CHRISTIAN Geography and Arithmetick Or a True Survey of the WORLD: Together with the right Art of numbring our dayes therein. Being the Substance of some SERMONS Preached in Bristol:

By THOMAS HARD CASTLE Minister to a particular Congregation there.

1 Cor. 7.29.

[...], opportunity is furled up as a sail.

Psa. 39.4, 5.

Lord make me to know mine, end and the measure of my dayes what it is, that I may know how frail I am

Behold, thou hast made my dayes as an hand breadth, and mine age is as nothing before thee; every Man at his best E­state is altogether vanity.

London, Printed for Richard Chiswel at the Rose and Crown in Pauls Church Yard. 1674.

To my Honoured and worthy Friends, Mr. John Smith, and his beloved consort, Mrs. Anne Smith at Bat­tersee.

BY prefixing your names, the World will easily suppose me under great ob­ligations to you, though it is as far from my design, to give, as I know it is from your de­sire, to receive flattering expressi­ons. A few Weeks ago I thought [Page] my self far enough from making use of your Names, or any ones else in this kind. The sence of that Pro­vidence A dange­rous fall at a Trap-door which you met with, when you were last at Bristol (which did so suddenly bring you even to the Gates of Death, and almost as speedily restored you again) did give conception to the most of these Psa. 90.12. meditations: and because your urgent affairs prevented you of the opportunity of hearing them Preached, I was willing you should have a sight of them, that they might be your monitor and keep you company; the best stand in need of their Memento Mori's: for whichpurpose I began to transcribe them, intending nothing more than your, private view; but continually & Bramham Toulston Oglethorp Ceeds Shadwel Wakefield sternuously followed with these considerations which daily increas­ed upon me, and would not be a­voided, viz. That I had many [Page] Friends in Yorkshire, Pontefract Hull Beverly Langlon Thoraby York Barwick in Elmet &c. where I drew my first Natural and Spiritual Breath, for whom I have endear­ed affections, and whom I have daily in my remembrance; that the first fruits of my Ministry was sown among them; that I had spent some years there in several Places, Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom, the Lord having made my poor Endeavours use­ful to some: and especially that I ought not to forget, how Satan envying the Conversion of Souls, and that the Lord Jesus should have any Publick Worship, did stir up some of his Instruments (Persecutors and Apostates) se­veral times for some Years to­gether to Molest us, Fine us, Im­prison us, and Impoverish us; al­so how Graciously the Lord was pleased to manifest himself in our Assemblies, and so by his Spirit [Page] wonderfully to support, strengthen and incourage us under losses & long confinements, that through Divine assistance we were enab­led to hold on in the Lord's way to the last; those that gave us trouble being in the issue, either weary of their own Work, or convinc­ed of the honesty of our's, and the integrity of our Hearts therein: that these my Fellow-sufferers to­gether with all the rest that did sympathize with us, and remem­ber us in our bonds, as bound with us, should be under some visible Character of my cordial Love, and seeing the Providence of God had for the present set me at so great a distance from them, that I was utterly disabled from doing or receiving good among them, I should put something into their hands, which might stir up their pure minds by way of remem­brance. [Page] I knew no more Useful Lesson to recommend to them, 2 Pet. 3.1. than this of Right Numbring their Dayes, which may put them upon a serious consideration of their dayes past, a due improvement of the present, and an Holy prepara­tion for those few and evil ones that are remaining.

I am also made in this small undertaking, to have a sin­cere respect to the Members of that Antient and Honourable society (whereof you are now a member) formerly walking with Mr. Henry Jessy where for some time;Now un­der the care of Mr. Jam. Fit­ten my old Friend & Fellow suf­ferer and and Mr. Hen. Forte I did enjoy Comfortable Communion, till the Providence of God removed me thence.

And now I know that you will not be troubled, that you have been the occasion, and made way for me, that I might discover some of that true Love I have for my old Friend (and [Page] Native Countrey) whose Souls I hope I could serve with laying down my own Life. But that I may not grow tedious to you, I shal only further tel you what I lat­ly heard of you, from the mouth of a Judicious Christian, who hath many years been intimately ac­quainted with you, both before and since your (signal) Conversi­on:Mr. Smith is an ho­nest Man with all his faults. more need not be said of the, best Saint in the World, and less cannot be said of the weakest; I confess I was much taken with the expression, and therefore mention it not only, because it is inoffen­sive (having neither flattery nor reflexion in it, both which I loath) but because it may be of use to some; if he had said you had been an honest Manwithout faults, or but with a few; or if he had said, that he is a Man blessed with rare accomplishments, ad­mirable [Page] endowments, he can speak with the tongue of Angels, he hath the gift of Prophecy, and un­derstands all Mysteries, and all Knowledge, he is willing to be­stow all his goods to feed the Poor, and is ready (if need be) to give his Body to be burned &c. 1 Cor. 13.1, 2, 3. But he hath one Fault, I should have liked it leaft of al, for, it would have looked like that in 2 Kin. 5.1. Now Naaman Captain of the Host of the King of Syria, was a great Man with his Master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria; he was also a mighty Man in valour, but be was a Lepert: Or like the young Man in the Go­spel, whom Jesus kissed, and his Neighbours applauded, but he lacked one thing, Mark 10.21. It seems the Righteous Man with his seven falls a day remains an upnight [Page] Man; for, he doth not fall willing­ly, he rifeth again speedily by Re­pentance, and he mourns daily o­ver his many humane frailties and infirmities: David, and Job, and peter, Were honest men with all their faults, though if the least i­niquity be allowed and indulged, no Man can be an honest man with all his good Works, and Religicus performances. But Sincerity is a Grace of that excellent Nature, and universal inflaence, that it gives Life, reality and a beautiful com­plexion to all other Graces; it un­stings infirmities in the sight of men; and (through the merits of Christ) gives boldness to transgres­sing Sinners, to draw near to the King of Heaven, not only with ex­pectation of acceptance,Pro. 11.20. Heb. 10.22 but of complacency and great delight.

Lastly, For you (Mrs. Smith my dear Friend) I have only this to say to [Page] you, that I am perswaded your Soul's in a good state for all your fears and complaints of a treache­rous and unbelieving Heart, which are incident to the best of Saints, and which the Lord somtimes for reasons suffers them to be attended with more than some weaker Chri­stians. That you both may grow in Grace, and especially in the Life of Believing, and be found still in the exercise of those good Works, (as the Lord shall enable you) of Gospel Hospitality, of entertain­ing Prophers and Saints (though strangers and exiles) with your li­berality and bounty to the poor Saints and People of God, and that under that very considerati­on and denomination without more private and narrow respects: that you with all your faults, and you with all your fears may be presented blameless at the com­ing [Page] of our Lord Jesus Christ; and When your little time is ex­pired in this troublesome, rest­less Earth (whereas a Man uncan­not find a place to set his foot easily) be safely landed in uncon­ceivable and immense Eternity, shal be the constant Prayer, vvhilst time lasts, of

Your Faithful true Friend in Him that is true. T. H.

To my loving Friends the Members and Hearers of that Con­gregation, which I stand related to as Minister:

Dearly beloved Friends,

IT would seem strange if I should leave you out in this affair, since what is here published was Preached among you, and they were your Sermons in the Preaching. I have not much to Communicate to you in this manner, having so many sfea­sons of speaking to you, (blessed be [Page] God or the continuance of them) on­ly meeting with this fair opportunity, I cannot but make mention of that U­niversal and continued Affection, I have met with from you, since the Lord by his Providence brought me among you, I cannot likewise but take no­tice,(to the praise of our Lord and your incouragement) of that union Love and moderation there is among you: notwithstanding some difference in apprehension, your soundness and stedfastness in the Faith of the Gos­pel,Mat. 28.20 * [...] 1 Cor. 11.26. [...] your zeal and Love to the Name, Honour, Offices and standing Ordi­nances of the Lord Jesus in this Age, wherein he hath so many sorts of Enemies appearing against him; your peaceable dispositions, together with your readiness to suffer for, rather than run from the discharge of your Duties and Consciences towards God, when Persecution and trouble threat­ned you, &c.

[Page]Let me exhort you to Bless the Lord for, and improve your present liberty; pray that those whom the Lord hath made to see it their interest not to fall out with Religi­on, may come to see it their chief concern to fall in with it prepare for worse times, and endeavour to see your own sins to be the procu­ring cause of them; make trial what influence the right measuring and spending of time will have upon the power of Godliness which is so much decayed. Be careful to grow in Grace, and go on as it is your true de­sire, to strengthen Christianity yet more in its more principal and vital parts, keeping up Communion with God in serious meditation and servant Pray­er giving Religion an honourable and chief respect in your Families; daily renewing Acts of Faith and Repentance, watching carefully over the Tongue: looking well to the [Page] Hand's that they over-reach not, nor withhold more than is meet; to the feet and conversations that they be preserved without grieving and offending slips and falls, &c. Fi­nally, pray for me earnestly that I may approve my self a Work-man that need not be ashamed; If you would feel my Sermons, let me feel your Prayers, and be helpt by them. I shall conclude with that needful ad­monition, Revel. 16.15. From which I have lately Discoursed largely to you, Behold I come as a thief, blessed is he that watcheth and keepeth his Garments, lest he walk naked and men see his shame. That you may stand compleat in all the will of God and be kept by his Power through Faith unto Salva­tion, is the constant prayer; and through Divine assistance, shall be the Hearty Endeavour of

Your faithful (though unworthy) Servant in the Work of the Gospel. T. H.

To Young Men.

THis little piece may be of use to you to carry in your poc­kets, and read a few lines in it every day; you that think your time is before you, may yet have out-lived, and left your season be­hind you. You have had many powerful Sermons Preached to you, many excellent Treatises de­dicated to you, many servent Prayers put up to the Lord on your behalf, many loud calls and grave admonitions from God, your Pa­rents, Masters and Relations; and if you could but see your time to be pretious, it would make all effe­ctual for the welfare of your Souls and Bodies, your true Honour here and Glory hereafter. Are [Page] not you found sometimes in the practice of some things, for which the Lord of time never created any time save a reckoning time? can you rationally conceive that God ever made any time for Idleness, for Drinking, for Gaming, for vain sporting and pleasure, for dancing, for frothy, (or filthy) communication, for unruly passi­ons, or any uncomely behaviour? I shall only recommend those two known words of Solomon, Rejoice (at your utmost peril) and Eccl. 11.9. Eccl. 12.9. Re­member (for your unspeakable be­nefit.) The Lord help you to give to him your early and morning time and strength, he will take it kindly, and reward you Honour­ably.

Farewel.

A PREFACE TO THE READER,

Christian Reader,

IF the shortness, swiftness, and im­portance of time were well weighed, what a change should we see in the World! That Men may make truer and better measures of it, than they have done is the honest design of this small Treatise. I have sometimes thought that if persons would consider their words before they speak them, and view their Actions before they do them, and value their time before they lay it out, what examplary Christians would they be found! Thou wilt find herein some account of that expression of Job, Man that is born of a Woman is of [Page] few dayes and full of trouble, Job. 4.1. some dis­coveries of that large influence, the right numbring of our dayes has upon true God­liness in all the parts of it: the Discourse is calculated in an special manner, for such sincere Souls as more affect matter than phrase who desire to know only that they may practise, and place happiness not in speaking, hearings, or knowing, but in do­ing; and therefore I have gone in a plain and familiar way, consulting the weakest capacities. What good fruit should we bring forth if we laid this ground, that the pleasures of sin, and worldly grievan­ces are but for a season! what good seed would be sown for our Eternal welfare and being in the World to come! I could tell thee of strange effects, which the true con­sideration of the transitoriness of this Life, the certainty of Death, together with the duration of Eternity, hath had upon Men, to put them upon laying up a good foun­dation for time to come. I would take the liberty to recommend unto thee, one or two passages of a story made use of by an emi­nent Minister long since with God, Mr. Gar. Minister at Leea's Author of the De­monstrati­on of the Resurrec­tion of Christ. Mr. Mans­field castle which together with some other remarkable ob­servation and hints of his, which I have quoted in the following work were commu­nicated to me by a good old puritan one of [Page] his hearers. One story relates the conversi­on of King Edwink about the year 600 together with his Kingdom, which contain­ed especially Yorkshire. Thus a wise Courtier of his, when he heard of a Christ, that promiseth Eternal happiness was preached unto him, reasoned with him: This present life of our's, O King, sayes he, in regard of the uncertain time that was be­fore us and shall be after us, is but like the flying of a Bird here, through your entry in at one door and presently out at another, whilst you and your Nobles in a stormy blustering day sit warm here about your Hall-fire; the poor bird for small moment of time whilst she was in your entry felt not the cold and stormy weather, but that was for a very short moment and presently she did but as it were dart through from storm to storm: so this present life of our's, is but a very short thing, but a Bird's flight through your entry, what went before and what follows after we utterly know not, and therefore if this new Doctrine bring us any more certainty, and after a short flight through this entry, can tell us how and where we shall live happy for ever: by all means let us imbrace it, this was a great motive to his conversion as also of his People.

[Page]The other passage is of the Son of an Hea­then Emperour, whom his Father, for fear he should turn Christian, laboured by all means to keep from entertaining a thought of future happiness, or of Death, or of the shortness of this Worldl's pleasures, lest hereby he should be driven to embrace the Christian Religion, that promiseth af­ter this Life, an Happiness Inheri­tance incorruptible and undefiled and that, fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for us. The Emperour that his Son should never think of any such future happiness, cansed him to be brought up in a most Glorious Palace, and attended there with gallant attendants, fresh and comely and youthful, and that he should never see nor 'bear of the miseries of this Life, as Death, old Age, Sickness, Poverty &c. to the end that he should think of nothing but the present happiness; afterwards the young Man desiring to recreate himself with going abroad, his Father appointed that the offi­cers should take order that all things irk­some and unpleasant should be removed out of the way, and that there should be no­thing but Song, and Musick, and Dance­ing, and delightful sights in his way; but upon a time through the negligence of his Officers, he espyed an old decayed writhen [Page] Man ready to drop into his Grave; where­upon being somewhat moved, he demanded what would become of that Miserable Crea­ture? Answer was returned that he should shortly Die, and be Buried in the Earth, and what shall all Men Die likewise saies he, or some only? nay all say they, all must Die; and within how many Years? Eighty or an hundred at most, and when he had heard this, it would never out of his thoughts but still he was mourning out these Words, and what shall Death also seize within such a time upon me, shall I within such a time bid sarewel to all my pleasures? why then Laughter than art mad, and Mirth what dost thou? and why should Madness be in my Heart whilst I live,Et me more me a-liquando corripiet. and after that go to the Dead, and then to have a Living Dog to be better than I a Dead Ly­on? and thus his troubled Heart coursed him with these thoughts, and would never let him res till Christianity brought him to a lively hope of that other Happiness: Now it were good, as this made him of a pa­gan a Christian, so our Hearts would course us thus to make same of us that are Chri­stians only in shew to be Christians in Power,And the Earthy house of this Tabernacle shall be dissolved. and to be Sanctified by the Spirit of Regeneration that when we fail we may be received into Everlasting Habitations: [Page] what a Madness is it counted in the foot in the Gospel [...] to say Soul set up thy Rest, when he was removed before he bad well, warmed his seat! One of the Ancients tells a Story of one whom the World did strive as it were to make Happy, he had an Healthful Body, he had pleasant Friends, fruitful Grounds, good Succes;s in all things and what else might make for his pleasure; and yet was miserable because he feared still, left all these might quickly have an end: now he was well but he could not tell whether he might not be Sick ere to morrow, now his Friends were Faithful, but &c. The Sea is not to be trusted no not when it smiles upon us, in a moment it is all in a Storm, and the same Day Ships are swal­lowed up there where they played at An­thor before. How much does it concern us to learn the meaning of that, Eccles. 7.2. Eodem die lusrunt navigia sorbent. sen. It is better to go to the House of Mourn­ing than to the House of Feasting, for that is the End of all Men, namely Death, and the Living will lay it to Heart! At the sight of the Spectacle of Mortality we will happily begin to consider how vain all the Hopes and Purposes and Desires of Men here are, that now at Death will have an End, and thereupon begin to think of some more solid and en­during [Page] Heppines how shuld we Prize the Gospel &our Religion that teach us how in this small pittance of time we may make good Provision for an Eternal and Everlas­ing state! how should our Faith and Re­pentance, and Holy Meditation and Com­munion with God, and Heavenly Mind­edness be furthered by this, and whatever it is that hath a tendency to our well-being in the World that is to come which shall never have an End! Consult Heb. 11.8, 9, 10. In the 32. Jer. 45.4, 5. of Ezekiel there are rec­koned up the flourishing and mighty Kings and Kingdoms of the Earth, Egypt and E­lam, &c. and still it is added and expres­sed of them, that though they cause their terrour in the Land of the living, yet they are gone into the Nethermost Parts of the Earth; though by our Greatness and Rich­es we may cause a little envy in the World, by our Parts of body or mind, beauty, wit, strength or policy, cause a little admiration in the land of the living; yet one Day ere long we shall go down into the nethermost parts of the Earth: It's said in the 27 ver. of, that Chapter, That the mighty Men are laid in their Graves, and their Swords Under their Heads; the phrase (as a Learned Man observes) is borrowed from the Heathenish manner of burying their [Page] Warriours and great Worthies with their Weapons or Conquering Swords under their Heads; the Wealthy ones that buy and sell and get gain, shall be laid in the Grave with their Bags and Bonds and Evidences under their Heads; they that Glory in Titles of Honour shall be laid in their Grave with their Coats and Scutcheons laid under their Heads; the fair and beau­teous that now rejoice in their fresh and lovely complexions shall one day be laid for Worms meat in their Graves with their Washballs, their Spunges, their Paint­Boxes, and their Looking Glasses under their Heads; the wise and learned shall ere long be laid in the grave with their books & papers under their heads; finally the Men of appetite that now delight themselves in their Drinks; & dainties shall in a very litle while be laid in their Graves with their revelling Cups, and service Dishes under their Heads: think but of this phrase of laying thus one Day all these things under your Heads, and lay them not now too near your Hearts. Mark our Saviour's Answer to those that shewed him the Temple, and how it was adorned with goodly stones and gifts; Are these the things ye look upon and ad­mire? The daies shall come wherein there shall not be one stone left upon another which [Page] shall not be thrown down; the Day will come that thy Riches shall be but a poor winding sheet, and thy pleasures to have the clods of the valley sweet unto thee: Jon. 3.4. yet 40 dayes & Nineveh shall be overthrown) yet 40 dayes (it may be less) and all thy Glory and Prosperity with thy Life shall have an end, and yet thou art Jolly and Frolick and never thinks of that time, or the length of Eternity; that theresore thou maist not when it is too late cry out, call time again, call time again, learn to make good Ʋse of it now.It's easier for to lose than find a Day; there are time-servens, and there are time-savers and redeemers; the errand of this piesce is to make thee one of the latter sort; if God will bles;s this to any ones Soul, I shall think my self abundantly satissied for my pains, and my great De­sign is answered: I expect no Praise; and for censure if it be deserved it will come too late, for I have already placed the defects to my own account; if undeserved and erra­ta's, I shall gain by it; let me have the be­nefit of thy Prayers, whoever thou art that reads these lines. To conclude, this is no Point of Controversie, but rather an effectu­al means to reconcile Differences; those that cannot now joyn together in Prayer, will in a very little while if they be true [Page] Saints sit together Praising God, Rejoicing in and Loving one another in a langer mea­sure than ever they Loved their most Dear Relations or intimate Friends upon' Earth. The shortness of time there is to differ in, the absolute necessity, and incomparable Excellency and Sweetness of mutual Love bere and full Communion hereafter, I de­sire may sway with me to watch over my own Heart, that I stand not at a distance in Spirit from any Saint of God upon the ac­count either of apprehension or injury; as for the Former I do not know that I was e­ver under a Tentation to Love any one less for his True Conscience though not of my size. That thou mayest be fully instructed in the right Art of numbring thy dayes, and prepared for the Evils and Afflictions which thou must of necessity meet with in them, is the Hearty desire of,

Thy Friend willing to serve thee in time about thy Everlasting Concerns. T.H.

CHRISTIAN Geography and Arithmetick.

Matth. 6.34.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

THere are two things which we find in the course of the Evange­lists to lie with much weight upon the heart of Christ, and which he seems to press upon his followers, with a more than ordina­ry seriousness argumentativeness, and affectionatenest: The one is, holy care­lesness about the things of this life; The other is, holy watchfulness and prepara­tion for his coming: for this, read over at your leisure these Scriptures, Mat. 24.42. to the end, and 25.13. Mar. 13.32. to the end, Luke 21.36. The former [Page 2] is that which at present falls more direct­ly, under my Consideration; having al­ready treated of the latter in divers Ser­mons. That I may make way to my Text, be pleased to take notice of our. Saviour's general Dehortation, Ver. 25. Take no thought, &c. Observe how par­ticular he is, as if he designed to answer all the secret Objections and Surmisings of an unbelieving heart; if I have Meat, what shall I do for Drink, and if I have both, how must I get Clothes? why saies he, be not careful about any of these, and he gives us several weighty Reasons for what he sayes.

1. In the latter end of Ver. 25. Is not the life more than meat, &c. It is an Ar­gument from the greater to the less; he that has given life, will he not maintain it? It's less trouble and charge for him to make a Coat for thy Body, than to frame thy Body which was curiously wrought, rare Embroidery, curious Needlework; Ps. 139.19 acupictus sum. a skin will serve for the Back, and the slesh will serve for the Belly, but the placing of the Bones was not so easily done.

2. Argument lies in Ver. 26. From God's care of the inferiour Creatures, the Animals, the Fowls of the Air, and [Page 3] this is an Argument from the lesser to the greater, It's your heavenly Father that feeds them: The Master of the house will not feed his Cattel without, and suf­fer his Children to perish for want of bread within; If God cares for Oxen, then much more for Saints. Are ye not much better than they?

3. Ground, ab inutili, from the un­profitableness of this anxious & perplex­ing care, in Ver. 27. Which of you by ta­king thought, &c for neither if you be solicitous, are you the better; and if you be not, are you the worse.

4. Reason lies especially against ta­king care for Raiment, from the conside­ration of the Lillies of the Field, the Ve­getables more inconsiderable than the the Fowls, for they have life and sense, these only life; but Men have Life, Sense and Reason, and Christians have more, for they are made partakers of the Di­vine Nature and the life of God. If your Reason will not help you here, one would think your Faith should help you; can you think that immortal souls, for whom God hath prepared such glory, shal be slighted here, and yet the fading, wi­thering, perished Grass be so much re­garded! which way soever a Christian [Page 4] looks, he may find Food for his Faith [...] When I see the Fields so adorned, can I think that God will suffer me to go na­ked for want of a Covering.

5. Inducement is, ab absurdo, in the beginning of Ver. 32. It's not ingenious, not at all becoming you to be so carking and caring, it is a Gentilish property, poor Heathens that know of no better things, may be allowed to seek after these earthly matters; but it is not suitable for those that have been acquainted with things of an higher nature, and of Eter­nal duration; it is not worthy, not Christian; your Education and Expe­ctation should teach you better things, and spirit you to a more Noble and Ho­nourable search and endeavour.

6. Incitement is, a non-necessario, in the latter end of Ver. 32. For your hea­venly Father knows, &c. He that made you, knows what you stand in need of, what your Constitutions do require, how much will serve, how little Nature requires, and how much less Grace needs, if you have but little, do not call it Poverty, but Discipline; he is your Father.

7. Motive is, a proprio medio, from the proper and most effectual way and [Page 5] means to secure a competency, and that is by seeking first of all the kingdom of God, Ver. 33. He that would make Earth sure, must first of all make Hea­ven sure; shall I be taking thought what to eat and drink here, and never fear begging a drop of water hereafter? shall I be solicitous for Clothes, and do not know but my Soul and Body may lie naked in the scorching flames of the wrath of God to all Eternity? be­sides, I have a Promise of God for outward things, if I make it my business to seek after Heavenly; it is a very needless care; God provides meat for me that I may not be taken off my work to seek af­ter it.

8. Ground lies in my Text, and it is taken from the Consideration of that sufficient trouble that each day is filled with; you need not fetch the misery of another day unto this day, it hath enough full enough of its own; some read it, The day hath enough with his own grief.

I now came to the Observations.

Doct. 1. Which is implyed, The life of a Christian is to be reckoned by the [Page 6] day: Sufficient unto the Day; not to the Week, or Month or Year, but to the Day. I need not insist upon the proof of the Point. What saies old Jacob, Fen and evil have the dayes of the years of my life been. It is observable that (dayes) Gen. 47.9. is four times repeated in that verse.Job 14.1.5, 6. So Job, Man that is born of Woman is of few dayes; His dayes are determined. Turn from him that he may accomplish as an Hireling his day. Take a third wit­ness of this, and it is no other than a King and a Prophet; David; Psal. 90.10 The dayes of our years are threescore years and ten, &c. But a greater than all these is our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who tells us in the Parable of the Labou­rers in the Vineyard, Mat. 21.2 that they were hired for a day, which is the time of life; and he calls his own life a day: Abraham re­joyced to see my day. There is a Natu­ral day, and there is a Metaphorical day, a day of time, and a day of opportuni­ty, season, and dispensation; mark the expression of our Saviour, I must work the works of him taht sent me, whilst it is Day, the Night cometh when no man can work, whil'st I have time, time, and whil'st I have opportunity. So we read of the dayes of his flesh; I might [Page 7] make this further appear by shewing to you;Heb. 5.7.

1. That we are taught to beg our Bread for the day, Give us this day our daily Bread, and forbid to take thought for to morrow; for why should I take thought for Meat, when I know not whether I shall have a Mouth to put it in, or for Clothes when I know not whether I shall have a Body to put them on.

2. We are to beg our pardon for the day, and to forgive our Brother to day; forgive us our Trespasses this day: for as Jacob sayes, Thou may'st seek me in the morning, and I shall not be; and for our Brother,Job 7. last Eph 4.26. Mat. 5.2, 3 The Sun (which is the measure of the day) must not go down upon our wrath: And if we come to the Altar, and there remember that our Brother hath ought against us, we must leave the Gift before the Altar, &c. we must not say that we will do it to morrow.

3. Every night is a resemblance of Death; Death is called a Sleep, and the Grave is called a Bed; the Sun rises and sets, which measures time.

4. The Commands and Promises in Scripture run for the present day, and none for to morrow, Heb. 3.7. To day [Page 8] if ye will hear his voice. Ver. 13. Exhort one another daily, whil'st it is called to day; now is the accepted time: But to con­clude the Proof of this Point, I shall and this, that our whole life-time is very fit­ly compared to a Natural Day.

1. As a day is but a short space of time, so is our life; what is a day to a thousand years? what is our time to Eternity?

2. As a day is cut off by the night, so is our life cut short & cut off somtimes soon­er somtimes later, some dayes are longer than others, but none very long; some mens lives are longer than others, but never a long life among them, all of them cut short, all of them cut off.

3. The day is succeeded by the night, so is this life by the darkness, the dayes of darkness which shall be ma­ny. There is a day which shall not be succeeeded by night, and there is an evening which shall be succeeded by light, but it is not this day.

I now come to the Reasons of the Point, Why must our lives be reckoned by the day; and they are principally these four.

Reason 1. Because our Breath is in [Page 9] our Nostrils, our Lives hang by a small Threed, how soon are our Countenances changed, and we sent away? how ma­ny that have been well in the morning, have been dead before evening, gone out in health, and a dead Carcase brought home? or else they have died and been buried abroad, and never came within their own doors more? how many ways may a mans breath expire, and how quickly is it done? Ah, my Brethren, how little is this considered, though no­thing is more ordinary than to say, I little thought such an one would have been gone so soon, what an healthful lusty Man was he, it was but such a day I saw him, and I thought he never look­ed better since I knew him, I thought I should have died long before him; was not he at such a place, at such a Meet­ing but a few dayes ago? &c. Oh Friend!. Know his Breath was in his Nostrils; and so it is with thee; there may not be a step between thee and Death for any thing thou knows; a lurking Distemper in thy Body may rise up and pull thee by the Throat, and all thy friends stand about thee, and none be able to rescue thee, and save thee from that deadly Hand: A slip, a fall, a cross [Page 10] accident, a Surfeit, &c. presently the health is gone. As it is with a Venice-Glass very useful whil'st it is whole, but one fall upon the ground breaks it, and than it's good for nothing, but the bro­ken pieces are thrown out to the Dung­bild So whilst breath is there, thou art very useful for many things, can walk, and work, and advise and manage Af­fairs; but when once thy breath is gone, and thy life like water spilt upon the ground which can not be gathered up a­gain thy dead Carcase must be taken up and carried out, and laid in the ground.

Reason 2. Our times are in God's hands, and in our own, and we have no assurance of another day, therefore no reason why we should reckon of it; My times are in thy Hands: Psa. 31.15 Job. 17.1. and so Job, Is there not an appointed time to Man up­on Earth? are not his dayes like the dayes oftan Hire ling? the dise of Man is mea­sured; by the will of God; hitherto shall [...]iy time come, and not further. As thou canst not add one Cubit to thy Stature, so not one Minute to thy Dayes. It's well observed by one, as Christ is the [Page 11] Lord of the Sabbath, so God is the Lord of time; and they who dye in a time when God forbids, yet dye in a time that God appoints. Some men, nay most men, live as if they were Masters of their own time, as if they had made a Covenant with Death, and Articles with the Grave. How does the A­postle James reprove and cheek with all sevrity this great Pride and Arrogandy in Men, that would be cutting out snip­pets, large threeds of time, when it was not at all in their own power, but was anothers Right and this they would do without asking any leave, we say leave is light : see Jam. 4.13, 14, 15. Go to now ye that Jay, to Day or to Mrrow we will go into such a City; and continue there a year, and buy and sell and get gain, Where as ye know not what shall be on the Morrow, for what is your Life, it is even a Vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, if the Lord will, we shall live and do this or that. After the like manner does the Prophet Esay Tax the Wretch­edness of this Temper: To Morrow shall be as this Day, and much more abundant. Isa. 56.12. Time is God's peculiar and if he will not [Page 12] hold them Guiltless that meddle with his Name, and Worship, and People, &c. no more will be those that take his time and spend it upon their Lusts: Friend, who gave you leave to promise and De­sign and contrive and lay Trains for so long a time? did you come and ask me for my advice both about the thing and the time? I'le cut you short, I'le give a nick in your time, and all your thoughts with all the links of them shall perish and fall to the ground.

Reason 3. Because Satan and his In­struments are so Malicious and Bloody, and are so bent against the Lives of Christians: that is a markable Expres­sion in Job 24.22. He riseth up and no Man is sure of his Life; Wicked Mens Lives are cut short by the Lord's just Hand, so that do not live out half their Dayes, and Righteous Mens Lives are cut off by evil Mens unjust Hands, so that they do not live out half their dayes, nor a quater; witness the many Bloody Massacres that have destroyed the Lives of Thousands of Men, Women, and Children, Infants and Sucklings. The Devil and his Instruments would not have you Live a Day if they could help [Page 13] it; if Satan were let loose in a few mi­nutes there would not be a Person alive in this Congregation, and if the rage of the wicked was permitted to do its ut­most, none of us could easily escape long with our Lives, whilst we are in this world. Among the Men of the World, we should walk with our Lives in our Hands; Its Dangerous Travelling in some places because of Wolves, and Bears, and Wild Beasts: I know no place in the World but is infested with such Crea­tures as the Scripture calls Beasts, Lyons, Wolves, Dogs, Foxes, destroyers of the Earth; every Saint of God may safely say, that he is afraid of Bodily harm whilst he lives here. Let me tell you God has Wonderfully curbed the Egyptian Dogs, that no more Lives have gone than there has; the Curs have been still barking, their Tongues have kept mov­ing, but their Hands have been pretty well tyed up; Blessed be the Name of our God, but that by the way. Observ­able to this Purpose :is that Passage of Cain and Abel; And Gen 4.8. Cain talked with Abel his Brother and it came to pass when they were in the Field, that Cain rose up a­gainst Abel his Brother and slew him. There is the same rising at Heart the [Page 14] same murdering Humor; and Sprite in every Cain against every Abel, though there be not the same rising up: see for this and mark diligently, 1 Job. 3.12.15. The ground of the hatred will al­waies remain whilst there are good and bad upon Earth, and therefore we may be expecting the Fruits, he that hateth is a Murderer, hatred is the Embryo of Murder. But further, Jobs Sons should have reckoned their Lives by the Day upon this account; whether they were good Men, or only a good Mans Chil­dren, needs not be discoursed here, if only the latter it was enough to entitle them to Satans malice; who having a little lether-length given him, presently brings the House about their ears, and Kills every Man and Woman that was there: see Job 1.19. He was not long of doing it, he smote the four Corners of the House, he did it to purpose.

Reason 4. The Irruptions and Inun­dations of the Ocean of Eternity, which once in an hundred years overflows the whole Country, and carries away every living Creature.Exo. 12.30 It was said upon that great Judgment of the Death of the first­born in Egypt, that there was not in House where there was not one death: [Page 15] not to mention those great inundations of the Plague and Pestilence, which some­times sweep away an Hundred Thous and out of our City in one Year;London. not yet those eruptions of the Sword which in a very few hours sinks Thousands into the Deep, War and sea-Fights and sends them into the great Gulph of Eternity: do but take notice of those over flowings that are usual and common, which do not cause wonder, Oh that they might procure more Ob­servation than they do! what Day is there especially great Places wherein there is not one or more found Dead? how frequently is the Passing Bell foun­ding in thine Ears? how many Specta­cles of Mortality Old and Young daily carried to the Graved? yet who layes it to Heart? Burials are so frequent in Ci­ties that they are not regarded, and so seldom in the Countries that they are not taken notice of. How many has thou known Buried out of the House where thou lives; if none, be sure thou Reckon of one every Day, and that is of thy self, as well as of other: go over the city into every House, and set whether you can find the same Persons sitting by those fire-sides, and lying in those Beds, that sate and lay there twen­ty [Page 16] Years ago; thou will not find ma­ny Houses from whence some have not been snatched; where Death has not crept in at Windows, and carried away an Husband, a Wife, a Child, a Ser­vant, a Friend: if thou find a free house, bid them look to it, for the next stood that comes, the Water may flow in at their Doors, and carry some of them as way into Ocean of Everlastingness; there is no fenceing against Death, no capitulating with it; it is usually, (though not alwaies) so civil as to knock before it comes in, but it seldom stayes till you open the Door to let it in, and say welcome Death, now Lord, lettest [...] thy Servant depant in Peace: it will not be prevailed with for the least delay pray thee suffer me to go & bury my Fa­ther to set my House in order, to give some directions about my Children and Estate, no I cannot stay, come away; ay but let me first Pray to God, and deal with him about my Soul, no, thou must come now as thou art: this is the fourth and Last Reason why the Life of a Man, is to be reckoned by the Day. I now come to the Application.

Ʋse 1. Is it so then that our Lives [Page 17] must be reckoned by the Day, I note in the first place, that every Christian is to do all he can do, and all he has to do, upon the present Day, and leave nothing to be done tomorrow. What saies Solo­mon: Whatever thine hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might,Eccle. 9.10.for there is no Work, nor Device, nor Knowledge, nor Wisdom in the Grave whither thou goest; be sure thou even accounts daily, do e­very thing thou dost as if it were the last time thou should do it; how heartily, how carefully will thou do it then! let me pray now as if I should never have time to pray more, hear now as if this were the last opportunity of hearing: leave nothing to do to morrow that possible can be done to day; what true Christians should we be if we did not reckon of a Morrow. To Day is God's Day, to Morrow is Satan's Day, how many would have been good to Day if thay had not though of being good to Morrow:Mr. F. but see what a grand Deceit lies here; by putting it off till to Mor­row we gratify Conscience in this that we intend to do it hereafter, but most of all please Corruption in this that we do not do it to Day. Consider then thus with thy self, I will set all right with [Page 18] God now, I may be gone before Morn­ing, I may be taken away in my sleep and awake in Eternity; Nulla Dies sin [...] linea, we have been many Dayes but we have lived but few: well then this is the first Use, do all thou canst do, and all thou hast to do Day, [...] and leave no­thing undone till tomorrow.

2. Let this put a check to the Cares and Pleasures of this Life; my Life is but short why should my Care and De­light be long; it is not much we need nor long that we shall need any thing, we have but a Body, a piece, and that is a small one, and a Mortal one; long Reaches and Designs are very unsuitable to a Man that has but a Dayes time. Famous is the Instance of the Fool in the Gospel; Luk. 12.19, 20. I will pull down my Barns, saies he, and I will build greater, and I will say to my Soul, Soul thou hast goods laid up for many Years, Eat, Drink, and be Merry; [...] But God said unto him, thou Fool, this Night shall thy Soul be required of thee &c. If he had only reckoned of this Day, he had not heard that dreadful Word of, this Night, or at least would not have been dreadful to him to have heard it.

Ʋse 3. Hence we see what little cause we [Page 19] have either to fear or envy any man in the World, any wordly great Man's what saies the Psalmist, Surely thou didst set them in slippery places, how are they brought into Destruction as in a Moments, &c.Psa. 73.18 19. For this matter consult further those places, Job. 21.13.30. and 24.19, 20, 24. Rev. 18.10.17.19. Ezek. 34.27. &c. We use to say of some Men in a way of Reproach and Scron, that they are but Yesterday-Men, and we may say truly of the Greatest and Highest and Happiest in this World, that they are but Men of to Day, no Morrow-Men; come to seek them in the Mornings and they may not be Persecutors and Oppres­sors many threaten what they will do, but it may be to Morrow they may be Sick, the next Week you may find them. Cold in their Graves, I remember a Passage in Story of one Libanius, a great Favorite of Julian ther Apostate; Julian was gone in an Expendition into the East, against some that had made an insurrec­tion against him, and resolved at his re­turned destroy all the Christians, and utterly to root them out; saied this Li­banius to one the Christians in a Scof­fing manner; where is now your Car­penters Son, meaning Christ, what will [Page 20] he now do for you, to save you from the Emperour? to whom the Christian re­plied Boldly, this Carpenter, as you call him, made the World; a Work above any Carpenter, and he is now making a Coffin for Julian; and so it proved, for Julian was slain before his return: I will pursue, I will overtake saies proud Pha­raoh, the next News we hear of him, he is in the Bottom of the Sea as Mute as the Fishes that seed upon his Dead Car­case; Oh that Oppressors would con­sider this!

Ʋse 4. Let this teach us Patience un­der the Greatest Afflictions; they are but for a Day, or if you will but for a Night, no Man ought to think that he shall be miserable to Morrow: our Dayes are but few: and therefore our Dayes of Sorrow cannot be many. It is an hour of Temptation, if it grieve you that your Comforts stay with you so little a while, they are but Day-Comforts, you cannot prevail with them to Lodge with you; Why, let this relieve you that your Troubles are but Night-Troubles, they will be gone in the Mor­ning, they will not abide in your House why should I complain much of that, which for any thing I know may be [Page 21] ended before my complaint be at an end: For a Conclusion, let us Labour to live under the Power of this Doctrine; if this Truth were Believed as it should, Oh what abundance of thoughts, and Cares and Fears would be getting out of the meeting before you, and you would never feel them more! how would the Face of your Affairs and Families be changed! you would let alone and lay by a great many things that you were very busie about before, and set upon doing some things you never did before; or if you did them before; you would do them so now as you never did them before: you would say, this thing must be done and done to day too, or else I may be undone for ever: for other things if I have time I may do them; but if they be never done it will be no great loss to me: resign up your Lives into God's Hand's every Evening, and take them again from him by a new Lease every Morning.

I come now to the second Observation, which is this.

Doct. 2. That every Day has its proper evil and peculiar Trouble attend­ing [Page 22] it, and enough of it. I need not stand much upon the Proof of it, every ones experience bids me save my self this Labour, our daily complaints dis­cover our daily troubles! where is the Person that ever could say, this Day have I lived, and met with no Cross, no Tri­al, no Disappointment, no Grief, no Perplexity, every thing, every circum­stance has been to my Hearts desire, I could not have wished it otherwise; but however take a taste of Scripture-Judg­ment in this matter: Old Jacob that tells you his years were few, tells you with the same Breath,Gen. 47.9.that they were Evil too; Job that saies that Man that is Born of a Woman is of few Daies, does at the same time say that they are full of Trouble; Job 14.1. and indeed seeing they are so full of Trouble its well for us they are so few; and Da­vid that speaks of the shortness of our Dayes, added this, yet is their Strength Labour and Sorrow; Psa. 90.10. the best of them have Trouble enough in them. I shall en­deavour further to make it appear and evident to you in four Instances.

1. Daily Temptations cause daily Troubles; how canst thou expect to be quiet one moment, that hath such an [Page 23] active and diligent Enemy, who goes a­bout night and day seeking whom he may devour? he sleeps not in the night time, much less on the day time; he is upon thee continually either as a Temp­ter, or a Troubler: what a quiet World should we have if it were not for the De­vil and his Instruments! what brave living will there be when they shall be chained up. There is no place but the Devil is there; he is constantly at Meetings, and is one of the first there, who-ever come late, he is there betimes; how should this shame you for your late coming? what comes he for, but to disturb and distract: with vain; unruly, worldly, wandring thoughts? if thou go into thy closet, thou canst not shut him out thence for he is there before thee, and assoon as ever thou hast shut thy Door, down he sits with thee, and presents thee some­times with one sort of thoughts, some­times with another sort; sometimes he bids make haste, get thee down, get thy Chap­ters read, and thy Prayers said, such a business stayed for thee, such an one is to be spoken with, and you must not fail, your Family wants you, a Customer waits, &c. be but shout now, you may [Page 24] be longer another time: God is a God of mercy, if thou be indisposed now, God is a God of pity, he will pass it by, he knows the flesh is weak, &c. Sometimes again with other thoughts, if he sees thee sit down to consider in good ear­nest about thy Soul; why, Soul, what dost thou mean to make thy; life so un­comfortable? Godliness is a chearful thing, thou comes into thy Closet, and thou thinks many a sad thought, and weeps a great many tears, and puts up so many Petitions, and spends so much time, and thou art never the better; this is but to turn as a Door upon the Hinges, this life is not to be led, this is not to be endured, here comes no fruit at all; it might even be as well not to make so much ado, and make Religion a burden, you may do your duty to God, and please him as much with a great deal less trouble to your self; how com­fortably does many a good Christian live that do not spend so much time alone, nor so many sorrowful thoughts, and yet are careful not to neglect their Duty; put away these troubled thoughts, and try how it will be &c. This is Satan's Language, and by the way let me ob­serve four Deceits, Fallacies and lies in [Page 25] these few Words he has spoken. First, It is a most false insinuation as if too much time and care could be spent in good service. Secondly, The good Chri­stian he means, is the careless formal Pro­fessor, that is much a stranger to the Pow­er of Godliness. Thirdly, Here is a means to make thy thoughts more sad and per­plexed than they should be, that so he may provoke thee to throw all away, all seriousness, all Godly Sorrow, as a Tem­ptation. Fourthly, He would put this quite out of thy Mind, that the Soul that diligently waits at the foot of Christ Weeping and Mourning, though for a while Sorrow may rather seem to increase than abate, yet shall certainly at last meet with full assurance, with a­bundance of comfort, peace and satis­faction; they that sow in Tears shall reap in Joy. But yet a little further, Sa­tan is in the shop, in the Ware house, counting house; medling with buying and selling, egging on to lying Equivo­cation, bad Wares, false Weights, Over­reaching, Defrauding, and presently after to anger and discontent with Ser­vants; and it may be at last to murmur­ing, this Trade will not do, we can­not make both ends meet, so many bad [Page 26] Debts, so much Damaged Goods, such bad Markets; but if he be on the en­creasing and thriving Hand, then he Tempts to a self-pleasing proud humour, Esa. 57.10 Thou hast found the Life of thine Hand, therefore thou wast not grieved: and now thoughts come crouding in how to keep up and enlarge Trade; Satan sits down with thee at thy Table, and there he is Tempting to forgetfulness of God, drawing fear off, keeping down thank­ful Spirit, prompting to sensuality and gratifying appetite, &c. He lies down with thee, and is impatient whilst thou art bidding God good night, and has o­ther Work for thee, other Meditations than those of the Name and Word of God; and assoon as ever thou awakes in the Morning; he is with thee to distract thee and trouble thee: say now whe­ther Satan alone be not enough to fill e­very day with trouble. Secondly, No condition free from temptations, the rich and the Poor, the high and the low; Sa­tan is in Kings Courts, and Beggars Cottages; he is with the sick Man, and the Healthful, the Freeman and the Im­prisoned, the Honoured and the Re­proached; no place free, no Condition free.

[Page 27]2. Daily wants cause daily Griefs, to want is an Evil, a Misery, now the Bo­dy and Mind are alwaies wanting some­thing: consider the restlesness of the Bo­dy in a kind of tedious wearisomness stealing upon us in the very Reflections, the interchangeable Reflections of the Body, we must Sleep a while till we be Weary of that, and then we must Wake another while till we come to the former again; we must Eat a while till we be weary of that, and Fast another while till we come to the former again; we we must stand &c. Whatsoever we turn to for our Ease, there again we find our wearying; these Bodies of ours are like wayward crying Children, that are no sooner quieted with one thing but pre­sently complaining again; so I must walk, I must sit, I must cool, I must warm my self again; like the Nurses toil, dress and undress, how long the very same things? Again, consider the trouble of Laborious toiling and moil­ing in several Callings and Vocations to get a little supply for the wants of the Body: since the time it was said, in the sweat of thy Brows thou shal Eat thy Bread, the World is become a great Correction of Work-house, a General Bridewel to [Page 28] task us all to our Labours; the very Bread we put into our Mouths, the ve­ry Cloaths we put upon our Backs, the very Houses we put our Heads into, what are they but evident Arguments of Mans great labour and pains? As for the House, consider what a deal of labour must needs come between the Timber standing uncut in the Mountains, and the Stones unhewn in the Quarry, and the making of them now in the form of a fit House to dwell in; as for thy Cloaths thou puttest on, consider but all the la­bour that comes between the Sheeps wearing them on their Backs, and thy wearing them on thine; As for the Bread also which thou puttest into thy Mouth, consider (besides the Plowing up the Ground) the great labour that comes between the Seed-Mans hand casting it into the Ground, and thy Hand putting it into thy Mouth; consider well but these, and then thou wilt acknowledge many great labours every Day. I might add likewise the great Trouble that comes in regard of Sores, and Sicknesses and Infirmities; they know well what this trouble means, that tell the Clock whilst others sleep, that have wearisome Dayes and Nights appointed for them, [Page 29] that are seldom free from Pains and Weakness and griefs as much as they can well bear. Consider also the manifold troubles of the Mind by reason of disap­pointments and discontents from Friends, from Enemies, from Children, from Servants &c. will you now say that our daily wants and troubles that flow from thence are not sufficient to fill eve­ry Day with as much Affliction as e­ver it can hold?

3. Daily fears bring daily perplexi­ties; have you a Day without its fears, fears about the state of your Souls, whe­ther your Faith be right, your Repen­tance unfeigned, your Duties accepted, your Works wrought in God? whether you have savingly closed with Jesus Christ upon Gospel-terms? whether you have brought all to him, and take all from him? whether you are truly Marri­ed to him, and can groundedly say, my Beloved is mine, and I am his; I hare every false way, I have respect to all God's Commandments, so far as I am acquainted with his will? Again, fears a­bout holding out, my Corruptions are strong, my temptations are pressing, I shal one Day fall by the Hands of my strong Lusts and unruly Affections; if Persecu­tion [Page 30] should come I should do as Peter did, I should want Courage, I should dishonour God, I know not how to suf­fer Imprisonment or be a Martyr for the Gospel and Waies of Christ: Again Fears of Death, which keep some in Bondage all their dayes, every day they do up­rise; what shall I do when I come to Dye? I cannot think of it but with a­mazement, I cannot look that King of Terrours in the Face, I neither know how to part with my Comforts, nor yet how to endure the Pains and Pangs of Death, and least of all to meet with God, who I have caufe to Fear is not at peace with me; and then what will become of me to fall into the Hands of a Living God who is a Consuming Fire? Again, fear of outward Want; how the World will hold out? how I shall maintain my Family and bring up my Children; such Fears as these are daily companions to some: though by the way let them con­sider that fear Want, that they want no­thing so much as Faith; a little more Trusting God, and a little less sinful; foresight and needless care would do ve­ry well: Now tell me whether all these Fears and a great many such like, be not enough to spoil the comfort of our Day.

[Page 31]4. Daily defects and disappointments procure daily Misery and Vexation. The shortness that is in every Creature-com­fort, and which the Soul cannot but be every day sensible of, must needs cause Trouble; I thought to have had such an easy seat, and the stool breaks under me, I promised my self so much comfort in this Child, How are my hopes, and ex­pectation frustrated! I reckon'd that this design would have prospered and have done my Work, and I see it has failed me; I see these Worldly enjoy­ments are but dreamish things, they are but shadows, they can feed the hunger of the Soul, but they cannot feed the hungry Soul; I have been Labouring for the Wind, I never plcased my self in any thing, but to be sure I met with a Cross in it: these outward enjoyments promise more than they can perform; I never leaned upon them, but they deceived me, I never trusted them but they fail­ed me, Riches, and Friends, and Rela­lations make themselves Wings and they flee away; I was at the merry meeting but some things were wanting, and some passages did not please me: and thus you have the proof of the Doctrine, I now come to give you the Grounds and Rea­sons [Page 32] of the point, [...] how it comes to pass (as you have already heard how it does appear:) that every day should be so full of Trouble, What is the matter? why will God have it so?

Take these three Reasons in special.

Reason 1. The Lord does it for Cor­rection of Sin; daily Sins must have dai­ly chastisements, there is a necessary con­nexion between Sin and Punishment, as between sowing and reaping, we are fowing and reaping every day. It is wor­thy your observation, that some kind of grain comes up sooner a great deal than others; but the Husband-man does so order his sowing, that commonly he reaps all together: some sins that are com­mitted, are not punished till a great while after, again some sins are reckoned for immediately upon the Commission; some sad sinful seed comes up quickly, sown in the morning & reaped the same day, some not till a Week or a Month, or a Year, or many years after: but it is so ordered that there is reaping work for every day; I may be reaping this week what I sowed the last, and sowing this week for the next; I may this year be [Page 33] teaping what I sowed last, Or twen­ty years ago, as Joseph's Brethren did their cruelty to their Brother; I may in old Age be reaping the Sins of my Youth; Thou writest bitter things a­gainst me and makes me possess the Sins of my Youth saith Job. The Fathers sow for the Children,Job 13.26 God punishes the Ini­quity of the Fathers upon the Children: and I may be reaping the Fruit of my Fore-Fathers transgression, and I may now be sowing that seed that my poste­rity may taste the bitter fruit of, and set their teeth on edge. When I meet with any remarkable Affliction more bitter than ordinary, then should I be thinking with my self, what seed was this of, what is the name of the seed that this Fruit came from, what is the name of the Apple, it is a very sowre one, it wrings me by the Bowels and causes me to make Faces, and groan and cry out; What is the Sins name? what do you call that Iniquity of mine that has laid me under this great distress? is not the name of it Self-Love, Back-sliding, falling from the Fear of God, decay of love to God, unpro­fitablness under the means; I have heard that such kind of seed does use to bring forth Friut with such a taste or may not [Page 34] the Name of it be Love of the World Covetousnes, or may it not be Idolatry have not I set up something or other in my Affections and esteem above God have not I made an Idol of some com­fort? for I hava read that God is very jealous of his Glory, and cannot endure that any thing should be in the throne of the Heart equal to him, much less above him; and upon this account I have know a him sometime Kill a Child in the Mothers bosom a Wife in the Husbands bosom, an Husband in the Wifes bosom to the amazement and astonishment and even overwhelming of the survivor; and all this because he was robbed of that love he ought to have had, and he will not give his Glory to another: if the liv­ing have been the Idol, the Dead shall he thy punishment. Those that have trusted in their Wealth and the abun­dance of their Riches, that have pleased and prided themselves in them, he has all on a sudden sent his Serjeants and dis­treined and recovered all from them, by Fire or Water, or Thieves, or that little moth his secret curse and blasting; those that have lived carelesly and wan­tonly he has brought them to Pinching & Peverty; some the Lord paies with rea­dy [Page 35] Money, and lets them see their Fruit assooh as ever they have sown their seed: let me not think therefore to want my troubles daily while I am committing sin daily; there is none that lives and sinneth not, the Righteous Man falls se­ven times a day into sin, and let him not wonder if he get as many hurts as falls: Moses and Aaron were Men as holy as the most,Psal. 98.9. yet what sais the Psalmist? Thou wast a God that forgavest them, though thou tookest vengeance on all their inventi­ons; they had their crooked Affections, their daily Infirmities, their continued Irregularities, for which the Lord thought fit to give them daily correcti­on and chastifement, and this was con­sistent enough with his forgiving them; for therefore they were chastned that they might not be condemned with the World, and so instead of a daily correc­tion have incurred Eternal destruction. To conclude this, wonder not at Suffer­ing, whilst you see sinning: They that Plow Iniquity and sow Wickedness reap the same; if you see the Corn come up in rank clusters, you conclude the seed has fallen too plentifully there.

Reason 2. The Lord fills our dayes with trouble for Discipline and the Ex­ercise of Grace; if the Sea was not rough, Grace would be becalmed, there would be no motion; Faith, Hope, Self-denial Mortification, &c. cannot live but in hard and rough, and stormy Weather; the more tempeltuous the Sea is, the better Faith works; Faith has but little em­ployment, where there is much enjoy­ment: No Grace honours God so much as Faith doth, and the exercise of it; and nothing gives Faith that exercise as trouble doth. The Ships are safest in the Harbour, and the Seamen quiet and out of danger in their Beds at home; But there is nothing to be gotten, and they may starve at, home, unless they ven­ture forth to Sea: How canst thou trust God when thy Cupboard is full, thy Barns and Garners full? it's true, thou mayest and ought to exercise Faith then in acknowledging God, and depending upon the goodness and blessing of God in the enjoyment of them, and using them in his fear; but the exercise of Faith is much more difficult, and much less visible in such a condition: Faith that is seen, is not Faith; till the Stream be dryed up, thou canst not so well take [Page 37] thy fill of the Fountain: When the wa­ter in the Bottle is spent, then the Well is best seen and discovered, see Hab. 3.17, 18. No such rejoying in God, as when we have nothing else to rejoyce in, no such Grape as the Wilderness-Grape; God tastes the sweetest, when the World is the most bitter: so Repent­ance and Mortification will go on the most prosperously, when the occasions, and means, and supports of Lust and Corruption are removed; Sensuality is sooner curbed by want than by plenty, and Pride better checkt by disgrace than Honours; and a wandring, vain, perverse Spirit sooner brought down by sickness and pain, than by health; and the love of the World, delight in it, designs for it are more easily mortified by continual losses, and crosses, and fastings, than by successes, encrease, and prosperous re­turns; we shall more readily be brought to believe on God alone, when we can see nothing but him; the life of Sense and the life of Faith are quite con­trary the one to the other. Take a Chri­stian that hath lived in a quiet, serene, calm, and undisturbed condition for some years, never meeting with any consider­able trouble; Take another that hath [Page 38] still been exercised with variety of affli­ctions, almost never without some great distress upon him in one kind or ano­ther; let them both have been under the same means of Grace, and advantages in that kind; compare these two Chri­stians together, and you will find how much the Weather-beaten▪ Saint will excel the other in Liveliness, Fervency, Zeal, Faith, Humility, yea, even in a Spirit and expressions of thankfulness, there will be no compare between them. Prospe­rity is clogging, Adversity is cleansing; it's an harder matter to endure, than to enjoy, any one can lie upon a Feather­bed, but every One cannot lie under an Hedg; it's more easie to love a Child, than part with a Child, to seek and pos­sess than part with an estate, to love a good Wife or Husband than to bury them: all Honourable things are diffi­cult things, difficilia quae pulcra; Wisdom is Honourable, the experienced man is the Wise Man, and he cannot be an ex­perienced man that was never tried but in one conditions; he that has travelled through all quarters, that there is scarce a Country but he has been in, hardly an Affliction but he has been under, that's the Man that's Company for a Prince; [Page 39] it's worth sitting by such a Man to hear him discourse of his travels, how he passed from one Region to another, from one condition to another, how loth he was to enter into it, with, what amaze­ment he was received into it, with what difficulty, distress and anxiety of Spirit he passed on under it, how many times he had almost fainted, how wonderfully good and kind the Lord was to him, how seasonably supports and supplies came in once and again, what ebbings and flowings he passed through; how when he vehemently cried out, save me Master I perish, presently the Lord Jesus appeared and said, be not afraid, it is I; this dispensation has Love in it, it is for thy good, it wil not hurt thee, be not so a­frighted, not an hair of thy Head shall perish by thy affliction, thou shall lose nothing but what would, have done thee harm to have kept; how afterwards the Lord quieted, composed and satisfied his Soul, made him see how much need there was of such a severe Providence, such a sharp Passage, such a bitter Dis­pensation; as also how much Love and Goodness there was in it, which at first sight carried so much of the Face of en­mity, disturbance and destruction; so [Page 40] that he comes to say, this Affliction, this Loss, this great Trial, though I thought at first I could not have born it, yet I now see I could not have been without it; as he said once, I had been undone if I had not been undone, periissem nisi peri­issem. I had perished if I had not perished; and lastly, how he no sooner had got through one Afflicti­on, but the Lord brought him to the borders of another; he was no sooner Landed, and safe in his Harbour, but God bids him prepare for another Voy age; in those dayes was Hezekiah seek unto Death, see Isa. 38.1. comp. with 3 last verses of 37. cha. To hear him tell you how gladly now he would have ta­ken a little rest, and was thinking, sure­ly he should now meet with no more Troubles so dismal, when presently ano­ther messenger came to tell him, that the Lord did intend to try him again, (the first chapter of Job did not conclude his combate,) and bid him make ready for a new on-set either in the same or ano­ther kind; how he treated the Messenger and spake wisely and kindly unto him in such language as this; it is but lately that my Lord laid an heavy and an a­mazing Affliction upon me, it found me much unready and unprepared, I did [Page 41] storm and rage at it, I was as a Bullock unaccustomed to the Yoke; I was cast down and dejected, I did murmur and repine, many an hard thoght had I of my maker, and several unhandsom and un­becoming expressions came from me, some that favoured of despair, Oh I shall never have a comfortable day more, my good dayes are gone, better for me that I had never been Born, than to live to see this Trouble; why does the Lord let me live, why does he not destroy me, it would be an happiness for me if some would come and take a Knife and cut my throat, its happy for them that are Dead, they endure no such tormenting pain, they sustain no such losses, they know not tht meaning of such piercing, Heart­breaking Sorrows &c. But it plesed the Lord by degrees to bring me to more sober expressions, he began to convince me that I had deserved a great dealmore, it is a wonder I was out of Hell, he set my sins in order before mine eyes; and then I saw that he had Puhished me less than mine Iniquities did deserve, that if I had my Due I should be in Endless, Easeless and Remediless Torment; and then I came to acknowledg him, his Ju­stice, his Mercy, and to fall down at his [Page 42] Feet; he then began to speak some com­fortable Words to me, to give me a little reviving, a little Faith and Hope in him­self, and to let me see his end and de­sign ih Afflicting me; he shewed me my work, Job 36.8.9.10. and my transgressions wherein I had exceeded, he opened my ear to Discipline, and commanded me to depart from Iniquity: and now he has recovered me and made me to live in his sight, if it be his plea­sure to bring me into the fire again, I know it is for the purging away of my Iniquity; I desire I may not dishonour him, and then let him do with me what he pleases; I hope he will lay no more upon me than he will enable me to bear, and then his will be done: thus you see what great experience is to be got by Affliction, how needful it is for the ex­ercise of Grace.

Reason third,

The Lord fills our day with trouble for distinction sake, that we may know Earth from Heaven and God from the Creature. To Know the meaning of that text, there remaineth therefore a rest for the People of God; if it were not so we should be apt to say, it is good being [Page 43] here. There are two things the World is hardly brought to Believe. First, That quietness and peace and rest can­not be obtained here: And Secondly, That it is to be enjoyed hereafter, and in himself. Now it is impossible that we should ever meet with any full conten­tive good under Heaven; if one could show me that which the Tempter shew­ed our Saviour even all the Kingdoms of the World and the Glory of them, they are too beggarly a good to give content: excellently to this purpose, one of the Antients; O Lord saies he, thou hast made us for thy self, Fecisti nos ad te & cor nostrum inquictum estdonec re quiescat in te versa & reversa in tergum &in late­ra & in ventrem, & dura sunt omnia! tu solus requires Austin and our Hearts cannot be at quiet, till they come to rest in thy self; I tumble and toss this way, and that way, up­on Back and Belly, this side and that side, and every way to get a little ease, and yet I find every thing to be hard, and God is the only true Rest.

No satisfaction to he had from any thing here below; look but upon the se­veral Conditions of Men in City, Court and Country, and see if every one would not be a little higher, a little Richer, and a little bettered in estate; or else what means their endless carking [Page 44] and caring? what means so many hands working and Heads hammering about this thing and that thing? there is not the veriest frock and apron but by little and little it would hirstle up to the Rob and Purple; Mr. G. not the poorest Friars cowle but by step and step have at the Popes mitre. This unsatisfied desiring of one thing after another (which Is very troublesome and grieving) the Preacher elegantly calls the walking of the de­sire; Eccles. [...].9. better, saies he, is the sight of the Eyes, that is, the comfortable behold­ing and enjoying these things we have, then the walking of the desire, the ram­bling of it after the things we have not, or as some render it, the walking Soul: a walking Soul is very uncomfortable, to be haunted night and day with a Spi­rit of greediness and unsatisfiedness, to have its company going out and com­ing in, lying down and rising up; nay, to have disturbing and troublesome dreams too. The Lord never intended that the world should be a quiet place; do you know any place upon Earth that a man may go to have one day of rest, and free­dom from care, and trouble, within and without? I would go many miles to see that place, and enjoy such a Day: [Page 45] he that kept the key of such a place would quickly heap up Treasures; what flocking would there be thither from all quarters, of all sorts of People! you would see great numbers of Great-one and Noble-men posting thither. The Apostle dehorts us from seeking things that are upon the Earth, & the reason is, because they are things upon the Earth, it is a bad soile, it is a troublesome air. Men may save themselves a lobour of shiting from one condition to another, for till they shift out of the World, let them never expect to sit easily; no rest to be found in any part of the Earth, no rest­lesness in any mansion in Heaven. I might still prosecute this matter of the wandring of the desire, which is in all conditions of men upon Earth: Does not he that is just within the presence Cham­ber door, wish he were a little nearer the chair of State? and he that is the third Man to the chair, wish he were the se­cond? and he that is the second, wish he were the first, that he might have the Princes ear? the first grieves because the chair is not his, and he that hath the chair wishes it were advanced a step higher, that whereas he has but one Kingdom, he had two, and he that hath [Page 46] two wishes he had more, and he that hath more, wishes he had all, and he that hath all, is not content because he hath all a strange thing! at first he was not content because he had not all; and now he is much less content, because he hath all for then he had some hope to obtain his desire, when he aimed at all, but now he has no hope to obtain his desire, be­cause all will not suffice; but he com­plains there are no more Worlds. And now I am fallen into this Discourse, give me leave to answer an Objection.

Object.

Are there not many that will say, that had they but so much, they would be content, ay that would they with all their heart, and never desire more; does not this contradict your Doctrine, and that which you are designing to prove all this while; that he that lives upon Earth in any part of it, or in any condition in it, must expect trouble every day, all their life time and enough of it?

Answer.

1. Perhaps they know not what they [Page 47] say; are there not many that thought be­fore they had no great stomack, that when good victuals are set before them, they find a stomack, and desire there to taste of one dish after another? are there not many that designed to buy no great matters, that when they are in the fair, in the midst of so many pretty commo­dities, desire this thing and that thing? are there not many that when they put off from shore, thought to go but thus far to Sea for recreation, that the Wind arising are afterwards carried away into the deep God knows whither? So these unexpected Winds rise as often by Land as by Sea, the wind of Affection, of too much Love and desire towards the World and joy in it; and carries Men a way into the wide World God knows whither.

2. This that they say, that if they had so much they would be content, fully content and not desire a whit more; this is only out of a ground of unlikely-hood that e­ver they should come to more, or scarce to that, and not as though that same would absolutely satisfy and content them; as sickly Men, or old Men, that in likely-hood cannot live long, will say [Page 48] perhaps, that were they certain to live but so many years, they would never de­sire to live longer, not as though simply that would satisfy them (for every man naturally hath an infinite desire to live for ever) but because considering their present state in all likely-hood they can­not go beyond, or scarce attain unto that period of time; and therefore they say that were they but certain to live so long they would even desire no more; but restore to the sickly Man his perfect health again, and to the old man his former youth; and try my parties then if so few years will content them, if they will be so moderate in their desires: just thus many men, because in al likely-hood they can never attain to greater matters, and scarcely to those they instance in, therefore they seem to have moderate de­sires, and such, and such things will content them; but give them all the opportunities and means that others have, and then see if their desires be not the like: there are many would climb higher, if they had but a ladder, and he that laid 38 years at the Pool of Bethesda, if he had had any to help him in, he would not have laid there any longer than the others.

[Page 49]3. And lastly, if there be any that when they had got somuch or somuch, be truly for Worldly matters content, and neither seek for nor desire more, then this con­tentedness ariseth not out of the nature of the thing, but out of the moderation of their own minds; that seeing their bodies about which all the toil is, are neither so great, nor to last so long, therefore there is not need of much. Again, it ariseth out of the ground of the Apostle; That Godliness is great gain with contentment, 1 Tim. 6. [...] necessarily drawing contentment with it, because any thing will serve as present to him that hath the reversion of Heaven, any place will serve him that looks at last for God's right Hand, any fare will serve him here in the day-time, that looks at night forthe Lamb's Supper; and therefore it remains still good, that of themselves these things cannot satisfy any man, and give con­tent: but stil let him have never so much, yet like the Assyrian Monarch, he cannot keep at home, Hab. 2. enlarging his desire as Hell, and as Death, but gathereth un­to him all Nations &c. I have been the longer upon this point, because it is so hard a thing, as was hinted, to perswade even Professors, that his World has no [Page 50] true comfort in it, nor can it possible have any. Trouble and enough of it [...] the genius of the World and the infepa­rable companions of every Man's Life in it, and thus God will have it to distin­guish Earth from Heaven, that Men may be as it were driven to seek af­ter that happiness that is above. Give me leave to add one thing more before I come to the Application, & that is this; I would ask no plainer evidence that there is no satisfaction to be found upon Earth in any part or place of it, but trouble and enough of it; because your greatest Men with whom, if with any, some fair Halcyon peaceable quiet Dayes should have been found, have complained so of discontents that they have been weary of their fortunes.De brev. [...]t. Augustus Caesar, as Seneca hath it, that was so great a Monarch; yet often and often, again and again intreat­ed the Senatours that he might lay down his Empire, and become a private Mans and never thought more joyfully of any day than of that wherein he should lay down his greatness; he knew by expe­rience what a deal of toil and trouble his greatness cost, and felt how heavy the Crown was on his Head, whose glory and glistering others admire. And Tis­berius [Page 51] after he could find no content in his Empire, nor could tell how with safety to turn private man, complained that fortune had set him a Cock-height, and then took away the ladder that he could not come down when he would. And above all Solomon that had so flou­rishing a Kingdom as the best, and sought good so accurately and universally, what might be that good, for the Sons of Men, which they would so fain lay hold of under the sun; and what can the man do that comes after the King: yet after all this search: the sum is this, all is vanity and vexation; this is proof enough of my Doctrine if I had no other: He went about to cause his Heart to despair of all the labour which he took under the Sun, King's Palaces say,Eccl. 2.20that peace and qui­etness is not in them, the Crown and Purple say they have not heard of it; (but on the contrary, trouble and vex­ation, and anguish and sorrow and, e­nough of it;)why should we then not think, that it is no-where to be found? if great Men that have so many fences a­gainst Affliction cannot escape, how shall poor, infirm, naked Men avoid the dint of it? I remember an answer of one A­pollonius Thyaneus to one who asked him, [Page 52] whether he believed the story of the Cup made of an Unicorns-horn, that he who should drink out of it should be privi­ledged from all Diseases, wounds and poisons? I will believe it, saies he, if I shall know that the King of the Coun­try where the Unicorn lives shall be im­mortal and escape Death: Mr. G. he thought if any then the King would procure that Cup and enjoy the Benefit; so if there be any that could free their Dayes from trouble, or so much trouble as others may have, King's and Great-ones would surely hit on it; but we find it is quite otherwise. The Doctrine standing thus clear with the grounds and reasons of it; I come now to draw some Inferen­ces from it.

Ʋse. 1.

In the first place I note this; that every man thinks he has trouble enough, and would not willingly bear more than he has; take any man in the World, and come to him, what day you will chuse, and what time of the day you will, and say to him: Sir, do you want any trouble? no, saies he, I have trouble enough; if it be a duty, I [Page 53] must take it though troublesome, but cares and crosses I want none; come to the King, and say, Sir, do you want any trouble? he will tell you, he has e­nough of his own; the Crown of gold has thorns in it, every man you meet with, if you would sit down and hear him, he will give you a large catalogue of his griefs; and tell you either of some inward trouble from the fear and sense of the wrath of God, from the temptations and bufferings and assaults, suggestions and injections of the wicked one, or else arising from the corruption; and deceitfulness of his own Heart; or he will acquaint you with some outward trouble, full of discontent, it may be, from Superiors, by putting up many a wrong and injury at their hands, from inferiours by back-biting, slander, and detraction; from equals by much unso­ciable fallings out, or being in every thing our rivals or emulous copemates to give us the check at every turn, from Friends by unkind falling away, or trea­cherous disclosing of secrets, or failing in the time of need, like Jobs friends: For now ye are nothing, saies he, ye see my cast­ing down are afraid.Job 6.15.21.My Brethren have dealt deceitfully with me as a brook, [Page 54] and as the stream of brooks they pass away: From enemies also by doing us (as we look for no other) all the despite they can: from Wife or Husband by many frowns or unkind fits between them; from servauts by common negligence and unfaithfulness &c. And as from all sorts of People, so in all sorts of condi­tions; in the married estate, discontents sometimes for want of Children, but much more for having unthriving Chil­dren, and little less from having good and hopeful ones sometimes untimely taken away, or that they must leave such to the wide World, without leaving any thing to such pretty Babes. The married body hath discontents in being put to care for others, and the single person is not without it, that he hath none to care for him; Masters com­plain of bad Servants, and Servants think that Masters are very cross and froward; see the Apostle Paul's Cata­logue of his Troubles, 2 Cor. 11.23. &c. There is trouble in getting the World, trouble in keeping it, and trouble in parting with it. I shall conclude this with that of the Wise-Man who spoke by experience, and there's nothing like it; Eccles. 2.22.23. What hath Man of all his labour, and [Page 55] of the vexation of his Heart, wherein he hath laboured under the sun? For all his dayes are Sorrow, and his travel grief; yea, his Heart taketh not rest in the Night; This is also vanity.

Ʋse. 2.

I note the goodness of God, that seeing the day hath trouble enough, he has so ordered it, that trouble is but for a day; if many dayes, and many troubles met together it would be sad; its well that Dayes of trouble and extream misery are shortened. Mat. 24.22. In Hell there is a Life without end, and trouble without end; seeing it is sharp, it is a comfort it is so short.

Ʋse. 3.

I note the great difference between this life, and the Life to come; many Dayes and full of joy, for few Dayes and full of troubles.Psal. 16.11. In thy Presence is ful­ness of joy, at thy right Hand are pleasures for evermore.

Ʋse. 4.

The great mistake of promising a better morrow; if you have not the same trouble to morrow which you had to [Page 56] day, you shall have another in the room of it, and full as bad; to mor­row may not be, and if it be, it will not be better; it is looked upon as great vanity and wickedness in them that said, to Morrow shall be as this day and much more abundant.

Ʋse. 5.

The great Mercy of God that has been pleased to order suitable sup­port, and sufficient supply for the day. Deut. 33.25. As thy day is, so shall thy strength be.

Ʋse. 6.

There is comfort in this, that we canot expect a worse morrow; more than enough cannot be, fear of a worse makes this the worst. The Lord will lay no more upon you, than he will enable you to bear: if thou shalt have burthen enough for thy bearing, so thou wilt have strength enough for thy bur­den; if thou hast but little trouble, thou has but little strength, and the burden is enough for thy strength; so if thou hast great troubles thou hast proportion­able strength, and so the strength is e­nough [Page 57] for the burden. To conclude this Text, my care will not make to morrow's trouble less, and therefore why should it make this day's trouble more; I am resolved to part with a great many thoughts and cares, which have been very chargeable to maintain, have eaten up my strength and comfort, and I have got nothing by them, they shall now all be banished, let the morrow take thought for it self, each day hath enough with his own grief.

Christian Geography and Arithmetick.

Psalm 90.12.

So teach us to number our Dayes, that we may apply our Hearts unto Wisdom.

TO omit what might be spoken of the Pen-man, Scope, Division and principal matter of this Psalm; I come pre­sently to draw out the Observations and Doc­trines which may be raised from the Text.

Doct. 1.

The dayes of Men are numbred, it is appointed for all Men once to Die.

[Page 59]I shall endeavour to open the point and then apply it: for the opening of it, I shall enquire into the import of the phrase of numbring Dayes, or what is implied in this expression of numbring our Dayes.

1. This, that our Dayes are numbred does denote the shortness of them; pauperis est numer are pecus. Eter­nity cannot be numbred, what ever is in God is incomprehensible and innumer­able, the Dayes of God are not to be numbred. We say he is a Poor man that can number his Flock, that can tell how many sheep and cattel he has, the Dayes of a Man are soon told they are quickly reckoned up, he that hath but a little skill in Arithmetick, may cast up the number, he that is but newly entered into the Table of Numeration may count them, if he know Units and Tens he may do it, he need not go as far as hundreds. David tells us how the ac­count went in his Dayes, and since his time, the number is not increased, Sin has rather shortened them, and cut them off. The Dayes of our Years are threescore years and ten, Psa. 9.10 and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength labour and sorrow, for it is soon cut off, and we stee away.

[Page 60]2. It holds forth the fixedness of the bounds of them: the time of their end­ing is set and fixed, and there is no pas­sing beyond those bounds which the Lord hath made; there is no altering, no re­moving of them, God is exact to his numbers, he will not upon any conside­ration revoke his decree and determina­tion in this kind; Seeing his daies are determined, Job 13.5. the number of his Moneths are with thee, (purely in thy power) thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass. The time of the Israelites capti­vity was out in the Night, and though in 430 years, as we use to say, a Day would break no square, much less a piece of a Night; yet, that the Lord might be exact to his own prefixed time, he will be at the charge to light them out rather than stay till the morning. So Belshazzar was slain in the night, because, as some think, then the Captivity was out. If a man could give all the World, he could not purchase one hour beyond his appointed time; Death's not to be delayed, it will not be bribed, it wil fetch a Man out of his bed at Midnight, and not stay till Morn­ing, it will seize upon a Man, when he is abroad, and not suffer him to go home, [Page 61] and take his leave of his Family, and set his House in order; it will not give a Man time to make his Will, nor to speak a few words which might prevent abun­dance of trouble, and Law-suits that fall out about the division of his Estate; where-ever thou art, what ever thou art doing, when the minutes of thy Life are expired, Death strikes thee, and there is no avoiding it.

3. It sets forth the transitoriness, the slipperiness, the swiftness of our Daies. How does the Scripture labour for simili­tudes to set this forth! certainly to know and believe this is of very great impor­tance to our Faith, or else the Spirit of God, would never gather so many illus­trations from sense; it would be worth while to gather them up, and open them, but they are frequently done by others, and ly so obvious to your search, that I need not spend so much time about it; only give me leave, seeing it is a business of so great consequence, and so very little minded, to deal a little plainly and pa­thetically with you. Alas, alas, where is that Professor, that sits down and se­riously thinks with himself, how swift­ly his time passes away? who knows not that time is short, and passes swiftly a­way [Page 62] away it is a theme for School-Boyes; ay but let me tell you, few consider it, or live under the power of it; it is a Medi­tation fit for the best Saint upon Earth, and without dispute to live in the right belief of it, would be an especial and principal means to recover the power of Godliness which is so much de­cayed in this last age.

Do you think that Professors could be so Formal, and Secure, and Worldly, if they lived every day as their last, and per­formed every Duty as their last? would there not be more Zeal, and Life, and Love, and Heavenly-mindedness? Do you believe that we spend our years as a Tale that is told, as a Word, as a Medi­tation, swifter than a Weavers Shuttle; That our life is as wind, and vanisheth away as the Cloud: That our dayes are swifter than a Poste, You know how swift a Poste is, he passes by so fast, you can take no notice of him, you get but a glimpse of him, you could not know him again if you saw him; so do our dayes post away, how are we hurried in haste, haste, post-haste from one thing to ano­ther! poste to Bed at night, put off your Clothes, post-hast, poste up in the morn­ing and put them on again; pst to your [Page 63] Meals, and post from them again; post to your business, and post from it; how do Sabbaths; and Sermons, and Oppor­tunities post by, and that in such hast, that you cannot remember them when they are gone! it may be in twenty four hours you have forgot all. How many Ser­mons that you have heard have lived a moneth with you? What was the Mes­sage of God to you this day moneth? the Matter as it was passing by did much affect you, you were much taken with it, and thought you should have known, and remembred that matter as long as you had lived; but it seems it went by in such haste, the time of the Meeting passed away so swiftly, that it has happened to you, as to a man that looks his natural Face in a Glass, Jam. 1.24he be­holdeth himself, and goes away, and straight way forgets what manner of man he was; so you have forgotten what manner of matter it was that you heard, that you were so affected with, and melted under, that your Soul did so fully close with, & you could so evident­ly witness to the truth of it; how lively, it was represented to you, how experi­mentally you did receive it, what good­ness you tasted in it and thought that [Page 64] taste would have never gone out of your mouth; now no impression remaining, the Text and every word of the Sermon so posted away, so far gone that they cannot be recalled or recovered. If a Painter would take the Picture of a Man, the Man must sit in a steady posture, but our Comforts perish in the using, they are not sitting Comforts; we are so in­terrupted, crowded, that we get little of the company and enjoyment of them Solomon had a mind to have the comfort of Wine, and he got it alone, for he ac­quainted his heart with Wisdom, and was freed from those excesses, extrava­gances, and disturbances which com­monly keep company with the drinkers of Wine, but he concludes that all was vanity and vexation of Spirit, and there was no profit under the Sun. A man can have no time to sit with his comfort and enjoy them, but he is either inter­rupted, or the comfort is gone. But to leave this Similitude, he sayes, his dayes are swifter than a Post: It is well observed by Mr. Caryl, that a Poste staies to change Horses, but the Chariot of the Sun, which is the natural measure of time, never staies, but is in continual motion: I might add this also, that the [Page 65] Artificial Measures of Time, which are continued by men, are in continual moti­on; the Sands in the Hour-glass are always running, or else it is of no use; the Wheels in the Clock and Watch are al­wayes moving, or else they are of no use at all; if the Watch be down, it is good for nothing, for it's only use lies in motion. You may see this Similitude of a Post excellently laid open by Mr. Ca­ryl upon the place, as also those two more which they find in Job 9.26. My dayes are passed away as the swift ships, & as the Eagle that hasteth to the prey. Ships upon the Sea under sail before the Wind pass away very swiftly, and leave no impression: The Eagle is a Bird of the strongest Wing, the swiftest Fowl, and a greedy Fowl; she soares alost, and is quick-sighted, and soares down upon her Prey, as a Thunderbolt, as a Bullet, as an Arrow, and she leaves no impress­ion in the Air. Now, saies Job, My dayes are passed away as the Eagle that hasteth to the Prey. I shall forbear the Prosecution of other Similitudes; our dayes are compared to Smoke, to a Dream, to a Shepherds Tent, to a Vapour, to a Shadow, to a Flower, &c. the aptness of [Page 66] which Similitude I leave to your own considerations.

4. This, that our dayes are numbered does likewise imply thus much, that our work is numbred to our day, our work is cut out for the day; God makes no emp­ty dayes, as every day has its trouble, so every day has its work. To every thing there it a Season, Eccles. 3.1. and a time for every purpose under the Sun; and it is as true, that there is a purpose for every Season, as well as a Season for every purpose; and happy is that man that knows his Season for his purpose, and his purpose for his season, that knows his day for his work, and his work for his day, and does his dayes work upon his day; when our work is finished, then our dayes shall be ended: But alas for wicked men, their dayes end before they begin their work; they do work that God never allotted, or allowed any time for: There is a time to build, and a time to plant, and a time to morn, &c. but there is no time to sin. Some know their work yet do not do it, and these will be beater with many stripes: The great Correcti­on-house of Hell is prepared for those that would not work whil'st they had [Page 67] day, and time, and light, and opportu­nity, and assistance, and whatever might have an influence upon the promoting of their work; Be sure thou examine the work thou art about, and ask thy self strictly these two Questions.

1. Is this work for any time, is it to be done at all?

2. Is this work proper for this time; does the work and the time correspond and suit one another? it may be sinful thoughts arise when thou art at Duty, let them know there is no time allotted for them, much less at such a time; it may be worldly thoughts come in about thy fa­mily and calling, let them know there is a time for them, but they must keep their place and due distance at such a sea­son; perhaps some good thoughts may come in, which yet are not suitable to the work which thou art engaged in, tell them, they shall be encouraged in their proper time; God is a God of or­der and not of confusion and distracti­on; there is a time to Read, a time to Hear, a time to Meditate, a time to Pray, a time to confer about good things, and these du­ties help one another in their place and order. But it is not unusual for him that sometimes transforms himself into an [Page 68] Angel of light to inject even good things in an unseasonable manner which tend only to distraction, and not to edificati­on and promoting Communion with Gods and he is a Wise Christian that knows how to manage himself, that there may be no interfering of duties. I cannot but break out and tell you, how hard a thing it is to be a right Christian, a Chri­itian indeed, even-squared according to Gospel-rule and proportion. The misery of Man is great upon him, because he knows not his work and his time; the Devil takes, great advantage of poor Christians that have strong affections and but weak judgments, and does so bewil­der them and cast such mists in their way, even upon this very account that we are speaking of, that I begin not to wonder at the many complaints I daily hear from Christians of unbelief, unprofitableness under ordinances and the means of grace discontentedness & falling out with their conditions; they are much unacquaint­ed with their proper, work in its proper season; Satan is a Spirit of disorder and confusion, and he knows how to en­tangle the belt duty thou doest, and per­plex the most regular exercise of thy Graces: the only way thou hast to help [Page 69] thy sely is seriously to consider, whether this and the other notion and suggestion comes from God; is this according to rule, does the Gospel bid me think this, and speak this, and do this; to the Law and to the testimony. Let me take my Bible into my hand, and see whether I can find a fixed, a stated rule for such i­maginations, for such perplexities, for such becalmings, for such expressions and actions; what faith the Scripture; and how readest thou; my Lord and Sa­viour answered the Devil still, with a Scriptum est, Mat. 24 22. it is written; if I cannot tell him, it is written? I may ask him the question, is it written? Dost thou speak from the Word of God? Dost not thou wrest the Word of God? Dost not thou add nor diminish? Does the Lord indeed require and call for this thing at my Hands? is it any part of that work that he has appointed for me in my Day, that I should at any time distrust him, or look upon his care as insufficient either for my Soul or Body? are not the alsuffi­cient merits of the Lord Jesus tendered to me without any exception, but what I make within my self? Does not he com­mand me to believe, and is not this my proper work that I shoud be found la­bouring [Page 70] in? is there one in the Book of God that does incourage me to question either his ability or willingness to save me? it is the work of Satan to make obstructions in a Man's own self, and then to lay them at God's door; but is it any part of my work to believe him of regard him? it is thy every dayes work to believe with all thy Heart; and if thou canst say, that thou art willing to give up thy self to the Lord Jesus be saved and sanctified by him, to be pardoned and purged by him, to bring nothing to him, to keep nothing from him, to deny thy sinful self, thy righteous self, and (if he call for it) thy natural self; thou mayest conclude thou art in thy proper work which is suit­able for every season, and that thou art observing the order of God, and ap­pointment the Lord Jesus; Job. 6.29. for, This is the work of God, saith our Lord, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. And what ever it is that does obstruct and hinder this work, comes from Satan and not from God; it is a work that was never numbred out by God for thee to do for it is according to his mind and pleasure, that every one should say as his Apostle Paul did, the Life that I live it is [Page 71] by Faith in the Son of God; and the work that I do, is to be alwaies exer­cising and putting forth Acts of Faith upon the Lord Jesus. And as for the concerns of my Body, is it any part of my work or duty, according to Gospel-rule, to be carking, and caring, and vex­ing my self, how I shall maintain that; what I should Eat and Drink, and wherewithal I should be Cloathed? has not he engaged his Providence for me? is not his express word, and is it not my proper work to believe it? be content with such things as ye have. Heb. 13.5 For be hath said, I will never leave thee nor forsake thee. Hath he given me a King­dom, and will not he give me a staff to walk to that Kingdom? as I have heard it well observed by a worthy Mi­nister, will he give me Heaven, and will not give me Earth? will he give me an inheritance and will he not give me spending money? can I trust him for my Soul, and can I not trust him for my poor frail Body? Is not food and ral­ment within the Covernant as well as life and Salvation? Did he ever put me up­on such work as this, as to get my own Breads, and leave me to my own Hands. Its true, as he has told me, that in the sweat [Page 72] of my Brows I must eat my Bread; but he never said I should do it in the care and trouble, and grief of my Heart, I must work indeed, but the care of me lies with him, he is bound to maintain me, it is not my labour, but his bles­sing that must do it.

I am but a journy-man, the work is not mine but his; I must be at his allow­ance, he has: set me my dimensum, my task; and it is purely in his disposal how I must be maintained, what he will give me of these outward things, whether much or little: he knows best my con­stitution; what I can bear, what may be convenient for my passage; what may be helping and not clogging in my journey to Heaven, and if I have but little of the present World; I must not call it Poverty, but Discipline. I conclude therefore, it was never intended by the Lord to be any part of my work, or to take up any part of my time, to sret and perplex my self, how I should have provisions to carry me or my Fa­mily through the wilderness of this World. But to proceed, this very thing of not numbring the work to the day, and so answering the design of God in giving the day, is that which proves fa­tal [Page 73] to Persons and People, and becomes their utter ruine.

How does our Saviour weep over Jerusalem and breaks out into these mournful expressions. Sayings, If thou hadst known even thou at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace, but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the day shall come upon thee, that thine E­nemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on e­very side; and shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy Children within thee, and they shall not leave in thee, one stone upon another. Good Lord, what is the cause of all this misery? why will thou deal so severely with thine own and only People? surely there is some great things in the bottom; What have they done? Dost thou ask what have they done? It, is for something they did not do when they had an opportunity on purpose given for doing of it. Because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation. God gave them his Ordinances, the means of Grace, he waited a great while upon them, to see whether they would profit under them, and prove an holy and re­formed People; but they not minding the Lord's end in being at such charge [Page 74] with them, continued a careless, formal, worldly, contentious, and a very un­holy sinful People; yea, grow worse and worse, therefore &c. The Lord help us, my Brethren, to know the day of our visitation, our tranquillity is leng­thened out, our liberties continued, we enjoy Sabbaths, and Sermons, and Or­dinances, one Exhortation and Admo­nition after another, precept upon pre­cept, warning after warning; we have also some lesser corrections and chastise­ments intermingled, and what is all this for? Eccles. 2.1.3 that we should bring forth fruit to God, that we should become an hea­venly and serious People, that our Faith might grow exceedingly, and the chari­ty of every one of us all towards each o­ther might abound.

But if we go on as we do, bringing forth so many truits of the flesh, remain carnal, frothy, so lukewarm, & indifferent in the things of Religion, dead under the opportunitie of life, with so much forma­lly in Duties & under Ordinances, turn­ing as a door upon the hinges, neither well with the means of Grace, nor well without them: with so much out­side in our services and performances, so little presling after inward communion, [Page 75] with God with so little zeal for the Name and Honour, and Truths of God, so little sence of the sins of others, to mourn over them reprove them, of the suffering of others, to mourn with them, and bear their burthens; so great lovers of the World, so desirous of having much, so little contented with our conditions; (what, never an Heart moved yet at the hearing of all this, is there none cry guilty) so unjust, equi­vocating, overreaching, and unwatchful over our tongues in trading and bar­gaining; so little thinking of the Royal rule, to do as we would be done by so vain in our Discourses, so upcircum­spect in our Conversations, so sensual and unmortified, such giving liberty to the flesh, indulging and making provi­sion for it, so comformable to the World, with such Symptoms of Pride in Heart and habit, with so much envying one a­nother, back-biting and evil speaking, so little true Hearty Gospel-love amomg Professor and Christians, that all pre­tend to be followers of the same Christ, and hope to live in one Heaven, with so much carnality; in having the Faith of Christ with respect of persons, in being factions and making parties and sidings, [Page 76] and keeping up Nick-names in Religion, (a sore evil) so sparing and niggardly in your Almes-deeds: and which is the ground of all the former, so little in your own Hearts by self-reflexion, self-exa­mination, self-humbling, abhorring and abasing; and lastly; so little delight and joy in God, and a continual eyeing and looking up to the person of Jesus Christ who is at God's right hand, at the Glo­ry he is in, the work he is there doing for his Saints, intercedeing and preparing; to­gether with the great Power and Glory he shall shortly appear in, Heb. 9.28 when he comes the second time to Salvation and judge­ment. I say, if we shall continue thus guilty, as you have heard in the particu­lars mentioned, and many more I might add, together with the daily grieving the Holy Spirit of God by not praying for it, not watching, obeying, and quenching its motions; you may very suddenly expect such sharp and astonish­ing dispensation as make me even tremble at the very thoughts of them; read over the Book of the Lamentations, and weep as thou reads: I remember what the Prophet said to Hazael, you may turn to it, 2 Kings 8.11, 12. Take another Text or two to shew of what [Page 77] concern it is, that men should know how to number their works to their time and season, Rev. 2.21, 22. And I gave her space to repent of her Fornication, and she repented not, bebold I will cast her into a bed; and them that commit Adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repin of their deeds, and I will kill her Children with Death, and all the Churches shall know, that I am he which searcheth the reins and Heart; and I will give to eve­ry one of according to your work. Do you English and apply this Text, you have heard it read to you; but hold sits before you leave it, pray tell us what should be the meaning, of that expression: and all the Churches shall know &c. God forbid that there should be any Chur­ches or members that should not be right in this principle, to acknowledge God to be the searcher of the Heart.

The Omniscieney of God is confessed by all that are not professed Atheists; but cannot tell what to make of that ex­pression, that all Churches shall knows; if it had been thus, and all the World shall know, or all the wicked of the Earth shall know, or, & all the Enemies of God shall know, we should not have wondred at it; give us your thoughts about it truly, Friends, I cannot but be troubled [Page 78] at what my present apprehensions are will tell you what the Lord sets upon my Spirit, his Blessing go along with in there is in Churches so much lukewarm­ness, such resting in formes and external services, such sinful tolerations, and hearing with sin, such keeping and co­vering iniquity in the skirts of Churches not making use of Gospel-rule; to keep themselves clean and pure, and to purge out Iniquity; as here the Church of Thyatira suffered that Woman Jozabe which called her self a Prophetess to teach & seduce my Servants to commit Form­cation, & to eat things sacrificed to Idol I say there is such failings in member of Churches, so little exercise of Disci­pline, such Hypocrisy, so little love to and care of one another, so little of the Power and Life of Godliness that it makes it too apparent, that the Lord is not so acknowledged and owned to be the searcher of the Heart, so as he ought to be; external priviledges are so trusted to without eyeing God in them, such things are done and suffered in short; so little fear, reverence and delight and so much shew, officiousness, outside, exter­nal pomp, as if the Lord were indeed like one of us, taken with appearance [Page 79] and looked to no more than barely the work done; nay, indeed as if he were like one of the Idol gods of the Heathens, that had eyes and saw not, ears and heard not; as if things might be concealed and kept from him. There is no respect of Persons with God, when he comes into the Church, he has not regard to him, that wears the goldring, or him that that fits in the highest place, or her that wears the best gown; but to him or her that is of a pure, holy, contrite, humble Heart, that fears God, and trembles at his word: not hath he laid down one rule for the rich, and another for the poor; no Man's greatness can compound for him to have abatements made to be connived at and little notice taken of him, if he do make a trip, or prove a little slack in his place & duty. And now observe what follows in the very next words; and all the Churches shall known &c. And I will give to every one of you according to your Works; I will deal with you not according to your fair shews, and fine appearances, and speci­ous pretences, and good language, and honest expressions: trust ye not in lying Words,Pro. 7.4 Saying, the Temple of the Lord the Temple of the Lord &c, the Church [Page 80] the Church-priviledges. I will examine your waies and your doings, whether they be suitable to your Profession, your practice answerable to the Principal you hold, then I will bless you and dwell with you, and make you my rest and ha­bitation; but if I find you to be such as are evil doers, that commit iniquity, that fail in the weightier matters of the Law, in the execution of Judgment and Justice and Mercy. See ver. 5.6, 7. if you are worldly and carnal, and do not make streight steps for your feet, then I must punish you as Sinners, I must be just; I must respect my own Name. You only have I known of all the Families of the Earth, therefore will I punish you for all your Ini­quities. I must not be partial, to allow sin in a Child, and punish it in a stave, to judg sinners and let Saints go free when they transgress: your relation to me, your priviledges cannot save you from the rod. I have heard it excellent­ly observed by one, that the Temple of the Lord was never intended to be a Sanctuary for the prophane and unholy, to save them from the hand of Justice;Mr. W. let no wicked Person from hence take oc­casion (as the Lord knows they are too apt in this loose corrupt Genetation) [Page 81] to blaspheme the waise and Saints of God; because the People of God have their sailings, and there are Hypocrites among them (as there was one Judas in Christ's Family) therefore they make a mock of Holy Profession; and Saint­ship; and please themselves to play up­on the borders of that unpardonable sin; they do deride the very Actings and Breathings of the Holy Spirit of God, because of some that are but pretenders to it, but never had it; let me tell thee, O thou that draws such consequences and conclusions, that the Gospel is an Holy Gospel, Religion is a real and sub­stantial thing.

There are Ordinances of Chirist, which we must be walking and waiting upon God in; and if we that profess the Gospel do not walk according to it, we must repent and sue out our pardon; God will scourge and correct us severely, as he has done in all Ages, and we must justi­fy him in it; and he will make us know, that it is an evil and a bitter thing to de­part from God, and to bring reproach upon Religion and the Name of God, and to open the mouths of such as thou art. [Page 82] I will not name thee, but would wil­lingly know by what name thou con­ceives thy self to be called in Scripture and would desire others that they would likewise consult Scripture, and find out thy Character there; but I would tell thee further before we part that if we do transgress, we pay dear for our sin; Repentance is too great a rate to be given for the most profitable Cor­ruption upon Earth; we are chastened of the Lord, that we might not be condemned with the World: Besides, know this, that if we be true Saints, though we may have our infirmites, and must repent of them consequently; so antecedently, we must be such as do sincerly resolve against all sin, that do not allow, or indulge our selves in the least evil, that carefully a­void and shum the occasions of sins, that hate every false way; We must be such as must have respect to all Gods Com­mandements according to our Light in them, and Knowledge of them, not be found neglecting any thing that we know to be a Duty; we should be very careful of our words, how we spend our time, and be continually preparing for our dying hour. And if there be such as are indeed very Hypocrites among [Page 83] us, as there has been in all Ages; and will be to the end of the World, and no avoiding it; (for we cannot know mens hearts; and for external Worship and Holiness, a wicked man may do them as well as a Saint nay, a Hypo­crite may possible do them better than a Saint, because he does not carry weight with him, he takes no heed to the heart, which is the principal thing in a Duty) I say grant there be such, if they dis­cover themselves in gross impieties, and prove obstinate; the Gospel has given Rules for Admonitions, sharp and cut­ting Reproofs, even to the quick for withdrawing from them, Titus 3. [...] for casting them out of the Society of Gods peo­ple, and Gospel-Professors, and deliver­ing of them up to Satan; and if they do remain covered and concealed till the Judgement of the great day, then the Lord will discover them, and them a portion in the lowest place in Hell.

The Scripture seems to make them the freeholders and first-born of Hell, Mat. 24.51. He will appoint him his portion with the Hypocrites, there shall be weeping and ganshing of teeth. Well therefore, thou mightest spare thy self the expence of a great many words; for busi­ness [Page 84] is quickly summed up; either thou calls a true Saint an Hypocrite, because of his infirmites, and some Hyporisite which discovers it self in him, which he repents of, which the Lord gives him a pardon for, cleanses him from, and at last receives him to his Glory; and if this be thy Case, I am much afraid thou wilt come under the last of that Scrip­ture, which I will take the pains to turn to; it is in the Epistle of Jude ever. 14, 15. Behold, the Lord cometh, with ten thousand of his Saints, to execute vengeance upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly a­mong them, of all their ungodly deeds, which they have ungodly committed, and of all their bard speeches which ungodly sinner have spoken against him; But

Secondly, If this be thy Case, that thou calls those Hypocrites that are in­deed so, what need thou be so concern­ed, both God and Man are against them, they have shame here; however, the Lord does most severely tourment them to all Eternity; thou might spare thy bad Language, they are punished enough without it. But

Thirdly, If this be thy mind, to take occasion hence to speake evil of Religion, and holy Profession, the Graces and [Page 85] Fruits of the Spirit, & make a mock and derision of all these, that because many men that pretend to Religion, are very wicked men, therefore to cast off all Re­ligion, and Zeal, and Love to God, and Faith in Christ Jesus, and the workings of the Spirit, as Fancies and Sha­dows having no substance or reality in them; then I must needs say, that thou art in the high way to Atheism; and I do nor know how I am fallen upon it, but I cannot possibly avoid it, according to my casting up the Account, it a­mounts to neither more nor less, thou art a down-right Atheist: I did not think I should have had occasion to have used this word, for I do not love words that carry reflection with them; I have been studying the ninth Verse of the E­pistle of Jude, railing Language does not become my Mouth; I confess I may be mistaken in my casting up, and I should be glad to see where my Errour lay, that I may rectifie it; I can say I love Truth better than Opinion, or my own Conception and Imagination. Me­thinks I hear thee disowning the name and thing, & pleading for Righteousness; and Honesty, and Worship, and Sacra­ments; &c. The truth is, thou hast now [Page 86] confimed me fully in judgment of thee; for the Scripture is not more express in any thing than in discovering a sort of people that plead for a Form of Godli­nese, that they may more effectually op­pose the power of it; that use the name of God, that they may fight against the Nature, Word, and Works of God; that pretend to set up Christ, that they may destroy his Person and all his Offices; Men of corrupt minds, Tim. 11.3. Titus 1.16 Phil. 3.19.reprohate concern­ing the Faith; That profess they know God, but in works deny him, being abomi­nable, disobedient, and to every good work reprobate; Enemies to the Cross of Christ. If so be then that thou art an Atheist, the Scripture in plain terms calls thee a Fool, Psal. 14.1. Thou hast read the place, but I will read it to thee again, The Fool hath said in his heart, there is no God; He has no fear of God no awe of the great God upon, his Spirit, no sense of his Holiness, Power, Justice, Omnisciency his Word, his Will, his Works, what he hath done, what he will do; what joy he hath laid up for the Serious, Sin­cure, Humble seekers of him, and that truly believe on the name of his Son, and are careful to maintain good Works; what torment he has prepared for the [Page 87] wicked, and disobedient, and those that believe not and obey not the Gospel, which he has revealed and sufficiently made it evident to be his will. But I must leave thee and answer thee no more having respect to both those Rules of the Spirit of God, given forth by Solomon; Prov. 26, 4, 5. Answer not a fool &c. What I have more to say about thee, shall be only to God, so as I am taught Jude 9. the last words of the verse. I now return from whence I have digressed be­yond my purpose and intention, but sometimes we may be most in our way when we seem to be out of it: the Lord has various methods; a word out of course, a word by the way, sometimes does more good, as God can bless it, than that which seems to lie most direct and in order, intended and prepared: I am an admirer of Method, and am no friend to Foolish Preachings to imperti­nencies, and repetitions that proceed frorn emptiness and barrenness of matter, but, I must confess, I have often thought what there might be in the foolishness of Preaching; it pleases God by the foolishness of Preaching, to save that do Believe. When a gust of the Spirit comes, when zeal and Affections are stirring, and [Page 88] transport a Man, he is driven out of his road.

But to the points I was telling you the great danger Men were brought into, when they did not lay hold of their sea­son and opportunity, did not number their work for their day, were not wise but foolish, in letting time go and leaving work undone. I have one Scripture more which I have promised you, and that is in Rom. 2.4.5. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to Repentance? But af­ter thy hardness and impenitent Heart, treasurest up unto thy self wrath, against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. The Lord did spare thee, and continued thy life to thee, day after day: thou hadst much time, and many advantage, and thou didst not consider for what end God did this to thee: he laid out time for thee, and thou shouldest have laid out work for that time, have filled the vessel of time with good actions, the fruits of Righteousness that thou mightest have said with the Spouse, Here are all manner of pleasant Fruits new & old, which I have laid up for thee! O my Beloved. But in­stead [Page 89] of this, thou art laying a foundati­on for everlasting misery by thy hardness and impenitency; thou art doing a work which thou wilt find wages for, the wages of unrighteousness. Because to every purpose there is a time and judg­ment, Eccles. 8.6, 7, 8, 9.12 therefore is the misery of Man great upon him; For he knoweth not that which shall be, for who can tell him when it shall be? For Man knoweth not his time, as the Fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the Birds that are caught in the snare; so are the Sons of Men sna­red in an evil time, when it falleth sud­denly upon them.

I now come to the Application.

Ʋse 1.

Are our dayes numbred in this sence as you have heard, then it affords mat­ter of Humiliation to Saints, & Churches, that they have not numbred their Daies and their work better; truly my Brethren we had better confess our own sins, than have other folks to confess them, to charge our selves is the way to be dis­charged both by God and Man. I have sometimes thought that if the People of God had been more in condemning [Page 90] themselves, they would not have been so much condemned by the World; let us say as the Church of old, As for our transgressions we know them. I remem­ber what I have met with in a learned Author, who writing freely of the faults and miscarriages of Ministers, comes to answer an Objection which Ministers, comes to might make against his publishing their failings to the World, who were so ready to be offended with them, and to stumble at every thing; or if he would have discovered them, he might have writ in Latine, and so they might have been concealed from vulgar notice; he answers to this purpose, saies he, if we had sinned in Latine, then our Sins might have been reproved in Latine; but seeing our failings have been obvious, let out acknowledgements, Confessions and Re­pentace be so too; it is no disparage­ment or lessening to any Man that is guilty, to make confession, but an effec­tual way to remove Reproach and Scan­dal, and to silence accusers: accusations have little place either with God or Man, where persons are willing to ac­cuse themselves; though there are some that are come to that height of Wick­edness in this Age, which is so fruitful [Page 91] of Monsters; that take occasion from the confessions of sin which God's People make to him, to charge them, as it were out of their own Mouths as the vilest Creatures on Earth; to draw out an ac­cusation against them out of their own Confessions; a Bill of inditement a­gainst them, from what they do acknow­ledge of themselves: but these Men are little acquainted with the Scriptures, and the Mystery of Godliness. The Lord tells us that his waies are not as our waies, nor his thoughts as our thoughts. He that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall find Mercy; by God's own appointment confession is clearing. Indeed I grant that among Men, confession of the party is evidence in Law; but in the Court of God, at his Tribunal, confession of the party takes away evidence: there is no more danger of our confession of our sins to God, in the World's hearing, than of doing it; in private in Satan's hearing. Its against all reason to charge a Man that is charging himself; if you would take a way sins testimony, joyn testimony with it; among the Latines two Nega­tives make an affirmative, but among the Greek's, two affirmatives make a Negative; if the World accuse us, let [Page 92] us accuse our selves too, and this is the way to be cleared; a Christian is never so much in his Glory, as when he is ju­stifying God, and condemning himself. It will silence the railing Rashakehs of this Age, for professors to charge them­selves deeply and particularly before God; we have sinned, we have done foolishly, we have broken thy Cove­nant, we have sinfully complied, we have been too much partakers with wick­ed men of their wickedness, we have been unprofitable, careless, worldly, covetous, greedy after the World; with our tongues have we dishonoured God, and our Conversations have been such as have but given too much occasion to the Wicked to blaspheme; we have given them just cause to open their mouths a­gainst Religion for our sakes, we have not discovered that humility, meekness, impassionateness, weanedness from the world, mortification of fleshy lusts, that might have been attractive and al­luring of others to a good likeing of the professing of the Gospel and Christiani­ty; we have been seeking our selves, and setting up our selves, when we should have been seeking and setting up the in­terest of the Lord Jesus; we have practised [Page 93] that in our selves which we have condemned in others; and never any People had more pretious opportunities and improved them less; we have put Death far from us, and lived as if this world would never have an end, and as if the World to come would never have a Beginning &c.

Now for others to lay these things to our charge, makes us odious and ugly; But for us to charge our selves will make us look lovely and Beautiful: there is a vast difference between others speaking of us, and our own speaking of our selves though the words be the very same. The story of Jonah if another had writ it, would have made Jonah appear very de­formed; but as he writes it himself, it ren­dershim a true penicent: let us lament our not doing our work in our day, our not minding our work and season and mak­ing them meet; what a deal of work might we have done more than we have, if we had forted, and counted, and num­bred our work aright! we have been confounded as the Builders of Babel. We have done much that needed not have been done; and we have been doing of one thing when we should have been do­ing another; we have been repenting when we should have been believing, [Page 94] and believing when we should have been repenting; we have been caring when we should have been trusting; we have been weeping, when we should have been rejoicing, and rejoicing when we should have been mourning, we have been doing and undoing; and as a Man that has lost his way, travels hard, but is no nearer his journeys end, may it may be comes to the place, whence he first set forth. I assure you it is matter of trouble to consider what confusion we have brought our selves into, and upon our Spirits, for want of this wisdom to num­ber our work-daies; we have been a dis­orderly People; we have not put our general and particular callings into good method, we do things in the first place which should be done in the second, and that in the second which ought to possess the first; let me tell you Earthly cares, will not sit comfortably and thrivingly in the first, nor Heavenly thoughts in the second, because the one will be too high, and the other too low for their ele­vation; it is a deslowring of early morn­ing-time to; lodge the world with it, and it is a disgraceing of the things of God, to present them with the small reliques, and stale afterlings of your time, I am [Page 95] perswaded this is the very thing the Psalmist aimes at in this Text, that he might have wisdom to know his time and his work, and the proper work for the day; that time might not be done before the work was done; and that work might not be misplaced and mis­laid; it must needs therefore be our great folly and loss, who are guilty of so much misplacing: why must worldly thoughts come in, in the morning as soon as thou art awake, and defile, blast, and canker thy Soul, when good thoughts would have edged it, prepared it, and put a savour, upon it which would not have worn off all day? why must thy counter come up stairs into thy closet, & the concerns of thy calling look upon thee whilst thou art praying and medita­ting and conversing with God, and a­bout the condition and state of thy Soul, and its Everlasting well-being? we should be Heavenly-minded in Earthly imploy­ments, and we are Earthly-minded in Heavenly imployments; get as much of Heaven as ever thou canst to attened thee in thy wordly matters, it will won­derfully facilitate and preosper thy work, it will make it go on with ease and plea­sure; a Bible upon a loom or shop-board [Page 96] never hinders work; Meat and Morn­ing Prayer never hinder work; holy e­jaculations, and good discourse, will not weaken the hands that labour, a serious thought in the midst of thy worldly bu­siness never causes interruption or disor­der.

And as you must take heed of misplaceing your work, so be careful you do not misplace the dispensations and provi­dences of God to you, for this belongs to the numbring of your daies: for you are apt to call your good dayes your bad ones, and your worst dayes, your best. The account will never come even when receipts are placed as disbursments do not expect a right ballance; you have had many dayes of Affliction & Sorrow and pain, your hands have been, alwaies full; now if you reckon all these dayes as bad dayes, you do not number right. Again, you have had a few Sun-shine dayes, you have enjoyed prosperity, and you call these good dayes: whereas it may be these have been ensnaring and straitning to your Souls, and the former have been quickning, purging, cleansing, and inwardly comforting; the dayes which the Children of Israel spent in the Wilderness were not their worst [Page 97] dayes, for there the Lord fed them with manna, bread which came down from Heaven. The wilderness-grape is the sweetest grape, the best vineyards from thence; Rock-water is the purest water, and no honey so sweet as that which came out of the Lyon; though no affliction for the present seems joyous but grievous; Heb. 12.11 but the peaceable fruits of Righteousness which it yieldeth afterwards to them that are exercised therein, make amends for all: it may be when thou considers it well, Job 29.4. those dayes of thy youth when the secret of God was upon thy Ta­bernacle; thy Children about thee, when thou washed thy steps with butter, & the Rock poured thee out rivers of Oyl &c, will not be accounted & numbred for the best dayes; thou wilt see cause upon due reflection to confess, that thy Spirit was more dull and heavy, and slothful, thou was not so lively in duty, didst not enjoy so much Communion with God, as thou hast done in some other dayes that were more dark and cloudy, and at great deal more pinching, and painful to go through: thou mayest remember in those shining dayes what expence thy watchfulness put thee to. How thou was continually upon thy guard, lest [Page 98] thou should be ensnared, and thy affecti­ons be carried beyond due bounds; it's difficult case, where we are so desirous to drink much and yet can but bear little; to resist is troublesome, to yield is dangerous; to love the Creature no more than it should be, and to love God as much as he ought to be: thou canst tell likewise that in those other daves of straitness and want, and sicknese, and disgrace, and perplexity; though they were very ungrateful and unpleasing to the outward man, thou had frequent vi­sits from God, corruption did not so work and stir in thy heart, Satan was not so busie to defile thee with his temptations; thou hadst many a comfor­able half-hour which no body saw or took notice of; thou couldest pray then, thou couldest pour out Prayer, thou wast all Prayer; thy Prayers came from thee like hot burning sparks out of a flaming furnace, or like darts out of a Gyants Hand, with such a jerk of the Spirit af­ter them that they fell not a whit short of Heaven; what wrestling was there then of Faith, what strugling then of hope, what working and striving of pa­tience! then thou came to know effec­tually the meaning of those Scriptures,

[Page 99]Hope maketh not ashamed, we are saved by hope, in patience possess ye your Souls; thou then felt more charity, more bowels, more compassion, more fellows-feeling of others troubles; then thou came to know better the meaning of that Text, which perhaps in thy fair Dayes thou never considered so much; Re­member them that are in Adversity,Heb. 13as be­ing your selves also in the Body, having paslible, weak Bodies subject to all the like miseries, which you see in others; and what the Preacher intended when he exhorts to give a portion to seven, and also to eight, for thou knowest not what evil shall be upon the Earth; whether such evil may not be in the World that, may bring thee to like need.

How was thou then weaned from the world, how didst thou contemn it, the pleasures, honours and riches of it! thou did experience the mutable and tranfito­ty Nature of them, thou gave earnest heed to our Saviour's Counsel, Mat. 6 [...] Lay not up for your selves treasures on Earth where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal, but lay up for your selves treasures in Heaven where neither moth nor rust can corrupt nor thieves dig through and steal; and then [Page 100] thou conned over the Apostle Pauls hard lesson, 1 Cor. 7.29 and got it pretty perfect That they that had Wives should be a though they had none, they that rejoice as though they rejoiced not, they that buy as though they possessed not, for the fashi­on of this World passeth away. Thus though there was a decay upon thy outward-man by reason of Affliction, yet the inward man was renewed day by day; those dayes which helped thee nearer Heaven, and made thee more fit and more willing to die, were good dayes now painful and tormenting so ever they were in the passing through them; and those dayes which delighted thy fleshly desires and carnal part, which were very pleasant to the outward-man, but did make thee neglect duty or slubber it over, did deaden thy Spirit in it, and caused a decay in thy zeal, and Love and delight in God, and made thee less mind­ful of the great concerns of thy pretious Soul; those dayes though seemingly happy and blessed in their spending, were not so good dayes: be careful therefore of reckoning and numbring right about your conditions, and out ward states and beings in the World, and mourn over the disorder thou hast put [Page 101] thy self into, by not placing thy conditi­on right, and placing thy self aright in it; but by bustling and quarrelling at some times with thy state, and thy over pleasedness again another time with it. Thou hast been still disturbing and do­ing harm both to thy self and others; what hard and loud words have passed between thee and thy adverse state? have hot some over-heard thee saying, that thou thought no Bodies condition was worse than thine; none so straitned, none so perplexed; what sickness thou didst undergo what pain thou went through, what poverty and pinching thou endured, what crosses every way thou met with; and wishing thou had had not been born, or that thou might quickly die, and be removed out of this troublesome World, or that God would but be so kind to thee, that thou might but live as such and such do, though their conditions are not looked on as the best &c?

And to answer this chiding temper, has not that witness for God in thy own Conscience, and of his kindness to thee in every condition, made this smart re­ply? Oh what a murmuring unbeleev­ing Creature art thou! What, nothing [Page 102] but complaints: look about thee, canst thou find nothing to thank God for? is thy case so bad, that all comfort is shut out of it? thou art out of Hell, which thou deserves every moment, that's a Mercy; art not thou in health? many would give thousands to enjoy as much of that as thou dost; art thou harbour­less & knows not where to have a lodg­ing to night? that's the condition of ma­ny a good Soul where cruelty and perse­cution Reigns; art thou hungry and knows not where to get bread this day? it's a great Mercy to have bread for the day, and a greater to be able to beg and believe on God for bread for the day, a lesson which I heard a worthy Minister say, Mr. B the Lord had taught him, and an high piece of Learning it is. The Apostle knew what he said, and that it was a great degree he had attained to, when he professed? I have learned in the things wherein I am, Phil. 4.1. [...] therewith to be self-sufficient; there is a kind of self-suf­ficiency in every good contented mind, he is rich not that has much, but that does not desire much. Art thou thirsty and knows not where to get some good water? art thou cold, and knows not [Page 103] where to get a covering to keep thee warm?

But for thy Spiritual estate, art thou tempted? so was Christ, who was in all points tempted, likeas we are, that we might come boldly to the Throne of Grace, that we may obtain Mercy, and find grace to help in time of need, and has promised, that he will not suffer you to be tempted above what you are able; and is it your misery that you are called to follow the Captain of your Salvation in the honourable path of suffering the highway to peace, and rest, and Glory? Art thou under the tidings of his love? did not the Lord Jesus cry out, my God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Art thou unwilling that the Lord should make a trial of thy Love, and faithful­ness to him, whether thou will abide for him; and that by endear himself more to thee, and prepare thee for fuller ma­nifestations, and them for thee? Dost thou complain of an hard unbelieving Heart? its a mercy thou feels it to be so how many hard Hearts in the World that are not felt! they that can say and cry out, save us Master we perish, shall never sink; if there be sense there is life, though that life may be a very sickly [Page 104] Life: thy condition is sase though it it may be very uneasie; where there is the root of the matter, where there is the living substance, if circumstances be a little troublesome it may be born: better a little crying here than weep­ing and wailing hereafter; pains and pangs, and gripings here are kindly, and not at all dangerous. To conclude this, wilt thou for the future keep a better account of thy condition? wilt thou number and place the Providences of God towards thee in better order? this right reckoning will reconcile thee to all the difpensations of God, and make you long Friends; this will be your Wisdom, and, this is your way to true Wisdom; and so much for this Ufe of Lamentation, and Humiliation, It is much to be bewailed, and that because of bad consequences, that Christians do not number their dayes, their duties and their dispensations better. The exercise of such Wisdom as this.

How lovely would make Professors to look, and how peaceably would it make them live! it would make Religi­on look very beautifully and put an at­tractive and alluring vertue into the Conversations of Men; but we may [Page 105] cry out of our folly, our Childishness, our weakness of judgment in the things of God; our walking by sense, and reckoning by that, and leaving out Faith, without which there is nothing but disorder; it is that which sets all right, puts every thing in its proper place, and keeps Time and Eternity in their due conjunction, distinction, and necessary aspects one upon another: I now come to the

2. Ʋse.

An Use of exhortation, that we would learn this blessed Art of numbring our daies, this Christian Arithmetick; I shall indeavour to lay down some Rules of direction for our better numbring of them.

Rule 1.

Of Arithmetick: number the dayes that you have past, and what of that?

1. How many they have been, some of you have passed a great many Dayes, and Weeks, and Months, and Years; it is a long time you have been in this World, are you yet weary of it? how [Page 106] many dayes would you live longer, and how would you imploy those dayes? or do you consider that you cannot live al­wayes?

2. How many changes you have seen and passed through in those dayes; How many conditions and places you have been in, how many removes you have made, what tossings to and fro, how many ups and downs, what obser­vations you made in your passage; how much your paths you have walked in resemble the journeyings of the Israelites in the Wilderness; how, that which is, is that which has been, and there is no new thing under the Sun; how many in thy time have come into the World, and grown up, and grown old, and gone out of the World, some at one age, some at another, and very many that lived ne­ver to see thy years; how many Friends and intimate acquaintance thou hast bu­ried, with whom thou hast Eat and Drunk and Lodged, and now thou wal­kest over their Graves; how many re­lations of thine have left this World; Husband or Wife, or Children, or Fa­ther, or Mother, (and dost thou here­upon enjoy thy present Relations in any of those Kinds as if thou had none;) [Page 107] How many of thy own Neighbours, and School-fellows living; how time has hur­ried some to their Graves, others at a great distance from thee, others to beg­gary and a mean condition, though some are got to great estates, and set an inch above their Neighbours; How ma­ny great ones thou hast our-lived, and how many changes of Government thou hast seen in thy time.

Governments are heavy things, and as it were unmoveable, guarded both by the Laws of God and Men, and are as the Mount that might not be touched; yet an ordinary Man of an ordinary age does ordinarily outlive four or five Go­vernours or Governments, so that thou observes changes in Publick, and changes in thy Private state. What a change did Job see in his Condition (take him ei­ther as a Publick or as a Private Person? time was when he could say. Job 21.7. ‘He had his Children about him, he washed his steps with Butter, and the Rock poured out Rivers of Oyl; when he went out to the Gate of the City, when he prepa­red his Seat in the street, the young men saw him and hid themselves, the aged aged aged arose and stood up; The Princes refrained talking, &c.’ But now [Page 108] all on a sudden he becomes as low as he was high, and in a moment as it were, the case was altered with him that he com­plains that they that are younger than he had him in derision, whose Fathers he would have disdained to have set with the Dogs of his Flock, they spared not to spit upon him, &c.

3. How quickly they are gone; ma­ny years even among men, are but as yesterday, when they are past, but as t'other day. It is but a little while me thinks, saids he, since that so many years ago I lived in such a place, conversed so and so, did this and the other thing, how fast does time pass away; It is but as yesterday since I was a Child and went to School, and now I am grown old, I can remember it as well as if it were but yesterday: My life has ever been post­ing, as a Dream, as a Tale that is told; the Dream ends, and the Tale is con­cluded insensibly before we are aware. The whole time of this World is but as a Dream; The proper time of awaking will be at the Resurrection; then Men will know whereabout they are, and what they are, then they will be out of the hurry of time, and have lei­sure in Eternity (which is a fixed now wherein they shall stand still) to behold [Page 109] themselves, and understand themselves, their state and way. Just as in a Dream, a man seems to be very busie, hard tra­velling, in the midst of a crowd of peo­ple vehemently pursuing an Argument, driving on a Bargain [...] solemn Fune­ral, pleasant at a M [...]ge, cast down under a sad Providence befalling him, much refreshed with good News, telling great sums of Money, sate at a good Ban­quet, &c. but when he awakes, all is vanished away as a conceit, and the man is naked in his Bed, very still and quiet, and it may be finds himself hun­gry, and knows not where to get six-pence: Even so it is with Men in the World, they are much in agitation and motion, cumbred about many things; but when they come to dye, which is the time of awaking, then they are seen na­ked, their state and condition is known; no more to do with the World, or world­ly things, no eating, or drinking, or buy­ing, and selling, or converting; if they have Christ their Friend and Advocate, and be found upright, and lovers of God? then to glory with them, and everlast­ing joy; but if they be found wicked and Hypocrites, then to everlasting confusion: But to conclude this Simi­litude.

[Page 110]A Man when he is dreaming, by some noise or jog may be a little awakened, & come to himself, but may quickly go to sleep and fall a dreaming again the same Dream: So dreamish Professors that are very busie w [...]g to and fro in the Earth in a sleepy condition, and mind­ing the things of it, may by some awa­kening Ordinance or Providence, by some amazing Judgment, come to them­selves, and sit down, and think other thoughts than they did before, let the World stand still, and have to do with God; but assoon as the noise is over, they fall to dream again.

In the great Plague and Fire in Lon­don, there was such a noise, that I be­lieve there were very few but were a­wakened, and for the present, left off dreaming; but how quickly did security & sleepiness creep on, & they fel to dream­ing again one after another, to building, to buying, and selling, &c. (which at the best are but dreamish things, and may prove much worse, if you do them as they did them in the dayes or Noah, and Lot;) I wish with all my heart, the next Jog be not so hard, and the cry so loud, that instead of being kindly awakened, they be not mazed, and stunned, and [Page 111] deaf, and disabled from getting up, and putting on their clothes.

4. How irrecoverable they are, and lever to be recalled; If I would give all the World I cannot call yesterday back, nor be placed where I was yesterday morning. He that cries out, Call time again, call time again, is as unlikely to be heard, and answered as any man I know; [...]ay, but cannot you set me one day or two backward, place me where I was but t'other morning, that I may pass over those three or tour hours as I did then, No, I cannot do it; And this is the first Rule in this Christian Arithmetick; Num­ber the dayes that yon have past, this will make you wise.

Rule 2.

A second Rule in Arithmetick. Number the dayes that you have lost, this will be a special means to lead you to Wisdom. What have your past days been filled with? have not you lost weeks, and moneths, nay years? Consi­der this well, and you will be able to tell me, I need not tell you what thoughts it will work in you, and what wise Counsels it will put you upon; have not [Page 112] many of thy dayes been filled with no­thing but vanity? some men do nothing at all, many worse than nothing, the most do something that is not their proper work to do, but belongs to others; canst thou say that any day of thy life has been as well filled with good as it ought to have been, or as it might have been? if thou had thy best spent dayes to spend over again, couldest thou not spend them a great deal better? no such cause of mourning as for lost time: was not thy Childhood, and thy Youth vanity? has not the World had many an hour that God and Christ should have had, and should have been improved for the pro­moting of thine eternal welfare? How many idle dayes, and play-dayes hast thou made? how many needless Journeyes, Visits, Walks, and Discourses hast thou made? How many unnecessary designs & unprofitable labours? May it not be said of much of thy business thou hast been imployed in, as some said of the Womans pouring the Ointment on Christs Head; Mat. 14.4. why was this waste of time, might it not have been made better use of?

Rule 3.

Third Rule of Arithmetick; Num­ber the work you have done, and how you have dont it; what will this do? you will tell me what it will do, if you observe it; you will find upon Exami­nation, that put all your good works to­gether, and allow for dammage, for the Hay and the Stubble, the Dregs and the Dross, and they amount but to very little; you will see how much mending all your work needs; what mourning over, and begging pardon for the de­fects and failings about it; time runs, and work sticks, and that which we thought we had done well, must be done over again: how should this awa­ken us, and quicken us; when we have done all we can, we are but unpro­fitable servants! when we have done the best we can, we have not done that which is our duty, when we have done the most we can, we have not done all we should, still some work lies before us, and it may be very little time; will not this consideration to make men make much of time, and not prodigally throw it away as they have done? because so [Page 114] much is required to survey and mend old done Deeds.

Rule 4.

Number the Sabbaths, the Sermons, the Opportunities which you have en­joyed. This a fourth Rule in Christian Arithmetick; and what will this tend to? You will tell me when you have well considered it. Reckon how many of Gods Embassadors have been sent to thee with several Messages, and with the same message over and over again; how many years of the dayes of the Son of Man you have seen: how long you enjoyed such a Ministry in such a place, and such a powerful Ministry in ano­ther; and now what am I the better: God will expect an account of me; is it not high-time for me to consider what return I can make: what profiting, and progress I have made in the know­ledg and fear of God, and Faith in his Son Jesus Christ; to what degrees and measures of patience, Meckness, Hope, Love, Heavenly Conversation, crucify­ing the flesh, looking for the appear­ing of Christ, and aiming at his Glory in every thing I do &c.

[Page 115]Many an exhortation and motive and direction and encouragement have I had about all these and much more, many a time, and that with a great deal of pressing: God may call me to even ac­counts with him, the very next hour for any thing I know, and how ready am I for it! Oh for a little time for this work! I have cause to be afraid, that I shall be found much in arrearages to God, and that there are some hun­dreds of Sermons I have heard, that I can remember neither Text, Doctrine, Reason nor Use; nor have any real im­pression remaining upon me from them, a dram of habitual vertue or strength by them: Oh that God would not clap me up, and make me bankrupt, that have taken up so many goods of him, and am not able to make him any payment, the goods are embezeled; Oh that I had time to make my composition with him, to sue out a release and discharge from him! I am undone if I be arrested be­fore this be done, for I cannot pay twelve pence in the pound; Lord spare me a little time that I may repent in, and make money of all that I have that I may bring to thee; I will not keep or conceal one peniworth from thee, I will [Page 116] give thee a true account in whose hands they are, whom I have traded with; how I have been cheated by Satan, by the World, and most of all by a deceitful heart of my own that was bred up with me, and which I have given much trust to: I could no sooner have any of Heavens commodities come in, but presently they were purloyned from me by the means of my deceitful, hard, vain, idle, foolish Heart; for whilst I slept and was care­less, Mat. 13.19.22, 25. the wicked one came and catched them away, or the cares of this World, and the deceitfulness of Riches spoiled them, and so I got no profit by them; my base Heart did betray me to all this mischief and loss: and now Lord be pleased to spare me a little, that I may mourn over and bewail my great losses, that I may call my treacherous wicked Heart to an account; that I may seriously and severely examine and search it, that I may bring it to confession, and ac­knowledgment, to deep sorrow and re­pentance, to sincere and holy resoluti­ons of a faithful improvement of any opportunity and season of Grace, that he shall hereafter be pleased to put into my hands; and now consider, beloved, whe­ther the making up accounts do not re­quire [Page 117] some time, how needful it is to be done, considering how large our receipts and credits are, and lastly how little as­surance we have of time to do it in.

Rule 5.

The fifth Rule of Christian Arithmetick is, number and compare your dayes with the daies of those that liv'd in the first age of the World; compare the length of thy time with the Patriarchs lives; and what will this do? thou wilt see it will have very good influence on a wise improv­ing of time; they lived six, seven eight, or nine hundred years; and thou wilt never reach one hundred, it may be not half an hundred: a serious meditation of this will work in you, one of those two useful considerations.

1. How long a time had they to glo­rify God in, in comparison to what I have; how did they live to his praise and honour in proportion hundreds of years as it were before I had a being, and hundreds of years after my being ended; how many opportunities had they of serving God more than I have, how much work did they do in their generation for God more than I what large returns did they make from Earth to Heaven above what I do; what [Page 118] need have I to ply my work, that have not one day for their seven to work in; time is short with me, for though they had much, yet, they had none too much, and how should I look to it, that I have not too little for my business.

2. How long a time were they kept in this World and out of Heaven, above what I shall be; how tedious was their journey, and how was their pilgrimage lengthened out: they had but as it were newly set forth in the time that I am got to my journeys end in; their work was much greater, their stay in the vine­yard protracted and drawn out, their sitting in Heavenly places adjourned, prorogued and suspended; one genera­tion of Saints in these latter daies after a­nother passes to Heaven, even fourteen Generations in the time that some of them got thither; how did they expect the accomplishment of the promise one hundred years after another! their daies were many and evil, they were sinfully evil, and they could not chuse but be penally evil. The flood came upon the old World and drowned it because of ungodliness; how long were they made to wait for the inheritance: now in our daies the World is soon weary of [Page 119] us, and we are soon weary of it, and we are quickly gone out of it; we ride Poste through it, from one stage to a­nother, through Child-hood, Youth, middle Age, old Age; some ride but one or two of them, and are presently caught up to Heaven.

Rule 6.

The sixth Rule of Christian Arithme­tick, is this; number and compare the certainty of your works with the uncer­tainty of your time: I am sure my work will last as long as my time lasts; but I know not whether my time will re­main as long as my work lasts; and therefore I have no need to spend time without work, seeing, I have work e­nough to spend my time in; but may not have time to finish my work in.

Rule 7.

The seventh Rule in this Christian A­rithmetick is; number and compare thy dayes with Eternity, an age breaks no square in Eternity: for a moment of time, is more unto all that time that hath been since the Beginning of the World, Mr. G. and shall be unto the end of it, than all that time is unto Eternity; be­cause a moment by repetition will mea­sure [Page 120] all that time; but all that time will never by any repetition whatsoever measure Eternity: it is not the least part of it; a Man that should have sinned the first moment of the Worlds Creati­on, and should have had his punishment deferred till the last moment of the Worlds duration, his punishment should have been swifter in regard of Eterni­ty; than his punishment in regard of all that time of the World's continuance, that should have sinned the first moment of time, and have been punished the ve­ry next or second moment. Observe that expression of Peter, 2 Pet. 3.8. Beloved saies he, be not ignorant of this one thing; and what is this one thing, that is so special a thing, that of all other they should not be ignorant of, namely this, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day; in the point of Eternity, a day and a thou­sand years are all one, and that which happens in a thousand years, is all one as if it happened within a day; and so on the contrary, to him that stands upon the pinacle of Eternity, and loooks down thence below upon the shreds and snippets of time: and therefore mark but that the Prophet Ahijah saies in re­gard [Page 121] of the festination of God's Judg­ment upon the house of Wicked Jero­boam. 1 King. 14.14. The Lord, saies he, shall raise up a King over Israel, who shall cut off the House of Jeroboam that day; but what [...] even now. He stood upon the pinacle of Eternity; and therefore that snippet of time which seemed to the World a great while, was nothing to him: which made him when he had spoken of cut­ing off the House of Jeroboam that day, to use the revocation, but what? even now, that day and even now is all one to Eternity. And the seeming contra­diction of the Preacher tending to illu­strate this very thing, is well worth the observing: He had spoken of the not speedy executing sentence against an evil work, that it encouraged sinners to go on in their sins, but in the next verse he answers thus: Though a Sinner do e­vil an hundred times,Eccl. 8.12.and his dayes be prolonged; yet, surely I know it shall be well with them that fear God, but it shall not be well with the wicked neither shall he prolong his Daies, which are as a shadow? How is it true that he may pro­long and not prolong his dayes? How but only that though they may be pro­longed in regard of us, that have but a [Page 122] few ends of time, yet they are nothing in regard of the Ball of Eternity, which is alwayes winding and never unwound, in this regard he shall not prolong his dayes, which are as a shadow, as as meer vanity to this Eternity, and an­swerable to this is that like place of the Prophet Habbakuk: Hab. 2.3The vision saies he, is yet for an appointed time, but at the end it shall speak, it shall not lie; though it tarry, wait for it, because it will surely come, it will not tarry? How! but only that which is a long tarrying to time is no tarrying to all Eternity: and this is the seventh Rule, which if it be well observed will make us quickly remove our dwellings out of the hurry of time, unto the borders of Eternity, still wait­ing every hour when we shal lanch forth into that Sea, and be swallowed up of that Ocean.

Rule 8.

The eight Rule in Christian Arithme­metick is this; number and compare your daies with the age of the World: if the whole Age of the World be so little compared with Eternity, and thine Age so short compared with the Worlds age, How small a thing is thy life com­pared with Eternity! see Eccles. 1.4. [Page 123] One generation passeth away and another cometh, but the Earth abideth for ever; add to this what is read Psal. 102.25. &c. Of old hast thou laid the foun­dation of the Earth, and the Heavens are the works of thy hands, they shall perish but thou shalt endure: yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment, as a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed, but thou art the same, and thy years have no end. If thou should have been born in the beginning of the World, and have lived to the end of it, it is but a moment, and yet how narrow a space of the World's age dost thou live.

Rule 9.

Number the obscurity of thy dayes; and see what influence this will have, and what advantage to true Wisdom: the World knows little of thee, and thou but little of it, how many thou­sand years passed in the World, and mil­lions of People acted upon the stage be­fore thou came into it; Now thou art in being, what a poor obscure Creature art thou, little acquainted with what is done out of thy sight, it may be thou art a stranger to him that lives next door to thee; Oh my Brethren, if this thing [Page 124] well considered, taking in the thoughts of the acquaintance & knowledg which the Saints will be priviledged with in Eter­nity, they shall see as they are seen; and know as they are known, face to face, behold all things in God, sit down with Abraham &c. I say, the comparing of those things, how inconsiderable would it make this pitiful life to appear, and what cloudy obscure, scanty daies would these seem to be: the greatest Monarch in the World in all his Glory is no more to be compared, for splendor; interest and excellency to the lowest Saint in Heaven, than a Beggar in a dungeon is to be compared with such a Monarch; what a vast compass will every Saint have in his Eye? what reflexions of joy and glory from an innumerable compa­ny of Saints and Angels! what true e­steem and unparalel'd Affections from Thousands and Millions of Glorious Creatures! What constant and eminent discoveries and manifestations of Love from the Father of Glory, the Lord of Glory, and the Spirit of Glory: much more happy than the Servants of Solo­mon,Kin. 10.for they stand to hear the Wisdom of of one that is greater than Solomon may, Solomon himself in all his glory is not [Page 135] to be compared to one of these. If per­haps through thy parts and Worldly advantages, thou come to be seen a little above thy Neighbours, and to be talk­ed of by a whole Countrey by the Generality of the People there, how many are there even in that Countrey that never heard of thee, take no notice of thee, how many Enemies hast thou and envious ones that hate thee, and would if they could overturn thy little honour: what watchfulness and cir­cumspection hadst thou daily need of because of thy observers; how hard it is not to give a slip, harder not to have it taken notice of & hardest not to have it magnified and multiplied and made use of by censurers (most of whose Re­ligion lies in observing the failings of the Godly) to reflect upon thee, and the profession it self that thou art under; what flatteries and pretended Friends, what troublesome visits, what variety of occasions and diversions; what ne­cessity continually of displeasing some, and an utter impossibility to please all: many have complained that they have set up more sail than they could keep up, and wished with all their Hearts they might walk upon the ground again safely [Page 135] and silently, and never more be carried upon the uneasy and uneven shoulders of popularity: Again, what sollicitous­ness to improve rightly so large advan­tages and opportunities of service, and to be found faithful stewards of the ma­nifold gifts of God.

Consider now in how much greater excellency and infinitely higher place thou wilt be in Heaven if thou be a Saint; and freed from all the forenamed inconveniences, and a thousand more; and then say it may well stand for one Rule about numbring dayes, to reckon the obscurity of them.

Rule 10.

The last Rule in Christian Arithme­tic, is this; Number thy dayes to Eter­nity, duly consider what mutual aspects Time and Eternity have upon each o­ther. All the use of dayes is for Eterni­ty; what-ever is looked upon as a means to an end, is upon that account less ex­cellent than the end, and if it be not im­ployed in order to that end, it becomes of no use; all that time that has not a fair and favourable look upon Eternity, is lost time, what-ever use it was put to; that [Page 135] day is a Cipher, and stands for nothing in the Calendar, wherein nothing is put that has respect to another World. He that considers how great a change his last day will make with him, will have something to do for his last day in eve­ry day.

The whole life is but a Contemplation of, and should be a Preparation for a dy­ing day. He is a Fool that is merry, and makes much of himself in his Inn, and knows not that he has any thing when he comes at home; what-ever pleasure thou mightest take here in eat­ing, and drinking, and visiting, and en­tertainments, and riches, and relations, and rayment, and estate, &c. as soon as ever thy breath is out of thy nostrils; Good Lord, what a change is here all on a sudden! now no more Meats nor Drinks talked of, no more use of Wine, and reviving Liquors, not a word more of Discourse, not a dram of Mirth; Friends depart, Relations go out of the room, no more Visitors, his dearest Companions give over thoughts of ha­ving any more to do with him, & great­est Dealers will have no more Accounts with him; his dear Relations that a quarter of an hour ago would have part­ed [Page 136] with their own lives to have saved his now begin to consult to have his Body removed out of sight, and put into the cold ground, a Companion for Worms which they so friendly embraced and kis­sed a little while ago, & there it may rot, and at the Resurrection go to Hell, for any thing they can help it; his Soul im­mediately goes to God, and appears be­fore his Tribunal, where there is no talk of, no profit in Gold or Silver, or thousands by the year; nor coming in here as Agrippa and Bernice came into the Common Hall, [...]. with great pomp and fancy, no respect to him that wears the Goldring; no discourse of Trades, or Feastings, or Houses, or Apparel, or Children, or Relations, but of a good Conscience; how thou stood affected towards a person thou will see there, The Lord Jesus Christ the Son of God; what Communication thou hadest with him, during the time thou wast upon Earth, what Apprehensions thou hadst of him, what Adresses thou madst to him as a Mediatour, an Advocate, and Saviour; what Faith thou hast had in him; whether there was an agreement made between him and thee whil'st thy dayes were in being, that thou, wouldst [Page 129] give up thy Soul, and Body, and Sins to him, thy Unrighteousness, and Righte­ousness, and that he would undertake to satisfie the Justice of God, and ap­pease his Wrath for thee, and reconcile thee to his Father, that he would cloth thee with his Righteousness, and sancti­fie thy Nature by his Holy Word and Spirit, that he would make thee meet to be a partaker of Glory, and present thee blameless and unreproveable in the sight of God, and give thee a full pos­session of an everlasting Kingdom, and Glory with himself; what fear thou hadst upon thy Heart in thy dayes of the Great God; whether in every thing thou didst in Natural, Civil, and Religious A­ctions thou didst design and aim at his Glory; How thy Affections were pla­ced, and what kind of love passed be­tween thee and the World, during their abode there; what acts of Self-denial, and Mortification thou put forth, what exercise of Heavenly-mindedness; what Duties thou didst, and how they were done; how thou didst honour God in the Conditions he placed thee; what patience and contentedness in a low con­dition; what humility, meekness, and repentance in an high condition; how [Page 130] thou bore sickness; and straits, and how thou used thy riches, and how honest thou wast in thy dealings. There will be no discourses there of such vain mat­ters as are here below, but as Paul dis­coursed of Temperance, and Righteous­ness, and the Judgment to come, of Up­rightness, and Sincerity, and unfeigned Repentance, and a true and full closing with the Person of Christ, the Son of the Living God, equal with the Father, the Mediatour for poor Sinners, the Savi­our of all that truly believe on his Name and come to him; what Obedience thou manifested to his Laws, how thou lo­ved him and kept his Commandments, how thou loved the Brethren and there by manifested thy being passed from Death to life, how fruitful thou wast in all good works, and thereby didst justify thy Faith to be sound and true, and of the right kind; how willing and desir­ous thou was to do much for God, and how little thou didst esteem thy self the better for what thou didst, but how much thou didst abhor thy self and hate thy self, for thy daily defects, manifold in­firmities, and much unsuitable carriage to such great goodness, and loving kindness and unworthiness of such rich [Page 131] Grace, and Mercy &c. Of this Nature will be the Discourses then, and the more thou hast been exercised in these thing, the greater will be thy conso­lation: Oh my Beloved where is that Professor that lives under the serious fre­quent and powerful meditation of these things; this and the other work I am imployed in, this and the other thing I am discoursing of; if God should now cut off the threed of my Life, what should I be advantaged hereby, would it turn to my advantage when I come in the presence of the Great God, shall I be glad that I was exercised, or rather wish that I had never medled or been concerned in such affairs and matters? our dayes are not intended to be the dayes of Noah and Lot wherein Men built and planted, and bought and sold, and married and were given in Marri­age, (all these Lawful things and not one of them sinful) that is, that did do all these things as the work of the day, for themselves and rested in them, & re­joiced themselves in them; and did not do them with respect: to another Life, with such fear, regularity, moderation, righteous principles, and designs as would have yeelded them comfort: [Page 132] (when those dayes had been cut off) in another world; Luk. 17.28. & are we not fallen into such dayes as Noah's and Lot's were eating & drinking &c. Eating & Drink­ing is an unlawful thing if you do not do it to the Glory of God, and honour God in it: observe it, as there is no time allotted for sin, so neither are there any dayes allowed for the doing of lawful and good actions, if they have not a re­ference to Eternity; thy Prayers and Almes and duties are not numbred a­right, if they be not numbred for God and another world; if they be numbred for thy self and thy present interest, they are quite lost, and which is worse do become sin, and so prove mortal and damning: Mr. G. you see how necessary it is to number every day for Eternity; if thou mindest this Rule, thou wilt reap much fruit hereafter from thy com­mon and worldly actions, because hereby those actions which otherwise are but common and worldly actions, as the actions of our ordinary and homliest callings, we shall sanctifie them, and translate them out of themselves, and their own base Element, into an high­er Orb and Element, viz. to go as for ac­tions, truly holy and Religious, and [Page 133] parts of God's own worship before him, and rewardable as so at his hand's, what a comfort might this be to Men in going about worldly callings, to the very Shuttleman and Sheersman, Spinster and Carder, and the veriest drudge and droil in the servilest condition? what a comfort this, to consider, that if they do but honestly and faithfully, in obedience to God that hath set them in those callings go about them, they might sanctifie those, and the like acti­ons, and translate them, out of a World­ly into an Heavenly Orb and Element, and Glorifie God (and by that thou providest for Eternity) as well in their proportion by those actions, as the Angels that stand continually before God, do by their standing and praising and singing Hallelujahs to him. The poor Servants that in obedience to God do faithful and honest service, (be it in never such drudgeries) to their Ma­ster, are said to adorn thereby the Doc­trine of God; Titus 2.10. And is not this a working? a numbring time, and work for Eternity? those that ho­nour him and his Gospel, he will ho­nour them another day.

What a comfort is this, that meer [Page 134] drudgeries, and Worldly Actions that, might seem only to smell of the World, and this present life and time, that these being gone about in the Obedience and Fear of God, baulking iniquity and injustice in them, may go for Holy and Heavenly actions; The actions of the ver­tuous Woman, Prov. 31. a Man would think were the actions only of a meer worldling, V. 13. &c. she seeketh wool and flax &c. yet those and such-like, are all the actions for which, she is called a ver­tuous Woman in the Beginning, and to have done vertuously above all in the latter end: Many Daughters have done vertuously, V. 29.but thou excellest them all; and the next verse shews the reason, because she did these in the Fear of the Lord; A Woman that feareth the Lord she shall be praised: V. 30.shall have praise at the end of dayes. Another Woman there may be that may do the same things, may seek wool and flax, and work willingly with her hands, may rise early, put her hand to the wheel &c, and yet may be a meer scraper, a meer worldling, a meer progger for Earthly trash and subsistence for these dayes, a meer vitious and not a vertuous Woman; Why? Because she does them not from the same ground [Page 135] out of obedience and fear of God, and re­spect to another World; but from a pro­phane heart, greedy of the world: so how many precepts are there in Proverbs that might seem to smell of meer worldliness, as that of taking heed of suretiship, and that of diligently looking after the state of their flocks and looking well to their herds: Prov. 6.1. And yet no Worldliness that Solomon meant in them, C. 27.23. but rather Heavenliness: mark his General rule in the Begi [...] the Fear of the Lord is the Beginn [...] Wisdoms; 1.7. all other precepts are to be per­formed by vertue of this general precept, and guided by it.

Let this lastly be added, that you may see how necessary it is to number time and dayes (and what-ever fills them) for Eternity; if we do not do it, we shall lose the comfort of our best and most specious Actions.

To be painful in the Ministry, to be forward in Works of Charity &c. How goodly and how good are these Actions in themselves; and yet spend my Spi­rits I may, consume and wait my strength I may, in the Ministry, and yet if I do this as a task only that the world looks I should discharge, or to get my own maintenance, or to set up my own [Page 136] credit, and not chiefly in all this, my labour be guided by that which he I that was so laborious in the Ministry was guided by. To me to live is Christ, (the honour of Christ) and to die is gain; (here is Eternity in the case) I lose all the comfort I might have in this so good an Action, and the reward I might ex­pect from Christ in the other World. So [...] Works of charity, I may do many things, I may feed the hungry, [...] the Naked, entertain good Mini­sters and good People, build Hospitals &c. and yet if by-respects (which sup­position, I put not that the world should in such cases where Good appears be sus­picious, but that Man that does Good should look still to his own Heart which is deceitful) if I say, by-respects sway too much, and these things be not done chiefly in obedience to God that he might be glorified, and that we might lay up a good Foundation for the time to come, 1 Tim. 6.19.that we might lay hold up­on Eternal Life; and that we might make to our selves Friends of the un­righteous Mammon, that when we want they may receive us into Everlasting habita­tions; We lose the great comfort that we might expect from so good actions. To [Page 137] conclude this Point, if you be careful observe this rule of making all thy time, all thy dayes and actions, look with their Faces directly upon Eternity, and the World to come; thou wilt meet with wonderful advantage and benefit by it; thou wilt bring all thy works in­to a narrow compass, into a single channel, into constant view and obser­vation? Thou will render all thy Du­ties and performances, all thy labours under the Sun to be more sweet, more easie, unperplexed, and affording much peace, rest, and tranquillity to the Soul; by a perfect removing the fears of future evils, (publick judgments, poverty &c.) and especially of the day of thy Death which by this means will be so facilitat­ed and familiarized, that it will become rather a day desireable, than formid­able, nay, thou will look upon the day of thy Death, as better than any of the dayes of thy Life; these and other things, I might enlarge upon, and they do indeed deserve a serious discussion: but I design brevity, and therefore ha­sten to the second Observation, which I shall but touch upon, and that is from this consideration, that the Psalmist prayes for teaching, and instruction [Page 138] in this point of numbring Dayes; which is so plain, so common, so ordinary, so obvious a thing; besides that he had numbred them, in ver. 10. The Dayes of our years, &c.

Doct. 2.

Let the Observation hence be this, that Christians may be much unacquain­ted with the Nature and power of those Truths, which are known and con­fessed and acknowledged by them: the hinge of this is, that Truths that seem to be best known are least known; things best seen are least understood; I shall briefly give you a fivefold Instance, and so pass on to the next.

1. The Doctrine is evident in things relating to sense.

  • 1. The shortness of time.
  • 2. Certainty of Death.
  • 3. Uncertainty of Riches.

2. In things obvious to Reason, and most acknowledged, as

  • 1. The deceitfulness of Man's Heart.
  • 2. The necessary connexion between Sin and Punishment.
  • 3. The universal and particular Pro­vidence of God.

3. In things known by Revelation, [Page 139] as, First, Joh. 4.23, 24. That Christ Died, and was Buried and rose again, see 1 Cor. 15.1, 2, 3, 4. And ascended into Heaven. Second­ly, That he sent down his Holy Spirit to convince, guide, comfort, and rule in the Hearts of the Saints. Third­ly, That the Lord Jesus will come again in Power and great Glory, with his Saints and Angels, to Judge the World in Righteousness.

4. In matters of absolute and plain precept, as First, Loving the Brethren, and being, found in all the Acts and ex­ercises of Gospel-Love. Secondly, Well-ordering and governing the tongue. Thirdly, Walking circum­spectly and redeeming time.

5. In approved Actions concerning Worship, as First, That God is to be Worshipped and Loved above all; which is the first and great Command­ment; Is this observed diligently and constantly by all Christians? is there no­thing at any time steps before God? Se­condly, Joh. 4.23, 24. Divine and Gospel-Worship must have Divine and Gospel-warrant. Thirdly, That Gospel-Worship must be Spiritual, and not formal and car­nal.

I might give you the Reasons of the [Page 140] point, from the commonnesss of them, few considering seriously, what is obvi­ous and plain; from Man's curiosity, still willing to find out some new thing; and from Satan's subtilty, who knows by experience, that there is no such Rob­bing as by the high way side; the great road, the known path: he Will let men alone in by-wayes, and more pri­vate paths, in Truths of lesser concern­ment and influence; but dees the great spoil in known confessed practical Truths and Doctrines. But I hasten to what remains, it may be the Lord may stir up some more able Pen, to shew the professing World their great errours and mistakes herein, that the Spirits of the power of Godliness, which have been long uhder decay, may be re­covered, and the great arteties filled with good Blood; that the Truths, and the things of God may have their due consideration and observation by the pretenders to them according to their nature, worth, weight, necessity and excellency of them. There are two Ob­servations behind, in the prosecutioh of which I shall be a little more large.

Doct. 3.

The third Observation is this, That the right Art and Skill of numbring Dayes, is a point of Divine teaching: one have the wisdom to number their Dayes aright but those that have it from above, and are taught it by God; you must go to God and beg of him, that he would teach you this lesson. This appears from the Text, that we have it expressed in the form of Prayer; as if he had said, though I have cast up the acount of my dayes in the 10th verse, yet there is a further Mystery, which I cannot discern without thy teaching, without that Spiritual light and know­ledg which must come from thee; and here you have the Emphasis of the par­ticle (10:) I have been taught this les­son many a time, and can say it over; but I have not been so taught as they said of Christ that never man spoke like him, so never any Man taught as God teaches; I have often considered the 14. Acts comp. v. 1. with 27. Where it is said, that Paul and Barnabas so spake, that a great multitude of the Jews and also of the Greeks Believed. But when [Page 142] they came to give an account to the Church, the Text saies; that they rehearsed all that (God) had done with them, and how (he) had opened a door of Faith unto the Gentiles. If the Lord had not opened the door of the Heart, all their knock­ing would have signified nothing, if the Lord had not spoke with them, all their so speaking would not have pro­cured belief from our Souls; it was God that so spake with them that made the door of the Heart to open.

If the Lord Jesus had only cryed, La­zarus come forth, and had not by a Pow­erful Hand communicated Life to him, he had never stirred out of his Grave. We read in Luke 24.27. That the Lord Jesus beginning at Moses, and all thePro­phets, he expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself; but observe is said in ver. 45. then o­pened he their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures: It is not enough, to, have the Scriptures opened, but we must have our under­standings opened too; If you had the knowledge, of an angel, and could dis­course of Divine Truth with undeni­able Evidence and Demonstration, yet this will not amount to right Teaching, [Page 143] without Divine Blessing and Influence. I need not insist much upon the proof of this, take that Text, Psal. 39.4. Lord make me to know mine end, and the mea­sure of my dayes, what it is; that I may know how frail Iam. When once he is taught this by God, then he can say with sense and experience, as it follows, Be­hold thou hast made my dayes as an hand-breadth, mine age is as nothing before thee,V. 5, 6, 7.verily every man at his best estate is vanity, Selah. Surely every man walk­eth in a vain shew, surely they are dis­quieted in vain, he heapeth up riches, and knoweth not who shall gather them: And now Lord, what wait I for, my hope is in thee, deliver me from all my transgressi­ons, &c. You see that when he is taught this Lesson of God, how feelingly, and sweetly he breaks out; its only Faith and the Teachings of God that can give us to Heb. 11. be under the power of things of Sense: as by Faith we understand that the World's were made, so by Faith we must be taught that our time is short, that our dayes are numbred, that we must dye: though we see persons daily carried to the Grave, that never reached our years, and we know we are made of the same Corruptible Materials, subject to the [Page 144] same Diseases and Distempers, to the same Casualties and Dangers, that our Breath, is in our Nostrils, and may as­soon be stopped as theirs.

Again, The Apostle Paul when he comes in so with his But, But this Isay, brethren, 1 Cor. 7.29the time is short; shews plain­ly that it was a Point that was not so well understood; I shall endeavour to Demonstrate this further to you in these following Particulars.

1. None can know the use of time without Divine Teaching; and none can number his dayes aright, unless he know what use they are for: this has been already spoken to; I shall only add this, that as it is with a Merchant who Prepares his Ship for Sea, he provides only so much Victuals as may serve for the Voyage, he does not provide the Sea­man soft Beds to lodge in, but only makes such preparation as may serve the end of his sending his Ship to Sea, the less burden she has, the swister she sails, and the swister she sails, the less she will need: Just so it is in this Case; We are sailing through this World, our Port is Eternity, our business is only to provide our selves for quick sailing, and lay in so much Provision only as will serve us [Page 145] for so many dayes Voyage as we shall be out: the less Cumber of the World we have, the sooner we shall be sit for Heaven; and the faster we move thither, the less we shall need.

2. None can know the end of time, (sc. that it will end) but by Divine Teaching: And none can number his dayes aright, that does not know their end. What made David pray, as you have heard, Lord, make me to know mine end, &c. Every one thinks he may live a day longer. When a man comes to dye, and to be just within the view of Eternity, then he sees what is the pro­per work for time, and wishes he had his time to spend over again, he would spend it otherwise then he has done. Mr. F. Now it's strange that Faith should not do what Sense will do; we pretend to believe that we shall have a last day, and why should not this Faith have such Effects as Sense and Feeling will have.

3. None can know the Seasons, Nicks, and Opportunities of time without Divine Teaching; and certainly none can number his dayes aright, that under­stands not his Seasons; that knows not that Sabbath dayes are Seasons to be im­proved, that the present time is a Sea­son [Page 146] that the Morning of the day is a Season, that the time of youth is a Sea­son, that a time of affliction is a Sea­son, that times of Conviction are Sea­ons, &c. Now there is no Man can rightly know, and make of these Sea­sons without Divine Teaching.

4. None can know the excellency of time without Divine Teaching. And sure I am, that he that knows not the worth and preciousness of time, Exod. 29.19. never knew how to number his dayes aright. Let us a little consider the excellency of time. We read in the Old Law, that if one man smote another, he should not only pay for his Cure, but for the loss of his time: But more particularly;

1. Dayes and times are such things as cannot be bought; did you yet ever know any dayes to be sold, or under­stood what a day might be worth if it were to be sold; we count those things rare and excellent, that though some Men have them, Job 3.21. yet there are none of them to be got for Money. Let me therefore make much of my day; for if I lose it, there is not one to be had if I would give all the World for it; a Man need not desire more wealth than would by some be given him for one day if he [Page 147] had it to sell. This puts me in mind of a passage concerning a worthy and Re­ligious Lady which I do well remember; The Lady Barwick of Toulston in York­shire, to whom I had the happiness to be Chaplain for several Years, and must ever own my self to bemuch obliged, and no less to the Right Honour­able the Lord Henry Fairtax her Son in Law, and my con­stant and Faithful friend in my suffer­ings for Christ. she had for several years been exercised with a sore distemper of short­ness of breathing, and did for a great while long to be dis­solved and to be with Christ, which she did from that assu­rance of his Love to her Soul, which the Lord had been pleased graciously to give un­to her. A Person coming to the Gate that had several Wares to sell, desired that the Lady might have notice of it; she very gravely and seriously asked if he had any Graves to sell; for faith, she, I know nothing I want in this World so much as a Grave, and I have been long seek­ing for one, but cannot yet get it.

It is true, Graves are dear Commo­dities at some times, as Job tells us plainly, There are some that long for death, but it cometh not, Job. 3.21. and digg for it more than for bid Treasures, which rejoyce ex­ceedingly, and are glad when they can find the Grave. But Graves are not so dear as Dayes, for a Grave may be found, [Page 148] and will be found at last, but a day can not be purchased: Thus time cannot be bought.

2. Consider the singleness and smal­ness of it, for those that have it; Pearls are called Ʋniones for their rarity and scarceness. It is but the present time we have, and that is so little, it can hardly be discerned, for it's gone as soon as pre­sent. Time is such a piece, such a preti­ous Commodity, that there is not any man in the World has two of them to shew, that if he lose one time, he can say he has another, or if he lose one day, he can say he has another. Time past is not our's, that's gone irrecover­rably, time to come is out of our reach, it lies alwayes in God's hand; time pre­sent is only ours, and that's so little that a man must have a quick Eye that can be­hold it; and I never heard of more forts of time than that which is past, present, and to come.

3. For the excellency of time and dayes take notice of the absolute necessity of it; whatever is done for God, or for a Mans own Salvation, must be done in time; Many Graces cannot have either Being or Exercise, but in time; what need have we of the Apostle Peters ad­vice, [Page 149] Pass the time of your sojourning here in fear! 1 Pet. 1.17. What would have become of thousands that are now in Heaven, but for time, if they had not had time! see Rom 2.4. Or despisest thou the riches of his forbearance and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God that lead­eth thee unto Repentance. So Peter, al­luding, as it is very likely, to this very place; Account (saith he) that the long-suffering of the Lord is Salvation,2 Pet. 3.5.even as our beloved Brother Paul also, according to the Wisdom given unto him, hath written unto you.

These two Apostles, Peter and Paul were very good accomptants; and it seems they both were of this mind, that there was much forbearance & giv­ing a little time, towards the working out of a Man's Salvation, and setting his matters right with God; and in­deed they might say something by expe­rience, especially Paul; for where had he been, if he had been taken away, when he was persecuting the Church, and breathing out threatnings against it? and for Peter he would have been in no good case, if he had been taken away, when he was cursing and deny­ing his Master: where had Mary Mag­dalen [Page 150] been but a for little forbearance & time, if she had been taken away when she was a Prostitute & playing the Harlot? Where had Austin been but for the patience of God, if he had been taken away, when he was both a per­verse Manichee and a dissolute young Man? Whither should I have gone then,Quo irem s [...]tunc ob­trem, nisi in ignem & tormen­ta digna factis mc­is &c. Cont. 5. saies he, if at that time I had been removed hence, but into everlast­ing flames and torments, which my wic­ked deeds had justly deserved at the Hands of God? Where also had ma­ny of your selves been, who now with Hearty thanksgivings can laud and praise the goodness of God in giving Time, and Patience that hath led you to Repentance; if you had been taken a­way in your Sins, before the work of Grace had been wrought in you? finally, where had most of those been, who now have their Crowns in Heaven, but for Time and a few dayes Patience? had not long-suffering waited for their Con­versions, they had been smoking fire­brands in Hell, that are now shining lights, and glorious Saints in Heaven:Nisi pri­mo Deus per miscre cordiam parceret non inve­niret ques per Judies­um c [...]iona ret. unless the Lord, saies one of the Anci­ents, should first a long time spare the wicked in his Mercy, he should not [Page 151] find any Righteous whom he might af­terwards Crown in his justice. With­out Divine Teaching, we shall never come to understand what that clause of the Apostle means, which many a time I have sat down and admired;Rom 3.25. Whom God saies, he, hath set forth to be a propitia­tion through Faith in his Blood, to declare his Righteousness for the remission of Sins that are past, through the forbearance of God. [...] Those last words, through the forbear­ance of God cannot be known without teaching from above, what need there is of a little time for Men that would would go to Heaven, that it was God's great forbearance that they were not taken away in their past sins, till they came to believe in Christ, for the remission of their sins that were past. Go and learn what that means of the good Vineyard-dresser; Lord let it alone alone this year also: Luk. 13.8. he that gets a Re­prieve, time may work him a pardon also God is not willing that any should pe­rish, but that all should come to Repen­tance. 2 Pet. 3. 2 Timo. 2.25. How many are called and saved at the sixth hour, which had they been taken away at the third hour where had they been?Mr. G. How many at the ninth which had they been taken away at the [Page 152] sixth hour, where likewise had they been? How many at the eleventh, which if they had been taken away at the ninth, where also had they been? the good Thief upon the Cross, had he been taken away when he was robbing by the high-way side, what had be­come of him? in stead of, this day shalt thou be with me in Paradise, that ve­ry day and hour be had been in Hell with the Devil and the damned. And here let it not seem an impertinent solly, if I hence take occasion to reprove a Spirit of murmuring and discontent; because of the Lord's Patience towards wicked Men, and suffering them to con­tinue so long in their rebellions against him, and injuries towards their fellow-Creatures: consider thou hadst benefit by the Patience of God, was not thou once wicked, and it may be so wicked that others murmured at thee, as now thou murmurest at them? if thou art light in the Lord, remember thy former darkness: thou wouldest have God be hasty with others, and little thinks what danger thou escaped by God's Pa­tience towards thee; because thou art got over the Bridge, thou wouldest there­fore have it drawn: but if thou thy [Page 153] self did not put God to the expence of much time; and hast been sanctified e­ven from the womb; yet hast thou not some Son or Daughter, or Friend, or brother, whose wicked lives thou be­wails? and wouldest thou have God to destroy them, to begin with them, to make them the first examples of his pre­sent revenge? Thou saies, why does God bear with the wicked so long? Why does God bear with thy Son, with thy Brother, with thy Kinsman? Thou wouldest desire a little more time for them, and further forbearance in hope of amendment; that he would forbear them when they are young, for hope of reclaiming when they come to Man's estate, that he would forbear them then for hope of reclaiming when they grow old, that he would forbear them when they are old, yet one year longer, for hope of reclaiming the next, and so on; and therefore look either upon thy self who once wert darkness, but now art light in the Lord, or upon Child or Friend who now are darkness, but hap­pily one day may be light in the Lord, and then cease to be offended at any pa­tience of God towards the wicked what­soever. To conclude this particular; how [Page 154] many damned in Hell if they had had the time and the forbearance that others have had might have been in the places of some that are in Heaven and they in their places, but for God's Patience? see Mat. 11.21.

4. For the excellency of Time, consi­der the sweetness of it; how comfort­able do we reckon it, when we can get a little time with a friend to enjoy him without interruption, and not be called away! how sweet to get a little time for retirement, a little time to hear a little time to pray, to read, to medi­tate a little time for business, a little time for business! we are so posted from one exercise to another, from one du­ty to another, from one posture to another, that we look upon it as a great happiness, to get a little out of the hur­ry of time, and that the Chariot-wheels of it seem to stand a little still and qui­et, that for a little space they do not drive on: what a rest is it to a poor tossed hurried Soul? a little communi­on with God, a little freedom from the cares, the noise, the distractions, the diversions, the interruptions of the World; to be able to sit down, and be a little at quiet, and take ones breath, [Page 155] and if a Man be in sickness, as Job speaks, to have a little time to swallow down his spittle.

5. The fifth particular is this, none can know the Lord of time without Divine Teaching, and certain it is, that none can number his Time aright that does not understand this, that our Time is not our own; God is the Lord of Time, we are but stewards of it; we must be accountable for it, we are not proprietors, and for us to make bold, (as untaught Popple we too often do) with that which is the Lord's peculi­ar is high presumption and sawciness: it's injury and stealth, for thee to meddle with thy fellow-creatures pro­perty without his leave; what is it then at will and pleasure to dispose of thy makers right? what Conscience or pru­dence is it for thee to say, I will go to such a place such a day, and buy and sell, or meet with such a compa­ny and be merry? who gave either you or them power to name the day? you should say if the Lord give leave, God permitting, if God grant Life and Health: Ah my Brethren, if we asked leave of God about the day, we should also he brought to acquaint him with [Page 156] work we intend to do that day, and how many ill-done deeds and mispent time might this prevent! you see what an interest the right considering of time has in every thing, and how great an influence it has upon all actions and affairs. What has thou to do to cut thongs out of another Man's hide, or carve at another Man's table without his license? What Prodigals are we of that which is none of our own? canst thou say that thou was ever worth an hours time of thy own in all thy life, and how is it that thou hast spent so much and wasted so much? thou hast no authority to appoint dayes or hours let me come closer to thee, thou hast not only robbed God of that time which he has lent thee for thy own bu­siness, but thou hast taken from him that time which he has separated and inclosed and reserved for his own work and Glory; review thy Sabbaths, and think with thy self, how much holy time thou hast spent upon thy own thoughts, thy own words, thy own actions; what great snippets of time thou hast cut out of the Lord's holy dayes; canst thou justify all this? is this the fruit of the Divine Teaching? No [Page 157] such matter: our times are in God's hands and power, our times are not our own any more than our tongues; God is the Lord both over them and us; let us therefore when ever we have oc­casion for any time be it never so little, or seemingly never so near at our hand, not dare to reach it and use it with­out first going to God, and asking his good will; by this means we shall not only please him, but likewise engage his assistance and direction in, together with his blessing upon, that work we have to do in that time: but if our work be naught them I confess we should be un­willing, to go to him for time for it, lest he ask us how we will imploy it, and we shall be afraid and ashamed to tell him, nor indeed has he allotted any time for bad deeds, but let us know this that if we steal time for works of dark­ness, the Lord will severely reckon with us both for our works and our time.

6. The sixth particular is this; none can observe the wasters and devourers of time without Divine Teaching, and it is an undoubted truth, that no Man can number his Dayes, well, that is not an observer of these; these are Thieves and Robbers, these are eat­ers and consumers of time, that do very [Page 158] much perplex Christians; and many times put them besides right numbring: I Will name some of them to you.

1. Unnecessary cares; those are very great intruders upon time, and will be cnotinually claiming a share in it, though our Lord and Saviour has given posi­tive order that no room should be lest for them;Mat. 6.34. take no thought for to morrow; and why take ye thought, &c. How many cares have you in a day come in to your minds that might well be spa­red, and indeed Ought not to be admit­ted you cannot pray in quiet for them, you cannot eat and sleep in quiet for them; you ought to watch against them, and beg of the Lord divine Teach­ing how you may suppress them.

2. Unprofitable discourses are great devourers of time, that tend to no good at all, neither to information, nor re­formation, nor to prepare or fit the mind for work and business; much talk about others Mens affairs & matters that we are not concerned in, and are forbid to meddle with:1 Thes. 4.11. study to be quiet and to do your own business; and yet you can­not but observe it with half an Eye, How much time is spent among Chri­stians when they meet together about [Page 159] other Mens Actions, Trades, Shops, Families &c. and its strange if there is not mixture or backbiting, envy, un­charitableness, and evil speaking throughout such discourses.

He that considers time rightly and knows how to number his Dayes, as he should, will see cause to wave such need­less chat, and fill his time with better conference, that may leave a more sweet savour and relish upon his own heart and the spirits of the company. The Lord knows how much we are to blame in this matter, that we cannot fit together, or meet together, but with Augustus Caesar we must be taxing all the World; especi­ally such as it may be differ from us a little in some smaller circumstances, we cannot have a good word for them, nor hear a good word of them, but can be greedy and gape at half a word that is reflecting and disparaging at a sem­blance, at an appearance, true or false. My Brethren, these things ought not to be, I profess I often think of that place, James 3.2. In many things we offend all, but if any Man offend not in word, the same is a perfect Man, and able also to bridle the whole Body; and let me tell you, he that can manage his time aright, [Page 160] will quickly order his tongue aright: Oh that I could perswade you and my self, that redeeming time lies at the ve­ry bottom of the power of Godliness; Again, how much needless and unpro­fitable talk about future events and con­tingencies, about the Lord's matters, his dispensations and providences, what may come to pass in the World, be­sides murmuring and discontented speeches about them; it does not become us to sit in consistory upon God's provi­dences, to judge and pass hard censures upon them; no time appointed by the Lord for it. It was no small impiety in Pompey to rail against the god's, and condemn the Providence that suffered him to be soiled by Caesar, his cause be­ing, as he thought, far better than Cae­sar's was, he standing for the defence of the Common-Wealth like a good; Patri­ot, De Net. Deor. 3. and Caesar like an Usurper aiming at a Monarchy; and those Queries in Tul­ly are but the symptomes of Atheism; That if God govern the World, then Why should persidious Hannibal be suffe­red to slay Marcellus? why the barba­rous Carthaginians to torture Regulas? why bloody Cinna to slay so many Citi­zens? why Marius to command & [Page 161] Catulus his head, a man far better than himself? &c. This was a thing that much displeased God, Mal. 2. in that some there said (and wearisome words they were to God) that because the wickedest were suffered to play such [...]icks, and domineer over others, that either God favoured the wicked or was no Judg of the World; ye have wearied the Lord with your words, yet ye say, wherein have we wearied him? when ye say, every one that is evil does good in the sight of the Lord, and where is the God of Judgment? as if God could not make his Judgments good, if he suffered the Wicked to be such Judges of the Earth, to slay whom they would, and whom they would to keep alive, to fit up whom they would, and whom they would to pull down, Dan. 5.17 Mr. G. as Daniel said of wicked Nebuchadnezzar. When Anthony the great was troubled with this and the like questionings about the Provi­dence; It is said that he heard a voice, saying, Anthony, Anthony, look thou to [...]hy self, and to thy own duty, and let God alone with Governing the World, he [...] wise and just, and powerful enough to do what is to be done, Gersoh. And Austin well answers the questionist asking him; [Page 162] Why God suffers the Wicked to slay the Innocent? see, (saies he) whe­ther in the first place it be not your duty, to consider such plain Texts as these that more concern your self,Vide prus ne illud de­beas-frange esurienti panem tu­um &c. Psal. 61. Break thy Bread to the hungry, and bring the poor that are cast out to thy houfse; when thou seest the naked cover him, and hide not thy self from thy own flesh. That would be time well-spent, and God would allow for it.) Wash you, make you clean,Esa. 58.7. Esa. 1.16, 17, 18.put a­way the evil of your doings from before your eyes, cease to do evil, learn to do well, seek Judgment, relieve the oppres­sed, Judge the Fatherless, plead for the Widow: come now, and let us reason toge­ther;Disputa­re vis an­requam facias un­de dignus sis disputa­re &c. you would be disputing (saies he) with God about Providence, before you have made your self fit to dispute with him: Come now and let us reason together, now, when you have done all the for­mer that more nearly concern you; and it were good that many of the questi­ons of this overcurious age were also thus answered: But besides this answer, he goes on and tells him, that perhaps the party whom he thought was innocent was not so, for how could he pry into his Heart, or search into all his Life to know whether he had not thought, or [Page 163] done any thing amiss; wherefore God might justly suffer him to be put to Death? But again, suppose he were in­nocent indeed, what then? Christ was innocent, and yet we know God's counsel to have been good and just in suffering him to be put to Death by the wicked; seeing therefore by God's re­vealment, thou hast found out his coun­sel why he suffered the unjust to slay that just one, and such counsel as thou likest of very well thy self, believe also that in others, God does the same upon good counsel, but it is perhaps conceal­ed from thee: lay aside therefore such Discourses about God's Transactions, or if thou will discourse, do it as the Pro­phet Jeremie does chap. 12.1. Who layes down this for a ground, that God is righteous in them all; if thou does thus thou wil easily light upon this solu­tion, v. 3. pull them out lihe sheep for the slaughter, and prepare them for the day of slaughter. I might add in the last place, vain and foolish talking and dis­coursing with jesting which is not con­venient; which has nothing but frothi­nes and unsavouriness in it, ministers no edification but tends to put the Soul in a careless posture and set it at a great­er [Page 164] distance from the fear, of God, which should alwayes be maintained as the Souls watch and overseer.

3. Confused musings and dark rea­sonings, spending much time holding a parley with Satan's suggestions and ob­jections; God has allowed no time since Adam's fall to spend in conference with Satan, his plain rule is to resist him and then he will flee from us; how are poor Souls bewildred, and spend much pretious time in hearing what he has to say against them, their State, their Duties, their Comforts! betake your selves to the strong hold of Scripture, and there you will find safety, rest and peace; time spent in searching the Scriptures, and meditating upon them is well-spent time, and will cause Satan to depart from thee.

4. Callings and necessary diversions and avocations take up much time; a gracious Soul many times does begrudge the time he spends in eating, and drink­ing, and sleeping, and in the necessary duties and labours of his calling; he could wish with all his heart he had more time for God, and that his busi­ness [Page 165] did not ly so hard upon him though this he cannot do without Divine Teach­ing; the Men of the World (and I fear many Professours too) think their time well enough spent in the foremen­tioned affairs.

5. Idleness is a great feeder upon time, doing nothing, or next to nothing; though no Man can be idle, for the Devil imployes every one whom he finds idle, & he that is imployed by the Devil, he may be sure it shall not be about building of chappels, and hearing of Sermons, not about any good and god­ly imployment. The old Monks of E­gypt were wont to say, that the working Monk had only one Devil haunting and tempting him, but the idle Monk had a number of Devils still about him to tempt him; the idle body is haunted and followed with a Kennel of Hell-Hounds still about him to tempt him to naughtiness, the unclean Devil to tempt him to uncleanness, the prodigal Devil to tempt him to wastfulness, what wast­fuller than Idleness?Queritur Egystus quare sit factus adulter; in promptu ratio est desidiosus erat. two of the best la­bourers [Page 166] would have much to do to maintain one loyterer, one drone would devour more honey in a day than two Bees could gather; the proud De­vil to tempt him to Pride, for what Prouder than Idleness, that hath no­thing to do but to trick and prick up it self, the slandersome detracting Devil to tempt him to slander and detraction, for who runs over all their neighbours in passing consures on them, but they that talk away time, they are so, idle; see 1 1 Tim. 5.13. Where the idle, the tattlers and busie-bodies are ranked together; the ristous drunken Devil to tempt him to drinking, and who so faulty that way as they that must drink away time? the sins of Sodom are made to be fulness of Bread; and abundance of idleness; why is fulness of Bread, and abundance of Idleness such great sins? no; but he mentions these as causes and occasions of a great many sins; give me a place where there is abundance of Idleness and I will not doubt to say there is a­bundance of naughtiness too; thus for the sixth particular, the wasters and de­vourers of time.

[Page 167]7. The seventh particular is this; none can know the periods of time without Divine Teaching; and none can number his natural Dayes aright, that does not in some measure under­stand Metaphorical and Mystial dayes; he cannot perform his duty aright that does not understand what dispensation he is under in some degree, see Revel. 13.18. Here is wisdom, let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast, for it is the number of a Man and his number is six hundred threescore and six. Our Saviour blames the Pharifees that they did not discern the sings of the times: Mat. 16 3. the Men of Issachar are commended that they were men that had understanding of the times. We read of seneral num­ber of dayes and times in Daniel 9.25, and 12.11, 12. and Revel. 11.3.11. ans 12.6, 14. and its true that several have been guilty og misses and mistakes in their calculations; but all argee that we are fallen into the very last dayes of Antichrists reign, perillous times, where­in the Devil is come down in great rage, and that the signs of the times recorded Mat. 24. and Luk. 21. are upon us; and therefore we come to understand what our duties are that are required in such [Page 168] times, as watchfulness, Prayer, &c. which are likewise clearly laid down in both the forenamed chapters; now to take out these lessons and live in the practice of them, and not fall into that fatal se­curity, unbelief sensuality, and: those other sins which make the last times dangerous, does require Teachings from above. None can know the successor of time without Divine teaching, & 'tis im­possible for a Man to number his dayes aright that does not know time's suc­cessor.

1. That time will certainly have a successor, and that it will cease and be no more.

2. What kind of successor it will be, not of the same Nature with time, E­ternity is quite differing from time; in the Resurrection there will be no eat­ing, nor drinking, nor marrying nor giving in marriage, nor buying nor sel­ling; no Turkish Paradise to entertain us with carnal plasures, nor yet a Po­pish Purgatory to cleanse us from sins unrepented of in time.

Ʋse. 1

For Application, I note this in the first place, how few there are that are under Divine Teachings in this point of num­bring dayes aright; We live bySense and not by Faith; Oh what is time to end­less conceiveless Eternity! but alas, alas, where is the Soul that sits down and thinks of Eternity for half an hour to­gether? David's History of the Men of his day, is a Prophecy of the Men of our day, Psa. 49.11. Their inward thought is, that their Houses shall continue for e­ver, and their dwelling places to all gene­rations; Ver. 12. though Man being in honour abi­deth not but is like the beasts that pe­rish.

Ʋse. 2.

Beg of God this blessed skill and art of numbring your daies aright; do not think it a needless Petition, thou does not know that thou shalt die, unless God reveal it to thee, thou does not know that time will end, that there is an Eternity; thou lives in this World very forgetful how transitory the state [Page 170] of all these things are; the vulgar Pro­verb bears witness to vulgar practice, I thought as much of it as of my Death, as of the day of doom as of the worlds end. I was much pleased with what I met with lately in the Book of wisdom, chap 8.9. which though it be Apocri­phal, yet it is Canonical truth; For I was a witty Child (saies he) and was of a good Spirit; nevertheless when I percei­ved I could not enjoy her (that is wisdom) except God gave her (& that was a point of wisdom also to know whose gift it was) I went unto the lord and besought him, &c. Witty Men, Learned Men, Old Men, Holy Men, unless they be all taught of God will be at a loss in the point of numbring their dayes, of living under the powerfull perswasion of the shortness, swiftness, and determinati­on of dayes and times. Let me add one thing which was slipt in the proof of the point, when your bagging of God this holy Wisdom to number your daise aright, be sure you be earnest with the Lord, that when you number your daies he would still help you to make the number come even; what is that? that that you may see your good dayes to be as many and as long as your evil ones, [Page 171] and your dayes to be full as good as any of your neighbours; thus to number will exceedingly conduce to give you content in your daies which the Lord numbers out to you in this World, and keep you from inordinate desires after the changing of them, and having some other dayes in the room of them. The Wisdom of God in ballancing Men's conditions in the World is much to be observed, though it is but little taken no­tice of; every day has it's suitable good as well as sufficient evil, every Man may see in his own condition, if he has but his eyes open, as much cause of re­joicing as of mourning; and he may likewise see his own condition, take it all together, to be as good as any other Man's: what is the reason no Man is contented With his Lot and Portion? it is; because they do not reckon right, they do not stand in right places to take a view and an estimate either of their own or others conditions; you stand on the inside of your own, and on the outside of another Man's, and by this means, your own seems to be much worse, and his much better than indeed it is; do but change your stand, and go into the inside of his, and the outside of your [Page 172] own, and then you will set cause to change your Opinion; we may see the neatness of the shew but we little know where it pinches, and others at a di­stance will judge your state very happy, which it may be you do not sit so easily in, but might, sit more easily if thou would not sit alwayes in one place and posture. I am perswaded the Lord hath in his Wisdom so ordered Mens conditi­ons in this world, that there's no ods, not one better than another if we could but see the ends and sides of them, no room left for choice, and that condition which every Man is in, ought to be concluded, the best for him of any in the World, the Beggar's condition is as good as the King's take it all together: no state in the World can be an object either of meer pitty or meer envy, none so bad but a great deal of good is to be seen in it, none so good but a great deal of mi­sery is to be found in it: the Lord in Wisdom and Goodness has fitted every Man's condition for him (that another would not fit him so well) and it will be our Wisdom (if the Lord will give it us) to see our selves fitted to our conditions, and to observe in every point how well they fit us, Here a bunch [Page 173] of pride is growing, straighten and check there saies God; there sensual delight would come in, stop that place; here strength is ready to be running over to be imployed in vanity, pinch there with a little sickness; there a grace or two want imployment, send a cross or two to give them some work and exercise: here the Soul is ready to faint; slacken a little and give a cordial, and there the Soul is like to fall, clap an hedge or a wall quickly in the way, &c. What happy lives should we lead in compari­son of what we do, if we did but know how well every thing we meet with fits us; what fitty dayes we enjoy: there is not the most cross crooked thing comes to thee, but there is some part of thee that it will fit exceeding well; now the skill lies in putting it to the right part, a Man's shooe will not fit his head, nor his glove his leg; do not turn thy back to thy cross when thou should take it in thy armes, nor yet take it up at arms end, when thou should bear it upon thy back; a little weight is heavy at armes end, which will be scarce felt upon the back which is a fifty place for a bur­then: we must take up our Crosses, as the Man did his sheep upon his shoulder [Page 174] and away with it, trudging after the Lord Jesus; some men lead their cros­ses gingerly as a Man leads his young Child by the hand, and so make no way; some take them by the wrong end, and are not able to lift them up; some leap over them, some fall upon them, and many fall under them, and all for want of this blessed Teaching of the Lord: let us therefore never leave this out of our Parayers, that the Lord would teach us the even numbring of our dayes, and give us to see that every day we live, whatever falls out in it, is a fitty day; and that our condition, take it all together is at any time of the day as good as any Man's living, and take his all together too: If he have mo­ney, I have health; if he have Chil­dren, I have wealth; if he have power, I have peace; if he have prosperity, I have grace &c. And so much for the third observation; I come now to the,

Doct. 4.

Fourth and last Observation in which I shall be brief, That the right numbring of our dayes is a special means to ob­tain true Wisdom; I shall endeavour to [Page 175] give you cle [...] demonstration of the point in these following particulars.

1. He is a wise Man that minds his greatest concern, in the first place; now he that numbers his dayes aright, that reckons of shortness, of time, he makes it his first business to seek the Kingdom of God and the righteousness thereof, he will take Maries part, and leave Martha's till afterward if there be time for it: Luk. 10.38 Our Lord Jesus in his tra­vel, comes into a certain Womans House named Martha, and falls a Preaching: her sister Mary, considers with her self that she might have time to provide food, when she could not have an op­portunity to hear a Sermon and there­fore she sate Jesus feet and beard his Word; Matha was very busie in serving and providing entertainment, and com­plains of her Sisters sleight and disre­spect to his person, and unkindness to her to suffer her to serve alone; our Saviour gives her a check, and com­mends Mary's, entertaining his Doc­trine, before Martha's entertaining his person; Christ loves that Man should look after their Souls, and not make such a bustle about their, outward cordi­ons to make them easie, and splendid [Page 176] and delightful, but be content with such things as you have, such things as the house affords; as Christ would have been well enough, and have been better pleased with Martha, if she had sit down with Mary to hear the Sermon: if Christ gave such a check to Martha for her great love to his outward Man, because she neglected the good of her own Soul; What a severe censure will he pass upon many one day, whose care and cumber, and pains, and time, and strength has been mostly imployed a­bout their own outward Man, and their Families, and Children, how to get them Bread, and Livings, and Por­tions; and in the mean while have made no provision for their long home, for Eternity, for their precious Souls, but let them lie at sixes and sevens, hunger'd, starved, defiled, naked and bare. He that reckons of the fewness of his dayes reasons and resolves thus; let me secure an interest for my Soul in the Lord Je­sus, let me be assured of a kind recepti­on beyond the Grave, and a mansion in Glory, and then if I have time, I may look a little after the World, but if I leave the former undone, I shall be un­done for ever; I may leave the latter [Page 177] undone and no great loss, God will take care of my Children, he is bound to it; and for my self, if I be in the meaner condition here, as we use to say to Chil­dren, no body will ask them, or tell them, when they come to be Men, what cloaths they did wear when they were Children; so when I come to Heaven, it will be all one then whether I had two coats here, or never a whole one, whither I lived in plenty here, or some­times was in such a strait that I did not know where to get my dinner; let my Soul be once in a safe condition, and then I am sure there can be nothing much amiss in other things.

2. It is a Point of Wisdom to fore­see an evil, and to avoid it; the Wise-Man foreseeth the evil and hideth him­self; but the simple pass on,Prov. 22.3and are pu­nished. He that numbers his dayes a­right, that knbws the shortness of time, the certainty and suddenness of Death, does prepare himself accordingly, he gets himself hid in the rock the Lord Jesus; he has got an hiding place, so that when Death, comes to strike, and Satan watching for the Soul, and the Grave (which can never have enough) gape­ing [Page 178] for the Body; all on a sudden, the Soul is carried by Angels into Abraham's bosom, and the Body laid as seed in the Earth, (not detained as a Prisoner under the grave's power) to be raised a­gain a Glorious Body at the Resurrection of the Just; the Soul is continually whilst here fortifying it self, by Faith and Re­pentance, and humility and self-denial which are Armour of proof in every evih day.

3. He is a Wise-Man that knows how to carry himself suitable to his condition. The right numbring his dayes conduces much to this, as you have already heard, and therefore I need not enlarge upon this Head; only this, he reckons his time is so short that it never concerns him whether he be in an high or in a low condition; it's no matter where or how I fit, I am not like to fit so long; no matter what part I act, I shal quickly be gone off the stage, I can take any part that is allotted me; it's no matter how I buy and sell, or pofe­sess, for I must do all as though I did it not, because of the shortness of time: so that in short, as numbring our dayes aright is the fruit of Divine Teachings; [Page 179] so it is the way and means to obtain Divine Wisdom.

4. He is a Wise-Man that is well­read in antient Records and History, and has a good reach with him about what things may fall out hereafter and ma­nages himself accordingly. Now to number our dayes aright will put us up­on a search of the dayes that are past, what times have been before; and that which is, is but what hath been, and is gone and past, and so must what lies be­fore us top; and therefore we shall be looking after something that is lasting, & not so flitting and fading as these earth­ly things are: a Man that knows no more than the present day, will mind nothing else but the present things; will be al­wayes muddling, and moyling, and scrap­ing in the World, and never looks a­bout him, to see what has gone before him, or what will come after him, which if, he once did he would quickly come out of his muddy hole, and shake himself, and seek about for some surer foot-hold, some better standing, some other imployment than what he is now engaged in, and taken up with.

5. He is a Wise-Man what knows things of deep reach and search, of pro­found [Page 180] enquiry, things that are out of o­ther Mens thoughts, that never enter in­to their head's; the right numbring of our dayes will much help to this know­ledg, for he that considers that time will quickly end, and Eternity present­ly begin which will never end, will be­gin to inquire what things are conver­sant and in use in the other world; and when he finds that Communion with God, beholding Christ in his Glory, freedom from all sin, the society of Saints, &c, is the condition of the place; he presently turns out, Worldly thoughts and designs, and discourses about Hou­ses, and Lands and Money, and Pomp and Glory and Pleasures; and dives into the Mystery of the Gospel, the Word of reconciliation, a Life of believing, the work and sealing of the Spirit, the pri­viledges of God's People &c, and falls upon studying the work of repentance, of self-denial, of mortification, together with all those works of meekness, love and charity, by which Persons are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light, and are prepared for an Eternal state and condition: alas, faies he, why do you trouble me with these trifles as Eating, and Drinking [Page 181] and Trading &c. It's true they are of use in, and are calculated for this pre­sent infirm state, and must have their place; but the main work and business is quite another thing, the usages and customes of this World are quite differ­ing from, and contrary to those of the next; and therefore I must begin the life here that I expect to live in the next, and must be practising Non-conformi­ty to, and living above this present e­vil World, I must come out of it, I must be out of Love with it, I must keep it at due distance, I must use it as not abusing it, as if I used it not, that I may be ready and fitted for the conditi­on and company of the World to come, when-ever the messenger of Death comes for me, Luk. 12.35, &c. which I am to expect every hour: For I am commanded to watch alwaies with my loins girt about, and my light burn­ing, that when my Lord comes and knocks I may open to him immediatly.

6. We count him a Wise-Man who is willing to be taught, and nothing like the numbring of our dayes will further that, it cures trewantry; he that does a thing as his last will be willing to do it the best way he can, and will be glad of any help persons that have difficult [Page 182] business to do which must be done in such a time, are ready to receive advice and take it kindly, and this does argue them to be wise, for willingness to learn is a sign of Wisdom, he is a fool that thinks he knows enough; how glad is a serious Christian that values time of an opportunity of receiving good, of being helped on his way, of a little cordial in time of fainting, of one that will take him by the hand when he gives a slip; he that knows the most is the most receptive of knowledg, and the ablest Christian rea­diest to take in more strength.

7. He is a Wise-Man who is able to give advice and counsel, and nothing does so much inable a Man in that as to number his dayes aright: what's the rea­son that we go to the Ancient for coun­sel but because they have had the ex­perience of many dayes past, and they reckon but of a few to come, they look upon all the years they have lived, but as yesterday, and they reckon to Die to morrow; were I to chuse a Man for my Life to give me counsel, it should be one that makes Conscience how he spends his time, that will not trifle and idle away his time. The diligent good School-master does first of all teach the [Page 183] well-using of time, when he is very se­vere if his Scholars do not come in the morning exactly at the time appoint­ed.

8. We count him a Wise-Man that is of few Words, for even a fool when he holds his peace is counted wise; now he that values time and knows the preti­ousness of it is alwayes very thoughtful and studious, what he must do in the next place, he is not for talking but for doing, his words are weighty and al­wayes spoken in due place and season; he has no superfluous time for supernu­merary words.

9. He is a Wise-Man that loves and keeps Wise-Mens company; he that measures time has none to spare to spend with fools; he that makes conscience of redeeming his time, finds that he has not so much time as he would have with Saints, he has none at all for sin­ners.

10. We count him Wise that minds his own business and meddles not with other mens, he that numbers his dayes; sees that he has time little enough to manage his own matters in: It is observ­able that walking wisely towards them that are without, and redeeming time [Page 184] are put together, Col. 4.5. Eph. 5.16. of all Men he gives the least offence: Two things offend the World, First, When they observe your failings: Se­condly, When you observe their's; Now the Man that spends his time con­scienciously, minds his own Paths, looks directly forward, he neither stumbles, nor looks on side to take notice of the falls of others; he looks to his own place and work that the Lord left him to do, Mark. 13.34.

11. He is a Wise-Man in Scripture-sence that fears God.Prov. 1.7. The fear of the Lord is the Beginning of Wisdom; Job 28.28. The fear of the Lord that is Wis­dom, and to depart from evil that it un­derstanding. Now none is so prepared for the fear of the Lord as he that num­bers his dayes, it keeps the Soul in the continual awe and dread of the Al­mighty God: and the reason is evident and plain; for he looks upon the Lord as his Landlord, and himself as his Te­nant at will, the rent he payes is but small, and he is very careful to please his Landlord, turning out is troublesome at the best, and upon short warning it may be somewhat dangerous, & there­fore he judges it very reasonable that he [Page 185] should continually stand in awe of him in whose power he absolutely is as to his being and wel-being, as to his stay here, and his dwelling place hereafter; and thus much briefly for the proof of the point, one word of Application, and so I conclude this Text at this time.

Ʋse.

One General exhortation from the whole; let us learn this Wisdom of numbring our dayes that we may be Wise: has it been our evil that we have lost much time, and have not put a due value upon it, let us now redeem it, repurchase it at any rate; the word signifies to buy some things back, a Me­taphor taken from one that mortgageth his land and redeemeth it again, or from the practice and custome of Wise Mer­chants, [...], Eph. 5, 16. who use to buy their commo­dities whilst fit time of buying serves, and whilst the market holds, and hav­ing haply had great losses, or formerly spent their time idly or unthriftily do by their diligence seek (as it were) to buy back again the time that is past. The truth is, my Brethren, we have been great unthrifts, have squandred away [Page 186] a great stock and portion, of time; time is now grown a scarce commodity, the price of it is risen; we are fallen into those hard times mentioned, 2 Tim. 3.1. [...], Dura, molesta. hurtful, heavy, damaging times; that as the Sea being infested by pirats, the Earth being followed with male-influences from the Heaven, make times hard for the Body; so the scarcity of op­portunities together with their ensnare­ments and molestations, adding the great suspension of Heavenly influence, renders the seasons of receiving good ve­ry difficult, hard to come by, and harder to be improved: besides this, the swif­ter motion of time now (because near­er to its center) meeting with an old, crazy distempered World, (all Persons and Things being grown worse than they were every way) does cause much detriment and spoil to both, as the spee­dy motion of a Coach in bad wayes makes the passengers knock their Heads together, and fall heavy upon one ano­ther that never intended it; the hurry of this last time does wear and weary out Person and Things, throws Men and breaks them one over another, casts some into the grave, and leaves others I know not where, and causes such com­motions, [Page 187] mutation, and inflammati­ons that it is much to be feared that the axletree of the World may catch fire which may not so easily be quenched but increase to the general conflagration of that great day mentioned, 2 Pet. 3.10. But the day of the Lord will come as a Thief in the Night, in the which the Hea­vens shall pass away with a great noise, and the Elements shall melt with servent heat, the Earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnt up. I shall con­clude my exhortation in the words of the same Apostle that immediatly follow, seeing then all these things shall be dissolved, v. 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, (that time will bring matters to this pass) What manner of Persons ought we to be in all holy Conversation and Godliness, looking for, and halting unto the coming of the day of God wherein the Heavens be­ing on fire shall be dissolved, and the Ele­ments shall melt with servent beat, where­fore (Beloved) seeing ye look for such things be diligent that you may be found of him in peace without spot and blameless, and seeing ye know these things before, Beware last ye also being led away with the errour of the wicked fall from your own sted­fastness; [Page 188] but grow in Grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

To him be Glory now and for ever AMEN.

FINIS.

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