A SERMON On the much Lamented DEATH OF THAT Reverend and Worthy Servant of CHRIST Mr. Richard Adams, M. A. SOMETIME Fellow of Brazen-Nose Colledge in Oxford. Afterwards, Minister of St. Mildred Breadstreet, London. More lately, Pastor of a Congregation in Southwark. Who Deceased Febr. 7th. 1697/8. Preached, February the 20th. 1698. By JOHN HOWE, Minister of the GOSPEL.

LONDON: Printed by S. Bridge, for Tho. Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns in Cheapside, near Mercers-Chap­pel, 1698.

To Mrs. Anna Adams, Wi­dow, and Coll. John Adams, Brother to the Deceased Mr. Richard Adams.

My Honour'd Friends,

DEath is too common a Theam, and too obvi­ous to our Sense to be thought strange, any more than that we live. But that the Course of our Life, as to the Rise, Pro­gress, and Period of it, is at the dispose of one common Lord of all, because it belongs to a Sphere above Sense, is little considered by the most. To you, I doubt [Page] not, its far from being a new or unfamiliar Thought. And thereupon, that the Precious Life you have lately seen Fi­nished, was measured by Him who could not therein be unkind to him who is gone; or to you who stay behind.

We do, indeed, Tempt our selves, if we expect from his kindness, unreasonable Things. As that he should, to Gratify us, alter the Course of Nature, or recal the Vniversal Commission of Death, or only let it stand in force with an Exception, as to our selves, our Relatives, and Friends, or that he should tear his own most inviolable [Page] Constitutions; by which the pre­sent State is to be but Tran­sitory, and the future the only fixed State, which were to subvert the whole frame of Re­ligion, to nullify the design of Redemption, to take down his Tribunal, to abolish and lay aside all thoughts of a Judgment to come, and finally to make the Kingdom of His dear Son to terminate in a Dunghil. While no such wish hath place with you, your Reconciliation is easie to the Providence that hath for the present bereaved you of so delectable a Relation. And the Love of God, which prevailing in you, will prompt [Page] you to compliance with his will, must be the evidence of your ti­tle to the best Blessings of both Worlds. For both the things in the other State the Eye hath not seen, nor Ear heard, &c. And the Concurrent Operation of all things for good in this present State, do all belong to Persons of the same Character, The Lovers of God, 1 Cor. 2.9. Rom. 8.28. Which that you may constantly and fully experience to the end, and in the end, is the serious Prayer, for you, of

Your very Respectful, and Affectionate Servant in Christ JOHN HOWE

A Funeral Sermon ON THE DEATH OF Mr. Richard Adams.

PHILIPIANS I. latter part of v. 23.‘Having a desire to Depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better. The foregoing Words are, I am in a straight betwixt two. And then it follows, Having a desire to depart, &c.

IF you should have no other Sub­ject for your present Considera­tion, than only; That one in your Neighbourhood is Lately Dead; Even that it self would deserve your very serious Thoughts. [Page 2] The Translation of Humane Souls from World to World, and out of this Pre­sent, into their Eternal State, is no light Matter; and does claim and chal­lenge more serious Thoughts, than it is commonly wont to find and meet with. Nor does the commonness of such an occasion, at all excuse the slight­ness of Mens Thoughts upon it; but rather aggravate it unspeakably more. That which we find to be so common and universal a Case, we may be sure will shortly be our own: And as it is now matter of Discourse with us, that such a one is Dead, we shall ere it be long, according as we have been more or less regarded in the World, be a like Subject of Discourse to others.

But it is a greater Thing, when it can be said, a Good Man is gone; there is a more special Remark to be put upon the Decease of such a one, Mark the perfect Man, and behold the Vpright, the [...] of that Man is Peace, as Psalm 37.37. There is that Agreement between his Way and his End, they are so much of a Piece, and do so exactly Correspond; a course transacted in a constant Sereni­ty [Page 3] and Peace, meeting at length with Peace as the End of it; An even course, still, uniform, self-agreeable, ever equal to, and like it self, ending at last in Peace: Mark this! how he goes off, mark such a Life so ending!

But it yet Challenges more intense Consideration, when such a one is ta­ken away from amongst us, and the Progress and Period of his Course come to be viewed together, whose Life was a continued Series of Labours in the Lords Vineyard, from the earli­er, to the later Hours of his Day; when such a one has finished his Course, and fought out the good Fight of Faith, and is entered into his Rest; by the vouchsafement of his indulgent Lord and Master, is made to rest from his Labours, and receive the Reward of them, the Reward of Grace, with a Well done good and faithful Servant, en­ter into the Joy of thy Lord!

And sure it cannot be ungrateful to you, to be desired here to stay a little, to make a stand, and pause, and enter­tain your selves a while with the Con­sideration of such a Theam and Subject [Page 4] as this. Especially it cannot be an un­grateful Contemplation, to such as have known the Doctrine, and Purpose, and Faith, and Charity, and manner of Life, of such a one, as the Apostle speaks; so as to be told of nothing, but what you knew before: And so they are not du­bious and uncertain Thoughts, that you are to employ upon such a Theam; you are well assured of the Truth of the Fact, and when you know it to be true, you cannot but discern it to be very considerable and important Truth, and of very great Concernment to you. What the Spirit of such a one has been through his whole Course, you have a very high Example of in this Blessed Apostle; And a Copy has been written out fair, after such a Pattern, by this late­ly Deceased worthy Servant of Christ. Besides the many Straights and Difficul­ties, that great Apostle met with in the Course and Current of his Time; he meets with this towards the end of it, to be in a straight between two, and he does not know what to chuse, viz. be­tween these two Things, The Conside­ration of what would be the best and most [Page 5] valuable good to himself; and the Consi­deration of what would be the more va­luable Good, unto the Christian Church, and particularly unto these Christian Philippians, to whom he now writes. He had no doubt at all in the Case, but that to depart, and to be with Christ, would be the best and most valuable Good to himself: And it was as little to be doubted of, but that his continu­ed abode and stay in this World, would be much more a valuable Good unto the Christian Church; and unto this or that Church in particular, that had injoyed, and might further injoy, his most fruit­ful Labours. His difficuly and straight, was not either what was best for him, or what was best for them; but which of these two he should, upon the whole, pre­fer; whether he should prefer his own Private Interest, or prefer the common Interest of Christ in the World. And upon weighing and pondering the Matter with himself, he does prefer the latter, so as, without any kind of Hesitation, to express a great complacency in it, that he should be continued yet longer, some [Page 6] time longer, for common good, in this World. And it was a most noble piece of Self-denial that was exercised herein, if you consider what the Apostles Pri­viledges had been. He had been caught up into the Third Heaven, he had there seen unutterable Things; nor could he doubt his Interest in the Felicity and Glory of the Heavenly State. On the other hand consider, his Life here on Earth, was no voluptuous Life, it was not a Life of Ease and Pleasure, See the Account that he gives of it in 1 Cor. 4. and in 2 Cor. 6. and in Chap. 11. of the same Epistle. And to find, amongst how many Deaths he converst as it were every Day of his Life, how familiar La­bours, and Fastings, and Watchings were to him; yea Stripes and Imprison­ments; and that he was now at this Time a Prisoner, as we see in some fore­going Verses of this very Chapter, viz. ver. 13, 14, 16. even in the very Lions Paw, in the continual Expectation of being devoured, and not long after to be offered up, as he elsewhere speaks. Yet he seems to take great Complacen­cy in the Thoughts of, having some [Page 7] Addition made to his Time in this World, on the common Christian Ac­count; and that his own Blessedness and Glory should be, for this Reason, a lit­tle while deferred; he was Patient of this, he could indure it, out of his Love to Christ and the Souls of Men. But as to himself, for what he esteemed, and desired accordingly, as his best and most valuable Good, he was in no He­sitation or Doubt concerning that, but Pronounces without any more ado, That he did desire to be dissolved, or Depart, (the Words may be read either way) and to be with Christ, which is far better; only he distinguishes what was his own most valuable good, and what was the most valuable good of the Christian Church. And though he give this latter the Pre­ference, as in it self the more conside­rable Thing: Yet as to himself, and his own concerns, to Depart, and be with Christ, he reckons far better: And ac­cordingly he did desire it as such, as better for him; as having nothing to de­tain him, or nothing, which, on his own Private Account, he could so much Mind or Covet, as that.

[Page 8]Now in this Comparison, 'tis this one side of it, which the Words that I have read to you do call us to consider, and confine us to at this Time. As to that other Part, it lies within the Com­pass of the Context, but not of the Text; and so we shall not Treat of that at pre­sent: But consider, what is the genu­ine Temper and Disposition of a Chri­stian, and more principally of a Mini­ster of Christ, in reference to what he is to eye and look upon as his own best, and most valuable Good; and that is, to Depart, and to be with Christ. This in­deed the Apostle speaks of himself, a great and eminent Minister of the Gospel of Christ. But though this Temper and Disposition of Spirit was agreeable, it was not appropriate to such a one. It is indeed very agreeable, it is very suitable to the Spirit of a faithful Minister of Christ, in reference to himself, and any Inte­rest and Concern of his, to desire to depart, and to be with Christ: But it is not so agreeable to such a one, as to be appropriate to him, or to exclude the generality of serious and living Christi­ans; because it is upon one account; prin­cipally [Page 9] common to Ministers, and to other Christians, that this Judgment is to be made, and this Desire is to have Place in Reference to that Judgment. And therefore, that is what I will, for the little Time that remains, chiefly in­sist upon.

That it ought to be, and in very great measure is, the Temper and Chara­cter of gracious Persons, or sincere Christians, but principally of the faithful Ministers of Christ, with Reference to any Interest or Concern of theirs, to desire to leave this World, and to be with Christ.

And in speaking to this, I shall brief­ly, 1. Explain what requires to be explained in it; and then, 2. Shew you upon what grounds this Temper and Disposition of Mind is agreeable, in the General to sincere Christians. 3. Upon what more peculiar grounds it is more especially suitable to the faith­ful Ministers of Christ. And so make use of the whole.

[Page 10]1. As to what requires Explication, Here we must show you what the Object of this Desire is, in the first Place; and then secondly, Show you what this De­sire, with the Judgment unto which it is conformable, imports and carries in it. Then we shall proceed to consider the grounds, both with Reference to Chri­stians in General, and the faithful Mi­nisters of Christ in Special, of their ha­ving this as an habitual Temper of Spi­rit belonging to them.

1. We are to consider the Object, which this Disposition of Spirit, here described, has Reference to. And that is Two-fold, Privative, and Positive. There is

1. The Privative Object, that this Disposition has Reference to; and that is, departing from hence. Their desire is to be gone, not to stay always here, i. e. as to any Concern of their own. In­deed upon other Accounts, abstracted from their own and more important, there may be Considerations that may induce their willingness to stay; But as to their own Concerns, the Privative Object of their Desire, is, to be dissolved, [Page 11] or to be gone, [...], they would fain be dissolved; take that reading, and this is such a ones sense, I would fain have my Bonds and Shackles taken off, I would be loose, not be always con­fined to a Body of Sin and Death, and to a vain and wicked World: For these are the things to which we are united: Or take the other reading that are to be left, in this departure. To depart, What are we to depart from? Why the Gravami­na, the most grievous things are, a bo­dy of Sin and Death, and a vain and sinful World. When God sees good, I would depart, says such a one, from these irksome grievous Things, that, while they detain me, Torment me eve­ry hour. And then

2. There is the Positive Object, that this Disposition has reference to; and that is, to be with Christ. This is a mighty thought, if we had time to stay upon it. It is generally to be considered here, with reference to what State of our Lord Christ, this was spoken, and then what it is to be with him in that State.

[Page 12]1. With reference to what State of our Lord Jesus this was spoken, I de­sire to be with Christ. Christ was not at this time in his State of Humiliation; he was not now in the form of a Ser­vant; he was not now going to Die, and Sacrifice himself upon an ignomini­ous Cross, as it was mention'd he had done, in the next Chapter, Who being in the form of God, thought it not Robbery to be equal with God; he made himself of no Reputation, and took upon him the form of a Servant, and was obedient to Death. It is not in reference to this State, but what follows, that this is spoken; Wherefore God has highly exal­ted him, and given him a Name above e­very name; that at his Name, or in his Name, every Knee should bow, both of Things in Heaven, and Things on Earth, and Things under the Earth. It is that State of Glory, in which he was Inthro­ned, and was receiving the Homage of all ranks of Creatures, according to their capacities. It is this State, that is here referred to.

[Page 13]And then, What it is to be with him in this State, That we are to consider: And plain it is, it is not to be with him as Spectators only, but in some sort as Partakers; not barely as Spectators. In­deed, to be so, is a most desirable thing, to all the Lovers of Christ; To behold him upon the Throne, invested with Glory, the highest Glory. But this is not all. Indeed, Participation with him, is sometimes exprest by Beholding, as in John 17.24. Father, I will, that they whom thou hast given me, may be with me where I am, that they may behold the Glory that thou hast given me: For thou lovedst me before the Foundation of the World was laid. But that Beholding, is Fruitive Vision; the Vision, not of meer Spectation, but Fruition, by which we enjoy what we see. And so we are taught to reckon concerning this being with Christ in the State of Glory. If we be Dead with him, we believe we shall also live with him, by participation of the same Glorious, Blissful Life, Rom. 6.8. and chap. 8. ver. 17. If we are Chil­dren, then Heirs, Heirs of God, and Joint-Heirs with Christ; that if we suffer [Page 14] with him, we might be also glorified toge­ther. Glorified, is to be made Glori­ous, to be Participants of the same Glo­ry with him, and not Spectators meerly. We are not to be Glorified meerly by a Glory that we are to behold, but which we are to bear; not which we are to be the Witnesses of only, but the Subjects, where­by we are to be made Glorious, in confor­mity to him, and in communion with him. And here that we may more fully con­ceive the Sense of this being with Christ, in the State of perfect Felicity and Glo­ry, 'tis requisite we consider these Two Things, 1. The Highest Perfection of the Object; and 2. A suitable Perfection of the Subject, according to its capacity, by which it can converse with, and enjoy, what continually rays, and is commu­nicated from so Glorious and Blessed an Object.

1. The Object in highest Perfection; When our Lord Jesus Christ, not consi­dered meerly as God, but as God-Man, is exalted, and made as Glorious as Glo­ry could any way make him; when he is exalted, by way of remuneration for what he had done, for what he had suf­fered, [Page 15] for what he had atchieved and accomplish'd by his doing and suffering, And he is now in all that most perfect Dignity and Glory that belongs to him on that account; This consideration we are to have of the Glorious Object. We are to consider the high and most abso­lute Perfection of That PERSON, the most Wonderful One that ever was, and of which neither created Nature, nor uncreated, affords the like; that is, such a Person, in which all the Excellencies of created and uncreated Nature did meet, or were united; and all that Feli­city, and Glory, and Blessedness, that This Person, according to either Nature, and both together, doth enjoy; Here is the Object wherewith we are to Com­municate.

2. And then to be with him, as Parti­cipants, implys the connoted and conse­quential Perfection of the Subject in it self, the highest that it is capable of, the Per­fection of all the Powers and Faculties be­longing to a Creature of such a Nature. A mind apt to employ it self about things of highest Value and Excellency, able to comprehend whatsoever is needful, and [Page 16] fit to be known of such things; conten­ted not to know what is unfit. A Will, refin'd from all Terrene Tinctures and Propensions, enlarged and attempered to the best and highest Good. Whence must proceed the liveliest and purest desires, the noblest and most grateful Percepti­ons, and Delights, the pleasantest and most satisfying Relishes and Fruitions.

For (the high perfection of the Object being supposed) the Subject is the Spirit of a Just Man made perfect, Heb. 12.23. Of one arrived, out of an imperfect to a perfect State. No supposable Allusion in this Text, needs to exclude the real subjective Perfection, which is so proper to such Spirits, and to such a State as is then finally referr'd to. The satisfaction it self, which results, cannot but be propor­tionable; according to the perfect excel­lency of the Object, and the perfected ca­pacity of the Subject, a most intire Satis­faction. These two, meeting together, the most Glorious Object, and a Glorified Spirit made capable of Conversing with it, and enjoying it to the full. This makes that Fulness of Joy, those Pleasures for evermore, That are at God's right hand, [Page 17] or in his power, to dispose of, in Eter­nal Communication, Psalm 16. ult.

Thus you have some Account of the Object, Privative, and positive, What is to be left, and Whom we are to come to; A sinful mortal Body to be left with a vain and wicked World; And a Glorious Lord to be approached, so as to be with him, in actual, and complacential, and eternal communion; to be with him, not as Spe­ctators only, but Partakers of that Glo­ry wherein he is. Then

2. We are to consider the temper and disposition it self, of serious Christians, and of the faithful Ministers of Christ e­specially, in reference to this State of the Objects. And it is made up of Two Things, 1st. Desire, and 2d. Estimation, or Judgment, that is the measure of the former, and according whereto that de­sire is directed.

1. This Desire is [...], intense de­sire, earnest desire, the fervour of de­sire. That is, As to my self, and as to [Page 18] any concern of mine, I do most earnest­ly desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ, [...] signifies not less than that, And then

2. The Judgment that is made of the case, unto which this desire is confor­mable. That is, that to be with Christ is far better, far better! It is a strange Emphasis, that is used in the Greek Text, to express this: For there are Two Com­paratives, [...]; more better, with a mighty Surplusage besides in the word conjoyn'd [...]. I desire to be dissolved, and to be with Christ; which is better better, by much; or in­comparably better; better above and beyond all comparison. One Compa­rative would not serve the turn, but he adds another, and then superadds a vast surplusage over & above. This is the Judg­ment of the case, according to which this desire is directed and measured.

[Page 19]And now for the reasons of this tem­per and posture of Soul, in reference to this State of the Case. There are divers very obvious.

1. That this is most agreeable to the Law of our Creation, to desire and co­vet the most perfect State whereof we are capable. It is an Unnatural Thing, not to do so, not to covet the Perfecti­on of that State, that we can final­ly attain to. Nature, in all Creatures, tends to Perfection; it is a monstrous disorder in Nature, for any Creature, if it be capable of choice, to chuse a State beneath the highest Perfection whereof it is capable. And

2. It is most suitable to the design of our Redemption, whether we consider the Privative Object, unto which our Re­demption refers, or the positive. The Privative Object, this World, that we are to forsake and leave, with this Flesh, that con-naturalizes us to this World. Christ gave himself for us, to deliver us from this present Evil World, Gal. 1.4. [Page 20] As for his Redeemed Ones, those for whom he gave himself, he is willing they should be here a while; but he gave himself for them, that they might not be here always; That he might fetch them out of this horrid Abyss of Dark­ness, Impurity, and Death.

And if you look to the Positive Ob­ject, our Lord died to bring us to God, 1 Pet. 2.18. He suffered once, the Just for the Vnjust, for this purpose. He will never desist, till he have brought us quite home to God. And it became him, by whom are all Things, and for whom are all Things; in bringing many Sons to Glory, to make the Captain of their Salva­tion perfect by Sufferings, Heb. 2.10. He suffered, and those Sufferings he under­went, were the Price of our Redempti­on; and for this, To bring the many Sons to Glory, that were to be brought. And it becomes Him, that made all Things by himself, and for himself, to bring about his Great and Glorious De­sign this way; to make the Captain of our Salvation perfect, that is, perfectly [Page 21] Master of his Design. And Rev. [...].9. We are told, That the Lamb, that was slain, was slain on purpose that he might Redeem us to God by His Blood; that he might be capable of saying at last, I have shed my Blood, and it has not been in vain; here I have brought back thy wan­dering Strays to thee, that were separate, that had gone off: He has Redeemed them to God by his Blood, they were gone off from God; and he, in this way, fetches them back to God; never reckoning his Work finished, till he can say, Here am I, and the Children thou hast given me.

3. This most fully Answers the Go­spel Call, under which we continually are, as to both the parts of the Object, the Privative and Positive. By the Go­spel we are called out of the World; this is carried in the very Notion of the Church, it consists of a People, called out of the World. And that call is not fi­nished till we are quite out; but we must be out in the inclination of our minds; to be gone from this World, that [Page 22] we may be with the Lord. And as to the Positive part of the Gospel-Call, the final term of it is the Eternal Glory. The God of all Grace has called us to his own Eternal Glory by Jesus Christ, 1 Pet. 5.10.

4. This is most suitable unto the Aim and Tendency of the New Creature, which is indeed the effect of the Gospel-Call; wheresoever it comes to be effe­ctual calling, the New Creature is the Pro­duct. This is the Genius of the New Creature, to aspire upwards. They that have received the first Fruits of the Spirit groan within themselves; Groan as under a Pressure, or Burden; to be loosened from this World, from this Earth, and from these Bodies; and to partake in the Glory of the Sons of God, manife­sted in the proper season, of their Mani­festation, Rom. 8.19. compared with the 23. And as they, that in the Work of the New Creation, are what they are, New Creatures, as being Born from Hea­ven; so they are Born for it. Except a Man be Born [...], from above, he can­not [Page 23] enter into nor see the Kingdom of God, John 3.3, 5. He is Born for this Heavenly State, when he is Regenerate, when he is made a New Creature, that he may be capable of entering into this Kingdom. And 1 Pet. 1.3. Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has begotten us again to a lively hope, to an Inheritance incorruptible, and unde­filed, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for us. There are Principles in­laid in the Work of the New Creature, which dispose the soul God-ward, and Heaven-ward. Hereby they are made meet to be Partakers of the Inheritance of the Saints in light, as in that Colos. 1.12. And to suppose that there should be a New Creature without such a Dispositi­on as this, is to suppose the New Crea­ture to be the most Unnatural Creature under Heaven. It must have Dispositi­ons in it suitable to its Nature, and to that State that it is designed ultimately for; as every other Creature is suited to the Place and State it is to hold in the Creation of God.

[Page 24]But then as to what is more peculiar to Ministers, they have more reason than others for this temper and disposi­tion of Spirit, both as they know more, generally, of the Difficulties of the World; and should be supposed to know more of the State of the other World, than the ge­nerality of other Men do.

Their Toil, and Labour, and Travel, while they are here in this World, is like to be more, read at leisure 1 Cor. 4.9, 10, 11, 12, 13. with 2 Cor. 6.4, 5. They have many more uncomfortable Things to exercise them; especially, the small Success of their Labours, that they often do but Sow the Wind, and sometimes Reap the Whirl-wind, and may be glad to depart on this account.

And it is to be supposed too, that they should know more of the other World: For they are more obliged to be daily con­versant there; Their constant Business has a steady direct tendency thither­ward: And therefore as this cannot but [Page 25] be the temper of serious Christians, it is to be much more so of the Faithful Mini­sters of Christ.

And therefore, to draw to a Conclusi­on, and shut up all with some Use, We may

1. Infer from it, The greatness of that capacity which belongs to an intelligent im­mortal Spirit, that it is capable of such a State, as being glorified with the Lord Je­sus Christ in that high exaltation of his; 'tis a State, whereof the Humane Spirit is capable. It is indeed very unapt, very indisposed, till the regenerating Work take place, till the Divine Spirit have molded it to that State; But then, in the mean time, there is a capacity, a ground work, upon which the Divine Spirit does operate, by Inlightening the Mind, and inlarging the Will, and refining and de­fecating the Affections, and implanting Coelestial Principles, that do all dispose it Heaven-ward. But in the mean time, [Page 26] it is a useful reflexion for every Intelli­gent Spirit, that inhabits Mortal Flesh, to consider, What do I here? While it is my Lot to be yet inhabiting this Flesh, am I only to mind the Things of the Flesh? I am capable of an Abode above, with the Blessed Glorious Lord of all, with Him, my greater Concernments do now lie. Col. 3, 1, 2. And

2. It further lets us see the Wonderful Love of God in Christ, that he should de­sign such mean abject creatures, as we, to such a State; that is, that when we de­part, and leave this World we are to be with Christ. O kind Design! What admirable Love is this, that he will not have his own to be always at a distance and far from him! When Christ, who is our life, shall appear with him in Glory, in that 1 Colos. 3.4. And again further,

3. We may infer hence, that Holiness, wherever it comes to have place, does com­prehend and include in it Divine Wisdom, [Page 27] so as to make Persons capable of judging right, or making a true estimate of things, which are more valuable, and which are less. Till the sanctifying Work of God's Spirit take place in the minds and hearts of Men, they Judge like Fools; they say a Portion here on Earth is better, let us dwell always a­mid'st the Darkness and Death of this lower World, and let them be with Christ that will. But says a gracious Spi­rit, to be with Christ is far better, incom­parably, beyond all comparison better, and therefore let us depart, and be with him, as to any interest and concern of ours.

And this being so, it is of the greatest Consequence to us imaginable, all of us to endeavour to get this Tem­per of Spirit made habitual to our selves: For it is a Thing of Dreadful Importance, to find the Temper of my Mind and Soul differ from that of all good Christians that ever were, or ever shall be. It is one thing indeed, to be willing to have the height of our Hap­piness deferred for common Good; but it is quite another thing, to desire to [Page 28] stay here because I love this World bet­ter, and when the Practical Judgment of our Souls is, I had rather be here; When not any concern for the interest of Christ, or design of doing him Service here, does Reconcile me to an Earthly State; but my own Temper and Spirit is such, that I cannot endure the thoughts of a remove. And let me insist here a lit­tle.

When the Best are continually go­ing; and though the Worst do not go the same way, they are going hence too, departing from hence, not to be willing to follow! To have a desire running counter to the stream and course of Nature, in All, and the cur­rent of Grace in the Best, is very un­accountable; and wherein we should by no means Tolerate our selves. An irrational Desire of what we see to be impossible: A Desire that Fights against Necessity, which will be too hard for us, and will overcome at last, as to the term from which, an a­bode here. And an Unholy Desire, [Page 29] in respect of the term To which, viz. Not to be with Christ; such a Desire we should no more endure in our selves, than Fire in our bosoms.

To have such an Excellent Person gone from amongst us, as is lately gone; but to have no Disposition to fol­low! You loved him well, and you loved to hear him Preach of Heaven, but you cannot endure the thoughts of going where he is gone! Is this well? The World is Dying, and you would live! Miser. est qui cum (que) non vult mundo secummoriente mo­ri. Note: Sen. Trag. What a wretched Miscreant is he that would be an Exception from all Mankind! And cannot be content to Die, when the whole World is Dy­ing with him! And for Christians u­nited with Christ, they are such in whose hearts there is a rooted Pro­pension towards him, so as to covet his Presence above all Things, Rev. 22. The Spirit and the Bride say, come, come Lord Jesus; either come and take us to Thee, or come and manifest Thy self to us. Consider then, how [Page 30] absolutely Necessary it is, if there be this Terrene Temper of Spirit, to get it changed. For

1. While it remains, it counter­mines the Summ of Religion. All Christianity runs counter, in the whole Design of it, to this Temper of Spi­it, for it terminates on the other World. But when all our Thoughts and Designs terminate on this World, what a dismal Thing is it! To have a Temper and Disposition in me, wholly repugnant to the Design of the Christian Religion, which is but to draw People off from this World, and to fit them for another!

2. It will Infer, in the next Place, that whenever any Die, they must Die just after the same manner that Wicked Men do, a Violent Death; be torn away from their Earthly Station. He shall pluck him out of his Dwelling Place, and root him out of the Land of the Living, [Page 31] as the Psalmist speaks, Psa. 52.5. This is Dying a Violent Death; our Hearts do not consent, we cannot go but as we are torn up by the roots, and pluckt out of our dwelling places. This is quite another thing from that, Now let­test thou thy Servant depart in Peace; and this desiring to be dissolved, and to be with Christ. And it signifies

3. Our not yet having taken God for our God; for our taking him to be our God, and to be our best Good, is the same thing. If God be not our best Good, he is not our God: And can we chuse to be willing to be at an Eternal di­stance from our best Good? It must sig­nifie, that the Love of God has no place in us, sincere Love, true Love to Christ: For it is never true, if it be not supream. But it is the greatest Absurdity imagina­ble, that I should supreamly love one, that I desire never to be with, or en­joy.

[Page 32]I shall only add, with reference to the sad occasion that lies in view before us, that what Instances we meet with of this kind, should leave their several cor­respondent effects and impressions upon our Spirits, partly of Lamentation, and partly of Imitation, and partly of Peace­ful Submission and Satisfaction in the is­sue, however Grievous it be to us.

1. Of Lamentation.

It is a much to be Lamented Thing, when such go, as that Reverend and Worthy Person that is lately gone from amongst you: For this Temper of Spirit being supposed, by how much the more there was of the conjunct Disposi­tion to have been content to have staid longer for Publick Good; This speaks so much the more of an Excellent Spirit. When De­sires are so Fervent after the Purity [Page 33] and Perfection of the Heavenly State, that nothing but sincere Devotedness to the Interest of God in Christ, could make them patient of longer Abode on Earth. 'Tis a Respect to God that either draws, or detains them, nothing but what is Divine inclines them either way. Either the Enjoy­ment of God above, or his farther service here below. That is an Excellent Spirit that lies under such influences. And the higher was the Excellency of such a Man, the greater is the Loss of him. The more he desired Heaven, within such Limits, the greater was his Value, and with so much the brighter lustre he shone on Earth.

[Page 34]There is much of God conspi­cuous in such a Man. And it was not a little of him that was observable in this Worthy Per­son. Such a Course as his was, that Even Course, that Peaceful Course, wherein was so eminent Devo­tedness to God, and Benignity to­wards Man, shewed his Spirit was toucht by the one, for the other. It could not be, but by influ­ence from Heaven, that he so steadily tended thitherward him­self, and was only willing to stay so long out of it, that he might invite and draw on as many as he could with him thi­ther.

Hereby he appeared so much the more attempered to the Hea­venly State, and that World where [Page 35] Divine Love Governs, making a Man by how much the more strongly he was attracted himself by it, so much the more desirous to attract others.

It is what such a one has a­bout him of God on Earth, that makes him a desirable Thing to us here; it is not what Men have of the earthly Spirit, but what they have of the Divine Spirit, That makes them useful, both by their Labours and Examples, to this World of ours; as was this eminent Servant of Christ. It is a great Thing, to have one pass so long continued Course as his was, with so equal a temper. It is like I may have known him longer than many or most of you that were not related.

[Page 36]About Fifty Years I remember his Course, and our Conversati­on was not casual or at a distance, as that of meer Colleagues, cho­sen by others, but as Friends in­ward, and chosen by our selves, many a day we have Prayed to­gether, conferr'd and taken sweet Counsel together; when he was at once an Example, and Ornament to his Colledge, where he lived Respected and Beloved of all, but of them most, who most knew him; That constant serenity, and equality of mind, that seriousness, that humility, wherein he excel­led, rendered him Amiable to Ob­servers; And therewith that in­dustry and diligence that he used in his younger days, by which he laid up that great Stock of Learn­ing and Vseful Knowledge, that [Page 37] made him (when Providence cal­led him to the City) a well-instru­cted Scribe, capable and apt to bring out of his Treasury Things New and Old, whereof there is, and will be a long extant Proof in his judicious and dilucid Expo­sitions of the Epistles to the Philip­pians and the Colossians, which was the Part he bore in the Supple­ment to that most Useful Work, the English Annotations on the Bible by the Reverend Mr. Matthew Pool.

In the great City he shone, a Bright and Burning Light, till many such Lights were in one day put under a Bushel, I need not tell you what, or how black, that day was. And then, though he was constrained to desert his Sta­tion, [Page 38] he did not desert his Ma­ster's Work; but still he was with God, and God was with him; and you know it I doubt not, many of you, what it was to live under so truly Evangelical a Minister; to have Doctrine from time to time distilling as the Dew and dropping upon you, such, as from which you might perceive how great was his Acquaintance with the Mysteries of Christ: In reference to those, over whom he had opportunity to Watch, it was undoubtedly, if it were not their great Fault, their very great Advantage.

As to his Domestick Relations, knowing so much of him, I can­not, but so much the more La­ment their loss, God vvill I doubt [Page 39] not, be the bereaved Widovvs Portion; but it ought, with ten­derness to be consider'd, What it was for one Person to lose successively Two such Helps, as This & her former Husband were, (who was also in another Vniversity my former and most inward Friend that Worthy Man Mr. Tho­mas Wadsworth) both Eminent Instruments in the Church of Christ.

And this has been more emi­nently Remarkable concerning him that is lately gone, that the Relations of the Family, to whom he was not Naturally Related, the Branches from another Root, yet had that apprehension of his Love and Care of them, and of their own Loss, as to desire this Pub­lick Testimony might from them [Page 40] remain of him, that he was to them as tender a Father, as if he had been a Natural One, such Fa­thers-in-Law are seldom known, and therefore it ought to be men­tioned, as that which may signify somewhat towards the Embalm­ing of his Memory among you.

Graces, when diffused, give their pleasant Relishes, to all that any way partake of them.

What follows, was delivered in Writing into my hands to be in­serted, by a Dear Relation of his.

[Page 41] His Humility and Self-denial were eminently conspicuous in his taking upon him the Care and Charge of so small and poor a People, and continuing with them to the damage of his own Estate, though he had considerable Offers elsewhere.

His Meekness, as it was very visible in all his Conversation, it was singularly shewed in his bear­ing and passing by Slights and Af­fronts, even from those he had ve­ry much obliged, taking off the Re­sentments, that his Friends had of the Injuries of that kind put upon him, by Abasing himself, saying, I'm an Unworthy Creature, I de­serve no better.

[Page 42] His Candour every one was cer­tainly made sensible of, who should offer to speak any thing Reflectingly about any Person behind their backs, for he was sure to vindicate or le­nify in this Case, as far as he could.

When Labours, Weakness, and Age had work'd out his Strength of Body, there was never any thing appeared so manifestly to trouble him, as being necessitated to desist from constant Preaching — And, notwithstanding all Temporal Dis­couragements he met with in the course of his Ministry, his Mind, to the very last, was to have both his Sons brought up to it.

[Page 43] During the short time of his last Illness, when his Head appeared somewhat disordered in other things by the Pains that were upon him, it was observable, that he always shewed himself sensible in Hearing or Discoursing about any thing Re­ligious, being among other things discoursed with by his Brother a­bout the discharge of his Ministry, he answered, he hoped, he had en­deavoured to serve God faithfully, and sincerely, though he had been an unprofitable Servant: About Five hours before his death, he said, God is my Portion, and desired those a­bout him to joyn with him in Prayer, wherein he expressed himself very suitably to his Case as a dying Man, concluding thus: Grant that when this Earthly Tabernacle is dissol­ved, I may be taken to those [Page 44] Mansions not made with hands Eternal in the Heavens.

As his Life was calm and serene, so was his Dying, for tho' throughout his Sickness, he was all along apprehensive of Approaching death: There was no Ruffle up­on his Spirit, Of which he him­self then gave this Account, I know in whom I have belie­ved.

2. Of Imitation.

And as such Stroaks, when they come, ought to be Lamented, They that by such Stroaks are taken away, ought to be Imitated. The Example remains; you have the Idea left; you know how such a one Lived, how he Walked, how [Page 45] he Conversed with his Family, how he Conversed with you as he had occasion: That Excellent Spirit he discovered in all, how much of an Imitable Example has it given to all those that are ca­pable of Imitating, and Recei­ving Instruction that way.

3. Of Satisfaction.

But it ought also to have the ef­fect of Satisfaction in the Divine Pleasure; When such a Blow as this comes, do not repine, Peaceful­ly submit, tho' it carry smartness and severity with it. You ought to feel it, but yet notwithstand­ing to receive it with Submissive Silence, to be dumb, and not open your Mouths, remembring who hath done it, and that it is the dis­posal [Page 46] of Wisdom that cannot Err, as well as of Power that cannot be resisted, and of Kindness and Good­ness that has its Gratefulness to this departed Servant of His. For consider, that notwithstanding his Willingness to have staid longer, if his Lord, whose he was, and whom he served, had thought fit. Yet this could not but be his Ha­bitual Sense, To desire to depart, and to be with him, which was far bet­ter.

And if Christ be pleased, and he be pleased, why should we be displeased.

This was the Will of Christ, declared by his Word as to the thing, Joh. 17.24. Father, I Will, that those that thou hast given [Page 47] me, be with me where I am, to behold my Glory. And declared by the E­vent as to the time. And his will, both because it was Christs, and be­cause it was best. Who are we, that we should oppose our Will to so kind a Will, on Christ's part, and so well-pleased a Will on his part? Or that a Dissatisfaction should remain with us, as to what there is with Christ, and him, so entire Satisfaction!


Here follows some SERMONS and DISCOURSES which was writ­ten by the late Deceased Mr. Rich. Adams, viz.

THAT in the Morning-Exercise at St. Giles's, SERM. XXVI. of Hell, from Matthew 25th. Verse 41.

In the Supplement to the Morning-Exercise SERM. XVII. What are Duties of Parents and Children, from Colossians the 3d. Verses 20, 21.

In the Continuatio [...] of the Morn­ing-Exercise, SERM. XXII. How may Child-bearing Women be most en­couraged and supported, from 1 Tim. 2. Verse 15.


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