[Page] A Funeral Sermon FOR That very Reverend, AND Most laborious Servant of Christ, In the Work of the MINISTRY, Mr. MATTHEW MEAD. Who Deceased Oct. 16. 1699.

By JOHN HOWE, Minister of the Gospel, and some time Fellow of Magd Coll. Oxon.

LONDON, Printed for T. Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside, 1699.

TO The Right Honourable, John, and Frances, The Lord, and Lady HAVERSHAM.

May it please Your Honours,

THE Request of the Mournfull Widow, and other Relatives, of the worthy Person, deceased; concurring with my own Inclination, left, with me, no room to deliberate, con­cerning this Inscription.

I easily apprehend, how quick, and deep, a sense You both have, of the loss of such another valuable person, from off this Earth; having so lately born Your part, in lamenting the Decease of one You much valued also. Upon which account, I put into Your Hands, a Discourse on those words, John 11. 16. Let us go, that we may die with him.

[Page] Such Persons leave this World so fast, that it grows a more difficult choice, with whom to live, than with whom to die.

When, on that sad occasion, I did set my self to consider, that passage of Holy Scripture, I had seen some Expositors, that made it a doubt, whether that were meant of Lazarus, or of our Lord himself. Some, of good note, thought the latter. For which, was plausibly to be alledg'd, what we find, vers. 8. and that, in this verse 16. the words were spoken, not to Christ, but to the Fellow-Disciples

That Doubt was not to have been mov'd in an Assembly, where was nei­ther time, nor a sit season to discuss it. And tho' I might more conveniently, I shall not say much to it, now. Only I iudge, that, without necessity, the pre­sent coherence was not to be torn. When, by the series of Discourse, the same [him] seems plainly to be referr'd to, in the close of the 15. verse, and of this 16.—Lazarus is dead, v. 14.—ne­vertheless, let us go to HIM, vers. 15. [Page] —Let us also go, that we may die with HIM.

It was little needfull to say to Christ, Let us go, whose Mind appeared set up­on going, already, but to the Disciples, who drew ba [...]k. Besides that Reverence might restrain from saying this to our Lord, when what was to be propos'd was matter of Hortation, not of Enquiry. Tho' sometimes they feared even to ask him a Question, also; as Luk. 9. 45. And they might the rather, be now, un­der a present awe, from the rebuke, or expostulatory answer, he had given them, for their objecting against going into Judea. Especially, so as not to signifie a remaining fear, which he had so newly check'd Therefore Thomas's speech, di­rected to his Fellow-Disciples, but not out of Christ's hearing (for we have no reason to suppose, that he separated them from him, that he might say this to them apart) is so ordered, as not to import fear of death, but Love to the Deceas'd.

If any should object, that Thomas could not mean dying WITH Lazarus, when he was told, he was already dead. [Page] That scarce deserves answer, to any one that understands the latitude of the Particle render'd WITH, especially, that it frequently signifies after, and not always with. And very often notes no­thing of time at all. And therefore may here, mean no more, than let us go that we may die too, or, die, as well as he.

All this I say, not that I have heard any Person, in our days, object against, or plead for, this or that sense of these words: But knowing they have been differently understood; and this being the first opportunity I had to take publick notice of the difference, I am not ill pleased, that I have now, this occasion of repre­senting it, to so competent Judges, part­ly to prevent Objection, or at least, to shew with what temper of mind, any such different apprehensions,in matters of no greater moment, ought to be look'd upon.

Nor shall I here vye Authorities of Commentators, that have gone this way, or that in this matter. Therefore I name none: Only some, of as great name as any, have judg'd this the more [Page] probable Opinion, which I have fol­low'd.

Many Instances might be given, where­in, when matters, extra-essential to the Summ of our Religion, are deliver'd, one Sense must be pitch'd upon, tho' a­nother, very divers, (of which there cannot be two) is not to be demonstra­ted impossible.

In which case, I much prefer a tacit following that which one chooses, before a conceited Confidence, and crying down of the other. For confident Clamour nei­ther admits light, nor tends to enligh­ten any body.

In the present case, it makes no diffe­rence, to any disadvantage. For if we desire to be united in death, or in that state, to which it introduces, with this or that H. Man: To be with our Blessed Lord, in that state, must be much more desirable.

But the departure of the excellent Ones of the Earth, from it, leaves us less, here, of present attractive, and gives us a very threatning prospect, and pre­sage of what we are to expect, for the fu­ture.


[Page] Your Lordship's great respect to this Servant of Christ, was even hereditary, and descended to him, by You, from Tour Family; as I have often heard him ac­knowledge, with great Sense of Obliga­tion.

And (Madam) Your Ladyship's great value of him, tho' it might take its first rise from so near, and judicious a Rela­tive, could not but receive a great in­crease, from his known worth, and Your own discerning Judgment.

I pray, (not doubting it) that with whatsoever kindness, You have received any Prophet, or other Servant of Christ, in that Name, You may have a propor­tionable Reward; and am, my most Ho­noured Lord, and Lady;

Your most obliged, humble Servant, in the Work of the Gospel, John Howe.

A Funeral Sermon On the Reverend Mr. MEAD.

1 TIM. IV. 16.‘—Thou shalt both save thy self and them that hear thee.’

THese words I principally design to insist upon at this time, and on this sad, and mournful oc­casion; but not without Retrospecti­on, to the foregoing Verse, and the former part of this; which run thus, verse 15. Meditate upon these things, [Page 2] give thy self wholly to them, that thy profiting may appear to all. V. 16. Take heed to thy self, and thy doctrine; con­tinue in them, for in doing this, thou shalt both save thy self and them that hear thee.

This whole foregoing Context con­tains Precepts, which reduc'd to pra­ctice, afford an eminent Example and Patern of a true Gospel-Preacher: Or as the words are, v. 6. Of a good Mi­nister of Jesus Christ, nouristed up in the words of Faith, and of good Doctrine. As these last words shew the blessed end and issue of such a one's Ministry, i. e. that he shall save himself; which must be look'd upon as certain. And them that hear him; i. e. as much as in him lies, he shall herein do his part, and what is incumbent upon him, to the saving of his Hearers.

These latter words hold forth the double end which a Minister of Christ is to pursue, the saving his own, and his Peoples Souls.

The foregoing words, considered in [Page 3] reference to these, contain the proper means lie is to use in order to this two-fold end.

i. e. He is to meditate much on the great things of [...]. the Gospel. He is to be wholly in them, as the words In a better than the Po­ets sense, sci­re tuu [...] ni­hil est. literally import, which we read, he is to give himself wholly to them. He is to be continually increasing in the know­ledge of God, and that so as not to know only to himself, but so as to make known what he knows. He is especi­ally (tho' that be the common duty of Christians) to turn all to the use of E­difying, Eph. 4. 29. that his profiting may appear to all. For tho' Timothy was at this time a young man, yet the most grown, did always need to be still growing: None have here, at­tain'd their Ne plus ultra, but may still write for their Motto, Plus ultra, all their days; even Paul the Aged, as he writes himself to Philemon, tells the Philippians (both those Epistles being dated from Rome, and supposed to be [Page 4] written about the same time, when he was first there) that he had not yet attain'd, in point of the transforming knowledge of Christ, chap. 3. 10, 11. And unto what pitch soever he grew, it was still in order to communicati­on. He writes to the Cor­rinthians, that he determi­ned 1 Cor. 2. 2. to know nothing among them; which is so to know, as to make known, no­thing but Jesus Christ and him cruci­fy'd. And to the Ephesians, that he would have them Eph. 3. 4. understand, his knowledge in the Myste­ry of Christ; no doubt that their Sal­vation might be promoted thereby. And hereupon, in great part, depends a Minister's own Salvation; as here­after will further appear. But besides, he is to take heed to himself, and see to the good state of his own Soul; he is to take heed to his Doctrine, not to corrupt, or handle deceitfully the word of God, but represent it sincerely, and as the truth is in Jesus. He is to con­tinue in them, i. e. in the things he be­fore exhorts him to meditate on, and [Page 5] be wholly in them; to continue in the Faith, of what was to be believ­ed; and the Practice, of what was to be done; and in pressing and insisting on both. And all for the mentioned Ends, that he might both save himself, and those that hear him.

And it is this two-fold End of a Minister's Care, and Labour, that will take us up at this time. This is that therefore, which as God shall help, I am to evince and apply, viz.

Doct. That a Minister of Christ is to make it his business, both to save him­self, and his hearers.

I am, as the Text directs, to speak of these two Ends conjunctly: And here I stall not spend time, or use a a liberty, beyond what is obvious, and useful; in enquiring into the Coun­sel of God, why he makes use of such in order to the saving of others, as need to be saved themselves, also.

But shall principally insist, that since it appears to be God's pleasure to [Page 6] make use of such, they should, there­fore, most earnestly concern themselves, and be very intent upon carrying on this design; viz. of their own, con­junctly with that of their Hearers Sal­vation. Yet as to the former of these,

1. Somewhat it may be requisit to say, concerning this Course and Me­thod, which we find the Wisdom and Good-pleasure of God have pitch'd upon, for the carrying on a saving De­sign in this World; to make use of such for the saving of others, as do need to endeavour the saving of themselves. And here I shall briefly shew;

1. How it is to be understood.

2. How the fitness of this Course may be evinced.

As to the former we shall briefly note;

That we must be cautious to un­derstand aright, how, and in what sense any one can be said, to save him­self, or another. Therefore,

1. It must be understood so, as to keep at a remote and awful distance from intrenching upon a Divine Pre­rogative. [Page 7] It being most expresly said, Isa. 43. 11. I, even I, am the Lord, and besides me there is no Saviour: and Chap. 45. 21, 22. There is no God be­side me, a just God, and a Saviour, there is none beside me. Look to me, and be ye saved all the ends of the Earth: for I am God, and there is none else. Which plainly signifies, that in the highest sense, to save, is most appropriate to Deity, especially, with an everlasting Salvation, as 'tis express'd, v. 17. of this Chap. 45. Israel shall be saved, in or by the Lord, with an everlasting Sal­vation. And that to be so a Saviour, is equally incommunicable, as to be God.

How gloriously doth he triumph in this excellent peculiarity of the God­head, in his Expostulations with Job, Chap. 40. 9. Hast thou an arm like God! q. d. ‘Come let us compare; stretch out that weak withered ulcerous Arm of thine. Deck thy self now with Majesty and Excellency, array thy self with Glory and Beauty; try if thou canst make thy self shine in God-like splendor: Cast abroad the [Page 8] Rage of thy Wrath: behold every one that is proud and abase him. Try thy power upon thy fellow mortals. See if thou canst crush all the haugh­ty ones of this World, bring them down, and bind their Faces in the Dust of the Grave. And (to recall thee to the greater things mention'd before) try if thou canst form me such another Earth as this, establish its Foundations, lay its corner Stone. If thou canst countermand the Moti­ons, bind up the Influences of the Stars in the Heavens.’ Then will I confess unto thee, that thy own right-hand can save thee, vers. 14. It is, it seems, as much above created Power to be a Saviour, as to be the Creator or Ruler of the World.

And how should we dread to think of usurping the Title and Office of the great Emanuel, the Saviour, who is therefore call'd JESUS, because he was to save his People from their sins, Matth 1. 21.

2. Yet there is a true sense wherein the saving Act and Power, are other­wise, [Page 9] and very variously ascrib'd. Some­times to Faith, Luk. 7. 50. Thy Faith hath saved thee; sometimes to Hope, We are saved by Hope, Rom. 8. 24. some­times to Baptism, 1 Pet. 3. 21. Baptism doth also now save us, not the putting a­way the filth of the flesh, &c. sometimes to Husbands and Wives in reference to one another, 1 Cor, 7. 16. So is the Go­spel call'd the Gospel of our Salvation, Eph. 1. 13. And to you is the word of this Salvation sent, Act. 13. 26. So are we exhorted to save our selves, Act. 2. 40. and others, Jud. 23. Others save with fear.

Thus in lower matters, is the act, of Writing, for instance, ascribed to the Pen, to the Hand that uses it, and to the Writer himself, that moves both; and we have no difficulty to under­stand those different forms of Speech: Nor is there a greater difficulty in the present case; so to ascribe to the Crea­ture, the low subordinate Agency, which in distinct capacities may belong to it, as in the mean time to reserve to God and Christ the supream Agency, which is most peculiar and appropri­ate [Page 10] to Divine Power and Grace, 1 Pet. 1. 5. Eph. 2. 8.

2. We now come next to shew, That it was very manifestly agreeable to the most accurate Wisdom of God, to imploy such in the design and work of saving others, as were themselves concern'd, and needed to be saved too, that were to be upon the same bottom themselves with the rest; and to venture their own Souls, and their everlasting concernments the same way, and into the same Hands.

And this we shall labour to clear and make evident by degrees.

1. It was fit, since Creatures were to be employ'd in this work, to make use of Intelligent Creatures, such as could understand their own errand, and act with design in pursuance of it.

2. Mankind was universally lost, so as all do need being saved themselves.

3. Therefore no intelligent crea­tures else, could be employed herein, but the unfall'n Angels.

[Page 11] 4. We may adventure to say after God, and when he hath so determined the matter himself, though it was not fit for us to have said it before him, as if we would direct the Spirit of the Lord, or as his Counsellours would in­struct him, Isa. 40. Rom. 11. that it was more suitable to make use to this purpose of sinfull Men, than of sin­less Angels.

Let us sever and lay aside herein, what may at first sight, seem speci­ous, but is really not considerable in this matter, as that men, in the same miserable circumstances with those whom they are to perswade, that they may save them, will be so much the more earnest, and importunate, use so much the more pressing arguments, as having been upon the brink of hell, and the borders of destruction, for we sup­pose such as are most likely to pro­mote the salvation of others, to have been made sensible of their own un­done lost state, and to be in a way of recovery themselves. But hereupon it may also be supposed, they will [Page 12] therefore so much the more patheti­cally plead with sinners. Their know­ledge of the terrors of the Lord will urge them to perswade men, 2 Cor. 5. 11. and make them eloquent at it. But what? more than Angels? When the Apostle, 1 Cor. 13. supposes one speaking with the tongue of Men and Angels, doth he not intend a gradati­on, and signify the latter far to excel? And are we to suppose that the be­nignity of their own natures, their kindness to man, and their perfect conformity, and obediential compli­ance and subjection to the will of their sovereign Lord, would not have ob­lig'd them to do their uttermost, if he had sent them upon such errands? we cannot doubt it. But,

1. It is apparent that what the Blessed God doth in pursuance of this saving design, he doth to the praise of the glory of his grace, and that it might appear the more conspicuous, in the whole conduct of this affair.

2. That it is not within the com­pass of any created, no not of angeli­cal [Page 13] power, to change the hearts of men, and turn them to God. If An­gels were the constant Preachers in all our Assemblies, they could not with all their heavenly eloquence convert one sinner, if the immediate Divine Power did not exert it self. The Peo­ple are willing in the day of his Power, who was God-man, as Psal. 110. 3. The Jews at Mount Sinai received the Law by the Dispensation of Angels, yet kept it not, Act. 7. 53.

3. Yet if God should put forth his own power, by such a Ministration: If Angels should appear in glorious aray among us, and speak to men with greater advantage, and more perswasive eloquence, than we can conceive; and marvellous effects, by divine concurrence, should ensue; Those great effects, among a sort of creatures led by sense, and who judge by the sight of the eye, would all be ascribed to the visibly glorious Instru­ment, not to the supreme Agent, who is invisible and out of sight; even as in effects of another kind, the invisible [Page 14] Power and Godhead, that do all, are little regarded by stupid man, whose dull eye stays, and rests in the visible outside, and fixes his mind there too.

4. Therefore the rich treasures of the Gospel are put into earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power might be, i. e. might appear to be of God, and not of the inferiour Instrument, 2 Cor. 4. 7.

5. In this way of dispensation, wherein God speaks to men liable to the same passions with themselves, he accommodates himself to their frail state, who cannot bear glorious ap­pearances; and to their own option and desires, who say to Moses, Exod. 20. 19. Speak thou to us and we will hear, but let not God speak to us lest we die. When they had heard the sound of the trumpet, and the voice of words accompanied with thunders and lightenings, they entreated that they might hear no more, Heb. 12. 19. The celestial glory, while our mold and frame is dust, doth more astonish, [Page 15] than instruct. Those soft and plea­sant words, This is my beloved Son—hear him, spoken by a voice from the excellent glory in the Transfiguration, made the Disciples that heard them sore afraid, and fall on their faces, Matt. 17.

How would it unhinge the world, and discompose the whole state of ci­vil affairs if all conversions were to be as Saul's was, when he became Paul, with such concomitant effects, not only on himself, but all others present, especially being wrought (as most Conversions may be) in nume­rous Assemblies, the Convert struck blind for some days, and all that were in the place, speechless! Perhaps we have one such instance to let us see how inconvenient it were, such in­stances should be common; or that this should be God's ordinary way of converting, and saving sinners.

6. The holding of men in this world under the ministery of Men, not of Angels, in reference to the affairs of their Salvation, is certainly more su­table [Page 16] to the condition of Probationers; for eternity, and another world; and more aptly subservient to the business of the Judgment-day, when all the talents men were entrusted with, their natural endowments, and faculties, as well as additional advantages, are to be accounted for. We shall here­after understand better, but may, in good measure, conjecture now, why there is so fix'd a gulf by the Wis­dom and Counsel of God, between the two Worlds, the visible, and the invisible, and so little commerce be­tween them.

And whereas in the Old Testament, the apparition of Angels was more frequent, that passage, the world to come, being said, not to be put in sub­jection to Angels, seems to signify the time after the Messiah's appearing should be more entirely left to the conduct of a Gospel-ministery, as the connection, Heb. 2. vers. 4, 5. inti­mates.

7. And tho' the compassions of men, who have been in danger to pe­rish [Page 17] themselves, cannot be supposed more powerfully to influence them, unto an earnest endeavour of saving them that are in the like danger, than the kindness and benignity of Angels would do, if they were so employ'd; yet their concern to save others, who are also to be saved themselves the same way, is likely, more easily, more generally, more sensibly, to be ap­prehended by those others, to whom they are to apply themselves, upon this account. They have kinder thoughts of one another, than they are like to have of a superiour order of creatures. Their own flesh and bloud, is nearer akin to them. Yea they are more apt to love one another (and consequently to apprehend one ano­thers love) than the Blessed God him­self. Which is more than intimated in that of that II. Apostle, 1 Joh. 4. 20. He that loveth not his Brother, whom he hath seen, how shall he love God, whom he hath not seen? Things af­fect us, not meerly as they are, but as they are understood. Ministers can­not [Page 18] be kinder to mens Souls, than the Blessed Angels, among whom there is a joy for the conversion of a sin­ner, much more pure, exalted, and sublime, than an humane breast is ca­pable of, and in proportion, more servent desire of such conversions: But their propensions towards us, tho' they should be expressed by Counsels and Precepts that tend to our good, would be less apprehended by most men; they carrying a severity with them, which makes them need such insinuative recommendations, as slide more easily into their minds, from crea­tures of their own Order.

8. Our Lord himself was so con­cern'd for the saving of Souls, as who could be besides? But tho' before the Floud he is said to have preached to the Old world, 'twas, by his Spirit, in the Ministery of Noah, a Man like themselves, to whom he preach't. But when he thought sit to preach immediately himself, he put on flesh; and dwelt, or did tabernacle, among men as one of them, Joh. 1. 14. So [Page 19] Moses foretold. A Prophet like to me shall God raise up, Acts 3. 22. from Deut. 18. him shall you hear. So his terrour was not to make us a­fraid. And tho' his compassionateness towards us is argued from his being tempted, and compas't with infirmities, as we are, that Heb. 4. & 5. cannot be understood, as if hereby he became more gracious and mercifull towards us in himself; but his being so, was the more apprehensible to us.

9. The steadiness of the Course God hath taken in this matter, shews, what his Judgment was of the fitness of it; who doth all things according to the counsel of his will, Eph. 1. 11. 'Tis observable, that when our Lord was now about to ascend, he fixes a Ministery that he promises his Pre­sence unto, always, or every day, unto the end of the world, Matt. 28. 19, 20. Ascending on high he gave (among o­ther) these gifts to men, (even to the rebellious, Psal. 68.) Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, Teachers, Eph. 4. 8,—11. And that he might [Page 20] put an honour upon this Ministery, when he designed the Gospel to be preached to Cornelius, and his Rela­tives; tho' he prepares Peter, by a Vision, and sends an Angel to Corneli­us, 'twas not to preach to him, but to direct him to send for Peter, to preach to him and his; who tells him, when he fell at his feet, I also am a man, Act. 10. We are humane Prea­chers, tho' from a divine Master and Lord; and of a divine Word.

2. But now the Mind, and Coun­sel of God being sufficiently evident in this matter, both in the fact, and in the fitness of it, to make use of such, for promoting the common salvation, as do need themselves to partake there­in; we come now to shew, That the Ministers of the Gospel of Christ, ought to be very intent upon the business of their own salvation, conjunctly, with that of them that hear them; and of theirs with their own.

There is a double obligation meeting upon a Minister of the Gospel; that of the Law of Nature, and of the Law of his [Page 21] Office; he is to comply with both. Nature obliges him to intend his own Salvation; his Office, theirs that hear him. The same Authority lays him under the one obligation, and the o­ther. For he that is the Author of Na­ture, is the Author of his Office too.

1. He ought so to mind the concern of his Peoples Salvation, as not to neg­lect his own. This is so evident in it self, that it would be supersluous to speak to it, were it not that we, as well as they to whom we preach, do need to be put in remembrance of very important things, tho' we know them, 2 Pet. 1. 12. To know, and to consider, we not only may distinguish, but do, too often, separate. And there are di­vers things to be considered to this purpose.

1. That the Royal Law, as 'tis call'd, Jam. 2. 8. which requires us to love our Neighbour as ones self, makes love to our selves; i. e. not meerly which we bear, but which we owe to our selves, the measure of that which we ought to have for our Neighbour. And that [Page 22] which ought to be the measure in any kind, should be the most perfect in that kind; and must oblige us to love first, our most noble self, our own Souls.

2. 'Tis gross hypocrisy to seem ear­nestly intent upon saving other men, and to be neglectfull of ones own Sal­vation. 'Tis sin only which endangers both; meant by the mote and the beam, Matt. 7. 3, 4, 5. And our Saviour, we see there, stigmatizes such a one, with the brand of an hypocrite, that is offi­cious to take out the mote from his bro­ther's eye, but never concerns himself to cast out the beam from his own eye.

3. 'Tis a scandalous and an ignomi­nious absurdity, as the Apostle's sharp expostulations imply, Rom. 2. 19, 20, 21, 22. to take upon ones self to be a guide to the blind, a light to them that are in darkness, to take up with having a form of knowledge, and of the truth in the Law; and to teach others, and not to teach ones self! Preachest thou (as he adds) A man should not steal? and dost thou steal? Thou that sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost [Page 23] thou commit adultery? Thou that ab­horrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege? Thou that maketh thy boast of the Law, by breaking the Law dishonourest thou God? This is that which makes the name of God be blasphem'd among the Gentiles; as he tells us 'tis written, re­ferring to some Texts in the Old Te­stament, Ezek. 16. 47,—52. Ch. 36. 22. 'Tis a blackening thing when it can be said, I was keeper of the vine­yards, but my own vineyard have I not kept, Cant. 1. 6. Our Lord speaks of it as a reproachfull Proverb, which he, knowing the hearts of men, observed some were apt to misapply to him, Luke 4. (noted to have been in use among the Greeks, and which, with that Empire, had reach't Judaea) Phy­sician, heal thy self. It would be very opprobrious to us, who are in the Mi­nistry, if it could be truly said to us, we seem concern'd at the diseasedness that appears in our flocks, but over­look the diseases, and distempers of our own Souls. That was meant for a bitter reproach to our Lord, dying [Page 24] upon the Cross; He saved others, himself he cannot save. To us, if it might be truly said, it must be a just reproach, as well as bitter; our saving our selves being our duty enjoyn'd us, and tending to the saving of others; whereas our Lords saving himself, in the sense intended by those Scoffers, was against the Law he was, then un­der; and against his own design; tending to overthrow it, and leave them to perish, whom he was dying to save.

4. The observable neglect of the design to save our own Souls, would defeat and destroy the other design of saving theirs that hear us. For who can think us serious in our preaching, or that we believe our selves, in what we say; if we manifestly decline, our selves, that way of salvation, which we propose to others? we tempt men to Infidelity, if we live like Infidels.

It was a cutting Repartee, made by an Atheistical person, to one, that lea­ding an ill life, yet profest to wonder, that the other, the Arguments for a [Page 25] Deity being so plain and cogent, did not own there was a God; The other reply'd he much more wonder'd, that he who did own him, should yet live as he did! This tends to overthrow all our preaching. Tho' our Saviour di­rects, to do as they said, who sate in Moses's chair, not as they did; because they said and did not: Yet he did not thereby justify those self-repugnant Teachers; for his reflection upon them is sufficiently severe. And we are to consider in the case, not meerly what man's duty is, but what their dispositions are. Not what they ought, but what they are apt, to do. If they think we do but act a part, when we speak never so movingly to them, they will be little mov'd by all that we can say. They will be more apt to con­clude, that we who have studied, and searched into the matters of Religion, more than they have done; have found some flaw at the bottom, and perceive the very Foundations of it to be infirm; and therefore practice not according to the Doctrines, and Rules [Page 26] of it. But that for our gain, because it was the Calling we were bred to, and we know not how else to live, we are content, and some way constrain'd, to keep up the forms, we found in use; and maintain them, that they may maintain us.

5. Yet when it shall be found, as upon strict enquiry it cannot but be, that the Foundations of Religion, are more firm than those of Heaven and Earth, how dismal will it be to have preach't to others, and our selves to be cast-aways? 1 Cor. 9. 27. For as, by loose, licentious walking, we hazard other mens Souls, which we should endeavour to save; so we, more cer­tainly, lose our own. God may save them, some other way, and by other, more apt Instruments; but we have little reason to expect that we shall save our own; either while we design it not, (as if we were to be saved by chance) or, much less, if we counter­act any such design. Which we may, most destructively, by that single In­stance, which the Apostle, in that [Page 27] last mentioned place, refers to; an indulg'd intemperance; or not keep­ing our bodies in subjection; in ser­vitude, or in a serviceable temper, as the word [...] imports; to sub­due them into the state of Servants; wherein, rather than fail, one would use the severity which this other word [...] there signifies. It is plain that if we live after the flesh we must die, Rom. 8. 13. There is one Law for Ministers and People. And it is only by the spirit, we are so to morti­fy the deeds of the flesh, that we may live. How dismal when a Minister's own breath poisons him! When the very Gospel which he prea­ches is a deadly odour 2 Cor. 2. 16. to himself! how horrid when a Shepherd is the Leader of [...]. the Epicurean Herd!

6. But if by neglecting visibly the Gospel-way of saving himself, he not only hazard, but actually destroy o­ther mens Souls, together with his own, he then perishes, under a much heavier load of guilt, than another [Page 28] man can, that was not under his obli­gations. As his obligation was double, so is his guilt. When sinfull, vicious inclination, hath depraved his mind, put out the eye of his practical under­standing, so that the blind leads the blind, both fall into the ditch; but he falls much the deeper, having the o­thers destruction charg'd upon him, together with his own. Such Teach­ers as bind heavy burdens for others, which they will not touch fall under an aggravated woe. And the case is the same, with them that prepare, and set before their Hearers, the most nu­tritive and delectable fare, which they will not tast. And for that Reason, perhaps, the People will not feed on them, because the Preachers themselves too evidently, appear, to have no tast or relish of them.

2. The Ministers of Christ ought to conjoyn the serious design, and earnest endeavour, of saving them that hear them, with the design, and endeavour of saving themselves. They are not to be so bound up within themselves, as [Page 29] only to mind their own things, tho' of this most noble kind.

1. The Law of Nature obliges them to it. Which extends its obligation, as far as humane nature extends. And must therefore include them with the rest of Mankind, under the same com­mon notion: viz. them, who are Mini­sters, not as they are such; for nature hath not made them Ministers; but as they are Men. Whom the Royal Law, mention'd before, requires to love their neighbour as themselves: and therefore to seek anothers felicity; not be­fore, but as their own. We are taught to count it an unnatural barbarity, when we see any prest and pincht by bodily wants, and miseries, to hide our selves from our own flesh, Isa. 58. 7. How much more, if we see immortal Souls in danger to be lost and perish, that are of the same make, and capaci­ty, with our own!

2. The Law of Christ as such, obli­ges Christians to the same thing. Which is not, in this instance, there­fore, a divers Law, but hath a diffe­rent [Page 30] stamp, and impress, as being the Law of the Kingdom of God in Christ. We are to bear one anothers burdens, so fulfilling the Law of Christ, Gal. 6. 2. What so weighty a burden can there be upon any man as this, the impor­tance of his eternal salvation? And which is plainly here referr'd to, when we are required to endeavour the re­storing of such as have been overta­ken, and lapsed into sin; by which the precious Soul is hurt, and endan­gered, should they be left to sink un­der such a burden. Christians are elsewhere, required to have compassion on such as they see in such danger, to save them with fear, and pull them as firebrands out of the fire, Jud. 23. These are obligations common to Mi­nisters with others. But,

3. The Law of their own Office, lays upon them an obligation, peculiar, as such, to themselves. What serves their Office for, but this; as the principal end and design of it? What is it meant for? but to gather in Souls to Christ; and confirm them in him, because there [Page 31] is salvation in no other, nor is there any other name given among men by which any can be saved, Act. 4. They are the Messengers of the glad tidings of peace. Their business is so well known, even in hell it self, that a Spirit from thence speaks it out, These are the Servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of Salvation: i. e. to humane creatures, of whom the possessed person was one, Acts 16. 17.

4. They are obliged by the example of their Blessed Master. Our Lord Jesus himself, the Primary Saviour by Office; whom they are both to imi­tate, and to serve in this mercifull design. Christians are so far to imi­tate them as they do Christ, 1 Cor. 11. 1. which implies their obligation to imi­tate him, as the word there used, signifies. The great Sal­vation, which none that neg­lect, [...] can escape vengeance, began to be spoken by the Lord himself, then by them that heard him, and so on; by others that succeed in the same Office. This is following Christ in the way of [Page 32] imitation, as in the mentioned place. And we are required to have the same mind in us, which was in Christ, Phil. 2. 5. and are told wherein, v. 6, 7, 8. which read over at leisure, and consi­der what was that deep humiliation and suffering for? but the salvation of Souls. And consider that this is said, as to the Saints at Philippi, so parti­cularly to the Bishops and Deacons there; which shews their common and their special obligation both together. And now can we behold with what compassions, and in what agonies, e­ven unto blood, our blessed Lord pur­sued this design, and not feel a con­straint in our spirits, in our lower sphere, and capacity, to serve it also to our uttermost!

5. They are obliged by the peculiar advantages they have for this work, and those they expect by it.

1. They have special advantages, for it, from their very Calling, being sepa­rated to the Gospel; taken off from o­ther business, to give themselves (as in this Context) wholly to this. They [Page 33] are supposed therefore, to know more of the concernments of Souls; of the terrors of the Lord, 2 Cor. 5. 11. whence, therefore, they are to perswade men; of the nature of Sin, and how it entang'es mens Spirits; of the wiles of Satan, and how he waits for advanta­ges to destroy them; of the foundati­ons of Religion, and by what Arts they are endeavour'd to be subverted, or shaken: and by what means and me­thods, they are to be demonstrated, and establisht. Of the Mysteries of the Gospel of Christ, and how they are to be unfolded; to have more special as­sistances from Heaven, in their work, according as they faithfully mind it: Christ's promised presence, therein, even to the end These are Talents, with o­thers, tending to the obtaining of these, which they are to be accounta­ble for. And hereby they are strong­ly oblig'd, with their own, to intend earnestly the Salvation of other mens Souls.

2. They expect great advantages by it. That, since nothing is more grate­full [Page 34] to our Lord Christ, than the pro­gress of this saving work, he will bountifully reward them that faithful­ly serve him in it. That if they be stedfast and immovable, abounding in this work of the Lord (as he hath not a greater, now in doing, in this world) their labour, in him, shall not be in vain. They shall hear from him, well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord. If they turn many to Righteousness (or endeavour it with sincere minds) they shall shine as Stars in the Firmament. And in the mean time, the honour, and the pleasure, of serving that mighty Redeemer, and lo­ver of Souls, in so glorious a design, have in them a very excellent reward; and which cannot but be esteem'd such, by a right mind.

6. They are oblig'd by the exigency of their own case. They cannot, as that is stated, neglect the design of sa­ving other mens Souls, without for­feiting their own. If they warn them not, over whom, as Watchmen they are set, they perish, but their bloud will be [Page 35] requir'd at their hands. it is a mighty trust they stand charg'd with, which if they discharge not, they are liable to Accusation, and Condemnation, as false, and faithless Servants; perfidious to the Souls of men; traiterous to the King of Kings—whose Interest they will have betray'd, being his Agents, and Ministers, in his Kingdom of Grace; about the prosperous state of which Kingdom, with the successful progress of the Affairs of it, he is most deeply concern'd.

And now from this conjunct consi­deration of these two great ends, which a Minister of Christ is to propound to himself. I might proceed to consider them severally, and a part; but this the case doth not require, it being easie to sever what hath been said to the one and the other; nor do our limits al­low it.

We, therefore, go on to the (more necessary) Use of the whole. To this purpose, we collect,

1. That this World is universally in a very miserable state. For it is the bu­siness [Page 36] of Christ's Ministers, to endea­vour, both, The Salvation of them that hear them, and their own.

1. The Salvation of them that hear them. This is very indefinite. Let who will be the hearers, they are supposed to be such as need to be saved. The Object of their Ministry is all Nations, and every Creature, viz. that is, or shall be, capable of being taught the way of Salvation. Therefore all Na­tions are delug'd by the destructive e­vils, from which they are to be saved. And the world is every where inhabi­ted by miserable Creatures. We are told, that sin and death have pass'd up­on all men, Rom. [...]. 12. And all the ends of the Earth are invited to look unto God in Christ (as the application of this Context, Phil. 2. shews) that they may be saved, Isa. 15. 22. where­as, [...] we, the Ministers of the Go­spel of Salvation, wheresoever they can obtain to be heard, are to endeavour the Salvation of their Hearers, it shews, they can speak to none, who stand not in need of saving Mercy.

[Page 37] 2. And that they are also to save themselves as well as them that hear them, more fully shews the absolute universality of the ruin that hath be­fal'en this World; that there are, a­mong men, none to be found, that may be employ'd in saving others, but who are of the lost, themselves, and, so far, drown'd in the c [...]mm [...]n deluge of perdition, and destruction, as to need his help, as well as the rest, who came to seek and save them who are lost; and to stretch out to him craving hands, with, that crying voice, Lord, save us, we perish.

2. The common stupidity of this wretch­ed World, is, hereupon, most observable, and amazing▪ that so few such cries are sent up to Heaven! Men are involv'd in a common Ruine; overtures are made to them of a common Salvation; but they are in reference hereto, destitute of com­mon sense, i. e of such sense as is com­mon, in less important cases. Their misery lies in their having lost God; but little do they apprehend this loss. Amidst their other miseries, they cry [Page 38] out, when some that are mightier op­press others, but none says, Where is God my Maker, Job 35. 9, 10. The Lord looks down from Heaven, upon the chil­dren of men, to see if any will understand, and seek after God: but they are every one gone back; or are in an averse po­sture, none doth this good, no, not one, Psal. 14. and 53. None, till he give an effectual touch to their drowsie Spi­rits; and say, inwardly, and vitally, to their Hearts, seek ye my face, so as to make their Hearts answer, Thy face, Lord, will we seek. Preventing Grace doth this, Psal. 27. 8. otherwise they feel no need of God, they miss him not, are content to be without him in the world; yea, say to him, depart from us. Distance from him is chosen, and desired. From him, whose off-spring we are, who is the Father of Spirits, their Parent, their Life, their Blessed­ness; of whom they are, and to whom, if they tend not, they cannot but be miserable. It is the Salvation of the Soul that is the end of Faith, 1 Pet. 1. 9. that Faith by which we are to come to God, [Page 39] believing that he is, and will be, the re­warder of them that diligently seek him; being redeemed to God, by the bloud of his Son, Rev. 5. 9. And who suffered once, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God, 1 Pet. 3. 18. and who upon his suffering, intercedes, for the same pur­pose; and is able to save to the utter­most them that come to God by him, be­cause he ever lives to make intercession for them.

But this Salvation of the Soul, this coming to God, or redemption by Christ, and his intercession thereupon, who looks after? neither the end, the Sal­vation of their Souls, coming back to God; nor his Method for attaining this end, are regarded, or so much as thought on. To have this Flesh saved from any thing that is grievous to it, every one covets, and endeavours, in vain. It must, however, rot in the Dust, and be, in the mean time, a prey to Worms. Its own Father, Mother, and Sister, will devour it, Job 17. 14. The Father of their Spirits would save, and satisfy [Page 40] them, but him they shun, and will not know.

Who that observes how men spend their days, even under the Gospel, which makes their time a day of Grace, wherein they should be working out their Salvation, can think they have any concern to be saved? Their life is continual trifling, some pass their days in mirth and jollity; doth this signify any sense of misery, or fear of perishing, and that destruction from the Almighty is a terrour to them? These are not more idle, than others are idly busie, to get Estates, and a Name on Earth; but what is this to their being saved? They are liable to the com­mon, more sensible, miseries of life, and they are without God; but this is no misery with them. This misery is their element, and burdens them not. Were their present case, and future dan­ger, in this respect apprehended, and felt, how full of outcries would this World be; O we are lost, and perishing! Such cries would ring through the Earth, and pierce Heaven! But the [Page 41] same carnality that is death, and makes them miserable, Rom. 8. 6. makes them stupid too, and insensible of their misery.

And are these reasonable Souls, in­telligent, immortal Minds and Spirits, that are thus stupify'd! turn'd into such Clods, and Stones! O deplorable case! Methinks such an Office, set up in the World, of men that are to save their own, and other mens Souls, should make them consider, and bethink themselves, what is it for? It must have had an original; and so, it hath a Divine Aspect; a tast of Heaven upon it, and must have an end, suitable to the Wis­dom, and Grace of Heaven, which claims to be entertain'd otherwise, than with neglect, and contempt!

And indeed, this leads to take no­tice more expressly, in a further Infe­rence.

3. That there is a saving design on foot in the World. Set a foot by the Blessed God himself. Otherwise in so great a ruine as is come upon this wretched World, what could it signi­fie? [Page 42] for any man, to offer at saving ei­ther himself or others?

How vain an attempt were it! for a­ny man, out of so deep and horrid a gulf, of impurity, misery, darkness and death, to think of lifting up him­self, and of plucking up others as high as Heaven! This intimation, carries hope with it. It is a Voice from Hea­ven to such as are so imploy'd, as Timo­thy was: O save thy self, and as many as thou canst besides. It takes away all pretence for despair. God puts not men upon vain attempts. A lively hope ought to spring from hence. And we are saved by hope, Rom. 8. 24. As without Hope no man would ever de­sign for Salvation, or any thing else. Hope is the Engine that moves the World, keeps the intelligent part of it, in action, every where. No man could rationally stir in pursuit of any design, whereof he despair'd. But as to other designs, mens hopes are common­ly self-sprung, and end in shame. But when one can say, Lord, thy word hath caused me to hope. Thou hast put me [Page 43] upon aiming to be saved, and to save others, it speaks this to be a just and a hopefull undertaking. I will there­fore set about working out my own sal­vation (and with my own, other mens, as far as is within my compass) ex­pecting he will graciously set in with me, and work in order hereto, to will, and to doe, of his own good pleasure, without which, all mine will be lost labour.

4. We further collect, That the Blessed God is most intent upon this de­sign.

That which this supposes, and that which it imports, speaks him intent. It supposes he hath appointed a Sovereign Saviour set over this work; otherwise, there could be none subordinate.

It imports, he hath settled an Office on purpose. Made it some mens special business, to intend (as every one ought) his own salvation, and with­all, to give himself up to this great work, the saving all he can.

An Office set up for the saving of Souls, ought to be a great thing in [Page 44] our eyes; and is a standing testimony for God, how willing he is men should come to the knowledge of the truth and be saved.

5. They that bear this Office should be highly honoured for their works sake.

For how glorious an employment is it, to be instrumental to Salvation! To be, in any kind, Saviours. I could tell you of some great Princes, in the Pagan world, that to their o­ther splendid Titles, have had the ad­dition, of Soter, a Saviour; as to some other, the Destroyer of Cities, hath been given as a name of reproach. And you do know who hath the name of Apollyon, or Abaddon. Rev. 9. 11

6. It highly magnifies the Wisedom, Power, and Sovereignty of God, that he can, and will, make use of so mean In­struments, for so high and glorious a pur­pose. For what end and purpose can be greater, than the Recovery, and Salvation of Souls, so deformed, mi­serable, and lost, as the Souls of men, universally, were? And what Instru­ments could be meaner, or more vile, [Page 45] than such as needed to be saved them­selves, with the same Salvation? That God should make use of them who were darkness, Eph. 5. 8. to enlighten the world Matt. 5. 14. of such as were but sinfull flesh, Joh. 3. 6. to be able Ministers of the spirit, 2 Cor. 3. 6. of such as had minds that were cumity against God, Rom. 8. 7. to reconcile men to him! 2 Cor. 5. 20. These are some of the wonders he works among the children of men. When he hath con­verted some to use them (first for the converting of others, and then) for the strengthening of their converted brethren.

7. The Ministers of Christ are to be examples to them over whom they are set. They are to be so in the beginning of their course, in their first turn to God, tho' then, in a more passive sense, that I might be a patern, &c. saith the Apostle, 1 Tim. 1. 16. and in their after-course; as in this Context, v. 12. Be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, &c. They must be Leaders in the whole way of Salvati­on, from first to last.

[Page 46] 8. Pride, in the Ministers of the Gospel, and in them that live under a Gospel-Ministery, is a most monstrous absurdity: For what are we all of us, but a company of wretched creatures, just perishing, and only (at the best) but in the way of being saved! What have such to be proud of!

9. Both Christ's Ministers, and their Flocks, are under the greatest obligation imaginable unto union. For their case is one and the same; their miseries were the same, their dangers the same. They must all have the same Saviour, the same way of salvation, and the same end; the same state of salvation, which all the nations of the saved are to be brought to at last, Rev. 21. 24.

10. 'Tis an unquestionable thing, that salvation is to be designed for, by all sorts. Ministers must aim to save them­selves, and their hearers. And is the Minister to design his Peoples salvati­on, and not they, their own! They have mean thoughts of Salvation that stumble here, as if they were only to [Page 47] be saved from hell-flames! but to be saved from sin that makes us unlike God! to have his Image, and his Love perfected in us, to be with the rest of the elect, partakers of salvation, with eternal glory, is that mean? 2 Tim. 2. 10.

11. The Ministers of the Gospel must, sometime, or other, be taken away from their work. It is time, a limited du­ration, within which their work and business lies, for the saving themselves and those that hear them. They are to save themselves. This end they are to pursue; and it must sometime be attain'd. They are not alwaies to la­bour, and never rest: sometime, they are to receive the fruit of this their Labour, and the end of their Faith, the salvation of their Souls. As more time passes, their salvation draws nea­rer than when they believed; they are not always to be in saving, and never saved. In mercy to them, God will translate them; and may it not be in judgment to many, whom they earnest­ly laboured to save, but who rejected [Page 48] their counsels, and strove against their own Salvation! That they may not, always, labour in vain, for themselves, and because they have laboured in vain for many others, they must be with­drawn from their hard and toilsome labour, and enter into rest.

12. The loss is great, and grievous, beyond all expression, above all our la­mentation, when such are taken away as have made it their business, to save themselves, and those that heard them. In their endeavour to save themselves, they have been great examples. In their endeavour to save others, they may have been great Instruments, of much saving good to many a Soul. How few are they that drive such designs! how fast doth their number decrease! How fitly may we take up that of the Psalmist, when the godly man ceases, and the faithful fail from among the children of men? And what could be said with greater Pathos, I sal. 12. 1. Help, Lord, as in a common Ruine; help, help, for God's sake, help, Lord, help! My Friends, are you not sensible [Page 49] you have lost such a one, even while you are not yet sav'd! while you yet need to be working out your Salvation! The effectually called, 'tis true, are saved, 2 Tim. 1. 9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling.—And (which is, in substance, the same thing) the Regenerate are saved: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but of his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and the re­newing of the H. Ghost; Tit. 3. 5.

But, if this were the case of you all, how much yet remains to be done, in order to your full, and consummate Sal­vation! You have yet mighty diffi­culties to overcome. A body of death, which you are not yet delivered from. For are not these some of your groans, in reference to it, O, who shall deliver us? A World, full of troubles, and snares. Your adversary the Devil, that goes about seeking whom he may de­vour: All the Principalities and Pow­ers of the Kingdom of Darkness, that you are to contend with, and with whom you are to dispute every step [Page 50] of your way to Heaven. And do you not need such a Leader, in that way?

And if any are fall'n into drowsie Slumbers, do you not need his awaken­ing Ministry? If dead, how often hath the blessed Spirit breathed life into you, by his quickening Ministry? How often hath God us'd him, to enlighten you, when you have been in the dark; to clear up the great Doctrines of the Gospel, when you have not distinctly understood them? to establish you in the Faith, when you have wavered, to resolve you in matters of practice, when you have been in doubt, to en­courage you in your fears and faintings, to comfort you, in your sadness, and sorrows! I wonder not that there are many weeping Eyes, and should much wonder, if there be not many aking, trembling Hearts among you, for what you have lost, and from an apprehen­sion, how hard, and, almost, hopeless it is, your loss should be soon, or e­qually supply'd.

He was long in preparing, and form­ing, [Page 51] to be what he was when you lost him.

His Station among you in this Neigh­bourhood, when first he undertook the Pastoral Charge of this Church over which the Holy Ghost made him over­seer, requir'd a man of as much Wis­dom and Grace, as any such Station could well be supposed to do. Consi­dering how numerous, how intelli­gent, and well instructed a People, he was to take the care of. I well re­member, that about 3 or 4 and 40 years ago, being desir'd to give some help, on a Lord's-day, to that eminent Servant of Christ, Mr. Greenhill, whose praise is still, in all the Churches, I then first heard him preach; and (if my Memory fail not) he had about that time in hand, some part of that excellent Discourse, of the Almost Chri­stian; I had then the opportunity of be­ginning an acquaintance with him.

His excellent good natural Parts, his ingenuous Education, his Industry, his early Labours in preaching the Gospel of Christ, in his native Country, in the [Page 52] City, and in this place. His Conjuncti­on̄ and Society, for some years, with that excellent Servant of God before named; above all, the gracious assi­stances he had from Heaven, gave him great advantages, to be a Minister of Christ, approved unto God, a Workman that needed not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

And his multiply'd years, unto the 70th, with the continual addition thereby, to the rich Treasury of his Experiences, still improv'd him more and more: So that there being no de­cay of his natural Endowments, and a continual increase, of his Supernatural; you had the best of him, at last, where­by, indeed, your loss was the greater, but your obligation was also the great­er, that God continu'd to you the en­joyment of him so long: and that in a serviceable state. But when he could be no longer serviceable in his stated, delightful work, it was by the decay, not of the inward, but the outward man; so that when he could preach to you, and converse with you no longer, he [Page 53] could earnestly, and servently pray for you, to the end. And God did not afflict you, by leaving, long among you, only the shadow, the outside of the man, and of such a man!

He took little pleasure in embroiling himself, or his Hearers, in needless, and fruitless Controversies. The great, substantial, Doctrines of the Gospel, were his principal study, and delight; such as lay nearest the Vitals, and the very Heart of Religion, and Godliness; and most directly tending to the saving them that heard him. The Subjects which he chose to insist upon, from time to time, in the course of his Mi­nistry, shew'd, as to this, his Spirit, and Design. Having formed, from the H. Scriptures, that Scheme of Thoughts which satisfy'd him, and gave him a clear ground, whereupon to preach the Gospel, with an unrecoiling Heart, he lov'd not to discompose it. His Judg­ment, in things which had that re­ference, being constantly moderate, and unexceptionably sound; remote from rigorous, and indesensible ex­tremities, [Page 54] on the one hand, and the other.

Hereupon he drove at his mark, without diversion; not so much aim­ing to proselyte Souls to a Party, as to Christ. And to engage men, as much as in him lay, to be sound and thorough Christians. Hitherto tended his Sermons, from Year, to Year. The great Subject he had in hand, and which he left unfinish'd, when God took him off from his publick work, was mani­festly pointed this way, viz. Of the Covenant of God in Christ. And his annual course, of preaching a Ser­mon on May-day, to Young Men, had the same manifest scope, and aim, with which his publick Labours were concluded. God so ordering it, that his last Sermon, was this Year, on that day.

His Judgment in reference to mat­ters of Church Order, was for Union, and Communion of all visible Christi­ans, viz. of such as did visibly hold the Head, as to the principal credenda, and agenda, of Christianity. The great [Page 55] things belonging to the Faith, and Practice of a Christian, so as nothing be made necessary to Christian Com­munion but what Christ hath made ne­cessary; or what is indeed necessary to one's being a Christian: What he publickly essay'd to this purpose, the World knows. And many more pri­vate endeavours and strugglings of his, for such an Union I have not been un­acquainted with. The unsuccessful­ness of which endeavours, he said, not long before his last confinement, he thought would break his Heart. He ha­ving openly, among divers persons, and with great earnestness, sometime before, exprest his consent to some Proposals, which if the Parties con­cern'd, had agreed in the desire of the thing it self, must unavoidably have inferr'd such an Union, without preju­dice to their Principles; and on such terms, as must have extended it much further; else it had signify'd little. But this must be effected, as is too ap­parent, not by meer humane endea­vour, but by an Almighty Spirit [Page 56] pour'd forth, which (after we have suffered a while) shall [...], put us into joynt, and make every joynt know its place in the Body, 1 Pet. 5. 10. Shall conquer private Interests and Inclinations, and over-awe mens Hearts by the Authority of the Divine Law; which now, how express so­ever it is, little availeth, against such prepossessions. Till then Chri­stianity will be (among us) a languish­ing, withering thing. When the sea­son comes, of such an effusion of the Spirit from on high, there will be no Parties. And a midst the Wilderness-Desolation that cannot but be, till that season comes, it matters little, and signifies to me scarce one straw, what Party of us is uppermost. The most righteous (as they may be vogu'd) will be but as Briars, and scratching Thorns; and it is better to suffer by such, than be of them.

In the mean time, it is a mark of God's heavy displeasure, when persons of so healing Spirits are taken away. And if it awaken any of us, that will [Page 57] tend to prepare us for the effects of it, which Preparation, seems a thing more to be hoped, than prevention.

But this worthy Servant of Christ sees not the woful day, whatever of it he might foresee. His removal makes, to many, indeed, a woful day, and that, all about him, did long foresee. He was long languishing, and even dying daily. But amidst surrounding death, as a Relation told me, there was no appearance of any the least Cloud upon his Spirit, that obscured the evidences of his Title to a Blessed Eternity. Being asked how he did, he said, Going home, as every honest man ought, when his work is done. He was much in admiring God's Mercies un­der his afflicting hand, saying, every thing on this side Hell is Mercy. That the Mercies he received were greater than his Burthens, tho' in themselves grievous. That he rested upon that promise, that his Father would lay no more upon him than he would enable him to bear. That he expected to be saved only by the Righteousness of Christ im­puted [Page 58] to him. Tho' he well under­stood, as I had sufficient reason to know, that Christ's Righteousness is never imputed to any, but where, if the Subject be capable, there is an in­herent Righteousness also, that is no cause of our Salvation, but the Cha­racter of the saved. And having be­fore precaution'd some as were about him, not to be surpriz'd, if he went away suddenly, he repeated the Eja­culation, Come, Lord Jesus, come quick­ly; and renewing the former caution, by saying, Remember what I said before; as he sat in his Chair, with all possible composure, he bow'd his head, and without sigh, or motion, expir'd in a moment.

The sighing part, he left to others that stay behind. And I do even feel the Sorrows of his most afflicted Fa­mily, his mournful Widow, his sor­rowing Sons and Daughters, his desti­tute Church, with all others that got good, or might have done by his quickning, spiritful, piercing Ministry, or had the advantage, and satisfaction [Page 59] of his acquaintance, and converse.

Your Grief cannot but be measured, by your Love; and your Love by his in the several kinds, and objects of it. His Conjugal, Paternal, Pastoral, Friendly Love, as he was an affectio­nate Husband, a tender Father, a vi­gilant Pastor, and a pleasant Friend.

But withall, let your Consolations be measur'd by the proper grounds thereof. It is a most improper, irra­tional, unchristian way of being com­forted in such a case, only to let time wear away our sorrows. It is but a negative, an heathenish, yea a worse than heathenish method of receiving Comfort. For I have observed it to be animadverted on, as an intolerable absurdity, by some among the Hea­thens, that time should work that cure of Grief and Sorrow, which Reason and Prudence work not.

And thus 'tis plain, we shall be re­lieved, not by holy thoughts, but by not thinking. So it may, in time, be forgotten, that ever such a Man as Mr. Mead, was Minister in Stepney! And [Page 60] what is this to Christian Consolati­on?

But we need not wander from the Text for a positive, and a solid ground of Comfort. Remember it was his business to save himself, and those that heard him. As you have no doubt of his. Salvation, which I believe none of you have, make sure of your own. Put on, with the breast-plate of Faith, and Love, that helmet, the hope of Salvation. You are of 1 Thess. 5. 7, 8, 9. the day, watch, and be sober, as those that are not appointed to wrath, but to obtain Salvation by Jesus Christ.

And then consider (as I doubt not many a Soul will bless God for him for ever) how glorious a sight it will be, to see him, one day, appear in the Head of a numerous company, of sa­ved ones; and say, (as a subordinate Parent in the Apostle's sense, 1 Cor. 4. 15.) Lord, here am I, and the children thou hast given me.

In conclusion For you of his dear, and beloved Flock, this may be di­rective to you as well as consolatory; [Page 61] would you have a Pastor after God's Heart? put your selves under the conduct, as much as in you is, of such a Pastor, as you apprehend will be in­tent, in all his Ministrations, upon this double end, to save himself, and them that hear him. And labour to be perfect, be of one mind, and live in Peace, so the God of 2 Cor. 13. 11. Love and Peace shall be with you. And remember him as one that hath had the Rule over you, and hath spoken to you the word of the Lord, and follow the Faith of such, considering the end of their Conversation; and that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, and to day, for ever. As you change Pastors you will not need to change Christs, so as to have one yesterday, another to day, and a third to morrow. Pastors un­der the Gospel, as well as Priests un­der the Law were many, because of death. But our B. Lord, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable Priesthood, Heb. 7. 24. Therefore do you never think of another Christ, as their doubt was, Matt. 11. 3. but cleave [Page 62] to this your great Lord with purpose of Heart, till he give you at last, an abundant entrance into his everlasting Kingdom.

Let his mournfull Relatives, and all of you to whom he was dear, consider, what our Lord offer'd as matter of Con­solation, in the most trying case, of this kind, that ever could occur to poor mortals; i. e. when he himself was to be taken away, from his sor­rowing Family, and Followers. It is but a little while, q. d. my words have a plain mean­ing. Joh. 16. A little while, and you shall not see me, and again, a little while, and you shall see me: and because I go to my Father—Ye now have sorrow, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy, and your joy no man taketh from you.

Now the God of Peace, that brought again from the dead, our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the Sheep, through the Bloud of the everlasting Co­venant, make you perfect in every good work, to do his will: working in you [Page 63] that which is well-pleasing, in his sight, through Jesus Christ; To whom be Glo­ry, for ever, and ever.



Books written by the Reverend Mr. J. Howe, and printed for T. Parkhurst, at the Bible and three Crowns near Mercers-Chappel.

OF Thoughtfulness for the Morrow. With an Appendix concerning the immoderate Desire of Foreknowing Things to come.

Of Charity, in reference to other Mens Sins.

A Sermon at the Funeral of Mr. Richard Adams, M. A. sometime Fellow of Brasen-Nose Colledge in Oxford.

The Redeemer's Tears wept over lost Souls: In a Treatise on Luke 19. 41, 42. With an Appendix, wherein somewhat is occasionally discoursed, con­cerning the Sin against the Holy Ghost, and how God is said to will the Salvation of them that pe­rish.

A Sermon directing what we are to do after a strict enquiry, Whether or no we truly love God.

A Funeral Sermon for Mrs Esther Sampson, the late Wife of Henry Sampson, Doctor of Physick.

The Carnality of Religious Contention. In two Sermons, preach'd at the Merchants Lecture in Broadstrees.

A Sermon for Reformation of Manners.

A Sermon preach't on the Day of Thanksgiving, Decemb. 2. 1697. to which is prefix'd Dr. Bates's Congratulatory Speech to the KING.

A Calm and Sober Enquiry, concerning the Pos­sibility of a Trinity in the Godhead.

A Letter to a Friend, concerning a Postscript to the Defence of Dr. Sherlock's Notion of the Trinity in Unity, relating to the Calm and Sober Enquiry upon the same Subject.

A View of that part of the late Considerations to H. H. about the Trinity: which concerns the Sober Enquiry on that Subject.

The Redeemer's Dominion over the Invisible World.

A Funeral Sermon for Mrs. Hammond.

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