenant with God, but to make it good, for God hath promised in the Co­venant to give Christ, and Heaven, and Glory to thee, and how can this be made good till Death? and though the body lye for a season in the Grave, as Israel did in Egypt, after Gods Covenant with Abraham, yet shortly Death, like Moses, shall come and bring it into the Heavenly Canaan: and though Death in it self be a Punishment, yea, a curse threatned upon the fall, and remains so still to wicked men, to whom it is an inlet into eter­nal misery, yet to the godly the curse is taken away by the death of Christ; who for us was made a Curse, and dyed that cursed death upon the Cross, to take away the Malignity of it; who by his [Page 134]death disarmed Death, and took away his weapons wherein he trusted; yea took away his sting, that now thou maist put the Serpent into thy bosom; and now Death is so far from putting an end to Believers happiness, that it puts an end to their sorrows, and is the very Gate to eternal Life; and at the very stroak of Death, in that moment of time their Joyes commence, and their sorrows end; death to the Wicked is a Pursivant sent from Hell, to fetch them thither; to the Godly, a Messenger sent from their Fa­ther to bring them home: 'tis to the body but a quiet sleep, free from hurtful dreams or fearful Visions. The Grave is but a Bed of Roses, perfumed by the Body of Christ, a resting Chamber, a Reposi­tory where God lays up his Jewels, wherein thy dust will be kept as in a Cabinet, and not one grain of it shall be lost, Rev. 20.13. but the Earth, the Sea, the Grave and Hell shall then give up their dead; and then both Body and Soul shall be received into the City of Pearl, where no dirty Dog shall trample upon the Pavement; when that Death hath done his Office, the Angels shall do theirs, and carry the Soul into Abrahams bosom, and lodge it for ever in the arms of [Page 135]Christ; and at the Resurrection when the Soul and Body shall be reunited, they shall both be glorified for ever; and freed from all mutation, and change, and all things else that may be called Evil: when Death hath broken the Cage, the Bird will be at liberty, and sing sweetly; when the prison Walls are pull'd down, the prisoner will be free; and is this that which thou fearest? how many thousand deaths would a miscarrying Soul endure for Heaven at last? yea, if Eter­nity were spent in the continual feeling the very pangs of Death, it would be much easier for a damned Soul if it felt no more, than now it is; and art thou so nice that thou canst not endure it for one Hour, for one moment, upon the promise of Eternal life? Death brings in the Harvest of thy hopes, the fruit of thy Prayers, the reward of thy pains, and of all the losses and sufferings thou hast had for Christ: God is now send­ing for thee to make thee a King, and wilt thou now withdraw thy self like Saul, and hide thy self as he did, when they sought him to make him King? here lyes the perfection and end of thy Faith, and of thy Hope, the Sal­vation of thy Soul; for these Graces as [Page 136]well as others are imperfect here; here is the only place where happiness is to be had, the only soil where hearts-ease grows, and yet must God needs whip thee home, or thou wilt not matter it? well, if now thou refuse to come at his call, when thou call'st he may give thee no answer, and when thou knockest he may not open: but sure some root of bitterness lyes at the bottom, either thou dost not believe there is such a happi­ness, or that it is not thine, or hast pla­ced thine affections elsewhere, and canst not remove them, and made some other choice which thou wilt not leave. Didst thou stedfastly believe that there was a reward for the Righteous, and that thou art one of those that shall receive it, how can this be reconciled with thy fears? would any wise man take a great deal of pains for an Inheritance, and then lose it all for want of taking possessi­on? thou hast in thy life-time, 'tis very like, suffered a hundred times as much pain as thou art like to do at thy death, and shall this dismay thee more than all the rest? the day of Death is not so gloomy as 'tis thought to be. Solomon when he was upon his Throne, in the midst of his Jollity, commends his Cos­fin; [Page 137] Better (saith he) is the day of Death than the day wherein a man is born. Eccles. 7.1. Ma­ny of the wiser Heathens were of the same mind; they wept and mourned at the birth of their Children, to consider the troubles they were like to meet with in this troublesome World; when they feasted and rejoyced at the death of their friends, because their troubles were over, and their rest was come; and surely Believers have better ground of rejoycing than they had, a more sure foundation for Faith and Hope to build upon. Oh Death, how pleasant is thy face, to those acquainted with thee! thou art black, but comely to those that know thee; thou art indeed attend­ed with a little pain, but with endless bliss; the one makes makes thee feared, the other beloved. Oh my Soul, let us draw a little nearer, and take a more exact view of Death, and see what is the worst hurt he can do us, the best good he will bring us; and compare the one with the other, and compute the odds, and see whether we can make a savers bargain of it; and if so, how little cause of fear we have. It may be thou thinkest thou must part with all thy car­nal Joys and worldly delights, thy sen­sual [Page 138]pleasures, thy merry Company, and bid farewell to all thy merry meetings, and pleasant Jokes; with all thy Recrea­tions, Pastimes, and pleasant Sports, and be Buried in silence, and laid in the dust, and must bid thy pleasures adieu; and poor Soul is this thy trouble, and the cause of thy fear? hast thou not better in exchange for them? are there not more, and more lasting Joyes in the pre­sence of God; Psal. 16.11. Rivers of pleasures, with­out bank or bottom, at the right hand of God for evermore; unknown Plea­sures, unseen Delights, which no eye hath seen, nor ear hath heard of, nei­ther hath it entred into the heart of man to conceive of; such as no stranger shall ever meddle with; Pro. 5.14. and will not those make thee amends? Let the Epicures of the Age, that choose pleasures for their portion, plead this argument; let the Drunkard howl when the new Wine fail­eth, Joel 1.5. or when the Cup is snatched from his mouth: Alas, thou hast met with little Joyes, and those mixed, and the greatest part Wormwood and Gall; a litttle Honey and many Stings, a little bitter-sweet pleasure that ends in pain; yea short and transitory, in the midst of laughter the heart is sorrowful, and the end of that [Page 139]mirth is Heaviness; but what are those to the Joyes unspeakable and full of Glory, that is in Heaven: 'Tis true, there are some that are the Sons and Daughters of pleasure, Psal. 73.5. That are not in trouble as other men, neither are pla­gued as other men. Amos 6.4, 5, 6. They lye upon their Beds of Ivory, and stretch themselves upon their Couches, they eat the Lambs out of the flock, and the Calves out of the midst of the Stall: They chaunt to the sound of the Viol, and invent to themselves Instru­ments of Musick like David: They drink Wine in Boles, and anoint themselves with chief Ointment: But they are not grie­ved for the afflictions of Joseph, &c. These may indeed fear a Change, and dread the time, when suddenly they shall go down to Hell; but this is not thy condition; Psal. 73.14. for all the day long hast thou been plagued, and chastened every Morn­ing; and thy drink hath been mixt with thy Tears: The pleasures thou hast had, have but tickled the Senses, but reach not the Soul, and true content thou never foundest in them: If thou look back to thy youthful delights and childish vanities, as they are passed a­way, and have left nothing but a sting behind them, so they should not be call'd [Page 140]to mind without sorrow and compuncti­on of Spirit; for many of them were the pleasures of sin, yea the pleasure in sin, sinfull pleasures, which have wasted thy precious time, and stole away thy heart from God, and hindred thee from making usefull imployment of it, and from more necessary business; but in Heaven thou shalt have pleasure without satiety; here thou art fain to use various pleasures to patch up a little of that which thou callest delight; the pleasure of any one, yea of the most delightful Recreations soon passeth away, and be­comes nauseous, and leaves a sting be­hind; but in Heaven thou wilt solace thy self with Eternal delight: those plea­sures which thou here callest by that name, bear no more proportion to Hea­venly Joyes, than fire upon the Wall to true fire; the former gives neither light nor hear, though it have some dark resem­blance of it. But haply this may not be it that troubles thee; 'tis thy Estate which thou art to leave behind, which sticks upon thy stomach, for when thou dyest thou must leave all behind thee; a great All sure, and this also in exchange; when for a handfull of Muck, thou art like to have a handful of Angels, Heaven for [Page 141]Earth, and God for the Creature, and dost repine at the bargain? let those that have great Estates plead this argu­ment, not one that exchangeth Penury for Plenty, and a Cottage for a King­dom; but doth not God seem to say to thee as sometime Pharaoh to Jacob, Gen. 45.20. As for your stuff regard it not, for the good of all the land of Egypt is yours? Doth it grieve thee to leave this house of clay, which will doubtless ere long moulder and fall about thy ears, for a Mansion in Glory, a House made without hands, whose builder and maker is God, Eter­nal in the Heavens, Pebbles for Pearls, Earth for Heaven, and the Creature for God? and is this the wrong Death hath done thee? yea this is not all, Death will put thee in possession of thy own: here thou hast nothing thou canst call thy own, but maist say of it, as the Pro­phet of his Axe, Alas Master, 2 King. 6.5. for it was borrowed; here thou art a Tenant at will, not only at thy Fathers will, but at anothers will also, and knowest not but thou maist be dispossessed before the years end; but that is thine Inheritance; here thou art a rack Tenant, and hast much ado to pay thy Rent, but there thou art a Free-holder, and payest nei­ther [Page 142]Rent nor Taxes: what here thou hast is lent thee, and for every Ta­lent thou hast thou must give an account; what there thou hast is given thee, and thou hast ten thousand times as much under thy hands, yet an account shall never be required: Besides, when thou art gone thou shalt have no need of the things here left behind, for thou goest to a house ready furnisht: what need wooden Vessels, or earthen Utensils, when the Walls of the City and the Streets there­of are of pure Gold? and as there is no need, so there is no use of these earth­ly things: what good will food do when thou art not hungry? or cloaths when thou art not cold? there is the Tree of Life in the midst of the Garden; there is the Fountain of Life to stench thy thirst; there is neither use nor need of these things: thy Silver and thy Gold sig­nifie nothing here; they trample upon better mettal: thy coin will not pass in this Country; these things should not be thy trouble to part with them, which have proved snares to thee, both in the getting, and in the keeping; and like a bush of thorns, when thou hast graspt them too hard they have pricked thy fingers; yea, and prickt and pierced many to the heart; [Page 143]they are not satisfactory, and if they were, they are not durable, but like a bird upon the Wing, now in one mans Close, and then in anothers, and no one can say, She is mine; and if thou dye not from them, 'tis odds they will dye from thee, as the Example of two hun­dred thousand in Ireland in our dayes may sadly witness; they are like unto Jonah's Gourd, they spring up in one Night, and wither in another: I have read of a Heathen Philosopher, when the City he lived in was taken, sackt and Burnt by the Enemy, and his Wife and Children captivated, and all his earthly Substance gone, being demanded by De­metrius, what he had lost, answered, No­thing, Omnia mea mecum porto; I carry all along with me; his vertue, which could not be lost, was only his own; and mayst thou not better say so, if thou be demanded, what thou losest by Death? for if thou canst carry thy Graces, which are thy Evidences for Heaven, safe thi­ther, this is thy All; for the rest was but lent thee for thy Journey, as a bed in an Inne to a Traveller, which he must leave behind him, and not carry it a­way in the morning; for if thy Eviden­ces be safe, thine Inheritance is sure; [Page 144]these outward things thou hast as long as they will do thee good, and when they will do thee none, why wilt desire them? and Death will not deprive thee of any good thing; the lading is safe, though the Ship sink; the Jewel is safe, though the Box be broken; though the Body dye, the Soul will live; and thou maist therefore say as Jacob, I have enough, Joseph my son is yet alive, my Soul is yet safe; or as Mophibosheth, Seeing the King is returned safe, let Zibah take all: Seeing mine Inheritance is secured, my chiefest Jewel safe, let who will take the rest. But haply it may be thy Relations that thou art so unwilling to leave, thy dear Wife, thy beloved Chil­dren, those that depend upon thee for their livelihood; and other Relations that thou hast let out thy affection upon, and other intimate acquaintance and Christi­an Friends, which have been all that little comfort thou hast had in the world; and now to leave these behind thee, and ex­pose thy own to the wide world, and know not what will become of them when thou art dead, this makes thee loth to dye and leave them; this doth make thee like unto the Servant that loved his Wife and his Children, Exo. 21.6. willing to have [Page 145]thy ears boared, and to be a Slave for ever: but consider a little, is not this inordinate love, to love the Creature more than the Creator, and rather obey man than God? when thou tookest upon thee the profession of Religion, was it not upon those terms, Luk. 14.26. &c. to hate thy Father and Mother, thy Wife, thy Children, thy Bre­thren and Sisters, and thy own life for his sake; that is, to leave any or all of these if he required it; and now art break­ing with Christ, and wilt rather deny him, lose thy Soul, thy God, thy Hea­ven, thy Happiness, than leave thy Wife and Children, and other Relations? Joh. 15.13. Great­er love than this hath no man, than that a man lay down his life for his friend: But is not this more, to lose his Soul, to part with his interest in Heaven, and en­dure Hellish torments to Eternity for their sake, or for their company? But they live upon thee, and if they were dead, thou knowest not how they will be maintained: And dost know how they will be maintained, if thou live? dost know how the World will be Govern­ed, and all the Family in Heaven and Earth maintained if thou were dead? dost thou bear up the Pillars of it? or do all things seek their meet at thy [Page 146]hand? is it Gods Providence or thine that maintains thy Family? or at whose charge are they kept? 'tis true, thou art his servant, to give them meat and drink in due Season, but thou hast it out of his Store-house, and if thou wert removed cannot he put another into the Office? cannot he that feeds the Fowls, the young Ravens when they cry, yea the Lions seek their meat at his hand, and he cloaths the Lillies, and the Grass of the field, and cannot he maintain thy Wife and Children if thou wert dead? if the Pipe be cut, is there no water in the Fountain? Psal. 78.20. this is thy unbelief; can God provide a Table in the Wilderness? Nay, but thou dost not question so much his Power, as his Will; why how dost know he will provide for them if thou dost live? many a Wife and Children have suffered want in the Husbands life time, and God may let thee live to be a burden and a grief to them, an hin­derance and not an help; Nay, hath not God more ingagements upon him to provide for the Fatherless and Wid­dows, the poor and the needy, than any other, Psal 68.5. having made so many promises on that behalf? A Father of the Father­less, and a Judge of the Widow, is God [Page 147]in his holy Habitation; Hos. 14.3. Psal. 146.9. and it is in him that the Fatherless find Mercy; He preserveth the Stranger, he relieveth the Fatherless and the Widow: Jer. 49.11. Leave thy Fatherless Children (saith God) to me, and I will keep them alive, and let thy Widows trust in me; and many a command hath he given upon their account, that they shall not be wronged; Nay, are they not in the same Relation to God as thou art? are they not his Children also? and will he that feeds all his Enemies, starve his Chil­dren? Nay, he feeds the Fowls of Hea­ven, Psal. 34.9, 10. and hath not he promised that those that fear the Lord shall want nothing that is good; Nay, if thou shouldst lose thy life for his sake, thou wouldst yet more deeply engage him to look to thine in thy absence. But suppose thou shouldst for the sake of Christ lose thy Relations, or rather leave them behind, what wrong is done thee? you came not into the World together, and 'tis not like you will go together; but if thou go first, hast no satisfaction for this piece of self-denial? God is not wont to be behind hand with thee; shalt not thou enjoy more and better Relations in Heaven whither thou art going? Is not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ [Page 148]there, whom thou callest thy Father, and Christ which thou callest thy Husband and thy head, and the Holy Ghost which thou callest thy Paracletus, thy comforter? and is not Jerusalem which is above the Mother of us all? Gal. 4.26. are not the Angels thy Guardians, and the departed Saints many of them thou knewest in the flesh, thy fellow-Brethren, and thy companions? and do not these better deserve thy love than any in the world, being altogether lovely, and without Spot or wrinkle, glorious in holiness? yea are not many of thy Relations in the flesh gone before thee? Thy Father, Mother, Wife, and se­veral Children, those thou lovedst in the dayes of their flesh, those thou Lamentedst at the time of their Death; and will not their Society rejoice thee in Heaven, when they shall be made perfect in ho­liness? here is Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the Prophets; here are the Apostles, and the Noble Army of Martyrs, and here are the Spirits of just men made per­fect; and those faithful persons thou hast left behind thee, will shortly follow, and is there yet sufficient matter of com­plaint? what if thou dost become a stran­ger to what is done upon the Earth; this is thy happiness: for if thou know [Page 149]no good, thou wilt know no evil; and for an ounce of good there is a pound of evil done there; there is much that may wring tears from the eyes, little that will remove sorrow from the heart; much sin and debauchery, much Idolatry and su­perstition, much swearing and cursing, much drinking and drabbing, and of all manner of wickedness, but little holiness and true Godliness; this may bring tears from the eyes, and sobs from the heart; but in Heaven thou shalt never be troubled more with the Unclean conversations of the wic­ked, for there will be nothing there to discompose thee. And if thou shalt in Heaven know the things done upon the Earth, which is a secret which God hath not revealed, doubtless it is not to lessen thy comforts but increase them; for as sin, so sorrow shall never enter there. Thou maist haply think, that when death hath passed upon thee, thy name will be forgotten; and what then? if thy good deeds are not remembred, no more will thy sin, and thy folly, and this far ex­ceeds the other: but there may be a re­surrection of Names, as well as of Bodies; Pro. 12.7. The memory of the just shall be blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot; Psa. 112.6 the righ­teous shall be had in everlasting remem­brance. [Page 150]If honour be not founded on grace, 'tis the emptiest of bubbles, which time will prick, and the most lasting Marble cannot preserve: The Aspersions which are cast in the face of the Righteous, time will wipe off, and the paint and lustre bestowed upon wicked men will off also: If thy Name be written in the Book of Life, it matters not much if it be blotted out of the world; if God remember thee, it matters not much though the world forget thee. What though the Habitation wherein thou livest know thee no more, if thou art acquainted in Heaven it matters not much, though haply the place may be recorded for thy sake; Psal. 87.4, 5, 6. For of Zion it shall be said, this or that man was born in her, and the Highest himself shall establish her; the Lord shall count when he writeth up his people that this man was born there. What matter is it to thee where thou wast born, if now thou hast a better habitation? thou hast never had any abiding place since thou wast born, but posted from one place to another by an over-ruling Providence, and never in any long settled Habitation, having above twenty times changed thy dwelling, ma­ny times against thy will, and most times by an unexpected Providence: And some­times [Page 151]when thou hast pitcht thy Tent, and said, Surely I shall dye here, Numb. 10.12. the Cloud hath removed, and thou hast been forced to march; some Providence or other gave a check to thy conceits; and if thou live longer, thy future condition is not like to be more settled: thou hast been a wayfaring man all thy dayes, even from the Morning of thy Life, and so thou art like to be till thy Sun be set: And for some season thy own house would not own thee, thy own doors were shut against thee, and thy nearest Relations durst not entertain thee, though no flagitious crime was charged upon thee: Many a place that did know thee, is now strange to thee, and thou art a stranger to it, and if this become strange also, 'tis no great mat­ter. If thou art of a Peasant made a Prince, and from a Countrey Cottage brought into the possession of a Kingdom, never complain what wrong death hath done thee: Or is it thy work thou art so unwilling to leave? or art thou ready to say, Alas! what will become of these poor Sheep in the Wilderness? 1 Sam. 17.28. if the Shepherd be smitten, they will be scattered; 'tis well if there be so much care of them. Paul indeed having the care of all the Churches upon him, was driven into a streight, whe­ther [Page 152]to choose, Life or Death; yet to dye he knew was best for him, but to live for them; but I fear there are few like-mind­ed, that naturally care for the Church: for all seek their own, not one anothers welfare; but the argument may be re­torted, If thou which hast been a Shep­herd fly when thou seest the Wolf coming, how shall the Sheep stand? if thou turn thy back upon Christ, and rather deny him than suffer for him, what woful work will this make among the Sheep! if thou refuse to seal thy Doctrine with thy blood, what encouragement shall they have to own their profession to the Death? when the Captains run, what havock will the enemy make among the Souldiers? but what will thy Life add to any mans hap­piness, or thy Death diminish from thy own? If the chief Husbandman take thee out of the Vineyard, 'tis but to make room for other Labourers, for his work shall not stand; if he stop thy mouth, he will open the mouths of others; his work shall be done whether thou live or dye: Thou art almost laid aside as a broken Vessel, and if he break thee quite, the matter is not much, there will be little loss: And if thou live, thou art in a capacity of doing little good; but if thy Sun set [Page 153]at Noon, God will not diminish thy wa­ges; Luk. 9.62. if he take the Plough out of thy hand, he will not blame thee for looking back; those that workt but one hour in the Vineyard had their penny; but thy Sun is almost set, the shadows of the Eve­ning are stretched out, Jer. 6.4. and Nature it self will shortly end thy dayes, and cut off the thred of thy life, if thou shouldst spin it to the utmost extent, and yet art so loth to have it broke off a little before the time? if thou hast imployed thy Talent well, God will not chide thee that thou hadst it no longer; he doth not require so much use for the half-year as for the whole, nor so much work to be done in the half as in the whole day, in the Vine­yard. If he call thee hence, to serve him elsewhere, he expects thou shouldst obey; for thy praises in Heaven are as pleasant to him as thy Preaching upon Earth; and for the Church of God take no care, he that hath made provision for it this five thousand years, he will not leave it now, and can do his work without thee; and if God take away thy life, he will take away thy work, and lay thy burden upon others shoulders: The same stroak that lets out thy life, lets out thy sin; and sin being gone, the consequents, fruits and [Page 154]effects of it cease also, which are labour and sorrow; Job. 3.17, 18. and in the grave the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest. Death may be sweet to those to whom Life hath been bitter, and though death may destroy thy Body, yet shall it have no dominion over thy Soul; Eccles. 12.7. the Spi­rit returns to God that gave it: The body is but a crazie Pitcher, and no wonder if it break, nay 'tis a wonder it hath run through so many dangers and is not yet broken; and when it is broken, 'tis but of the same Clay to make a better by the same Potter: Thy life is precious indeed, and should not be sold, but not so pre­cious as to be bought at such a rate as the loss of the Soul: What wise man will sell the Jewel to redeem the Box? Christ lost his life for thy Souls redemption, and wilt thou not lose thine for its preservation? Temporal death is the only in-let to Eter­nal Life; but to seek to save thy Life when Christ and his Cause require it, is the ready way to eternal death; to lose it in this case is to save it, and the way to get the greatest gain, and to prevent the everlasting separation of soul and body from God, which is the second Death: But Death of it self cannot seperate from God, Rom. 8.28, 29. and however it may make the body [Page 155]loathsom in the eyes of men, and unde­sirable to near Relations, yet it cannot make it unlovely in Gods eyes, or move him to forsake it; and though it do fall into the earth and rot there, 'tis but as seed sown into the ground to spring up with more advantage; it is a part of Christs Purchase, and shall not be lost; 1 Cor. 6.19. 'tis the Temple of the Holy Ghost, and though it be ruined, 'tis but to be rebuilt, and not one pin of it shall be wanting, for the Grave, the Sea, and Hell must give up their dead; and though worms may feed upon thy body, yet thou shalt neither feel nor fear them; Psal. 22.6. and why shouldst thou disdain thy fellow-creatures, seeing man in Scripture account is but a Worm? Job 25.6. those cannot devour the body so as to hide it from God, neither can they make it loath­som to God. When a house is pull'd down, it seems a ruinous heap, but many times 'tis in order to rebuilding, and then 'tis more glorious. But if it be the pain of dying that doth affright thee, (and I know not what else it can be) consider, there is very little cause for it; for we may dai­ly see that many die and depart the world without any shew of sensible pain, and depart in peace, nay, as in a sleep, some­times in a swoun, without motion or ap­pearance [Page 156]of pain; and art afraid of that which even sucking Children undergoe, and which all the world have or must en­dure? and were it painfull, wouldst thou grutch to bear an hours pain for Eternal Glory, who usually sufferest as much pain for a meaner reward? If thy dinner be sharp, thy Supper will be sweet: Thou wilt take pains for profit, and suffer much for ease. Oh my God, did my dear Re­deemer suffer such a shameful death for me, to make me happy, and shall I lose this happiness, rather than go to enjoy it? God forbid. Lord, give me in requisite qualifications, and then call for me when and how thou pleasest; yet Lord let me not dye unprepared, and lose both my Life and Soul together.

MEDITAT. VII. Martyrdom not hurtful to a Christian.

OH my Soul, what is it that thou dost boggle at? Death thou hearest can do thee no hurt, why then dost thou fear it? O! but 'tis a violent death thou fearest; [Page 157]were it but a natural death, thou couldst submit to it; but to fall into the hands of the uncircumcised, into the hand of bloody and deceitful men, whose loving kind­ness is cruelty; this thou canst not wil­lingly bear: all Death offers violence to nature, and to be willing to dye by thy Enemies hand, thou art not prest to; use all unlawful means to escape, but no means but what is lawful: thou must be willing to submit to God, and when he manifests this to be his will, thou must chearfully suffer it; but I fear this is but a Fig-leaf to cover a little Faith: well, let us argue the case: To dye thou seemest willing, but thou must choose thy death, and God must have no hand in the bu­siness; thou wouldst go to him, but he must not send for thee, especially by such a messenger thou likest not of: This is Childrens play, they would do any thing but what they are bid do; go any whither but to School, learn in any Book but their own. But dost really think that thou art fitter to determine the circum­stances of thy Death than God? the time when, the place where, and the manner how? or will God accept of thee for a Councellor in this case? and what difference is there between the one and [Page 158]the other? one stops thy breath, and so will the other; one sets an end to thy temporal being, and so doth the other; the consequences are the same, and the pains of the natural death may be as great, or greater than the other; wouldst thou choose some violent distemper, some raging disease, some violent pain to end thy life? Nay, this thou likest not neither; hadst thou the Stone, the Strangury, the Collick, the Gout, &c. this might make thee live a dying life, and make thee weary of thy life, and with Job choose strangling rather than life; and hadst rather endure this, than a few minutes pain from the hands of man? I fear this excuse is but to pro­long thy time, but buy not time at so dear a rate: thou seemest careful not to come to Heaven too soon, nor honour God too much by thy Death, but take heed of wringing thy life out of his hands; dye thou wilt, thou sayest, but it must be when thou caust live no longer, and then no thanks to thee, patience per­force is a Medicine for a mad Dog: doth not Death, whether by a Disease, by the Sword, or at the Stake, signifie much the same thing as to the conse­quents of Death? only the latter, if it [Page 159]be in the cause of Christ, speaks thee more a Christian, and entitles thee to a Crown of Martyrdom, and will encrease thy happiness. Death, at which door soever it comes in, separates between the Body and the Soul: but happily thou maist live a little longer by refusing to dye for Christ, but will not a years enjoy­ment of God in Glory, be as delightful to thee as a year longer spent upon the Earth? and perhaps if the one be sooner than the other, it may be with as little pain. But suppose God should give thee thy choice, either to dye a natural Death the next year, or to dye by an enemies hand seven year after, which wouldst thou choose? I suppose thou wouldst seal to the longer Lease; If so, 'tis not a violent death thou fearest, so much as a short life: but if this be thy fear, to dye too soon, God may send thee a languishing life, and make thee long for death, Job. 3.21, 22. and dig for it as for Silver, and rejoyce ex­ceedingly when thou canst find the grave: But then 'tis no thanks to thee, to dye when thou canst live no longer, or only desire death to be rid of thy pain; and sometimes God punisheth an immode­rate desire of life, by imbittering their life to them, and so makes them say as [Page 160] Job, Troublesome nights are appointed to me: If thou wilt willingly resign thy Life to God, and leave it to his dis­pose, thou wilt not make a losers bar­gain: haply he may rescue it out of the Enemies hand; however, he will not be long in thy debt, but for a temporal Life will give thee that which is Eternal, which will be a thousand fold better. Ignatius knew it when he said, Burning, hanging, tearing my flesh in pieces with wild horses, tantummodo ut Jesum nanciscar, only let me enjoy Christ; and was afraid left his friends should prevent his Martyrdom by their Prayers. Seeing thy body must be reduced to dust, 'tis no matter whether it rot above ground, or in it; no matter whether thou be burnt to ashes, or moul­der to dust, God will not lose one grain of thy dust: Kill me they may (saith the Martyr) hurt me they cannot; the worst they can do, is but to send me to my Fathers house the sooner. The love of Christ in the Martyrs, was hotter than the Flames they burnt in, and much allayed the heat of the Fire, that some of them felt little or no pain. O ye Papists (saith one) ye look for a miracle, behold a miracle, for in this fire I feel no pain, it is to me as a bed of Roses. They went as readily [Page 161]to dye as to dine, and accounted the day of their Death their Wedding day. Paul was ready not only to be bound, but to dye for Christ. Many were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection; they had Tri­al of cruel mocking, scourging, yea bonds and imprisonments; they were stoned, sawn a­sunder, tempted, slain with the Sword; they wandred about in Sheep-skins and Goat­skins, Heb. 11.36. &c. being destitute, afflicted and torment­ed, of whom the World was not worthy; they wandred in deserts and in mountains, and in Dens and Caves of the Earth, &c. The more thou sufferest for Christ, the more weighty will thy Crown of Glory be; those that loved not their lives to the death, but were killed for the Testimo­ny of Jesus, are placed under the Altar; nay, follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes, and are cloathed with long white Robes, and have Palms in their hands: But if thou deny thy life to Christ, he will deny thee entrance into this Heavenly Canaan; and thou shalt not only lose thy reward, but thy Soul also, and expose thy self to Death Eternall: If thou suffer with him, thou shalt reign with him; and if thou art ashamed of him, he will also be ashamed of thee: Those that honour him he [Page 162]will honour; and those that despise him, shall be lightly esteemed: If thou come to suffer for him, as many eyes will be upon thee, so many Prayers will be put up for thee; and doubtless much comfort will be dropt into thy Soul by the Spirit of God, who is the Comforter, sent by God upon this business: and God will stand by thee in suffering times, and give in Cordials to refresh thy heart. I have read of a Christian, that under his Rack and Tortures, as he after told his friends, apprehended a young man with a hand­kerchief wiping the sweat off his face, and comforting him. The holy Angels will stand by thee, and God will not be at a distance from his suffering Saints; and who then need fear to dye, that hath learnt to live? if thou be prepared, thou needst not fear what Messenger God sends for thee, nor at what hour of the night thy master comes; for Death cannot be sudden to the prepared Soul, that is al­waies upon his watch; and thou needst not fear what thy sufferings be, if thou canst but say, Propter te, propter te Domi­ne; 'Tis for thee, and for thy sake we are killed all the day long, and accounted as Sheep for the slaughter. The more thou sufferest then, the more deeply thou en­gagest [Page 163]God to thee, and he will pay thee an hundred fold; this is the best usury, and the best way thou canst dis­pose of thy life, for every year on Earth that thou hast lost, thou shalt receive a thousand in Heaven; and for one friend thou forsakest here, thou shalt receive a thousand there; and for every thing thou losest for his sake, thou shalt be recom­pensed a thousand fold; and as thou shalt have no loss, so thy Enemies shall be no gainers by thy death; they heap up coals of fire upon their own heads, and (without repentance prevent it) aug­ment their own damnation; for Christ will take it as done to himself; and their torments are like to be as durable as thy Joyes, which will be for ever and ever. Consider not so much what thou suffer­est, as for what, and for whom: if it be for the Truth, it will prevail; and if it be for Christ, thou shalt not lose by it: Truth is more precious than life it self, and fit to be sealed with thy blood; thou must deny thy self, rather than deny thy God; for he that gave thee thy life, is fittest to dispose of it, and whosoever parts with his life upon this account makes a good bargain; he cannot buy this Gold too dear. Many are the encouragements given [Page 164]in Scripture to persecuted Saints: Mat. 5.10, 11, 12. Blessed are they that are persecuted for righteous­ness sake, for theirs is the Kingdom of Hea­ven; blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and say all man­ner of evil against you falsly for my sake. Rejoyce and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven; for so perse­cuted they the Prophets that were before you. And as great will be thy reward, so great also are the company of thy fellow-sufferers, even from righteous Abel to this day; Which of the Prophets have not your Fathers Persecuted? Yea, Christ and his Apostles followed after; for al­most all of them dyed a violent death; and greater than the Master is, the Ser­vant cannot be; the world that hated Christ will hate his Servants also, and persecute all that bear his Image: If they hated him for righteousness sake, they will hate all that are righteous. Christ suffer­ed for thee the wrath of God, and wilt not thou suffer for him the wrath of man? he was stung by Death, and dost think it much to be strucken by it, now the sting is out? he suffered for thee the pains of Hell, and think'st it too much to suf­fer the pangs of death for him, when many times it is not so much as some [Page 165]have endured from an aking tooth? and what is this to the recompense of re­ward? he gave thee thy life, and can take it if he please, and yet desires thy consent, and if thou refuse, he will di­strain of thee for this debt: The worst of Enemies can but stop thy breath, and the least of Creatures can do as much, if animated by God: The least Fly, or Hair, or Crumb of Bread, will choak thee if God give it a commission; and well maist thou fear it, if thou hast denyed God to lay down thy life for his sake; sickness or age will as surely end thy life as thy Enemies can, though haply not so suddenly; thou hast no assurance of it a day to an end, neither canst thou have, only put it into his hand, and he will dispose of it for thy good: how can the seed spring up, if it be not sown? or how can the body rise, if not fallen? if God suffer any to take away thy life, 'tis not out of any love to them, or ha­tred to thee: he loves his Child better than his Rod; though sometimes the rod may be set on high, when the Child is turned out of door; yet when the child is reformed, the rod shall be burnt; they cannot preserve their own lives, nor take away thine, 'tis God doth both; and ere [Page 166]long they must tread the same steps, and down to the same pit, and travail the same road, and enter Deaths dark Vault as well as others; only here is the difference, death which will bring thee as Joseph out of Prison, will bring them in; and as it knocks off the bolts from thy heels, he will fasten shackles and chains upon theirs, and shall bring them like Haman from his glory to his execu­tion; that death which will set an end to thy misery, will terminate their feli­city; it will bring thee to glory, but them to shame and everlasting contempt: well may they fear Death, but thou hast more cause to desire it; Heaviness to thee may continue for a night, but joy comes in the morning: and by the eye of faith thou maist with Stephen see beyond Death, even Heaven opened, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, yea the Tree of life which is in the midst of the Pa­radice of God, the Crown of glory, the purchased Inheritance, the Prize for which thou didst run, the Crown for which thou didst fight. If thou hast a mark in thy forehead for a Mourner in Sion, there thou shalt have a Crown upon thy head, in token of Victo­ry. Precious in the sight of the Lord is [Page 167]the death of his Saints. Thou art almost come to the top of the hill, draw not back now, nor let thy heart go down; hold out now Faith and Patience, your work will not be now long; hold fast what thou hast, let no man take thy crown; let no temptation draw thee away from Christ; consider well the hand that holds it, and the design Satan drives on, to captivate thy soul for ever. Thy life, as it is not in thy own hand, and should not be at thy own dispose, so 'tis not in thine enemies hand, to take it away at their pleasure; but as God makes wick­ed men his Skullions to scour off the rust of his people, so also his Executio­ners to fulfill his Decrees: all is in the hands of God; both the Time when, the Manner how, and the Instruments by whom it shall be done; he knows best when his work is done, and when to gather his Roses, and lodge them in his bosom; and the Devil and his instru­ments are but his drudges, and when the measure of their sins are fulfilled, they shall have their reward. The De­vil himself was not able to kill one of Jobs Sheep, nor to raise one boyl upon his body, without Gods leave; Job 1.10. for God had set a hedge about him, as he was [Page 168]fore't to confess. And God will seal no commission to the dammage of his peo­ple, for all things shall work together for their good. Rom. 8.28. And why dost fear man, whose breath is in his nostrils, or the son of man that is vanity? if the fear of God be planted in the heart, the fear of men and Devils will vanish; for God hath them in a chain, and they can­not go a link beyond it. Dan. 3.19. & 6.16. Nebuchadnez­zar had power to cast the three children into the fiery furnace, but not to burn them. Darius had power to cast Dani­el into the Lions den, yet not to cause him to be devoured: the Sodomites com­passed Lots house, but could not enter; and Haman procured a decree to cut off all the Jewes, but lived not to effect it. Those that are faithful to the death, Rev. 2.10. shall receive at God hands a Crown of life, and shall be made pillars in the house of God, if they overcome. But if thou re­volt and deny thy God, thou art from under his protecting hand, and canst not claim one promise of his assistance; then thou standest upon thy own legs, and must shift for thy self, and a mise­rable shift it will be. Dost contend with him about thy life, that hath the keyes of life and death at his girdle; he that [Page 169]gave thee thy life and being, and thou hast no breath but what he gives thee? See the grievous judgments that God brings upon Apostates, which both the Scripture and Church Histories will fur­nish thee with; the fallen Angels, Adam and Eve in paradise, Judas, Achitophel, Ananias and Saphira, and many more, and in after ages not a few; and what think'st to get by Apostacy, by deny­ing thy God, or thy Religion? perhaps thou thinkest to save thy life a little longer: a miserable bargain, and yet the Devil cannot assure thee of that. It is to be feared that many in Ireland, in the late Rebellion, had they been brought to the trial, whether they would have forsaken their Religion or their Lives, would not have chosen Death, yet they suffered in the name of Protestants, when 'tis to be feared they had little more than the Name, the question not being who were godly, and who wicked, but who were Protestants and who Papists? and so it will be in England, if ever a Massa­cre be there made by the Papists, which God forbid; good and bad are there like to drink of the same cup: how much better then is it to devote thy life to God, leave it at his dispose? if he [Page 170]save it, bless him for it; if he take it away, let his will be done; if thou thus carry it in thy hand, to lay down at his pleasure, if he require it not, thou shalt not lose thy reward, as Abraham did not though Isaac was not sacrificed. If thou resolvedly deny it, though he require it not, thou shalt not be innocent, as Abraham, had he denied his son, though God eventually determined he should not dye, yet had been a transgressour, and had miss'd of the blessing: yet 'tis not required of thee by God to lay down thy head upon the block, but use all good means for to save thy life; and as Christ bids his disciples, Mat. 10.23. when they are persecuted in one city, to fly to another: for if thou suffer without a call, thou losest thy reward, all lawful means for self-preservation must be used, or we are guilty of our own blood, but when thou must sin or suffer, dye or deny the truth, thou must not deny the truth for lifes sake, nor do evil that good may come of it, then trust God; if he will, he can preserve thee; if not, his will be done; for then he sees it bes [...] to take thee away from the evil to come, of two evils the least is to be chosen, losing thy life is not so bad as [Page 171]losing Gods love; Psal. 63.3. for his loving kindness is better than life: a violent death upon this account hath been the lot of many thousand Saints, that have deliberately made this choice, whose souls are now attending upon the Lamb whithersoever he goes; from the beginning of the world to this day, no age was free from innocent blood: which of the Prophets have not your Fathers per­secuted? the Apostles, the primitive Fathers, and many thousand Christians were bap­tized with Christs baptism, and went to Heaven in a Sea of blood. The Jewes made havock of the Church in the Pri­mitive times, and when they were de­stroyed, and their power taken from them, the Roman Emperours in the Ten bloody persecutions destroyed hundreds of thou­sands of them; and after that succeeded the Arian persecution; and when that was ended, and the Pope got his foot into the stirrop, and sat, as he pretends, in the in­fallible Chair, he exceeded in cruelty the Heathens themselves: witness the Spanish Inquisition, the bloody butchering of the Waldenses, and Albigenses, the Massacres in Paris and other Cities of France, in Hungary, Germany, Savoy, Piedmont, Eng­land, Scotland, and especially of Ireland, where two or three hundred thousand [Page 172]have perished in a sew weeks: for since the fiery Jesuits became an Order, ha­ving their Name rather from Judas than Jefus, the Christian world hath been in a flame; yea the poor Indians have tasted of their cruelty; wherever they set their foot, like Saul, they make ha­vock of the Church; and many hundred thousands have been cut off by their bloody hands; and all along thou maist trace the Church in blood and tears; and dost thou think much to be one of those that shall cry, Rev. 6.19. How long Lord, holy and true, be­fore thou avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? Think it not strange con­cerning the fiery trial, 1 Pet. 4.12. as if some strange thing happened to thee; for this is no temp­tation but what is common to man. When such great Commanders and old Souldi­ers lead thee the way, thou needest not be ashamed, or afraid to follow them: dost think to escape drowning in a com­mon deluge? The Apostle was sure of nothing, but of bonds and imprisonment, and was ready not only to be bound, but to dye for Christ. If thou go to suffering, thou treadest not in an untrodden path, for the Captain of thy salvation was made perfect by suffering: A few daies, and thou wilt be even with the greatest [Page 173]Kings and Emperours. Job 21.23. For death is a perfect Leveller: and if dye thou must, as well as others, dispute not the case with God what death it must be, or who is fittest to determine it. In one of these late years death slew an hundred thousand in our chief City, and two, or some say, three hundred thousand more by the hand of cruelty in one Kingdom, in Ireland, and sometimes many thou­sands in one battel: A death thou owest, and a death thou must pay, and whe­ther in thy Bed, or on a Tree, or at the Stake, if thy cause be good, 'tis not much matter; whether thy life be end­ed by the course of nature, or by vio­lent hands; whether thy lamp be burnt out, or put out; whether the Rose be ga­thered or withered; if the latter, even so Father, for so it seemed good to thee. Death is an enemy that cannot be re­sisted, the only way to conquer it, is to fall under it; so Christ our chief Cap­tain did: we shall never conquer till we be overcome, and never be victors till we are conquered, and then both death and the fear of death, and and he that hath the power of death, the Devil, shall be subdued; for when he hath separa­ted the soul from the body, he hath [Page 174]done his worst, and spit his venom, and like a Ree that hath lost his sting, can do no more mischief; and then thy Conquest is fully obtained, and the last enemy is subdued; for then death and bell shall be cast into the lake of fi [...]e; yea there shall be no more death, thou shalt then be for ever freed from the dread and danger of it: death pricks that ul­cer that would never be cured while thou livest: when Corn is ripe and cut, 'tis fit for use; the conquest of death is made easie by the death of Christ, that now Believers may triumphantly sing, O death where is thy sting? 1 Cor. 15.55, 56. O grave where is thy victory? the sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the Law, but thanks be to God who hath given us the victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. It cannot now sting thee, but strike thee, and the very wound it gives is the way to heal thee, it seals up thy salvation to thee, and makes it sure out of a possibility to lose; it seals up wicked mens damnation, and puts them into an irrecoverable condition. Christ which was made a Curse for us, hath taken away the curse of death, and by hanging on a tree, which was threat­ned as a curse, Gal. 3.13. he hath sanctified that death also to Believers who suffer for [Page 175]him, and for the testimony of a good conscience; and their condition is also happy, for they rest from their labours, and their works follow them. All Saints dye, but all are not Martyrs; all have crowns, but not all the crown of Martyrdom, but only those that love not their lives to the death: all shall have white robes, Rev. 7.11. &c. but these shall have long white robes, and palms in their hands, and shall follow the Lamb whithersoever he goes. If thou canst get the qualifications fit for a dying man, thou needest not fear death, nor the manner of it; to such, deaths black Vi­zor is taken off, and there are few wrinkles seen in his forehead: thy death is decreed, and the manner of it, and though thou knowest not what eventu­ally will happen, yet observe what is Gods will of command, and so thou wilt know what is thy duty: secret things belong to God, but things revealed to us; thou hast no promise to be freed from the Prison, the Stake, the Sword, or the Halter, and promise not thy self greater freedom than God hath promi­sed; he hath promised indeed all shall work together for thy good, and this pro­mise is sufficient: for why shouldest thou desire freedom if it be not good [Page 176]for thee? he hath promised, that if thou art faithful to the death, Rev. 2.10. thou shalt have a Crown of life; that he will never leave thee nor forsake thee, and that the Gates of Hell shall never prevail against thee. And these promises he will assuredly keep, if thou break not with him. There is no death which a malefactor may dye, but it may be a Believers lot, and then why not thine? God hath ac­counted thee worthy to preach the Gos­pel, and to dispense the Mystery there­of, and if he account thee worthy also to suffer for him, and to seal thy doctrine with thy blood, it is a double honour, yea such as the Apostles gloried in; for to dye for the Truth, if cal'd to it, is both a Duty and a Dignity; if thou suffer with him, you will be glorified together: Pass on therefore out of this Egypt, out of this house of bondage, couragiously, though through the red Sea, yea a sea of blood, to this heavenly Canaan; yea though thy way lye through a wilder­ness of troubles; for thine Inheritance will make thee amends; murmur not, for thou shalt have no cause to repent: there is enough in God to give thee content, and to pay thee for thy pains; if thou think there is not, stir not a step [Page 177]further; if there be, never faint in the way, never leave Heavens road for a piece of foul way, or for the Cross that lyes in it; go on towards Heaven, yea though thy way lye by the gates of Hell, nay thorow the very flames of it; much more though it lye thorow the pangs of death: haply thou maist be burnt for an Heretick, this is no new thing; hundreds of thousands of good Christians have suffered death under this pretence: For a good work (said the Jewes) we stone thee not; but for blas­phemy. This sect is every where spoken against: And after the way which men call heresie (saith the Apostle) so wor­ship I the God of my Fathers. There's none that persecute the Saints as Saints, but as Offenders: no man will put an inno­cent man to death under that notion, the Devil hath taught them their lesson better than so. Job is not punisht as a righteous man, but a hypocrite, that ser­ved God for gain; and if God restrain­ed his wages, he would curse God to his face. Daniel must be cast into the Lions den, and the three children into the fiery furnace, for breaking the Kings Laws; and the Jews put all to death in Hamans time, being against the Kings profit: He [Page 178]that would kill a dog, saith the proverb, must say he was mad. But these asper­sions are not inconsistent with eternal salvation. 'Tis true thou art a great of­fender against God, and so deservest death, but thou art not like to suffer upon this account; greater offenders escape safe, but thy fault is, that thou wilt not betray the Truth; thou wilt not worship God according to mens Inven­tions; thou wilt not bow down to their Idols, who set up their Dagon by the Ark; these things are most like to lay thee open to sufferings, rather than Atheism, debauchery, or open prophaness. But if it be thus, thou art not the first innocent person that hath been oppressed in judgment, neither art thou like to be the last: Eccle. 7.15. 'tis no strange thing to see a righteous man perish in his righteousness; but thy innocent blood, if shed, will, like the blood of Abel, cry from the earth for revenge, and do them more hur [...] thau the stroak of death can do to thee and thy cause will be cal'd over again, and tryed at another Barr; and if main­taining the Truth, and keeping a good conscience, and standing close to th [...] cause of Christ, be the cause of th [...] sufferings, fear not, thou shalt herea­ter [Page 179]be acquitted, when thine enemies shall be condemned; and Heresie then will be otherwise defined, than now they do. Oh my God, I see death can­not hurt me, my enemies cannot hinder my happiness, if my own deceitful heart do not deceive me: Lord leave me not to my self, for then I shall miscarry. Lord, through thy strength I shall be strong; and if thou leave, I can do nothing. Lord qualifie me fit for suf­fering, and death, and then command what thou wilt.

MEDITAT. VIII. The Miseries Death frees us from.

OH my Soul, what saist thou yet? wilt thou submit to God, even to the death, and leave it to Gods dispose what death thou shalt dye, whether a natural death or a violent? thou seest neither can hurt thee if thou be pre­pared, either will undo thee if thou be not; and therefore thou needst not to fear it: nay it will do thee much good, and therefore thou maist desire it, with [Page 180]submission to thy Makers will; thou maist sing with Paul that Swan-like song, Cupio dissolvi, I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ which is best of all! There are three things especially which make thy life uncomfortable to thee; and that is Sin, Sorrow, and Temptations; and from those, or either of those, thou canst never be freed by any but death: sin is the cause of misery, and tempta­tions the cause of sin; while thou art in the world, thou art under the tyran­ny of sin, and while sin lives, sorrow never dies; for afflictions follow sin, as the shadow doth the substance, or the effect the cause; and while there is a Devil in hell, and thou be on earth, thou canst never be free from his as­saults. 'Tis true, in the Creation the soul was made innocent, and the body spotless, but by the Devils instigations Man lost his integrity, sinned against God, and so lost his Image; and in the room of Original righteousness stamped upon his soul, he hath Original sin; so that thy whole man, soul and body, is polluted, and that in all the powers and faculties of the soul, and the body is become the instrument to act the s [...]s the soul conceives: thou broughtest [Page 181]a poysonful Nature with thee into the world, which thou canst not be stript of while thou art in the world; yea before thou couldst sin, thou wast sinful; and before thou couldst act reason thou wast guilty of Treason against thy God; thou broughtest the spawn of all sin with thee, as a Wolf brings his wol­vish nature into the world, or a Toad or Serpent a noxious quality, though when young they cannot reduce it into act. Corruption hath naturally a seat in the soul; from within come murders, adulteries, &c. It possesseth the noblest powers and faculties of it. Now a Swine in the Garden is not seemly, much less in the Parlour, or the Bed-chamber: it takes up its residence in the heart, which is the room wherein Christ himself should lodge. This original corruption, with which thou art tainted, is virtually every sin, for it is the Spawn of it: there is no sin acted, but the seed of it lyes here; and hence it is thou art so disposed to evil, and so averse from good: there is no sin so bad, but thou hast an inclination to it, if this seed be watered with a temptation, if the re­straining or Sanctifying grace of God prevent not; and no duty so good, but [Page 182]this sets thy heart against it: the very Praising of God, that Angelical duty, is opposed by this original sin. This sin of Nature, this original corruption, is universal, and that makes it much worse; universal in respect of Time, even from the fall to the end of the world; no day free from this sin; some sin reigns most in some Ages, this in every Age. Also in respect of Persons, no meer man was ever free since the fall, no son of Adam or daughter of Eve: other sins some persons may be, and are little infected with, but this all stand infected with. And in respect of Parts, 'tis universal also; no power of the soul, no member of the body free from it; and 'tis continual and perpe­tual, without any Intermission; thou canst not leave it behind in one duty. 'Tis said, that some Serpents when they go to drink, lay by their poyson, as also when they go to generate: This I know not, but this I am sure of, thou canst not lay aside thy sinful nature; yea, when thou makest thy Addresses to God himself, thou mayst haply lay aside the acting of sin, but not being sinful; for couldst thou leave thy sin behind thee, thou mightest have more sweet commu­nion [Page 183]with thy God in one Duty, than now thou canst have in all thy duties; for 'tis sin that stains all thy duties, and makes them signifie little to thee: and wert thou not in Christ, God would hate them, and throw them back into thy face with disdain: 'tis thy sin that makes thee take so much pains in duty to keep thy heart to God, this hides his face from thee, that thou canst scarce have a glimpse of him in an Ordinance; this is the Root upon which all other sins grow, the Spring that feeds all the streams of vice; and hence they issue: and this is it upon which the De­vil fastens all his temptations: the want of this made the Devil successeless in his tempting of Christ; his fire fell upon wet Tinder; and this is the misery of it, this sin never dyes for age, but the longer we live the stronger it grows: some sins are in a decaying condition as to the Act, when age disables an Adulterer, and some others, but this decayes not: yea and we propagate it also to our Posterity, our children receive it from us, and so it will be propagated from one generation to another to the worlds end. Oh the hor­rid nature of this sin! 'tis the Image of Satan, which he stampt upon us when the image of God was lost, and this cannot [Page 184]be rased out, but by death: here thou art troubled with a hard heart, a stubborn will, disordered affections, unruly passions, vain thoughts, idle imaginations, which thou canst not shake off more than thy ve­ry Nature: this makes thee so unlike to God, so like to Satan whose Image thou bearest, and whose work thou doest; this makes thy duties stink in the nostrils of God, and thy whole man, Soul and Body out of order; this hinders thy communion with thy God, and makes him a stranger to thee; it makes thee act as an enemy to him, and him to thee, and thy iniquity hides his face from thee. These are the Anakims that terrifie thee, these are the sons of Zerviah that are too hard for thee, these are the Caananites which are thorns in thine eyes and pricks in thy sides, these sins of thine are the cause of all thy trou­ble; thou hadst never had aking head, or aking heart, or loss, or cross, or any thing to trouble thee, had it not been for sin, but from these thou canst not be freed one moment: no Prayer, no Duty, no Action, but savours of them; this thou art sensible of, this burden thou groanest under, and lookst upon sin as thy greatest enemy; and well thou maist, for nothing could hurt thee but for this; this it is [Page 185]that makes the soul vulnerable, which otherwise man nor Devil could not hurt; this thou hast preached against, spoke against, prayed against; thou hast railed upon it, and called it all that naught is; well now let us see whether thou wast in Earnest or in Jest, whether all this was in sincerity, or hypocrisie; death comes now to free thee from this bondage, ease thee of this burden, and brings a potion to cure thee when all other Doctors have left thee, and can do no good: he will bring thee where sin and sorrow shall be no more; for into heaven they shall never enter: art thou willing of the seperation, to give sin a bill of divorce, and put it away? wilt thou shake hands with it, and bid it adieu for ever? this potion will purge the soul from all the reliques of this distemper, and cleanse the heart which is the fountain of all thy actions, and make all the streams thence proceed­ing run clear, and fetch away all those gross humours of sin, that filthy lump that lyes upon thy heart, and presseth it down, and lyes as a clog upon it; it will cast out all those unclean Spirits, and cleanse those Augean Stables from all pollution: this is the only Physitian in the world that can do it, and God [Page 186]the great Physician of Souls hath approved of his Recipts, and sent him to thee upon this errant, to heal thee of the wounds of sin, and to restore thee to thy pri­mitive purity, wherein thou wast crea­ted: what saist thou, wil't give him en­tertainment or no? The Devil and the damned would take a potion a thou­sand times bitterer upon the like con­dition: help thou canst not have, till thou art purged, nor to Heaven thou canst not go, for no unclean thing shall ever enter there; purged thou canst not be without death; for then Christ will wash thee clean with his own blood, and sprinkle thee with clean water, and present thee to his Father without spot or wrinkle, or any such defiling or deforming thing, and cure thee of all thy soul distempers and bodily infirmities, which shall never more seize upon thee, he will say to sin and sor­row as unto the unclean spirit, Go out of him, Mar. 9.25. and enter no more into him. These sins be they that keep thee under the hatches, that thou canst not serve God without distractions, but death will unpinion thy wings, and let thy soul at liberty, and then thou shalt never be troubled with vain thoughts or imaginations more, thou shalt never [Page 187]speak vain word more, or do any sinful action more: what wouldst thou give for thy freedom from sin for one month, or one year? and what now wilt thou give for a perpetual freedom? what dost thou yet hang back, and art not willing to suffer one hours pain for it? is this thy Love to God, which thou hast professed, that when thou art put to thy choice, thou choosest sin be­fore him? is this thy hatred of sin, that now thou art loth to leave it when it comes to the trial? is this the fruits of thy prayer, preaching and profession? Art thou now at a stand, whether to deny thy God or thy Sin, and art in­clined to choose sin rather than God? and hadst rather be present with sin, and absent from God? and hadst rather live in the suburbs of Hell, than dye and come to Heaven? and hadst rather en­joy sin for ever, than God for ever? for till death hath passed over thee, thou canst not be free from sin, neither canst thou enjoy Happiness: for Sin was born with thee, and will dye with thee; it hath an indwelling in the soul, Psal. 51.5. thou wast shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin. 'Tis as natural to thee as to live, 'tis thy very nature, 'tis thy very [Page 188]self; thou maist as well shake off Na­ture, yea shake off self, as shake off sin; it sticks closer than the skin to thy back, or the flesh to thy bones; these may be separated, but sin cannot till the great separation between the body and soul, and then the same stroak that lets out thy life, will let out thy sin, and all thy misery; which is the consequents of sin: this hath caused thee many a sigh and sob, and sorrowful hour, and many a prayer, many an affliction, and many a lash of his rod, and hin­dred thee many an hours Commu­nion with thy God, it hath spoiled thee many a duty, and made thy life a very burthen; it hath broke thy peace many a time with God, and wound­ed thy conscience, and made God hide his face from thee, and many a time he hath whipt thee home: and now art fallen in love with it, that thou wilt not leave it, and rid of it thou canst not be till death let out thy life? 'tis only in the Grave thou wilt be at rest, and hid from sin, which then cannot find thee, nor any miseries which now are the effects of sin nor from the temptations which are the inducements to sin; and dost thou yet tremble to part with such an [Page 189]Enemy? thou hast pretended Enmity to sin, and been at Daggers drawing with it, and art now reconciled to it? it hath been thy trouble to have it, and is it now thy trouble to leave it? many a poysoned Arrow the Devil hath shot at thee, and wouldst still be his Butt to re­ceive his Arrows and venomous Shafts? These Hell-hounds haunt thee, and will hunt thee till thou art in thy Grave; there they will lose the scent and can fol­low thee no longer; here is thy Bo­rough, thy hiding place, where thou art shut in by God, and secure; Here the weary are at rest, here the Prisoners are secure, and hear not the voice of the Op­pressour; here thou shalt be freed from all that is called misery. Sin is an im­perious Tenant, or Inmate, it will not out till the house be pull'd down; yea, will turn the Landlord out of doors; Oh what hard hap had man to admit of such a Guest! but this is thy comfort, sin is but a Tenant at will; not at thy will, but the Will of God, who will shortly pull down the House, and set thee at liberty; and Oh! thy madness, that though thou canst no other way be rid of it, yet art unwilling to dye, and be happy. In Heaven, Paul shall never [Page 190]cry out, O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from this body of Death? Here the unclean conversations of the wic­ked, shall never vex the Soul of righ­teous Lot: David here shall never water his Couch with his tears, nor Jeremy wish his heart full of water, and his eyes a foun­tain of tears, to weep day and night for the destruction of his people. There is no­thing here that can procure misery, for here sin shall be shut out, for no unclean thing shall ever enter. But it is not sin only, but sorrow also as well as sin shall be done away; for when the cause is re­moved the effect shall cease. It was sin that brought Death into the World, and all the forerunners of it, yea all the concomitants and consequents of it; here thou art troubled with a sickly body, subject to many infir­mities, many pains, aches, griefs and trou­bles; scarce a waking hour free from pain, and from head to foot scarce a free part, but one pain or other doth molest it, some pain, ache or grief attends it; every sense as 'tis an inlet to sin, so 'tis to pain and misery, to let in one trouble or other into the Soul, and help to affect the heart with some fear, or care, or grief, or trouble, and these consume it as the scorching Sun the tender Flowers. Oh how tender a piece is this dust-heap [Page 191]thy Body! more brittle than glass it self; a little cold or heat soon molests it: how many tender Membranes, Sinews, Arteries, Veins, Muscles, &c. are there­in contained, and every one subject to obstructions, extentions, contractions, dis­locations, &c. and upon this distempers necessarily follow: well maist thou say with Job; Job 3, 4.13, 14, 15. I am made to possess moneths of vanity, and wearisom nights are appointed to me: When I lye down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossing to and fro, unto the dawning of the day. When I say, my Bed shall comfort me, and my Couch shall ease my complaint; then thou scarest me with Dreams, and terrifiest me through Visi­ons; So that my Soul chooseth strangling, and Death rather than Life. What bit­ter pills, what nauseous potions dost thou take when sugered with the hopes of health! what crying out, Oh my Back! Oh my Head! Oh my Heart! Oh my Bones! Oh what would I give for a little ease, a little rest, a little sleep, for a Stomach! my Stomach nauseates my meat, when others want meat for their craving Ap­petite; and how hard a thing is it to keep up this poor, old, decaying, rui­nous Cottage in repair; one Wall or [Page 192]other is continually ready to fall to ru­ine, and at which door Death will enter is not yet known; and when it comes it will but destroy thy body, which for the Materials of it are no better than the body of a Beast, which ere long will fall, for Death is all this while under­mining it, and the rational Soul doth only keep it from putrefaction, and Death is but a departing of the Soul from it to Glo­ry; and why shouldst be troubled to have the Prison-walls pull'd down, and the Prisoner set at liberty? why art unwilling to lay aside this flesh, which hath taken part with Satan against thy God, and is at present a temptation to thee, with Pe­ter, to deny thy Master? why choosest thou to live in a darksome nasty Prison, where thy Wings are pinioned, that thou canst not mount up to thy God, where thou hadst thy Original; this body is but a clog at thy heels, and never was intend­ed for thy dwelling place, but only as a Tent, or Pavilion, an Inne or resting place for a night, where like a wayfa­ring man thou maist rest for a while and away; but here thou hast no continuing City, thou art passing on to another place, Phil. 3.21. to a Mansion, a House not made with hands, but eternal in the Heavens, which [Page 193]Christ at his departing provided for thee, when this Tabernacle shall be built into a Temple, for God shall change this thy Vile body, that it may be like unto his Glorious body; and why then dost content thy self in this dirty Cell, when thou maist have such a glorious habitation? doth thy heart ake to think that the time is coming it shall never ake more? or dost thou weep to think all tears shall be wiped from thine eyes, and thou shalt never weep more? or is it a matter of grief, think'st, that thou shalt never grieve more? and art afflicted to think thy affli­ctions are at an end? what unnatural sorrow is this! art thou sick to think that in Heaven thou shalt never more know what sickness means; or that thou shalt never more have an aking Head, or an aking Heart? here thou wilt be freed from whatsoever may be properly called Evil, and shalt want nothing that is really good. Here Christians them­selves prove stumbling-block's in each others way, which causeth tears from the eyes and sorrow from the heart, but there the fire of love will consume the thorns of contention; here corruptions like thorns serve to keep the fire of contention alive, and those flames are more like to burn up their graces than their dross; for the [Page 194] divisions of Reuben there are great thoughts of heart, Judg. 5.15. but here is no such thing; Ridley and Hooper here accord, Luther and Calvin are made Friends; those Rivers of pleasure at Gods right hand quench all the sparks of contention, pride and ignorance hath kindled among the god­ly, and there is no bone of contention thrown among them; there is nothing but sweet peace, and concord, and what was weak is there made strong; and as no contention, so no sorrow upon that ac­count. Every son of the first Adam came into the world crying, and every son of the second Adam while he is in the world hath cause to cry. God had one Son without sin, but none without sorrow: Christ himself was a man of sor­rows and acquainted with grief: God cha­steneth every son he receiveth, and scourgeth those he loveth. Heb. 12.8. If we be not chastized, we are bastards and not sons. But at death thy sorrow shall cease, and thy joyes commence; there shall be no more pain, no more death, for sorrow and sighing shall fly away. But as thou shalt have an everlasting freedom from all hellish flames, which is the portion of the wicked, and their cup, put into their hands by God; so shalt thou have [Page 195]everlasting freedom from all temporal sorrow, which is the godly mans cup and lot while they are here, put into their hands by their loving Father: here thou shalt be freed from sin, the world and the Devil, thy mortal, thy sworn enemies; thou shalt never more have a pale face, a languishing body, trem­bling joynts, a dim sight, or any infirmi­ty or deformity; there shall be none that stoop for age, or any immature youth; but all perfect men and women in the prime of their age, as 'tis conceived about the age and stature of Christ, as Divines think the Apostle alludeth to that when he saith, Eph. 4.13. Till we come in the uni­ty of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: Unto such a stature that we should have been at had there been no infirmity or defirmity had hindred; here we shall have no peccant humour, no languishing disease, no carking care, no griping grief, no fretting fear, no con­suming evil; nay nothing that bears the name of evil; the Wormwood and the Gall shall there cease for ever, and sickness and diseases shall be no more, no predominancy of humours, no hurtful [Page 196]quality shall accompany our bodies when they are glorified. Exod. 14.13. When this corruption shall put on incorruption, and this mortal shall put on immortality, then may we say of sin and sorrow, as Moses of the Egyptians, These your enemies which you see to day, ye shall see them no more for ever. For as no unclean thing shall ever enter Heaven, nor shall any thing that bespeaks sorrow or suffering; we shall deal by these when we ascend into Heaven, as Abraham did by his Servants when he went to offer his Son Isaac in Sacrifice, leave them at the foot of the hill: for if sin enter not, there is no place for sorrow, but unspeakable glory, transcendent Joyes, pleasure for evermore; and though the glory there be inconceivable, yet the faculties of the Soul shall be enlarged to receive it without offence; now we can­not behold the Sun in its lustre, but 'tis an offence to the eye, but then thou shalt be capacitated to behold a glory ten thousand times greater than the Sun, with delight; and shall not this death which ends all our sorrows and mise­ries, and ushers us into this glory, be welcome to us? Nay, but this is not all; thou hast not only a crazy totte­ring ruinous house to live in, but thou [Page 197]livest among bad Neighbours also, and there is little comfort in a bad Neigh­bour-hood: the house where thou dwel­lest is haunted with evil Spirits, and thou canst have no freedom day nor night; these continually trouble thee, day and night, and infest thee even in thy holy duties; while sin, that is the Devils daughter, and his darling, lives there, her Father will not be absent, and his presence is uncomfortable to a godly man; he is thy sworn enemy, and thou canst not be rid of him; though thou givest him never so many foils he will not desist, neither canst thou make any peace with him, but upon harder terms than the men of Jabesh Gilead were offered by Nahash the Ammonite, to put out their right eyes; but nothing but the everlasting damnation of body and soul will serve him; many a blasphemous temptation, and many a poysoned ar­row he darts into the Soul; many a foul suggestion, and fain would he make a rape of her; he frequently storms the chief Fort: Oh the hourly danger that thou art in by reason of his temptations and thine own corruptions; for this is as Tinder to the fire, ready to catch upon all occasions; and many a [Page 198]time he enters the breach, and if he were not beat back again would de­stroy the Fort of the soul; many a snare and gin he layes for thee, and baits his hooks according to thy inclination, sometimes with one Bait, sometimes with another; like as a cunning Angler doth for Fish, or the Fowler for Birds; and what he finds most taking, that he useth most; sometimes he moves thee to presume, if that prevail not, to despair; sometimes to neglect Duties, if that serve not, to trust in them, or be proud of them; sometimes to be proud of thy Enjoyments, at another time to despond or murmur at thy wants or disappointments; sometimes he baits his hooks with thy Relations, and either perswades thee to Idolize them, or moves them, as he did Peter to tempt Christ, Master save thy self; and this proved Spira's ruine, and I doubt not hath ruined many in this age. He doth what he can to fly-blow all thy Duties, and render them odious to God, and takes advan­tage by every action thou dost, making thee to neglect it; or he foists in some by or base ends of his own into it, or makes thee pride in it; if things succeed to thy mind, he puffs thee up with pride; if thou meet with disappointments, [Page 199]he makes thee repine, and makes thee believe the world is a bad pay-master, yea God himself a hard Master, and that thou deservest better at his hand: and as to thy calling, sometimes he perswades thee that thou takest a great deal of pains for little or no profit, and hast no competent reward for thy labour, and therefore 'tis better give it over, and live at ease; sometimes he perswades thee thy calling is honourable, and would lift thee up above thy brethren; a thou­sand are the shares which he layes in thy way to entrap thee, and although thou shouldest repell them, yet 'tis a great trouble to be thus continually haunted by them, as it is for a Chaste woman to be alway troubled with the unclean motions of a filthy Adulterer: and as the Devil, so the world layes traps for thee, some­times in pleasures, sometimes in riches, sometimes in one thing, sometimes in another, as may most suit with thy in­clinations; sometimes the world smiles upon thee, and so seeks to ensnare thee by her Syren song: Sometimes she frowns upon thee, to make thee despond, and sometimes threatens thee, to drive thee from thy duty; and thy own heart is the most treacherous enemy, ready to [Page 200]open and to let them in. Now in this desperate danger who is it can live delightfully? who is it can delight in such a Neighbourhood, when the most righteous is a thorn and the most upright is as a thorny hedge. Can any wise man delight to live among such mortal ene­mies, whom nothing will satisfy but the souls ruine? canst contentedly suffer atheistical thoughts darted into thy soul, concerning God, under-valuing thoughts of Christ, of Scripture, of divine Provi­dence, &c. If thou give them no enter­tainment, they must needs be thy trou­ble; but the danger is, if the Devil find thee unarmed, and so thou close with his temptations. Is it not much better for thee to be where the Devil, the world, and the flesh cannot reach thee, and shall never more molest thee? now this is in Heaven, for he is cast out thence, and his place is no more found; thou maist bid them defiance, for they cannot reach thee; now when death comes, thy victory is won, the battel is over, and the Crown is thine, and the enemy will quit the field. Now thy life is tormenting by reason of sin, and the consequent of sin, and 'tis no small mercy to be deli­vered from the danger, which while thou [Page 201]art on this side Heaven thou canst not be; and then there shall be no corrupti­on within; and so no danger of temp­tation without, the Devil himself as well as sin is there cast out, and his place is found no more there; here he is alwaies casting floods out of his mouth to drown the woman, and though he cannot drown the Church, he may affright her; Christ that Man-child was not free from his temptations, though he was well able to resist them; but he layes many a stumbling-block in thy way, and many times thou hast stumbled at them, and much ado thou hast had to keep on in that path which is called holy, that nar­row path that leadeth unto life; many times thou treadest beside it, sometimes on the right hand, and sometimes on the left, and 'tis well if at last thou thred the narrow and strait gate, which thou art not like to do if thou deny Christ to save thy life; thou canst not open thy eyes, but the Devil presents some object or other to divert thy mind, he fits his baits according to mens dispositions; he baits his hooks to take the wanton with a beautiful harlot; he hath a Bathshebah for David, a wedge of Gold for Achan, a Companion for the [Page 202]Drunkard; one vanity or other draws away the heart from God, as the Indi­ans are inticed with Feathers and Shells and other Gewgaws to part with their more rich Merchandize. Job 31.1. Well may Job make a covenant with his eyes not to look upon a maid, for by looking many times comes lusting; and if thou open thy ears, thou let'st in some sin or sorrow to the heart; for either thou wilt hear something that may excite some lust or other, pride, passion, covetousness, uncleanness, &c. or thou wilt hear swearing, ribald talking, lying, slandering, or such like, which may provoke thee to indignation or sorrow; and thy other senses also are Floodgates to let in sin or sorrow; yea 'tis much adoe to use lawful things lawfully; thy table, thy meat and thy drink, the cloaths thou wearest, the house thou livest in, the means thou enjoyest, all become snares, and every sense becomes a caterer for the flesh; latet anguis in herbas; danger lies in all these, and poyson is mixt with all our dainties; and hadst thou more, the danger would be more, for the Devil will use his utmost endeavour to make it all to be Fuel for pride, or lust, or some other fil­thy vice; he can bait his hooks, and that to purpose, with any thing lawful or un­lawful, [Page 203] licitis perimus omnes; for if he can perswade us either to use unlawful things, or lawful things in an unlawful way, he hath his desire, and we are taken in his snares; but when thou comest to Heaven thou art freed from all these Temptations. Well may he bark at thee, as a Dog barks at the Moon, but cannot reach thee, or pull thee out of thy Orb; he may shake his Chain, but he can neither hurt thee, nor fright thee. And thus thou seest Death cannot hurt, but will much advantage thee; it will free thee from thy sin, and from thy sorrow, and put thee out of the reach of all thine Enemies; for nei­ther the Devil nor his Instruments can then do thee hurt: thou art set out of the reach of wicked men, as Lazarus was out of the reach of Dives: What sayest thou? wilt yield to go when God calls thee, and welcome the Messenger that is sent for thee? O my God, let me not make a foolish choyce, let me not undo my self; I am too apt to indulge the Flesh, and too apt to venture the Soul upon the Pikes of danger; I am too apt to live by Sense and not by Faith; my reason tells me I should go when thou callest, my Faith tells me I shall lose nothing by it: Lord, the Spirit is [Page 204]willing, but the Flesh is weak; I live a­mong many Enemies, and those perswade me to favour my self, but I know those that are Friends to my sin, are Enemies to my Soul; Lord I have devoted my life and all that mine is, and pass'd away mine Interest in it for Christ; Lord, take what thine is, and dispose of me and mine as thou seest fit, only, Lord, give me in suitable Qualifications for what I have to do or Suffer, and then com­mand what thou wilt; prepare me for Heaven, and then send for me when and by whom thou pleasest.

MEDITAT. IX. Of Hell Torments the Reward of de­nying Christ.

OH my Soul, art thou yet at a stand, and knowest not yet whether 'tis best to lose Christ, or to lose thy Life? to go to Heaven, or to stay upon the earth? to forsake the Creator or the Creature? stand still a little, and let us better consider it; whether is it better lose the Soul or the Body? the Jewel or the [Page 205]Box? the Wine or the Cask? but lose the body thou wilt not, but only lay it to sleep a little the sooner; but consider also what will be the reward of the one, and of the other, of dying for Christ and of denying him, and as thou likest thewages make choice of the work. If thou put thy hand to the Plow and look back, assure thy self God will take no pleasure in thee; if thou beginnest in the Spirit, and endest in the Flesh, of the Flesh thou wilt reap corruption, but if thou sow to the Spirit, thou wilt of the Spirit reap Life Ever­lasting: though thou hast Preached the Word to others, thou thy self mayest be a Cast-away: Thou maist be like to the Builders of Noah's Ark, and make a Ship to save others, and thy self be in the Flood; or like unto the Sign at the Ale-house door, that tells the Passen­ger where he may have shelter, and yet thy self remain in the storm; if thou turn thy back upon Christ, notwithstand­ing all the Profession thou hast made, he will turn his back upon thee; If thou deny him before men (and deny him thou dost, if thou wilt not lose thy life when his cause requires it) he will deny thee; if thou be ashamed of him, he will be asha­med of thee; and he will never admit [Page 206]such to the Wedding; if thou knock he will not open, but bid thee an eter­nal farewell, with a Verily I say unto you, I know you not: View a little the place appointed for Backsliders, and see how thou likest of it; Jude 6. The Angels that kept not their first Station, but left their Habitation, are reserved under black­ness of darkness for ever; and dost believe God will have more Mercy upon thee than upon them, if thou commit the like sin; 'tis a folly for those that re­main all the day idle, and will not go into the Vineyard, and yet expect wa­ges at night; but 'tis egregious folly for thee, that hast born the burden and heat of the day, and when the shadows of the evening are stretched out, and the Sun is almost set, to depart in a pet, and leave thy Master, and lose thy wages. God hath plainly told thee, Ezek. 33.12. that if a Righteous man shall leave his Righteousness, and do that which is evil, all his Righte­ousness shall not be remembred, in his sin he shall dye. If now thou revolt, all thy pains for Heaven is lost, and wilt thou wilfully lose forty years work and wages? he that runs a race, though he run never so well, if he stop before he come to the end, or turn back, will lose the Race, as [Page 207]sure as if he had never set out: he that acts his part never so well upon the Stage, and fail in the last act, will miss of his applause: If thou deny Christ thy life, thou wilt lose it, but if thou be willing to sacrifice thy life for his sake, it may be he will never require it, yet shalt not thou lose thy reward; but if thou deny it, thou wilt lose it and thy self with it; if God be not glorified by thee, he will be glorified upon thee in thy destruction; if thou lose thy Soul to save thy life, thou makest a bad bargain: The loss of a Joint or Limb may haply bring tears from thy eyes, Mat. 16.2 [...]. but what is this to the Soul? and this will necessari­ly follow upon denying of Christ. The essence and being of the Soul will not be lost, this will be thy misery, it shall not be annihilated or come to nothing, this would be good news to a wicked man, and the Atheist would willingly court himself into the belief, that the Soul of man is breathed out as the Soul of a beast, but this will not be; nay hap­py would it be for them if the Soul were divisible as the body, and the infernal Spi­rits should rend it into a thousand peices, till it were rent to nothing; this then were the worst it could suffer, but there [Page 208]is a living death and a dying life: if the Soul of man did expire with his breath as the soul of a beast, and the whole compositum, the whole man were reduced into the horrid estate of nothing, to feel neither weal nor wo, as the Atheist and Epicure perswades himself, it were not so much; but it must run parallel with the longest line of eternity, and shall neither dye nor sleep with the body; for this Lamp of Gods own lighting, this fire of his kindling, will not out; the matter of it cannot be consumed; hell fire will soon awaken those Atheists and light them to see their own folly and mistake, yet the flame thereof cannot consume the Soul, for it will prove fuel to feed those in­fernal and eternal flames the fire where­of never goeth out, neither will the pow­ers and faculties thereof be lost; the fire will not consume them, but they will be heightned and made capable of these eternal miseries and hellish torments; the understanding, which now is dark, and by them purposely blinded, shall then be inlightened, they shall then better know the worth of the things they have slighted, the vanity of the things they have cho­sen, the Happiness they have lost, and Misery that they are like to suffer. The [Page 209]memory then will be enlarged, and tell them of the means of Grace they have had, and slighted, the motions of the Spi­rit they have rejected, the sins they have committed, the duties they have omitted, the covenants they have made, the reso­lutions they have had of better obedience; and by how weak temptations they have been overcome, the threatnings they have had if they went on in a sinful way, all which are now made good on them, their conscience then will fly in their face, and will not be quiet; then will their evil deeds stare them in the face, and say we are thy works, and we will follow thee; then they will call to mind at how low a rate Heaven and happiness, God and glory were sold by them; then their sins will cry out, we are thine, Jer. 17.1. and they will be ingraven upon the conscience with a pen of iron, and the point of a diamond, which cannot be blotted out. Now thou canst lull conscience asleep, or check it that it may hold its peace; but then it will not be bribed, but will be like a waking Lion, rending the very caul of the heart, and prove a never dying worm, which shall feed upon thee for ever. All the faculties of thy soul will then bear a part in this tragedy; these will then [Page 210]tell thee; thy God, thy Saviour, thy Re­deemer, thy Heaven, thy happiness, thy All is gone, everlastingly gone, past all hopes of recovery, and all thy hopes are dasht, and nothing left but endless, easless, and remediless torments. This is the news that will continually ring in thine ears. Oh what a sad, what a sor­rowful parting, will there then be, be­tween the Soul and Body, expecting a sad meeting! O cursed body, may the soul say, for thy sake and at thy request I have denyed my God, and now will he deny me: I was so indulgent to thee, I have undone my self: to spare thee, I have wounded my self: to save thee a little longer, I have procured eternal tor­ments to us both: to save a temporal life, we are like to dye eternally. Oh my soul! if by denying to dye for Christ, thy natural life be prolonged, yet thy spiritu­al death will be hastned, and after a few dayes this natural life, which now thou purchasest at so dear a rate, will be required of thee, and God will send such a messenger that shall not be resi­sted; Isa. 5.11. and notwithstanding all thy shifts and evasions thou must obey, and notwith­standing all the sparks of thine own kind­ling, thou must lye down in sorrow. And [Page 211]whatsoever bait it was the Devil took thee with, and perswaded thee by it to make such a foolish bargain, this will be gone also: if it were thy Estate that thou wast loth to leave, leave it thou must: and if thy Relations tempted thee to stay, stay thou canst not with them when thy time is come, nor stay them with thee when God commands them hence: Nay the world it self to thee shall be no more: Nay the time is coming, the World and all the works therein shall be burnt up. And where is thy happi­ness then? Thou must at death (and that is not far off) bid an everlasting fare­well to all earthly enjoyments, never more to solace thy self in any earthly enjoy­ment: But were this the worst, both the good and bad would fare alike; but here lyes the difference, the one parts with what he can well spare, the other with all his portion: the wicked at death part with all that is really as well as ima­ginarily good, not only temporals, but spirituals also. Thou must bid farewell to all the Holy Angels and glorified Saints, never more to enjoy their society: They will be ashamed of those that are ashamed of Christ, yea and rejoyce in thy destru­ction. Thou must then bid farewell to all [Page 212]thy carnal delights, to all thy merry company, and Jovial companions, and to all the things thou tookest delight in here below; yea to all the pleasures, de­lights and Joyes, at the right hand of God for evermore, those rivers of un­mixed Joyes and delights, which eye hath not seen, ear heard tell of, neither hath it entred into the heart of man to con­ceive of; to these thou must bid an eter­nal adieu, and in the room of them thou must have eternal misery, wo and alas for evermore: And instead of this blessed company and holy society, and these Celestial Joyes, be hurried with the Devil and the damned into the Lake of fire and brimstone, out of which is no hope of redemption; and these shall be thy tor­menting, and tormented companions. The place whither thou art to go is not any lightsome dwelling, but a dark dungeon, a dismal prison, the tongue of man can­not describe it. Jovim. 'Tis reported that Actioli­nus a tyrant of Padua had a prison, where­in the prisoners were laden with irons, starved with hunger, eaten with vermin, and poysoned with stench, for the dead bodies lay rotting among the living. Here death might come in without knocking, and those were most miserable that lived [Page 213]longest, and those best that dyed first; but this was a Paradice compared to hell: The others punishment was short, this to eternity; that reacht only the bo­dy, this the soul also; death quickly enters into the one, but cannot enter into the other, for they shall be tormented for evermore; Oh gulph full of horror and despair! Oh eternity of torments! the very thoughts thereof may make the stoutest spirit quake and tremble. Here Dives lodgeth in flames of fire, instead of his soft bed; he is scalded with thirst, and his sweet cups are taken from him, and his food is new fire and brimstone; and for his insulting joy, he hath now gnashing of teeth. In hell there are no Holy-dayes, no Festivals, no set times in which the fire shall cease burning. Here thou must for ever swim naked to all eternity in this lake of fire and brimstone, where thou canst find neither bank nor bottom: here the wicked as tares, shall be bundled toge­ther: Drunkards with Drunkards, Swearers with Swearers, and one Apostate with another. But the greatest loss, which the damned have, yea the very top of their misery, is the loss of God himself blessed for ever, in whose favour there is light, and his loving kindness is better than life; [Page 214]if thou miscarry, thou shalt lose Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the beatifical vision wherein consists a believers happiness: thou shalt never see his face in glory, but shalt be everlastingly separated from him; thou shalt never come into his presence, ne­ver enter into his Courts, never tread upon that pavement where the Angels and glorified Saints do inhabit: there is a vast gulph fixed between you, Luk. 16.26 that thou canst not pass; thou wilt never enjoy one smile from the face of God, or one kiss from the mouth of Christ, but must go from him with a curse, and not a blessing: Goe ye cursed into everlasting fire, Mat. 25.41 together with the Devil and his Angels. Oh fear­ful sentence! a thousand thousand rentings of the soul from the body is not so bad as one renting of the soul from God, which is the life of it. The loss of God will prove the greatest loss; the loss of life is but a flea-biting in camparison of it: for with him the soul is lost also, yea the body which hath put thee upon so many temptations, and for whose sake thou denyest Christ, shall then be lost also; and both soul and body to thy eternal horror shall be made capable of these hellish and eternal tor­ments. For there shall be pain of sense, as well as pain of loss. 'Tis true, Divines [Page 215]do think the former is the worst, the loss of God, and all that good is; this sets the worm of conscience a gnawing which will never dye; but there is also fire which will never out: there is pain of sence, as well as pain of loss: And this is another part of Hell, let me lead thee a little by the hand, and let's take a view of this part also; let us look a little beyond death, at the dangers that follow it, and consider when this earthly habitation shall moul­der into dust, where thy dwelling shall be for ever. Let us take a view of Hell, which thou art to have into the bargain when thou soldest thy soul to save thy life, and with Judas and Demas chosest the world instead of Christ: let us view this region of the shadow of death, which is thrown in to thy bargain. But had I the tongue of men and Angels, I were never able to describe the misery of the damned in Hell, for no words in humane language can set it forth; the Devil himself whose portion it is, and the damned that feel it cannot do it, they cannot fully discover the worst of a miscarrying souls condition. If I could describe eternity I might do some­thing to it, and yet I should be at a loss as to the torments themselves: yet per­haps I may lead thee by the hand, and shew [Page 216]thee enough to convince thee that thou hast made a foolish bargain, when thou denyedst Christ to save thy life, and lost thy soul to gain a little longer time in the world; and that this time thus gained was bought at a very great rate. The misery of a miscarrying soul is such, that the con­sideration of it may send thee trembling to thy grave. Here thou trucklest under a little pain, and groanest out thy com­plaints, Oh my Head! Oh my Heart! Oh my Bones! Oh my Bowels! But all this while thou hast some part free, no distem­per seizeth universally upon all parts at once: or if it did, it reaches only to the bo­dy; the soul which is the noblest part is free, this is not toucht: Those that kill the body can do no more, they cannot reach the soul, but only as it sympathizes with the body; but in hell there is no part free, either of Soul or Body, but all under hellish tor­ments: Here if thy back ake, thy head may be well, or if thy bones ake, the heart may not be toucht; but in hell all parts are affe­cted, not a finger free; the rich Glutton had not his tongue excepted, Luk. 16.25 neither could he get one drop of water to cool it, but he was wholly tormented in this flame. And not the body only, but the soul also must suffer torments, and that in every part, [Page 217]power and faculty of it, no part of the soul or body free; and these hellish pains are not only universal, but intolerable also, and yet must be endured: for the mighty God will preserve the soul and body in be­ing, inable them to live under these hellish sufferings. Here the poor creature falls un­der the infinite wrath of the Great God, which like a river of brimstone kindles this flame, which shall never go out, Isa. 30.25. which while God is God shall never cease; and this hellish fire seiseth upon the soul and body as the fire doth upon the lump of pitch or brimstone, which being once kindled never shall expire. Now though some few sparks of this wrath have faln upon the world, yet the whole torrent of it is reserved for hell; but we may judge of the Lion by his paw; one drop of this Ocean drowned the whole world, except eight persons: and another drowned Pharaoh and his army in the red Sea; one spark of it burnt up So­dom and Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim, a little of it swallowed up Corah and his complices into the earth; slew twenty four thousand Israelites at one time, and one hundred fourscore and five thousand of Se­nacheribs Army in one night; and many times ruines Kingdoms, depopulates Coun­tries, and layes a fruitful land waste for the [Page 218]wickedness of the inhabitants. Hundreds of examples may be given of this nature, but all this is but a flea-biting to Hell torments, which damned souls must undergo: all this reaches but the body, yet sometimes some flashes light upon the soul, as fire into the the conscience, as upon Cain, Judas, Spira, Satomias a Louvain Divine, which have made them weary of their lives; yea to chuse strangling rather than life, a wound­ed Spirit who can bear? But all this is short of the torments of Hell, which make up a compleat misery; but what they are, we are at a loss to know, and because we cannot reach them, let us yet reach a little towards them. Thou hast heard of, and in some measure felt tormenting dis­eases, such as the Stone, the Gout, the Strangury, the raging pain of aking teeth, &c. these make mens lives uneasy, yea sometimes death desirable; those thus tormented deserve pity, yea and are pitied by those that see them: but alas this doth but darkly shaddow out these tor­ments; but we have read of some that have suffered greater than those, inflicted by men haply instigated by the Devil; some have had their joints crackt upon the wheel, tortured upon the rack; others fley­ed alive, some have had their flesh pull'd [Page 219]off their bones with red hot pincers, some have been pull'd in pieces with Wild Horses, or the Arms of trees drawn together for that purpose, some have been burnt at the stake, some boiled in lead, some rosted alive upon Gridirons, iron chairs, or in frying pans, some hang'd up by the hand till they were dead, some sawn a­sunder, some famisnt, some starved to death, some put to one torture, some to another, whatever the wit of man or the policy of hell prompted the persecutors to, to make their lives miserable and their deaths painful; and this moved pity in some of the spectators: but shall we chuse out the most exquisite of all those, and com­pare it with the torments of hell, alas it bears no proportion; for though they were sharp, yet short. I have indeed read of some, by the great Tyrant commanded to be fleyed alive, and that they might be sensible of death, as he said, it was done by degrees, that they were fourteen daies in dying: this was savage cruelty, but as the pains were short of hell torments, for it only reacht the body, so fourteen dayes was far short of eternity: but if all those forementioned pains and tortures had been inflicted upon one man, and all the rest that ever poor wretch suffer­ed, [Page 220]and if this mans life had been preserved under these torments one whole year, what heart, if not made of Adamant, but would lament him? most men would think him miserable; yet this comes short of the case in hand. Those pains that reach the bo­dy only, and touch not the soul, come short of hell torments that reach both body and soul; and what is one year to eternity? these are invented by men, haply not without the advice of the Devil, but hell torments are devised by God, as a suf­ficient recompence for the breaking of his laws by men and Devils, where the soul, the nobler part of man, as well as the body, shall be tormented, which neither man nor Devil, but only God alone could do: the soul which should have done God the greatest service, shall no doubt have the greatest punishment; because it should have ruled the body, and yet did God the greatest dishonour, and the Devil the most work. The never dying worm, like Titius's Vulture, will alwaies feed upon them, and yet they shall never be consumed. It cannot be a hard bargain to part with a temporal life for an eternal. Nay it is not at thy dispose, whether thou wilt dye or no; then it were not so much, though yet too egregious folly, for dye thou [Page 221]must; but the business is, whether thou canst prolong thy life with the loss of thy soul, a little longer, and but a little? In all other sufferings thou mayst have some respite, some ease, but in hell there is none; now thou graplest with a disease, or at worst with a man, but in this with the Almighty. Here thou hast some friends to comfort thee, to pity thee at least; but there is neither comfort nor pity. The Devil and his Angels will rejoice in thy torments, for being tormented themselves, they have no greater solace than in tormenting thee; here thou wilt be for ever helpless, and comfortless, and shalt not have so much as one drop of water to cool thy tongue. Lu. 16.24 Oh the folly of men, thus to fear a temporal death, and not to matter death eternal! to fear the wrath of man, and not the an­ger of Almighty God; to fear the death of the Body, and despise the death of the Soul; to fear the creature more than the Creator; that feareth the rage of man, and not the wrath of Almighty God. Gregory. In hell there is death without death, and end without end, because death ever liveth, and the end ever beginneth, for death will never dye. Oh how sweet would death be there accounted, if it would take away life, and not compell those to live that [Page 222]would fain dye. Oh the stupidity of men, when a small loss will wring tears from their eyes, and an infinite and irrecoverable loss is not regarded, yea the speech of it they can digest with laughter. Many quake and tremble to come before an earthly Judge, and when they are going before the eternal Judge can sport themselves in the way; they fear to lanch forth into the Sea, and not to lanch forth into this infinite Ocean of Eternity: for hell torments are not only easeless, but endless and re­mediless. While there is life there is hope, but where the breath is gone, the hope is past: while the door is open there is en­trance, but when 'tis once shut though thou knock it will not be opened. When the soul is separated from the body of a wicked man, God will be separated from the soul, and an uniting time will never come. Christ stands now to receive re­penting Sinners, but his Spirit will not alwayes strive with them, the door will be shut, and only those that are ready will go in to the marriage. This is the time when the Father will receive a repenting returning prodigal, but it will not last long, God will put an end to the day of grace, the night comes when no man can work; the Sun will set that shall never rise, and [Page 223]the day end that shall never dawn again, and then all hopes of wicked men will be dasht; for as the tree falleth, whether to the north or south, east or west, there it shall lye. That tree that falls hellward, there it will lye for ever. For after this life is no re­demption for ever, let the Pope say what he will to the contrary, their feigned Pur­gatory will prove a delusion, the fire there­of was only kindled to make the Popes Kitchin warm: but hell fire is of another nature, for all their Masses, Dirges, and Prayers, cannot deliver one soul from thence: But if the sentence of condem­nation be once past, and damned souls delivered up to their tormentors, there is no help, all conclude, this decree is irrevocable, and hell torments remediless: Here the worm (saith Christ) dyeth not, Mark 9.44. and the fire never goeth out; Mat. 25.41, 46. Rev. 20.10, 15. and Christ calls hell torments, everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his Angels: yea he calls it everlasting punishment; the Devil that de­ceived the world shall then be cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where the beast and the false Prophet are, and shall be tor­mented day and night for ever and ever, into which lake of fire, whosoever is not found written in the book of life shall be cast: and many the like expressions we may find in [Page 224]Scripture, which plainly tells us the per­petuity of hell torments; where 'tis called Everlasting darkness, Jude 13. 2 Thes. 1.7.8. eternal fire, everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power. How lit­tle foundation is there then for Origens opinion, that after a time the Devils and the damned should be refined by this fire, and should be delivered? but what Scrip­ture speaks thus? and if the Scripture be silent, nay speak point blank contrary, where is the foundation of this fancy? Micah 6.7. it is not with thousand of rams, nor with ten thou­sand rivers of oyl, that they can be redeem­ed: the first born of their bodies will not be taken as satisfaction for the sin of their souls; Mat. 16.26. and what (saith Christ) shall a man give in exchange for his soul? The rich glutton with all his wealth, Luk. 16. with all his prayers and intreaties, could not purchase one dram of water to cool his tongue; and this was far short of ransoming his soul. Prayers and tears then will not serve turn, they are good preventing physick. Though (as one saith) we should wear our tongues to the stump, Shepard Sincere convert. and weep more tears than there is water in the sea, it will do no good. It was not with corruptible things, as silver and gold, thou wast redeemed from thy vain conversation received by tradition [Page 225]from thy Fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot; but if we now neglect this great Salvation, and despise the offers of mercy in the daies of our life, what remains for us but a fearful looking for of judgment? and if the earth were turn­ed into a globe of Gold, or an heap of Diamonds, and all offered for the redemp­tion of a lost soul, it would be rejected, for this is not the blood of Christ; nay this blood it self though more precious than the world, would not serve in this case neither, for it was never shed to this end, to redeem souls out of hell, though it was shed to keep them from hell, and is of infinite value to this end; nay if dam­ned souls should obtain the prayers of all the Saints, yea Angels in heaven, it would do them no good. Prayer here, if pointed by faith, may pierce heaven, and prevail for a blessing: Jam. 5.15. The Prayer of faith may save the sick, and if he have committed sins they may be forgiven; but prayers for the damned are out of season; there is a time when God will be found, and a time when he will not be found. When the door is once shut, it is not knocking then will open it; yea the Angels and glorified Saints will then rejoyce in their damnation, [Page 226]that God is glorified by it; and those Mi­nisters that now weep over their people, and pity them, will then pity them no more for ever; yea, to speak with reve­rence, God himself cannot then help them: not that he wants power; for he could turn Heaven and Hell and all into nothing; but he is infinite in justice and truth as well as power, and this would intrench upon his Justice and Truth; his word is out to the contrary, and he may as well deny himself as his word; yea he will be so far from an inclination this way, Pro. 1.24. that he will laugh at their destruction, and mock when their fear cometh; in a word, there is no ransome for a miserable soul; the blood of Christ was of sufficient price to have saved the world, had it been applyed for the end it was shed for; but lost souls and damned Spirits have no interest in it, and there is no redemption for such; the redemption of the soul is precious, Psal. 49.8. and it cea­seth for ever; Luk. 16.26. Mat. 16.26. no one can get over that great gulph that lies between heaven and hell, neither can any price be found out to redeem a lost soul: here is no Writ of Error can be had, for the prisoner is laid in by an unerring Judge, that can­not be deceived; there is no Appeal to be made to any other Court, for this i [...] [Page 227]the Supream, where the Causes tried in all other Courts are called over again and fully determined, and the Judge of all the earth will there do justice; here can no force hinder the execution, and free thee out of prison, for thou hast an omni­potent God to grapple with; see now what a rock of ruine thou hast run thy self upon, what a remediless condition thou art plunged into: for if thou deny the Lord that bought thee, thou wilt run upon swift destruction, and all the friends thou hast cannot help it. Well but though the pains be sharp, yet if they be but short here is some comfort; there is some hope that an end will come, though it be long first; but alas this comfort here is dasht. These torments are eternal, as is already proved, and shall never end in the pangs of death. 'Tis true there is hopes, for though they are sharp they are momentany; yet some Tyrants have kept men many daies in a dying life, or living death. Tiberius Caesar being petitioned by one to hasten his punishment, and give him a speedy dispatch, made him this answer; Nondum tecum in gratiam redii: Stay Sir, you and I are not yet friends. Such an answer will God give to a damned soul, if it desire God to put an [Page 228]end to his torments by death; those lingring deaths either inflicted by God or man, though they seem long to sence, yet what are they to eternity? the word for ever, will be a Hell in the midst of Hell; for when the soul cryes out in an­guish and bitterness of spirit, How long Lord, how long? the conscience answers again, Ever, ever: while God is God, and Heaven is Heaven, and Hell is Hell, the miscarrying soul must remain fuel to main­tain this fire, that shall never go out. To this second death the first is but a flea-bi­ting; this is Mors sine morte, finis sine fine; this is that which is call'd Everlasting de­struction from the presence of the Lord; where the poor soul must be tormented sine intervallo, without ease or end: for when the years of a thousand Generations are whirl'd about, thy torments will be as fresh as the first day thou wast cast into them, and not one farthing of the ten thousand Talents paid off, nor one mo­ment of eternity taken off. Oh Eternity, eternity, how amazing art thou? how shall we conceive of thee? how shall we cast thee up? Oh my soul, if thou substract from eternity an hundred thousand milli­ons of years, the remainder will not be the less, 'tis infinite still; for two finites [Page 229]cannot make an infinite; for what is infi­nite is indivisible, it cannot be made less; should a poor creature upon the rack under exquisite tortures, have his life pro­longed for twenty years together with­out any intermission of pain, we might well account him the most miserable man alive, and whose heart would not ake for him? but what is this to eternal tor­ments, and yet who pities them that are like to endure them? nay who pities him­self that lies under the danger? if a man under some raging pain, as of the Cholick, Stone or Gout, lie upon a Featherbed for many years in tormenting pain, though he have friends to visit him, meat and drink to support him, and what comfort Nature or Art could help him to, yet we look upon him as a spectacle of mi­sery, and one that deserves pity; Job 9.14. to him (saith Job) that is afflicted, pity should be shewed from his friends: But what is this to hell? or what is a few years to eter­nity? for in hell is no comfort, no ease, no refreshment, neither any friend to pity; nay, if all the torments that ever poor crea­tures indured upon earth, whether inflicted by God himself, by man, or by the De­vil, could all light upon one man, and should lye under them for hunderds of years, yet [Page 230]would it fall short, for this would neither reach the pain, nor reach the duration; for when the miscarrying soul hath lain in hell as many years as there are grass piles upon the earth, drops of water in the Ocean, sands upon the sea shoar, hairs on all the mens heads in the world, and Stars in Heaven, yet the hundred thousandth part of Eternity is not over: Oh eternity, how shall finite apprehensi­ons conceive of thee? how shall we num­ber thee, or find out what thou art? we that live in time, and have but a little time given us here, cannot conceive of thee but by a long space of time, as we cannot of Infinity of Essence, but by a vast quantity; we know God doth not number Eternity as we do Time; one day is with him as a thousand years, and a thou­sand years as one day. For in eternity we need not trouble our selves to count the fleeting hours, neither daies nor years, for there is no Sun, Moon or Stars to be set for times and seasons, or for daies or for years; but in hell is horrid darkness, blackness of darkness for ever. And whose heart may not tremble at the apprehen­sion of it? should all the Arithmeticians in the world joyn heart and hand and head and all, to cast up the greatest [Page 231]summe possible that each one severally could reach, and when this is done, should add all these together into one summe, yet it would fall short; nay, should the cir­cumference of Heaven be written about with Arithmetical figures, from east to west, from north to south, and all brought into one summe, it would yet fall short; for what is infinite cannot be diminished or increased, such a summe added to it would not increase it, such a summe sub­stracted from it would not diminish it. Oh my soul, what think'st thou of it? wilt thou venture upon the pikes of danger? wilt thou deny the Lord that bought thee, and the God that made thee, to preserve a miserable life a little longer? Thou seest thy wages, and knowest thy reward; hadst rather chuse everlasting damnation than a little temporal pain? and rather thrust soul and body into eternal flames, and suffer the vengeance of eternal fire, rather then the pangs of a temporal death? Oh what madness hath bewitched thee! what folly haunts thee? how doth the Devil and the world delude thee? Thou that wouldst cut off a limb or joint to preserve the body from greater torture, wilt not be willing to endure a little to preserve both body and soul from eternal ruine? Heaven and [Page 232]Earth, and all wise men may stand amazed at thy folly. If thou turn thy back upon Christ, he will turn his back upon thee, and be ashamed of thee: If thou make light of his Supper, thou shalt not tast of his daintes. The question, thou seest, is not whether death be desirable or no, Nature it self answers the contrary; but whether the first or second death be the greater evil; and so whether is to be chosen, when both cannot be avoid­ed? The question is not, whether pain be eligible, but whether the pains of death or hell be the greater? Not whether life be desirable, but whether life or Christ be the better? Whatever thy senses may say, rectifyed Reason which should go­vern the sensitive faculties will tell thee, the second death is far more formida­ble, and that 'tis better to deny thy self than deny thy Redeemer. Oh my God, is this the reward of Apostacy? is this the wages the Devil gives his best ser­vants? Through thine assisting grace I will be thine. Lord I resolve I will never forsake thee; Lord do thou never leave me to my self, nor forsake me.

MEDITAT. X. Of Heavens Glory, the reward of dying for Christ.

OH my soul, thou hast seen the dan­ger of revolting, and denying Christ, thou hast had a view of hell, which is the reward of this sin, thou hast looked into it, and had a glimpse of it, though it was but a little representation; a true map of it the Devil himself cannot make, nor give a full discription; but here is enough to stay thy stomach; how thinkst of it? if thou trade for it, canst thou make a savers bargain, if thou lose thy soul to save thy life? For this is the trade thou drivest, if thou deny Christ: here is the Devils offered wages, 'tis true; he sugers this bitter pill with a promise of a longer miserable life in a cheating world, but he cannot make good his bargain, though he will not be behind hand with his wages; Mat. 25.41 if thou depart from Christ now, he will bid thee depart from him for ever; what is thy resoluti­on? Halt not between two opinions: if [Page 234]God be God serve him, 1 Kin. 18.27. if Baal be God serve him: thou canst not serve two masters, God and Mammon: If thou pretend to both, thou art like to be cast off by both, by God and the world; as many hypocrites are: the world hates them because they look like the godly, and God hates them be­cause they are really wicked; consider therefore who is like to be the best master, and who will give the best wages; and if the ballances are yet equally poized, I shall put in one weight more, even an eternal weight of glory into Gods end, which may haply turn the scales though the whole world were in the other end; for if thou be faithful to the death, thou shalt receive a crown of life, and this crown will really over-ballance all that the Devil can put into the other end. Thou hast seen there is but a little in the world worth the losing, and a great deal in hell worth the fearing, let us see if there be any thing in heaven worth the enjoying: in the world is nothing but vanity, in hell nothing but misery, and in Heaven nothing but felicity; now what wise man would lose this felicity, and endure this misery, for a little while to enjoy this vanity? Thou hast seen the Devils wages, that is, the best of it, for [Page 235]the worst the Devil himself cannot make thee understand, for it is inexpressible, and no word in humane language can set it forth to the life, yet thou hast had a tast of it, and a tast is better than a whole draught: Now if thou would'st see what wages God will give thee, thou must make a journey also into Hea­ven, and see if there be any thing that may win upon thy affections; thou seest already what the Devil and the world have bidden thee, see also what wages God offers thee, and then choose as thou seest cause; see if there be any thing in Heaven to make up all thy losses, crosses, sufferings and pains which thou must be at for Christs sake, and if there be not, take thy course and make ano­ther choice; view those celestial habita­tions, those mansions of glory prepared for those that confess Christ before men, and lose any thing for his sake: view this purchased Inheritance, this Crown of glory and those eternal pleasures that are at Gods right hand, and see if God do not outbid the Devil and the World, and so best deserves thy affections; and consi­der whether this may not a little allay thy overmuch desire of life, and fear of death, and make thee willing to be at [Page 236]thy Redeemers will, and Makers plea­sure: one view of this celestial Paradice may make thee disrelish all temporal fe­licity. But how shall we sing the songs of Sion in a strange land, or what concep­tions can we have of these Heavenly Mansions, while we abide in houses of clay? Water can ascend no higher than the Fountain-head, and Nature cannot transcend Nature: what conceptions can a beast have of a rational being? much lower must we have of a celestial be­ing; for the disproportion is greater: how canst thou view those gloryes surpassing a thousand Suns, when thou canst not view one Sun when it shines in its splen­dour but thy weak eyes are offended? how canst utter those things which the Apostle that saw them calls inutterable? how canst discourse of the Father of Spi­rits, and knowest so little of the nature of a Spirit, nay art so ignorant of thy own soul; or tell what it is to enjoy God in; glory, when those little glimpses of him here, are inexpressible? or how canst thou discourse of that, which eye never saw, ear never heard of, neither hath it entred into the heart of man to con­ceive of, viz. What God is, and what he hath prepared for those that love him? [Page 237]for as those hellish flames which the wicked suffer, cannot be fully described by those that endure them, no more can those celestial joyes by those that enjoy them; much less by a frail creature, that hath had very little tast of those honey-dews that fall upon the heirs of glory: In this wilderness of troubles, we see few of those Canaans grapes and foretasts of Glo­ry, the full fruition no man living can discover. Yet let us get a Pisgah sight of Canaan, a remote view of glory, and judge a little of the worth of the Jewel by the richness of the Cabinet that holds it; and haply thou maist by the report, as the Queen of Sheba of Solomons wisdom, get some conceptions of it, that may make thee, like her, be willing to take the journey, though thou hearest not the one half of what there really is to be seen; and though thy conceptions reach not the matter in hand, yet may they reach thy affections, and serve to dazle thine eyes, that all earthly glory shall seem little to it. To this purpose let us view the bespangled Spheres, adorned with those beauty spots, the Sun, the Moon and the Stars, for 'tis by visible things we must reach after those that are invisible; and see whether this beauty do not some­thing [Page 238]thing allure us; David upon consideration thereof was amazed, Psal. 8.4. and cryes out, Lord what is man that thou art mindful of him, or the son of man that thou regardest him? When he beheld those vast bodies at such an incredible distance, and all made for mans sake, and considering what a poor worm man was, wondered that God should have any respect for him; and haply he might raise his thoughts higher, which might increase his admiration. Now these visi­ble Orbs which are the Canopy over our heads, shall then be but the Pavement under our feet; yea the pavement shall be doubtless much more glorious; and if the porch be so glorious, what is the palace? what is the throne? and what is the Presence Chamber? these visible things though gorious, are made for the use of man while he is upon the earth, and when he is gone hence for ought we know there will be no use of them: in heaven there needs no Sun, the glory of the Lord is the light thereof; in Hell they shall not enjoy it, which is a place of horrid darkness, even black­ness of darkness for ever: but concerning those celestial bodies which we see by day or by night, the greatest wits in the world have been imployed, yea puzled in the search of the mysteries in them contained; their [Page 239]matter, distance, magnitude, vertues and influences; and those that cast the most ra­tional conjecture concerning those things, must needs say, if they will speak their con­sciences, much of it lyes in the dark; and those that have searched natures garden from end to end, must say, many things are unsearchable and past finding out; and if we understand not earthly things which we dayly see, how shall we understand hea­venly things which we never saw? neither can we describe them if we did see them. If the footmen have wearyed us, Jer. 12.5. how shall we contend with horses? The Philosophers have found out many heavens, and yet 'tis to be feared fall short of this we now discourse of; the several Orbs in which the Planets move, they reckon as distinct heavens, because they move in a different Sphere, some higher, some lower, the eighth Sphere being the Orb of the fixed Stars, and above that they have their primum mobile, or first mover. I shall not quarrel with their divi­sion, only being to discourse of Divinity not Philosophy, which yet is useful in its place, I shall take the Scripture distinction, and so we find mention made of three heavens; the first is the Sphere below the Moon, the re­gion of the air, here the fowls of heaven fly; sometimes called the fowls of the air, and [Page 240]here the clouds of heaven are scattered about by the winds; these are Gods Cham­bers out of which he waters the earth; these are the bottles of heaven, when they are poured out the earth is refreshed, and [...]hen they are restrained it languisheth [...] are Gods treasure houses, out of which [...]ends plenty; and when he withholds his [...]and, want and penury follow. The next above this is the Starry region, which the Scripture calls the Firmament of the heaven; here the Stars keep their courses according to divine appointment: below the fixed Stars are the several Orbs of the Planets, which the Phi­losophers call so many Heavens; and above it, is the primum mobile which sets the rest on work, unto whom God himself gives the first push, and is the spring that makes all the wheels move: but above this is the third heaven we are now describing; but there is no instrument made or devised to be made, that can make any observation of it: all their Perspectives, Tubes and Telescopes will not reach it; neither can we see it with our bodily eyes, but by the eye of Faith, and by Scripture-light; this is the place where the blessed Angels, and glorified Saints are blessed with Gods immediate presence, and enjoy that beatifical vision, in the enjoyment whereof true happiness doth [Page 241]consist: not that God is included in Heaven; For the Heaven of Heavens is not able to con­tain him: 1 King 8.17. 2 Chro. 2.6. He is present in all places, but circumscribed in none: but as on Earth he was specially present in the Temple, so is he much more in Heaven; here he most emi­nently discovers himself to the best of his Creatures, Angels and Saints, and mani­fests himself to be Love it self; for never frown was there seen in his face, or wrin­kle upon his brow; hither it was that Christ ascended after the Resurrection, and here it is that he sits at the right hand of God, making intercession for us; and from hence it is he will come to Judgment: It was from hence that Lucifer that Sun of the morning fell, that the Devil and his Angels were cast out, and their place was found no more there; hither it was that Paul was car­ried, whether in the body or out of the body, 2 Cor. 12.2 he knew not, and heard unspeakable words, such as are not lawful or possible to be uttered: This Heaven it was that Stephen saw open­ed, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God; hither it was that Enoch and Elijah were translated; and from hence it was that Mo­ses and Elijah appeared, in the transfigurati­of Christ; and hither it was that the An­gels carried the Soul of Lazarus into Ahra­bams bosom; and here it was that the be­lieving [Page 242]Thief was to be with Christ that day in Paradice; and hither it is that the souls of believers pass when death hath separated them from their bodies. Now thou seest there is such a place; but it being out of the reach of sence, it cannot be seen but by faith, and lies out of the Philosophers reach; the ablest of them cannot by any instru­ment they can make, make any observa­tion thereof; though they seem by these helps even to command the Stars them­selves, yet cannot reach this Heaven of Heavens; no one can see it but by Scrip­ture light, nor enter into or view those Mansions of glory, but by a clue of thred thence borrowed. Now as those things visible excell in glory, I mean those celestial bodies, all other visible beautyes that ever God created; so the Scripture holds out, that the Heaven of Heavens, or the third Heaven, excells these in beauty and splendor; for it is both a vast and a beau­tiful place, far exceeding in both our ap­prehensions: these outward things were made for mans sake while he was in: house of clay, but those in Heaven were made for his sake when he shall be refined from the dregs of corruption, and made [...] to enjoy them; and 'tis, no doubt, repleat with all manner of felicity; where God [Page 243]himself vouchsafes to communicate him­self to Angels and men; here the body of Christ shines forth in a most resplendent manner, here the holy Angels and glori­fied Saints enjoy those Mansions of glory prepared for them from the foundation of the world; and though we are not capable of understanding what Heavens glory is in reality, yet we have a Pisgah sight, a glimpse of it in the Scripture; we find among other places some description of it Revel. 21. yet must we not imagine it set out to the full, for words cannot express it, neither can we apprehend it as it is; we may rather speak what it is not, than what it is; as no humane language can express what God is, no more can it what Heaven is, or what are the Joyes thereof; for how can a little Vessel comprehend all the water in the Ocean? but by what falls under our senfes we must be lead to higher conceptions, and by those things which we most highly prize we may consider of those that are beyond our estimation. For as 'tis described, Rev. 21.15 &c. 'tis most glorious, yet we must imagine 'tis far more glorious than 'tis described, because our understanding cannot conceive of it as it is: we find the Angel measuring this ho­ly City, the New Jerusalem, and the length and breadth and height thereof were equal, [Page 244]for each way it was twelve thousand fur­longs, which according to our measure is a thousand and five hundred miles; the length, breadth and heighth equal; now if all the buildings in the world were measured, I suppose they would not reach to this extent, nor amount unto such a magnitude: But we must imagine that this is the exact mea­sure of this heavenly Jerusalem, this seat of the blessed; the Holy Ghost here gives us a figurative description, as of the materi­als, so of the extent, and brings it in here as a spacious, specious and glorious Ci­ty, according to our capacity; for our shal­low capacities cannot reach what it really is; and most spacious it must needs be, when so many miriads of inhabitants have their mansions prepared for them: For thousand thousands minister to him, Dan. 7.10. and ten thousand times ten thousand stand before him: Yea all the Saints that ever did live, do live, or shall live, shall there inhabit: or if we make another guess how spacious this Heaven of Heavens may be, let us consider, this terre­strial Globe is imagined to be above twenty two thousand miles in the circumference, and from hence to the starry Region or Orb of the fixed Stars, as our Astronomers and those that have taken most pains in those matters imagine, there is above seventy [Page 245]four millions of miles, and the circumference of that Orb must be above six times as much; and the Emperial Heaven includes all the lower Orbs, as the Scales of an Onion, that outermost includes all the rest; this is that spacious place where God manifests his glory to Angels and men, where they trumpet out his praises: here Christ is, and where he is, his servants shall be also; hi­ther it is that he is ascended to his Father, Joh. 12.26. & 20.17. Lu. 23.43. and our Father: and here the believing thief is with him in glory; methinks a depart­ing soul should rejoice to think, that with­in a few dayes or hours it should be one of this heavenly quire with holy Angels and glorified Saints, chaunting out the praises of the ever blessed God, viewing his face and beholding his glory, and lying in the arms of Christ: Here is the desired port which a believer bends all his sails to, and hither it is all winds blow him; this is the point that his Needle toucht with a divine Load-stone alwayes points to; this is the mark that alwayes is in his eye, the white he alwaies aims at; this is his Jour­neyes end, which he travails hard to come to; here is the prize he runs for, the Crown [...]e fights for, and the Reward he hopes for; here or no where his soul finds satisfaction; here is his purchased Inheritance, here is [Page 246]the place where he is to receive his wages for his work, the reward of all his suffer­ings for Christ; here is the end of all his labour, and all his painful duties; there is no need now of any more Preaching, Pray­ing, Fasting, or humbling duties; there Humility and Self-denial will be no diffi­cult work: here will be a constant Feast, a perpetual Sabbath, a continual Jubilee, where the holy Angels and glorified Saints shall for ever chaunt out the Praises of the ever-living God, without weariness or Satiety: now is the Harvest over, the Tares burnt, the Corn secured, the Labourers call'd home to receive their Wages, and the godly put into the pos­session of their prepared Mansions, which shall be as Glorious as Spacious; but when we come there, we may say as the Queen of Sheba, of Solomons Court and Wisdom, Much we have heard, but the one half was not told us; yea a thou­sandth part of Heavens glory is not re­vealed to us: How glorious doth one Sun make the morning? but what will ten thousand, yea thousand thousands of Saints and Angels, shining more clear than the Sun, make that day, that shall never see night? 'Tis thought by some, that were [...]ll the Starres gathered and contracted [Page 247]into such Globes, and set in the same Orb, they would make three hundred Suns; and should it be so, yet would not the Glory of all these be like the splendor of Heaven. Some have imagined, that these celestial bodies dart their light upward as well as downward, and so serve to beautify heaven it self, as well as the earth; but let's leave this as uncertain, or rather fabulous; for the Scripture tells us, There is no need of the Sun there; for God himself is the light thereof: Heaven will be glorious with­out them, for there is no use for them, nor need of them; but we know not how better to conceive of Heavens glory, than by such visible glory which falls under the sences: for this City Jerusalem which is taken up into Heaven, is further described to be made of the most glorious things the world affords, as of Gold, and Pearls, and precious Stones: not that 'tis really made of such; no, this garbage of the Earth is too base materials for this Spiritual build­ing; but these things being most valued by man, shadow out those glorious things which cannot be expressed, or otherwise conceived of by man; therefore the walls are said to be of Jasper, and the City of pure Gold, like unto Chrystal; it had twelve Foundations, of twelve Precious Stones; [Page 248]the Gates thereof being twelve, were twelve Pearls; the Streets thereof were pure Gold, Rev. 21.18 like to transparent Glass; and there was no night there. Oh how beau­tiful, how amiable must this City needs be, which yet as far transcends the descrip­tion as the City here described doth our Country Villages, the Holy Ghost descend­ing as low as may be to our capacities, when no word in humane language can fully ex­press it; and if it could, no created under­standing could reach it: but seeing there is no earthly thing more glorious than those mentioned, we may conclude the Glory here intended is very great; for as we know not how to speak of God but by borrowed and improper words; attributing that to him which properly belongs to man, or some other creatures, as understanding, will, affection, passions; or more impro­perly, head, heart, arm, hand, face, fin­ger, and such like, when God hath no such distinct faculties, parts or members, but whatsoever is in God is God; so we may say of Heaven, there is no such thing there as Gold and Pearl; but there is something more precious, which is darkly resembled by these things; But if the external parts of the City, the walls, the streets, the Foun­dations be so glorious, what are the inner [Page 249]Buildings, what the Palace, the Throne, the Presence-chamber of the great King? the Kings of the earth bring their glory to this, their Crowns, and Scepters, but what doth this add to its lustre? but the glory of the place is much increased by the inha­bitants, which are the Holy Angels and glorified Saints; for these shine every one as a distinct Sun, Dan. 12.3. Phil. 3.21. when their bodies are made like unto the glorified body of Christ; which far exceeds the native beauty of the place, nay in comparison of whom the Sun it self is but a darksome spot: 'Tis true, the Saints and Angels shine with a borrowed light, for the Sun of Righteousness shines upon them, but this Sun shall never be Eclipsed, and no Cloud shall ever interpose, and the glo­ry of the Soul shall exceed the glory of the Body: Now if one Sun make the Morning so glorious, what will those thousand thou­sands of glorified Saints, and ten thousand times ten thousand Holy Angels, doe, who shall shine as so many Suns? Well may it be said, there shall be no night there; but if this be not enough, God blessed for ever is more than all the light and glory of the place; so that there needs no Sun, for all the rest borrow their light from him, and no Cloud shall ever cover his face, no Earth interpose between him and his Saints, or [Page 250]cause an Eclipse. It is not in heaven as 'tis in this starry vault, where there is here one beauty spot, and there another, but the Sun shines from every point, as if it were a thousand thousand Suns shining in their lustre. Oh what fools are we, that deliberately choose to live in these dark­some cells, those houses of clay, when such an habitation is offered to us! We have seen some famous Fabricks, some well con­trived Houses, with pleasant Walks and curious Gardens, and these we are taken with, and willingly would spend ou [...] time here, and shall the Heaven of Heavens be less desired? 'Tis true, we must be willing to live here while God will have us, and to this end we must keep up these ear thly ta­bernacles in repair if we can, we must not remove our station without our Captains consent; yet should we willingly submit to him when he calls us off our service, and not despise those heavenly Mansions and this Crown of glory when offered. Crowns and Kingdoms are held to be the top of hu­mane felicity, and the greatest ambition is but to enjoy them: Rule and Soveraignty is held mans chiefest good, and many times this is dear bought, with the loss of many thousand lives; yea of tentimes those that as­cend these steps of honour, break their necks [Page 251]in the fall, e're ever they come to the top of the Ladder; or if they do ascend the throne, dye before they are well warmed in their Seats, or are thrust out by some rival; and yet these men value not Heaven, where there is none of those fears or dangers: they are like Aesops Cock, preferr a grain of Barly be­fore a precious Jewel, the worlds glory be­fore Heavens happiness, which yet as far exceeds it as the brightest morning Sun a Gloworm, or a piece of shining wood; for all the worlds happiness bears no more proportion to true felicity, than painted fire upon a wall, that hath neither light nor heat, to true fire; or a King upon a Stage to a King upon his Throne, or a liveless Image to a living man, or a Crown of thorns to the Kings Crown; yet many pre­fer a corruptible Crown, which many times proves a Crown of thorns, before that which is incorruptible and fadeth not away; this is that Crown of righteousness under which no injustice is lodged, when pride and tyranny and oppression are often in­graven upon earthly Crowns; this is a Crown of life, when others have a deaths head pourtrayed on them, and sometimes prove as mortal as the owner, yea dye be­fore them; they cannot at the best pre­serve life, and many times hasten their [Page 252]owners death. Oh how giorious things are spoken of thee, O City of God, where no dirty Dog shall tread upon the Pave­ment, where no unclean thing shall ever enter! Rivers of pleasures are there at the right hand of God, and in his presence is joy for evermore; Joy unspeakable and full of Glory, such as eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath it entred into the heart of man to conceive of. In the midst of this Paradice of God is the Tree of Life, which beareth twelve manners of Fruit, and bringeth forth her fruit every month, whose leaves were alwayes green and fragrant, and served for the healing of the Nations: Rev. 12.12 here also is the pure River of the water of life, clear as Chry­stal, Ch. 3.4. proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb; and here it is there shall be no more curse: Here it is his Servants shall serve him, and they shall see his face, and his Name shall be in their Foreheads; here is that spiri­tual Manna, Angels food, for they shall feed upon God himself; here is that eternal Inhe­ritance that never shall decay; here their joyes never fade, their pleasures shall be alwayes fresh and fragrant, and the Spring shall never end, no Winter blast shall ever nip them, no Summer Sun shall make them wither: But how shall this their joy be expressed by one that never saw it, ne­ver [Page 253]heard it, nor never did nor was able to conceive of it? or how can that be uttered which the Apostle saith is unutterable? the most precious things of the world cannot express it, but darkly shadow it out, and we cannot reach beyond them; for there be neither Gold nor Silver, precious Jemmes nor Jewels in this building, the materials thereof are more precious, but what they are we know not: By these the soul may attain some higher conceptions, but know not how to express them; water can ascend no higher than the Fountain-head; we know not what God is, or what a Spirit is, or what the Soul is, and how shall we know what Heaven is? we may better know what these are not, than what they are, by sub­stracting from them what implies Imper­fection; but a corporeal Creature cannot reach what is above its reach: What conceptions can a brute beast have of a Ra­tional being? no better can we have of ce­lestial things, which are so far out of the reach of sense. Kings are the highest de­gree of honour and dignity among men, and therefore all the Saints are said to be Kings; Kings wear Crowns, and so do they, but these Crowns are not made of gold but of Glory; but what that glory is we yet know not. God is the Sun of righteousness [Page 254]that casteth abroad his beams, and the An­gels and glorified Saints are as the Moon, that are inlightned with his rayes, and by reflexion become light and shine as the Stars in the Firmament by their borrowed light; and how many millions of Suns then will appear at once in this Horizon which shall never set again? Oh the wonderful love and mercy of God! that this body of clay shall then shine as the Sun, and be made like unto the glorified body of the Lord Christ: this is the place where sin and sor­row shall be no more, they shall never en­ter these gates, or ever reach the heart of any Believer; no painful pang, no hard labour, no sickness, no sorrow, nothing that bespeaks evil shall ever enter, but everlast­sting Joy and endless triumph; those that believe this, and believe that they have a have a part in this, they may well say with Paul, I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ. If Cleombeotus hearing Plato's dis­course of the Immortality of the soul, ha­stened his own death that he might have the pleasure of another world, well may a Christian, though not lay violent hands upon himself, yet wait every day when his appointed time come, and cry out, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly. Thus thou seest the place is glorious, and the [Page 255]company delightful, and adding more lustre to the place, and more happiness to one ano­ther. Here upon earth, as thou art among sorrows and troubles, so in a bad Neigh­bourhood, even among men spiritually dead; most thou conversest with are so, and who but mad men would live among the tombes? every family have some, most families have all thus dead in trespasses and sins; nay, not only dead but infectious also: every one hath some plague-sore or other running upon him, and thou art apt to take the infection; nay, many are infected to the danger of the life of the soul, and who would live in such an infected air, in such a pest-house? thou livest also amongst ene­mies, some open, some secret, the latter many times worst of all; some seek thy Estate by unjust dealing, some would rob thee of thy good Name by detraction and reproaches, by lyes and slanders; others of thy liberty, by persecution, and some of thy life; but the greatest enemies seek the de­struction of both body and soul, and all these lay snares in thy way to intrap thee; many wait for thy halting, and for an occasion to do thee a mischief; but in heaven here is a good neighbourhood, good society, the inha­bitants there are free from guile, free from corruption, self seeking, every one loving [Page 256]another as himself, and God better than all; here both the Saints and Angels are perfect in Holiness, without spot or stain, without sin or sinful inclination: here thou shalt sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdome of thy Father, and have no worse company than the Spirits of just men made perfect. It was Socrates (the wi­sest of the Philosophers) comfort when he was to dye, that he should after death converse with Homer, Hesiod and other ex­cellent men in another world: It was Ca­to's comfort against the pains of death, that now he was to leave the Colluvies, as he calls them, that filthy, sordid, base, un­worthy company with which he was forc'd to converse, those beastly belly-gods, and that he should converse with the Souls of wise men departed: But of all men in the world believers may comfort themselves, that they shall in Heaven enjoy the compa­ny of Saints and Angels, yea with God himself, and come to the City of the great King, Heb. 12.23 the Heavenly Jerusalem, to an innume­rable company of Angels, to the general Assem­bly and Church of the first born which are written in Heaven: for if the Society of the Saints were so delightful here, when yet they had their Sins and Imperfections, what will they be there, when they shall [Page 257]be there, when they shall be healed of all their corruptions? if here they were Come­ly though black, what will they be when they are without Spot or wrinkle? here on Earth they are like fire-sticks, setting one another on a flame of love; provoking each other to love and to good works, building each other up in their most holy faith, exciting each others zeal for Gods glo­ry, and the common good, watching over each other, sympathizing each with other, and helping to bear each others aflictions; but oh how sweet then wil [...] their Society be, when all imperfections shall be done away, and they shall be perfect in holi­ness, when nothing will appear but per­fect Love, Unity and Amity one with another; when all shall be of one mind, and every one shall speak the same thing, and there shall be nothing to interrupt their joy, or break their peace, or frustrate their hopes, or cross their wills? Oh bles­sed Society, between whom is no strife, no contention, no difference in judgment, no discontent can arise; where there is no hypocrite, dissembler, or hollow-heart­ed person among them; but all mind, all pursue the same thing, the praise of their dear Redeemer; when there is no Error in Judgment, no disorder in the affecti­ons, [Page 258]no disobedience in their wills, no trouble in the conscience, no defect in the memory. Oh happy day, when will it come, when I shall enjoy those miriads of Angels and glorified Saints in glory! here the Saints are tossed to and fro in the world, as if they were not fit to live in it, but there they come to their resting place: this is their center, where they are as firm as mount Sion, and shall not be moved; here is their work, but there is their wages, here is their suffering, there is their Reward: here is their pilgrimage, there is their Country: here they are subject to infirmities, there they are made per­fect in holiness: here are those nimble Posts of Heaven, Gen. 28.12. which Jacob saw ascending and descending upon the Ladder in his Vi­sion; these are Gods Army, these are Believers Guardians, and in Heaven they shall be their fellow Brethren: here are the Noble Army of Martyrs, that loved not their lives to the death, whose gar­ments were dyed red with their own blood, Rev. 14. and now are made white in the blood of the Lamb: here are the hundred forty four thousand John saw, with harps in their hands, which follow the Lamb which way soever he goes, singing Halelujahs, Sal­vation, honour, power and glory be unto our [Page 259]God: here are the innumerable company which he saw out of all Nations and Countries and Languages, which no man could num­ber: here are the Prophets and Apostles, Martyrs and Professors, who together with the Holy Angels the heavenly hoast make up that Heavenly Quire, that day and night chaunt out the praises of God. Rev. 5.11. Oh blessed God, that such an earthly Tabernacle, such a house of clay as my body is, should dwell for ever among those incorporeal Spirits, those blessed Angels! even so Lord, for so it seems good to thy godly wisdom: Christ him­self in his humane Nature is there, and where he is his Servants shall be also. If the Eastern wise men rejoyced so much to see him in the Manger, in that low degree of his humiliation, oh how glo­rious a sight will it be to see him on his Throne, on the right hand of God, the highest degree of his Exaltation, when all his enemies shall lye prostrate at his feet! and shall such a poor worm as I sear a little trouble, a little pain, a few wrin­kles in the face of death, to see such a sight, yea to enjoy it for ever? God forbid: [...]uch a sight seen by the eye of Faith, will make a Believer breathe out long­ing desires, Psal. 42. When shall I come and appear [Page 260]before God! when will that happy day be! come Lord Jesus, come quickly; when wilt thou send for me in thy triumphant Chariot, and fetch me into thy bosom, and land me safe at the port of rest, and put me out of the reach of all these storms and tempests which now I suffer! Psal. 42.12. If Davids heart so panted after the presence of God in his Ordinances, how will a believing soul thirst after the en­joyment of him in Heaven, where he shall see him face to face, the beholding of whom ravisheth the Angels them­selves? who then can long to dwell in Meshech, Psal. 87.3. or to sojourn in the tents of Ke­dar? Glorious things are spoken of thee, O City of God; in thee is no fear, in thee is no sorrow, Psal. 38.8.9. whatsoever a man can wish for is there present: God will abundantly satisfie them with the fatness of his house, and make them drink the Rivers of his pleasures; for in him is the Fountain of light, and in his light they shall see light. Oh my Soul, here thou shalt re­ceive great things for small, and eternal things for temporal: God himself is he that fills the empty soul, the sight and enjoyment of all the rest, how glori­ous soever, would not satisfie it, but Uni­on and Communion with God will do it; [Page 261]this is the adequate object of our happi­ness, all other glory which heaven affords falls short of this; like the Moon they all shine by a borrowed light, when the Sun of Righteousness shines upon them they are glorious, if not, they suffer an Eclipse; Job 25.5. behold to the Moon and it shineth not, and the Stars are not clean in his sight; ten thousand Suns will vanish at his presence, as the lesser Stars with­draw at the Suns approach: some few glimpses of him we have here, which yield some refreshing, but then we shall not only with Moses see his back­parts, but his face, and enjoy him for ever, and be filled and satisfyed with his glory. 'Tis true, we cannot compre­hend him, for can an infinite God be comprehended by a finite Creature? and we shall be no other, we shall be like Vessels cast into the Sea, every one shall be full, yet the Sea is not emptied; we shall have enough to satisfie and give us content; we shall then see him, but it must be by his own light, as we see the Sun by the light of the Sun: we see something of him by Scripture light, but then we shall have a clearer vision; we see him now as in a glass, then face [...] face: every power and faculty shall [Page 262]be filled with him, and know no want, nor desire more; for a desire of more im­plyes want and imperfection: but in him are all variety of delights, in his presence is fulness of joy, and at his right hand pleasure for evermore. Hence Luther saith, he had rather be in Hell with God, than in Heaven without him: for his presence is the Heaven of Heavens, and were God specially present in Hell, it would be no Hell; and Heaven would not be Heaven if he were absent. If thou go not with us (saith Moses) carry us not hence: Exod. 33.15. 1 Joh 3.2. here it is that Moses may be­hold Gods face and live, and see his glory: here we shall fully understand those deep mysteries that now we only can admire, and see reason for them; as that of the Tri­nity, of the Incarnation of Christ, the De­crees of Election and Reprobation, the whole design and work of the Redemption, and why the Angels that fell were not re­deemed as well as man, and all those dark and mysterious Prophesies and Providences we now understand not, and how all these work together for Gods glory, and his Churches good: all scales of ignorance will then fail from our eyes, and truth and error will then be known, which now so puzzles Gods people, and so rents and tears the Church in pieces: here the soul, as it en­joyes [Page 263]God, whom to know is life eternal, so it shall burn in love to God, and nothing can withdraw its affection; for nothing but ignorance can stave off our affections from him now, but there ignorance cannot enter: and God will love his image in us, and no vicious quality will be left in us to alie­nate him from us, and this love of God is enough, if there were no more, for his loving kindness is better than life. Oh what wise man is there, but would be content­ed to be rent out of the Arms of a beloved Wife, and be separated from Father and Mother, Wife and Children, Brethren and Sisters, and nearest Relations, and dearest Friends, to come to Christ, when he calls, and forsake all other lovers to lye in Christs bosom, and be made partaker of this end­less bliss, this celestial glory? If the fore­tastes of it be so sweet, that made Galea­cius the Italian Marquess to say, Let their money perish with them, that hold all the wealth in the world worth one daies commu­nion with Christ; Oh what is the full en­joyment of him? if the shadow be so delight­ful, what is the substance, when we shall be capacitated to know him and enjoy him, without intermission, without fear or interruption? Oh my Soul, thou feest the company is not less glorious than [Page 264]the place, nay much more glorious; for God himself is the glory of the place: here thou shalt have no guilt upon thy spirit, thou shalt not need with Adam and Eve to hide thy self when God calls thee: if thou part with thy friends here, thou shalt re­ceive them again with advantage, when their natures are changed, and their cor­ruptions done away; here the Angels which now cannot be beheld by poor mortals, shall be our fellow Citizens, Rev. 22.9. Lu. 15.10. our fellow brethren: they that delighted in our con­version, will then rejoyce at our corona­tion; and should God send for thee, Oh my soul, in a fiery Chariot, wouldst refuse to go? what if thou art taken away by a violent hand, what hurt is in it? the greatest wound is to themselves, for thou wilt be among those Souls under the Altar, among those that are slain for the testimony of Jesus, and shalt receive a Crown of Martyrdom. Oh happy wilt thou be if thou canst be of this blessed society in Heaven, and make up this heavenly Consort in chaunting out the praises of the ever living God: what thinkst thou of it? is it worth having? is it worth desiring? is it worth labouring or suffering for? sure there is a prize put into thy hands, if there be but a heart in thee to seek it: thou seest 'tis [Page 265]a glorious place, but the one half of the glory thereof is not told thee, cannot be told thee; the Subject of Happiness here will be both Soul and Body: these world­ly pleasures can but tickle the senses, they reach not the soul, but in Heaven both are concerned, but the Soul especially; both had a share in the work, and both must share in the reward; both must fight and get the victory, and both must have a share in the Crown; the body without the soul is incapable of those heavenly Joyes, and the Soul without the Body is incompleat; it must be the whole man, soul and body, that must be glorified: for our vile bodies must be fashioned like unto his glorious body: both run the race, and both must receive the prize; both are purchased by Christ, and he will not lose any thing that he hath purchased: the bo­dy as well as the soul are members of Christ: 1 Cor. 6.15 and Christs body shall not be imperfect, or any member lost, but shall all be raised up at the last day; the soul being the more excellent part of man, and more ca­pable of serving God than the body, it shall doubtless be the more glorious, yet the body shall not want its glory: the soul shall be freed from corruption, and the body from imperfection; this corrup­tible [Page 266]shall put on incorruption, and this mor­tal shall put on immortality; then, and not till death, shall all the diseases and distempers be removed, and perfectly cured, all in­firmities and deformities be taken away, and both body and soul be made beautiful and comely, yea Vessels of glory: whatso­ever implies any imperfection, shall be done away; there shall be no immature Youth, or stooping crooked wrinkled Old Age, but as Divines conceive, all perfect men and women, in their perfect age and strength, in beauty and comeliness, as if no infirmi­ty or deformity had hindred: Jacob shall not be halt, nor Mephthosheth lame, nor Leah blear-eyed; and though the body be sown a natural body, 1 Cor. 15.44. it shall arise a spiri­tual body; not a real spirit, but shall re­tain the properties of a true body, but spiritualized, and it shall much resemble a spirit in activity, ability, nimbleness and power. Christ had a real body after his Resurrection, which a Spirit hath not: yet shall they be freed from the clog and bur­den of flesh which now they bear, and no more be an hinderance to the soul; they shall also be freed from all need of food or physick, cloaths and such like, which now are necessary for the preservation of life; from the need of all creature-comforts, [Page 267]from all that any wayes imply infirmity or misery, inward or outward: thou shalt never have aking head, or heart, or back, or bone; for there shall be no more pain, but perfect health and strength, and im­mortality, and set out of the reach of death; for death it self shall be cast into the lake of fire, and shall be swallowed up of victory: no noxious humour or vicious quality shall ever trouble it more, no decay of nature, Deu. 34.7. shall then appear, but like Moses in the Wilderness, though he lived to old age, to an hundred and twenty years of Age, yet was not his eye dim, nor his natural force abated: There no distemper within, nor casualty without can work a decay, the flesh shall be no more a burden to the bo­dy, nor a clog to the soul, but man shall be like unto the Angels, who neither eat nor drink, neither marry nor are given in marriage; neither need they any creature­helps, or comforts, for God is their life, and he upholds their beings; where that body that now is a clod of walking breath­ing clay, shall then be like the body of Christ, more amiable than the celestial Orbs and glittering Stars: by death it is sown a natural body, but shall spring up a spiritual body; it is sown in dishonour, 1 Cor. 15.43, 44, 45. but raised in honour; it is sown in weakness, but [Page 268]raised in power; for when death hath struck the fatal stroak, God will send his Angels to carry the soul to Heaven, and gather our dust and put it in this Ʋrn, into his Cabi­net, not one grain of it shall be lost, which he will keep as precious Jewels, when ma­ny glittering Stones shall be cast by in­to shame and contempt; Dan. 12.2. many that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt: Those that honour God he will honour, and those that de­spise him shall be lightly esteemed; and at the resnrrection of the just, these houses of clay shall be formed into the simili­tude of a Palace, at Gods own cost and charges: Oh who would not have his Cot­tage pull'd down upon such an account? But if the body be so glorious, not admit­ting the least infirmity or deformity, how transcendently glorious will the soul be? this Jewel will not be lost in the rubbish of death; nay, nay, death cannot touch it, but only break down the prison walls, and set it free: the body, 'tis true, by dying is made immortal, death shall have no more pow­er of it; but the soul is immortal be Creation, and Gods Institution, it must run parallel with the longest line of eterni­ty; death hath no power over it; fear not [Page 269]those (saith Christ) that can kill the body, and can do more, but fear him that can cast both soul and body into Hell. Many would perswade themselves, and 'tis their interest so to do, if they could make it out, that the soul shall dye with the body, and that at death men breathe out their souls with their last breath, as a beast doth; and well were it for them if it were so, for then they might follow their pleasure, and drive on their designs more vigorously, and then they might brutifie themselves more than they do, which needeth not; but these men ra­ther would than do believe their own do­ctrine, the conscience in the mean time giv­ing them many bitter thrutches: No, no, this Lamp of Gods own lighting will never out; they must shine in Heaven, Mat. 25.46 or burn in Hell; everlasting Joy, or endless Torments must be their portion: They are capable of communion with God, and if they miss of this, are capable of endless torments; neither are the faculties of the soul destroyed by death, the understanding, will, affections, memory, conscience shall remain in Heaven or Hell; otherwise it were bad news to the godly, but good to the wicked; these are inlarged to the wicked, to make them more capable of torment; to the godly to make them more capable of Hea­venly [Page 270]delights, and more fit for their enjoy­ments, and imployments and their company: It signifies little if a small Vesse [...] be cast into the Ocean, it is quickly full, when every lit­tle pit of water may do as much: the under­standing of a wicked man shall be inlarged to know the worth of the things he hath lost, and the vanity of those he did prefer: the other shall have their understandings inlarg­ed to know the worth of things he enjoyes, to know God, and see him as he is. The sight of God and Christ begun here on earth in the godly by the eye of faith, 1 Joh. 3.2. shall there be perfected and compleated; this shall be perfected when their holiness is perfected and not before; for there can be no union or communion where there is no conformi­ty: can two walk together except they are agreed? what fellowship hath light with dark­ness, or Christ with Belial? There can be no satisfying apprehensions of the Object, where there is no suitable Organ and fit me­dium: those that would see God who is Ho­liness it self, must be holy also: Blessed are the pure in heart, Mat. 5.8. for they shall see God: no unholy person can ever please him, or enjoy him. The Image of God stampt upon, man in the first Creation, did capacitate him to hold commuion and correspondency with God, and when this Image was defaced, [Page 271]this Priviledge was lost, and Adam stood at a distance, and was afraid to come to God, but remained at a distance, in a state of enmity, till Christ made up the breach, and by Grace renewed this Image in the Elect, and accordingly God com­municated himself again to them; but the Image of God was renewed but in part, no more is our communion: for as our obedience was full of interruption, so is our communion; and as there is but a little of this Image of God seen upon us, so there is little communion with God to be perceived; and where holiness is most to be found, this also is to be found: a little glimmering light of him we have, and but a little, like as when the day be­gins to break, but in Heaven, when the Sun of righteousness doth arise, the shadows fly away; no cloud there can interpose, no earth cause an Eclipse: our communion with God shall be without interruption, it shall alwayes be a serene sky, a clear air; no sin then shall hide his face from us, or make him bend his brows: here one cloud or other alwayes interrupts, one sin or other alwayes breaks our peace, and spoils our Joy, and our communion, and hides Gods face, and proves like a skreen drawn between God and the soul; [Page 272]but this in Heaven shall be removed, and the soul shall see nothing but smiles in the face of her beloved, and meet with nothing but embraces from him. There shall then be a perfect conformity of our wills to Gods will, and they shall be as it were melted into his, as two bells melted together make one, and the soul shall receive the utmost degree of perfection that a finite creature is capable of: then shall he perfectly know God, whom to know is life eternal, and his will, Joh. 17.5. and shall be out of all capacity of er­ring, and shall know all necessary Truths that tend to his happiness: The meanest Saint shall exceed the knowledge of all the Learned [...]abbies in the world now, and all those abstruse points in Divinity that now puzzle this Learned Age, those that now call rather for Faith to believe, than Reason to apprehend; those we now take upon Gods Word, and an ipse dixit must suffice us, we shall then know reason for it; for all the skales of ignorance shall then fall from our eyes, and all the mists of dark­ness and clouds of errour, shall be blown over, and a clear discovery made of all our mistakes, and a resolution given to all our doubts: here we know but in part, we under­stand but in part, but then what is weak shall be done away, and the truth shall ap­pear; [Page 273]we shall never then have a discon­tented thought arise in the heart, occa­sioned by any dispensation of Providence, as here sometimes we have, when they lye hid from our understanding; Psal. 37. &c. as Da­vid also had his mistakes about the pro­sperity of wicked men; for here we shall understand the reason and ground of all: and our affections also shall be perfect­ly set upon right Objects, and our love, desire and delight shall never be set up­on any forbidden object. In a word, all the powers and faculties of the Soul, and members of the Body, shall be in perfect conformity to God, without the least deviation, even more perfect than in the first Creation, and this to eterni­ty; for the worm of time shall never eat out the heart of our heavenly Joyes, neither shall there be any satiety and de­sire of change, as it is in this world in the best Joyes we can meet with; and shall we yet be afraid of entring into this condition, and be put above all fears of an alteration, but for ever enjoy that God that is the souls rest, and the Saints [...]appiness? Knowledge is a delightful thing [...]o a wise man; If the face of humane Learn­ing (saith Aeneas Silvius) were but seen, it is more beautiful than the Evening or [Page 274]the morning Star. 'Tis a delightful thing to know the natures, the properties, the ends and uses of natural things; 'tis a stu­dy well beseeming Solomon himself, who spent much time this way; and many ab­struse points in Philosophy there are which the greatest wits are at a loss about, and which they would give much to under­stand; and Divinity it self is not without its mysteries, and such Arcana as will ne­ver be known while we are here: Alas, how little do we know about God, or the na­ture and properties, offices and dignities of the Angels? nay, how little of our own Souls, about the Decrees, work of Re­demption, Free will, and many more? but there nothing shall be hid; and no doubt there we shall have the knowledge one of another: for shall we sit down with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the King­dom of Heaven, and not know them? or did Dives know Abraham, and Lazarus in his bosom, and shall not the Saints in hea­ven know them? do they know one ano­ther in this world after a little time of converse, and when our knowledge is perfected will not eternity bring us to acquaintance? and doubtless the enjoyment of the Saints in glory will be part of the souls happiness. Now all earthly delights [Page 275]to these heavenly Joyes are but a sha­dow, a very dream, the very dream of a shadow, to what is there enjoyed; where the glorified Souls shall be Kings and Priests for ever, of the most high God; they wear Crowns upon their heads, and palms in their hands, which they cast down at the feet of him that liveth for ever. These little flashes of spiritual Joy, (and indeed it is no more) will be blown up into a flame: here no fumes of Melancholy shall disturb the Fancy, or interrupt the Joy. Malignant Saturn cannot send any influ­ence into these superiour Orbs; but here is that far more and eternal weight of Glo­ry to be enjoyed. O my soul, hadst thou had but such a glimpse of Glory as Stephen had, thou wouldst not have feared to have faln asleep with him. Now thou art in the body, and absent from God, but when death hath closed thine eyes, and cover­ed thy face with a winding-sheet, thou shalt not only see God, but be present with him, and behold his glory. Now thy glimpses of him are like a flash of light­ning, soon gone; much like a man that ga­zeth at a Star through an Optick-glass held with a palsy hand; now and then thou catchest a sight, but quickly losest it again; but there he will alwayes be [Page 276]before thine eyes, thou shalt behold his face there, and not his back parts only; whether with bodily eyes or otherwise, is not well known, nor much material; 'tis probable it may, and the eye capa­citated to behold the Object, though here 'tis dazled with a weaker glory: we find Job seems to be of that mind: Job 19.52. &c. I know, saith he, that my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though after my skin worms de­stroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God, whom I shall see for my self, and mine eyes shall behold him, and not another, though my reins be consumed within me. When this mortal hath put on immortality, and this body which is sown a natural body become spiritual, we know not but these Organs of our eyes may be capacitated to behold spiritual objects, as well as our understandings be enabled to know him as he is. 1 Joh. 3.2. This we know, God will make himself known, and that is sufficient to us; whether the one way, or the other, let us not anxiously trouble our selves about the manner of it: this know, if God do not enlarge and capacitate our powers and faculties of the soul, we can nei­ther know him, see him, nor enjoy him as he is, which he hath promifed we shall [Page 277]do; and he that believeth in him and hath not yet seen him, shall see him on whom he hath believed: 'tis Christs prayer, John 17.24. that those that are given to him, may be where he is, to behold his glory; and if those eyes were blessed, that saw him in his misery, how much more those that be­hold him in glory? if the dawning of the day be so glorious, how much more glorious will it be when the Sun shines in his full strength, and all the shadows are fled away? If those that bear his Image here (and they are more excel­lent than their neighbours) be so lovely, what will they be when this Image of God is perfectly restored, and they freed from all corruption? here they have sung forth his praises, then shall sing conti­nual Halelujahs for ever: how will they run the wayes of Gods commandments, when all the clogs of corruption are ta­ken off, and their feet are inlarged? Now their labour shall be turned into leisure to praise him, when they have nothing else to do, yea nothing which they delight more to do, than that. Now 'tis death, and death alone that can put us into the possession of this glory, where we shall have fulness of Joy and Glory, and be Heirs, yea Coheirs with Christ; and would [Page 278]any wise man deny to take possession? Oh my soul, wilt thou yet hang back, and plead Nonage? art thou afraid of Eternity, when Joy and Happiness is added to it? couldst thou wish the worm of time were at the root, to make it wither? art thou come to the door, and thou makest a halt at the threshold? and art willing another should take thy Crown, and wouldst thou sur­render thy interest? when Paul looks through the Perspective glass of Faith, and sees happiness at the end, he was willing to dye and be with Christ; thou knowest whom thou hast believed, and darest not trust thy Redeemer with thy life, that lost his own for thy sake? whatever thou lo­sest, whatever thou sufferest for him, it will never repent thee when thou art in Heaven; it will reward thee for all thy cost and charges, Christ tells thee, an hundred fold, and I may well say a thousand; one day in Gods Courts here on earth was bet­ter to Davîd than a thousand elsewhere, and one day in Heaven is much better than that; yea, but if thy life be cut off for his sake, for one day thou loosest upon earth, thou shalt have a thousand in Heaven for it, he will make thee Eagle-eyed, that thou shalt behold the Sun of righteousness in his splendour, and the Organ not offended. [Page 279]If Paul and Silas could sing in the Prison, what will they do when they come into this heavenly Quire? Isa. 15.5. Here the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unstopped, the lame man shall leap as an Hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall sing: this is the mar­riage of the Lamb, and his wife hath made her self ready; and who will not rejoyce upon the Wedding-day, when the Bride­grooms voice is heard? Now the marriage shall be solemnized, that was so long ago contracted between Christ and the Soul; this is the day which the Lord hath made, let us rejoyce and be glad in it: this is thy pay-day, when thou art to receive thy wages, the harvest of thy hopes; when thou shalt receive a plentiful crop of glo­ry; that which was sown in tears, shall now be reaped with joy: now thy desires, thy longings and thy pantings shall be sa­tisfied; now is the time when the Crown of Martyrdom shall be put upon the head of the Martyr, and a Crown of Righte­ousness upon the Just mans head: now is the time that Sincerity will be discerned from Hypocrisie, let it be spun with never so fine a thred, and true Gold from coun­terfeit: now is the time that those that have Oyl in their Vessels, as well as Lamps in their hands, shall go in with the Bride­groom [Page 280]to the Marriage, and those that have not shall be shut out; now he that hath a wed­ding-garment shall be a welcom Guest, Mat. 22.12 and he that hath none shall be cast into utter darkness: now is the time that those that have forsaken any thing for Christ, shall receive an hundred fold, and those that have lost their lives for him shall receive the greatest share, though those that have the least measure shal have Joy unspeakable and full of glory, yea as much as they can hold; and who but a mad man notwithstanding this, will look upon Religion as a Frenzy, and the professors thereof little better than frantick, because they run themselves upon the pikes of dan­ger, and expose themselves to losses and crosses, to troubles and trials, yea to death it self, and that for conscience sake? but did these men see the prize they run for, the Crown they fight for, they would run the same race, and fight the same fight; if any of them were but offered an handful of Gold for a handful of Silver, they would not refuse it, much less if they might have an handful of Angels for a handful of Muck; but believers make a better exchange, for they receive Heaven for the Earth, and God for the Creatures, yea eternal Life for that which is temporal: did others know the re­ward, they would do the work; did they see [Page 281]the joy that is set before them, they would en­dure the cross and despise the shame as well as they; but how can those see that are spiritu­ally blind, or know whose foolish hearts are darkned; they are at least sand blind, and cannot see at a distance, nor discern what it is that stands beyond death, and seeing no other pleasure but what only reaches the senses, take up with that, and think there is no better: did they see better, they would desire better; those that know no better than Hell, never look after Heaven: were they nearer to God that Spiritual Load­stone, they would be drawn to him, they would then contemn these fading delights, and lay hold upon everlasting happiness; they would contemn this unrighteous Mam­mon, and seek after True Treasure: they see indeed both wayes, but cannot see to the end; the one they see broad and easie, green and pleasant, but they see not the dangerous Precipice it leads to, and the fiery Gulph it ends in; they see the other also, which is rough and craggy, steep and hilly, which few men walk in, but they see not the Pleasures it ends in, and therefore they choose the other, and think they do wisely, and think they are Fools that do otherwise; but had they the Saints spectacles, they would change their minds: [Page 282] but this their way is their folly, and no­thing but ignorance can make them walk in it; the time will come they would change their course but cannot, as the foolish Virgins would have had Oyl when it was too late; corrupted Reason being inchanted by sense proves a Caterer for the flesh, but were it rectifyed by faith, it would look for happiness elsewhere. There are too ma­ny like a Cardinal I have read of, that usu­ally said, I will not leave my part in Paris for a part in Paradise: they are wedded to the world, and are loth to be divorced. 'Tis true, believers know little of the nature of Heavens joyes, these know nothing of it; the former have some glimpses of the glory, some foretastes of the sweetness of Canaans fruits, this sets them a longing; the other are strangers to it; ignotus nulla cupido: The godly know not the quantity of it, for how can that be discovered that is unspeakable, or conceived of, that is in­conceivable? or how can that be measured that is infinite? this we may build upon, 'tis our masters Joy, and therefore great; it cannot enter into us, but we must enter into it: methinks when we speak or hear of Joy unspeakable, of Light inaccessible, and of Glory immortal, our hearts may burn within us, like the Disciples which [Page 283]were going to Emaus, when Christ spake to them; it should make us cast a despising eye upon all the worlds glory, and make us think no pains too much, nor cost too dear, to come to the enjoyment of it; it might make us run that we may obtain, fight that we might conquer, and travel hard to come to our journeys end; for then all our work will be done, all our pains over, and we shall have nothing to do but to praise the Lord, which will be our wages as well as our work: for when we are spi­ritualized, and the dross of corruption left behind, it will be as natural to us as to live, and as now it is to breathe; for there is no­thing but our corruption now, that makes this Angelical duty troublesome. And is there enough in Heaven to make amends for all our losses and crosses upon earth? let us then never stick at the price, for what­soever we expend for Christ, or Heaven, it shall be paid back with advantage. If So­lomons Servants were so happy in seeing his glory, and hearing his wisdom, Oh what a happiness will it be to see his glory in Heaven when it will be increased, and hear his wisdom when 'tis perfected! nay in enjoying Solomons God, and partaking both of his glory and wisdom! and Oh the Honour that believers will have in such [Page 284]a Relation, where they will have God for their Father, Christ for their Husband, the Angels and Saints for their Brethren and companions, and not only seed upon An­gels food, but be set upon an Angelical Employment, and have the Angel reward! And if this be not enough to satisfie for all the pains, troubles, losses, and crosses, thou sustain upon this account, never take upon thee the profession of Religion: but I am sure there is punishment enough in hell for all those that make light of Christ, and slight the offers of the Gospel. Oh the purblind world, that can see nothing but what is under their feet! had they but such a sight of God and Glory as some others have had, they would desire with Paul to be dissolved, Phil. 1.23. Rev. 22.20 and with the Church, Come Lord Jesus, come quickly. Here thou com­plainest of vain thoughts, and roving ima­ginations, and well thou maist, but thou wilt never be cured of them but by death, and after death thou shalt never be trou­bled with them more, but shalt serve God without distraction. In the world thou couldst never meet with content, in Heaven thou shall never meet with discontent; and art thou yet content to be in the world? here thou meetest with no satisfaction, and art thou satisfied without satisfaction? well, [Page 285]whatever thoughts thou hast of Christ now, the time is coming thou wilt have use of him, and need of him; for at death one glimpse of his favour, one smile of his countenance, will do thee more good than all the Cordials thy Doctors can give thee. Moses saw but his back-parts, and his face did shine, how doth he shine now in beholding his glory! the fruition of God in glory is the souls happiness, and happy are they that do enjoy him; but what this fruition is, we neither know, nor can know in this world; no word in humane language can express it; for how can a Cockle-shell comprehend all the water in the Ocean? we can have no right conceptions what God is, or what it is to enjoy him; and if we should form the highest con­ceptions imaginable, it would fall far short: for how can a finite creature conceive of what is infinite; or a bruit beast of a ra­tional Soul? Mahomet proves himself a fool, in fancying to himself and his fol­lowers a sensual happiness in Heaven, as the enjoyment of beautiful women, and other sensual delights; and though Believ­ers far outgo him, yet still shoot short when they aim at the description of Hea­vens Glory; and no wonder, we that know so little of Spirits, of their nature and pro­perties, [Page 286]must needs be in the dark when we discourse of God, the Father of Spi­rits, and the Creator of Angels: while we are in the flesh we know little of the nature and Original of our own souls, how then can we speak of those glorious spirits, or know what their enjoyments in Heaven are? if we consult with things below, and search Natures Garden from end to end, we may find work enough to do; nay the least of creatures hath something in it to puzzle Natures best Secretaries: the Gnat, the Bee, those poor Insects are not without their wonders; and what then if we consider Gods greatest works, the Sun, Moon and Stars, and all the host of Heaven; and if we understand not earthly things, about which we are daily conversant, how shall we understand heavenly things so far above our reach? if we understand not things visible, and those subjected to our senses, what shall we say of invisibles, so remote from us? If the footmen have wea­ried us, how shall we contend with horses? If we cannot wade a small Rivulet, what shall we do with the Ocean? what concep­tions can a poor worm have of an Angel, or a rational soul? and proportionably must we have of the great God: what concep­tions can a man born blind have of Co­lours, [Page 287]or of the Sun it self? or what con­ceptions can a man born deaf have of sounds, or of Musick? such like imperfect con­ceptions can we have of God, of Heaven, or heavenly Joyes: the proportion is great­er between God and the best of men, than between that man and the meanest Worm that crawls under his feet, nay between a worm and an Angel; these are fellow-Creatures, made by the same hand, but what proportion between the Pot and the Pot-maker? all light is in this Sun, all the water of consolation is in this Sea, and all the lines of goodness here concenter; his power, his wisdom, his goodness, are in­finite, but what Infinite is, we cannot tell: we shall enjoy all happiness in him, and with him, but what this Happiness is, we know not: That which eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard of, neither hath it entred into mans heart to conceive of: What can we say of it? the eye of man hath seen much, the ear hath heard of more, but the heart of man may conceive more than this, but all this falls yet short; for this joy is uncon­ceivable, and if we could reach a concep­tion, we cannot frame an expression: the Apostle saw things unutterable, no word in humane Language can express the lan­guage of this Country; the Scripture holds [Page 288]out: to us, that there is a relative Union between Christ and the believing soul, which is sometimes set forth by the union between the Head and the Members, the Vine and the branches, the Husband and the Wife, &c. but wherein this union doth consist, is not easie to demonstrate; yet it may suffice us that there is such a Union; and shall we not be willing to come to him when he calls us to make us happy, unless we fully know what the Joyes of Heaven are, and the utmost extent of it, when yet we know 'tis beyond our de­sert? shall a Beggar refuse an Alms, if he must not know before how much it will be: Oh my Soul, thou speakest hardly of the world, as if thou hadst wrong done thee, and dost think God wrongs thee also if he call thee hence? thou rail­est upon sin, and yet art loth to leave it; thou complainest of thy suffering, and yet dost fear nothing more than delive­rance: Oh what dissembling is this with God and Man! thou spendest many hours in preaching, praying, hearing, reading, studying, meditating, &c. and all to learn a way thou art not willing to walk in, and travellest in a road thou art not willing to find thy journeys end: wilt thou run a race, and wilt not lay hold on the prize, [Page 289]and fight a Battel and not be glad of the Victory? what hypocrisie is this, to lye upon thy knees hour after hour, to pray to be rid of that thou art not willing to leave; to get a plaister for a sore thou art not willing to have healed? thou pretendest thou believest everlasting Happiness to be the reward of faithfull Obedience, thou professest hope that thou hast a share in it, and darest not trust God with the conduct of thy soul to this happiness, who only knows the way? Well, I have but one thing more to offer thee, and that is this: That as the Place is magnificent and stately, the Company glorious and Royal, the enjoyments ex­cellent and unspeakable, so is the Hap­piness eternal, and shall never know end or diminution so long as there is a Hea­ven, which will be while there is a God: Thy Joyes shall never end, but run parallel with the longest line of Eter­nity, when that Vanity is writ upon all earthly enjoyments; and this one Epithite spoils all the sport, and marres the splen­dour of all sublunary things, and disgraces all the worlds pomp and glory, that 'tis mortal, fading, transitory, and endureth not: were it not for the Eternity of them Heavens Glory were not so desirable, [Page 290]nor Hells Torments so dreadful: for if af­ter a hundred thousand millions of years the glorified Saints should leave their Ha­bitation, and the damned Spirits their Prison, this would be a Corrosive to the one, and a Comfort to the other, that after a long tract of time an end would come: Nay, if after the Revolution of this long time they should exchange places, those in Heaven would have infinitely the worser bargain; but this will not be so, otherwise the Reversion of Heaven would be better than the present possessi­on, and the Reversion of Hell worse. The Sun of the wicked mans comforts sets at Noon, but in Heaven the godly mans comforts shall never set, Isa. 60.20. nor go behind a Cloud: For there shall be no night; Thy Sun shall no more go down, (saith God) neither shall thy Moon withdraw it self: for the Lord shall be thine everlasting Light, and the dayes of thy mourning shall be end­ed. Thy people also shall be all righte­ous; they shall inherit the land for ever. Well may I say, Return unto thy rest, O my soul, for the Lord hath dealt bounti­fully with thee: he hath delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, and my feet from falling. Oh Eternity, how ama­zing, how confounding art thou to the [Page 291]workers of Iniquity! but how amiable and delightful are the thoughts of thee to the godly! for they have Eternity added to their Happiness, the other to their Mise­ry: Oh what a long Lease will this be of Heavens glory, that shall never ex­pire! the want of duration makes the worlds glory of little worth; but Eternity makes Hells torments so Tormenting, and Hea­vens Joy so desirable: these shall never wax old, nor know end. Here thou [...]eedest not weary thy self in Counting he fleeting hours, or the return of weeks, or months, or years; here is neither Clock nor Watch, nor Dial to observe Time by, nor Sun, nor Moon, nor Stars, to distinguish Day from Night, or Summer from Winter; for Time shall be no more, it will be swallowed up of Eternity: one day with the Lord is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day: God rec­kons not time as we do; their Sun shall know no Eclipse, nor their Moon no Change. When death opens the door for the soul to enter into Eternity, it shall not float there, but be immediately post­ed into glory; the Spirit shall return to God that gave it, where it shall enjoy for ever those good things which it hath laboured for and thirsted after, and [Page 292]reap the fruit of all the pains it hath taken for Heaven. Oh my soul, Eter­nity will be the very Crown of thy Crown, and the Crown of Heaven it self; for if thou didst certainly know thy Joyes would expire, Heaven would be filled with sad thoughts, and sowre sawce to thy sweet meat, and spoil all thy mirth. Oh my soul, thou hast no [...] a price put into thy hands, the Lord give thee a heart to get wisdom: let not the thoughts of a short trouble, or a little pain make thee lo [...]e the race, and mis the prize; but rather suffer any tem­poral pain, than eternal; and suffer any loss, rather than the loss of thy soul, the loss of thy God, thy Heaven, and thy happiness. Thou hast seen what death is both to the godly and wick­ed; that it is common to both, but no enemy to a Believer; that there is no­thing in the world of equal value with celestial Treasures; that Death can do thee no hurt, but much good, in freeing thee from evil and putting thee into the possession of all that is really good: thou hast seen the reward of Obedi­ence, and the punishment of denying Christ; what is thy resolution? Wilt thou be faithful to the death? then here is of­fered [Page 293]a Crown of life: Rev. 2.10. If thou wilt prove an Apostate, thou must have thy portion with Judas, and go down to thy place. Heaven and Hell, Life and Death are set before thee, choose which thou wilt. Oh my God, I see rea­son sufficient, why I should give up my Life to thy dispose; I am convinc'd that it is my Duty and my Interest. Lord suffer not this treacherous heart to deceive me, let me consult with Faith and not with Sence; let me never trust in my own strength, neither distrust thine: Lord, through thy strength I can do all things, but without thee I can do nothing. Lord, I believe, help my unbelief; let me honour thee both by my life, and by my death: if thou wilt thou canst let this Cup pass from me, yet not my will but thine be done. Lord, fit the back before thou lay on the burden, enable me to obey, and then command what thou wilt: if it be thy will I shall be sacrificed, Lord ac­cept of the Sacrifice, and thy will be done: let thy strength be seen in my weak­ness, and Lord Jesus receive my Spirit.



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Books Sold by Thomas Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns at the lower end of Cheap-side, near Mer­cers Chappel.

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A POEM, wherein is set forth the Vanity, Frail­ty and Brevity of Mans Life; as also the Cer­tainty of Death, with the Benefit of it to Be­lievers.

THE Life we live resembles much a Play,
Where each man acts his part, and so away:
The best act Comedies which Joyfully end,
Most Tragedies, which to confusion tend:
Men are the Actors, and the World's the Stage,
Whereon appears persons of every age,
The good, the bad, the noble and the base,
Both Males and Females, even all Adams race.
None are exempt, each have some part to play,
Yet some have lesser, some have more to say.
Some Childrens parts do play, they cry and then
March off, when others act the parts of Men.
Some on the Stage do fetch a turn or two,
Some look about them, and no more adoe:
Some act their own, and some anothers part;
In a disguise they're honest, Knaves in heart.
The worst in Royal Robes sometimes do dress them,
Those that their inside view have cause to bless them;
In their disguise like painted Tombs they shine,
They're fair without, but foul enough within.
In Silks and Sattins many men are clad,
When Dunghill-rakers are not half so bad;
But when Death comes, in their own shape we find them,
Their borrowed Robes they then must leave behind them.
Some act in thred-bare Coats, yet you may find
Under that sordid Vest a gallant Mind:
Though these are scorned by our Gallants gay,
Yet these do act their parts as well as they.
Some act Religious parts, but most prophane;
The Hypocrite, he is for either Game;
For he hath Vizards, if he please, enow
To make him seem prophane and holy too:
For he can one way look, and row another,
In a disguise he'l cozen his own Brother;
Where Interest or the Devil drives he'l goe,
And shifts his Sails still as the wind doth blow:
He'l act you any part, Noble or Base,
With his Apparel he can change his Face;
Each day like to the Moon, his Face is new,
With the Chameleon he can change his hue,
Ape-like he'l imitate whate're he see;
Proteus never had more shapes than he:
Like Mercury with Good he'l seem the best;
If found with Bad, he will exceed the rest:
Religion is his stalking-horse, and he
Doth only use it for to take his prey;
So long as he can get by't he will use it,
But if he lose by't, he will soon refuse it;
Him of his borrowed Robes Death will divest,
He'l dye in Earnest, though he liv'd in Jest.
Some more ingeniously shew what they are,
Rotten they are at heart, and so appear:
Taverns they haunt, their Names not States to raise,
And those in Hell do go for roaring Boyes.
In Venus Courts some live, but most of these
Come lamely off, or die of her disease:
Some few stay Natures time, most run before,
Bacchus or Venus opens them the door.
Some cheat, some steal, some lye, some swear and curse,
And most, though bad enough, grow worse and worse:
But when their part is acted Death will come,
And clear the Stage, and then the Play is done.
Most are hiss'd off the Stage, few get applause,
For few of acting well observe the Laws:
Some few to Wisdoms Rules their hearts apply,
And these know how to live, and how to dye.
Some mind their business, most time idly spend;
Some love their way, but few their Journeys end.
For Riches, Honours, Pleasures most men strive,
But to get wisdom is the way to thrive.
Some court fair Ladies, whose bewitching Spells
Ruines the State, and sinks the Souls to Hell.
Some few improve their time while God doth lend it,
When others study vainly how to spend it:
How for to live most men their thoughts apply,
But wise is he that studies how to dye.
The heav'nly Loadstone Grace having toucht the Soul,
Makes her unsettled till she finds the Pole.
This World will not suffice for her abode;
She's restless here, her Polar Starre is God.
This Heaven-born Eagle mounts and soars too high,
To feed on Carrion that in Ditches lye;
This World she hath conquer'd, and with Philips Son,
She'd weep if there were not more worlds than one.
This Pilgrim cares not where she lays her head,
She sleeps securely, if God make her bed.
In a cold Prison she can lye and ease her,
With Jacobs Visions Jacobs Stone will please her.
Most men 'tis true, complain of grief and trouble,
But few of sin, which makes their sorrows double:
Troubles arise from sin, the World and Devil,
God makes our dayes so few, we make them evil.
The world much like an Inne serves for a day,
Some only break their fast, and so away:
Some dine, some sup, and some are richly treated,
But those that eat most Meals are most indebted.
If any suffer hardship, 'tis the best:
The worse the man, the better is the Guest:
Some feast, some drink, some game, some drab and whore,
But when they come to pay, their reck'ning's more.
The World's to bad men as the Earth to weeds,
She'l cherish those, but choak the better seeds;
And Stepdame-like, she will Gods children serve,
She'l feed her own, but suffer them to sterve,
For entertainment she's much like to Jael,
She offers Milk, when she intends the Nail;
Who trusteth to her smiles, doth quite mistake her,
The wisest men they be that quite forsake her.
Well, though the way be rough, let's mend our pace.
Our Journey's short, and then we shall have ease.
Life's but a shadow which is alwayes flying,
For from the Cradle we are alwayes dying;
'Tis but an Hour-glass, and the sands are sins,
Brimm'd up by Nature, turn'd when Life begins.
Which still is running, as each day doth come,
And when the last fins dropt, our life is done.
Our labour's near an end, our death is hasting,
And good or bad rewards are everlasting.
We reach not Nestors dayes with our short span,
Nor number years with old Methusalem.
Men lived then five hundred years or more,
Not one of twenty now can reach Threescore:
No, no, our Measure's cut, it well appears,
Our Fathers Months were longer than our Years.
The Hart, the Stagg, the Raven, the Eagle free,
May boast they are long-liv'd, so cannot we.
The withering Grass, a Shadow, Emblems be
That fitly sets forth our Mortalitie;
A Rose, a Blossom, or a Flower in May,
Or Jonah's Gourd, that lasted but a day;
A Dream, a Shadow, if you will a Span,
Is long enough to mete the Life of Man:
For like a Pear, or Plumb, when ripe we fall
Into our Mothers lap, for so do all:
Mans Life is of a thought much like the Dream,
A Weavers Shuttle, or the gliding Stream;
Or like a hasty Post that swiftly flies,
For man that's born to day, to morrow dies:
Life's like a Bubble that's soon prickt by Death,
For Man is but a Bladder fill'd with Breath.
Life hasteth like a Ship that's under Sails,
Death cometh like the Tide that never fails.
Our Time like Lightning full quick doth goe;
Death hastneth like an Arrow from a Bowe:
Such is the Life of Man, for in a day
Man springs and withers, like a Flower in May;
The Sun ne're runs his race in this our age
But sees ten thousand marching off the Stage:
The Life we live is but an inch of time;
Last day my Fathers was, and this day mine:
The next belongs to the succeeding age;
Thus one doth thrust another off the Stage.
My Predecessors they are dead and rotten,
And I in little time shall be forgotten.
Great Caesar's Bones Death did to Ashes turn,
And Alexander's bounded in his Urn.
The fair, the foul, the Holy, the Prophane,
The Rich, the Poor, are worsted at Death's Game.
To Mighty Sampson Death did give a Fall,
Wise Solomon did dye, and so must all.
Though in thy hand all Peru's Gold thou have,
Death will thee make a Tenant to the Grave:
Death makes no difference between Poor and Rich,
The Worm feeds sweetly on no matter which;
The Fairest Lady, and the foulest Slave
Death can both wed and bed in the same Grave.
To God a thousand years is but a day,
Our life's then but an Hour that fleets away.
And of this Hour so many sharers be,
O Lord how small a part belongs to thee?
Though life seems long because 'tis full of trouble,
Yet many wish their dayes were three times double.
The Captive Slaves that in the Gallies lye,
To end their Bondage, yet are loth to dye;
They flee from death although he be their friend,
For when he stops their Breath their Sorrows end.
Life is a warfare, Death doth stint the strife;
We leave not fighting till we leave our life.
We fight against our sins, the world and Devils,
At death we fully Vanquish all those evils.
To heavenly Joyes Death opens us the door,
Where sin and sorrow they shall be no more:
There's no Corruption shall molest us there,
There's no Temptation that we need to fear.
Why fear we Death then, he this Boon will give,
Our Enemies shall dye, but we shall live?
Life is the day wherein we labour hard,
Death is the night, and then comes our reward.
Now we with Tempests on the Seas are driven,
Death is the Wind that blows us to our Haven.
Is he less happy that a brisker Gale
Drives to the Shore, or he that's under Sail?
Whom fierce tempestuous winds as yet are driving,
Who with a thousand dangers yet are striving?
In life we in the raging Surges be,
Death comes and lands us in Eternity.
In life the Saints are Heirs but under age,
When death comes they receive their Heritage:
Heaven is our Kingdom, but to come thereat,
There is no other way but through this Gate.
Life is our Journey, Death our Journeys end,
Life is our Enemy and Death our Friend.
Death like a Pilot guides us to the Shoar,
He is the Porter that must ope' the door.
We cannot serve our God or Christ enjoy,
Without distraction till our dying day.
Death's but a quiet sleep when wearied,
'Tis but put off our Cloaths, and go to bed.
Death is Gods pursivant and will compell
Gods Friends to go to Heaven, his Foes to Hell.
He is his Messenger none can prevent him,
None can resist him, or the Lord that sent him.
Both Prince and Peasant drink of the same cup,
When he invites them home with him to Sup.
All men must pledge the health Abel began,
There's none exempt, the Master nor the man.
The greatest Potentate cannot escape,
The way to Heaven and Hell lye through this Gate:
The high, the low, the rich, and eke the poor,
When he doth knock must open him the door;
Nor fear nor favour makes him turn aside,
He will not be perverted with a Bribe.
What though some have their lives drawn out at length,
And we cut down by Death in our full strength?
What Hurt to us if we receive our pay
For one Hours work, as much as for a day?
What dammage to us if Commandment come,
When others work till night, to leave at Noon?
The weary labourer pants and longs for rest,
And when he's in his bed he thinks he's best;
The Bed of Death to th' weary will give ease,
Our sleep's not broken there by worms nor fleas:
No fearfull Dreams, nor Visions of the night
Disturb our Fancies there, or minds affright.
Within Death's Sheets the Grave we rest secure,
Free from oppression, and tyrannick Power;
Our Souls like Captive Birds in Cages sing,
Death breaks the Cage, and then the Birds take wing.
The world's a Pest-house, sin doth us infect,
Death's our Physitian, shall we him reject?
The Soul's infected with sins foul disease,
And naught but Death can give us our release.
The world's a Prison and we Captives be,
And only Death our Champion sets us free.
We mortal are when Death of life bereaves us.
We dye no more, Death doth immortal leave us.
A thousand Maladies do each day attend us,
We're sick to Death and none but Death can mend us.
In life we languish, Death can make us well,
He's like Achilles Spear, can wound and heal.
Poor and in want we up and down do wander,
Death makes us all as rich as Alexander.
Death levels all, both rich and poor do stand
On equal ground, none serve nor none command.
When Death hath done his work, there's no man can
Discern between the Master and the man.
The Princes Skull no more than other men
Bears the impression of a Diadem.
'Tis true of terrors Death is call'd the King,
And well he may while he retains his Sting;
But to Believers he no hurt can do,
For he hath lost his Sting and Poyson too.
In Stinging Christ this Serpent lost his Sting,
He that brought terror then doth comfort bring:
Christ conquer'd him, and shall we fear to meet
A Vanquisht Foe, lying prostrate at our Feet?
For since that he was overcome and foil'd,
He is no Enemy, but reconcil'd.
To good and bad he shews not the same face,
He's Foe to Nature; but a Friend to Grace.
We are poor mortals, life is our disease,
Death our Physitian that can give us ease.
We groan for pain, yet would not be set free,
We love our Bondage, hate our Liberty.
Rather than over Jordans streams we'l venture,
We'l dye i'th' Wilderness, or Egypt enter:
This Son of Anak Death more terror brings
Than all the fiery Serpents with their Stings.
And though Egyptian Bondage doth torment us,
Flesh Pots, and Leeks, and Onions here content us
At Death 'tis true, we must to Ashes turn,
But God will keep those Ashes in his Urn.
And when the all-awakening trump shall sound,
The smallest Atoms of it shall be found;
And then by vertue of a new Indenture,
The Soul into her new-built house shall enter:
God shall with robes of honour then invest her,
And sin and sorrow shall no more molest her.
She shall by Christ her Judge be then acquitted,
And all her sins and trespasses remitted.
She shall in glory Halelujah's sing,
Unto the mighty God the worlds great King;
And wedded be to Christ in endless Joy,
And in her Husbands Bosom lye for aye:
Sorrow and Sighing then shall fly away;
And Tears shall swallowed be in endless Joy.
Then set thy House in order, for thou must
Within a little time return to Dust.
Lord make me then to know my later end,
How long the number of my dayes extend;
That I may know how frail I am, before
I go from hence, and shall be seen no more:
When will this Joyfull Marriage be? oh when!
Oh come Lord Jesus, quickly come. Amen.
Edward Bury.

The Author hath in the Press a. Book on the Subject these Poems are of. Printed for Tho. Parkhurst at the Bible and three Crowns at the lower end of Cheapside.

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