THE BALM OF GILEAD Or, COMFORTS For the DISTRESSED; Both Morall and Divine. Most fit for these woful Times. By Jos. HALL, D. D. and B. N.

London, Printed by Thomas New­comb; and are to be sold by John Holden, at the blue-Anchor in the New-Exchange. 1650.

To all the distressed Members of Jesus Christ, wheresoever, whose souls are wounded with the present sense of their sinnes, or of their afflictions; or with [...]he fears OF Death & Judgment:

The Author humbly re­commends this Soveraign BALM, which God hath been pleased to put into his hands for their benefit; earnestly exhorting them to apply it carefully to their severall sores; together with their faithfull prayers to God for a blessing upon the use thereof:

Not doubting but (through Gods mercy) they shal find thereby a sensible ease and comfort to their soules: which shall be helpt on, by the fervent devotions of the unworthiest servant of God and his Church J. H. B. N.


  • Comforts for the sick Bed. 1
    • The Preface.
    • Sect. 1. AGgravation of the misery of sicknesse. 2
    • Sect. 2. 1 Comfort, from the freedom of the soul. 4
    • Sect. 3. 2 Comfort, from the Author of sickness, and the benefit of it. 7
    • Sect. 4. 3 Comfort, from the [Page] vicissitudes of health. 12
    • Sect. 5. 4 Sickness better then sinfull health 14
    • Sect. 6. 5 Comfort from the greater sufferings of holyer men, and the resolutions of Heathens 17
    • Sect. 7. 6 Our sufferings farr below our deservings 24
    • Sect. 8. 7 Comfort from the benefit of the exercise of our patience 27
    • Sect. 9. 8 The necessity of our expectation of sickness 29
    • Sect. 10. 9 Comfort from Gods most tender regard to us in sickness 31
    • Sect. 11. 10 Comfort, from [Page] the comfortable end of our suffering 34
    • Sect. 12. 11 Comfort, from the favor of a peaceable pas­sage out of the world 36
  • Comforts for the sick soul 39
    • Sect. 1. The happiness of a deep sorrow for sinn 39
    • Sect. 2. Comfort from the wel-grounded declaration of pardon 41
    • Sect. 3. Aggravation of the grievous condition of the pa­tient, and the remedies from [Page] mercy applyed 43
    • Sect. 4. Complaint of unrepen­tance and unbelief satis­fied 47
    • Sect. 5. Complaint of a mis­grounded sorrow, satisfied 49
    • Sect. 6. Complaint of the insuf­ficient measure of sorrow for sin, answered 52
    • Sect. 7. Complaint of the want of faith, satisfied 57
    • Sect. 8. Complaint of the weak­nesse of faith satisfied 63
    • Sect. 9. Complaint of incon­stancy, and desertions, an­swered 66
    • Sect. 10. Complaint of unrege­neration, and deadnesse in [Page] sinn, satisfied 72
    • Sect. 11. Complaint of the in­sensibleness of the time and meanes of conversion, an­swered 87
    • Sect. 12. Complaint of irreso­lution, and uncertainty in matter of our election, an­swered 87
  • Comforts against Tenta­tions 101
    • Sect. 1. Christ himself assaul­ted. Our tryall is for our good 101
    • Sect. 2. The powerfull assis­tance
    • [Page] of Gods Spirit; and the example of S. Paul 106
    • Sect. 3. The restraint of our spirituall enemies, and the infinite power of God over­matching them 109
    • Sect. 4. The advantage made to us by our Temptations and foyles 113
    • Sect. 5. Complaint of relapses into sinn, with the remedy of it 118
  • Comforts against weak­ness of Grace 125
    • Sect. 1. Comfort from the [Page] common condition of all Saints 125
    • Sect. 2. Comfort from the im­provement of weak graces; and the free distribution of the Almighty 128
    • Sect. 3. Comfort from Gods acceptation of the truth of grace, not the quantity 131
    • Sect. 4. Comfort from the va­riety of Gods gifts; and the ages and statures of Grace 132
    • Sect. 5. Comfort from the safety of our condition even in leasurely progresses in Grace 134
    • Sect. 6. Comfort from our good [Page] desires and endevors 136
    • Sect. 7. Comfort from the hap­piness of an humble poverty in spirit 137
    • Sect. 8. An incitement to so much the more caution and faster adherence to God 139
  • Comforts against Infamy and Disgrace 142
    • Sect. 1. Comfort from the like suffering of the holyest men, yea, of Christ himself 142
    • Sect. 2. Comfort of our recourse to God 145
    • [Page] Sect. 3. Comfort from the clearnesse of our conscience 147
    • Sect. 4. From the improvement of our reason 148
    • Sect. 5. From the cause of our suffering 149
    • Sect. 6. From our envyed ver­tue 150
    • Sect. 7. From others sleighting of just reproaches 153
    • Sect. 8. From the narrow bounds of infamy 154
    • Sect. 9. From the short life of slander 155
  • [Page]Comforts against publick calamities 157
    • Sect. 1. Comfort from the in­evitable necessity of chan­ges 157
    • Sect. 2. From the sense and sympathie of common evils 159
    • Sect. 3. From the sure protecti­on of the Almighty 161
    • Sect. 4. From the justice of Gods proceedings 165
    • Sect. 5. The remedy, our par­ticular repentance 167
    • Sect. 6. The unspeakable mise­ries of a Civil War 168
    • [Page] Sect. 7. The wofull miseries of Pestilence, allaid by consi­deration of the hand that inflicts it 173
  • Comforts against the loss of Friends 180
    • Sect. 1. The true value of a friend; and the fault of over-prizing him 180
    • Sect. 2. The true ground of an undefeisible enjoying our friends 183
    • Sect. 3. The rarity and tryall of true friends 185
    • Sect. 4. It is but a parting, not [Page] a losse 187
    • Sect. 5. The losse of a vertuous wife mitigated 189
    • Sect. 6. The mitigation of the losse of a dear and hopefull Sonn 190
  • Comforts against poverty and losse of our estate. 193
    • Sect. 1. Comfort from the fickle nature of these earthly goods 193
    • Sect. 2. They are not ours, but lent us 196
    • Sect. 3. The estimation of our [Page] riches is in the minde 198
    • Sect. 4. It may be good for us to be held short 200
    • Sect. 5. The danger of abun­dance 201
    • Sect. 6. The cares that attend wealth 202
    • Sect. 7. The imperiousnesse of ill used wealth 203
    • Sect. 8. Consideration of the causes and meanes of im­poverishing us 204
    • Sect. 9. Examples of those who have affected poverty 207
  • [Page]Comforts against Impri­sonment 209
    • Sect. 1. Comfort from the na­ture and power of true li­berty 209
    • Sect. 2. The sad objects of a free beholders eye 211
    • Sect. 3. Comfort from the in­visible company that cannot be kept from us 213
    • Sect. 4. Comfort from the in­ward disposition of the Pri­soner 215
    • Sect. 5. The willing choice of retiredness in some persons 217
    • [Page] Sect. 6. Comfort from the cau­ses of Imprisonment 218
    • Sect. 7. Comfort from the good effects of retiredness 222
    • Sect. 8. The souls imprisonment in the body ibid.
  • Comforts against banish­ment 224
    • Sect. 1. Comfort from the universality of a wise mans Country 224
    • Sect. 2. From the benefit of self-conversation 227
    • Sect. 3. From the examples of those holy ones that have
    • [Page] abandoned society 228
    • Sect. 4. From the advantage that hath been made of re­moving 231
    • Sect. 5. From the right we have in any Countrey, and in God 233
    • Sect. 6. From the practise of voluntary Travail 234
    • Sect. 7. All are Pilgrims 235
  • Comforts against the loss of our senses, of seeing, and hearing 236
    • Sect. 1. Comfort from the two inward lights of reasan and [Page] faith 236
    • Sect. 2. The supply of better eyes 239
    • Sect. 3. Comfort from the bet­ter object of inward sight ib.
    • Sect. 4. The ill off [...]ices done by the eyes 241
    • Sect. 5. The freedome from temptations by the eye, and freedome from many sor­rows 243
    • Sect. 6. The chearfulnesse of some blind men 247
    • Sect. 7. The supply which God gives in other faculties 248
    • Sect. 8. The benefit of the eyes which once we had 252
    • [Page] Sect. 9. The supply of one sense by another 255
    • Sect. 10. The better condition of the inward ear 258
    • Sect. 11. The grief that arises from hearing evill things 260
  • Comforts against barren­nesse 261
    • Sect. 1. The blessing of fruit­fulnesse, seasoned with sor­rows 261
    • Sect. 2. The paines of child-bearing 263
    • Sect. 3. The misery of ill dis­posed [Page] and undutifull chil­dren 265
    • Sect. 4. The cares of Parents for their children 267
    • Sect. 5. The great grief in the losse of children 273
  • Comforts against want of sleep 276
    • Sect. 1. The misery of the want of rest; with the best re­medy 276
    • Sect. 2. The favor of freedom from pain 280
    • Sect. 2. The great favour of health without sleep 281
    • [Page] Sect. 4. Sleep is but a symptome of mortality 284
    • Sect. 5. No use of sleep whi­ther we are going 286
  • Comforts against the in­conveniencies of old age 287
    • Sect. 1. The illimitation of age and the miseries attending it 287
    • Sect. 2. Old age is a blessing 292
    • Sect. 3. The advantages of old age. 1 Fearlesness 295
    • Sect. 4. The next advantage of [Page] old age, Freedom from impe­tuous passions of lust 298
    • Sect. 5. The third advantage; Experimentall knowledge 301
    • Sect. 6. Age in some persons vi­gorous and well-affected 306
    • Sect. 7. The fourth advantage of age; near approach to our end 308
  • Comforts against the fears and pains of death 311
    • Sect. 1. The fear of death na­turall 311
    • [Page] Sect. 2. Remedy of feare, ac­quaintance with death 313
    • Sect. 3. The misapprehension of death injurious 315
    • Sect. 4. Comfort from the com­mon condition of men 318
    • Sect. 5. Death not feared by some 320
    • Sect. 6. Our deaths-day bet­ter then our birth-day 322
    • Sect. 7. The sting of death pull'd out 323
    • Sect. 8. Death but a parting to meet again 324
    • Sect. 9. Death but a sleep 326
    • Sect. 10. Death sweetned to us by Christ 330
    • Sect. 11. The painfulnesse of [Page] Christs death 332
    • Sect. 12. The vanity and mise­ries of life 334
    • Sect. 13. Examples of the cou­rageous resolutions of o­thers 338
    • Sect. 14. The happy advanta­ges of death 341
  • Comforts against the ter­rours of Judgement 347
    • Sect. 1. Aggravations of the fearefulnesse of the last Iudgment 347
    • [Page] Sect. 2. Comfort from the con­dition of the elect 350
    • Sect. 3. Awe more fit for thoughts of judgment, then terrour 354
    • Sect. 4. In that great and terri­ble day, our Advocate is our Iudge 356
    • Sect. 5. Frequent meditation, and due preparation, the true remedy of fear 361
  • Comforts against the fears of spirituall ene­mies 364
    • Sect. 1. The great power of [Page] evill spirits, and their re­straint 364
    • Sect. 2. The fear of the number of evil spirits, and the re­medy of it 368
    • Sect. 3. The malice of the evill spirits, and our fears thereof remedied 373
    • Sect. 4. The great subtilty of evill spirits, and the reme­die of the feare thereof 376
  • The universal Reeeipt for all Maladies 385

[Page] I Have perused this excellent Treatise, intituled, The Balm of GILEAD, containing in it many singular medicines, and soverain Salves, compoun­ded and made up with so many sweet and spirituall Ingredients of holy and heavenly consola­tions, as may be sufficient and effectual, being rightly applied, to cure and heal all sicknesses and sores of body and mind, caused by the fearfull apprehen­sion of imminent dangers, or the sense of present evils; unto which I subscribe my probatum est, and do allow it to be Print­ed and Published:



Comforts for the sick Bed.

The Pre­face.

WHat should we do in this vale of teares, but be­moan each others miseries? Every man hath his load, and well is he whose burthen is so easie that he may help his neigh­bours. Hear me, my son; my age hath waded through a world of sorrowes; The Angel that hath hitherto re­deemed my soul from allGen. 48. 16. [Page 2] evill, and hath led me within few paces of the shore, offers to lend thee his hand, to guide thee in this dangerous foard; wherein every error is death; Let us follow him with an humble confidence, and bee safe in the view and pity of the wofull miscarriages of o­thers.

§ 1. Aggrava­tion of the misery of sicknesse.

Thou art now cast upon the bed of sicknesse;Ps. 32▪ 3 roaring out all the day long for the extreamity of thy pain, mea­suring the slow houres, not by minutes,Job 10▪ 1. but by groanes; Thy soule is weary of thy life, through the intolerable anguish of thy spirit;Job 7. 11 Of all earthly afflictions this is the soarest. Job himself, after the sudden and astonishing new [...] of the losse of his goods,Job 1. 21 and [Page 3] children, could yet beare up, and blesse the God that gives and takes; but when his body was tormented, and was made one boyle,Job 3. 3. now his pa­tience is retched so farre as to curse (not his God, but) his Nativity. The great King questioning with his Cup­bearer NEHEMIAH,Neh. 2. 2 can say, Why is thy countenance sad, seeing thou art not sick? as implying, that the sick man of all other hath just cause to be dejected; worldly crosses are aloofe off from us; sick­nesse is in our bosome; those touch ours onely, these our selves; here, the whole man suffers; what could the body feele without the Soule, that animates it? how can the soule (which makes the body [Page 4] sensible) choose, but be most affected with that pain, whereof it gives sense to the body? Both partners have enough to doe to encounter so fierce an enemy: The shar­per assault requires the more powerfull resistance; Recol­lect thy self, my son, and call up all the powers of thy soul, to grapple with so violent an enemy.

§ 2. 1 Com­fort, from the free­dom of the soul.

Thy body is by a sore dis­ease consined to thy bed. I should be sorry to say, thou thy self wert so: Thy soul (which is thy self) is, I hope, elsewhere; That, however it is content to take a share in thy sufferings, soares above to the heaven of heavens; and is prostrate before the throne of grace, suing for mercy and [Page 5] forgivenesse; beholding the face of thy glorious Media­tor, interceding for thee: wo were to us if our souls were coffin'd up in our bosomes, so as they could not stirre abroad, nor goe any further then they are carried; like some snail, or tortoise, that cannot move out of the shell; Blessed be God, he hath given us active spirits, that can be­stirre themselves, whiles our bodies lie still; that can be so quicke and nimble in their motions, as that they can passe from earth to heaven, ere our bodies can turn to the other side▪ and how much shall we be wanting to our selves, if we doe not make use of this spirituall agilitie; sending up these spirits of [Page 6] ours, from this dull clay of our bodies, to those regions of blessednesse; that they may thence fetch comfort, to alleviate the sorrows of their heavie partners? Thus doe thou, my sonne, imploy thy better part; no paines of the worse can make thee miserable; That spirituall part of thine shall ere long be in blisse, whiles this earthen peece shall lye rotting in the grave: Why shouldst thou not, even now before thy separation, im­prove all the powers of it, to thy present advantage? Let that still behold the face of thy God in glory▪ whiles thy bodily eyes look upon those friends at thy bed side, which may pity, but cannot help thee.

§ 3. 2 Comfort from the author of sicknesse, and the benefit of it.

Thou art pained with sick­nesse: Consider seriously whence it is that thou thus smartest; Affliction commeth not out of the dust; couldst thou but heare the voyce of thy disease,Job 5. 6. as well as thou feelest the stroke of it; it saith loud enough, Am I come up hither without the Lord to torment thee? 2 Kings 18. 25. The Lord hath said to me, Goe up against this man, and afflict him. Couldst thou see the hand that smites thee, thou couldst not but kisse it; Why man, it is thy good God, the Father of all mer­cies, that layes these stripes upon thee; Hee that made thee, he that bought thee at so deare a rate as his owne blood, it is he that chastiseth thee; and canst thou think he [Page 8] would whip thee but for thy good? Thou art a Father of children, and art acquainted with thine owne bowels; Didst thou ever take the [...]od into thy hand, out of a plea­sure that thou tookest in smiting that flesh which is derived from thine owne loines? Was it any ease to thee to make thy child smart, and bleed? Didst thou not suffer more then thou inflict­edst? Couldst thou not ra­ther have been content to have redeemed those his stripes with thine own? Yet thou sawest good reason to lay on,Prov. 19. 18. and not to spare for his loud crying, and many teares; and canst say, thou hadst not loved him, if thou hadst not been so kindly se­vere: [Page 9] And if we that are evill, know how to give loving and beneficiall correction unto our children, how much more shall our Father which is in heaven know how to beat us to our advantage? so as wee may sing under the rod, with the blessed Psalmist;Ps. 119. 75. I know O Lord that thy judgements are right, and that of very faith fulnesse thou hast afflicted me. Might the child be made ar­biter of his own chastise­ment, do we think he would award himself so much as one lash? yet the wiser parent knowes he shall wrong him, if he doe not inflict more; as having learned of wise Solo­mon; Prov. 23 14. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell; Love hath his [Page 10] stroaks, saith Ambrose, which are so much the sweeter, by how much they are the harder set on: Dost thou not re­member the message that the two sisters sent to our Savi­our;Joh. 11. 3 Lord, behold, hee whom thou lovest is sick: Were it so that pain, or sicknesse, or any other the executioners of Di­vine justice should be let loose upon thee, to tyrannize over thee at pleasure, on purpose to render thee perfectly mise­rable; there were just reason for thy utter disheartening; now they are stinted, and goe under commission; neither can they bee allowed to have any other limits then thy own advantage: Tell me whe­ther hadst thou rather be good, or be healthfull: I know thou [Page 11] wouldst bee both, and thinkst thou mayst well be so. Who is so little in his owne favour as to imagine hee can be the worse for faring well? But he that made thee lookes far­ther into thee then thine owne eyes can doe; he sees thy vi­gour is turning wanton; and that if thy body be not sick, thy soul will: if he therefore finde it sit to take downe thy worse part a little, for the pre­venting of a mortall danger to the better, what cause hast thou to complain, yea, rather not to be thankfull? When thou hast felt thy body in a distemper of fulnesse, thou hast gone to sea on purpose to make thy self sick; yet thou knewest that turning of thy head and stomach would bee [Page 12] more painful to thee then thy former indisposition; why should not thine al [...]wise Cre­ator take liberty to cure thee with an afflictious remedy?

§ 4, 3 Com­fort, from the vicis­situdes of health.

Thou art now sick: Wert thou not before a long time healthfull? Canst thou not be content to take thy turns? If thou hadst had more daies of health then houres of sick­nesse,Job 2. 10 how canst thou think thou hadst cause to repine? Had the divine Wisedome thought sit to mitigate thy many daies pain, with the ease of one hour, it had been well worthy of thy thanks; but now that it hath before­hand requited thy few pain­full houres, with yeares of perfect health, how unthank­fully dost thou grudge at the [Page 13] condition? It was a foule mistake, if thou didst not from all earthly things expect a vicissitude; they cannot have their being without a change; As well may day be without a succession of night▪ and life without death, as a mortall body without sits of distemper; and how much better are these momentany changes, then that last change of a misery unchangeable? It was a wofull word that Fa­ther Abraham said to the dam­ned glutron; Son, remember that thou in thy life time re­ceivedst thy good things, Luk 16▪ 25. and Lazarus evill things; but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented: Oh happy stripes wherewith we are here chastened of the Lord, [Page 14] that we may not bee condemned with the world! 1 Cor. 11. 32. Oh welcome feavers that may quit my soule from everlasting bur­nings!

§ 5, 4 Comfort Sicknesse better then sinfull health.

Thou complainest of sick­nesse; I have known those that have bestowed teares upon their too much health, sadly bemoaning the feare and danger of Gods disfavour for that they ayled nothing; and our Bromiard tels us of a de­vout man in his time,Bro. Sum. V. Infir­mitas that bewailed his continued wel­fare as no small affliction; whom soon after God fitted with pain enough: The poore man joyed in the change, and held his sicknesse a mercy; neither indeed was it other­wise intended by him that sent it. Why are we too much [Page 15] dejected with that, which others complain to want? why should we finde that so tedious to us, which others have wished? There have been Medicinal Agues, which the wise Physitian hath cast his Patient into, for the cure of a worse distemper. A se­cure and lawless health, how ever Nature takes it, is the most dangerous indisposition of the soul: if that may be healed by some few bodily pangs, the advantage is un­speakable. Look upon some vigorous Gallant, that in the height of his spirit, and the heat of his blood, eagerly pursues his carnal delights, as thinking of no heaven, but the free delectation of his sense; and compare thy pre­sent [Page 16] estate with his: Here thou liest groaning, and sighing, and panting, and shifting thy weary sides, complaining of the heavie pace of the tedious hours; whiles he is fro licking with his jocund com­panions, carousing his large healths, sporting himself with his wanton mistress, and bathing himself in all sensu­all pleasures; and tell me whether of the two thou thinkest in the happier con­dition: Surely, if thou be not shrunk into nothing but mee [...] Sense, if thou hast not cast off all thoughts of another world, thou shalt pity the misery of that godless jolli­ty; and gratulate to thy self the advantage of thine, hum­ble and faithful suffering; as [Page 17] that which shall at last make thee an abundant amends, by yeelding thee the peaceable fruit of righteousness. Heb. 12. 11.

§ 6. 5 Com­fort: The greater sufferings of hol [...]er men; and the reso­lutions of heathens.

Thy pain is grievous; I apprehend it such, and pity thee with all my soul. But let me tell thee, It is not such, but that holier men have sus­fered more. Dost thou not hear the great precedent of patience crying out from his dung [...] hill;Job 6. 2, 3, 4. Oh that my grief were thorowly weighed, and my calamities laid in the ba­lance together! For now it would be heavier then the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. For the ar­rows of the Almighty are within me, the poison where­of drinketh up my spirits: The terrours of God do set themselves [Page 18] in array against me? Psal. 22. 1. Dost thou not hear the man after Gods own heart speak of the voice of his roaring?Psal. 6. 6 Dost thou not see him that shrunk not from the Bear, the Lion, the Giant, drenching his bed with his tears? Dost thou not hear the Faithful crying out,Lam. 3. 1, 3, 4. I am the man that hath suffered affliction by the rod of his wrath, &c. Surely, against me is he turned; he turneth his hand against me all the day: My flesh and my skin hath he made old; he hath broken my bones. Might I not easily shew thee the Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, (the great favourites of heaven) some on the Grid­irons, others in boiling Cal drons, some on the Spits, others under the Sawes, some [Page 19] in the Flames, others crashed with the teeth of Wilde beasts: some on the Racks, others in fiery furnaces: most of them in such torments, as in comparison whereof thy pains are but sport? Yea, what speak I of these mortal, and (at the best) sinful men; when thou maist see the Son of God, the Lord of life, the King of glory, God blessed for ever, sweating drops of blood in his dreadful agony; and maist hear him cry upon the tree of shame and curse, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Alas, what are we capable to suffer in pro­portion of these tortures? Who are we, that we should think much to share with the best of Gods Saints, yea with [Page 20] the dear and eternal Son of his love, our ever blessed Redeemer? Had not God found this the way to their heaven, they had not trod so deep in blood: Why do we grudge to wet our feet where they waded? Yea, if from these holy ones, thou shalt turn thine eyes to some meer Pa­gans, let me shew thee the man whom we are wont to account infamous for volup­tuousness; Epicurus, the Phi­losopher; who on his dying day, when he lay extremely tormented with the stone in the bladder, and a tearing Collick in his bowels, as it were gasping for life; yet even then writing to his Idome­neus, can out of the strength of his resolutions profess his [Page 21] chearfulness; and can style even that day blessed. It was the same mouth that could boast, [...]hat if he were frying in the brazen Bull of Phala­ris, he could there finde con­tentment. What should I tell thee of a Mutius Scaevola, who in a glorious revenge voluntarily burns off his own right hand, not without the envie and pity of his enemies: or of a Regulus, that after so high a provocation, offers himself to the worst of the merciless fury of his tor­mentors? Why shouldst thou think it strange (saith wise Seneca) that some men should be well pleased to be scorcht, to be wounded, to be rackt, to be kill'd? Frugality is a pain to the riotous; labour is a pu­nishment [Page 22] to the lazie; conti­nence is a misery to the wan­ton; studie is a torture to the slothful: All these things are not in their own nature difficult; but we are feeble, and false-hearted. Shall these Pagans attain to this height of magnanimity, out of the bravery of their manly reso­lutions; and shall we Christi­ans droop, and pule under gentler sufferings? whiles we profess to have moreo­ver the advantage of Faith to uphold and chear us? Poor Heathen souls! they never heard of any gracious Engagements of a merciful God to stand by them, and to comfort them: they never had met with those sweet messages from heaven; Call [Page 23] upon me in the day of thy trouble, Psal. 50. 15. and thou shalt glorifie me: Come unto me, Mat. 11. 28. all ye that labour and are heavie laden, and I will give you rest: Strengthen ye the weak hands, Isai. 35. 3, 4. and confirm the feeble knees: Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not; behold, your God will come with vengeance, even God with a recompence; he will come and save you. They had not the heart of a Job, to say, I know that my Redeemer liv [...]th; nor the eyes of a Steven, to pierce the heaven, and to see their Saviour standing at the right hand of God: but meerly tugg'd it out in the strength of their natural courage, heightened with a vain-glo­rious ambition of that fame which they did believe [Page 24] would survive them; where­as we Christians know that we have a God, the Father of all mercie [...] ▪ to stand by us; a Redeemer, to deliver us; a Comforter, to strengthen and refresh us; sweet and unfail able promises, to sustain us; and at last, a crown of eternal glory, to recompense us.

§ 7. 6 Com­fort: Our sufferings far below our deser­vings.

Thou art pained with Sick­ness: Look not at what thou feelest, but at what thou hast deserved to feel. Why doth the living man complain? Man suffereth for his sin. Lam. 3. 39. Alas, the wages of every sin is death; a double death; of body, of soul [...]; temporal, eternal: Any thing belowe this, is mercy. There is not the least of thy many thousand transgressions but hath merited the infinite [Page 25] wrath of a just God; and thereby, more torments then thou art capable to undergo. What dost thou complain of ease?Luke 1 [...] Where thou owedst a thousand talents, thou art bidden to take thy bill, and sit down and write fifty: wil [...] thou not magnifie the cle­mency of so favourable a cre­ditor? Surely, were every twig wherewith thou smart­est, a scorpion, and every breath that thon sendest forth, a flame; this were yet less then thy due. Oh the infinite goodness of our in­dulgent Father, that takes up with so gentle a correction! Tell me, thou nice & delicate patient, if thou canst not bear these stripes, how wilt thou be able to endure those that [Page 26] are infinitely sorer? Alas, what are these to that hell which abides for the impati­ent? There are exquisite pains, without mitigation; eternal pains, without inter­mission; which thou canst neither suffer nor avoid; fear them, whiles thou grudgest at these; lay thy self lowe under the hand of thy good God, and be thankful for a tolerable misery. How gra­ciously hath the wisdom of our God thought fit to tem­per our afflictions; so contri­ving them, that if they be sharp, they are not long; and if they be long, they are not over-sharp; that our strength might not be over-laid by our trials, either way! Be content man; either thy lan­guishment [Page 27] shall be easie, or thy pain soon over. Extreme and everlasting, are terms reserved for Gods enemies in the other world: That is tru­ly long, which hath no end; that is truly painful, which is not capable of any relaxa­tion. What a short moment is it that thou canst suffer? short, yea nothing, in respect of that eternity which thou must either hope for, or fear. Smart a while patiently, that thou maist not be infinitely miserable.

§ 8. 7 Comfort: T [...] benefit [...] the exer­cise of our pat [...]ence.

Thou complainest of pain: What use were there of thy Patience, if thou a [...]ledst no­thing? God never gives ver­tues without an intent of their exercise. To what pur­pose were our Christian va­lour, [Page 28] if we had no enemy to encounter? Thus long thou hast lien quiet in a secure Ga­rison, where thou hast heard no trumpet but thine own, and hast turned thy drums­head into a Dicing table, lavishing out thy days in va­rieties of idle Recreations: now God draws thee forth into the field, and shews thee an enemy; where is thy Chri­stian fortitude, if thou shrink back, and cowardly wheeling about, chusest rather to make use of thy heels, then of thy hands? Doth this be­seem thee, who professest to fight under his colours, who is the Great Conquerour of Death and Hell? Is this the way to that happie Victory, which shal carry away a crown [Page 29] of glory? My son, if thou faint in the day of thine ad­versity, thy strength is but small: Stir up thine holy courage;Eph. 6. 10. Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might: Buckle close with that fierce enemy wherewith thy God would have thee assaulted; looking up to him who hath said, and cannot fail to per­form it; Be faithful to the death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

§ 9. 8 Com­fort: The necessity of expecting sickness.

Thou art surprized with Sickness; whose fault is this but thine own? Who bade thee not to look for so sure a guest? The very frame of thy body should have put thee in­to other thoughts: Dost thou see this living fabrick made up as a clock consisting of so [Page 30] many wheels, and gimmers? and couldst thou imagine that some of them should not be ever out of order? Couldst thou think that a Cottage, not too strongly built, and standing so bleak in the very mouth of the Windes, could for any long time hold tight, and unreaved? Yea, dost thou not rather wonder that it hath out-stood so many blustring blasts, thus long, utterly un­ruined? or that the wires of that engine should so long have held pace with time? It was scarce [...] patient que­stion which Job Job 6. 12 asked: Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my fl [...]sh as brass? No, alas, Job, thy best metal is but [...]lay; and thine, as all flesh, [Page 31] is grasse; the clay moulde­reth, and the grasse withe­reth; what doe we make ac­count of any thing but mi­sery and ficklenesse in this wofull region of change? If we will needs over-reckon our condition, we doe but help to aggravate our owne wretchednesse.

§. 10. 9. Com­fort.

Thou art retired to thy sick bed; Be of good comfort; God was never so neer thee,Gods most tender re­gard to us in sickness never so tenderly indulgent to thee as now: The whole, saith our Saviour, need no [...] the Physitian, but the sick: Lo, the Physitian, as being made for the time of necessity,Ecclus. 38. 1. com­meth not but where there is need; and where need is, he will not fail to come. Our need is motive enough to [Page 32] him,Mat. 8. 17. who himself tooke our infirmities and bare our sicknes­ses; our health estranges him from us: Whiles thou art his patient, he cannot be kept off from thee; The Lord, saith the Psalmist,Psal. 41. 3 will strengthen thee upon the bed of languishing. Thou wilt make all his bed in his sicknesse: Loe, the heavenly comforter doth not onely visit, but attend thee; and if thou finde thy pallet uneasie, he shall turn, and sof­ten it for thy repose. Canst thou not read Gods gracious indulgence in thine own dis­position? Thou art a Parent of children; perhaps thou findest cause to affect one more then another, though all be deare enough; but if any one of them be cast down [Page 33] with a feverous distemper, now thou art more carefully busie about him then all the rest; how thou pitiest him, how thou pliest him with offers and receits? with what silent anxiety dost thou watch by his couch? liste­ning for every of his breath­ings; jealous of every whispe­ring that might break off his slumber; answering every of his groanes with so many sighes; and in short, so ma­king of him for the time, that thy greatest darling seems the while neglected in compari­son of this more needfull charge: How much more shall the Father of mercies be compassionately intent up­on the sufferings of his deare children, according to the [Page 34] proportion of their afflicti­ons?

§ 11. 10 Com­fort. The comforta­ble end of our su [...] ­ferings▪

Thou art wholly taken up with the extremity of thy paines; Alas poor soule, thy purblinde eies see nothing but what is laid close to thee: It is thy sense which thou fol­lowest, but where is thy faith? Couldst thou look to the end of thy sufferings, thou couldst not but rejoyce in tribulation▪ Let Patience have her perfect work, and thou shalt once say, It is well for me that I was afflicted; Thou mights [...] be jo [...]ond long enough ere thy jollity coul [...] make thee happy; Yea, wo [...] be to them that laugh here: Luk. 6. 25. But on the contrary, our light affliction, 2 Cor. 4. 17. which is but for a mome [...]t, worketh for us a farre [Page 35] more exceeding, and eternall weight of glory. Oh blessed improvement of a few groanes [...] Oh glorious issue of a short brunt of sorrow! What do we going for Christians, if we be nothing but meer flesh and blood? And if we be more, we have more cause of joy then complaint; For whiles our outward man perisheth, 2 Cor. 4. 16. our inward man is renewed daily: Our outward man is but flesh, our inward is spirit; infinitely more noble then this living clay that wee carry about us; whiles our spirit therefore gaines more then our flesh is capable to lose, what reason have we not to boast of the bargain? Let not therefore these close curtaines confine thy sight, [Page 36] but cast up thine eies to that heaven whence thy soule came, and see there that crowne of glory which thy God holds forth for all that overcome; and run with pati­ence the race that is set before thee, looking unto Iesus the Author and Finisher of our faith,Heb. 12. 2. who is set down at the right hand of the throne of God; And solace thy selfe with the expectation of that blessednesse, which if thy torments were no lesse then those of hell, would make more then abundant amends for all thy sufferings.

§. 12. 11. Com­fort. The favour of a peace­able pas­sage out of the world.

Thou art sick to die; ha­ving received the sentence of death in thy selfe; thy Phy­sitian hath given thee up to act this last part alone; nei­ther [Page 37] art thou like to rise any more till the generall resur­rection; How many thou­sands have died lately, that would have thought it a great happinesse to die thus quietly in their beds? whom the storme of warre hath hurried away furiously into another world, snatching them sud­denly out of this; not suffe­ring them to take leave of that life which they are for­ced to abandon; whereas thou hast a fair leasure to prepare thy self for the entertainment of thy last guest; to set both thine house in order, and thy soule: It is no small advan­tage, my son, thus to see death at a distance, and to observe every of his paces towards thee; that thou maist put thy [Page 38] selfe into a fit posture to meet this grim messenger of hea­ven, who comes to fetch thee to immortality; That dying thus by gentle degrees, thou hast the leasure with the holy Patriarch Iacob, to call thy children about thee, to be­queath to each of them the dear legacy of thy last bene­diction; and that being in­compassed with thy sad friends, now in thy long journey to a far country (though thine, and their home) thou maist take a solemn farewell of them, as going somewhat before them to the appointed happy meeting place of glory and blessednesse: That one of thine own may close up those eyes, which shall in their next opening, see the face of thy [Page 39] most glorious Saviour, and see this flesh (now ready to lie down in corruption) made like to his, in unspeakable glory.

Comforts for the sick Soul.

§ 1. The hap­piness of a deep sor­row for sin.

THy sin lies heavie upon thy soul: Blessed be God that thou feel'st it so; many a one hath more weight upon him, and boasteth of ease. There is musick in this com­plaint; the Father of mercies delights to hear it, as next to the melody of Saints and An­gels. Go on still, and conti­nue these sorrowful notes, if ever thou look for sound comfort:2 Cor. 7. 10. It is this godly sorrow that worketh repentance to sal­vation, [Page 40] not to be repented of. Weep still, and make not too much haste to dry up these tears; for they are precious, and held fit to be reserved in the bottle of the Almighty: Psal. 56. 8. Over-speedy remedies may prove injurious to the Pati­ent: and as in the body, so in the soul, diseases and tumors must have their due matura­tion, ere there can be a per­fect cure:Lev. 1. 9. The inwards of the Sacrifice must be three times rin­sed with water; Hebr. doct. in locum. One ablution will not serve the turn: but when thou hast emptied thine eyes of tears, and un­loaded thy brest of leasure­ly sighs, I shall then, by full commission from him that hath the power of remission, say to thee, Son, be of good [Page 41] comfort, thy sins are forgiven thee.

§ 2. Comfort from the welgroun­ded▪ decla­ration of pardon.

Think not this word meer­ly formal, and forceless:Rev. 1. 18. He that hath the keys of hell, and of death, hath not said in vain, Whose sins ye remit, they are re­mitted. The words of his faithful Ministers on earth, are ratified in heaven: Onely the Priest under the Law had power to pronounce the Le­per clean:Lev. 13. 3. had any other Is­raelite done it, it had been as unprofitable, as presumptu­ous. It is a precious word that fell from Elihu; Job 33. 22, 23, 24. When a mans soul draweth nigh to the grave, and his life to the destroyer, if there be a mes­senger (of God) with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto that [Page 42] man his uprightness; then he (i. e. God) is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down into the pit; I have found a ransom. Behold, this is thy case, my son; the life of thy soul is in danger of the Destroyer, through his powerful tem­ptations: I am (howsoever unworthy) a messenger sent to thee from heaven; and in the Name of that great God that sent me, I do here, upon the sight of thy serious re­pentance, before Angels and men, declare thy soul to stand right in the Court of heaven: the invaluable ransom of thy dear Saviour is laid down and accepted for thee; thou art delivered from going down into the pit of hor­rour [Page 43] and perdition.

§ 3. Aggrava­tion of the grievous condition of the Pa­tient, and remedies from mer­cy applied.

Oh happie message, thou saist, were it as sure as it is comfortable! But, alas, my heart findes many and deep grounds of fear and diffi­dence, which will not easily be removed: That smites me, whiles you offer to acquit me; and tells me, I am in a worse condition then a look­er on can imagine; my sins are beyond measure hainous, such as my thoughts tremble at, such as I dare not utter to the God that knows them, and against whom onely they are committed: there is hor­rour in their very remem­brance; what will there then be in their retribution? They are bitter things that thou urgest against thy self, my [Page 44] son; no adversary could plead worse: But I admit thy vile­ness; be thou as bad as Satan can make thee: It is not ei­ther his malice, or thy wick­edness that can shut thee out from mercy. Be thou as foul as sin can make thee, yet there is a fountain opened to the house of David (a bloody fountain in the side of thy Saviour) for sin,Zech. 13 1. and for un­cleanness. Be thou as leprous as that Syrian was of old, if thou canst but wash seven times in the waters of this Jordan,2 Kings 5. 18. thou canst not but be clean; thy flesh shall come again to thee, like to the flesh of a little childe; thou shalt be at once sound and innocent. Be thou stung unto death with the fiery serpents of this [Page 45] wilderness, yet if thou canst but cast thine eyes to that Brazen Serpent which is ere­cted there, thou canst not fail of cure. Wherefore came the Son of God into the world,1 Tim. 1. 15. but to save sinners? Adde, if thou wilt, whereof I am chief; thou canst say no worse by thy self then a bet­ter man did before thee; who in the right of a sinner, clai­meth the benefit of a Savi­our. Were it not for our sin, what use were there of a Re­deemer? Were not our sin hainous, how should it have required such an expiation as the blood of the eternal Son of God? Take comfort to thy self, my son; the great­ness of thy sin serves but to magnifie the mercy of the [Page 46] Forgiver: to remit the debt of some few farthings, it were small thank; but to strike off the scores of thousands of ta­lents, it is the height of boun­ [...]y: Thus doth thy God to thee; he hath suffered thee to run on in his books to so deep a sum, that when thy con­scious heart hath proclaimed thee bankrupt, he may infinit­ly oblige thee, and glorifie his own mercy in crossing the reckoning, and acquitting thy soul. All sums are equally dischargeable to the munifi­cence of our great Creditor in heaven: as it is the act of his Justice, to call for the least; so of his Mercy, to for­give the greatest. Had we to do with a finite power, we had reason to sink under the [Page 47] burden of our sins: Now there is neither more nor less to that which is infinite: Onely let thy care be, to lay hold on that infinite mercy which lies open to thee: And as thou art an object fit for mercy, in that thou art in thy self sinful, and miserable enough; so finde thy self (as thou art) a subject meet to re­ceive this mercy, as a penitent believer. Open and enlarge thy bosom, to take in this free grace, and close with thy bles­sed Saviour; and with, and in him, possess thy self of remis­sion, peace, salvation.

§ 4. Com­plaints o [...] unrepen­tance an [...] unbelief.

Sweet words (thou sayest) to those that are capable of them: But what is all this to me, that am neither penitent nor believer? Alas, that [Page 48] which is honey to others, is no better then gall & worm­wood to me, who have not the grace to repent, and be­lieve as I ought. Why wilt thou, my son, be so unwise, and unjust, as to take part with Satan against thine own soul? Why wilt thou be so unthankfully injurious to the Father of mercies, as to deny those graces which his good Spirit hath so freely bestowed upon thee? If thou wert not penitent for thy sins, wherefore are these tears? What mean these sighs, and sobs, and passio­nate expressions of sorrow which I hear from thee? It is no worldly loss that thus afflicts thee; it is no bodily distemper that thus disquiets [Page 49] thee: Doubtless, thou art soul-sick, my son, thy spi­rit is deeply wounded within thee; and what can thus af­fect thy soul, but sin? and what can this affection of thy soul be for sin, but true peni­tence?

§ 5. Com­plaints of a mis­grounded sorrow, sa­tisfied.

Alas, thou sayest, I am in­deed sorrowful for my sin, but not upon the right grounds; I grieve for the mi­sery that my sin hath brought upon me, not for the evil of my sin [...]; for the punishment, not the offence; for my own danger, not for the displeasure of my good God. Beware, my son, lest an undue humi­lity cause thee to belye the graces of Gods Spirit: thou art no meet judge of thy self, whiles thou art under temp­tations: [Page 50] Had not thy sorrow a relation to thy God, why wouldst thou thus sigh [...] to­wards heaven? why would thy heart challenge thee for unkindness in offending? why dost thou cry out of the foulness, not onely of the peril, of thy sin? What is it that makes the act of thy sin to be sinful, but the offence of the Divine Majestie? how canst thou then be sorry that thou hast sinned, and not be sorry that thou hast offended? Tell me, What is it that thy conscience primarily suggests to thee in this deep impression of thy sorrow? Is it, Thou shalt be punished? or i [...] it not rather, Thou hast sinned? And were it put to thy choice, whether [Page 51] thou hadst rather enjoy the favour of God, with the ex­tremest smart, or be in his displeasure with ease; whe­ther wouldst thou pitch up­on? Or if liberty were ten­dred unto thee, that thou mightst freely sin without the danger of punishment; whether doth not thy heart rise at the condition, as ready to flee in the face of the of­ferer? Besides fear and hor­rour, dost thou not finde an inward kinde of indignation at thy miscarriage, and such an hatred of thy sin, that were it to be done again, if it were possible to be hid from God, and men; and if there were not an hell to avenge it, thou wouldst abho [...] to commit it? All these are strong con­victions [Page 52] of the right grounds of thy repentance, and of the wrong which thou dost to thine own soul, in the unjust scruples which thou raisest against it.

§ 6. Complaint of the in­sufficient measure of sorrow, satisfied.

If the grounds (thou saist) of my repentance be right, yet the measure is insuffici­ent: I am sorrowful for my sins, but not enough: An effe­ctual grief for sin should be serious, deep, hearty, inten­sive; mine is slight, and super­ficial [...]: I sigh, but my sighs come not from the bottom of an humbled heart: I can sometimes weep, but I cannot pour out my self into tears: I mourn, but I do not dwell upon my sorrow. My son, thou hast to do with a God, which in all the dispositions [Page 53] of our soul regards truth, and not quantity: If he find thy remorse sound, he stands not upon measure: He doth not mete out our repentance by inches, or by houres; but where he findes sincerity of penitence, he is graciously indulgent: Look upon Da­vid, and acknowledge his sin formidably hainous; no lesse then adultery seconded with inebriation and murder; yet no sooner did he in a true compunction of heart cry Peccavi, 2 Sam 12▪ 13. I have sinned against the Lord; then he heares from the same mouth that accused him, The Lord also hath put away thy sin, thou shalt not die; you doe not hear of any tea­ring of hair, or rending of garments, or knockings of [Page 54] brest, or lying in sackcloth and ashes; but onely a peni­tent confession availing for the expiation of so grievous crimes. Thou art deceived, if thou thinkst God delights in the misery and afflictedness of his creature: So far onely is the grief his dear ones pleasing unto him, as it may make for the health of their souls, in the [...] due sensible­ness of their sin, in their meet capacity of mercy. I do not, with some Casuists, flatter thee with an opinion of the sufficiency of any slight at­trition, and empty wishes that thou hadst not sinned; doubtless, a true contrition of spirit, and compunction of heart, are necessarily required to a saving repentance; and [Page 55] these, wert thou but an indif­ferent censurer of thine own waies, thou couldst not choose but finde within thy selfe; why else is thy counte­nance so dejected, thy cheeks pale, and watered so oft with thy teares, thy sleeps broken, thy meales stomacklesse? wherefore are thy so sad be­moanings, and vehement de­precations? But after all this, be thou such [...] thou ac­cusest thy selfe, defective in the measure of thy repen­tance; d [...]st thou rest conten­ted in this con [...]ition? dost thou not complain of it as thy greatest misery? Art thou not heartily sorry that thou canst be no more sorry for thy sin? Comfort thy selfe, my son▪ even this, this alone [Page 56] is an acceptable degree of re­pentance: Our God, whose will is his deed, accounts ours so; What is repentance but a change of minde from evil to good? and how sensi­ble is this change, that thou who formerly delightedst in thy sinne, now abhorrest it, and thy selfe for it, and art yet ambitious of more grief for being transported into it? Let not the enemy of thy soule, who desires nothing more then to make thee per­fectly miserable, win so much of thee, as to render thee un­satisfied with the measure of that penitence which is ac­cepted of thy God; rather turn thine eies from thy sins, and look up to heaven, and fasten them there upon thine [Page 57] all-sufficient Mediator at the right hand of Majesty; and see his face smiling upon thine humbled soul, and per­fectly reconciling thee to his eternall Father; as being fully assured,Rom. 5. 1, 2. That being ju­stified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Je­sus Christ; By whom also wee have accesse by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and re­joyce in the hope of the glory of God.

§. 7. Complaint of the want of faith, sa­tisfied.

Yea, there, there, thou say­est, is the very core of all my complaint; I want that faith that should give me an inte­rest in my Saviour, and af­ford true comfort to my soule,Ephes. 3. 12. and boldnesse, and ac­cesse with confidence to the throne of grace; I can sor­row, [Page 58] but I cannot beleeve: My griefe is not so great as my infidelity: I see others full of joy and peace in belee­ving;Rom. 15. 3. but my earthen heart cannot raise it selfe up to a comfortable apprehension of my Saviour; so as, me thinks, I dwell in a kinde of discon­solate darknesse, and a sad lumpishnesse of unbeleef; wanting that lightsome assu­rance which others professe to finde in themselves. Take heed, my son, lest whiles thou art too querulous, thou prove unthankfull; and lest whiles thine humblenesse disparages thy self, thou make God a loser: Many a man may have a rich mine lying deep in his ground which he knowes not of; There are shels that are [Page 59] inwardly furnished with pearles of great price, and are not sensible of their worth: This is thy condition; thou hast that grace▪ which thou complainest to want: It is no measuring of thy selfe by sense, especially in the time of temptation; Thou couldst not so feelingly bemoan the want of faith if thou hadst it not; Deny it if thou canst, thou assentest to the truth of all the gracious pro­mises of God; thou acknow­ledgest he could not be him­selfe if he were not a true God; yea truth it self; Thou canst not doubt but that he hath made sweet promises of free grace and mercy to all penitent sinners; thou canst not but grant that thou art [Page 60] sinfull enough to need mercy, and sorrowfull enough to de­sire and receive mercy: Canst thou but love thy selfe so well, as that when thou seest a pardon reached forth to thee to save thy soule from death, thou shouldst doe any other then stretch forth thy hand to take it? Lo, this hand stretched forth is thy faith, which so takes spirituall hold of thy Saviour, that it cals not thy sense to witnesse. As for that assurance thou speakest of, they are happy that can truly feel, & maintain it; and it must be our holy ambition (what we may) to aspire unto it; but that is such an height of perfection, as every travel­ler in this wretched pilgri­mage, cannot, whiles he is in [Page 61] this perplexed, and heavy way, hope to attain unto: It is an unsafe and perillous path, which those men have walked in, who have been wont to define all faith by as­surance; Should I lead thee that way, it might cost thee a fall; so sure a certainty of our constant and reflected appre­hension of eternall life, is both hard to get, and not easie to hold unmovably; consider­ing the many and strong temptations that we are sub­ject unto in this vale of mise­ry and death: Should faith be reduced to this triall, it would be yet more rare then our Saviour hath foretold it: For, as many a one boasts of such an assurance, who is yet fai­ling of a true faith, (hugging [Page 62] a vain presumption in stead of it) so many a one, also, hath true faith in the Lord Iesus, who yet complaines to want this assurance. Canst thou in a sense of thine owne mise­ry, close with thy Saviour? canst thou throw thy self into the arms of his mercy? canst thou trust him with thy soul, and repose thy self upon him for forgivenesse and salvati­on? canst thou lay thy self before him as a miserable ob­ject of his grace and mercy? and when it is held forth to thee, canst thou lay some (though weak) hold upon it? Labour what thou mayst for further degrees of strength daily; set not up thy rest in this pitch of grace; but, chear up thy self, my son, even thus [Page 63] much faith shall save thy soul: Thou believest; and he hath said it,Joh. 3. 36. that is Truth it self; He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life.

§ 8. Complaint of the weakness of faith, satisfied.

I know, thou sayest, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; And that whosoever believeth in him, shall not perish, but have eternal life: Joh. 3. 15. Neither can I deny, but that in a sense of my own sinful condition, I do cast my self in some measure upon my Saviour, and lay some hold upon his All-suffi­cient Redemption: But alas, my apprehensions of him are so feeble, as that they can afford no sound comfort to my soul. Courage, my son; were it that thou lookedst to be justified, and saved by the [Page 64] power of the very act of thy faith, thou hadst reason to be disheartened with the consci­ence of the weakness there­of: but now that the vertue and efficacie of this happie work is in the object appre­hended by thee, which is the infinite merits and mercy of thy God and Saviour, (which cannot be abated by thine in­firmities) thou hast cause to take heart to thy self, and chearfully to expect his sal­vation. Understand thy case aright: Here is a double hand that helps us up to­wards heaven: our hand of Faith lays hold upon our Sa­viour; our Saviours hand of mercy and plenteous redem­ption lays hold on us: our hold of him is feeble, and easi­ly [Page 65] loosed; his hold of us is strong, and irresistible. Com­fort thy self therefore, in this, with the blessed Apostle; When thou art weak, then thou art strong; when weak in thy self, strong in thy Re­deemer. Shouldst thou boast of thy strength, and say, Tush, I shall never be moved; I should suspect the truth and safety of thy condition: now thou bewailest thy weak­ness, I cannot but encourage and congratulate the happie estate of thy soul. If work were stood upon, a strength of hand were necessary; but now, that onely taking and receiving of a precious gift is required, why may not a weak hand do that as well as a strong? as well, though [Page 66] not as forcibly. Be not there­fore dejected with the want of thine own power, but comfort thy self in the rich mercies of thy blessed Re­deemer.

§ 9. Complaint of incon­ [...]tancy, and desertion, answered.

Now thou saist; Sometimes, I confess, I finde my heart at ease, in a comfortable reliance on my Saviour; and being well resolved of the safety of my estate, promise good days to my self; and after the banishment of my former fears, dare bid defiance to temptations: But alas, how soon is this fair weather over? how suddenly is this clear skie over-clouded, and spread over with a sad dark­ness, and I return to my for­mer heartlesness? Didst thou conceive, my son, that [Page 67] grace would put thee into a constant, and pepetually-invariable condition of soul, whiles thou art in this earth­ly warfare? Didst thou ever hear or read of any of Gods prime Saints upon earth, that were unchangeable in their holy dispositions, whiles they continued in this region of mutability? Look upon the man after Gods own heart, thou shalt finde him some­times so courageous, as if the spirits of all his Worthies were met in his one bosom. How resolutely doth he blow off all dangers, trample on all enemies, triumph over all cross events? Another while thou shalt finde him so dejected, as if he were not the man. One while, The [Page 68] Lord is my Shepherd, Psa. 23. 1 I shall lack nothing: Another while, Why art th [...] so sad, 42. 14. my soul, and why art thou so disquieted within me? Psal. 3 6. One while, I will not be afraid for ten thousands of the people, that have set them­selves against me round about: Another while,Psal. 17. 8, 9. Hide me under the shadow of thy wings, from the wicked that oppress me, from my deadly enemies who compass me about. One while, Thy loving kindness is before mine eyes, Psa. 26. 3 and I have walked in thy truth: Another while, Lord, Psal. 89. 49. where are thy loving kindnesses? Yea, dost thou not hear him with one breath professing his confidence, and lamenting his desertion? Lord, Psa. 30 7 by thy favour thou hast made my mountain to stand [Page 69] strong: Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled. Look upon the chosen vessel, the great Apostle of the Gentiles, one while thou shalt see him erecting trophies in himself of victory to his God: In all these things we are more then conquerours, Rom. 8 37 through him that loved us: Another while thou shalt finde him bewailing his own sinful condition; Oh wretched man that I am, Rom. 7▪ 2 [...] who shall deliver me from the body of this death! One while thou shalt finde him caught up into the third heaven, and there in the Paradise of God: ano­ther while thou shalt finde him buffeted by the messen­ger of Satan, and sadly com­plaining to God of the vio­lence of that assault. Hear [Page 70] the Spouse of Christ, (whe­ther the Church in common, or the faithful soul) be­moaning her self, I opened to my Beloved, Cant. 5. 6. but my Beloved had withdrawn himself, and was gone: my soul failed when he spake. I sought him, but I could not finde him; I called him, but he gave me no answer. Thus it will be with thee, my Son, whiles thou art in this frail flesh; the temper of thy soul will be, like her partner, sub­ject to vicissitudes. Shouldst thou continue always in the same state, I should more then suspect thee. This is the dif­ference betwixt Nature and Grace, That Nature is still uniform, and like it self; Grace varies according to the plea­sure of the giver: The Spirit [Page 71] breathes when and where it list­eth. [...]oh. 3. 8. When therefore thou findest the gracious spirati­ons of the holy Ghost within thee, be thankful to the infinite munificence of that bles­sed Spirit; and still pray, Arise, Cant. 4. 1 [...]. O North, and come thou South winde, [...]blowe upon my garden, that the spices thereof may slow out. But when thou shalt finde thy soul becalm­ed, and not a leaf stirring in this garden of thine; be not too much dejected with an ungrounded opinion of being destituted of thy God; neither do thou repine at the seasons, or measures of his bounty: that most free and infinitely-beneficent agent, will not be tied to our terms, but will give what, and how, [Page 72] and when he pleaseth: One­ly do thou humbly wait up­on his goodness;Phil. 1. 6. and be con­fident, that he who hath begun his good work in thee, will per­form it until the day of Jesus Christ.

§ 10. Complaint of unrege­neration, and dead­ness in sin, answered.

It is true (thou saist) if God had begun his good work in me, he would at the last, for his own glories sake, make it up: But for me, I am a man dead in sins and trespasses; neither ever had I any true life of grace in me: some shew, indeed, I have made of a Christian profession; but I have onely beguiled the eyes of the world with a meer pretence; and have not found in my self the truth, and so­lidity of those heavenly ver­tues whereof I have made a [Page 73] formal ostentation. It were pity, my son, thou shouldst be so bad as thou makest thy self: I have no comfort in store for hypocrisie; no dis­position can be more odious to the God of truth; in so much as when he would ex­press his utmost vengeance against sinners, he hath no more fearful terms to set it forth, then I will appoint him his portion with the hypocrites. Mat. 24. 51. Were it thus with thee, it were more then high time for thee to resolve thy self into dust and ashes, and to put thy self into the hands of thine Almighty Creatour, to be moulded anew by his power­ful Spirit; and never to give thy self peace,Eph. 4. 23. till thou fin­dest thy self [...] renewed in the [Page 74] spirit of thy minde: But in the mean while, take heed lest thou be found guilty of mis-judging thine own soul; and mis-prising the work of Gods Spirit in thee: God hath been better to thee, then thou wilt be acknown of; Thou hast true life of grace in thee, and for the time per­ceivest it not: It is no heed to take of the doom thou passest upon thy self in the hour of temptation: When thy heart was free, thou wert in another minde, and shalt upon better advice return to thy former thoughts. It is with thee, as it was with Eu­ [...]ychus, that fell down from the third loft, and was taken up for dead; yet for all that, his life was in him. We have [Page 75] known those who have lien long in trances, withovt any perception of life; yea, some (as that subtil Joannes Duns Scotus) have been put into their graves for fully dead, when as yet their soul hath been in them, though unable to exert those faculties which might evince her hidden pre­sence. Such thou mayest be, at the worst: yea, wert thou but in charity with thy self, thou wouldst be found in a much better condition. There is the same reason of the na­tural life, and the spiritual: Life, where it is, is discerned by breathing, sense, motion: Where there is the breath of life, there must be a life that sends it forth: If then the soul breathes forth holy de­sires, [Page 76] doubtless there is a life whence they proceed. Now deny, if thou canst, that thou hast these spiritual brea­things of holy desires within thee? Dost thou not many a time sigh for thine own insensateness? Is not thine heart troubled with the thoughts of thy want of grace? Dost thou not truly desire that God would renew a right spirit within thee? Take comfort to thy self; this is the work of the inward principle of Gods Spirit within thee: as well may a man breathe without life, as thou couldst be thus affected without grace: Sense is a quick discrier of life: pinch or wound a dead man, he feels nothing; but the living per­ceiveth [Page 77] the easiest touch. When thou hast heard the fearful judgements of God denounced against sinners, and laid home to the consci­ence, hast thou not found thy heart pierced with them? hast thou not shrunk inward, and secretly thought, How shall I decline this dreadful damnation? When thou hast heard the sweet mercies of God laid forth to penitent sinners, hath not thy heart silently said, Oh that I had my share in them! When thou hast heard the Name of Christ blasphemed, hast thou not felt a secret horrour in thy bosom? All these argue a true spiritual life within thee. Motion is the most perfect discoverer of life: [Page 78] He that can stir his limbs, is surely not dead: The feet of the soul are the Affections: Hast thou not found in thy self an hate and detestation of that sin whereinto thou hast been miscarried? Hast thou not found in thy self a true grief of heart for thy wretched indisposition to all good things? Hast thou not found a secret love to, and complacency in those whom thou hast thought truly godly and conscionable? With­out a true life of grace, these things could never have been: Are not thine eyes and hands many times lifted up in an imploration of mercy? Canst thou deny that thou hast a true, though but weak appe­tite to the means, and further [Page 79] degrees of grace? What can this be but that hunger and thirst after righteousnesse, to which our Saviour hath pro­nounced blessednesse? Dis­comfort not thy selfe too much, son, with the pre­sent disappearance of grace, during the hour of thy temp­tation; it is no otherwise with thee, then with a [...]ree in win­ter-season, whose sap is run down to the root; wherein there is no more shew of the life of vegetation by any buds or blossomes that it might put forth, then if it were stark dead; yet when the Sun re­turnes, and sends forth his comfortable beames in the spring, it burgens out afresh, and bewraies that vitall juyce which lay long hidden in the [Page 80] earth: No otherwise then with the hearth of some good huswife, which is towards night swept up, and hideth the fire under the heap of her ashes, a stranger would think it were quite out; here is no appearance of light, or heat, or smoak, but by that time she hath stirred it up a little, the bright gleeds shew them­selves, and are soon raised to a flame: Stay but till the spring, when the Sun of righ­teousnesse shall call up thy moisture into thy branches; stay but till the morning, when the fire of grace, which was raked up in the ashes, shall bee drawne forth and quickned, and thou shalt find cause to say of thy heart, as Iacob said of his hard lodging, [Page 81] Surely the Lord is in this place and I knew it not; Gen. 28. 16. Onely doe thou, not neglecting the meanes, wait patiently upon Gods leasure; stay quietly upon the bank of this Bethes­da, till the Angel descend and move the water.

§. 11. Complaint of the in­sensible­ness of the time and meanes of conversion.

I could gladly, thou saist, attend with patience upon God in this great and happy work of the excitation of grace, were I but sure I had it; could I be but perswaded of the truth of my conversion; but it is my great misery that here I am at a sad and uncom­fortable losse; for I have been taught that every true convert can designe the time, the place, the meanes, the manner of his conversion; and can shew how neare hee was [Page 82] brought to the gates of death, how close to the very verge of hell, when God by a migh­ty and out-stretched arme snacht him away, in his own sensible apprehension, from the pit, and suddenly rescued him from that damnation; and put him into a new state of spirituall life, and undefai­sible salvation: All which I cannot do; not finding in my selfe any such sudden and ve­hement concussion, and heart-breaking; any such forcible, and irresistible operation of Gods Spirit within me, not being able to design the Ser­mon that converted me, or those particular approaches that my soule made towards an hardly-recovered despera­tion. My son, it is not safe [Page 83] for any man to take upon him to set limits to the wayes of the Almighty; or to prescribe certain rules to the procee­dings of that infinite Wise­dome; That most free, and all-wise agent will not be ty­ed to walk alwaies in one path; but varies his courses according to the pleasure of his own will: One man hee cals suddenly, another by leasure; one by a kinde of holy violence, as hee did S. Paul, another by sweet so­licitations, as Philip, Natha­niel, Andrew, Peter, Matthew, and the rest of the Apostles; One man he drawes to hea­ven with gracious invitati­ons, another he drives thither by a strong hand; we have known those who having [Page 84] mispent their yonger times in notoriously lewd and de­bauched courses, living as without God, yea, against him, have been suddenly heart-stricken with some powerfull denunciation of judgement, which hath so wrought upon them that it hath brought them within sight of hell; who after long and deep humiliation, have been raised up through Gods mercy, to a comfortable sense of the divine favour, and have proceeded to a very high degree of regeneration, and lived, and died Saints: But this is not every mans case; Those who having from their infancy been brought up in the nurture and feare of the Lord;Eph. 6. 4. and from their youth [Page 85] have been trained up under a godly and conscionable Mi­nistery; where they have been continually plyed with the essectuall means of grace; Precept upon precept, Isai. 28. 10. line upon line, here a little, and there a little; and have by an insen­sible conveyance received the gracious inoperations of the Spirit of God, (though not without many inward strifes with temptations, and sad fits of humiliation for their par­ticular failings) framing them to all holy obedience, these cannot expect to finde so sen­sible alterations in them­selves; As well may the child know when he was naturally born, as these may know the instant of their spirituall re­generation; and as well may [Page 86] they see the grasse to grow, as they can perceive their insen­sible increase of grace; It is enough that the child attai­ning to the use of reason, now knowes that he was born: and that when wee see the grasse higher then we left it, we know that it is growne. Let it then suffice thee, my son, to know, that the thing is done, though thou canst not define the time, and man­ner of doing it: Be not curi­ous in matter of particular perceptions, whiles thou mayst be assured of the reality & truth of the grace wrought in thee: Thou seest the skil­full Chirurgion, when hee will make a fontinell in the body of his patient, he can do it either by a sudden incision, [Page 87] or by a leasurely corrasive; both sort to one end, and equally tend towards health: trust God with thy self, and let him alone with his own work: what is it to thee which way he thinks best to bring about thy salva­tion?

§ 12. Complaint of irreso­lution, and uncertain­ [...]y in mat­ter of our election, answered.

All were safe, thou saist, if onely I could be ascertained of mine election to life: I could be patient, so I might be sure: But, wretched man that I am, here, here I stick [...]: I see others walk confidently, and comfortably, as if they were in heaven already; whereas I droop under a con­tinual diffidence; raising unto my self daily new arguments of my distrust: could my heart be setled in this assurance, [Page 88] nothing could ever make me other then happie. It is true, my son, that as all other mer­cies flow from this of our election, so the securing of this one, involves all other fa­vours that concern the well-being of our souls. It is no less true, that our election may be assured; else the holy Ghost had never laid so deep a charge upon us, to do our utmost endeavour to ascertain it: and we shall be much wanting to our selves, if hear­ing so excellent a blessing may be attained by our diligence, we shall slacken our hand, and not stretch it forth to the height, to reach that crown which is held out to us: But withal, it is true, that if there were not difficulty more then [Page 89] ordinary in this work, the Apostle had not so earnestly called for the utmost of our endeavour to effect it.2 Pet. 1. 10. Short­ly, [...]. the truth is, in all Christi­anity there is no path, where­in there is more need of trea­ding warily, then in this: on each side is danger and death; Security lies on the one hand, Presumption on the other: the miscarriage either way, is deadly. Look about thee, and see the miserable exam­ples on both kindes: some walk carelesly, as if there were no heaven; or if there were such a place, yet, as if it nothing concerned them: their hearts are taken up with earth; neither care nor wish to be other then this world can make them: The god of [Page 90] this world hath blinded their mindes that believe not: 2 Cor. 4. 4. Some others walk proudly, being vainly puft up with their own ungrounded ima­ginations, as if they were al­ready invested with their glory; as if, being rapt up with the chosen vessel into the third heaven, they had there seen their names reco [...]ded in the book of life; where as this is nothing but an illu­sion of that lying spirit, who knows the way to keep them for ever out of heaven, is, to make them believe they are there. It must be thy main care to walk even, in a jus [...] equidistance from both these extremes, and so to compose thy self, that thon maist be resolute without presumpti­on, [Page 91] and careful without dif­fidence. And first, I advise thee to abandon those false Teachers, whose trade is to improve their wits for the discomfort of souls, in broa­ching the sad doctrines of uncertainty and distrust: Be sure, our Saviour had never bidden his disciples to re [...]joyce that their names are written in heaven, Luk. 10▪ 20. if there had not been a particular enrol­ment of them▪ or if that Re­cord had been alterable; or if the same Disciples could ne­ver have attained to the no­tice of such inscription. Nei­ther is this a mercy peculiar to his domestick followers alone, but universal to all that shall believe through their word; even thou and I are [Page 92] spoken to in them, so sure as we have names, we may know them registred in those eter­nal Records above. Not that we should take an Acesius his Ladder, and climb up into heaven, and turn over the book of Gods secret coun­sels, and read our selves de­signed to glory: but that as we by experience see that we can by reflections see and read those Letters, which directly we cannot: So we may do here, in this highest of spiritual objects. The same Apostle that gives us our charge, gives us withal our direction:2 Pet. 1. 10, 11. Wherefore (saith he) brethren, give all diligence to make your calling and election sure; ( [...], as divers copies read it; by good works:) [Page 93] For if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: For so an entrance shall be ministred to you abun­dantly into the everlasting King­dom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Lo, first our Calling, then our Election: not that we should begin with heaven, and thence de­scend to the earth; (it is enough for the Angels on that celestial Ladder of Ja­cob, to both descend, and ascend:) but that we should from earth ascend to heaven; from our Calling to our Ele­ction: as knowing that God shews what he hath done for us above, by that which he hath wrought in us here be­lowe. Our Calling therefore first; not outward, and for­mal, but inward, and effe­ctual. [Page 94] The Spirit of God hath a voice, and our soul hath an ear: that voice of the Spirit speaks inwardly, and effectually to the ear of the soul, calling us out of the state of corrupt Nature, into the state of Grace; out of darkness into his marvel­lous light. By thy calling therefore maist thou judge of thine election: God never works in vain, neither doth he [...]ver cast away his saving graces, (what ever become of the common;) But whom he did predestinate, Rom. 8. 30. them also he called; and whom he called, them he justified; and whom he justi­fied, them also he glorified. This doubtless, thou saist, is sure in it self; but how is it assured to me? Resp. That [Page 95] which the Apostle addes, (as it is read in some copies) By good works, (if therein we also comprehend the acts of be­lieving, and repenting) is a notable evidence of our ele­ction: But not to urge that clause, which (though read in the vulgar) is found want­ing in our editions; the clear words of the Text evince no less; For, if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: here is our negative certain­ty: And for onr positive; So, an entrance shall be mini­stred unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Je­sus Christ: Lo, if we shall never fall, if we shall undoub­tedly enter into the Kingdom of Christ; what possible [Page 96] scruple can be made of the blessed accomplishment of our election? What then are these things, which must be done by us? Cast your eyes upon that precious chain of graces which you shall finde stringed up in the fore going words;2 Pet. 1. 5, 6. If you adde to your faith, vertue; and to vertue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience godli­ness; and to godliness, brother­ly kindness, and to brotherly kindness, charitie. If you would know what God hath written concerning you in heaven, look into your own bosom, see what graces he hath there wrought in you: Truth of grace (saith the di­vine Apostle) will make good [Page 97] the certainty of your electi­on. Not to instance in the rest of that heavenly combi­nation; do but single out the first and the last, Faith and Charity: For Faith, how clear is that of our Saviour, He that believeth in him that sent me, Joh. 5. 24. hath everlasting-life, and shall not come into condem­nation, but hath passed from death to life? Lo, what ac­cess can danger have into heaven? All the peril is in the way: now the believer is already passed into life: This is the grace, by which Christ dwells in our hearts; Eph. 3. 17▪ and whereby we have communi­on with Christ, and an assu­red testimony of, and from him:1 Joh. [...] ▪ 10▪ For, he that believeth in the Son of God, hath the witness [Page 98] in himself: And what wit­ness is that?1 Joh. 5. 11, 12. This is the re­cord, that God hath given us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life. O happie and sure connexion! Eternal life first; This life eternal is in and by Christ Jesus; This Jesus is ours by faith; This faith wit­nesseth to our souls our assu­rance of life eternal. Cha­ri [...]y is the last; which com­prehends our love both to God and man: for from the reflection of Gods love to us, there ariseth a love from us to God again: The beloved Disciple can say.1 Joh. 4. 19▪ We love him, because he loved us first: and from both these, resulteth our love to our brethren: Behold, so full an evidence, that the [Page 99] Apostle tells us expresly, That we know we are passed from death to life, 1 Joh. 3. 14. because we love the brethren: For the love of the Father is inseparable from the love of the Son: He that loveth him that begets, 1 Joh. 5. 1▪ loves him that is begotten of him. Now then, my son, deal un­partially with thine own heart; ask of it seriously, as in the presence of the search­er of all hearts, Whether thou dost not finde in thy self these unfailing evidences of thine election: Art thou not effectually (though not per­fectly) called out of the world, and corrupt nature? Dost thou not inwardly ab­hor thy former sinfull ways? Dost thou not think o [...] what thou wert with dete­station? [Page 100] Dost thou not hear­tily desire and endeavour to be in all things approved to God, and conformed to thy Saviour? Dost thou not glad­ly cast thy self upon the Lord Jesus, and depend upon his free all-sufficiency for pardon and salvation? Dost thou not love that infinite good [...]ness, who hath been so rich in mercies to thee? Dost thou not love and bless those gleams of goodness which he hath cast upon his Saints on earth? In plain terms, Dost thou no [...] love a good man because he is good? Comfort thy self in the Lord, my son; let no fainting qualms of fear and distrust possess thy soul:1 Thes. 5 24. Faithful is he that hath called thee, who [Page 101] will also preserve thy whole spi­rit, 1 Thes. 5 23. and soul, and body blameless unto the coming of oer Lord Jesus Christ.

Comfort against Tem­ptations.

§ 1. Christ himself assaulted: our trial is for our good.

THou art haunted with Temptations: that which the Enemy sees he cannot do by force or fraud, he seeks to effect by importunity. Can this seem strange to thee, when thou seest the Son of God in the Wilderness four­ty days and fourty nights un­der the hand of the Tempter? He that durst thus set upon the Captain of our salvation, Heb. 2. 10. God blessed for ever; how shall he spare frail flesh and blood? Why should that Sa­viour [Page 102] of thine (thinkst thou) suffer himself to be tempted, if not to bear thee out in all thy temptations? The keys of the bottomless pit are in his hands; he could have shut up that presumptuous spirit under chains of darkness, so as he could have come no nearer to him then hell; but he would let him loose, and permit him to do his worst, purposely, that we might not think much to be tempted, and that he might foyl that great enemy for us. Canst thou think that he, who now sits at the right hand of Ma­jestie, commanding all the powers of heaven, earth, hell, could not easily keep off that malignant spirit from assail­ing thee? Canst thou think [Page 103] him lesse merciful then migh­ty? Would he die to save thee? and will he turn that bandog of hell loose upon thee to worry thee? Dost thou not pray daily to thy Father in heaven, that hee would not lead thee into temptation? If thou know­est thou hast to doe with a God that heareth prayers, oh thou of little faith, why fea­rest thou? Loe, he that was led by his own divine Spirit into the Wildernesse to bee tempted of that evill Spirit, bids thee pray to the Father that he would not lead thee into temptation; as implying that thou couldst not goe into temptation, unlesse he led thee; and whiles he that is thy Father leads thee, how [Page 104] canst thou miscarry? Let no man when he is tempted, Iames 1. 13. say, I am tempted of God, for God can­not be tempted with evill, neither tempteth hee any man: God tempteth thee not, my sonne; yet know, that being his, thou couldst not be tempted without him; both permit­ting, and ordering that temp­tation to his owne glory, and thy good. That grace which thy God hath given thee, he will have thus exercised, thus manifested; So wee have known some indulgent Fa­ther, who being assured of the skill and valour of his deare son, puts him upon Tiltings, and Barriers, and publique Duels, and lookes on with contentment, as well know­ing that hee will come off [Page 105] with honour: How had wee known the admirable continency of good Joseph, if hee had not been strong­ly solicited by a wanton Mistresse? How had wee known Davids valour, if the Philistims had not had a Giantly Challenger to en­counter him▪ How had wee knowne the invincible piety of the three Chil­dren, if there had not beene a Furnace to try them? or of Daniel, if there had been no Lions to accom­pany him? Be confident, thy glory shall be according to the proportion of thy triall; neither couldst thou ever bee so happy, if thou hadst not been beholden to tem­ptations.

§. 2. The pow­erfull as­sistance of Gods Spi­rit, and the example of S. Paul.

How often (thou saist) have I beaten off these wicked suggestions, yet still they turn upon me again, as if denials invited them, as if they meant to tire me with their continu­all solicitations; as if I must yeeld, & be over-laid, though not with their force, yet with their frequence? Know, my sonne, that thou hast to doe with spirituall wickednesses; Eph. 6. 12. whose nature is therefore as unweariable, as their malice unsatisfiable: Thou hast a spirit of thine owne, and be­sides, God hath given thee of his; so as hee lookes thou shouldst, through the power of his gracious assistance, match the importunity of that evill spirit, with an inde­fatigable resistance: Be strong [Page 107] therefore in the Lord, Eph. 6. 10, 11, 13. and in the power of his might; and put in the whole armour of God, that thou maist be able to withstand [...]n the evill day, and having done all to stand: Look upon a stronger Champion then thy selfe, the blessed Apostle; thou shalt finde him in thine owne condition;2 Cor. 12. 7. see the mis­senger of Satan sent to buffet him; and he did it to purpose; how soundly was that chosen vessell buffeted on both sides, and how often? Thrice hee besought the Lord that it might depart from him; but even yet it would not be; the temptation holds, onely a comfort shall countervaile it, My grace is sufficient for thee, Verse 8, 9. for my strength is made perfect in weaknesse▪ It is not so much [Page 108] to be considered how hard thou art laid at, as how strongly thou art upheld: How many with the blessed Martyr Theodorus, have upon racks and gibbets found their consolations stronger then their pains? Whiles there­fore the goodnesse of thy God sustaines, and supplies thee with abundance of spirituall vigour and refreshment an­swerable to the worst of thine assaults, what cause hast thou to complain of suffering? The advice is high and heroi­call, which the Apostle James, gives to his Compatriots; My brethren, Iames 1. 2. count it all joy, when ye f [...]ll into divers tempta­tions; Let those temptations be rather trials by afflictions, then suggestions of sin; yet [Page 109] even those overcome yeeld no small cause of triumph; for by them is our faith no lesse tried, and the trying of our saith worketh patience; and the perfect work of pati­ence is a blessed entirenesse of grace; The number of ene­mies addes to the praise of the victory; To overcome single temptations is com­mendable, but to subdue Troopes of temptations is glorious.

§ 3. The re­straint of our spiri­tuall ene­mies, and their over­matching by the power of God.

Alas, thou saist, I am over­laid not with multitudes one­ly, but with power: In all challenges of Duels, there is wont to be respect had to the equality both of the Com­batants and weapons; But woe is me, how am I over­matched! For me, I am a [Page 110] weak wretch; and we wrestle not against flesh and blood, Eph. 6. 12. but against Principalities and pow­ers; against the rulers of the darknesse of this world, against spirituall wickednesse in heaven­ly places: Amos 2. 9. Behold, the Amorite, whose height is like the height of the Cedars, and their strength as the strength of oaks: What are we but poor pismires in the valley, to these men of measures? Who can stand before these sonnes of Anak? I did not advise thee, my son, to be strong in thy self; alas, we are all made up of weak­nesse: One of those powers of darknesse were able to sub­due a whole world of men; but to bee strong in the Lord, whose lowest Angel is able to vanquish a whole hell of [Page 111] Devils; and in the power of his might, who commandeth the most furious of those in­fernal spirits to their chains: Wo were us, if we were left in our own hands; there were no way with us but foiling, and death: But, our help is in the Name of the Lord, Psa. 124. 8. who hath made heaven and earth. Psa. 28. 7 The Lord is our strength and our shield; he is our rock and our salvation; Psal. 62. 2, 6. he is our defence, so as we shall not be mo­ved. Psal. 18. 29, 40. It is he that hath girded us with strength unto battel, and that subdueth those that rise up against us. Take courage therefore to thy self, man; there cannot be so much dif­ference betwixt thee, and those hellish powers, as there is betwixt them, and the Al­mighty: [Page 112] their force is finite, and limited by his omnipo­tence. How fain dost thou think Jannes and Jambres, the great Magicians of Egypt, by the conjoyned powers of hell, would have made but a Louse, in an affront to Moses? yet they could not. How ear­nestly was that legion of Devils fain to beg but for leave to prevail over a few Gaderene-swine? How strong therefore soever they [...] to thee, yet to him they are so meer weakness, that they cannot so much as move without him. Who can fear a Bear or a Lion, when he sees them chained to their stake? Even children can be­hold them baited, when they see their restraint. Look not [Page 113] upon thy self therefore; look not upon them; but look up to that over-ruling hand of the Almighty, who ordinates all their motions to his own holy purposes, and even out of their malice, raises glory to himself, and advantage to his servants.

§. 4. The ad­vantage that is made to [...] by our tem­ptations and foils.

It is a woful advantage, thou sayst, that I have made of temptations: for, alas, I have been shamefully foiled by them; and what by their subtilty, and what by their violence, have been miscarri­ed into a grievous sin against my God, and lie down in a just confusion of face to have been so miserably vanqui­shed. Hadst thou wanted tears, my son, for thine offence, I should willingly [Page 114] have lent thee some: It is in­deed a heavie case, that thou hast given thy deadly enemy this cause to triumph over thee, and hast thus provoked thy God: Be thou thorowly humbled under the consci [...]ence of thy sin, and be not too sudden in snatching a pardon out of the hand which thou hast offended: be humbled; but after thou hast made thy peace with God, by a serious repentance, be not disheart­ned with thy fa [...]lings; neither do I fear to tell thee of an ad­vantage to be made, not of thy temptations onely, but even of thy sin: What art thou other then a gainer, if having been beaten down to thy knees, thou hast in an holy indignation risen up, and [Page 115] fought so much the more valiantly? A wound received, doth but whet the edge of true fortitude: Many a one had never been victorious, if he had not seen himself bleed first. Look where thou wilt, upon all the Saints of God; mark if thou canst see any one of them without his scars: Oh the fearful gashes that we have seen in the no­blest of Gods Champions up­on earth, whose courage had never been raised so high, if it had not been out of the sense of some former discom­fitures! As some well-spirit­ed wrestler, therefore, be not so much troubled with thy fall, as zealous to repay it with a more successful grap­ling. We know (saith the bles­sed [Page 116] Apostle) that all things work together for good to them that love God: [...]om. 8. 28. All things; yea, even those that are worse then nothing, their ve­ry sins. The Corinthians of­fended in their silent conni­vence at the incestuous per­son: the Apostles reproof produceth their sorrow: what was the issue?Cor. 7. 11. For behold, this self-same thing that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you? yea, what clearing of your selves; yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge? Lo, what a marvellous advantage is here made of one offence? What hath Satan now gotten by this match? One poor Corinthian is mis-led to an [Page 117] incestuous copulation: The evil spirit rejoyceth to have got such a prey; but how long shall he enjoy it? Soon after the offending soul, upon the Apostles holy censure is re­claimed; he is delivered over to Satan, that Satan should never possess him. The Corin­thians are raised to a great­er height of godly zeal then ever. Corinth had never been so rich in grace, if it had not been defiled with so foul a crime. Say now, whether this be not, in effect, thy case? Shouldst thou ever have so much hated thy sin, if thou hadst not been drawn in to commit it? Shouldst thou have found in thy self so fer­vent love to thy God, if it had not been out of the sense of [Page 118] his great mercy in remitting it? Wouldst thou have been so wary of thy steps as now thou art, if thou hadst never slipped? Give glory to God, my son, whiles thou givest shame to thy self; and bless him for the benefit that he hath been pleased to make of thine offending him.

§ 5. [...]omplaint [...] relapses [...] to sin; [...]ith the [...]medy [...]ereof.

But, alas, thou sayst, my case is far worse then it is conceived; I have been more then once miscarried into the same sin: Even after I have made profession of my repen­tance, I have been transport­ed into my former wicked­ness: Having washed off my sin (as I thought) with my ma­ny tears, yet I have suffered my soul to be defiled with it again. I may not flatter thee, [Page 119] my son; this condition is dangerous. Those diseases, which upon their first seizure have without any great peril of the Patient received cure, after a recidivation have threatned death. Look upon the Saints of God, thou shalt finde they have kept aloof from that fire wherewith they have been formerly burnt: Thou shalt not finde Noah again uncovered through drunkenness in his tent; thou shalt not finde Judah climb­ing up again to Tamars bed; Thou shalt not take Peter again in the High-Priests hall denying his Master; or (after Pauls reproof) halting in his dissimulation. Gal. 2. 11, 12, 13. But, tell me, notwithstanding, art thou truly serious with thy God? [Page 120] hast thou doubled thine humiliation for the reduplica­tion of thine offence? hast thou sought God so much the more instantly with an unfai­ned contrition of heart? hast thou found thy soul wrought to so much greater detestati­on of thy sin, as thine acquain [...]tance with it hath been more? hast thou taken this occasion to lay better hold on thy Sa­viour, and to reinforce the vows of thy more careful and strict obedience? Be of good chear; this unpurposed reiteration of thy sin, shall be no prejudice to thy salva­tion. It is one thing for a man to walk on willingly in a beaten path of sin; another thing for a man to be just­led out of the way of righ­teousness [Page 121] by the violence of a temptation, which he soon recovers again by a sound repentance. The best cannot but be overtaken with sin: but,1 Joh. 3. 9. he that is born of God, doth not commit sin: he may be transported whither he meant not, but he makes not a trade of doing ill: his heart is a­gainst that which his hand is drawn unto: and if in this inward strife he be over­powered, he lies not down in a willing yeeldance, but strugg­les up again, and in a resu­med courage and indignation tramples on that which for­merly supplanted him. Didst thou give thy self over to a resolved course of sinning, and betwixt whiles shouldst knock thy brest with a for­mal [Page 122] God forgive me, I should have no comfort in store for thee, but send thee rather to the Whipping-stock of the Almighty for due correcti­on, if possibly those season­able stripes may prevent thine everlasting torments: But now,Rom. 7. 15, 16, 17. since what thou hatest, that thou doest; and thou doest that which thou wouldst not; and it is no more th [...]u that doest it, but sin that dwells in thee; cry out as much as thou wilt on the sinfulness of thy sin;Rom. 7. 13. be­wail thy weakness with a better man then thy self; O wretched man that I am, Rom. 7. 24. who shall deliver me from the body of this death! But know, that thou hast found mercy with thy God: thy repeated sin may grieve, but cannot hurt [Page 123] thy soul. Had we to do with a finite compassion, it might be abated by spending it self upon a frequent remissi­on; like as some great river may be drawn dry by many small out-lets: But now that we deal with a God whose mercy is as himself, infinite; it is not the greatness or the number of our offences that can make a difference in his free remissions: That God who hath charged our weak charity not to be overcome with evil, Rom. 12▪ ult▪ but to overcome evil with good, justly scorneth that we should think his infinite and incomprehensible goodness can be checked with our evil. It was not without a singular providence, that Pe­ter came to our Saviour with [Page 124] that question in his mouth, Lord, Mat. 18. 21. how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? that it might fetch from that bles­sed Son of God that gracious answer, for our perpetual di­rection and comfort;Mat. 18. 22. I say not unto thee, Until seven times, but until seventy times seven. Lord, if thou wouldst have us sinful men thus indulgent to one another, in the case of our mutual offences; what limits can be set to thy mercies in our sins against thee? Be we penitent, thou canst not but be gracious.

Comforts against weakness of grace.

§. 1. Comfort from the common condition of all Saints.

THou complainest of the weakness of grace; some little stirrings thou feelest of Gods Spirit within thee; but so feeble, that thou canst not finde any solid comfort in them: Thou seest others (thou sayst) whose brests are full of milk, Job 21. 24. and their bones moist­ned with marrow, whiles thou languishest under a spiritual leanness and imbecillity: Thou wantest that vigorous heat of holy affections, and that alacrity in the perfor­mance of holy duties, which thou observest in other Chri­stians. I love this complaint of thine, my son; and tell [Page 126] thee, that without this thou couldst not be in the way of being happie. Thinkst thou that those whom thou estee­mest more eminent in grace, make not the same moan that thou dost? Certainly, they never had any grace, if they did not complain to have too little: Every man best feels his own wants, and is ready to pass secret censures upon himself for that, wherein he is applauded by others: Even the man after Gods own heart can say,Psal. 69. 29. But I am poor and sorrowful: He was a great King when he said so; it was not meanness in outward estate that troubled him, but a spiritual neediness: for he had before, in the same heavenly Ditty, professed, [Page 127] O God, Psal. 69. 5. thou knowest my foolish­nesse, and my guiltinesse is not hid from thee: It was an old observation of wise Solomon; Prov. 13. 7. There is that maketh himselfe rich, and hath nothing; there is that maketh himselfe poore, yet hath great riches; In this lat­ter rank are many gracious soules, and thine (I hope) for one; who certainly, had ne­ver been so wealthy in grace, if they had been conceited of greater store: Even in this sense many a Saint may say with Saint Paul, When I am weak, then I am strong: Since the very complaint of weaknesse, argues strength; and on the contrary, an opi­nion of sufficient grace, is an evident conviction of meere emptinesse.

§. 2. Comfort from the improve­ment of weak gra­ces; and Gods free distributi­on.

But suppose thy selfe, so poor as thou pretendest; It is not so much what we have, as how we improve it. How many have we known that have grown rich out of a little, whereas others out of a great stock have run into debt and beggery? Had that servant in the Gospel, who received but one talent, im­ployed it to the gain of a se­cond, he had been proportio­nably as well rewarded as he that with five gained ten. In our temporall estate we are warned by the wisest man to take heed of making haste to be rich; Pro. 28. 20. and the great Apostle tels us,1 Tim. 6. 9. That he that would bee rich fals into many temptations; Surely, there is no small dan­ger also in affecting to be too [Page 129] suddenly rich in the endow­ments of the soule; this can­not but be accompanied with the temptation of an un­thankfull distrust; for on the one side, he that beleeves makes not haste; and on the other, we cannot bee suffi­ciently thankfull for what we have, whiles we doe over­eagerly reach after what wee have not. Tell me, thou que­rulous Soul, dost thou not ackowledge what thou hast to be the gift of God? And wilt thou not allow the great Benefactor of heaven to dispense his own favours as he pleaseth? If he think fit rather to fill thy vessell with drops of grace, art thou dis­contented because hee doth not pour out his Spirit upon [Page 130] thee in full v [...]als? If thou have have any at all, it is more then he owes thee, more then thou canst repay him; Take what thou hast as an earnest of more; and wait thankfully upon his bounty for the rest: Is it not mee [...] in a free gift to attend the leasure of the do­nor? What sturdy, and ill mannerd beggers are we, if we will not [...]ay at the doore till we be served; and grudge at our almes when it comes? Look upon the Father of the faithfull, thou shalt finde him fourscore and sixe yeares childlesse; and at last after he had got an Ismael, hee must wait fourteen yeers more for the promised seed; and when hee had enjoyed him not much longer then he expect­ed [Page 131] him, he must then sacri­fice him to the giver: Thus, thus my son must our faith bee exercised in attendance both for time, and measure of mercy.

§. 3. Comfort from Gods acceptati­on of truth, not quantity.

Thy graces are weak; yet, if true, discomfort not thy selfe; how many weak bodies have we knowne which with careful tendance, have enjoy­ed better and longer health, then those that have had bigger limbs, and more brawny armes? neither is it otherwise in the soul; Sound­nesse of grace is health; in­creased degrees of grace make up the strength of that spiri­tuall part; if thou have but this health tenderly obser­ved, thou maist be happy in the enjoying of thy God, [Page 132] although more happy in a comfortable sense of a stron­ger fruition. We have to do with a God that stands not so much upon quantity, as truth of grace; he knowes we can have nothing but what hee gives us, and inables us to improve; and where he sees our wils and endeavours not wanting, he is ready to accept and crown his owne gifts in us:Mat. 12. 20. He will not break the brui­sed reed, nor quench the smoak­ing flax.

§. 4. Comfort from the variety of Gods gifts, and the ages and sta­tures of grace.

Thou art weak in grace: Be not discouraged, my son, there are all ages, all statures in Christ: Shall the child repine that he is not suddenly grown a man? Shall the Dwarf quarrell that he is not a Giant? Were there a stan­derd [Page 133] of graces, lesse then which would not be accept­ed, thou hadst reason to bee troubled; but it is so far from that, as that our Saviour hath encharged,Mat. 19. 14. Suffer little chil­dren to come to me, and forbid them not, for of such is the king­dome of heaven. In some le­gall oblations it pleased God to regard time and age;Lev. 3 7. The Lamb for the Passeover, and for the peace-offering;Lev. 4. 14 the Bullock for the sin offering of Israel, have their date as­signed;Lev 1. 14 And in divers cases he hath called for two Turtle Doves,Lev. 5. 7, 11. or two young Pige­ons: Young Turtles,Lev. 12. 8 and old Doves, in the mean while, (according to our Jewish Do­ctors) were unlawfull to bee offered;Lev. 15. 14. but in our spirituall [Page 134] sacrifices all ages are equally accepted; He that is eternall regards not time; he that is infinite and almighty regards not statures; Even the ele­venth houre carried the peny as well as the first: and, Let the weak say, Ioel 3. 10. I am strong.

§. 5. Comfort from the safety of our lea­surely progresse in grace.

It troubles thee that thou hast made so slow progresse in graces; thy desire is to heaven-ward, & thou check­est thy self for no more speed: It is an happy ambition that carries thee on in that way to blessednesse. Quicken thy selfe what thou mayst, with all gracious incitations in that holy course: But know, my son, that we may not al­waies hope to goe thither­ward on the spurre; in that passage there are waies that [Page 135] will not admit of h [...]ste; how many have we known that by too much forwardness have been cast back in their journey, whether through want of breath, or mistaking their way, or mis-placing their steps? I praise thee, that it is the desire of thy soul to run the way of Gods Command­ments; Psal. 119▪ 32. and do encourage thine holy zeal in speeding that holy race; ever praying thou mayst so run, 1 Cor. 9: 24. as that thou mayst obtain. But withal, I must tell thee,Psal. 119▪ 1 [...] that, Blessed is the man that doth but walk in the Law of the Lord: Whiles thou passest on, though but a foot-pace, thou art every step neer­er to thy glory: so long as thou riddest way, thou art safe: Blessed is the man whose [Page 136] strength is in thee, Psal. 84. 5, 6, 7. O God; in whose heart are thy wayes; who passing through the vale of mi­sery, goes on from strength to strength, till he appear before thee his God in Sion.

§. 6. Comfort from our good de­sires and endevours.

Thy grace is little; but thou wishest and labourest for more; this is a good be­ginning of heavenly wealth: Hee is in a good way to riches, that desires to thrive: Never any holy Soule lost her long­ing: If thy wishes be hearty and serious, thou hast that which thou cravest, or at least bee sure thou shalt have: If any man [...]ick wisdome, Jam. 1. 5. let him aske of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth no man, and it shall bee given him: Were this conditi­on offered us for Worldly [Page 137] riches, who would be poore? If we imbrace it not in spiri­tuall, either wee distrust the promises, or neglect our own mercies: In these temporall things how many have so ea­gerly followed the chase of the world, that they have over-runne it, and whiles they have greedily swallowed gain, have been choaked with it? but in those better bles­sings, earnestness [...] of desi [...], [...]nd fervour of prosecution, was never but answered with a gracious impetration.

§. 7. Comfort from the happiness of an humble poverty.

Thou art poore in grace, but in an humble self-dejecti­on longest for more; know, that an humble poverty, is better then a proud fulnesse; Wert thou poore and proud, there were no hope of thy [Page 138] proficiency: thy false conceit lies in the way of thy thrift; and many a one had been gracious, if they had not so thought themselves: but now, that thou art meaner in thine opinion, then in thine estate, who can more justly chal­lenge our Saviours blessing, Blessed are the poor in spirit; Mat. 5. 3. for theirs is the kingdom of heaven? Thou art weak in grace; It is thine own fault if thou gettest not more strength: Wherefore serves that hea­venly food of the Word and Sacraments, but to nourish thy soul to eternal life? Do but eat and digest, and thou canst not but grow stronger: God will not be wanting to thee in an increase of grace, if thou be not wanting to [Page 139] thy self: He offers his Spirit to thee with the means; it is thy sinful neglect, if thou separate them: Thou know­est in whose hands is the staff of bread; pray that he who gives thee the food and the mouth, would also give thee appetite, digestion, nourish­ment.

§ 8. An incite­ment to more cau­tion, an [...] faster ad­herence t [...] God.

Thy grace is weak: It con­cerns thee so much the more to be cautious in avoiding occasions of temptation. He that carries brittle glasses, is chary of them, that they take not a knock; whereas strong metal fears no danger. He that hath but a small Rush­candle, walks softly, and keeps off every air: Thou art weak, thy God is strong: Dost thou not see the feeble [Page 140] childe that findes hee cannot goe alone, how fast he clings to the hand of his mother; more trusting to her helpe, then his owne strength; Doe thou so to thy God; and say with the blessed Psalmist; Hold up my goings in thy pathes, Psal. 17. 5. that my footsteps slip not; Psal. 119. 117, 116. Hold thou mee up, and I shall bee safe; Vphold me according to thy Word, that I may live, and let me not bee ashamed of my hop [...] Peter was a bold man, that durst step forth and set his foot upon the li­quid face of the waters;Mat: 14: [...]9, 30, 31 but he that ventured to walk there, upon the strength of his faith, when hee felt the stiffe winde, and saw the great billow, be­gan to sinke in his weaknesse; but no sooner had Jesus stretched forth his hand, and [Page 141] caught him, then he takes cou­rage, and walks now with the same confidence upon the Sea, that hee wont to walk on the L [...]nd: Together with a check, hee receives more sup­portation from Christ, then his owne legges could afford him: Feare no miscarriage through thine own weaknesse, whiles thou art held up by that [...] strong helper.

Comforts against Infamy and Disgrace.

§ 1. Comforts from like sufferings [...] of the ho­liest, yea, of Christ himself.

NExt to our body and soul, is the care of our reputation; which whoso hath lost, is no better then civilly dead. Thou sufferest under a publike infamy, I do not ask how justly: He was a wise man that said, It was fit for every good man to fear even a false reproach: A good name is no less wounded for the time with that, then with a just crimi­nation. This is a sore evil, my son, and such, as against which there is no preserva­tive, and for which there is hardly any remedy: Inno­cence it self is no antidote [Page 143] against evil tongues: Neither greatness nor sanctity can se­cure any man from unjust ca­lumny. Might that be any ease to thy heart, I could tell thee of the greatest of Kings, and holiest of Saints, that have grievously complained of this mischief, and yet were not able to help them [...] selves: Thou hast the com­pany of the best that ever the earth bore, if that may be any mitigation of thy misery: Yea, what do I speak of sin­ful men, whose greatest pu­rity might be blurred with some imperfections? Look upon the Lord of life, the eternal Son of the ever-li­ving God, God cloathed in flesh; and see whether any other were his lot, whiles he [Page 144] sojourned in this Region of mortality; Dost thou not heare him for his gracious sociablenesse, branded as a man gluttonous, a Wine-bibber, a friend of Publicanes and Sinners? Mat: 11: 19: Dost thou not heare him for his powerfull and mercifull cure of Demoni­acks, blazoned for a fellow that casts out Devils through Beelzebub the Prince of the De­vils? Mat: 12: 24: Dost thou not heare him sclandred to death for treason against Caesar, Io. 19. 12 and blas­phemy against God? Dost thou not heare the multitude say,Mat: 26: 65: Hee is madd, and hath a Devil? Joh: 10: 20: Dost thou not heare him after his death charged with Imposture?Mat: 27: 63: And can there bee any worse names then Glutton, Dtunkard, [Page 145] Conjurer, Traytor, Blasphe­mer, Mad man, Demoniack, Impostor? Who now can henceforth thinke much to bee sclandered with meaner crimes, when hee heares the most holy Sonne of God,Joh: 14: 30: in whose mouth was no guile, & in whom the Prince of this world could finde nothing, laden with so hainous calum­niations?

§ 1. Comfort of our re­course to God.

Thou art smitten with a foule tongue; I marvell not if it goe deep into thy soule; That man gave an high praise to his sword, that said it was sharper then sclander; And if a rasour bee yet sharper, such did David finde the Edomites tongue:Ps. 52: 2: And if these wea [...]pons, reach not yet farre enough,Ps: 57: 4: he found both spears [Page 146] and arrows in the mouthes of his traducers. Lo, thou art but in the same case with the man after Gods own heart: What shouldst thou do, but for Davids complaint, make use of Davids remedy? I will cry unto God most high; Psal. 57. 2, 3. unto God that performeth all things for me: He shall send from heaven, and save me from the reproach of him that would swallow me up: God shall send forth his mercy and his truth. Do by thy slander, as He­zekiah did by the railing lines of Rabshak [...]h, spread them be­fore the Lord, and leave thy quarrel in the just hands of that great arbiter of heaven and earth, who will be sure in his good time to revenge thy wrong, and to clear thine [Page 147] innocence,2 Sam. 16 12. and will requite thee good for these causless curses.

§ 3. Comfort from the clearness of our con­science.

In the mean while, thou sayst, I stand blemished with an odious aspersion; my name passes thorow many a foul mouth. Thou hearest, my son, what some others say; but what dost thou hear from the bird in thy bosom? If thy conscience acquit thee, and pronounce thee guilt­less, obdure thy fore-head against all the spight of ma­lice: What is ill fame, but a little corrupted, unsavoury breath? Do but turn away thine ear, that thou receive it not, and what art thou the worse? Oh thy weakness, if thou suffer thy self to be blown over by the meer air [Page 148] of some putrified lungs, which if thou doe but a little decline by shifting thy foot, will soon vanish.

§ 4. Comfort from the improve­ment of our reason.

Thou art under ill tongues; This is an evill proper onely to man; Other creatures are no lesse subject to disease, to death, to outward violence then hee; but none else can bee obnoxious to a detraction; sith none other is capable of speech, whereout a sclander can bee formed; they have their severall sounds and notes of expression, where­by they can signifie their dis­like and anger; but onely man can cloathe his angry thoughts with words of of­fence; so as that faculty which was given him for an advan [...]tage, is depraved to a further [Page 149] mischiefe; But the same li­berall hand of his Creatour hath also indued him with a property of reason, which as it ought to direct his lan­guage to others, so also to teach him how to make use of others language to him; and where he findes it wrong­full, either to convince it by a just apology, or to contemn it; If therefore thou under­standest thy self to lye under an unjust obloquie, have so much of the man in thee, as either to confute or despise it.

§ 5. Comfort from the cause of our suffe­ring.

Thou art shamefully tra­duced; I could pity thy suf­fering, but withall give mee leave to enquire not so much what thou sufferest, as for what; If for a good cause, I [Page 150] shall turn my pity into envie: Truth it self hath told thee, thou art in the way to bles­sedness: Who can pity thee for that wherein thou hast cause to rejoyce?Mat. 5. 11. Blessed are ye when men revile you, and per­secute you, and shall say all man­ner of evil against you falsly, for my sake: Rejoyce, and be exceed­ing glad; for great is your reward in heaven. Yea, rather pluck up thy spirits, and take up the resolution of holy Job; Job 31. 35, 36. If mine adversary had written a book against me, surely I would take it upon my shoulders, and binde it as a crown to me: And say with that gracious King of Israel, 2 Sam. 6. 22. I will be yet more vile for the Lord.

§ 6. Comforts from our env [...]ed vertue.

Thou art reproached by lewd men: Thank thine own [Page 151] vertue that thou art envied; wert thou so bad as thy de­tractors, thou shouldst sit quiet enough; If yee were of the world, John 15. 19 saith our Saviour, the world would love his owne; but because yee are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Whiles the Moon sits, no dogs bark at her; it is her shining that opens their mouth: Wert thou either obscure or wicked, thou mightst be safe; but if thou wilt needs bee eminently good, look for the lashes of ill tongues:1 Pet. 4. 4 They think it strange that yee run not with them into the same excesse of riot, speaking evill of you, saith the prime Apostle. It was not without reason that the great [Page 152] Musitian in the story struck his scholar, because he saw the multitude applaud his skill; as well knowing that had he been true to his art, those mis-judging eares could not have approved him: What more excellent instru­ments had God ever in his Church then the blessed Apostles, and what accepta­tion found they on the earth? Being defamed, 1 Cor. 4. 13. we intreat; wee are made as the filth of the world, and are the off-scouring of all things unto this day: Wee are made a Spectacle to the World, to Angels, and to men. Complain if thou canst of a worse condition then these great Ambassadors of the high God;1 Cor. 4. 9. otherwise, resolve with the chosen vessell, to [Page 153] passe cheerfully through ho­nour, and dishonour, through evill report and good report, towards the goale of immor­tality.

§ 7. Comfort from o­thers s [...]eighting of re­proaches.

Thou art disgraced through sclanderons reports. It is not meer air that we live by; How many hast thou known that have blown over a just infamy with a carelesse neg­lect? pleasing themselves to think that they have thriven even under curses; and shall their guiltinesse be entertai­ned with more courage then thine innocence? Let those whose heart is as foule as their name, be troubled with deserved censures; doe not thou give so much way to malice, as to yeeld any regard to her misraised suggestions; [Page 154] thou canst not devise how more to vexe a detractor, then by contempt; thus thou shalt force spight, as that wise hea­then truly said, to drink off the greatest part of her own poyson.

§. 8. Comfort from the narrow bounds of infamy.

Thou art disgraced with an ill fame: What a poore matter is this? How farre dost thou think that sound reacheth? perhaps to the next village, perhaps further to the whole Shire wherein thou dwellest; it is like the next County never heard of thy name; and if thou look yet further off; assoon moist thou be talkt of amongst the Antipodes, as in the neigh­bouring region: and what a small spot of earth is this to which thy shame is confi­ned? [Page 155] Didst thou know the vast extent of this great world, thou wouldst easily see into how narrow a corner our either glory, or dishonour can be pent up: and shouldst confesse how little reason we can have to affect the one, or be disheartned with the other.

§. 9. Comfort from the short life of slander.

Thou art wronged with an unjust disgrace; Have pati­ence a while; sclanders are not long liv'd: Truth is the child of time; ere long she shall ap­peare and vindicate thee. Wait upon the God of truth, who shall cause thy light to break forth as the morning; Isai. 58. 8 and thine health to spring forth spee­dily: But if otherwise, what speakest thou of his name, which as it is locall, so it is momentany, soo [...] passed over [Page 156] in silence, and oblivion; There is a shame, my son, which is worthy of thy fear; which is both Universall, before the face of all the world of An­gels, and men, and beyond the reach of time, eternall; fear this, and contemn the other; On the contrary, if fame should befriend thee so much, as to strain her cheeks in sounding thy praises; and should cry thee up for vertu­ous, and eminent every way; Alas, how few shall hear her, and how soon is that noyse stilled, Eccles. 9. 1. and forgotten? Shortly then, let it be thy main care to d [...]| mean thy selfe holily and conscionably before God and men; leave the rest upon God, who shall be sure to make his word good in spight [Page 157] of men and devils; The memo­ry of the just shall be blessed, Prov. 10. 7. but the name of the wicked shall rot.

Comforts against publique Calamities.

§. 1. Comfort from the inevitable necessity of changes, and Gods over-ru­ling them.

THOU art afflicted with the publique calamities; so it becomes thee as a good man, a good Christian, a good Patriot. Wee are not entire peeces, but are all limbs of a community both of Church and Kingdome; whiles the whole body suffers, how can we be free? This should be no news to us; what earthly Kingdome or Sate hath ever enjoyed a constant felicity? These publique bodies, like [Page 158] as single persons, have their birth, their infancy, their youth, their vigour, their de­clinations: Even the white marble of that famous Em­bleme, and type of Gods Church, after not many cen­turies of yeares felt the dint of time, and mouldred to no­thing; It is as much as those heavenly bodies above can doe, to avoid change: well might we be distracted with these troubles, my son, if we did not well know whence they come, even from a most wise, holy, powerfull, just providence: Hee that sits in heaven orders these earthly affaires according to the eter­nall counsell of his will; It is that Almighty hand that holds the stern of this tossed [Page 159] vessel, and steers it in that course which he knows best: it is not for us that are passen­gers to meddle with the [...]ard or Compass: Let that all-skilful Pilot alone with his own work; he knows every rock and shelf that may endanger it, and can cut the proudest billow that threa­tens it,1 Sam. 3. 18. with ease: It is the Lord, let him do what seemeth him good.

§ 2. The sense and sym­pathy of common evils.

Were there no other re­spects then personal, I can­not blame thee if thy fears strive with thy grief for the publike evils: every mans interest is involved in the common: And if the Ship sink, what will become of the passengers? But withal, there is a kinde of inbred sympathy [Page 160] in every good heart, which gives us a share in all others miseries, and affects us more deeply for them, then for our own. Old indulgent Eli loved his sons too well, and was therefore no doubt very sensible of their death; yet that part of the news pas­sed over with some, not mor­tal, passion: But when he heard of the Ark of God taken,1 Sam. 4. 17, 18. now his neck and his heart were broken together: and his religious daughter in law, though she were de­livered upon this report, of a son, yet she died in travel of that heavie news, and could live onely to say,1 Sam 4. 21, 22. I [...]ha­bod, The glory is departed from Israel, for the Ark of God is taken: disregarding her new son, [Page 161] when she heard of the loss of her people, and of her God. How many Pagans have we read of, that have died reso­lutely for their Country, chearfully sacrificing them­selves to the Publike? How many that would die with their Country, hating to think of over-living the common ruine? How many that have professed a scorn to be be­holden for their lives to their peoples murtherer? We shall as soon extinguish both grace and nature, as quit this com­passionate sense of the com­mon calamities.

§ 3. Comfort from the sure pro­tection of the Al­mighty.

Thou grievest for the pub­like distempers: Mourn not as one without faith: Be sure, He that keepeth Israel, will nei­ther slumber nor sleep. Where­fore [Page 162] was the holy Tabernacle over-spred with a strong tent of skins,Exod. 26 7. but to figure out un­to us Gods Church sheltred under a sure protection? He that was so curious of the custody of his material Tem­ple, by night as well as by day, that a sleeping Levite might not escape beating, and burning of garments; how careful do we think he will e­ver be of his spiritual & living house? How unmeet Judges are we of his holy proceed­ings? We are ready to mea­sure his love still by an out­ward prosperity, then which nothing can be more uncer­tain: The Almighty goes by other rules, such as are most consonant to his infinite ju­stice and mercy. I am abash­ed [Page 163] to hear a Pagan, though no vulgar one,Senec. E­pist. 107 say, Whatso­ever is brought to pass, a wise man thinks ought to be so done; neither goes about to rebuke nature, but findes it best to suffer what he cannot alter. And shall we Christi­ans repine at those seemingly harsh events, which we see fall out in Gods Church, whiles we are ignorant of his designes? and be ready to bless a thriving prophane­ness? Look abroad upon the ancient lot of Gods inhe­ritance, and their corrivals in glory; thou shalt see the Fa­mily of Esau flourishing and renowned, yeelding besides Dukes, eight Kings of his line, whiles poor Israel was toyl­ing and sweating in the [Page 164] Egyptian furnaces; yet we know the word to stand in­violable, The elder shall serve the younger; and, Jacob have I loved, Esau I have hated: What if that great and wise God (who works oft-times by contraries, and brings light out of darkness) have purpo­sed to fetch honour and hap­piness to his Church out of this sad affliction? Metals are never so bright as when they are scoured: Perfumes and spices never so redolent, as when they have felt the fire, and the p [...]stle. Wilt thou not give the Physitian leave to make use of his Mithridate, because there are vipers in the composition? how unwor­thy art thou of health, if thou wilt no trust the fidelity [Page 165] and skill of the Artist in mixing so wholsome a Cor­dial?

§ 4. Conside­ration of the justice of Gods proceed­ings.

Thou art troubled with the publike miseries: Take heed that thy grief be clear of all impiety. Wouldst thou not have God to be just, that is, himself? Wouldst thou not allow it an act of his ju­stice to punish sins? Canst thou deny that our sins have reacht up to heaven, and cal­led for judgement?Lam. 3. 39. Why is the living man sorrowful? man suffereth for his sins. I read of a devout man that was in­stant with God in his prayers for a Nation not far off, and was answered, Suffer the proud to be humbled: Whe­ther we will suffer it or no, the just God will humble the [Page 166] proud, and punish the sinful. The wonderful patience, and infinite justice of the Al­mighty, hath set a stint to the wickedness of every people: The iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full, Gen. 15. 16. saith God to Abra­ham; when the measure is once made up▪ it is time for God to strike; we shall then complain in vain, and too late. Wouldst thou know then what is to be done for the preventing of a destru­ctive vengeance? there is no way under heaven, but this, To break off our sins by a seasonable and serious repen­tance: by the united forces of our holy resolutions, and endeavours, to make an head against the over-bearing wickedness of the time; and [Page 167] not to suffer it to fill up to­wards the brim of that fa­tal Ephah; till which time the long-suffering God onely threatens and corrects a peo­ple; but then he plagues them; and stands upon the necessity of his inviolable justice: Shall I not visit for these things, Jer. 5▪ 9. saith the Lord? and shall not my soul be avenged on such a Nation as this?

§ 5. The reme­dy; our particular repentance

Thou mournest for the common sufferings: thou dost well; our tears can never be better bestowed. But the while, is not thine hand in them? have not thy sins help­ed to make up this irritating heap? hast no▪ thou cast in thy symbole into the com­mon shot? May not the times justly challenge thee in part, [Page 168] as accessary to their misery? Begin at home, my son, if thou wish well to the Pub­like; and make thine own peace with thy God for thy particular offences. Renew thy Covenant with God of a more holy and strict obedi­ence; and then pour out thy prayers and tears for an uni­versal mercy: so shalt thou not onely pull away one brand from this consuming fire, but help effectually to quench the common confla­gration.

§ 6. The un­speakable miseries of a Civil War.

Thy heart bleeds to see the woful vastation of Civil discord, and the deadly fury of home-bread enemies: Cer­tainly there is nothing under heaven more gastly and dreadful then the face of an [Page 169] intestine War; nothing that doth so neerly resemble hell: Wo is me; here is altogether killing, and dying, and tor­turing, and burning, and shrieks, and cries, and ejula­tions, and fearful sounds, and furious violences, and what­soever may either cause or in­crease horrour: the present calamity oppresses one, ano­ther fear: one is quivering in death, another trembles to expect it: one beggs for life, another will sell it dearer: here one would rescue one life, and loseth two; there a­nother would hide himself where he findes a merciless death: here lies one bleeding, and groaning▪ and gasping, parting with his soul in extre­mity of anguish; there ano­ther [Page 170] of stronger spirits, kills, and dies at once: here one wrings her hands, and tears her hair, and seeks for some instrument of a self-inflicted death, rather then yeeld her chaste body to the lust of a bloody ravisher; there ano­ther clings inseparably to a dear husband, and will ra­ther take part of the murtherers sword, then let go her last embraces: here one tor­tured for the discovery of hid treasure, there another dying upon the rack out of jealou­sie. Oh that one man, one Christian, should be so bloo­dily cruel to another! Oh that he who bears the image of the merciful God, should thus turn fiend to his own flesh and blood! These are [Page 171] terrible things, my son; and worthy of our bitterest la­mentations, and just fears. I love the speculation of Se­neca's resolutely-wise man,Sen. Ep▪ 76. that could look upon the glit­tering sword of an executio­ner with erected and undazel­ed eyes, and that makes it no matter of difference whether his soul pass out at his mouth, or at his throat; but I should more admire the practice; whiles we carry this clay about us, nature cannot but in the holiest men shrink in at the sight and sense of these tyrannous and tragical acts of death: Yet even these are the due revenges of the Almighties punitive justice, so provoked by our sins as that it may not take up with [Page 172] an easier judgement: Dost thou not see it ordinary with our Physitians, when they finde the body highly distem­pered, and the blood foul, and inflamed, to order the open­ing of a vein, and the draw­ing out of so many ounces, as may leave the rest meet for correction? Why art thou over-troubled to see the great Physitian of the world take this course with sinful mankinde? Certainly, had not this great Body, by mis diet­ing and wilful disorder, con­tracted these spiritual diseases under which we languish; had it not impured the blood that runs in these common veins, with riot, and surfets, we had never been so miserable, as to see these torrents of [Page 173] Christian blood running down our chanels. Now yet as it is, could we bewail and abandon our former wicked­ness, we might live in hope, that at the last this deadly issue might stop, and dry up; and that there might be yet left a possibility of a blessed recovery.

§ 7. The woful miseries of Pesti­lence, al­laid by considera­tion of the hand that smites us.

Thou art confounded with grief, to see the pestilence raging in our streets; in so fre­quent a mortality as breeds a question concerning the number of the living, and the dead: That which is wont to abate other miseries, heightens this, The company of participants. It was cer­tainly a very hard, and sad option that God gave to King David, after his sin of num­bring [Page 174] bring the people; Chuse thee whether seven yeers famine shall come unto thee in thy Land, 2 Sam. 24▪ 13. or three moneths flight before thine enemies, or three days pesti­lence: We may believe the good King, when we hear him say, I am in a great strait: Doubtless so he was: but his wise resolutions have soon brought him out: Let us fall now into the hand of the Lord, (for his mercies are great;) and let me not fall in­to the hand of man. He that was to send these evils, knew their value, and the difference of their malignity: yet he opposes three days pesti­lence, to seven yeers famine, and three months vanquishment: so much oddes he knew there was betwixt the [Page 175] dull activity of man, and the quick dispatch of an Angel! It was a favour that the An­gel of death, who in one night destroyed an hundred fourscore and five thousand Assyrians, 2 Kings 19. 35. should in three daies cut off but seventy thousand Israelites; It was a great mercy that it was no worse: We read of one (City shall I call it, or Region, of Cayro) wherein eighteen hundred thousand were swept away in one years pestilence; enow, one would think to have peopled the whole earth: and in our own Chronicles of so generall a mortality, that the living were hardly sufficient to bu­ry the dead. These are dread­full demonstrations of Gods heavy displeasure; but yet [Page 176] there is this alleviation of our misery, that we suffer more immediatly from an holy, just, mercifull God; The Kingly Prophet had never made that distinction in his wofull choyce, if he had not known a notable difference betwixt the sword of an An­gell, and an enemy, betwixt Gods more direct and imme­diate infliction, and that which is derived to us through the malice of men; It was but a poor consolati­on that is given by a victori­ous enemy, to dying Lausus, in the Poet; Comfort thy selfe in thy death with this, that thou fallest by the hand of great Aeneas: but surely, we have just reason to [...]aise comfort to our souls, when the pains [Page 176] of a pestilentiall death com­passe us about, from the thought and intuition of that holy and gracious hand, un­der which we suffer; so as we can say with good Eli, It is the Lord. It is not amisse that we call those marks of deadly infection, Gods Tokens, such sure they are: and ought therefore to call up our eyes and hearts to that Almighty power that sends them, with the faithfull resolution of ho­ly Iob, Though thou kill me, yet will I trust in thee: It is none of the least miseries of conta­gious sicknesse, that it bars us from the comfortable so­ciety and attendance of friends, or, if otherwise, re­paies their love and kinde vi­sitation with death: Be not [Page 178] dismaid, my son, with this sad solitude; thou hast company with thee whom no infection can indanger, or exclude, there is an invisible friend that will be sure to stick by thee so much more closely, by how much thou art more avoided by neighbours, and will make all thy bed in thy sickness, and supply thee with those cordialls which thou shouldst in vain expect from earthly visitants: Indeed, justly doe we style this, The sicknesse, eminently grievous both for the deadlinesse, and generality of the dispersion; yet there is a remedy that can both cure and con [...]ine it; Let but every man look well to the plague of his own heart, and the Land is healed. Can [Page 179] we with David, but see the Angell that smites us, and erect an Altar; and offer to God the sacrifices of our praiers, penitence, obedience; we shall hear him say,2 Sam. 24▪ 16. It is enough: The time was, (and that time may not be forgotten) when in the dayes of our late Soveraigne, our Mother City was almost desolated with this mortall infection, When thousands fell at our side, Psal. 91. 7. and ten thousands at our right hand▪ upon the publique hu­miliation of our soules, the mercy of the Almighty was pleased to command that ra­ging disease in the height of its fury (like somehead-strong horse in the midst of his ca­reer) to stop on the sudden, and to leave us at once (ere [Page 180] wee could think of it) both safe and healthfull: This was the Lords doing, Isai. 59. 1 and it was marvellous in our eyes: Behold, the Lords hand is not shortned that it cannot save, neither his ear heavy that it cannot hear; The same mercy is everla­sting, the same remedy cer­tain; Be wee but penitent, and wee cannot be misera­ble.

Comforts against losse of Friends.

§ 1. The true value of a friend, and the fault of over-pri­zing him.

THou hast lost thy friend; Thy sorrow is just; the earth hath nothing more pre­cious then that which thou hast parted with: For what is a friend, but a mans selfe [Page 181] in another skin, a soul divi­ded into two bodies, both which are animated by the same spirit: It is somewhat worse with thee therefore, then with a palsied man, whose one halfe is stricken with a dead kinde of num­nesse, he hath lost but the use of one side of his body, thou the one halfe of thy soul. Or may I not with better war­rant say that a true friend hath as it were, two soules in one body, his own, and his friends? Sure I am, so it was with Jonathan and David; The soule of Jonathan was knit with the soule of David, 1 Sam. 18 1. and Io­nathan loved him as his owne soul: Still the more goodnesse, the stronger union; Meer na­ture can never be so fast a ce­ment [Page 182] of soules, as grace; for here the union is wrought by a better spirit then our owne, even that blessed spirit who styles himselfe by the name of Love; 1 Ioh. 4. 16. By how much grea­ter thine affection was, so much heavie [...] is thy losse. But let mee tell thee, I feare thou art too much accessary to thine owne affliction: Didst thou look for this losse? Did thy heart say, What if we should part? Didst thou not over-enjoy this blessing whilest thou hadst it? Surely, these are no small disad­vantages; As every other evill, so this especially is ag­gravated by our unexpectati­on; neither hadst thou been so oppressed with this sor­row, if thou hadst fore-seene [Page 113] it, and met it on the way: It is our weak inconsideration, if we do so welcome these earthly comforts, not as guests, but as in-mates; and as some that are importunte­ly hospitable, so entertain our friends, that we cannot abide to give them leave to depart: Whereas we ought, according to the wise advice of our Se­neca, Sen. Ep. 63. (not much abluding from the counsel of that blessed Apostle with whom he is said to have interchanged Let­ters) so to possess them,1 Cor. 7. 30, 31. as those that make account to forgo them; and so forgo them, as if we possessed them still.

§ 2. The tru [...] ground of a [...] unde­feisible enjoying of our friends.

Thou art grieved for the loss of a dear friend: Take heed lest thy love had too [Page 184] much of the man, and too lit­tle of God: All blessings, as they come down from the Father of mercies, so should be enjoyed in him: and if we enjoy them as in themselves, our love begins to degenerate into carnal. It is a sure rule, that all love that depends up­on a thing affected, when that thing ceaseth, then the love ceaseth: as he that loves a face onely for beauty, when that beauty is defaced by de­formity, presently cools in his affection: he that respects a man for his bounty onely, disregards him when he sees him impoverished. Didst thou value thy friend onely for his wit, for his ready compliances, for his kinde offices; all these are now lost, [Page 185] and thy love with them: but if thou didst affect him for eminence of grace, for the sake of that God that dwelt in him; now thy love is not, cannot be lost, because thou still enjoyest that God in whom thou lovedst him. Comfort thy self therefore in that God, in whom he was thine, and yeeld him chear­fully into those hands that lent him thee.

§. 3. The rarity and trial of true friends.

Thou hast lost a true friend: That Jewel was worthy to be so much more precious, by how much more rare it is. The world affords friends enow, such as they are; Friends of the purple, as Ter­tullian calls them; friends of the basket, as the Poet: such as love thy loaves and fishes, [Page 186] and thee for them:Prov. 14 20. Wealth makes many friends, Prov. 19 4. saith the Wise man; but where is the man that loves thee for thy self? that loves thy Vertue, and thee for it, devested of all by-respects? Whiles there is honey in thy gally-pot, the wasps and flyes will be buzzing about it; but which of them cares to light upon an empty vessel? Was he so much thine, that he would not be set off by thine adversity? Did he honour thee when thou wert despised of the world? Did he follow thee with applause whiles thou wert hooted at by the multitude? Would he have owned thee if he had found thee stripped and wounded in the Wilderness? Such a [Page 187] friend is worthy of thy tears: But take heed thy love prove not envious: If thy God hath thought him fitter for the so­ciety of Saints and Angels, dost thou repine at his hap­piness? Thou hast lost his presence; he is advanced to the beatifical presence of the King of glory: Whether is thy loss, or his gain the greater?

§ 4. It is but parting, not a [...]

Thou hast lost thy friend: say rather, thou hast parted with him. That is properly lost, which is past all recove­ry, which we are out of hope to see any more: It is not so with this friend thou mour­nest for; He is but gone home a little before thee; thou art following him; you two shall meet in your [Page 188] Fathers house, and enjoy each other more happily then you could have done here be­lowe. How just is that charge of the blessed Apostle, that We should not mourn as men without hope, 1 Thes. 4. 13, 14. for those that do but sleep in Jesus? Did we think their souls va­nisht into air, (as that Heathen Poet profanely ex­presseth it) and their bodies resolved into dust, without all possibility of reparation, we might well cry out our eyes for the utter extinction of those we loved: but if they do but sleep, Joh. 11. 12. they shall do well. Why are we impatient for their silent reposal in the bed of their grave, when we are assured of their awaking to glory?

§. 5. The loss of a vertuous wife, mi­tigated.

Thou hast lost a dear wife, the wife of thy youth, the desire of thine eyes: Did ye not take one another upon the terms of redelivery when ye should be called for?Prov. 5. 18. Were you not in your very knitting put in minde of your dissolution?Isai. 54. 6. Till death us depart. Ezek. 24 16. Was she vertuous? knowest thou not that there was a Pre-contract betwixt thy Saviour, and her soul, ere thou couldst lay any claim to her body? And canst thou now grudge his just challenge of his own? Wilt thou not allow him to call for a consummation of that happie match? Didst thou so over-love her out­side, that thou wouldst not have her soul glorious: If thou lovedst her not as a [Page 190] man, but as a Christian, envie her not to that better Hus­band above, who gives her no less dowry then immor­tality.

§ 6. The miti­gation of the loss of a dear and hopeful son.

Thy son is dead: What marvel is it, that a mortal Father hath begot a mortal Son? Marvel rather, that thy self hath lived to have or to lose a son: We lie open to so many deaths, that our very subsistence is almost miracu­lous. Thou hast lost a piece of thy self: for what are our children, but as colonies de­duced from our own flesh? yea rather, our selves made up in other models. This loss cannot but go neer thee: But tell me, What was the disposition of the son thou mournest for? If he were [Page 191] graceless and debauched, as thy shame, so thy sorrow should die with him: set the hopes thou mightst have had of his reclaiming, against the fears of his continuing, and increasing wickedness, and thou couldst have made no other present account but of dishonour, and discomfort: If it be sad that he is taken away in his wildness; it had been more heavie, that he would have added to the heap of his sin, and therein to his torments. If he were gra­cious, he had a better Father then thy self, whose interest was more in him then thine: and if that heavenly Father have thought good to pre­fer him to a crown of im­mortal glory, why shouldst [Page 192] thou be afflicted with his ad­vancement? Why shouldst thou not rather rejoyce that thy loyns have helped to fur­nish heaven with a Saint? Were it put to thy choice that thy son might be called off from his blessed rest, and returned to his former earth­ly relations; couldst thou be so injurious in thy self-love, as to wish the misery of so dis­advantageous a change to that soul, which, as it was ne­ver of thy production, so it were pity it should be at thy disposing? Rather, labour to have thine own soul so dis­posed, that it may be ready to follow him into those blessed mansions, and that it may love and long for hea­ven so much more for that [Page 193] one piece of thee is there be­fore-hand.

Comforts against Poverty, and loss of our estate.

§ 1. The fickle nature of these earthly goods.

THou art driven into want, and that which is worse, out of abundance. Those evils that we have been inured to, as being bred up with us from our cradle, are grown so familiar, that we are little moved with their pre­sence: but those into which we fall suddenly, out of an out­ward felicity of estate, are rea­dy to overwhelm us. Let thy care be, not to want those bet­ter riches, which shall make thy soul happie, and thou shalt not be too much troubled [Page 194] with the loss of this trivial, and perishing stuff: Had these been true goods, they could not have been lost: for that good that is least capable of loss, as it is unsatisfying in the time of an imperfect and unsure fruition, so in the losing it turns evil. Didst thou not know that riches have wings? Prov. 23 5. and what use is there of wings, if not to flie? If another mans violence shall clip those wings, even this very clipping is their flight. Set thy heart upon that ex­cellent and precious wealth which can never be taken from thee, which shall never leave thee, nor thou it, thou shalt easily slight these poor losses. As these were not goods, so they were not [Page 195] thine: Here thou foundst them,1 Tim. 6. 7. and here thou leavest them: What hadst thou but their use? Neither can they be otherwise thine heirs whom thou leavest behinde thee. I am ashamed to hear the Heathen Philosopher say, All that is mine I carry about me; when many of us Chri­stians are ready to bug those things as most ours, which are without our selves. It was an unanswerable que­stion which God moves to the rich man in the Parable, upon the parting with his soul:Luk. 12. 20. Then, whose shall those things be which thou hast provi­ded? perhaps a strangers, perhaps (as in case of undis­posed Lands) the occupants, perhaps a false Executors, [Page 196] perhaps an enemies Call that thine, that thou shalt be sure to carry away with thee; that shall either accompany thy soul in its last passage, or fol­low it: such shall be thy holy graces, thy charitable works, thy vertuous actions, thine heavenly dispositions: Lo, these are the Treasures which thou shalt lay up for thy self in heaven, Matth. 6. 20. where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt; where theeves do not break thorow nor steal.

§ 2. Considera­tion that they are not ours, but lent us

Thou hast lost thy goods: May I not rather say, Thou hast restored them? He par­ted with more then thou, that said, The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken: Job 1. Lo, whether it were by way of patrimony, or by way of [Page 197] providence and industry, the Lord gave it; and whether it were by the hands of Chal­deans, or Sabeans, the Lord hath taken it: the Lord is in both; he did but give and take his own. Is it not just so with thee? What reason hast thou then to complain? Or may I not yet rather say, It was not given, but lent thee, for a while, till it were called for? and dost thou grudge to restore what thou borrow­edst? Nay, (that thou mayst have yet less claim to this pelf) was it not onely left in thy hand by the owner, to employ for his use, till he should re-demand it with the increase? What is it to thee, but to improve, and to account for? If others have [Page 198] taken off thy charge: whiles they have spoiled, they have eased thee.

§ 3. That the right va­luation of riches is in the minde.

Thy wealth is gone: Hast thou necessaries left? Be thankful for what thou hast, forget what thou hadst: Hadst thou had more, thou couldst have made use of no more then Nature calls for; the rest could but have lien by thee, for sight, for readi­ness of employment: Do but forbear the thought of superfluities, and what art thou the worse? Perhaps, thy fare is coarser, thy dishes fewer, thy utensils meaner, thy clothes homelier, thy train shorter; what of this? how is thy minde affected? Cuntentment stands not in quantities, nor in qualities, [Page 199] but in the inward disposition of the heart; that alone can multiply numbers, and raise prices; that alone can turn honest freezes into rich vel­vets, pulse into delicates, and can make one attendant many Officers:Senec. Ep. 107. Wise Seneca tels thee truly, that the true mold of wealth is our body, as the Last is of the shooe; if the shooe be too bigge for the foot, it is but troublesome, and uselesse; and how poor an answer would it be of the Cordwainer to say, that hee had Leather good store; it is fitnesse which is to be regar­ded here, not largenesse; nei­ther is this any other then the charge of the blessed Apostle, Having food and raiment, 1 Tim. 6. 8. let us bee therewith content; And [Page 200] if we have no more, we shall be but as we were, as we shall bee,1 Tim 6. 7. For wee brought nothing into the world, neither shall wee carry any thing out.

§. 4. It may be good for us to be held short.

Thou hast parted with thy wealth; perhaps for thine own good; how many have wee known that have been cumbred with plenty, like as the ostrich, or bustard with bulk of body, so as they could not raise their thoughts to spirituall things; who when their weight hath been taken off, have mounted nimbly towards their heaven? How many have wee known that had lost their lives, if (with the Philosopher) they had not forgone their gold? Yea, how many that had lost their precious soules? The whole [Page 201] vessell had sunk in this boi­strous sea, if the luggage of this earthly fraight had not been cast over-boord; And why art thou so troubled to lose that which might have undone thee in the keep­ing?

§. 5. The dan­ger of a­bundance.

Thou hadst wealth; Hast thou not parted with that for which many a man hath been the worse? worse both in body and soule: and by which never any soul was better: Have wee not seen many good corn fields mar­red with ranknesse? have we not seen many a good bough split with the weight of too much fruit? whereas those fields, had they been either thinner sown, or seasonably eaten down, had yeelded a [Page 202] fair crop; and those boughs had they been but moderate­ly laden, had out-lived many Autumns: Dost thou not hear thy Saviour say, How hardly shall they that have ri­ches enter into the kingdome of God? Mark 10 23. Art thou troubled that there is a rub removed out of thy way to happinesse? That the bunch of the Camell is taken off, if yet thou maist passe through the eye of the needle?

§. 6. The cares that at­tend wealth.

Thou hadst riches? But hast thou not cares to boot? Surely, else thou hast fared better then all thy neighbors? No body but thy selfe could ever handle these roses with­out pricking his fingers:Rab. Ga­maliel. Hee was famous amongst the Jewish Doctors, whose rule [Page 203] it was, Hee that multiplies ri­ches, multiplies cares: and our blessed Saviour hath coupled these two together, The cares of the world, Mar. 4 19. and the deceitful­n [...]sse of riches; Wee have heard of one who was glad to be rid of his lately found bagge, that he might sleep, and sing again: He was no­ted and envied at Rome for his wealth,Sen. Ep. 80. which could experi­mentally say, The poor man laughs more often, and more heartily then the rich;Epist. 36. and tells us, That outward felici­ty is an unquiet thing, never ceasing to vexe it self: Thy sides are now rid of these thorns, why dost thou grum­ble at thine own ease?

§. 7. The impe­riousnesse of ill used wealth.

Thou lately possessedst great riches; yea, maist thou [Page 204] not rather say, thou wert pos­sessed of them? That wise Romane truly observed that many a one hath wealth,Ep. 109. as we are wont to say, a man hath taken an ague, when in­deed the ague hath taken him, and holds him in a painfull manner: The truth is, many a mans wealth is his Master, and keeps him under hard conditions, not allowing him sufficient diet, not com­petent rest, not any recreati­on; If thou wert thus a drudge to thine estate, thou art now thine own man; enjoy thy liberty, and together with thy patience, be thankfull.

§. 8. Considera­tion of the causes and means of impove­ [...]ishing us.

Thou art very poore; who made thee so? If thine own negligence, lazinesse, impro­vidence, unthriftinesse, rash [Page 205] ingagements; thou hadst rea­son to bear that burthen which thou hast pull'd upon thine owne shoulders: and if thou be forced to make many hard faces under the load, yet since thy owne will hath, brought upon thee this ne­cessity, even the necessity should move thy will to trudge away as lightly, and as fast as thou maist with that pressing weight: If the meer oppression and injurie of others, thou shalt the more comfortably run away with this crosse, because thy owne hand hath not been guiltie of imposing it; how easie is it for thee here, to see Gods hand chastising thee by ano­ther mans sin? and more to be grieved at the sin of that [Page 206] others wrong, then at thine own smart; How sad a thing is it for any good soul to see brethren a prey to each other? that neighbours should be like the reed and the brake set neare together, whereof the one starves the other? that we should have daily occasion to renue that wofull comparison of our Bromiard, Brom. v. Elcemo­syna. betwixt the friends and enemies of Christ; That Jews doe not suffer beggers, that Christians make beg­gers? In the mean time, if God think fit to send poverty to thy door upon the message of men, bid it welcome for the sake of him that sent it, and entertaine it not grudg­ingly for its own sake; as that, which if it be well used, [Page 207] will repay thee with many blessings; the blessings of quiet rest, safe security, hum­ble patience contented humi­lity, contemptuous valuation of these earthly things; all which had balked thy house in a prosperous condition.

§ 9. The ex­amples of those who have affe­cted po­verty.

Thou art stripped of thy former conveniences for diet, for lodging, for attendance. How many have purposely affected to doe that out of choyce, which is befaln theee upon need; some out of the grounds of Philosophy [...], others of Religion?Senec. Ep: 108. Attalus the Philosopher might have lien soft, yet hee calls for, and praises the Bed and pillow that will not yeeld to his bo­dy:Epist: 83 And Neroe [...] great and rich Master bragges of his [Page 208] usuall dining without a Ta­ble; what should I tell then of the Pharisees uneasie cou­ches, and p [...]nall garments; of the Mats of the elect Ma­nichees; of the austere usages of the ancient Eremiticall Christians; their rigorous abstinences, their affamishing meales, their nightly watch­ings, their cold ground­lyings, their sharpe disci­plines? Thou art in ease, and delicacy, in comparison of these men, who volunta­rily imposed upon themselves these hardnesses, which thou wouldst bee loth to undergoe from others cruelty: It was a strange word of Epicurus the Philosopher,Epic. in Ep. Sen. 110 not savouring of more contentment, then presumption; Give us but [Page 209] water, give us but barly meale, and wee shall vie with Jupiter himselfe for happinesse; and if this Ethnick, who was in an ill name for affectation of pleasure, could rest so well pleased with a poore messe of water-gruell; what a shame were it for us Christians not to bee well apaid with a much larger (though▪ but homely) provision?

Comforts against Impri­sonment.

§ 1. Considera­tion of the nature and power of true li­berty.

THOU art restrained of thy Liberty. I cannot blame thee to be sensible of the affliction. Liberty is wont to hold competiti­on for dearnesse, with life it [Page 210] selfe; yea, how many have lost their life to purchase their liberty? But take heed lest thou bee either mistaken, or guilty of thine owne com­plaint; for certainly, thou canst not bee bereaved of thy liberty, except thou wilt: Liberty is a priviledge of the will; will is a soveraigne power that is not subject to either restraint, or constraint: Hast thou therefore a free­dome within, a full scope to thine owne thoughts? It is not the cooping up of these outward parts, that can make thee a Prisoner: Thou art not worthy of the name of a man, if thou thinkest this body to bee thy selfe: and that is onely it which hu­mane power can reach unto. [Page 211] Besides, art thou a Christian? then thou hast learned to submit thy will to Gods; Gods will is declared in his actions; for sure what hee doth, that hee wills to doe. If his will bee then to have thee restrained, why should it not bee thine? and if it be thy will to keepe in, what dost thou complaine of re­straint?

§ 2. The sad obj [...]cts of a free be­holder.

Thou art restrained; Is it such a matter that thou art not suffered to rome abroad? How ill hast thou spent thy time, if thou hast not laid up matter both of employment and contentment in thine owne bosome? And what such goodly pleasure were it for thee to looke over the world, and to behold those [Page 212] objects which thine eye shall there meet withall; here men fighting, there women and children wayling; here plun­ders, there riots, here fields of blood, there Townes and Cities flaming; here some scuffling for Patrimonies, there others wrangling for Religion; here some fami­shing for want, there others abusing their fulnesse; here schismes and heresies, there rapines and sacriledges: What comfortable spectacles these are to attract, or please our eyes! thy closenesse frees thee from these sights; the very thought whereof is enough to make a man mise­rable; and in stead of them presents thee onely with the face of thy Keeper, which [Page 213] custome and necessity hath acquitted from thy first hor­rour.

§. 3. Comfort from the invisible company that can­not bee kept from us.

Thou art shut up close within four walls, and all company is secluded from thee; Content thy self, my son, God and his holy Angels cannot bee kept out; thou hast better company in thy solitude, then thy liberty afforded thee; the jollity of thy freedom robb'd thee of the conversation of these spi­ritual companions, which onely can render thee happy: they which before were strangers to thee, are now thy guests, yea, thy inmates, (if the fault bee not thine) to dwell with thee in that for­ced retirednesse. What if the light be shut out from thee? [Page 214] this cannot hinder thee from seeing the invisible; The dark­nesse hideth not from thee, Ps. 139. 12. (saith the Psalmist) but the night shineth as the day; the darknesse and the light are both alike to thee. Yea, I doubt not to say, God hath never beene so clearly seene as in the darkest Dungeons; for the outward light of prosperity distracts our visive beames, which are strongly contracted in a deep obscurity: Hee must descend low, and bee compassed with darknesse, that would see the glorious lights of heaven by day: They ever shine, but are not seen save in the night: May thine eyes bee blessed with this invisible sight, thou shalt not envie those that glit­ter in Courte, and that look [Page 215] daily upon the faces of Kings and Princes; yea, though they could see all that the Tempter represented to the view of our Saviour upon the highest Mountaine, all the Kingdomes of the world, and the glory of them.

§ 4. Comfort from the inward disposition of the Prisoner.

Thou art forced to keepe close; but with what dispo­sition both of minde and bo­dy? If thou hadst an unquiet and burdened Soule, it were not the open and free aire that could refresh thee; and if thou have a cleare and light heart, it is not a strict close­nesse that can dismay thee; thy thoughts can keepe thee company, and cheare up thy solitarinesse: If thou hadst an unsound and painefull bo­dy; as, if thou wert laid up [Page 216] of the gout, or some rupture, or luxation of some limb, thou wouldst not complain to keep in; thy pain would make thee insensible of the trouble of thy confinement: but if God have favoured thee with health of body, how easily mayst thou digest an harmless limitation of thy person? A wise man (as Laurentius the Presbyter observed well) doth much while he rests; his motions are not so beneficial as his sitting still: So mayst thou bestow the hours of thy close retiredness, that thou mayst have cause to bless God for so happie an opportunity. How memorable an instance hath our age yeelded us, of an eminent Person,Sir Wal­ter Ra­leigh. to whose en­cagement we are beholden, [Page 217] (besides many Philosophical experiments) for that noble history of the World, which is now in our hands? The Court had his youthful and freer times, the Tower his later age; the Tower reformed the Court in him, and produced those worthy monuments of art and industry, which we should have in vain expected from his freedom and jollity. It is observed, that shining wood, when it is kept within doors, loseth its light. It is otherwise with this and many other active wits, which had never shined so much, if not for their closeness.

§ 5. Comfort from the will [...]ng aboue of [...]rednes in some persons.

Thou art close shut up: I have seen Anachorites that have sued for this as a favour which thou esteemest a pu­nishment, [Page 218] and having obtai­ned it, have placed merit in that wherein thou apprehen­dest misery; Yea, our Histo­ry tells us of one, who when the Church, whereto his cell was annexed, was on fire, would not come out, to live, but would die, and lye bu­ried under the ashes of that roofe where his vow had fix­ed him. Suppose thou dost that out of the resolution of thine owne will, which thou dost out of anothers necessi­tating, and thou shalt sit downe contented with thy Lot.

§ 6. Comfort from the causes of imprison­ment.

Thou art imprisoned; Wise men are wont in all actions and events to enquire still into the causes: Where­fore dost thou suffer? Is it for [Page 219] thy fault? Make thou thy Gaole Gods correction house for reforming of thy mis­deeds: Remember and imi­tate Manasses, the evill sonne of a good Father, who upon true humiliation, by his just imprisonment, found an hap­py expiation of his horrible Idolatries, Murders, Witch­crafts, whose bonds brought him home to God, and him­selfe. Is it for Debt? Thinke not to pay those who have in­trusted thee with a lingring durance, if there bee power in thine hand for a discharge; there is fraud and injustice in this closenesse; Feare thou a worse prison if thou wilt needs wilfully live and die in a just indebtment, when thou maist bee at once free, and ho­nest: [Page 220] Stretch thine ability to the utmost, to satisfie others with thine own impoverish­ing: But if the hand of God have humbled and disabled thee, labour what thou canst to make thy peace with thy Creditors: If they will needs be cruel, look up with patience to the hand of that God who thinks fit to afflict thee with their unreason­ableness; and make the same good use of thy sufferings, which thou wouldst do from the immediate hand of thy Creator. If it be for a good cause, rejoyce in this tribu­lation, and be holily proud and glad, with the blessed Apostles,Acts 5. 41. that thou art count­ed worthy to suffer shame and bonds for the Name of the Lord [Page 221] Jesus: for every just Cause is his; neither is he less a Mar­tyr that suffers for his con­science in any of Gods Com­mandments, then he who suffers for matter of Faith and Religion. Remember that cordial word of thy Saviour, Blessed are they that are persecu­ted for righteousness sake; for theirs is the kingdom of hea­ven. In such a prison thou shalt be sure to finde good company: there thou shalt finde Joseph, Micaiah, Jere­miah, John Baptist, Peter, Paul and Silas, and (what should I think of the poll?) all the holy Martyrs, and Confessors of Jesus Christ from the first plantation of the Gospel to this present day: repent thee if thou canst to be thus mat­ched, [Page 222] and choose rather to violate a good conscience, and bee free, then to keep it under a momentary re­straint.

§. 7. The good [...] of re­tirednesse; and the partner­ship of the souls im­prisonment

Thou art a Prisoner; make the best of thy condition; close aire is warmer then open; and how ordinarily doe wee heare Birds sing sweeter notes in their cages, then they could doe in the wood? It shall bee thine owne fault if thou bee not bettered by thy retirednesse. Thou art a Prisoner; so is thy soule in thy body; there, not restrai­ned onely, but fettered, yet complaines not of the strait­nesse of these clay walls, or the weight of these bonds, but patiently waites for an happy Gaole-delivery: so doe [Page 223] thou, attend with all long-suffering the good houre of the pleasure of thy God; thy period is set, not without a regard to thy good, yea, to thy best; hee in whose hand are all times, shall finde, and hath determined, a fit time to free both thy body from these outward prison-walls, and thy soule from this prison of thy body; and to restore both body and soule from the bondage of corruption to the glorious liberty of the sonnes of God. Rom: 8: 21:

Comforts against Ba­nishment.

§ 1. Comfort from the universa­lity of a wise mans Country.

THOU art banished from thy Countrey: Beware lest in thy complaining thou censure thy selfe; A wise mans Countrey is every where; what such relation hath the place wherein thou wert born, to thy present be­ing? What more then the time wherein thou wert born? what reason hast thou to bee more addicted to the Region wherein thou fell'st, then to the day of the week, or houre of the day in which thou sa­lutedst the light? What are times and places of our birth but unconcerning circum­stances? Wherever thou fa­rest well, thou maist either [Page 225] finde or make thy Countrey; But thou sayest, there is a cer­tain secret property in our native soyle, that drawes our affection to it, and tyes our hearts to it, not without a pleasing kinde of delight, whereof no reason can bee yeelded; so as we affect the place, not because it is better then others,Senec: Ep. 66. but because it is our owne; Vlysses doth no lesse value the rockie soyle of his hard and barren Ithaca, then Agamemnon doth the noble walls of his rich and pleasant Mycenae: I grant this relation hath so powerfull an influence upon our hearts na­turally, as is pretended; yet such a one as is easily checked with a small unkindnesse; How many have wee knowne, [Page 226] who upon an actuall affront (not of the greatest) have di­verted their respects from their native Country, and out of a strong alienation of minde have turned their love into hostility: We shall not need to seek farre for Histo­ries, our times and memories will furnish us too well: Doe we not see those, who have sucked the brests of our com­mon Mother, upon a little dislike, to have spit in her face? Can we not name our late home-bred compatriots, who upon the disrelish of some displeasing Laws have flown off from their Coun­try, and suborned Treasons, and incited forrain Princes to our invasion? So as thou seest this naturall affection [Page 227] is not so ardent in many, but that it may be quenched with a mean discontentment. If therefore there were no other ground of thine affliction, thy sorrow is not so deep-rooted, but that it may be easily pul­led up.

§ 2. Comfort from the benefit of self-con­versation.

It is not the aire or earth that thou standest upon; it is the company, thou saist, from which it is a kinde of death to part; I shall leave all ac­quaintance, and conversa­tion, and be cast upon strange faces, and languages that I understand not; my best en­tertainment will be solitude, my ordinary, inhospitality; What dost thou affright thy self, my sonne, with these bugges of needlesse terrour? He is not worthy of the name [Page 228] of a Philosopher, much lesse of a Christian Divine, that hath not attained to bee abso­lute in himselfe; and which way soever hee is cast, to stand upon his owne bottome; and that, if there were no other men left in the world, could not tell how to enjoy him­selfe: It is that within us, whereby wee must live, and be happy: some additions of complacency may come from without: sociable natures, (such is mans) seek and finde pleasure in conversation, but if that bee denyed, sanctified spirits know how to converse comfortably with their God, and themselves.

§ 3. Examples of those holy ones that have abandoned society.

How many holy ones of old have purposely with­drawne themselves from the [Page 229] company of men, that they might bee blessed with an in­visible society; that have ex­changed Cities for Deserts, houses for caves, the sight of men for beasts, that their spi­rituall eyes might be fixed up­on those better objects, which the frequence of the world held from them? Ne­cessity doth but put thee into that estate, which their piety affected. Oh! but to bee dri­ven to forsake Parents, kins­folke, friends, how sad a case must it needs bee? What is this other then a perfect di­straction? What are wee but pieces of our Parents? and what are friends but parts of us? what is all the world to us without these comforts? When thou hast said all, my [Page 230] son, what is befalne thee other, then it pleased God to enjoyn the Father of the faithfull? Get thee out of thy Country, Gen: 13: 1: and from thy kindred, and from thy Fathers house into a Land that I will shew thee; Loe, the same God by the command of authority calls thee to this secession; If thou wilt shew thy self worthy to be the sonne of such a Father, doe that in an humble obedi­ence to God, which thou art urged to doe by the compul­sion of men; But what so grie­vous a thing is this? Dost thou think to find God where thou goest? Dost thou make full account of his company both all along the way, and in the end of thy journey? Hath not he said (who can­not [Page 231] sail) I will not leave thee nor forsake thee? Certainly, he is not worthy to lay any claim to a God, that cannot finde parents, kindred, friends in him alone: Besides, he that of very stones could raise up children unto Abraham, how easily can he, of inhospital men, raise up friends to the sons of Abraham? Onely la­bour thou to inherit that faith wherein he walked; that alone shall free-denizen thee in the best of forain States, and shall entertain thee in the wildest desarts.

§ 4. The ad­vantage that hath been made of remo­ving.

Thou art cast upon a for­raign Nation: Be of good chear; we know that flowers removed, grow greater; and some plants which were but unthriving, and unwholsome [Page 232] in their own soyl, have grown both safe and flou| rishing in other Climates. Had Joseph been ever so great, if he had not been transplanted into Egypt? Had Daniel and his three compa­nions of the Captivity eve [...] attained to that Honour in their native Land? How many have we known, that have found that health in a change of air, which they could not meet with at home? In Africk the South­winde clears up; and the North is rainy. Look thou up still to that hand which hath translated thee; await his good pleasure: Be thou no stranger to thy God, it matters not who are strangers unto thee.

§ 5. The rig [...] that we have in any coun­try, and i [...] God.

Thou art a banished man: How canst thou be so, when thou treadest upon thy Fa­thers ground? The earth is the Lords, and the fulness of it: In his right, where ever thou art, thou mayst challenge a spiri­tual interest:1 Cor. 3▪ 21, 22, 23▪ All things, saith the Apostle, are yours, and you are Christs, and Christ is Gods. No man can challenge thee for a stranger, that is not thy Fathers childe.

Thine exile separates thee from thy friends: This were no small affliction, if it might not be abundantly remedied. That was a true word of Laurentius, That where two faithful friends are met, God makes up a third: But it is no less true, That where one faithful spirit is, there God [Page 235] makes up a second: One God can more then supply a thou sand friends.

§ 6. [...]he pra­ [...]tice of voluntary travel.

Thy banishment bereaves thee of the comfort of thy wonted companions: Would not a voluntary travel do as much? Dost thou not see thousands tha [...] do willingly for many yeers change their Country for forraign Regi­ons; taking long farewells of their dear friends and come­rades; some out of curio­sity, some out of a thirst after knowledge, some out of co­vetous desire of gain? What difference is there betwixt thee and them, but that their exile is voluntary, thy travel constrained? And who are these whom thou art so sor­ry to forgo? Dost thou not [Page 236] remember what Crates the Philosopher said to a young man, that was beset with pa­rasitical friends; Young man, said he, I pity thy solitude: Perhaps thou mayst be more alone in such society, then in the Wilderness: such conver­sation is better lost then con­tinued: if thou canst but get to be well acquainted with thy self, thou shalt be sorry that thou wert no sooner soli­tary.

§ 7. All ar [...] pilgrims

Thou art out of thy Coun­try: Who is not so? We are all pilgrims together with thee:1 Pet. 1 [...] Whiles we are at home in the body, Heb. 1▪ 1 [...] we are absent from the Lord: 2 Cor. [...] Miserable are we, if our true home be not above;Heb. 1▪ 1 [...] that is the better Country which we seek, even an hea­venly: [Page 236] And thither thou mayst equally direct thy course in whatsoever Regi­on. This center of earth is equidistant from the glorious circumference of heaven: if we may once meet there, what need we make such dif­ference in the way?

Comforts against the loss of the Senses; of Sight, and Hearing.

§ 1. Comfort from the [...]o in­ [...]ard [...]ghts of [...]ason [...]nd faith.

THou hast lost thine eyes: A loss, which all the world is uncapable to re­pair: Thou art hereby con­demned to a perpetual dark­ness; For, the light of the bo­dy is the eye: Matth. 6. 22, 23. and if the light [Page 237] that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness? Couldst thou have foreseen this evil, thou hadst anticipated this loss, by weeping out those eyes for grief, which thou must forgo. There are but two ways, by which any out­ward comfort can have ac­cess to thy soul; The Eye, and the Ear: one of them is now fore-closed for ever. Yet know, my son, thou hast two other inward eyes, that can abundantly supply the want of these of thy body; The eye of Reason, and the eye of Faith: the one, as a Man; the other, as a Christi­an: Answerable whereunto, there is a double light appre­hended by them; Rational, and Divine: Solomon tells thee [Page 238] of the one;Prov. 20. 27. The spirit of man is the Candle of the Lord, search­ing all the inward parts of the belly: The beloved Disciple tells thee of the other; God is light; Joh. 1. 9, 7. and we walk in the light, as he is in the light: Now these two lights are no less above that outward and visible light, whereof thou art bereaved, then that light is above darkness: If therefore by the eye of Reason thou shalt attain to the clear sight of in­telligible things; and by the eye of Faith, to the sight of things supernatural and Divine; the improve­ment of these better eyes, shall make a large amends for the lack of thy bodily sight.

§ 2. The supply of better eyes.

Thy sight is lost: Let me tell thee what Antony the Her­mite (whom Ruffinus doubts not to style blessed) said to learned (though blinde) Di­dymus of Alexandria; Ruffinus Hist. l. 2. c. 7. Let it not trouble thee, O Didymus, that thou art bereft of carnal eyes; for thou lackest onely those eyes which Mice, and Flyes, and Lyzards have: but rejoyce that thou hast those eyes which the Angels have, whereby they see God, and by which thou art enlightned with a great measure of knowledge. Make this good of thy self, and thou shalt not be too much discomfort­ed with the absence of thy bodily eyes.

§ 3. The better object of our inward sight.

Thine eyes are lost: The chief comfort of thy life is [Page 240] gone with them:Eccl. 11. 7. The light is sweet, saith Solomon; and a plea­sant thing it is for the eyes to behold the sun. Hath not God done this purposely, that he might set thee off from all earthly objects, that thou mightst so much the more intentively fix thy self upon him, and seek after those spiritual comforts, which are to be found in a better light? Behold, the Sun is the most glorious thing that thy bodily eyes can possibly see: thy spiritual eyes may see him that made that good­ly and glorious creature, and therefore must needs be in­finitely more glorious then what he made. If thou canst now see him the more, how hast thou but gained by thy loss?

§ 4. The ill of­ficer done by the eyes.

Thou art become blinde: Certainly, it is a sore afflicti­on. The men of Jabesh-gilead offered to comply with the Tyran of the Ammonites, 1 Sam. 11. 1. so far as to serve him: but when he required the loss of their right eyes, as a conditi­on of their peace, they will rather hazard their lives in an unequal War; as if servi­tude and death were a less mischief then one eyes loss; how much more of both? For though one eye be but testis singularis, yet the evi­dence of that is as true, as that of both; yea, in some ca­ses more: for when we would take a perfect aim, we shut one eye, as rather an hinderance to an accurate information: yet for ordinary use, so do [Page 242] we esteem each of these lights, that there is no wise man but would rather lose a limb then an eye: Although I could tell thee of a certain man not less religious then witty,Bromi­ard v. Sensus. who when his friends bewailed the loss of one of his eyes, askt them, Whether they wept for the eye which he had lost, or the eye which remained? Weep rather, said he, for the enemy that stays behinde, then for the enemy that is gone. Lo, this man lookt upon his eyes, with eyes different from other mens; he saw them as enemies, which others see as officious ser­vants, as good friends, as dear favourites: Indeed, they are any or all of these, according as they are used: good ser­vants, [Page 243] if they go faithfully on the errands we send them, and return us true intelli­gence: Good friends, if they advise and invite us to holy thoughts; enemies, if they suggest and allure us to evil: If thine eyes have been em­ployed in these evil offices to thy soul, God hath done that for thee, which he hath in a figurative sense enjoyned thee to do to thy self;Matth. 5. 29. If thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee; for it is better for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.

§ 5. Freedom from tem­ptations by the eyes, and from sorrows.

Thou hast lost thine eyes, and together with them much earthly contentment: But withal, thou art hereby freed [Page 244] of many temptations: those eyes were the in-lets of sin; yea, not onely the meer pas­sages by which it entred; but busie agents in the ad­mission of it; the very Pan­dars of lust, for the debauch­ing of the soul. How many thousands are there, who on their death-beds, upon the sad recalling of their guilty thoughts, have wished they had been born blinde? So as if now thou have less joy, thou shalt sin less; nei­ther shall any vain objects call away thy thoughts from the serious and sad medita­tion of spiritual things. Be­fore, it was no otherwise with thee, then the Prophet Jeremich reports it to have been with the Jews, That [Page 245] death is come up by the windows. Jer. 9. 21 So it was with our great Grand-mother Eve; she saw the tree was pleasant to the eyes, Gen. 3. 6 and thereupon took of the fruit. So it hath been ever since with all the fruit of her womb, both in the old, and later world:Gen. 6. 2 The sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of all which they chose: In so much as not filthy lusts onely, but even adulteries take up their lodgings in the eye: there the blessed Apostle findes them; Having eyes (saith he) full of adultery, 2 Pet. 2. 14. and that can not cease from sin. Whiles there­fore,Job 31. 7 thine heart walked after thine eyes, as Job speaks, it could do no other but carry thee down to the chambers of death: Prov. 7. 27. thou [Page 246] art now delivered from that danger of so deadly a misgui­dance.

Hath not the loss of thine eyes, withal, freed thee of a world of sorrows? The old word is, What the eye views not, the heart [...]ues not: Hadst thou but seen what others were forced to behold, those fearful conflagrations, those piles of murdered carcases, those streams of Christian blood, those savage violences, those merciless rapines, those sacrilegious outrages, thine heart could not chuse but bleed within thee: Now thou art affected with them onely aloof off, as receiving them by the imperfect intelligence of thine ear from the unfeeling relation of others.

§. 6. The cheer­fulness of some blind men.

Thine eies are lost, what need thy heart to goe with them? I have known a blinde man more chearfull, then I could be with both mine eies: Old Isaac was dark-sighted when he gave the blessing (contrary to his own intentions) to his sonne Jacob, yet it seems he lived fourty yeers after, and could be pleased then to have good chear made him with wine and v [...]nison; Gen. 27. 25. our life doth not lye in our eyes;Pro. 18. 14. The Spirit of man is that which up­holds his infirmities; Labour to raise that to a chearfull disposition; even in thy bodily darknesse, there shall bee light and joy to thy soul.Esth. 8. 16.

§. 7. The supply which God gives in other fa­culties.

Hath God taken away thine eyes? But hath he not given thee an abundant sup­ply in other faculties? Are not thine inward senses the more quick? thy memory stronger, thy phantasie more active, thy understanding more apprehensive? The wonders that we have heard, and read of blinde mens me­mories, were not easie to be­leeve, if it were not obvious to conceive that the removall of all distractions gives them an opportunity both of a carefull reposition of all de­sired objects, and of a sure fixednesse of them where they are laid: Hence have we seen it come to passe that some blinde men have attai­ned to those perfections [Page 249] which their eies could never have feoffed them in: It is very memorable that our Ecclesiasticall Story reports of Didymus of Alexandria, who being blinde from his infancy,Ruffin. Eccl. hist l. 2. c. 7. through his prayers, & diligent indeavours reacht unto such an high pitch of knowledge in Logick, Geo­metry, Arithmetick, Astro­nomy, as was admired by the learned Masters of those Arts; and for his rare insight into Divinity, was by great Atha­nasius approved to be the Do­ctor of the Chaire in that fa­mous Church. What need we doubt of this truth, when our own times have so cleer­ly seconded it? having yeel­ded divers worthy Divines, Gods Seers, bereaved of bo­dily [Page 250] eyes; amongst the rest, there was one in my time,Mr. Fish­er of Tri­nity Col­ledge in Cambr. ve­ry eminent in the University of Cambridge, (whom I had occasion to dispute with for his degree) of great skill both in Tongues and Arts, and of singular acutenesse of judge­ment.Suidas ex Aristo­phane. It is somewhat strange that Suidas reports of Neocll­des, that being a blinde man he could steal more cunning­ly then any that had use of eyes; Sure, I may say boldly of our Fisher, that hee was more dextrous in picking the locks of difficult Authors, and fetching forth the rea­sures of their hidden senses, then those that had the shar­pest eyes about him; in so much as it was noted those were singular Proficients [Page 251] which imployed themselves in reading to him; If they read Books to him, he read Lectures the while to them; and still taught more then he learned. As for the other outward senses, they are com­monly more exquisite in the blinde; We read of some who have been of so accurate a touch, that by their very feeling they could distinguish betwixt black and white; And for the eare, asThe Lord Ve­rul. Fr. Bacon in his Naturall Historie. our Philosophers observe, that sounds are sweeter to the blind, then to the sighted; so also that they are more cu­riously judged of by them; the vertue of both those sen­ses being now contracted in­to one. But the most perfect recompence of these bodily [Page 252] eyes, is in the exaltation of our spirituall, so much more enlightned towards the bea­tisicall vision of God, as they apprehend more darknesse in all earthly objects; certainly, thou shalt not misse these ma­teriall eyes, if thou maist finde thy soul thus happily enlight­ned.

§. 8. The bene­fit of the eies which once we had.

Thine eyes are lost; It is a blessing that once thou hadst them; hadst thou been born blinde, what a stranger hadst thou (in all likelihood) been to God and the world? hadst thou not once seen the face of this heaven, and this earth, and this Sea, what expressions could have made thee suffici­ently apprehensive of the wonderfull works of thy Cre­ator? What discourse could [Page 253] have made thee to understand what light is? what the Sun the fountain of it, what the heavens, the glorious region of it, and what the Moon and Starres illuminated by it? How couldst thou have had thy thoughts raised so high, as to give glory to that great God, whose infinite power hath wrought all these mar­vellous things? No doubt, God hath his own waies of mercy, even for those that are born dark; not requiring what he hath not given; gra­ciously supplying by his spi­rit in the vessels of his electi­on, what is wanting in the outer-man; so as even those that could never see the face of the world, shall see the face of the God that made it; [Page 254] But in an ordinary course of proceeding, those which have been blinde from their birth, must needs want those helps of knowing and glorifying God in his mighty works, which lie open to the seeing: These once filled thine eies, and stay with thee still after thine eies have forsaken thee; What shouldst thou doe but walk on in the strength of those fixed thoughts, and be alwaies adoring the Majesty of that God whom that sight hath represented unto thee so glorious, and in an humble submission to his good plea­sure strive against all the dis­comforts of thy sufferings. Our Story tels us of a valiant Souldier (answerable to the name he bore) Polyzelus, Suidas v. Hippias. who [Page 255] after his eyes were struck out in the Battel, covering his face with his Target, fought still, laying about him as ve­hemently, as if he had seen whom to smite. So do thou, my son, with no less courage; let not the loss of thine eyes hinder thee from a chearful resistance of those spiritual enemies, which labor to draw thee into an impatient mur­muring against the hand of thy God: wait humbly upon that God who hath better eyes in store for thee, then those thou hast lost.

§ 9. The supply of one sense by another

Thou hast lost thy hearing: It is not easie to determine whether loss is the greater, of the Eye, or of the Ear: both are grievous. Now all the world is to thee as dumb, [Page 256] since thou art deaf to it: How small a matter hath made thee a meer cypher amongst men! These two are the senses of instruction: there is no other way for in­telligence to be conveyed to the soul, whether in secular or in spiritual affairs. The eye is the window, the ear is the door by which all know­ledge enters: In matter of observation, by the eye; in matter of faith, Rom. 10. 17. by the ear. Had it pleased God to shut up both these senses from thy birth, thy estate had been utterly disconsolate: neither had there been any possible access for comfort to thy soul: and if he had so done to thee in thy riper age, there Had been no way for thee but 1[Page 257] to live on thy former store: But now that he hath vouch­safed to leave thee one pas­sage open, it beh [...]ves thee to supply the one sense by the other, & to let in those helps by the window, which are de­nied entrance at the door. And since that infinite goodness hath been pleased to lend thee thine ear so long, as till thou hast laid the sure grounds of faith in thy heart; now thou mayst work upon them, in this silent opportunity, with heavenly meditations, and raise them up to no less height, then thou mightst have done by the help of the quickest ear.

It is well for thee, that in the fulness of thy senses thou wert careful to improve thy [Page 258] bosome as a Magazine of heavenly thoughts, providing with the wise Patriarch for the seven yeers of dearth: otherwise, now that the pas­sages are thus blocked up, thou couldst not but have been in danger of affamishing. Thou hast now abundant lea­sure to recal and ruminate upon those holy counsels, which thy better times laid up in thy heart, and to thy happie advantage findest the difference betwixt a wise providence, and a careless neglect.

§ 10. The better condition of the in­ward ear.

Thine outward hearing is gone: But thou hast an in­ward and better ear, where­by thou hearest the secret motions of Gods Spirit, which shall never be lost: [Page 259] How many thousands whom thou enviest, are in a worse condition? they have an out­ward and bodily ear, where­by they hear the voice of men; but they want that spi­ritual ear, which perceives the least whisperings of the holy Ghost: Ears they have, but not hearing ears; for fashion, more then use: Wise Solomon makes and observes the di­stinction;Prov. 20. 12. The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them: And a greater then Solomon can say of his formal auditors, Hear­ing they hear not. Mat. 13. 13. If thou have an ear for God, though deaf to men; how much happier art thou then those millions of men, that have au ear for men, and are deaf to God?

§ 11. The grief that arises from lear­ [...]ing evil.

Thou hast lost thy hearing; and therewith no small deal of sorrow: How would it grieve thy soul to hear those woful ejulations, those piti­ful complaints, those hideous blasphemies, those mad para­doxes, those hellish heresies, wherewith thine ear would have been wounded, if it had not been barred against their entrance? It is thy just grief that thou missest the hearing of many good words; it is thy happiness that thou art freed from the hearing of many evil. It is an even lay betwixt the benefit of hear­ing good, and the torment of hearing evil.

Comforts against Bar­renness.

§. 1. The bles­sing of fruitful­ness seaso­ned with sorrows.

THou complainest of dry loins, & a barren womb: so did a better man before thee, even the Father of the faithful: What wilt thou give me, Gen. 25. 2. seeing I go childless? So did the wife of faith­ful Israel, Gen. 30. 1. Give me children, or else I die. So desirous hath Nature been, even in the ho­liest, to propagate it self, and so impatient of a denial: Lo, Psa. 127. 4. children and the fruit of the womb are an heritage and gift that cometh from the Lord. Happie is he that hath his qui­ver full of such shafts. Vers. 6. It is the blessing that David grudg­ed to wicked ones,Psal. 17. 14. They have children at their desire. It [Page 262] was the curse which God in­flicted upon the family of A­bimelech King of Gerar, Gen. 20. 17, 18. that he closed up all the wombs in his house for Sarahs sake: And the judgement threatned to E­phraim, Hos 9. 14 is a miscarrying womb, and dry brests: And Jechoniah's sad doom is,Jer. 22. 30. Write this man childless: As on the contrary, it is a special favour of God, that the barren hath born seven: 1 Sam. 2. 5. And it is noted by the Psalm­ist, as a wonder of Gods mer­cy,Psa. 113. 8. That he maketh the barren woman to keep house, and to be a joyful mother of children. It is pity he was ever born, that holds not children a blessing; yet not simple and absolute, but according as it may prove: She hath a double favour from God, that is a joyful [Page 263] mother of children: many a one breeds her sorrow, breeds her death. There is scarce any other blessing from God seasoned with so much acri­mony both of misery and dan­ger. Do but lay together the sick fits of breeding, the pain­ful throws of travel, the wea­ry attendances of nursing, the anxious cares of educati­on, the fears and doubts of mis-guidance, the perpetual solicitude for their provision, the heart-breaking grief for their miscarriage; and tell me whether thy bemoaned sterility have not more ease, less sorrow.

§. 2. The pains of child-bearing.

It is thy sorrow then that thou art not fruitful: Consi­der that thou art herein freed from a greater sorrow: In [Page 264] sorrow shalt thou bring forth chil­dren. Gen. 3. 16. Do but think upon the shrieks and torments that thou hast seen and heard in the painful travels of thy neighbours: One thou hast seen wearying the days and nights in restless pangs, and calling for death in a despair of delivery: Another after the unprofitable labours of Midwives, forced to have her bowels ransackt by the hand of another sex. One hath her dead burden torn from her by piece-meal; another is delivered of her life and birth together: One languisheth to death after the hand of an unskilful Mid­wife; another is weary of her life through the soreness of her brests: All these sor­rows [Page 265] thou hast escaped by this one: In these regards, how many whom thou enviest, have thought thee happier then themselves?

§. 3. The mise­ry of ill-disposed and undutiful chil­dren.

Thou art afflicted that thou art not a mother: Many a one is so, that wishes she had been barren: If either the childe prove deformed and mis-shapen; or, upon further growth, unnatural and wic­ked; what a Corrosive is this to her that bore him? Re­becca thought it long to be (after her marriage) twen­ty yeers childless;Gen. 25. 20, 21. her holy husband (at sixty yeers age) prays to God for issue by her: his devotion (as the Jewish Doctors say) carried him to Mount Moriah for this purpose, that in the same [Page 266] place where his life was mi­raculously preserved from the knife of his Father, it might by the like miracle be renew­ed in his posterity: God hears him;Gen. 25. 22. Rebecca conceives: but when she felt that early com­bat of her strugling twins in her womb, she can say, If it be so, Gen. 25. 25. why am I thus? And when she saw a childe come forth all clad in hair, and after saw his conditions no less rough then his hide,Gen. 27. 41. do we not think she wished that part of her burden unborn? Certainly, children are ac­cording to their proof, either blessings, or crosses. Hast thou a childe well disposed, well governed?Prov. 10. 1. A wise Son maketh a glad Father. Prov. 15. 20. Hast thou a childe disorderly and [Page 267] debauched?Prov. 10. 1. A foolish son is the heaviness of his Mother; Prov. 19. 13. and the calamity of his Father. Hast thou a son that is unruly, stubborn, unnatural? (as commonly the cions over­rule the stock:) He that wasteth his Father, Prov. 19. 26. and chaseth away his Mother, is a son that causeth shame, and bringeth reproach. And if such a son should live and die impenitent, what can be answerable to the discom­fort of that Parent who shall think that a piece of himself is in hell?

§ 4. The cares of parents for their children.

Thou hast no children: As thou hast less joy, so thou hast loss trouble: It is a world of work and thoughts that belongs to these living possessions.Artemi­dor. de Insom­niis, l. 1. c. 16. Artemidorus▪ ob­serves, that to dream of chil­dren, [Page 268] imports cares to follow. Surely, as they are our great­est cares, so they bring many lesser cares with them: Before thou hadst but one mouth to feed, now many. And up­on whom doth this charge lie, but upon the Parent? not Nature onely, but Religion casts it upon him:1 Tim. 5. 8. For, if any provide not for his own, especi­ally for those of his own house, he hath denied the Faith, and is worse then an infidel. Dost thou not see that many suckers growing up from the root of the tree, draw away the sap from the stock? and ma­ny rivulets let out from the main Chanel, leave the stream shallow? So it must be with thee, and thine: But this expence is not more ne­cessary [Page 269] then comfortable. I remember a great man com­ing to my house at Wal­tham, and seeing all my chil­dren standing in the order of their age, and stature, said, These are they that make rich men poor: But he straight received this answer; Nay, my Lord, these are they that make a poor man rich; for there is not one of these whom we would part with, for all your wealth. Indeed, wherefore do we receive, but to distribute? and what are we but the Farmers of those we leave behinde us? And if we do freely lay out of our substance before-hand for their good, so much of our rent is happily cleared. It is easie to observe that none are [Page 270] so gripple and hard-fisted, as the childless: whereas those who for the maintenance of large Families are inured to frequent disbursements, finde such experience of Divine providence in the faithful managing of their affairs, as that they lay out with more chearfulness then they re­ceive: Wherein their care must needs be abated, when God takes it off from them to himself; and if they be not wanting to themselves, their faith gives them ease, in cast­ing their burden upon him who hath both more power, and more right to it, since our children are more his then our own: He that feedeth the young ravens, Psa. 147. 9. can he fail the best of his creatures? Wor­thy [Page 271] Mr Greenham tels us of a Gentlewoman, who com­ming into the cottage of a poor neighbour, and seeing it furnished with store of children, could say, Here are the mouthes, but where is the meat? but not long after she was paid in her own coyne, for the poor woman com­ing to her after the buriall of her last, and now onely childe, inverted the question upon her, Here is the meat, but where are the mouthes? Surely, the great House-kee­per of the world, whose charge we are, will never leave any of his menialls without the bread of suffici­ency; and who are so fit to be his Purveyors as the Pa­rents for their own brood? [Page 272] Nature hath taught the very Birds to pick out the best of the graines for their young; Nature sends that moisture out of the root which gives life to the branches, and blos­somes. Sometimes indeed it meets with a kinde retaliati­on; some Stork-like disposi­tion repaies the loving offices done by the Parents in a du­tifull retribution to their age or necessity: But how often have we seen the contrary? Here, an unsatisfiable impor­tunity of drawing from the Parent that maintenance which is but necessary for his own subsistence: So we have seen a young Bat hanging on the teat of her Damme for milk, even when she is dying: So we have seen some insati­able [Page 273] Lambs forcing the udder of their dammes, when they have been as bigge as the Ewe that yeaned them: There, an undutifull and un­naturall neglect, whether in not owning the meannesse of those that begot them; or in not supporting the weak­nesse of their decayed estate by due maintenance. Ingra­titude is odious in any man, but in a childe, monstrous.

§. 5. The great grief in the losse of children.

It is thy grief that thou never hadst a childe; Be­leeve him that hath tried it, there is not so much comfort in the having of children, as there is sorrow in parting with them, especially, when they are come to their proof; when their parts, and disposi­tion have raised our hopes of [Page 274] them, and doubled our affe­ction towards them; And as (according to the French Proverb) hee that hath not cannot lose; so contrarily, he that hath must lose; our meeting is not more certain then our parting; either wee must leave them, and so their grief for us must double ours; or they must leave us, and so our grief for them must be no lesse then our love was of them. If then thou wilt be truly wise, set thy heart upon that onely absolute good, which is not capable of losing: Divided affections must needs abate of their force; now since there are no objects of dearnesse which might distract thy love, bee sure to place it wholly [Page 275] upon that infinite goodnesse which shall entertain it with mercy, and reward it with blessednesse. If Elkanah there­fore could say to his barren Wife Hannah, 1 Sam. 1. 8. Why weepest thou? and why is thy heart heavy? am not I better to thee then ten sons? How much more comforta­bly maist thou hear the Fa­ther of mercies say to thy soul, Why is thy heart heavy? am not I better to thee then ten thousand sons?

Comforts against want of Sleep.

§ 1. The misery of the want of rest; with the best re­medy.

THOU art afflicted with want of sleep: A com­plaint incident to distempe­red bodies, and thoughtfull mindes: Oh how wearisome a thing it is to spend the long night in tossing up and down in a restlesse bed in the chase of sleep, which the more eagerly it is followed, flies so much the farther from us! Couldst thou obtain of thy selfe to forbear the desire of it, perhaps it would come alone; now that thou suest for it (like to some froward peece) it is coy and overly, and punishes thee with thy longing: Loe, he that could [Page 277] command an hundred and se­ven and twenty Provinces, yet could not command rest;Esth 6. 1 On that night his sleep departed from him; neither could bee either forced, or intreated to his bed. And the great Baby­lonian Monarch, though hee laid some hand on sleep, yet he could not hold it,Dan 2. 1. for his sleep brake from him: And for great and wise Solomon, it would not so much as come within his view,Eccl. 8▪ 16 Neither night nor day seeth he sleep with his eyes: Surely, as there is no earthly thing more comfor­table to nature then bodily rest,Jer. 31. 26. so there is nothing whose losse is more grievous and disheartning; If the sen­ses be not sometimes in meet vicissitudes, tied up, how can [Page 278] they choose but run them­selves out of breath, and wea­ry and spend themselves to nothing? If the body be not refreshed with a moderate en­terchange of repose, how can it but languish in all the parts of it? and as commonly the soul followes the temper of the body, how can that but finde a sensible discomposure and debilitation in all her fa­culties, and operations? Do we not see the savagest crea­tures tamed with want of rest? Doe we not find this rack alone to have been tor­ture enough to fetch from poor soules a confessionall discovery of those acts they never did? Doe we not finde raveries, and frenzies the or­dinary attendants of sleeples­ness? [Page 279] Herein therefore thy tongue hath just cause to complain of thine eyes. For remedy, in stead of closing thy lids to wait for sleep; lift up thy stiff eyes to him that giveth his beloved rest: Ps. 127. 2 what ever be the means, he it is that holdeth thine eyes wa­king: Psa. 77. 4 He that made thine eyes, keeps off sleep from thy body, for the good of thy soul: let not thine eyes wake without thy heart. The Spouse of Christ can say, I sleep, Cant. 5. 4. but my heart waketh; how much more would she say, Mine eyes wake, and my heart waketh also? When thou canst not see sleep with thine eyes, labour to see him that is invisible: one glimpse of that sight is more worth, [Page 280] then all the sleep that thine eyes can be capable of: give thy self up into his hands, to be disposed of at his will: What is this sweet acqui­escence, but the rest of the soul? Which if thou canst finde in thy self, thou shalt quietly digest the want of thy bodily sleep.

§ 2. The favor of freedom from pain.

Thou wantest sleep: Take heed thou do not aggravate thine affliction: It is one­ly an evil of loss, no evil of sense: a meer lack of what thou wishest; not a pain of what thou feelest. Alas, how many besides want of rest, are tortured with intolerable torments in all the parts of their body; who would think themselves happie, if they might be put [Page 281] into thy condition: might they but have ease, how gladly would they forbear rest? Be not therefore so much troubled that it is no better with thee, but rather be thankful that it is no worse.

§. 3. The favor of health without sleep.

Thou lackest sleep; A thing that we desire not so much for its own sake, as in a way to health. What if God be pleased so to dis­pose of thee, as to give thee health without it? So he hath done to some. It is a small matter that Goulart reports out of Gaspar Wolfius, Goul. Histoires Memora­bles. c. Ve [...]lles. of a woman in Padua that conti­nued fifteen days and nights without sleep. That is ve­ry memorable which Sene­ca tells us of great Mecaenas, [Page 282] that in three yeers he slept not (ne horae momento) so much as the space of an hour: which however Lipsius thinks good to mitigate with a favourable construction, as conceiving an impossibility of an absolute sleeplesness yet if we shall compare it with other instances of the same kinde, we shall finde no reason to scruple the utmost rigour of that relation: That a frantick man (of whom Fernelius writes) should continue a yeer and two moneths without any sleep at all,Patho­log. l. 5. c. 2. is no wonder, in comparison of that which learned Heurnius tells us,Lib. De morbis capitis, c. 16. up­on good assurance given him, when he was a Student in Padua, that Nizolius the fa­mous [Page 283] Ciceronian, lived ten whole yeers without sleep▪ And even in our time and climate, I have been infor­med by credible testimony, that Monsieur L' Angles, a French Physitian at London, lived no fewer yeers altoge­ther sleepless. But that ex­ceeds all example, which Monsieur Goulart reports out of an Author of good reputa­tion,Goulart ibidem. of a certain Gentle­woman, who for thirty five yeers, remained without any sleep, and found no incon­venience or distemper there­by, as was witnessed by her husband and servants. Lo, the hand of God is not shortened: He who in our time miraculously protracted the life of the Maid of Meu­res [Page 284] so many yeers, without meat; hath sustained the lives of these fore-named persons thus long, without sleep, that it might appear,Matth. 4. 4. Man lives not by meat or sleep onely, Deut. 8. 3. but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. If he should please to bless thee with a sleepless health, the favour is far greater, then if he allowed thee to short out thy time in a dull unprofitable rest.

§. 4. Sleep but a symptom of morta­lity.

Thou wantest sleep: Be­hold, he that keepeth Israel doth neither slumber nor sleep: and those blessed spirits that do continually see the face of God, never sleep. Sleep is but a symptome of frail mortality; whereof the less we do or can partake, we [Page 285] come so much the neerer to those spiritual natures whose perfection makes them un­capable of sleep. Hereup­on it was, that those retired Christians in the Primitive times, which affected to come neerest to an Angeli­cal life,Sozo­men. l. 6. c. 29. wilfully repelled sleep, neither would ever ad­mit it, till it necessarily for­ced it self upon them. Lo then, thou sufferest no more out of the distemper of hu­mours, or unnatural ob­structions, then better men have willingly drawn upon themselves out of holy reso­lutions. It is but our con­struction that makes those things tedious to us, which have been well taken by others.

§. 5. No use of sleep whi­ther we are going.

Thou wantest sleep: Have patience, my son, for a while; thou art going where there shall be no need, no use of sleep: and in the mean time, thy better part would not, cannot rest: Though the gates be shut, that it cannot shew it self abroad, it is ever, and ever will be active. As for this earthly piece, it shall ere long sleep its fill, where no noise can wake it, till the voice of the Archangel, 1 Thes. 4. 16. and the trumpet of God shall call it up in the morning of the Resurre­ction.

Comforts against the incon­veniences of Old age.

§ 1. The illi­mitation of age; and the miseries that at­tend it.

OLd age is that which we all desire to aspire unto; and when we have attain­ed, are as ready to complain of, as our greatest misery: verifying in part that old ob­servation, That Wedlock and Age are things which we de­sire, and repent of. Is this our Ingratitude, or Incon­stancie, that we are weary of what we wished? Perhaps this accusation may not be universal: There is much difference in constitutions, and much latitude in old-age: Infancy and youth have their limits, age admits of no cer­tain determination: At se­venty [Page 288] yeers David was old, and stricken in yeers; and they covered him with clothes, 1 King 1. 1. but he gat no heat: Whereas Caleb can profess,Josh. 14. 10, 11. Now lo, I am fourscore and five yeers old: as yet, I am as strong this day, as I was in the day that Moses sent me to spie out the Land: as my strength was then, even so is my strength now, for war, both to go out, and come in. And beyond him, Mo­ses was an hundred and twenty yeers old, Deut. 34 7. when his eye was not dim, nor his natural strength abated.Gen. 5. 27. Methuselah was but old, when he was nine hundred sixty five. But as for the generality of man­kinde, the same Moses, who lived to see an hundred and twenty yeers▪ hath set mans [Page 289] ordinary period at half his own term:Psal. 90. 10. The days of our yeers are threescore yeers and ten: and if by reason of strength they be fourscore yeers, yet is their strength labour and sorrow: Lo, fourscore yeers alone, are load enough for the strength (much more for the weakness) of age: but when labour and sorrow are added to the weight, how can we but double under the bur­den?Sen. Ep. 58▪ He was both old and wise, that said out of experi­ence, that our last days are the dregs of our life: the clearer part is gone, and all drawn out, the lees sink down to the bottom. Who can express the miserable incon­veniences that attend Old-age! wherein our cares must [Page 290] needs be multiplied accor­ding to the manifold occasi­ons of our affairs: For the world is a Net, wherein the more we stir, the more we are intangled. And for our bodily grievances, what va­rieties do we here meet with­al? what aches of the bones, what belking of the Joynts, what Convulsions of Si­news, what torments of the Bowels, Stone, Collick, Strangury? what distillations of Rheums, what hollow Coughs, what weaknesses of retention, expulsion, digesti­on, what decay of Senses? So as Age is no other then the common sewer into which all diseases of our life are wont to empty them­selves: Well therefore [Page 291] might Sarah say,Gen. 18. 12. After I am waxed old shall I have pleasure? And good Barzillai justly ex­cuses himself for not accept­ing the gracious invitation of David: 2 Sam. 19. 35. I am this day four­score yeers old, and can I discern between good and evil? Can thy servant taste what I eat, or what I drink? Can I hear any more the voice of singing men, and singing women? Wherefore then should thy servant be yet a burden unto my lord the King? Lo,Eccl. 12. 1, 2, 3. these are they which the Preacher calls the evil days, and the yeers where­in a man shall say, I have no pleasure: wherein the Sun, or the Light, or the Moon, or the Stars are dark­ned, and the clouds return after the rain: when the keepers of [Page 292] the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease, because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened. Shortly, what is our old-age, but the Winter of our life? How can we then expect any other then gloomy weather, chilling frosts, storms and tem­pests?

§ 2. Old-age a blessing.

But whiles we do thus que­rulously aggravate the in­commodities of age, we must beware lest we derogate from the bounty of our Maker, and disparage those blessings which he accounts preci­ous; amongst which, Old-age is none of the meanest: Had he not put that value upon it, would he have ho­noured it with his own style, [Page 293] calling himself,Dan. 7. 9 13. 22. The Ancient of days? Would he else have set out this mercy as a reward of obedience to himself, (I will fulfil the number of thy days) and of obedience to our Pa­rents,Exod. 23 26. To live long in the Land? Exod. 20 12. Would he have promised it as a marvellous favour to re­stored Jerusalem (now become a City of Truth,) That there shall yet old men, Zech. 8. 4. and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age? Would he else have denoun­ced it as a judgement to over-indulgent Eli, 1 Sam. 2. 32. There shall not be an old man in thine house for ever? Far be it from us to despise that which God doth honour, and to turn his bles­sing into a curse. Yea, the [Page 294] same God, who best knows the price of his own favours, as he makes no small estima­tion of age himself, so he hath thought fit to call for an high respect to be given to it by men, out of an holy awe to himself:Lev. 19. 32. Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God. I am the Lord. Hence it is, that he hath pleased to put together the Ancient and the Honoura­ble; Isai. 9. 15. and hath told us, that an hoary head is a crown of glory, Prov. 16 31. if it be found in a way of righ­teousness: Prov. 20. 29. And lastly, makes it an argument of the deplo­red estate of Jerusalem, that they favoured not the Elders.Lam. 4. 15. As therefore, we too sensibly feel what to complain of, so [Page 295] we well know what priviled­ges we may challenge as due to our age; even such as na­ture it self hath taught those heathens which have been in the next degree to savage: If pride and skill have made the Athenians uncivill, yet a yong Lacedemonian will rise up, and yeeld his place in the Theatre to neglected age.

§. 3. The ad­vantages of old age: 1. Fear­lesnesse.

It is not a little injurious so to fasten our eyes upon the discommodities of any con­dition, as not to take in the advantages that belong to it; which carefully laid together, may perhaps sway the ba­lance to an equall poise: Let it be true that old age is op­pressed with many bodily griefes; but what if it yeeld other immunities which [Page 296] may keep the scales even? whereof it is not the least, that it gives us firm resoluti­on, and bold security against dangers and death it selfe; For the old man knowes how little of his clew is left in the winding, and therefore, when just occasion is offered, sticks not much upon so inconside­rable a remainder. Old age and orbity, as Cesellius profes­sed, were those two things that emboldened him. And when Castritius refused to de­liver the hostages of Placentia to Carbo the Consul, and was threatned with many swords, hee answered those menaces with his many yeares. And that wee may not disdain home-bred instances, and may see that brave spirits may [Page 297] lodge in cottages; In my time a plain Villager in the Rude Peake, when theeves taking advantage of the absence of his family, breaking into his solitary dwelling, and finding him sitting alone by his fire side, fell violently upon him; and one of them setting his dagger to his heart, swore that he would presently kill him, if he did not instantly deliver to them that money which they knew he had late­ly received; the old man looks boldly in the face of that stout Villain, and with an undaunted courage returnes him this answer in his Peakish Dialect, Nay, even put fro thee, sonne, I have lived long enough, but I tell thee, unlesse thou mend thy man­ners, [Page 298] thou wilt never live to see halfe my daies; put fro thee if thou wilt. What young man would have been so easily induced to part with his life, and have been so rea­dy to give entertainment to an unexpected death? Sure­ly, the hope and love of life commonly softens the spirits of vigorous youth, and dis­swades it from those enter­prises which are attended with manifest perill; where­as extream age teacheth us to contemn dangers.

§. 4. The second advantage of old age, Freedome from pas­sions.

Yet a greater priviledge of age is a freedome from those impetuous passions where­with youth is commonly over-swayed; for together with our naturall heat is also abated the heat of our inordi­nate [Page 299] lusts, so as now our wea­ker appetite may easily be subdued to reason: The tem­perate old man in the Story, when one shewed him a beau­tifull face, could answer, I have long since left to be eye­sick: And that other could say of pleasure, I have gladly with drawn my self from the service of that imperious mi­stresse. What an unreasona­ble vassalage our youthfull lusts subject us unto, we need no other instance then in the strongest, and wisest man; How was the strongest man Sampson effeminated by his impotent passion, and weak­ned in his intellectuals so far, as wilfully to betray his own life to a mercenary Harlot, and to endure to hear her say, [Page 300] Tell mee wherewith thou mayest be bouud to doe thee hurt: Judg. 16. 6. How easily might he have answer­ed thee, O Delila, Even with these cords of brutish sensu­ality, wherewith thou hast already bound me to the losse of my liberty, mine eyes, my life? How was the wisest man, Solomon, besotted with his strange Wives, so as to be drawn away to the worship of strange gods! And how may the firre trees howle, when the Cedars fall! who can hope to be free from be­ing transported with irregu­lar affections, when wee see such great precedents of frail­ty before our eyes? From the danger of these miserable miscarriages our age happily secures us, putting us into [Page 301] that quiet harbour, whence we may see young men peril­lously tossed with those tem­pests of unruly passions, from which our cooler age hath freed us.

§. 5. The third advantage of age, experi­mentall know­ledge.

Adde hereunto the benefit of experimentall knowledge, wherewith age is wont to en­rich us, every dram whereof is worth many pounds of the best youthly contentments; in comparison whereof, the speculative knowledge is weak and imperfect; this, may come good cheap, perhaps costs us nothing; that, com­monly we pay deare for, and therefore is justly esteemed the more precious: If experi­ence be the mistresse of fools, I am sure it is the mother of wisedome; neither can it be [Page 302] (except we be too much wan­ting to our selves) but the long observation of such variety of actions and events as meet with us in the whole course of our life, must needs leave with us such sure rules of judgement, as may be unfailing directions for our selves, and others: In vain shall this be expected from our youn­ger yeares, which the wise Philosopher excludes from being meet Auditors, much lesse Judges of true morality: In regard whereof, well might the old man say, Yee young men think us old men fooles, but we old men know you young men to be fooles: Certainly, what value soever ignorance may put upon it, this fruit of age is such, as [Page 303] that the earth hath nothing equally precious. It was a profane word, and fit for the mouth of an Heathen Poet, That Prudence is above Destiny: But surely, a Christi­an may modestly and justly say, That, next to Divine Providence, Humane Pru­dence may challenge the su­preme place in the admini­stration of these earthly af­fairs; and that Age may claim the greatest interest in that Prudence: Young Elihu could say,Job 32 7 Multitude of yeers should teach wisdom: And the wise man,Ecclus 25. 4, 5. Oh how comely a thing is judgement for gray hairs, and for ancient men to know coun­sel! Oh how comely is the wis­dom of old men, and under­standing and counsel to men of ho­nour! [Page 304] In regard whereof, the Grecians had wont to say, that young men are for Acti­on, old men for Advice: And among the Romans we know that Senators take their name from age. That therefore which is the weakness of old mens eyes, that (their visual spirits not uniting till some distance) they better discern things further off, is the praise and strength of their mental eyes; they see either judgements or advantages afar off, and accordingly frame their determinations. It is observed that old Lutes sound better then new: and it was Rehoboam's folly and un­doing,1 Kings 12. 6, 7, 8▪ 9, 10, &c. that he would rather follow the counsel of his green heads that stood before [Page 305] him, then of those grave Se­nators that had stood before his wiser father. Not that meer Age is of it self thus rich in wisdom and know­ledge; but Age well cultured, well improved: There are old men that do but live, or rather have a being upon earth, (so have stocks and stones as well as they) who can give no proof of their many yeers, but their gray hairs, and infirmities. There are those, who, like to Hermo­genes, are old men, whiles they are boys; and children, when they are old men: These, the elder they grow, are so much more stupid. Time is an ill measure of age, which should rather be meted by proficien­cy, by ripeness of judgement, [Page 306] by the monuments of our commendable and useful la­bours. If we have thus be­stowed our selves, our Au­tumn will shew what our Spring was; and the colour of our hair will yeeld us more cause to fear our pride then our dejection.

§. 6. Age in some is vigorous and well affected.

We accuse our Age of ma­ny weaknesses and indisposi­tions: But these imputations must not be universal: Many of these are the faults of the person, not of the age. He said well, As all Wine doth not turn sowre with age, no more doth every Nature. Old Oil is noted to be clearer, and hotter in Medicinal use then new. There are those who are pettish and crabbed in youth; there are contrarily [Page 307] those who are milde, gen­tle, sociable in their decayed yeers: There are those who are crazie in their prime; and there are those who in their wane are vigorous: There are those who ere the fulness of their age have lost their memory; as Hermogenes, Cor­nivus, Antonius Caracalla, Georgius Trapezunti [...]s, and Nizolius. There are those, whose intellectuals have so happily held out, that they have been best at the last: Plato in his last yeer (which was fourscore and one) died, as it were, with his Pen in his hand: Isocrates wrote his best Piece at ninety four yeers: And it is said of Demosthenes, that when death summoned him at an hundred yeers, and [Page 308] somewhat more, he bemoan­ed himself, that he must now die, when he began to get some knowledge. And as for spiritual graces and improve­ments;Psal. 92. 12, 13. Such as be planted in the house of the Lord, shall flourish in the courts of our God: They also shall bring forth more fruit in their age; and shall be fat and well liking.

§ 7. The fourth advantage of Age, Neer ap­proach to our end.

But the chief benefit of our Age is, our neer approach to our journeys end: for the end of all motion is rest; which when we have once at­tained, there remains nothing but fruition: Now our Age brings us (after a weary race) within some breathings of our goal: for if young men may die, old men must. A condition which a meer car­nal [Page 309] heart bewails and ab­hors, complaining of Nature as niggardly in her dispensa­tions of the shortest time to her noblest creature; and en­vying the Oaks, which ma­ny generations of men must leave standing and growing. No marvel; for the world­ling thinks himself here at home, and looks upon death as a banishment: he hath placed his heaven here be­lowe, and can see nothing in his remove, but either annihi­lation, or torment. But for us Christians, who know, that whiles we are present in the body, 2 Cor. 5. 6. we are absent from the Lord; and do justly account our selves forraigners, our life a pil­grimage, heaven our home; how can we but rejoyce, that [Page 310] after a tedious and painful tra­vel, we do now draw neer to the threshold of our Fathers house; wherein we know there are many mansions, and all glorious. I could blush to hear an heathen say,Cicero de Se­nect. If God would offer me the choice of renewing my age, and return­ing to my first childhood, I should heartily refuse it; for I should be loth, after I have passed so much of my race, to be called back from the goal, to the bars of my first setting out; and to hear a Christian whining and puling at the thought of his dissolution. Where is our faith of an hea­ven, if having been so long sea-beaten, we be loth to think of putting into the safe and blessed harbour of im­mortality?

Comforts against the fears and pains of death.

§. 1. The fear of Death natural.

THou fearest death: Thou wert not a man if thou didst not so▪ The holiest, the wisest, the strongest that ever were, have done no less. He is the King of fear, and there­fore may and must command it. Thou mayst hear the man after Gods own heart say, The sorrows of death compassed me: Psa. 116. 3. And again, My soul is full of troubles, Psal. 88. 3, 4, 5. my life draweth nigh to the grave: I am counted with them that go down to the pit, as a man that hath no strength; free among the dead. Thou mayst hear good and great Hezeki­ah, upon the message of his death,Isai. 38. 14. chattering like a Crane [Page 312] or a Swallow, and mourning as a Dove. Thou fearest as a man; I cannot blame thee: But thou must overcome thy fear, as a Christian: which thou shalt do, if from the ter­rible aspect of the messenger, thou shalt cast thine eyes up­on the gracious and amiable face of the God that sends him:Psal. 18. 5, 6. Holy David shews the way; The snares of death pre­vented me: In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried unto my God; he heard my voice out of his Temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears: Lo, he that is our God, Psal. 68. 20. is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues of death: Make him thy friend, and Death shall be no other then advantage. Phil. 1. 21. It is true, as the Wise [Page 313] man saith,Wisd. 1▪ 13. 2. 24. that God made not Death; but that through envie of the devil Death came into the world: But it is as true, that though God made him not, yet he is pleased to employ him as his messenger to sum­mon some souls to judgment, to invite others to glory: and for these later, Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his Saints: Psa. 116. 15. And what reason hast thou to abominate that which God accounts preci­ous?

§. 2. Remedy o [...] fear, Ac­quain­tance with death.

Thou art afraid of death: Acquaint thy self with him more, and thou shalt fear him less: Even Bears and Li­ons, which at the first sight afrighted us, upon frequent viewing lose their terrour: snure thine eyes to the sight [Page 314] of death, and that face shall begin not to displease thee. Thou must shortly dwell with him for a long time, (for the days of darkness are ma­ny) do thou in the mean time entertain him;Ecel. 11. ult. let him be sure to be thy daily guest: Thus the blessed Apostle; I protest by our rejoycing which I have in Christ Jesus, [...] Cor. 15▪ 31. I die daily. Bid him to thy board, lodge him in thy bed, talk with him in thy closet, walk with him in thy garden, as Joseph of Arimathea did; and by no means suffer him to be a stranger to thy thoughts: This familiarity shall bring thee to a delight in the com­pany of him whom thou didst at first abhor; so as thou shalt with the chosen vessel [Page 315] say,Phil. 1. 23. I have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is best of all.

§ 3. The mis­apprehen­sion of death in­jurious.

Thou art grievously afraid of death: Is it not upon a mistaking? Our fears are apt to imagine and to aggravate evils: Even Christ himself, walking upon the waters, was by the Disciples trembled at, as some dreadful apparition. Perhaps, my son, thou look­est at death as some utter a­bolition, or extinction of thy being; and Nature must needs shrink back at the thought of not being at all: This is a foul and dangerous mis­prision: It is but a depart­ing, which thou callest a death. See how God himself stiles it to the father of the faithful;Gen. 15. 15. Thou shalt go to thy [Page 316] Fathers in peace, thou shalt be buried in a good old-age: And of his holy grand-childe Is­rael, the Spirit of God says, When Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, Gen. 49. 33. he ga­thered up his feet into the bed, and yeelded up the ghost, and was gathered unto his people. Lo, dying is no other, then going to our Fathers, and gathering to our people, with whom we do and shall live in that other and better world, and with whom we shall re-appear glorious. Let but thy faith represent death to thee in this shape, and he shall not appear so formidable. Do but mark in what familiar terms it plea­sed God to confer with his servant Moses concerning his death;Deut. 32 49. Get thee up into this [Page 317] mountain Abarim, unto mount Ne­bo, which is in the land of Moab, and behold the land of Canaan which I give unto the children of Israel for a possession; And die in the mount whither thou go est up, and be gathered to thy peo­ple, as Aaron thy brother died in mount Hor, and was gathered to his people: Lo, it is no more, then Go up and die: Should it have been but to go a days journey in the Wilderness to sacrifice, it could have been no otherwise expressed; o [...]s if it were all one to go up to Sinai, to meet with God, and to go up to Nebo and die. Nei­ther is it otherwise with us; onely the difference is, that Moses must first see the land of Promise, and then die; whereas we must first die, [Page 318] and then see the promised Land.

§ 4. Comfort from the common condition of men.

Thou art troubled with the fear of death: What reason hast thou to be afflicted with that which is the common condition of mankinde? Re­member, my son, the words of Joshua, the victorious Lea­der of Gods people;Josh. 23. 14. Behold, this day (saith he) I am going the way of all the earth. If all the earth go this way, couldst thou be so fond as to think there should be a by-path left for thee, wherein thou mayst tread alone? Were it so that Monarchs and Princes, that Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles were allowed any easier pas­sage out of the world, thou mightst perhaps finde some pretence of reason to repine at [Page 319] a painfull dissolution, but now since all goe one way, and (as the wise Philosopher saies) those which are unequall in their birth,Sen. Ep. 91. are in their deaths equal, there can be no ground for a discontented murmure: Grudge if thou wilt,Psal. 89. 49. that thou art a man,Psal. 90. 3, 5, 7. grudge not that be­ing a man thou must die: It is true that those whom the last day shall finde alive, shall not die, but they shall bee changed; but this change of theirs shall be no other then an analogicall death, where­in there shall be a speedy con­sumption of all our corrupt and drossie parts▪ so as the pain must be so much the more intense, by how much it is more short then in the ordinary course of death: [Page 320] Briefly, that change is a Death, and our Death is a change,Job 14. 14. as Job stiles it; the difference is not in the pain, but in the speed of the trans­action:Ecclus. 41. 3. Fear not then the sentence of death; remember them that have been before thee, and that come after, for this is the sentence of the Lord over all flesh.

§. 6. Death not feared by some.

Thou fearest death: So doe not infants, children, distracted persons, as the Phi­losopher observes:Sen. Ep. 36. Why should use of reason render us more cowardly, then de­fect of reason doth them? Thou fearest that which some others wish:Ecclus. 41. 2▪ O death, how acceptable is thy sentence to the needy, and to him whose strength faileth, that is now [Page 321] in the last age, and is vexed with all things, and to him that despaireth, and hath lost patience: Wherefore is light given (saith Iob) to him that is in misery, Iob 3. 21, and life unto the bitter in soul? which long for death, but it commeth not, and dig for it more then for hid treasures; which rejoyce exceedingly, 22, 23. and are glad when they can finde the grave?

How many are there that invite the violence of death, and if hee refuse it, doe, as Ignatius threatned he would doe to the Lions, force his assault? Death is the same to all: the difference is in the disposition of the enter­tainers; Couldst thou look upon death with their eyes, he should be as welcome to [Page 322] thee, as he is unto them: At the least, why shouldst thou not labour to have thy heart so wrought upon that this face of death, which seems lovely, and desirable to some, may not appear over-terrible to thee?

§. 6. Our death day, better then our birth day.

Thou art afraid to die; Couldst thou then have been capable of the use of reason, thou wouldst have been more afraid of comming into the world, then thou art now of going out: for why should we be more afraid of the bet­ter, then of the worse? Better is the day of death, then the day of ones birth, saith the Prea­cher: Eccles. 7. 2. Better e­very way; Our birth begins our miseries, our death ends them: Our birth enters the [Page 323] best of men into a wretch­ed world, our death en­ters the good into a world of glory: Certainly, were it not for our infidelity, as wee came crying into the world, so wee should goe singing out of [...] And if some have solemnized their birth-day with feasting and Triumph, the Church of Old hath bestowed that name and cost upon the deaths-day of her Martyrs, and Saints.

§. 7. The sting of death pulled out.

Thou abhorrest death, and fleest from it as from a Ser­pent: But doest thou know that his Sting is gone? What harme can there be in a Sting-lesse Snake?i Cor. 15. 35. Hast thou not seen or heard of some delicate Dames that [Page 324] have carried them (thus cor­rected) in their bosome for coolnesse, and for the plea­sure of their smoothnesse? The sting of death is sinne; Hee may hisse, and winde about us, but he cannot hurt us when that sting is pulled out: Look up, O thou be­leeving soul, to thy blessed Saviour▪ who hath pluckt out this sting of death, and happily triumphs over it, both for himself and thee; O death where is thy sting? O grave where is thy vi­ctory?

§. 8. Death is but apart­ing to meet again.

Thy soul and body (old companions) are loth to part: Why man, it is but the forbearing their wonted society, for a while; they doe but take leave of each [Page 325] other till they meet againe in the day of Resurrection, and in the mean time they are both safe, and the bet­ter part happy: It is com­mendable in the Jews (other­wise the worst of men) that they call their grave (Beth Chajim) the house of the living; and when they re­turn from the buriall of their neighbours, they pluck up the grasse, and cast it into the aire, with those words of the Psalmist,Ps. 72. 16 They shall flou­rish and put forth as the grasse upon, the earth: Did wee not beleeve a Resurrection of the one part, and a re-uni­ting of the other, wee had reason to be utterly daunted with the thought of a disso­lution; now wee have no [Page 326] cause to bee dismayed with a little intermission. Is it an Heathen man,Sen. Ep. 36. or a Christi­an (such I wish he had been) whom I hear say, The death which wee so fear, and flee from, doth but respite life for a while, doth not take it away, the day will come which shall restore us to the light again. Settle thy soul, my sonne, in this assurance, and thou canst not bee dis­comforted with a necessary parting.

§ 9. Death is but a sleep.

Thou art afraid of death: When thou art weary of thy dayes labour, art thou a­fraid of rest? Hear what thy Saviour, who is the Lord of life, esteems of death, Iohn 11. 11. Our friend Lazarus sleepeth. And of Jairus his [Page 327] daughter,Matth. 9. 24. The maid is not dead, Luke 8. 52. but sleepeth: Neither useth the Spirit of God any other language, concerning his servants under the Old Testament:Job 7. 21. Now shall I sleep in the dust, saith holy Job: And of David, 2 Sam. 7. 12. When thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers. Nor yet under the New:1 Cor. 11▪ 30. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep, saith the Apostle. Lo, the Philosophers of old were wont to call sleep the bro­ther of death; but God says death is no other then sleep it self; A sleep both sure and sweet: When thou li­est down at night to thy re­pose, thou canst not be so certain to awake again in [Page 328] the morning, as when thou layest thy self down in death, thou art sure to wake in the morning of the Re­surrection. Out of this bo­dily sleep thou mayst be af­frightedly startled with some noises of sudden horrour, with some fearful dreams, with tumults, or alarms of War;Psal. 94. 17. but here thou shalt rest quietly in the place of silence, free from all inward and outward disturbances, whiles in the mean time thy soul shall see none but visions of joy, and blessed­ness. But, Oh the sweet and heavenly expression of our last rest, and the issue of our happie resuscitation, which our gracious Apostle hath laid forth, for the consolati­on [Page 329] of his mournful Thessa­lonions: For, if we believe (saith he) that Jesus died and rose again; even so them also which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him. Lo, our be­lief is antidote enough against the worst of death: And why are we troubled with death, when we believe that Jesus died? And what a triumph is this over death, that the same Jesus who died, rose again? And what a comfort it is, that the same Jesus who arose, shall both come again, and bring all his with him in glory? And lastly, what a strong Cordi­al is this to all good hearts, that all those which die well, do sleep in Jesus? Thou thoughtst, perhaps, of sleep­ing [Page 330] in the bed of the grave; and there indeed is rest: but he tells thee of sleeping in the bosome of Jesus; and there is immortality and blessedness. Oh blessed Je­su, in thy presence is the fulness of joy, and at thy right hand are pleasures for evermore. Who would desire to walk in the world, when he may sleep with Je­sus?

§ 10. Death sweetned to us by Christ.

Thou fearest death: It is much on what terms, and in what form death presents himself to thee: If as an enemy, (as that is some­where his style, the last ene­my death) thy unpreparati­on shall make him dread­ful; thy readiness and for­titude shall take off his ter­rour: [Page 331] If as a messenger of God to fetch thee to happi­ness, what reason hast thou to be afraid of thine own bliss? It is one thing what death is in himself, a pri­vation of life; as such, Na­ture cannot chuse but ab­hor him: Another thing what he is by Christ made unto us; an introduction to life, an harbinger to glory. Why would the Lord of Life have yeelded unto death, and by yeelding van­quisht him; but that he might alter and sweeten Death to us; and of a fierce Tyrant, make him a Friend and Benefactor? And if we look upon him thus changed, thus reconciled, how can we chuse but bid him welcome?

§ 11. The pain­fulness of Christs [...]eath.

Thou art afraid of the pangs of death: There are those that have died with­out any great sense of pain: some we have known to have yeelded up their souls without so much as a groan: And how knowest thou, my son, what measure God hath allotted to thee? Our death is a Sea-voyage, (so the Apostle,Phil. 1. [...] I desire to lanch forth) wherein some finde a rough and tempestuous passage; others, calm and smoothe: such thine may prove; so as thy dissoluti­on may be more easie then a fit of thy sickness. But if thy God have determined otherwise. Look unto Jesus the Authour and Finisher of our faith, [...]eb. 12. 2 the Son of God, [Page 333] the Lord of glory; see with what agonies he conflicted, what torments he endured in his death for thee: Look upon his bloody sweat, his bleeding temples, his fur­rowed back, his nailed hands and feet, his racked joynts, his pierced side: Hear his strong cries, consider the shame, the pain, the c [...]rse of the Cross which he un­derwent for thy sake: Say, whether thy sufferings can be comparable to his. He is a cowardly and unwor­thy Souldier, that follows his General sighing. Lo, these are the steps wherein thy God and Saviour hath trod before thee: Walk on courageously, in this deep and bloody way; after a [Page 334] few paces thou shalt overtake him in glory: For if we suffer with him, 2 Tim. 2. 12. we shall also reign toge­ther with him.

§. 12. The vani­ty and mi­series of life.

Thou shrinkest at the thought of death: Is it not for that thou hast, over-valu­ed life, and made thy home on earth? Delicate persons that have pampered them­selves at home, are loth to stir ab [...]ad, especially upon hard and un [...]uth voyages: Perhaps it is so with thee; wherein I cannot but much pity thy mistaking, in placing thy contentment there, where a greater and wiser man could finde nothing but va­nity, and vexation. Alas, what can be our exile, if this be our home? What woful entertainment is this [Page 335] to be enamoured on? What canst thou meet with here, but distempered humours, hard usages, violent passions, bodily sicknesses, sad com­plaints, hopes disappointed, frequent miscarriages, wick­ed plots, cruel menaces, dead­ly executions, momentany pleasures sauced with lasting sorrows; lastly, shadows of joy, and real miseries: Are these the things that so bewitch thee, that when death calls at thy door, thou art ready to say to it, as the Devil said to our Savi­our, Art thou come to tor­ment me before the time? Matth. 8. 29. Are these those winning contentments, that cause thee to say of the world, as Peter said of Mount Tabor, [Page 336] Master, Mat. 17. 4. It is good for us to be here. If thou have any faith in thee, (and what dost thou profess to be a Christian without it?) look up to the things of that other world, whither thou art going; and see whether that true life, pure joy, perfect felicity, and th [...] eternity of all these, may not be worthy to draw up thy heart to a lo [...]ging desire of the fruition of them, and a contemptuous disvaluation of all that earth can promise, in comparison of this infinite blessedness.

It was one of the defects which our late Noble and learned Philosopher the Lord Virulam Lo. Ba­ [...] his Advancement of learning. found in our Phy­sitians, that they do not stu­die those remedies that might [Page 337] procure [...], the easie passage of their Patients (since they must needs die) thorow the gates of death: Such helps I must leave to the care of the skilful Sages of Na­ture; the use whereof I sup­pose must be with much cau­tion, lest whiles they endea­vour to sweeten death, they shorten life. But [...] me prescribe, and commend to thee, my son, this true spiri­tual means of thine happie Euthanasia; which can be no other then this faithful dis­position of the labouring soul, that can truely say, I know whom I have believed: 1 Tim. 1. 12. I have fought a good fight; 2 Tim. 4. 7, 8. I have finished my course; I have k [...]pt the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown [Page 338] of righteousness, which the Lord the righteous Judge shall give me at that day.

§ 13. Examples of coura­geous re­solutions in others.

Thou startest back at the mention of death: How canst thou but blush to read of that Heathen Martyr, Socrates, who when the message as death was brought to him,Plato Phae­done. could applaud the news of most joyful: Or of a Car­dinal of Rome, F▪ Cos­fin. de morte Bella [...] ­mini, p. 28. (who yet ex­pected a tormenting Purga­tory) that received the inti­mation of his approaching death, with Bu [...]na nuova, buona nuova, O che buona nuova è que­sta! Is not their confidence thy shame; who believing that when our earthly house of this Tabernacle is dissol­ved,2 Cor. 5. 1. we have a building of God, an house not made with [Page 339] hands, eternal in the heavens, yet shrinkest at the motion of taking the possession of it? Canst thou with dying Mi­thridates (when he took his unwilling farewel of the world) cry out, oh light! when thou art going to a light more glorious then this thou leavest, then the Sun is more weak then a Rush-Candle? It is our infidelity, my son, it is our meer in [...] idelity that makes us unwilling to die: Did we think (according to the cursed opinion of some fanatick persons) that the soul sleeps as well as the body, from the moment of the dissolution, till the day of Resurrection: Or did we doubt lest we should wander to unknown places where we [Page 340] cannot be certain of the en­tertainment; or did we fear a scorching trial (upon the emigration) in flames little inferiour, for the time) to those of hell, there were some cause for us to tremble at the approach of death: But now that we can boldly say, with the Wise man, `The souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, Wisd. 3. 1, 2, 3. and there shall no torment touch them: In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die, and their depar­ture is taken for misery, and their going from us to be utter destruction; but they are in peace. Oh thou of little faith, why fearest thou? Why dost thou not chide thy self, as that dying Saint did of old, Go forth, my soul, go bold­ly [Page 341] forth; what art thou afraid of? Lo, the Angels of God are ready to receive thee, and to carry thee up to thy glory; neither shalt thou sooner have left this wretch­ed body, then thou shalt be possessed of thy God: after a momentany darkness cast upon nature, thou shalt enjoy the beatifical vision of the glorious God: Be not afraid to be happie; but say, out of faith, that which Jonah said in anger;Jona. 4. 3 It is better for me to die then to live.

§ 14. The hap­py advan­tages of death.

I am afraid to die: This is the voice of Nature: but wilt thou hear what Grace saith? To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If there­fore meer Nature raign in thee, thou canst not but be [Page 342] affrighted with death: But if true grace be prevalent in thy soul, that guest shall not be unwelcome: Was ever any man afraid of pro­fit and advantage? Such is death to the faithful: Who­soever he be that findes Christ to be his life, shall be sure to finde Death his gain, for that he is there­by brought to a more full and neer communion with Christ: whereas before he enjoyed his Saviour onely by the dim apprehension of his Faith, now he doth clear­ly and immediately enjoy that glorious presence, which onely makes blessedness: This is it which causeth death to change his Copie; and renders him who is of him­selfe [Page 343] formidable, pleasing and beneficiall; I desire to depart and to be with Christ, saith the man who was rapt up to the third heaven; Had it been onely departing, surely he had had no such great edge to it;Phil. 1. 23. but to depart, and be with Christ, is that which ravisheth his soule. When the Hea­then Socrates was to die for his Religion, he comforted himselfe with this, That hee should goe to the place where he should see Orphaeus, Homer, Musaeus, and the other Wor­thies of the former ages; Poor man! could he have come to have knowne God manifested in the flesh, 1 Tim. 3▪ 16. and re­ceived up into glory, and there­in that glorified flesh sitting at the right hand of Majesty; [Page 344] could he have attained to know the blessed order of the Cherubim, and Seraphim, Angels, Archangels, Princi­palities, and Powers, and the rest of the most glorious Hi­erarchy of heaven; could he have been acquainted with that celestiall Chore of the Spirits of just men made per­fect: Heb. 12. 23. could he have reach­ed to know the God and Father of Spirits, the infi­nitely, and incomprehensibly glorious Deity, whose pre­sence transfuses everlasting blessednesse into all those Ci­tizens of glory: and could he have known that he should have an undoubted Interest (instantly upon his dissolu­tion) in that infinite blisse; how much more gladly [Page 345] would he have taken off his Hemlock; and how much more merrily would he have passed into that happier world? All this wee know, and are no lesse assured of it, then of our present beeing; with what comfort therefore should we think of changing our present condition with a blessed immortality? How sweet a song was that of old Simeon? Luke 2. 29. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, ac­cording to thy word, for mineties have seen thy salvation: Loe, that which hee saw by the eye of his sense, thou seest by the eye of thy faith; even the Lords Christ; Vers. 26. he saw him in weaknesse, thou seest him in glory; why shouldst thou not depart, not in peace [Page 346] onely, but in joy and com­fort? How did the holy Proto­martyr Stephen triumph over all the rage of his enemies, and the violent fury of death, when he had once seen the heavens opened, Acts 7. 56. and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God? Loe, God offers the same blessed prospect to the [...] of thy soul; Faith is the key that can open the heaven of heavens; Fixe thy eies upon that glorious and saving object; thou canst not but lay down thy body in peace, and send up thy soul into the hands of him that bought it, with the sweet and cheerfull recommendation, of Lord Je­sus receive my spirit.

Comforts against the ter­rours of Judgement.

§. 1. Aggrava­tion of the fearful­ness of the last judge­ment.

THOU apprehendest it aright; Death is terrible, but Judgement more; Both these succeed upon the same decree, It is appointed unto man once to die,Heb. 9. 27. but after this the judgement: Neither is it mo [...]e terrible, then lesse thought on; Death, because he strikes on all hands, and laies before us so many sad examples of mortality, cannot but some­times take up our hearts; but the last judgement, having no visible proofs to force it self upon our thoughts, too sel­dome affrights us: Yet who can conceive the terrour of that day? before which the [Page 348] Sun stall bee turned into dark­nesse,Acts 2. 20. and the Moon into blood; That day, which shall burne as an Oven,Mal. 4▪ 1. when all the proud, and all that doe wickedly shall bee as the stubble;2 Pet. 3. 10. That day, in which the heavens shall passe away with a great noise, and the Elements shall melt with fervent heat; the Earth also, [...]d the works that are therein shall be burnt [...]p:2 Thes. 1▪ 7, 8. That day, wherein the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty Angels; In flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Iesus Christ;Isai. 66. 15, 16. That day, where­in the Lord will come with fire, and with his Chariots like a Whirlewinde, to render his an­ger with fury, and his rebuke [Page 349] with flames of fire; For by Fire, and by his Sword will the Lord plead with all flesh:Mat. 25. 31, 32. That day, wherein the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy Angels with him; and shall sit upon the Throne of his glory; and all Na­tions shall bee gathered before him;Rev. 1. 7. That day, wherein all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him: S [...]ortly, Joel 2. 31. that great and terrible day of the Lord, wherein if the Powers of Heaven shall bee shaken, how can the heart of man remain unmo­ved? wherein, if the world be dissolved, who can bear up? Alas, we are ready to tremble at but a Thunder­crack in a poor cloud; and at a small flash of lightning [Page 350] that glances through our eyes; what shall wee doe when the whole frame of the heavens shall break in peeces, and when all shall be on a flame about our eares? Oh, who may abide the day of his comming; and who shall stand when hee ap­peareth?

§. 2. Comfort from the condition of the e­lect.

Yet bee of good chear,Mal. 3. 2. m [...] sonne; Amids all this horrour there is comfort▪ Whether thoube one of those whom it shall please God to reserve alive upon earth to the sight of this dreadfull day, he only knowes in whose hands our times are; This we are sure of, that we are upon the last houres, of the last daies: Justly doe we spit in the faces of S. Peters scoffers, that say,2 Pet. 3. 4▪ Where is the promise [Page 351] of his coming? 2 Pet. 3. 9. Well knowing, that the Lord is not slack, as some account slackness; but that he that shall come, Heb. 10. 37. will come, and not tarry. Well mayst thou live to see the Son of man come in the clouds of heaven, and to be an Actor in this last Scene of the world: If so, let not thy heart be dismayed with the ex­pectation of these fearful things: Thy change shall be sudden and quick; one mo­ment shall put off thy mor­tality, and clothe thee with that incorruption, which shall not be capable of fear and pain: The majestie of this appearance shall adde to thy joy and glory:1 Thes. 4. 16. Thou shalt then see the Lord himself descend from heaven with a shout, with [Page 352] the voice of the Archangel, and with the Trump of God: Thou shalt see thy self, and those o­ther which are alive and remain, Verse 17 to be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shalt thou be ever with the Lord. Upon this assurance, how justly may the Apostle subjoyn,Verse 18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words. Certainly, if ever there were comfort to be had in any words, not of men or Angels onely, but of the ever-living God, the God of Truth, these are they that can and will afford it to our trembling souls.

But if thou be one of the number of those whom God hath determined to call off before-hand, and by a faith­ful [Page 353] death to prevent the great day of his appearance; here is nothing for thee, but mat­ter of a joy unspeakable and full of glory:1 Thes. 4. 15. For those that sleep in Jesus, shall God bring with him; they shall be part of that glorious train which shall attend the Majestie of the great Judge of the world: yea,1 Cor. 6. 1. they shall be co [...]se [...]ors to the Lord of heaven and earth, in this awful Judica ture; as sitting upon the Bench, when guilty men and Angels shall be at the Bar:Verse 3. To him that overcometh, Rev. 3. 21. saith the Lord Christ, will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. What place▪ then is here for any terrour, since the [Page 354] more state and heavenly mag­nificence, the more joy and glory?

§ 3. Awe more fit for thoughts of judge­ment, then Fear.

Thou art afraid to think of Judgement: I had rather thou shouldst be awful, then timorous. When Saint Paul discoursed of the judgement to come,Acts 24. 25. it is no marvel that F [...]ix trembled: But the same Apostle, when he had pres­sed to his Corinthians, 2 Cor. 5. 11. the cer­tainty and generality of our appearance before the Judge­ment-seat of Christ, that eve­ry one may receive the things done in his body, whether good or evil; addeth, Knowing there­fore the terrour of the Lord, we perswade men▪ but we are made manifest to God, &c. Lo, the holiest man may not be ex­empted from the dread, but [Page 355] from the slavish fear of the great Judge: We know his infinite justice; we are con­scious to our selves of our manifold failings: how can we lay these two together, and not fear? But this fear works not in us a malignant kinde of repining at the se­vere Tribunal of the Al­mighty, (as commonly whom we fear we hate) but rather a careful endeavour so to ap­prove our selves, that we may be acquitted by him, and ap­pear blameless in his pre­sence. How justly may we tremble, when we look upon our own actions, our own de­serts? but how confidently may we appear at that Bar, where we are beforehand as­sured of a discharge? Being [Page 356] justified by faith, Rom. 5. 1. [...]we have peace with God, through Jesus Christ our Lord. When we think of an [...] universal conflagration of the world, how can we but fear? but when we think of an happie restitution of all things in this day;Act. 3▪ 21 how can we but rejoyce in trem­bling?

§ 4. In that great and terrible Day, our Advocate is our Judge.

Thou quakest at the ex­pectation of the last Judge­ment: Surely, the very Ma­jestie of that great Assize must needs be formidable: And if the very delivery of the Law on Mount Sinai were with so dreadful a pomp of Thunder and Light­ning, of Fire, Smoke, Earth­quakes, that the Israelites were half dead with fear in receiving it; with what ter­rible [Page 357] magnificence shall God come to require an account of that Law at the hands of the whole sinful generation of mankinde? Represent unto thy thoughts, that which was shewed of old to the Prophet Daniel in Vision: Imagine that thou sawest the Ancient of days sitting upon a Throne like the fiery flame [...], Dan. 7. 8, 9, 10. a fiery stream issuing and com­ing forth from before him; thousand thousands ministring unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand standing be­fore him; the judgement set, and the Books opened. Or as John, the Daniel of the New Testament saw, a great white Throne, and him that sate on it, from whose face the earth and the heavens fled away, and the [Page 358] dead both small and great stand­ing before God; and the Books opened, and the dead judged out of those things which were writ­ten in those Books, according to their works. Let the eyes of thy minde see before-hand that which these bodily eyes shall once see; and tell me how thou feelest thy self af­fected with the sight of such a Judge, such an appearance, such a process: And if thou findest thy self in a trembling condition, cheer up thy self with this, That thy Judge is thine Advocate; That up­on that Throne there sits not greater Majestie then Mer­cie: It is thy Saviour that shall sentence thee. How safe art thou then under such hands? Canst thou fear that [Page 359] he will doom thee to death, who died to give thee life? Canst thou fear he will con­demn thee for those sins which he hath given his blood to expiate? Canst thou fear the rigour of that Justice which he hath so fully satisfied? Canst thou misdoubt the miscarriage of that soul which he hath so dearly bought? No, my son, all this divine state and magnificence makes for thee: Let those guilty and impeni­tent souls, who have heaped unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath, Rom. 2. quake at the glorious Majestie of the Son of God;Heb. 10. 27 for whom nothing remains, but a fearful expecta­tion of judgement, and fiery in­dignation, which shall devour [Page 360] the adversaries: But for thee, who art not onely reconciled unto God by the mediation of the Son of his love, but art also incorporated into Christ, and made a true limb of his mystical Body; thou art bidden (together with all the faithful) to look up, Luke 21. 28. and lift up thy head; Eph. 4. 30. for now the day of thy re [...]emption is come. And indeed, how canst thou do o­ther, since by vertue of this blessed union with thy Savi­our, this glory is thine; every member hath an interest in the honour of the Head. Re­joyce therefore in the day of the Lord Jesus;Phil. 2. [...] and when all the Tribes of the earth shall wail,Rev. 1▪ 7. do thou sing and rejoyce; and call to the hea­vens and the earth to bear [Page 361] thee company:Psal. 96▪ 11. Let the heavens rejoyce, and let the earth be glad: let the sea make a noise, aud all that is therein: let the field be joy­ful, Verse 12 and all that is in it. Then shall all the trees of the wood rejoyce before the Lord: Verse 13 for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth, and with righteousness to judge the world, and the people with his truth.

§. 5. Frequent meditation and due prepa [...]ati­on, the re­medies of our [...]ear.

Thou art affrighted with the thought of that Great Day: Think of it oftner, and thou shalt less fear it. It will come both surely, and suddenly; let thy frequent thoughts prevent it. It will come as a thief in the night, without warning, without noise: let thy careful vigi­lance always expect it; and thy soul shall be sure not to [Page 362] be surprised, not to be con­founded. Thine Audit is both sure, and uncertain: sure that it will be, uncertain when it will be. If thou wilt approve thy self a good Steward, have thine account always ready; set thy reckoning still even betwixt God and thy soul: Blessed is the servant whom his Master shall finde so doing: Mat. 24. 46. Look upon these heavens, and this earth as dissolving; and think, with Jerome, that thou hearest the last Trump, and the voice of the Archangel shrilling in thine ears, (as once thou shalt) Arise, ye dead, and come to judgement. Short­ly, let it be thy main care, to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, [Page 363] and the glorious appearing of the great God, and our Savi­our Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity; Who shall change our vile body, Phil. 3. 21. that it may be fashioned like to his glorious body; according to the working whereby he is able to sub­due all things to himself.

Comforts against the fears of our spiritual enemies.

§ 1. The great power of evil spi­rits, and their re­straint.

THou art affrighted at the thought of thy spiritual enemies: No marvel; Nei­ther earth nor hell hath any thing equally formidable: Those three things which are wont to make enmity dreadful and dangerous▪ (Power, Malice, Subtilty) are met in them: neither is it easie to say in which of these they are most eminent. Certainly, were we to be matcht with them on even hand, there were just cause, not of Fear onely, but De­spair. I could tremble, thou sayst, to think what Satan hath done, what he can do▪ [Page 365] what contestation he enabled the Egyptian Sorcerers to hold with Moses; Exod. 7▪ 12. how they turned every man his rod in­to a Serpent; so as they seemed to have the advantage, for the time, of many Ser­pents crawling and hissing in Phoraoh's pavement, for one: How they turned the wa­ters into blood:Vers. 22. How they brought Froggs upon the Land of Egypt [...] as if thus far the power of hell would presume to hold competition with heaven:Exod. 8. 7. What furious tempests he raises in the air, as that which from the Wil­derness▪ beat upon the four corners of the house of Job's eldest son,Job 1. 19 and overthrew it: Lo,Job 1. 3. Job was the greatest man in the East; his heir did not [Page 366] dwell in a cottage; that strong Fabrick could not stand a­gainst this Hurricane of Sa­tan. What fearful appariti­ons he makes in the upper re­gions: what great wonders he doth,Rev. 13. 13. causing fire to come down from heaven on the earth, in the sight of men: Lastly, what grievous tyran­ny he exerciseth upon all the children of disobedience.Eph. 5. 6. Couldst thou look for any less, my son, from those, whom the Spirit of God himself,Eph. 6. 12. styles Principali­ties, and Powers, and rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wicked­nesses in high places, and the Prince of the power of the air.Eph. 2. 2. Surely, it were no Maste­ry to be a Christian, if we had [Page 367] not powerfull opposites: But dost thou not withall consi­der that all this power is by concession, and the exercise of it but with permission, with limitation? What pow­er can there be in any orea­ture, which is not derived from the Almighty? This measure the infinite Creator was pleased to communicate to them, as Angels, which they retain, and exercise still as Devils; their damnation hath stripped them of their glory; but we know not of how much of their strength: And seest thou not how their power is bounded? Those that could in appearance turn their rods into Serpents, could not keep all their Serpents from being devoured of that [Page 368] one Serpent of Moses: Those that could b [...]ing Frogs up­on Egypt, Exod. 8. 8, 9, 10, 11 cannot bring a ba­ser creature, Lice: Those that were suffered to bring Frogs, shall not have power to take them away: Restrained pow­ers must know their limits; and we knowing them, must set limits to our feares; A Lion chained up can do lesse harme then a curre let loose: What is it to thee how pow­erfull the evill Spirits are, whiles they are by an over­ruling power tied up to their stake, that they cannot hurt thee?

§. 2. The fear of the num­ber of e­vil spi­rits, and the reme­dy of it.

Thy feares are increased with their number; they are as many as powerfull: One, Demoniack was possessed with a Legion; How many [Page 369] Legions then shall we think there are to tempt those mil­lions of men, which live up­on the face of the earth, whereof no one is free from their continuall solicitations to evill? That holy man, whom our counterfeit Her­mites would pretend to imi­tate in the vision of his reti­rednesse, saw the air full of them, and of their s [...]ares for mankinde; and were our eyes as clear as his, we might per­haps meet with the same pro­spect: But bee not dismaid my son: Couldst thou bor­row the eyes of the servant of an holier Master,2 Kings 6. 16. thou shouldst see that there are moe with us, then they that are against us; thou shouldst see the blessed Angels of [Page 370] God, pitching their Tents about thee, as the more pow­erfull, vigilant, constant guar­dians of thy soule: Loe, these are those valiant ones, which stand about thy Bed; Cantic. 3▪ 7, 8. They all hold swords, being expert in Warre; every one hath his Sword upon his thigh, because of fear in the night: Feare not therefore, but make the Lord, even the most High, thy Ha­bitation:Ps. 91. 9. Then there shall no evill befall thee, Vers. 10, neither shall any Plague come nigh thy dwel­ling: Vers. 11. For he shall give his An­gels charge ever thee to keepe thee in all thy waies. Vers. 12. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone; yea, (and besides this safe indempnity) Thou shalt tread upon the Lyon, Vers. 13. and Adder; [Page 371] the young Lion, and the Dragon shalt thou trample under feet. In secular enmity, true va­lour may be oppressed, will not easily bee d [...]unted with multitude;Psal. 3. 6▪ I will not be afraid of ten thousand, (saith David) They came about me like Bees, Ps. 118. 12▪ but in the name of the Lord will I destroy them: It was a brave resolution in that Generall, who when one of his Souldi­ers could tell him, that the cloud of Persian arrows (shot at them) darkned the Sun; Bee of good chear, (said he) wee shall sight in the shade: Answerable whereunto, was that Heroicall determination of Luther, who (after his en­gagements) against all threats, and disswasions. would goe [...]nto the City of Wormes, [Page 372] though there were as many Devils in it, as Tiles upon their houses; and why should not we imitate this confi­dence? What if there were as many Devils in the air, as there are spires of grasse on the earth? God is our refuge and strength, Ps. 46. 1, 2. a very present help in trouble; therefore will we not fear, though the earth be remo­ved; though the mountains be carried into the midst of the Sea. Isai. 12. 2 Behold, God is our salva­tion, we will trust, and not bee afraid; for the Lord Jehovah is our strength and our song, he also is become our salvation. Let God arise, Psal. 68. 1▪ 2. and let his enemies be scattered; let them also that hate him flee before him; like as the smoak vanisheth, so shalt thou drive them away.

§. 3. The ma­lice of the evill spi­rits, and our fears thereof re­medied.

But oh the malice of those infernall spirits, implacable, and deadly; whose trade is temptation, and accusation; whose delight is torment; whose musick is shrieks, and howlings, and groanes, and gnashing; and whose main drift is no lesse then the eter­nall death, and damnation of miserable mankind! Why should we, my son, expect other from him, who is pro­fessedly the manslayer from the beginning? that carries nothing but destruction both in his name and nature? that goes about continually like a roaring Lion, seeking whom hee may devoure? Surely, this malignity is rest­lesse; neither wil take up with any thing on this side hell. [Page 374] But comfort thy selfe in this, that in spight of all the ma­lice of Hell, thou art safe▪ Doest thou not know that there stands by thee the vi­ctorious Lion of the Tribe of Iudah, whom that Infernall Ravener dare not look in the face? Dost thou not remem­ber, that when the Sentence was pronounced of eternall enmity, between the seed of the Woman, and the seed of the Serpent, it was with this Doome, It shall bruise thy Head, Gen. 3. 15. and thou shalt bruise his Heel: Loe, a bruise of a mans heel is farre from the heart; but a bruise of the Serpents head is mortall; there his sting, there his life lies: Nei­ther did the seed of the wo­man (Christ Jesus) this for [Page 375] himself, (who was infinitely above all the power and ma­lice of the Devil) but for us the impotent and sinful seed of man:Rom. 16▪ 20. The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet, saith the blessed Apostle: Under your feet; not under his own one­ly: of whom God the Father had long before said,Ps. 11 [...] [...] Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool. Yea, what do I speak of the future? Al­ready is this great work done; already is this great work at­chieved:Col. 2. 15. For the Lord of life, having spoiled principalities and powers, hath made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them on his Cr [...]ss. Lo, all the powers of hell were dragg'd after this glorious Conquerour, when he was advanced upon [Page 376] that Triumphant Chariot. Look therefore, my son, upon these hellish forces, as already vanquished; and know, that in all things we are more then Conquerours through him that lo­ved us. Rom. 8. 37. Onely do thou by the power of thy faith, apply un­to thy self this great work, that thy victorious Saviour hath done for the salvation of all the world of believers.

§ 4. The great subtilfy of evil spi­rits, and the remedy of the fear of it.

Power without malice were harmless; and malice without power were impo­tent: but when both are combined together, they are dreadful. But, whereas Malice hath two ways to execute mischief, either Force, or Fraud; the malice of Satan prevails more by this latter; so as the subtilty [Page 377] of these malignant spirits is more pernicious then their power:Gen. 3. [...] In regard of his pow­er,Rev. 12▪ 9. he is a Lion; in regard of his subtilty,Rev. 20▪ 2. he is a Serpent, yea, that old Serpent, whose craft must needs be marvel­lously increased by the age and experience of so many thousand yeers. So much the more careful ought we to be, my son,2 Cor. 2. 11. Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: This is that he seeks; and if our spiritual wis­dom & circumspection be not the more, will be sure to find. It is a great word, and too high for us, which the Apo­stle speaks;2 Cor. 2. 11. For we are not igno­rant of Satans devices. Alas, he hath a thousand stratagems, that our weak simplicity is never able to reach unto: [Page 378] The wisest of us knows not the deceitfulness of his own heart, much less can he dive into the plots of hell that are against us. We hear, and are fore-warned of the wiles of the Devil:Ephes 6. 11. but what his spe­cial machinations are, how can we know, much less pre­vent?Luke 16▪ 8. Even the children of this world (saith our Saviour) are in their generation wiser then the children of light: how much more crafty is their Father, from whom their cunning is derived? Be as mean as thou wilt, my son, in thine own eyes; say with Agur the son of Jakeh, Prov. 30▪ 2. Surely, I am more brutish then any man, and have not the understanding of a man: I nei­ther learned wisdom, Verse 3. nor have the knowledge of the holy. But [Page 379] what ever thou art in thy self, know what thou art, or mayst be in thy God: Consider what the man after Gods own heart sticks not to pro­fess;Psal. 119▪ 98. Thou, through thy Com­mandments, hast made me wiser then mine enemies; for they are ever with me: Lo, the spirit of wisdom is ours;Deu [...] ▪ 3▪ 9▪ and he who is the eternal Wisdom of the Father,Ephes. 1▪ 17▪ is made unto us wisdom,1 Cor. 1▪ 30▪ as well as righte­ousness: And he who over­rules hell, hath said, The gates of hell shall not prevail against his Church: What are the gates of hell, but the deep plots and consul [...]tations of those infernal powers? The Serpent is the known em­bleme of subtilty: The Ser­pents of the Egyptian Sorce­rers, [Page 380] were all devoured by Moses his Serpent: wherefore? but to shew us, that all the crafty counsels and machina­tions of hellish projectors, are easily destroyed by the power and wisdom of the Almighty: when all was done, it was the Rod of God that swallowed them all, and was yet still it self, when they were vanquished: So as that whereby Satan thought to have won most honour to himself, ended in his shame and loss. What an infinite advantage did the powers of darkness think to have made, in drawing our first Parents (by their subtil suggestions) into sin, and thereby into perdition; as imagining ei­ther mankinde shall not be, [Page 381] or shall be ours? the incom­prehensible wisdom and mer­cy of our God disappointed their hopes; and took occa­sion by mans fall, to raise him up to a greater glory; and so ordered it, that the Serpents nibbling at the heel cost him the breaking of his head. What Trophees did that wicked spirit think to erect upon the ruines of miserable Job? and how was he baffled by the patience of that Saint? and how was that Saint dou­bled both in his estate and honour, by his conquering patience? How confidently did the subtilty of hell say, concerning the Son of God exhibited in the flesh;Mat. [...] This is the heir, Mark▪ [...] come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours? Luke▪ [...] [Page 382] How sure work did they think they had made, when they saw him, through their subtil procurement, nailed to the Cross, and dying upon that tree of shame and curse; when they saw him laid dead under a sealed and guarded Grave-stone? And now, be­hold, even now begins their Confusion, and his Triumph; now doth the Lord of Life begin to trample upon Death and hell; and to perfect his own glory, and mans redem­ption, by his most glorious re­surrection. And as it was with the Head, so it is with the members: when Satan hath done his worst, they are holier upon their sins, and happier by their miscarriages; God findes out a way to im­prove [Page 383] their evils to advan­tage, and teaches them of these Vipers to make soverain Treacles, and safe and power­ful Trochisces. Shortly, the temptations of Satan sent out from his power, malice, sub­tilty, are no other then fiery darts, for their suddenness, impetuosity, penetration: If we can but hold out the shield of faith before us, they shall not be quenched onely,Eph▪ 6. 16. but retorted into the face of him that sends them; and we shall, with the chosen vessel, finde and profess,Rom. 8. 37. that in all things we are more then conquerours, through him that loved us; and in a bold defiance of all the powers of darkness, shall say, I am perswaded, Rom. 8. 38. that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor [Page 384] Principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come; nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to se­parate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord; To whom be all honour, glory, praise, power and dominion, now and for ever­more.

The Vniversal Receit for all Maladies.

THese are, my son, spe­cial compositions▪ of wholsome Receits for the several Maladies of thy soul: wherein it shall be my happiness to have suggested unto thee such thoughts as may any whit avail to the alleviation of thy sorrows. But, there is an universal Re­medy, which a skilfuller Physitian hath ordained for all thy grievances; and I from his hand earnestly recom­mend to thee: Is any among [Page 386] you afflicted? James 5. 13. let him pray. Lo here the great and soverain Panpharmacum of the distres­sed soul, which is able to give ease to all the fore-mentioned complaints.

Art thou cast [...] down upon thy sick bed? Call for the Elders of the Church,James 5. 14. and let them pray. This was Heze­kiah's receit, when he was sick unto death; He turned his face to the wall, [...] Kings [...]0. 1, 2. and prayed. This was David's receit; Have mercy on me, Psal. 6. 2. O Lord, for I am weak; O Lord heal me, for my bones are vexed. Take therefore the counsel of the Wise man; My son, [...]cclus [...]8▪ 9. in thy sickness be not negli­gent, but pray unto the Lord, and he will make thee whole.

Art thou soul-sick? Psal. 18. 5, 6. pray: So did holy David; The sor­rows [Page 387] of hell compassed me about, and the snares of death prevent­ed me:Psal. 116▪ 3, 4. In my distress I called up­on the Lord, and cried unto my God.

Art thou infested with im­portunate temptations? Pray: So did S. Paul, when the mes­senger of Satan was sent to buffet him: [...] Cor. 1 [...] ▪ 8. Thrice I besought the Lord that it might depart from me.Psal. 88, 15, 16. So did David; Whiles I suffer thy terrours, I am distracted; thy fierce wrath goeth over me: But unto thee have I cried,Verse 13 O Lord, and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

Art thou disheartned with the weakness of grace? Pray: so did David:Psal. 38. 8, 9. I am feeble, and sore broken, I have roared by rea­son of the disquietness of my heart: Lord, all my desire is before thee.

[Page 388] Art thou afflicted with the slanders of evil tongues? Pray: Psa. 109. 2. So did David; The mouth of the wicked, and the mouth of the deceitful are open­ed against me: they have spoken against me with a lying tongue: Hold not thy peace,Verse 1. O God of my praise.

Art thou grieved or af­frighted with the Publike Calamities of War, Famine, Pestilence? Pray: So good Jehosaphat presseth God with his gracious promise made to Solomen: 2 Chro. 7. 13, 14, 15. If when evil cometh upon us, 2 Chron. 20. 19, 12. as the sword, judgement, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy pre­sence, and cry unto thee in our af­fliction, then thou wilt hear and help: and shuts up his zealous supplication with, Neither know [Page 389] we what to do, but our eyes are upon thee.

Art thou afflicted with the loss of friends? Pray, and have rec [...]urse to thy God, as Ezekiel,Ezek. 11▪ 13. when Peletiah, the son of Benaiah died: Then fell I down upon my face, and cried with a loud voice, and said, Ah Lord God! wilt thou make a full end of the remnant of Israel?

Art thou distressed with Poverty? Pray: So did Da­vid:Psa. 109▪ 22, 25, 26. I am poor and needy, and my heart is wounded within me: I be­came also a reproach to them, when they that looked upon me, shaked their heads: Help me, O Lord my God; Oh save me according to thy mercy.

Art thou imprisoned? Pray: So did Jonah, when he was shut up within the living [Page 390] wals of the Whale;Jonah 2. 1, 2. I cried by reason of my affliction unto the Lord; Ps. 79. 11. so did Asaph: Let the sighing of the Prisoner come be­fore thee; according to the great­nesse of thy power preserve thou them that are appointed to die.

Art thou driven from thy Country? pray; This is the remedy prescribed by Solo­mon, in his supplication to God; 2 Chron. 6. If thy people be carried a­way into a Land far off, or near: yet if they bethink themselves in the Land whither they are carried and turn,36, 37. and pray to thee, in the Land of their Captivity.38, 39. If they return to thee with all their hearts, and pray towards the Land which thou gavest to their Fore-fathers, &c. then hear thou from hea­ven their prayer, and their sup­plication.

[Page 391] Art thou bereaved of thy bodily senses? Make thy ad­dresse to him that said,Exod. 4. 11. Who hath made mans mouth, or who maketh the dumb, and the deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Cry aloud to him with Bartimeus, Mark 10. 47, 51. Lord, that I may receive my sight: And if thou be hopelesse of thine outward sight, yet pray with the Psalmist,Psal. 119. 18. O Lord open thou mine eyes, that I may see the won­drous things of thy Law.

Art thou afflicted with ste­rility?Gen. 25. 21. pray; so did Isaac, so did Hannah; 1 Sam. 1. 10. she was in bitter­nesse of soul,1 Sam. 2. 21. and prayed un­to the Lord, and wept sore and received a gracious an­swer.

Art thou troubled and weakned with want of rest? [Page 392] pray;Ps. 77. did Asaph, I complai­ned, and my spirit was overwhel­med.Verse 4. Thou holdest mine eyes wa­king, I am so troubled that I can­not speak:Verse 1. I cryed to God with my voice, unto God with my voice, and he gave ear unto me.

Dost thou droop under the grievances of old age? pray; so did David;Ps. 71. 9. Oh cast me not off in the time of old age, forsake me not when my strength faileth. O God thou hast taught me from my youth:Vers. 17, 18. Now also when I am old, and gray-headed, O God for­sake me not.

Art thou troubled and dis­mayed with the feares of death? Ps. 88. 3 pray; so did David, My soul is full of troubles, and my life draweth nigh unto the grave;Verse 4. I am counted with them that goe down into the pit,Verse 5. I am as a man [Page 393] that hath no strength. Free among the dead,Vers. 6. thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darknese, in the deeps: But unto thee have I cried,Vers. 13. O Lord, and in the morning shall my prayer prevent thee.

Dost thou tremble at the thought of judgement? So did the man after Gods own heart; Psal. 119▪ 120. My flesh trembleth for fear of thee, and I am afraid of thy judgements; Look up with Jeremiah, and say to thy Savi­our, Lament. 3. 58, 59. O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul, thou hast re­deemed my life: O Lord, judge thou my cause.

Lastly, art thou afraid of the power, malice, subtilty of thy spirituall enemies? pray: so did David; Deliver me from mine enemies,Ps. 59. 1. O my God, defend me from them that rise up a­gainst [Page 394] me; Oh hide me from the secret counsell of the wicked; Consider mine enemies,Psal. 25. 19, 20. for they are many, and they hate me with cruell hatred; O keep my soul, and deliver me: So did S. Paul pray, 2 Cor. 12▪ that he might be freed from the messenger of Satan whose buffets he felt, and was answered with, My Grace is sufficient for thee; so he sues for all Gods Saints, May the God of peace tread down Satan un­der your feet shortly.Rom. 16▪ 19.

Shortly, what ever evill it be that presseth thy soul, have speedy recourse to the throne of Grace; pour out thy heart into the eares of the Father of all mercies,2 Cor. 1. 3. and God of all comfort, and be sure, if not of redresse, yet of ease: We have his word for it that can­not [Page 395] not fail us; Call upon me in the day of trouble, Psal. 50. 15. I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorifie mee: Fashionable suppliants may talk to God; but be confi­dent, he that can truly pray, can never be truly miserable: Of our selves we lie open to all evils; our rescue is from above; aud what entercourse have we with heaven but by our prayers? Our prayers are they that can deliver us from dangers, avert judgements, prevent mischiefs, procure blessings; that can obtain par­don for our sins, furnish us with strength against tempta­tions, mitigate the extremity of our sufferings, sustain our infirmities, raise up our de­jectednesse, increase our graces, abate our corruptions, [Page 396] sanctifie all good things to us, sweeten the bitternesse of our afflictions, open the win­dows of heaven, shut up the bars of death, vanquish the powers of hell: Pray, and be both safe, and happy.


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