A SERMON Preached at St. Botolphs Aldersgate, At the FUNERAL OF ROBERT HƲNTINGTON Esq Who DIED April 21. and was BURIED April 30. 1684.

BY TIMOTHY HALL, Rector of Alhal­lows Staining, London.

LONDON, Printed for Tho. Parkhurst at the Bible and Three Crowns at the lower end of Cheapside near Mercers Chappel, 1684.

TO THE Worshipful, and my much valued Friends,

Esquires, Sons, and Executors of the De­ceased.

ROBERT HƲNTINGTON. , • JOHN FREIND. , and • THOMAS BRƲMPSTED.  And to Mr. TIMOTHY DOD.

And to their Worthy and Religious Consorts:

• Mrs. ELIZABETH HƲNTINGTON. , • Mrs. ANN FREIND. , • Mrs. MARTHA BRƲMSTED. , and • Mrs. ELIZABETH DOD. 

FƲnerals may well be stiled (with Sacraments) Vi­sible Sermons, because they teach by the Eye, and outward Senses. The Dead speak aloud to the Living, and as it were in a Glass, represent to them what their condition in the circulation of a little time will be. Shortly, we shall be in the place of Silence with them. When we see others fall before us, how easily and naturally is it infer'd, that our standing cannot be long after them. Yet how apt are we to flatter our selves with the spinning out of our Thred of Life to a great length! A man would wonder, that in the Wilderness, where so many Thousands died, Moses should then pray, Lord, so teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom, Psal. 90.12. If they who had so many dying Objects continually be­fore them, needed to be stirred up to pray in this man­ner, surely much more have we to whom such spectacles (though many) are more infrequent. To Correct this [Page] folly and madness which possesseth the hearts of men while they live, Eccles. 9.3. Who turn away their Eyes from their Sepulchre, and divert them with more pleasing prospects, I have ventured to comply with your Requests in Publishing this Sermon. I am equal­ly surprised, That you should desire, and I permit so thin a Discourse to appear abroad. I expect to be Cen­sured for distributing a Trifle amongst so many of you. I take you all joyntly in the Dedication, because on this occasion to have addressed to one, might have been interpreted a disregard to the rest; Besides, it being Preached by your Order, and by the same influ­ence being now made Publick, I engage you to be ac­countable with me for all the rude strokes in it. I know your design was to keep up his Memory; but such an hasty Monument Erected to it, cannot long preserve it; I had neither Art nor time to build one. The Errand this Discourse comes on, is not to desire you to remem­ber your Father; It would be a rudeness to request that he might live in your thoughts; I am sensible, you will do that without my being your Remembrancer; but I beg, That nothing which was Exemplary in him, be Buried with him, and sealed up in his Grave; That you would improve what was delivered at his Funeral to the best Spiritual advantages, that you may live as strangers in this World, and persons belonging to a better; That it may prove effectual to the furtherance and joy of your Faith, shall be a considerable part of the hearty Prayers of

Yours to Serve you, TIMOTHY HALL.
Heb. II. 15.

And deliver them who through fear of death were all their life time subject to bondage.

THE Apostle, in the former part of this Chapter, having asserted the nature and necessity of the Incar­nation and Death of Christ; he now in my Text, and the preceding Verse to it, acquaints us with the ends and uses of it.

All the Host of Heaven stood amazed at this great Mystery, expecting what would be the issue of this great Trial. Men and De­vils could not fathom the depths of God's design in this dismal Tragedy. They verily concluded, That the Captain of our Salvation would now be conquered, and that they should hear no more of him, when once he was hum­bled to his Grave. Can he save others, who cannot save himself? Can he bring life to others, by his own death? After this Sarcasti­cal manner the Heathens upbraided the Chri­stians; [Page 2] and the Apostle tells us, That this Death and Cross of our Lords, was a stumbling-block to the Jews, and folly to the Greeks, 1 Cor. 1.18, 23. And thus indeed it well might have been, had not that All-wise God (who brings light out of darkness, and meat out of the eater) by his unsearchable counsel and wis­dom over-ruled this matter so, that the Death of Christ, like to that of Sampson's, should issue and conclude in the utter rout and over­throw of his, and our greatest Adversaries. Whil'st they bruised his heel, he brake their head. Thus by his wise disposal, he made Suffering, to be Saving; Death Victorious, and the Stripes of his Son to be Medicinal and Heal­ing to us. One end was to destroy the power of Satan, to break the head of that Serpent, stilling this enemy and self-avenger. Psal. 8.2. Leading captivity captive, Psal. 68.18. Bind­ing the strong man, Matt. 12. And divid­ing the spoil with him, Isa. 53. Thus this great destroyer was quelled and conquered, and at the Sign of the Cross thus used (by faith in his death, I mean) we may at any time put the Devil to flight, and cast out the Prince of this World.

The other end is mentioned in my Text, to [Page 3] deliver them who through fear of Death, &c. Which words acquaint us with a double sub­jection of the Servants, or Children of God, (as they are called in the foregoing Verse.)

  • 1. A subjection to Death.
  • 2. A subjection to Bondage upon account of Death. From whence I gather these Pro­positions.

Prop. 1. God's own Children, those for whom Christ dyed, may be brought, and kept un­der the fear of Death.

Prop. 2. The fear of Death is a state of Bondage.

Prop. 3. The onely deliverance from this fear, is by the Death of Christ.

I shall make the first, the subject-matter of my Discourse at this time; and in treating on that, shall comprehend the other.

God's own Children, those for whom Christ died, may be brought under, nay, kept under the fear of death; and this fear may be so great and pressing, that it may be a heavy burthen; it may gall them much, and deeply affect their Souls to their great disquietment; so that they may have many uneasie hours, and doleful complaints; it may bring them into an Estate of Slavery and Bondage: And this trouble may not one­ly [Page 4] be heavy and great for its nature, but long, and continued for its duration; it may run Parallel with the longest date of their time, and not come onely by way of Paroxism and Fit, but hold them all their life long. So that in the best, the fear of Death is not wholly destroyed and removed. Grace doth not ex­tinguish Nature; and the Christian doth not cease to be Man. There is a double fear of Death.

1. Natural, and inseperable from our pre­sent condition. There is implanted in Man a desire of Self-preservation; and this is Na­tures aversation to its own dissolution. This is an innocent and guiltless infirmity, and no more culpable, than weariness, sickness, and many other natural imbecillities, inseperably annexed to the condition of Mortality.

2. There is a sinful fear of Death, a fear of Death more than as it is natural, viz. as it is Poenal, and an issue of the Curse; as it brings Men under the Devils power, and may prove a dreadful inlet and passage to Everlasting Burnings.

Now the Children, (viz. of God, and of the Promise) in some measure have conquered this last sort of fear; but it is impossible for [Page 5] them, while they are cloathed with this frail and tattered Humanity, wholly to rid and di­vest themselves of the former. Death is the King of Terrors, and therefore may command dread and fear even in the best. Plentiful are instances of this kind, and they easily occur to us. Thus Jacob feared to die by the hand of his Brother Esau, and studied how to meet him in Peace, and prayed to God to stay his Hand, and turn his Heart. The Man after God's own heart cries, the sorrows of death com­passed him, Psal. 116.3. And tells us, how his soul came to be full of trouble, Psal. 88.3. because his life drew nigh to the grave, and he was counted with them that go down to the pit. How industrious he was, to save his Life, will appear from his Counter-plots to save himself when Saul pursued him. Good Hezekiah could not receive a summons to the Grave with dry Eyes; the Message made him chatter like a Crane, and mourn as a Dove, Isa. 38.3, 14. Good old. Hilarion was frequently chi­ding of his Soul with an Egredere O Anima, for being so loath to leave a crazy body, in which it had been a Tenant upwards of Fourscore Years: Nay, our blessed Redeemer himself, in whom there was no Sin to imbitter his [Page 6] dissolution to him, yet we find him greatly affected at the approach of his departure hence; his soul was heavy unto death. He en­tred not the Lists with that last Enemy with­out a heavy Spirit: Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me.

It was the saying of Reverend Mr. Greenham, (page 15. of his Works) I like as well of them that measurably fear death, as of them who joy at it: In another place he tells us, He never dared desire to dye, however his continual Crosses did afford him small desire to live.

It is true, we sometimes meet with Christi­an Heroes of St. Paul's temper, whose song ever since he had been in the Third Heavens, was to return thither again; who are so much exalted above the fear of Death, that they court, and crave it, and make it the most desirable of desirables, Phil. 1 23. They ne­ver sing a loath to depart, but chearfully chaunt out with old Simeon their nunc Dimittis, Luk. 2.29. Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace. With Elijah, they are satisfied, and full enough of days, and crave no further time, 1 Kings 19.4. Nay, so fervent and earnest was the desire of the Primitive Christians after Im­mortal Glory, that they groaned earnestly, de­siring [Page 7] to be cloathed upon with their House from Heaven, 2 Cor. 5.2. They seemed not one­ly to be contented, but rejoyced with their de­parture; and in the mean time, they did rather accept of Life, than affect it, and endured it, more than desired it. Great is the number of Christian Pilgrims, who (in St. Bernards Phrase) desire Repatriasse, to return home, and loose from the shore of Life, and to Launch out in­to the Ocean of Immortality, looking for that blessed Hope, and the glorious Epiphany of the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, Titus 2.13. At the news and tidings of their Lords approach, their Faith Eccho's back their hearty Amen, Even so come Lord Jesus. But here we must take notice, that our desires may be looked upon in a double capacity, either as natural and connate, or rational and elicite, according to the Principles of Reason and Grace. A man that hath a gangren'd Mem­ber hath a natural desire to keep it in the Bo­dy, but his Rational desire makes him willing to part with it. Thus our Saviour told the Apostle Peter, He should be bound, and carried whither he would not, John 21.18. To be gird­ed and pinion'd, he would not, according to his Natural will; but according to his Renew­ed [Page 8] and Sanctified will, he was ready joyfully to go to the place of Martyrdom.

Thus my Spirit may cry, Come Lord Jesus, Come quickly; when the Flesh may say, Master, save thy self, and pray that the cup may pass from it.

On the other hand, They who have the greatest reason to dread it, may sometimes de­fie it; and knowing not what it is to dye, bru­tishly seem to slight it. Thus in these low running dregs of time, an Atheistical crew of Men living in Brutish Ignorance, fall blindfold into their Pit and Grave; they shut their Eyes, and are never awakened, till those Infernal Flames flair about them, and lend them Light to read their folly. They are not out of dan­ger, but onely without the knowledge of it: Their hardiness proceeds not from the know­ledge of their good Estate, but their igno­rance of their bad one, like Passengers that are asleep in a Ship that is sinking: They Re­vel, and Hector on the very Pits brink, and their joy is like to that of those who are stung with the Tarantula, which is not the Effect of Mirth, but Madness; and though they have no bands in their Death, yet Death hath domini­on, over them.

[Page 9]Pleasant Company, Wine, Feasting, Musick, divert their thoughts from that formidable prospect of their End, couzening themselves as far as they can, with that vain Opinion, That the way to escape the sting of death, is not to think of it.

It is Risus Sardonicus, a deadly joy; The end of their mirth is heaviness, Prov. 14.13. Like those silly Fishes, which swim down the sweet stream of Jordan, into the dead Sea, where they perish.

Some indeed there are which please them­selves with vain hopes of deliverance, and flat­ter themselves with ungrounded presumptions, that they shall escape the bitterness of Death. Oh the foolish, and helpless shifts that besotted sinners cling to! How many perish at the ve­ry horns of the Altar? What ungrounded hopes have they from their own Fictions? How sadly do they abuse the best Doctrines; and suck Poyson from the extent of God's Mercies, and Christ's Merits! They suffer their own innate Light to be Extinguished, and re­sist all means of Conviction from that which is Revealed. Thus you see, that the Proposi­tion is irrefragable, notwithstanding we Read some good Men have desired it, and some bad [Page 10] Men have not dreaded it.

In further prosecution of this Truth,

  • 1. I shall lay down some Propositions that tend to the clearing and confirming of it.
  • 2. I shall inquire into the grounds and cau­ses of this fear of Death.
  • 3. By way of Application, I shall lay down some Directions as proper remedies and cures of this fear.

1. Propositions tending to the illustration and further defence of this Truth.

1. Prop. Man in his first Creation was not made Mortal or Corruptible. Adam fell into a dying condition in the day that he Rebelled against the Crown and Dignity of Heaven. I know the Question is much controverted, Whe­ther Adam were made Immortal, or no? This were to make Death necessary before Sin; which the Apostle contradicts, when he writes Rom. 5. That by one mans sin death came into the World: and Rom. 6.23. The wages of sin is death. Death is the fruit and effect of our Disobedience, and passes upon all, inasmuch as all have sinned, Rom. 5.12.

[Page 11]2. Prop. All men are now subject unto death, as it is poenal. The first Sentence reaches all Mankind, Gen. 2.17. Most men look on Death as the common lot and condition of Mankind, resulting from their frail condition, and the jarring and warring Principles of their composition, which for want of poise destroy one another. They think it belongs onely to our Natural, and not at all to our Moral Ca­pacity; reckoning it to be the consequent of their Being, and not the demerit and punish­ment of our Guilt. It is very true, though the principles of our Nature are subject to Dissolution, yet if we had not declined from the Law of our Creation, we had not inclined to the Grave or Corruption, but God had made our Life commensurate with our Holi­ness, and prolonged our Time with our Obe­dience. But alas! Death now is not more Na­tural, than it is Poenal. All Mankind is Con­demned as soon as Born. Life is a Reprieve, and short suspension of the execution of that Sentence, which in the day of Adam's Trans­gression was pronounced on him, and his de­scendants: And oh miserable we! if we im­prove not this small scantling of time to sue out our Pardon, and make our peace with this [Page 12] incensed Judge of Heaven and Earth; who though he be a Serene, yet withal is a dread­ful Majesty; and will infallibly Execute the severity of the Sentence on every Offender, who doth not timely accept and comply with those Terms and Articles of Peace, which in the Preaching of his Gospel are tendred to them.

3. Prop. Fear and Bondage are inseparable attendants on such a sinful and poenal state. It cannot be avoided, but that the expectation of Death in such a condition must be very trou­blesome. This is a strait Yoak, and will pinch the Necks of all the Sons and Daughters of Adam, though some wear it more easily than others. This will perplex our minds, raise storms within, and sink us frequently into deep despondencies; for we know not how to cast it off, in vain are all attempts to slip the Neck out of this Collar; we are unable to deliver ourselves, no man can free his own Soul. We are in God's Chain, and it is im­possible to break it, all our strivings will con­tribute nothing to its Removal, but onely gall and torment us more.

[Page 13]4. Prop. Whatsover bitterness and gall there is in Death, it is from Sin, that makes it more terrible than otherwise it would be. 1 Cor. 15.56. The sting of Death is sin. So many Sins as thou committest, so many stings thou puttest into thy Death, to render it more dreadful to thee. Could a man dye, and have no Sin laid to his Charge, though there might be some pain, yet there could not be Terror in his de­parture out of this World.

Well may Death be called the Terrible of Terribles, when there is not onely an appre­hension of the dissolution and divorce between the Soul and Body, but there interposes and starts up the guilt of many Sins, which con­front the Sinner, and stare him in the face; nay, those sins that had a gaudy and tempting dress, will then be strip'd of all their feigned Beauties, and appear in all their dreadful Cir­cumstances, agitating and terrifying the Con­sciences of men, with the expectation and dread of future Evils. When the Sinner dare not die, yet cannot live, what Convulsions must there needs be in his Breast, which must terrify him like the cracks of a falling House. What a calm and well-natured Death might a man have, (far beyond that Euthanasia which [Page 14] Augustus wished for himself) if Sin and Hell, and approaching Judgment, and a gnawing Worm within, did not drive him into Agonies and Despair. Alas! when nothing is in view to him but these things, and the conclusion of the whole matter will with him be nothing short of hideous Darkness, and a tormenting Fire, having Heat but no Light, gnashing of Teeth, late Remorse, incurable Wounds, Self-hatred, and all imaginable distresses, even to be hated of God, and to hate him for ever, He must needs turn away his Face in the an­guish of his Soul from beholding such distract­ing Objects. These things our Sins procure for us, and fill our Souls with all the anticipations of Hell.

5. Prop. The Death of Christ applyed by Faith, is the onely Soveraign Remedy to deliver us out of this estate of Fear and Slavery.

Our Heavenly Elisha hath cast Salt into those bitter Waters, and so healed them. Death to a Believer is a Serpent without a sting. He hath fortified us against these Fears two ways.

1. By giving us the example of his Dying. [Page 15] His tasting of Death before hand, keeps it from being a Cup of Trembling, and won­derfully will this animate our Spirits under all dejections, That our Lord walked in this dark Valley before us.

2. By affording us the merit and efficacy of his Death; This is very operative to this purpose, to consider, That our Redeemer, and the Cap­tain of our Salvation, undertook our Delive­rance by his own Death: so that now there is no Condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, Rom. 8.1. For being justified by Faith in the Death of Christ, they have peace with God, and in themselves, Rom. 5.1.

Thus has Christ changed the nature of Death, that it should be more desirable, than dreadful to a good Man, being like Josephs Chariot sent for dying Jacob, to carry us to the place of our hope and desire. This made the Apostle ring that sharp and shrill Note, in the ears of Death, and send that bold and brave Challenge to the last eneny; 1 Cor. 15.55. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? Death is swallowed up in Victory. It is not now so much an Outlet of Tempo­ral, [Page 16] as an Inlet of Eternal Life. Well might the Apostle write insultingly, as a man offering Sacrifice for Victory, and singing a Trium­phant Song, while his Feet stood on the Neck of his Enemy. We know now to whom to have Recourse, when our Spirits droop at the apprehension of our Decease; not to Saints, or Angels, not to the Blessed Virgin her self; but to her Son, who is the Lord of Life: that Brazen Serpent we are to look upon, when that Fiery one of Death puts out his Sting; and we are sufficiently Antidoted against all the Poyson that is spit at us.

Thus we see the Children, though they can­not escape the stroak, yet they are freed from the sting of Death; they can play upon the hole of this Aspe without danger, and well­come the grimmest approach of this Destroyer with a smile, being freed from the Venom of this Serpent, by him who is, the Captain of the Lords Hosts; who hath abolished Death, and brought Life and Immortality to light. He has by his own Death, made Death to them, not onely tollerable and easie, but desirable and gladsome. Indeed, none dared cope with this King of Terrors, but our Blessed Lord; and he by dying, went into the Den of this [Page 17] Dragon, Fought it, and Conquered it in its own Territories and Dominions.

6. Prop. Notwithstanding all that Christ hath done to reconcile us to a view and prospect of our Dissolution; yet so deep is the love of Life, and fear of Death implanted in us all, that Nature cannot but tremble at the approaches of it. Though this Serpent is bereaved of his Sting, and the Nature of it changed to every holy man; yet its hissing affects us at sometimes with a cold sweat and shivering, some regrets and aversation from it. The heart of that man who is most heavenly, and covetous of entring the promised new Canaan, who breathes after that happy Country, the Jerusalem above, is now and then startled at his passage thorough the howling Desert which leads thither; he would be cloathed with Immortality, and yet unwilling to put off the Garment of this Bo­dy. We would be blessed and happy, but wish it might be some other way than by dying. Loath weare to be absent from the Lord, and yet desirous to be present here; we may desire to be with the Lord, and yet at sometimes very loath to depart: it is often the case of ma­ny a Child of God, that he very willingly [Page 18] would be at his journeys end, and yet at the same time dreads the going the way of all flesh, which leads to it: thus, like little Children, we are covetous of being cloathed with a new Garment, and yet may be so pained and pinched in the putting of it on, that it may force a Tear or two to distil from our Eyes, in the exchange of our Sute of Flesh, for the Robes of Glory.

7. Prop. This natural fear of Death frequently sinks and degenerates into a very vitious and sinful one. It is difficult in this matter, so to fear, as not to over-fear. Our Passions of this nature, are often subject, either to mistake their Object by fearing what we need not, or else to exceed their bounds by fearing more than we need, or ought. Hence it often comes to pass, That this dread of Death has proved a great snare to the best Men. What mean and unmanly shifts, what poor tricks and arti­fices, what unfriendly ways and methods have many used, (even to the spilling of others Blood) to save their own? They have sullied their Names and Reputations, wounded their own Spirits, and grieved those of their Friends, and all to eke out an Inch of Life. Abraham though dignified with that Illustrious Title, [Page 19] of the Father of the faithful; yet so unbe­lieving was he of God's Providence over him, that he betakes himself to sinful Equivocati­ons, (those Cousin-germains to a Lye) to save his Life. While we use any indirect means to prolong our days, it plainly Reproaches us to our faces, that we fear men more than God, and Death more than Hell and Damnation; which is very absurd and foolish, to fear the less, and not the greater evil; to be afraid to dye, but not to be Damned. Great reason therefore there is, to watch over this Natural Fear, lest it prove immoderate, and betray us into the hands of many foul Temptations, as it did Abraham, Isaac, and Peter. Our Saviour gives us praemonitions about it, when he in­structs us not to be afraid of men who can kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do: but I will forewarn you whom you shall fear, &c. Luke 12.4, 5. One fear, (like fire) drives out another. If the fear of God more prevailed in our hearts, it would won­derfully qualifie and moderate all the powers of our Souls, that there would not be such prevailing excesses and disorders in them. Our care therefore must be, that our Natural Fear be compatible with that which is graci­ous; [Page 20] and that we never dread any thing fur­ther than it is consistent with the fear of God.

8. Prop. This Natural fear of Death being kept within due bounds, may very much be impro­ved to our advantage.

1. It will help us to be more patient underder all poenal evils. So Sentence of Death be not executed, Stripes and Imprisonment, Fines and Banishment are more easily under-gone. Skin for skin, and all that a man hath he will give for his life, Job 2.4. A living man will not complain, Lam. 3.39. Thou art alive man, that one word encircles many Blessings, and I pronounce an hundred Good things in that comprehensive Monosyllable. Of all other evils we say, They are not so bad as Death, and therefore they may, and must be bore.

2. It will make us more watchful against all sinful evils. God has in his Law appointed Death, as a punishment for many Offences, that it might be a curb and bridle in our Mouths to restrain us from the Commission of those Sins; and when men throw this aside, what wickedness is there which they will not attempt?

[Page 21] Eve was emboldned to sin by the Devils telling her, she shall not die. Men will not commit that wickedness which they know is not onely against God, but against their own lives also.

3. It will weaken our pride.

It will render us more low and vile in our own Eyes. This will much abate our Pride, and keep us humble. Put them in fear, O God, (viz. of Death) that they may know themselves to be but men, Psal. 9.20.

4. It will strengthen our Faith. We recei­ved, saith the Apostle, 2 Cor. 1.9, 10. the sen­tence of death in our selves, that we should not trust in our selves, but in God which raiseth the Dead. While a man looks to sense, and is upheld by sensible Comforts, there is not that exercise for Faith, which otherwise there would be; for the exercise therefore, and strengthning of his Grace so acceptable to God, and advantageous to us, God exposes his Children to this fear of Death, that when all other helps and supports are removed, they may fly to him for Refuge. The Bohemians when they lost their famous Captain Zisca, stiled themselves Orphans: She that is a wid­dow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, 1 Tim. 5.5. Whereas, while she had an Husband and [Page 22] Children, she trusted over-much in them. The Hemorrhoisse made not her Applications to our Lord, till all her stock was spent. A poor and afflicted people will trust in the name of the Lord, Zeph. 3.12.

5. It will quicken our preparations for death. God therefore wills it, That we should have, not onely some thoughts, but also some fears of Death; that we may improve the day of Grace, and be working while it is called to day. Fear is an Affection which quickens to Action; Noah being moved with fear, prepared an Ark, Heb. 11.7. They that fear not Death, grow desperate, their Language is, Let us eat and drink, for to morrow we die; but they that are armed with this well-guided and bounded fear, infer much more wisely, saying, Let us pray, read, hear, repent, believe, obey, for to morrow we die. Thus you see great advantages may be made of this Natural in­firmity, and we may learn how to turn our Water into Wine; to make those thoughts of Death, which at some times lie very cold at our Stomachs, to become very cordial and reviving against all sinful and immoderate dread of it. Grace, though it do not extin­guish, yet it corrects and regulates Nature; [Page 23] and by the ways above mentioned, mortifies this fear, that it prove not a Temptation to Sin. Stoicism hath attempted to do this; but Christianity onely can, and hath effected it; In the School of Christ is best taught the right Cure of all our amazing and distracting fears.

2. I come now to inquire into the grounds and causes of this fear. As before I distinguish­ed this fear it self, so now I shall the causes of it, into Natural, and Sinful.

1. Natural Causes. Death on this account is dreadful, because it is a future, unavoidable evil to Nature. As a future possible good is the object of hope, so a future possible evil is the object of fear; and much more it is to be dreaded, when it is a certain futurity, as death is, which no ways can be declined. Nature looks upon Death as its Enemy, whose design is to divorce and separate Soul and Body, two ancient Comerades, no wonder therefore that it shun it, when it knows it shall one day fall by the hand of it. Memorable is the passage of that Martyr to the Executioner, driving the Staple into the Stake; Pray friend knock it in fast, for Nature will be working.

And that this fear is greater in some, than [Page 24] others, from the very constitution and tem­perament of the Body, is every days observati­on. Our very natural Complexion renders us either more bold, or fearful. This is a na­tural Passion, which though it may be Correct­ed and Sanctified, yet it cannot be totally Conquered, for Religion changes not the tem­perament of the Body. Good men who are of this fearful temper, and melancholy dispo­sition, and experience the tyranny of this Na­tural Passion, have need to pray for the Sancti­fication of it. I never thought Religion did depend upon the temper of the Body, but I am sure the acting and exerting of it very much doth. But these fears, so far as they are Natural, they are Lawful; for they are not Transgressions of any precept, and though they may be reckoned amongst our infelicities and weaknesses, yet they come not into the num­ber of our Sins and Crimes.

2. There are sinful grounds of this fear of Death; these chiefly are to be regarded, and they are very many; some I shall name, and can do little more than in the gross produce them, leaving you to enlarge on them, and I am sure any man of thoughts may be very Copious on this Subject; his own inward [Page 25] sense of things strongly will attest all to him. This sinful fear proceeds,

1. From the want of a holy fear, the fear of the Great God. As the fear of him is the less, the fear of God in our Lives, is the ready way to cast us into a slavish fear of Death. It was one of the Judgments Threatned, Deut. 28.58, 65, 66. If thou wilt not observe to do all the words of this law that are written in this book, that thou mayest fear this glorious and fearful name, THE LORD THY GOD; Then neither shall the sole of thy foot have rest, but the Lord shall give thee a trembling heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind; and thy life shall hang in doubt before thee, and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have no assurance of thy life.

2. From the want of faith in the death of Christ springs this fear of our own death. Even the children, holy and religious persons, who live soberly, righteously, and god­ly, are sometimes beset with these uncomfortable appre­hensions of Death; being now and then plagued with the remainders of an unbelieving heart, as if still Death were not subdued, as if Death had conquered Christ, and not Christ Death: The Disciples were terrified and frigh­ted, and unbelieving thoughts did arise in their hearts, Luk. 24.37, 38. Fools, our Lord calls them, and slow of heart to believe, ver. 25. We trusted that it had been he which would have redeemed Israel, v. 21. Here their Faith flag'd, and hang'd, the wing extreamly; their Buck­ler was much battered, and stood in need of beating out again. Weakness of Faith gives strength to our Fears, and doth both greaten and multiply them upon us. Faith is not without its Conflict with sadness of Spirit, and carnal fears; Amalek sometimes is too hard for Israel, and the House, of Saul frequently prevails over the House of David.

[Page 26]3. This Fear proceeds from want of serious meditati­on on Death, and due preparation for it.

Our negligence and sloath in not finishing that Work which God has put into our hands to do, way well make us loath to come to an account with our Lord. Bad Stewards are afraid of a Reckoning; and Death coming thus suddenly, puts all into Confusion: Suddenness and fear are joyned together, Prov. 3.25. Suddenness of De­struction is the description of a doleful and fearful Estate. When men have laid in no Antidotes and Cordials against Death, then, like Nabal, their Hearts die before they do. This was Davids Case, Psal. 39. ult. O spare me. Stay a little, that I may get strength to combat with this Adver­sary. The best are too backward in their preparations for this Encounter with this grim and gastly Enemy, and therefore are not without their fears; But oh! who can express that great fearfulness which needs must surprise Unregenerate men, who are clapping many Stings into their Deaths by their repeated and continued Sins; they take pains to make their End uneasie, and with their Vi­ces dress up Death in a terrible Vizard to affright them. What ease can they live at, whose Souls this Night may be turned out of their soft Beds where now they lye securely snorting, into a Bed of Flames? one would think, these Men should eat their Bread with trembling, and the thoughts of their danger should keep them waking. There is no wonder, that a sinful Cause should produce a sinful Effect; and that Mens Terrors should be increased with their Offences. Every wicked man must look Death in the face, with pale cheeks. It was a Copy of Julians countenance, but not of his dying one, when he said, Vitam repescenti naturae tanquam debitor bonae fidei redditurus exulto. What Solomon speaks of Pro­phane mens merry living, That even in laughing their heart is sorrowful, Prov. 14.13. is very applicable to their [Page 27] Dying condition, their heart gives their mouth the Lye.

Indeed, sometimes like furious Gamesters, they throw up their Cards, not out of any dislike of gaming, but of their Games; they are rather discontented with Life, than contented with Death; but yet such reassume their Play, and go on afresh; and so do these Passionate Fools upon second thoughts, eat their words, and unwish their wishes. Such are like to Gaal in his drink, Judg. 9.27. He cursed Abimileeh when he was at a great distance; speaks very contemptibly of him, brags how he would use him, if he had him in his Clutches, ver. 29. But up­on Abimelechs appearance, his courage was cooled, his heart sunk into his heels, for he fled before him, ver. 40. Mens sins will one time or other sink their spirits, and make their Death dreadful; and that upon account,

1. Of the guilt that is in sin. To apprehend sin un­pardoned, amazes and confounds, and therefore God's Arrest by Death, must make the knees smite, and strike one against another, Belshazzar like, who could not hold his joynts still.

2. Of the filth in sin. The defilement of it is so great, that it makes the sinner startle. Such squalid and nasty sights, must needs occasion the turning away of our Eyes. Who can look upon them, and live? The Sinner often sinks and drops at the view of his Lusts; they have a kil­ling Aspect.

4. Excessive love of Life, and of this World, begets immoderate fear of Death. When Mens hearts are so closely united to Creature-comforts, they cannot be torn from them without much violence and pain. What we over love in the Enjoyment, we over-fear in the Appre­hensions of its loss. A Child that has tasted much of the Breast, cannot be pulled from it without much crying: Things glued together, are seldom parted, without tearing or breaking. If thy Portion is onely in this Life, thou [Page 28] art utterly undone when it is ended, and who can blame a man for fearing the loss of his All?

It is a Canonical Truth, though in the Apocryphal Wri­tings, O death, how bitter is the remembrance of thee to a man that liveth at rest in his possessions! Eccles. 40.1. How sad a sight is a Hand writing on the Wall to a Belshaz­zar in his Cups? To a rich man dreaming of his goods laid up for many years, how sad and confounding must that voice be, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be re­quired of thee? Luk. 12.20. It was a wise and Christi­an Speech of Charles the Fifth, to the Duke of Venice, who Hezekiah-like, shewed him the Glories of his Throne and Palace, his great Wealth and Riches; Haec sunt quae faciunt invitos mori, These are the things that make us loath to Dye.

5. This fear is frequently occasioned by too much care­lesness about our worldly Affairs; I mean, the neglect of a provident, timely setting our House in order, and adjourning this necessary and hard Work to the dregs of our Age. That which should be the living Mans care, is too often the dying Man's task: The ending of our Accounts with Men, and the beginning of our Ac­counts with God, are both of them generally put off to the inconvenient season of a Death-bed! To reckon with God and Man at once, is too hard a Province for a sick and languishing sinner. Many more Grounds might be assigned, I shall add but one more.

6. The breach of former sick-bed Vows and Re­solutions, when we were in fear of Death, renders men more fearful when once they come in sight of it.

The Answer is not amiss which Theodoricus, Bishop of Coleine gave to the Emperor Sigismund, upon his inqui­ty, which way he might best get to Heaven: If thou walk­est (said the Bishop) so as thou didst promise under thy [Page 29] painful fit of the Stone. Our Extremity commonly ren­ders us holy, and our Pain is prodigal of those Vows, which our ease is niggardly of performing. We daily see desperation making those Votaries, who in their health were the loosest Libertines. Were it essential to Health, thus to debauch us, it would make a good man out of love with it. It were better to be always Sick, than for our Health to maks us Irreligious. Let us pray to God to remedy this Sickness of our Health and to bless us rather with sanctified afflictions, than curse us with unsanctified prosperity.

I now am to speak to the third Particular, and that by way of Use and Application.

3. To give some Prescriptions and Remedies, by way of Antidote and Defence against the Fears of Death. It was one of the defects which the Learned Verulam, (In his advancement of Learning,) found in our Physitians, that they do not study those Rmedies, which might procure an Euthanasy, an easie passage to their Patients (since they must needs dye) thorough the Gates of Death. Such helps must be left (saith Bishop Hall) to the care of the skilful Sages of Nature, the use whereof must be with great caution; lest while they endeavour to swee­ten Death, they shorten Life. My work at present, is to prescribe spiritual helps to an easie and comfortable departure out of the houling Wilderness of this World, to make the Grave-bed soft, that we may lye down in Peace there, and descend to those dark Chambers with as great desire, as a weary Traveller lies down to Sleep. The neglect of looking to this while we live, is the cause why Death comes on so many as a Snare, as amongst many other, it did on Caesar Borgia (the wicked Son of a worse Father, viz. Pope Alexander the sixth) who meeting Death in that Cup of Poyson, which he had pre­pared for others, cried out with great Consternation un­der [Page 30] this terrible Surprise. Adversus omnia pericula me munivi praeter quam mortem: That he had armed himself against all casualties, excepting Death, for of that he never thought. Amazing and deplorable inconsidera­tion! that men should find time to think of all things, but those which do most nearly concern them! that Hea­ven and Hell, Death and Judgment, should then only come into mens thoughts, when they have nothing else to think of. How solicitous are we to fortifie our selves against external evils, timely engaging against Sickness and Poverty, Banishment and Imprisonment, Cold and Hunger, Shame and Scandal, but laying little or no­thing up against the evil day? Death comes and seizes most with a heavy hand, because so little is done to bear up against it. Take notice here of the excellency of the Christian Doctrine, which affords beyond all other Professions, the greatest relief in this way. Some Phy­losophers have essayed upon comforts of this Nature; and Epicurus tells us, if a wise man were to burn in Pha­laris Bull, he might say, Dulcae est, & ad me nihil pertinet. But these were empty brags, and founded on some prin­ciples, of which we may say, (as Job to his Friends) Ye are miserable comforters; such as these,

1. Premeditation on it before it comes; others reje­cted this as much, because it made a man miserable be­fore he was so. Meer apprehensions of it to them (whow wamed the Divine Oracles) signified little to lighten their burden.

2. Others supported themselves with the thoughts of necessity, and inevitable fate, and many such like con­siderations. But alas, tho Philosophy has been stiled ani­mi medicina; yet their Precepts in reference to comfort, have been compared to the influence of the Moon, which doth rather rotten, then ripen, in respect of the Suns influence. They were ignorant of Christ the Prince of [Page 31] Peace, of the holy Paraclete and Comforter, and unac­quainted with the Life of Faith. They knew not how with Ignatius, to invite the Cross and Fire, Breaking on the Rack, Quartering of Members, and all the Torments that either Men or Devils could invent. When the Em­peror threatned St. Basil with Death, O that it might come, was his ready and chearful reply. When Eudoxa the Empress threatned Chrysostome; he sent her word, Nihil praeter peccatum timeo: he feared Gods wrath, (be­cause of his Sins) but not at all her. These are the men that tread on the Lion, the Asp, and the Adder. And that we may be enabled to do the like, take these fol­lowing Directions; these comforts and consolations of Gods own Prescription in the Holy Scriptures, which as far exceed all Philosophical Remedies, as the Sun doth a Glow-worm. I am constrained to be short in them, and must leave it to you, to blow every blossom into a Flower.

1. Direct. Rectify your Apprehensions and Opinions of Death. Is not thy fear of it grounded upon a mistake? Fears are apt to agravate evils.Mors nomen tantum fidelibus. vitae via Bern. Omnibus finis, multis remedi­um, non nullis votum. Levis est dolor si nihil opinio adjecerit. We fright our selves with Images and Idaeas of evils, and dress up Bug bears and Mormoes to Torment our selves withal. Christ himself walking up­on the Waters, was by the Disciples trembled at as a dreadful Apparition. It may be thou lookest on Death, as some utter Abolition and Extinction of thy Being. Remember 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 thy fathers in peace. It is but a going away, not a perishing; and not a going to wo and misery, but a comfortable going to our Fathers. It is hence called, the way of all the earth, Josh. 23.14. Christ intimates his Death under this Notion; It is expe­dient for you that I go away, John 16.7. Death is a [Page 32] journeying from one Region to another. See in what fa­miliar terms God conferred with Moses about his Death, Deut. 32.49, 50. Get thee up into this mountain, and die in the mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy people. Death it self is so embalmed and cloathed in the Holy Scriptures, that there is even a sweetness and beauty in it: therefore called an uncloathing, a putting off the flesh. He that has wore his Cloathes long, till they are foul and nasty, will he not willingly strip him­self to put on a fresh Suit?

Children fear their nearest Relations, and best Friends, when they appear under a disguise to them; but when their Vizard is taken off, they rejoice at their pre­sence.

To sweeten our departure to us, it is called a rest and sleep. Is there any hurt in that? Would not a man tired out with a long days work, gladly go to bed? Under these Notions we may bury all fearful thoughts of Death. Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep, John 11.11. What more desirable and refreshing than a good nights rest? Sleep is the Nurse of Nature, the sweet Parenthesis of all our Griefs and Cares. Cloathe thy Death therefore in a Scripture dress, and this will help to allay the bitterness, and beautifie the deformity of it. Sleep is a short Death, and Death is but a long Sleep. The Babylonians are threatned with death, under the name of a long sleep, Jer. 51.57. They shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King whose name is the Lord of Hosts. It is a Judgment to be cast into a sleep like death, but a Mercy that Death is like a sleep: Nay, death is not a perpetual sleep: A good man when he has done his work, falls asleep, and awakes in the great morning of the Resurrection to re­ceive his wages.

[Page 33]Hence the Grave is call'd a Bed, Isa. 57.2. It is Gods Ark and Chest, wherein he keeps the Bodies of his Saints, and he will open this Cabinet in the great day of the Resurrection, and take his Jewels out; he will scowre and furbish them up again, making their vile Bo­dies like unto the glorious body of Christ.

The Jews call the Grave, Beth Chaiim, i. e. The house of the living; and when they return from the Burial of their Friends, they pluck up the grass, and cast it into the Air, using those words of the Psalmist, Psal. 72.16. They shall flourish like the grass of the earth.

The Greeks call their Church yards, Dormitories, Sleep­ing places; and the Germans (say some) call them God's-acre, because their Bodies are sown there, to be raised again, Be not then daunted with the gloomy thoughts of a total dissolution; no, it is but a little intermission, a disappearance for a while, a short and sweet nap in their Beds, which are warmed and perfumed for them by Christ's Body laid in the Grave, with whom also they look to Rise to Eternal Life. And this leads me forward to the

2. Dir. Be established in that weighty and great Doctrine of the Resurrection. Soul and Body, old Companions, part but for a while. Thou art not so sure to arise in the Morning, when thou liest down at Night, as thou art to awake at that day. 1 Thes. 4.14. For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him. What an Anti­dote is this against the worst of Death? That Christ who did arise from the Dead, shall come again, and bring all his with him in Glory? These Scripture Con­solations come home to the very heart, which the Philo­sophical ones did not, (being in Tullies Phrase, Medicine morbo imbecilliores;) well therefore might the Apostle [Page 34] call on them, to chear up, and comfort one another with such words of truth, ver. ult.

The Courage and Constancy of the Jewish Martyrs was such on this account, that they would not accept of De­liverance in their Tortures, that they might obtain a bet­ter Resurrection, Heb. 11.35. The Resurrection they knew would recruit, and recompence them.

Lucian called the Christians miserable Caitiffs, for be­ing stout to the Death, in the belief of this Doctrine; on the same account, all wise and good people must pro­nounce them of all men then most happy. Remember what God said to Jacob, Gen. 46.3. Fear not to go down into Egypt: for ver. 4. I will go down with thee, and I will also surely bring thee up again.

3. Dir. Remember Death is the common condition and lot of all mankind. Now what reason hast thou to be troubld when (as Joshua expresses it) thou goest the way of all the earth? If all Travel this Road, art thou so foolish, as to think, there should be a by-path for thee to go alone? None can Redeem his Brothers, no not his own Life, from Death. Monarchs, Emperors, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, have trod this Tract; nay, Christ him­self: why then dost thou fear to follow such a glorious Company? Grudg if thou wilt, that thou art a Man; grudg not that being a Man, thou must die. Where are the Fathers of old? Do the Prophets live for ever? This is the Kings high-way, and the Beggars also. You tread no untrodden Tract; You are not the first set out this way, nor will be the last. Thou dost not break the Ice first.

4. Direct. Familiarize Death in thy thoughts. This familiarity with it, will breed contempt of it. Men lit­tle think of Dying, therefore are the terrors of Death so stinging. Plato perswading to the thoughts of Death, [Page 35] defined true Philosophy to be a Meditation of Death Even Tygers and Lions, which at their first sight affright, by frequent viewing abate their terror. Look it often in the Face, and thou wilt sooner be reconciled to its hard Features, and grim Countenance. Bid Death to thy Board, to thy Bed, to thy Closet, to thy Counting house, and thy Shop, walk with him in thy Garden, as Joseph of Arimathea did. Dye daily in your Thoughts and Me­ditations, and when you come to it actually, you will die more delightfully. It is for want of these thoughts, that mens Souls are chased out by Violence, rather than yielded up to God in Obedience.

5. Direct. Ponder on the happy advantage of your disso­lution. This is a large Cluster, and I cannot tarry to give it you Grape by Grape.

1. Death will give thee a freedom from all evil, Whe­ther of Sin or Sorrow; cure all your Diseases and Infir­mities, dry up all your tears. When the stroke is once struck, adieu then to the Temptaions of Satan, the rage of Persecutors, distempers of Mind, deformities of Body, disgrace of Name, unfaithfulness of Friends, undutifulness of Children, loss of Estate, and whatever else makes life bitter. Didst never cry out, who should deliver thee, with the Apostle? Rom. 7.24. and art troubled when a Liberate is sent? Art afraid to Land after such Storms and Tempests? How many have desired Death, nay sinfullly destroyed their Lives, to deliver themselves from Griefs, Fears, Wants and Pains? 'Tis true, he Sins highly that goes away out of this World, before God calls him; yet who would refuse to go, when once he is call'd?

2. It will put thee into possession of thine Inheritance. I desire to depart, and to be with Christ. Who would tar­ry so long from his dear Lord, that might have passage to him? When the Heathen Socrates was to dye for his [Page 36] Religion, he was greatly comforted at his Death, with this, that he should go to the place where he should meet Orphous, Homer, Hesiod, and many other Worthies of the former Ages: Had he but known Christ, the or­der of Cherubim and Seraphim, Angels, glorified Saints, Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, Confessors, our Fathers, Mothers, near Relations, and dear Friends, and the rest of the glorious Heirarchy of Heaven, he would then doubtless have taken down his deadly draught of Hemlock with greater relish and satisfa­ction.

The Proto-Martyr Stephen triumphed over Death, when he saw the Heavens opened, and the Son of man stand­ing on Gods right hand. Faith will help to the same beatifical Vision and Prospect. It is pleasant to the eyes to behold the Sun; but the Sun is as darkness, and alto­gether useless in that Kingdom of Glory, Rev. 21.23. Rev. 22.3, 4, 5. If David in the Wilderness so impa­tiently thirsted to appear before the living God in an earthly Jerusalem; how earnestly should we long to see his glory in the heavenly one? Psal. 42. The glimps of his back parts was as much as Moses might behold, yet that put a shining glory on his Face; what will it be then to see him face to face? The glimps of Christ in his transfiguration ravished Three Apostles who beheld it: St. Pauls Vision, that did wrap him up in the third Hea­vens, advanced him above the rest of mankind; but the beatifical Vision of the Glory of the Great God, far ex­cels all. This leads me to the next particular.

6. Direct. Renew your familiarity with the blessed ones above. Remember that great Army of God, (The souls of the just from Adam till now) are all got safe thorough this dead Sea, and are triumphing in Heaven already, and that there are but a few straglers in the end of the World [Page 37] left behind, and then which part do you desire to be with? But especially remember that Jesus your head is entred into the Heavens before you, and is preparing a place for you, not being willing to be there without your company. He would have you there to behold his Glo­ry; and do not these considerations provoke you to covet to be united to that heavenly Quire above, which incessantly Sing (not resting either day or night) that melodious Anthem to him that sits on the Throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever, of blessing and honour, and glory, and power, Rev. 5.13. Many more things might be added by way of Direction, but I shall add but this one more, tho the most considerable and important.

7. Direct. Act faith on the death of Christ: Here is the main prop and pillar of comfort. Who would have dared to dye, had not our Lord dyed first? he has ta­ken away, the Sting of Death; what harm can there be in a stingless Snake? He hath cut the lock of Sin, where the strength of Death lay. Hosea 13.14. O Death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: Christ hath happily triumphed over it, both for himself and thee; his precious Blood has altered its Complexion, and turn'd its pale Face into a beautiful Sanguine: Our Redeemer having unstung it, we may safely put it into our Bosomes; It is an Enemy indeed, but a Conquered and disarm'd one. Dost dread an Enemy Vanquish'd to thy hand, and sprawling at thy feet? Hath David killed this great and formidable Goliah, and shall not trembling Israel reco­ver their Spirits, and up, and pursue the Philistines? Shall a Conquered Enemy disanimate the Conquerors? Re­member and revive, O Christian; The Captain of thy Salvation has not onely destroyed, but sanctified the Grave to thee, and perfumed the dust thereof with his [Page 38] own body. What comfortable words are those, Because I live, ye shall live also, John 14.19. The Grave that otherwise affords but a noysom smell, smells sweet ever since the Rose of Sharon, and the Lily of the Vallies lay in it. This dark hole is made lightsome, ever since that true Light, (for a time Eclipsed) shone out of it. Thus our Sampson has found an honey-comb in the Car­case of this Lion. Christ is the Lion of the Tribe of Ju­dah, from whose Death, as from a plentiful Breast, we may suck abundance of sweetness. His Sepulchre is the most fragrant knot in Joseph's Garden: your thoughts cannot be dyed into a richer Colour than the meditation of Christ Crucified. As St. Paul always did bare about in his Body, so do you in your Minds, the dying of the Blessed Jesus: Assure your selves, the pale face of Death will look ruddy, when you cast this blood of sprinkling on it.

This should arm the Heirs of Life, against the fear of Death. We read Cant. 3.7, 8. The valiant of Israel have their swords on their thighs because of fear in the night. Night strikes men into fears; especially, the Night of Death; but gird this Sword on thy Thigh, get a living Faith in thy Heart, and all the fears of Death will not dead it.

This should teach us to give Praise and Thanks to our Lord and Master. How did the Philistines rejoyce, when they had got Sampson in their hands? Judg. 16.23, 24. Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together, for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoyce: for they said, Our god hath delivered Sampson our enemy into our hand. And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.

What Lebanon is sufficient to burn? Or what Cattel [Page 39] on a Thousand Hills for a Sacrifice? What Hecatombs of Praise and Service are due to our great God and Sa­viour? Who hath delivered the Destroyer both of our Souls and Bodies into our hands; and us out of his; who hath slain, not onely many of us, but either hath, or will make havock of us all, heaps upon heaps, and that far more and greater than ever Sampson did of the Philistines. Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to our most mighty and merciful God and Saviour be all the praise and glory given, who hath translated us from under the power of sin and death, into the kingdom of his dear Son.

HAving finished one Text, it may be expected I should speak on another, viz. Our deceased Brother, who is the doleful occasion of this days solemnity I acknowledg I have not been much used to Funeral Encomiasticks; and when I consider that this kind of Work is not without much hazard, I do the more unwillingly engage in it. Relations will think too little is spoke, others too much. The task is hard, when on one hand I may be censured to give a faint and mean Character, and on the other hand I may be thought to over do it, and be Parasitical. I ac­knowledg it (and shall endeavour to avoid it) That it is too common on these occasions to Saint all at their Death, who expressed little of sanctity in their lives. It was said of Julian, Idoneus erat dicere Panegyricum dia­bolo. He was fit to Canonize the Devil; and I have read that Bruno an Italian did it. This should make us wary in Discourses of this Nature: But where there is real worth, and deeds praise-worthy are to be found, to deny the scattering a few flowers on the Hearse of such a Person, would be injustice both to the living and the dead. There is a generation of men, whose eyes are [Page 40] mostly fixed on the dark sides and blemishes of their Brethren, and chuse to represent them to be such always, as possibly they once might find them to be in some par­ticular circumstance of their lives. Concerning such, I shall say no more, than that there are in the world such things to be found, as Envy, Pride, Detraction, evil Surmising, Malice, and Rancour, which like smoak is al­ways driven upon the fairest Faces. I am not so partial as to believe our deceased Brother to have lived without his Humanities and Frailties (let such who have escaped them, throw Stones at him); yet God kept him from the immoralities and gross pollutions of the times and places wherein he lived. Good and wise men have ge­nerally determined, That it is more pardonable to praise a worthy person, even beyond his merits, than to be always rakeing with the nail in the sores of others, who may justly deserve our reproof and correction. They are two equal guilts, to detract from an enemy; and to lavish and be pro­digal in the commendation of a Friend I hope there is no one here that scruples the commending of the dead, tho our Age abounds with many of that humour, who little scruple the calumniating both dead and living. I am in a streight betwixt two, having much to object both a­gainst speaking, and being silent: yet I must not deny our Brother the Justa defunctorum, the rights and dues of the dead; I shall say but little, and that (as near as may be) with­in the compass of my own Knowledg and Observation. Sorry I am, to be an Actor in this mournful Scene; it might better become, and better be done by some other; but providence has made it my task to perform this last Office of love.

We are met to solemnize the Funerals of ROBERT HƲNTINGTON Esq, a Gentleman as generally beloved as known, who lived much desired, and dies much lamented. My business is not to tell you, he descended [Page 41] from an ancient and worthy Family, that is the work of the Herald, not of the Preacher, and those Escutcheons on his Hearse sufficiently tell that; my task is to blazon a more noble Coat, and to give you those good grounds of hope which we have of his new and better Birth, which are these following.

He was not only a Frequent, but a Reverent hearer of Gods Word, not easily detained from the publick Ordi­nances, as we sadly observe in this profane Age many are, who question the Gentility of that man, who goes to Church more than once on Gods day, reckoning him the best bred, and most modish, who is for three Meals a day in his own house, and either none, or but one at most in Gods. O sad and deplorable Age we live in! that by how much the lesser any man lives like a Christian, to be reckoned so much the better Gentleman! If this be the Character of one well bred, and well born, I am sure our Brother must not have it, for he with his, went to the Habitation of Gods Holiness, and the place where Gods honour dwelleth.

He was an Honourer and Encourager of a Religious Mi­nistry; I have often heard him speak of such who were diligent and faithful in that sacred Office, with great Te­stimony of respect and veneration, as well knowing the bringing their Persons and Function into disrespect, was the ready way (already attempted by the Debauchees of this Age) to bring their Doctrine into contempt. He valued those most, who preached most to the Hearts and Consciences of a Sinner, and never disliked a good Ser­mon because it did not keep time with the glass.

With much sense he expressed his dislike of seeing the Pulpit converted into a Stage, wherein men vented their Heats and Singularities, and discovered more of Spleen, Pride and Passion, than of being inspired with the Spirit of that Holy Jesus, in whose Name they pretend to come, [Page 42] and whose mind they profess to Reveal and Preach. He judged that Doctrine to be good, which tended to make men so, and much abhorred gingling and quibbling, af­fected Cadencies of Words, and all frothiness and levity of expression, conceited, fashionable, and phantastical Phrases; he best like those Discourses which pressed most a holy and strict life in these licentious and profane days, and Catholick and Universal Charity in these di­stracted, and divided times; such which urged men to be at peace with God, and one another. It was a good sign of a spiritual Appetite, that he liked more the favouriness of the Meat, than the garnishing of the Dish.

He was vir sine plicis, without foldings and twistings, a true hearted man to his Friend, a stranger to that much studied Art of flattering and hating at the same time.

In his Converse and Friendship, Cordial and Faithful, without baseness, or low dissimulation.

I boldly affirm him a man free from revenge. I say not, but he had a sense of personal injuries, and especially of those that reflected on his name; principally, when they proceeded from those who had good names themselves. What others said, he dispised, but often wished he had been better understood by some; and that he was not, he bore as his misfortune; yet would not requite them with the like measure, but mentioned them with all due re­spect, being always ready to oblige them, and to do them good. Tho he was a man naturally of a great spirit and courage, of that personal valour, as if nothing but Steel had gone to his composition, his eyes being shut a­gainst all impressions of fear and terror; yet no man more gentle, or easie to be intreated, more yielding or desi­rous of reconciliation, of which I could give very preg­nant instances.

I must not omit his exemplary Charity. It was of the right stamp, constant and private, I knew it to be dif­fusive [Page 43] and large, and very far from Ostentation. As he did not rob himself, (for I count every Miser a thief to his own Body), so neither did he rob the poor. Oppression, or withholding the hire of the Labourer will never come with­in his Indictment. What estate God blessed him with, was neither procured or enlarged by defrauding or over­reaching his neighbour. Whilst he was a House-keeper and Master of a Family, he reckoned more belonged to his Table, than they that slept under his Roof, and therefore with his own hand first divided and sent a Portion to them, before he took his own: And (which I think was hardly known to any but my self), he did as duly furnish one purse with money, to distribute amongst the indigent (tho not begging poor), as he filled another for his ordinary Expences, and made their Dividend equal with his own. The Age we live in, hath much of the Lamp of Profession, but little of the Oyl of Charity. 'Tis the sin and curse of many rich Earth-worms to have with a flourishing Estate, a withered Hand, which they stretch not forth to good uses. It was a startling and rousing passage of St. Chrysostome, Feed the hungry while you live, that you feed not the fire of Hell when you die. 'Tis sad to drink in a full Cup our selves, and not to let one drop to fall beside, to refresh the bowels of a poor neighbour.

What he was in his relative capacity, you his Children and Servants can bear me witness that I speak the truth, and lie not, when I affirm him to have been a tender, compassi­onate and provident Father; and a worthy, kind, and gen­tle Master; a good friend, and no bad enemy. Report gives him an honourable Pass. The Voice of all (as far as it reaches my ears) proclaims him a useful good man, a true friend, a just person, of a most obliging Conversation, having plea­santness of spirit, without levity; freedom and affability of carriage, yet still with gravity.

[Page 44]Of what use he was in his publick Station, will best be discovered hereafter; you will know how great the tree that's fall'n was, by the vacuity or void place it leaves behind it, which every slight stick of wood will not supply and fill up.

In short, he lived to a good old Age, he came up to the Standard of Moses, Threescore years and ten, and now is gathered to his Fathers, we hope. For not only Charity, but common reason thinketh no evil, where it findeth so many Evidences of good. I close all with a word of Advice and Counsel, as knowing these Solemnities are not ad juvandas animas, as a great Cardinal upon his single Affidavit would require us to believe; nor are they mortuorum adjutoria, as a great Schoolman would perswade us; but they are vivo­rum solatia & documenta, They call upon us to read our own dissolution in this of our Brothers.

Anatomists and Physitians advantage themselves by the Dissection of dead Bodies: So may we by this gloomy Pro­vidence improve our skill in the two great Arts, of living Godly, and dying Blessedly. Tho the occasion of this As­sembling together is Mournful, yet the fruit will be Com­fortable, if we who survive are forwarded in our preparati­on for our change, and do something towards our chearful repose in the Grave, without distracting Fears of that King of Terrors; and since no ingredients in the shop of Nature, are sufficiently Cordial to fortifie the heart against this ghashly Enemy, or his Harbingers; it will be no less our Wisdom and Interest, than it is our Duty and Obligation to provide our selves with them, out of that Divine Labo­ratory of the sacred Scriptures, where in great abundance, and on easie terms they are tendred to us, by him who is the God of all Consolations.

FINIS.

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