By A. L.

PSAL. L. 14, 15.
Offer unto God thanksgiving, and pay thy vows unto the most high.
And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorifie me.

LONDON, Printed by E. Cotes, for Samuel Tomson at the Bishops-Head in Duck-lane. 1668.

To the Pious Reader.

THe Occasion of Preaching this Sermon, was sutable to the Text, a good Man's Recovery: of Printing it, the desire of Copies; and the Press was for this judg'd the readiest way: and thus though intended but for few, may be for the use of many. The Author is one neither seeks applause, nor fears censure; if it may do thy soul any benefit, he has his end. To which purpose this Synopsis was added, that thou mightest have the Method and Heads of the Discourse before thee in one view. The Doxology in the close being an Extract great part of it out of the Psalter (a book, which if thou deserv'st the name I called thee by, thou art well acquainted with) needed no references. If by the perusal thou find'st thy self any whit benefited, give God the praise, and let the Author have thy prayers. Farewel.

The Text divided into IV. Parts.

  • I. The Affliction: and that either
    • 1. Corporal. A sickness: describ'd by
      • It's Quality, Bitterness: and that as it is
        • 1. Undergone by Hezekias. Obs. God's dearest ones are not exempt from bitter afflictions.
        • 2. Resented by him. Obs. Natural apprehensions allow'd even in Exercises of grace.
      • It's Quantity, Great bitterness. Obs. Great Saints exercised with great Tryals.
      • The change, For Peace, i. e. Health. Obs. The truly pious in change of condition change not; but serve God for God's sake.
      • The surprize, Behold. Obs. A Christian must stand upon his guard.
    • 2. Spiritual, Trouble of conscience. Obs. A troubled conscience is not alwayes an evil conscience.
  • II. The Deliverance: considered in
    • The Author, God: Thou hast deliver'd. Obs. God is the sole author of all our deliverances.
    • The Motive, In love, and that to my soul. Obs. Divine mercy is gratuitous. Obs. Soul-love is the best of loves.
    • The Danger, From the pit of corruption. Obs. All our life-time we walk on the pit-brink.
  • III. The Improvement and Assurance: Pardon of sins.
    • Thou hast deliver'd, thou hast cast my sins, &c. Obs. God uses to accumulate mercies.
    • In love to my soul; for thou hast cast, &c. Obs. Pardon of sins the complement and perfection of mercy.
    • From the pit; for thou hast cast, &c. Obs. Where sin is forgiven, no fear of hell or the grave.
    • All my sins behind thy back. Obs. God's pardons are universal and absolute.
  • IV. The Acknowledgment. Where mark by the way.
    • (The Connexion: For the grave, &c. Obs. The only Return God expects for mercy is Praise.
    • The Synonymy of Praise and Hope. Obs. To trust in God is to praise him.)
    • As 'tis set Negatively, The grave cannot, &c. Obs. Death is a silent and hopeless state.
    • Positively, The living shall. Obs. Our life to be spent in the giver's praise.
    • Lastly, exemplified, As I do this day. Obs. Signal mercies require solemn Thanksgiving.


Is A. xxxviii. 17, 18, and part of the 19, ver.

17. Behold, for peace I had great bitterness; but thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for thou hast cast all my sins be­hind thy back.

18. For the grave cannot praise thee, death cannot ce­lebrate thee: they that go down into the pit can­not hope for thy truth.

19. The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I do this day.—

THESE Words are part, and indeed the principal part of Hezekiah's Song of Thanksgiving, after he was recover'd of a dangerous sickness; as you finde in the ninth Verse, when all his thoughts were, as himself tells us from the 10th. to the 15th. Verse, that he should not live, that he should never escape this bout, never come abroad more. I said, that is, by an [Page 2] Hebraism, [...], uti Graecè [...], dice­re & cogita­re; prout è contra, [...] meditari pri­mùm, dein eloqui. I thought, in the cutting off of my dayes, (or as some Versions render it, in the midst of my dayes) I shall go to the gates of the grave: I am deprived of the residue of my years. I said, I shall not see the Lord, even the Lord in the land of the living. I shall never go more to Church, never have any further opportunities to wait upon God in his San­ctuary. I shall behold man no more with the Inhabi­tants of the World; never go abroad again to con­verse with men any more, &c. So that in effect he gave himself up for lost, as to this world; and perhaps the Physicians did so too. Nay, and which was more, when the Doctors belike had given him over, the Prophet brings him the un­welcom message, that he must prepare himself, For dye he should, and not live, v. 1. Yet after all, when he was in extremis, upon his prayer, God was intreated to renew his lease, and to lengthen his life. And so as in the former part of his Song he mournfully commemorates his Sickness: So in the latter part from the 15th. verse, to the end, he chearfully returns thanks for his Recovery.

The words, we have made choice of, belong to this latter part; and there are four things in them observable.

1. A sad heavy affliction. Behold for peace I had great bitterness.

2. A merciful deliverance out of this affliction, [Page 3] But thou hast in love to my soul delivered it from the put of corruption.

3. A blessed improvement of this mercy, For thou hast cast all my sins behinde thy back.

4. A thankful acknowledgement of this im­proved mercy, in the rest of the words.

The Affliction aggravated,

1. By a description of it in its own nature, I. both in the quality of it, 'twas bitterness; and in the quantity of it, 'twas great bitterness.

2. By opposition of the contrary blessing which it remov'd, 'twas for peace; a word, that com­prehends in the notion of it all our worldly enjoy­ments, all temporal blessings whatsoever; and more particularly in Holy Writ is taken for health, a blessing, without which all other blessings have no rellish in them, give no true satisfaction to the enjoyer, For peace I had great bitterness, i. e. for the health which he had formerly enjoy'd, he had had a very bitter sickness.

And then lastly the bitterness of this change is heightned by the surprize of it. Behold, as a strange thing! Behold, how all on a sudden, upon my peace came great bitterness, as the Margin reads it.

Bitterness, and great bitterness, and that in ex­change for peace, for a state of health and prospe­rity; and all this with a sudden strange surprize. [Page 4] Behold, for peace I had great bitterness. This was his Affliction.

And this much further aggravated still, if we unde stand it as we must, in a spiritual sense too; that his sickness calling his sins to remembrance, and causing some distrusts of God's love, instead of that peace of conscience, and quiet tranquillity of minde he had had heretofore, his spirit was now troubled, and greatly imbittered. And Prov. 18. 4. a wound­ed grieved spirit who can bear?

On the other hand, the mercy of the Delive­rance II. wants not its heightning circumstances too: as,

1. From the efficient cause, 'twas God deliver'd him, But thou hast deliver'd.

2. From the motive or impulsive cause, 'twas out of Love; not out of design, as men usually do courtesie: but out of a free kindeness, and that a love of the best sort; 'twas in love to his soul.

And 3. From the danger he was deliver'd out of, and that no ordinary one; it was a pit, and no ordinary pit neither, 'twas the pit of corruption, even the Grave, the very state of death.

But thou hast in love to my soul deliver'd it from the pit of corruption.

So then, however he came by his sickness, he is sure 'twas God recover'd him out of it; and he did it out of Love, out of an especial love he bore to [Page 5] the soul of him, which was sufficiently manifest­ed by this, that his life was precious in Gods sight, God delivering it from the pit of corruption.

Nor is this all. You heard 'twas a spiritual mer­cy, III. for 'twas in love to his soul; and therefore the health of body was to be attended with the welfare of his soul: and so for a full Assurance of Divine love to his soul, and for a further Improve­ment of this temporal bodily mercy, 'tis added; for thou hast cast all my sins behinde thy back, that, as God had imbrac'd his soul in the arms of his love; (so the Interlinear Version, Amplexus es amo­re animam meam) and as it were put her into his bo­som; so he had cast all his sins behinde his back, never to come more into remembrance.

This is the Crown of Mercies, when tempo­rals are thus accumulated with spirituals; this a recovery indeed of the whole man, when health is improv'd into salvation, and strength of body ac­companied with pardon of sins. This is right saving Health, and deserves the returns of a grateful Ac­knowledgment, which now follows in the last place.

And that is set forth, first, by shewing the im­possibility for the dead to perform this duty, IV. which is very elegantly express'd by three Syno­nymies.

For the grave cannot praise thee.

Death cannot celebrate thee.

[Page 6] They that go down into the pit cannot hope for thy truth.

which all come to one meaning.

And then on the contrary, shewing not the pos­sibility only, but the probability that the living will, i. e. such as divine mercy continues in life, and especially such as are by that mercy preserv'd from imminent danger of death.—

—The living, the living, he shall praise thee.

And this probability exemplified in himself, made good by his own practice;—

—As I do this day.

Thus having open'd the several scenes of our intended meditation, I shall now proceed to draw from them some useful Observations, interweaving their applications all along, with that brevity and clearness, as such copious heads of matter may in such straights of time admit; and that rather in a cursory Explanation, then in an elaborate dis­course.

First, then for the Affliction, 'tis not only bit­ter, but in the abstract bitterness it self. The sense of Taste is the most necessary of all our senses, it be­ing that by which all Animals live, and take in their food and nourishment; and therefore has in it a power to judge, what is grateful and convenient to the nature of each kinde, what not. Now there [Page 7] is no gust the palate so much dis-relishes as the bit­ter; nothing, that nature shews a greater abhor­rence to, or that is less welcome to her: where­upon the Psalmist in the person of Christ looks up­on it as one of his enemies greatest unkindenesses, that they gave him Ps. 69. 21. Gall and Vinegar to drink; and Christ himself upon the Cross, (I suppose, out of his meer natural aversation, as he was man) when he had tasted of it, [...], S. Matth. 27. 34. He would not drink it. Upon this score 'tis, that by an usual Meta­phor every thing that is highly displeasing to any of our affections and senses, either to the rational or sensitive appetite, is termed bitter: every thing, I say that is any way afflictive to flesh and blood, any thing that ails us in Minde, or Body, or Estate, or good name; whether grief, or pain, or pover­ty, or reproach, and the like; we may as Heze­kiah here calls his sickness, give it the name of bit­terness: nay, even though those afflictions come from the hand of God himself our gracious Fa­ther, by whose providential dispensations every particular event, be it good or bad, is so carefully managed, that not a Sparrow falls to the ground without his order. And yet this bitterness too, though never so unpleasant, may be made profit­able, if we make a right use of it; as we may learn two things from it here,

1. not to be impatient.

[Page 8] 2. not to be insensible,

When we are under Gods hand in any affliction.

Fiezekiah's being in bitterness teacheth us one, and his complaining of it the other.

Who? Good King Hezekiah in bitterness? sick, and that unto death? this is bitterness indeed, that such a Prince, who was a National blessing; that such a Saint, who had walkt before the Lord in truth, and in the sincerity of his heart, done that which was V. 3. good in his sight, should be cut off in the midst of his dayes at XXXIX. (for that was his age at this time; the fifteen years which were now added, making up his See 2. Chron. 29. 1. whole life LIV.) and should by a bitter and untimely death be sent away to the gates of the Grave, after the languishment of a pining distemper. Hence we observe, that Gods dearest ones are not exempted from bitter afflictions. Obs. And what are we then, that we should repine, and murmur, and think our selves hardly dealt with? Are we better then all those Saints, who have gone before us, who have pledg'd their Master in hear­ty draughts of his Passion-Cup, and have march'd after him in the dolorous way towards heaven? This should teach us not only with patience, but even with chearfulness to take up our crosses, and to deny our selves in our healths, in our fortunes, in all our enjoyments. And to recommend this vertue the more to us, let us take along with us [Page 9] some considerations, why it pleases God to imbit­ter many times, as he does, the condition of his Children and Servants in this world. Now God does it upon such reasons as these; for the chastise­ment 1. of sin, from which the very best are not free; for tryal and exercise of their faith and other Graces, which else would lie idle upon their 2. hands: for what use of patience in time of health and prosperity? and consequently for their amend­ment and improvement. The Furnace is heated 3 over and over, that, having all their dross burnt up, their graces may be burnished and throughly refined, as Silver purified seven times in the fire. And tell me now, O impatient soul, whoever thou art, what reason hast thou to take Gods dealings unkindely? Tell me; canst thou say with any shew of reason, that he deals otherwise then justly and kindely by thee in all this; who orders all so to thy good, that his greatest severities are, if thou wilt but rightly understand them, the most advantageous mercies? Further, he does it to wean us from the world, and to take off that 4. hank, which the flesh has upon us; to mortifie carnal lusts, and worldly desires; and give us a heavenly relish. Thus when the Breast is imbit­tered, the Childe will of himself forsake it. And lastly, to prepare us for our great change: These 5. conflicts and encounters we have with all sorts of [Page 10] affliction, during our whole life, are but Essayes and Specimens of that conquest, which we must through Christ make at last of death; that, as he has overcome the world, and swallowed up Death in victory, we may be made partakers of his triumphs; and having fill'd up his sufferings, may in his name set up our banners and our tro­phies; the banners of our confidence, and the trophies of our victory. And now, if we have any ingenuity to acknowledge our sins, any zeal to imploy our graces, any holy ambition to better and improve our selves, any desires towards hea­ven, or savour of spiritual things; in a word, any thought or design of living holy, and dying hap­py: what reason have we with more then pati­ence, even with kindeness and friendship, to en­tertain afflictions, which are to help us in all this.

Yet let afflictions be as good as they will in the consequents and effects, they are afflictions still, and may be so resented. Hezekiah no que­stion made very good use of his sickness, and found as great benefit by it; and yet still after his recovery he complains of it, and calls it bitterness. We must be pati­ent, and yet we may be sensible of our afflicti­ons too. We are allow'd the apprehensions of nature, Obs. even in the exercises of Grace. A good man may be patient, and yet feel his pains, and complain of [Page 11] them too: or else indeed 'tis not a genuine pati­ence. I do not think him truly valiant, whom ar­mour or amulet has made invulnerable; but him, that feels the smart of his wounds, and yet fights on. Thus our Saviour, the Captain of our Salvati­on, in his Agony, prayes to have the Cup pass from him, sayes bemoaningly of himself, that his Soul was sad unto death; that, as he hung on the Cross poor man at the stretch of every joynt, flouted by his Adversaries, deserted by his follow­ers, forsaken by his Father, he cries out, My God, my God, &c. and being roasted with the scorching flames of Divine Wrath, he calls for drink to allay the raging heat of his thirst. For although the Divinity could have deaded all the pains, which the humane nature underwent, and have raptur'd it into a glorious impassibility: yet that was not to be, since the main merit of his passive obedience lay in this, that he had a quick sense of the wrath of God due to sin into the very heart of him; and that, notwithstanding the natural sentiments of his humanity, which put him upon the desire of being excused, he yet with perfect submission went through all the sad stages of his bitter passi­on. Yet now the world is grown to that pass, as if Religion were turn'd Stoicism, and stupidity were Christian Valour; that people generally take it for a kinde of bravery, to be insensible of God's [Page 12] Judgements, and to walk unconcern'd in the midst of publick or personal calamities: but sure those of this temper are no other, then such as the Apo­stle tells us of, Rom. 1. 31. Void of natural affection.

Thus then Hezekiah's being in bitterness teach­eth us to be patient, and his complaining of it al­lows us to be sensible. And no marvel, that he complains, for 'twas not only bitterness, but great bitterness; both extensively over all parts, all over bitterness; and intensively, all kindes, all degrees of bitterness, and so as the Original doubles the word, [...] one way in Hebrew to express the superlative [...]: so S. Hierom renders it, Amaritudo mea amarissima, my most bitter bitterness, super­latively bitter. Now, why God does thus at any time with any of us, to make our conditions bitter and bitter again, to put in great bitterness, more bitter ingredients still; besides those reasons we gave before, (this inlarging the dose being de­signed to perfect the cure) we have two or three more to offer: as first, to beat us quite off from 1. carnal and secular confidences; that being forc'd to let go our hold of all our worldly comforts, we may stick the closer to God in our dependences upon him. And that good Hezekiah's temper was a little too apt to be peccant in this, the next Chapter shews us, where out of 2 Chron. 32. 26. 'tis call'd, The pride of his heart. ostentation he shews Merodach-Baladan's Messengers, that came to [Page 13] congratulate his recovery, his treasury, and armoury, and spicery. And then to put the higher value upon the following mercy. How sweet would health 2. be after such a bitter sickness? how soon are the pains and throws of Childe-birth forgotten for joy when the Man-childe is once born into the world? the greatness of the danger serving to ag­grandize S. John 16. 21. and heighten the deliverance. And lastly to teach us a right estimate of our own graces, and 3. of that interest we have in God. Great Saints must Obs. look for great afflictions. A more then ordinary strength requires a more then ordinary tryal. Every Childe, every Novice in Religion can digest a lit­tle bitterness. Hezekiah is to be treated as a Man, to be put upon a becoming task. The Sons of Anak, and the Zanzummim are fit for such a cham­pion as Joshua to incounter. Wherefore if God, who uses not to lay more upon us, then we are able to bear, has laid his hand heavy upon thee, has in­creased thy pains, and inraged thy smart: bear up, brave soul, be of good courage in thy con­flicts, be strong in the Lord when he calls thee forth to such hard service, grudge not to lay out that strength God has given thee to bear thee up and to bear thee out in the greatest endurances. Thus Holy Job, when the whole world was against him, the Chaldeans and Sabeans, the De­vil and his friends, and wife and all and God [Page 14] himself seem'd to be an indifferent looker on; bore himself up stoutly against them all; and by the power of God's Grace in him withstood the worst of Providences without him. The Saints are made glorious by their sufferings, and 'tis their great af­flictions put the lustre upon their victorious Gra­ces, when patience has had its perfect work. He­zekiah was a man of great piety, and must there­fore meet with great bitterness. And this bitter­ness in the next place is the greater too, because it comes in the place of Peace, Cujus ipsum nomen dul­ce est, as the great Orator tells us, whose very name is luscious in the mouth, and speaks sweet­ness.

We say, Variety is delightful; and 'tis the condi­tion of the sublunary world to be whirl'd about in perpetual vicifsitudes, to be as mutable and full of changes, as the Moon it self, who has the Do­minion over it. And I confess, that the day-break brings comfortable tidings after telling the Clocks of a tedious and restless night; the verdant Spring is welcome, that has been usher'd in by a hard Winter; and the Sun-shine shews pleasant, which follows a bitter storm: But on the contrary (which was Hezekiah's case here) out of a prosperous state to be tumbled into adversity, to have new trou­bles tread upon the heels of our peace, out of health to be thrown upon a bed of bitter sickness; this [Page 15] is a sad change, and must needs go to the heart of the stoutest and wisest: when the remembrance of their former good estate serves only to aggravate their present ills. Yet so it seems good to the all wise God to exercise his Children, to try their sincerity to the utmost, whether they have any by-ends in their service; whether their piety be real, or only a pretense; whether, when their conditions are alter'd, their resolutions will not change too, and when a storm comes, take to the hedge, and keep a dangerous persecuted profession company no longer; whether they will go along with their Re­ligion, when it goes as Christ did to be crucified, or with the Disciples desert him and leave him to himself. This was Satan's argument, Job 1. 9. Doth Job serve God for nought? and therefore strips him to the very skin, and makes that very skin uneasie too, by cloathing it all over with blisters and sores; that by that time Job had done scraping with his pot-sheard, he had no skin at all left to cover him, but was So himsèl [...] complains, Job 7. 5. My flesh is cloa­thed with worms, and clods of dust, my skin is broken, and become loath­some. fain to get him a new covering out of the ashes he roll'd himself in. Yet Job, when he had lost all, would not let go his integrity, but prov'd in despight of the Devil's suggestions, that he Obs. The pious man serves God for God's sake. serv'd God for God's sake, and could fairly trust him for his reward in the next world. Wherefore 'tis a brave challenge of that Heroick Apostle, Rom. VIII. 35. Who, sayes he, shall separate us from [Page 16] the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? as if he had said, Let me see that Man, or Devil, or Thing in the world, that can drive me from my just con­fidences, and blessed assurances of God's love. And for death, he makes nothing of it, vouch­safes it not the mention, but in a parenthesis in the next verse; looks upon it as a meer scare-crow, a thing he has been used to, and now fears it not; but gets him upon a place of Scripture, and defies it; As it is written, sayes he, For thy sake we are killed all the day long, we are accounted as sheep for the slaugh­ter. And then in the two last verses of that Chap­ter, 'tis as bravely by him resolv'd upon the que­stion; I am perswaded that neither death, nor life, nor Angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor heighth, nor depth, nor any other creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. So then for peace let bitterness come; nay, let great bitterness come; yet such a resolution will weather the point of the worst change.

But yet to aggravate this change, there is another consideration still behinde; that 'twas by way of surprize; it came strangely and unexpectedly, Behold, for peace I had great bitterness. When Scri­pture bids us behold, 'tis worth our while to stand and look about; and this word gives us this les­son, [Page 17] that A Christian must stand upon his guard; Obs. prepare for changes, and be provided in omnem eventum, for what ever may happen. In this po­sture Job stood, which made him bear the brunt, and receive the shock the better. The thing which I fear'd, Job 3. 25. sayes he, is come upon me. But it should seem Hezekiah did not make that preparation, en­tertain'd no such jealousies. We read in the Cha­pter before, that the Angel had discomfited the Assyrian Host, and that Sennacherib himself the Monarch was assassin'd by his Sons: which quit the King of Judah utterly of all apprehensions; he is wrapt up in security; yet see, he is no sooner rid of this fear, but another arrest is serv'd upon him: In those dayes, sayes the first verse of this Chapter, was Hezekiah sick unto death. There surprizes him a bile worse then Rabshakeh, sticks close to him, and sends him once more to his prayers. So apt are good men upon little respite to forget themselves. Judgement comes like a thief in the night, and steals upon us: it concerns us there­fore to watch, and to set a good centry, that we may not be caught unawares. But alas! how do we generally sleep over our great concerns, and ne­ver heed evils, till they befal us; which are with far more difficulty cured, then they might have been prevented? Nothing can be more dreadful, then when judgements give us a camisade, set upon [Page 18] us in the dead of our security, beat up our quar­ters, and catch us unprovided.

And still this affliction has a higher step, taking it in the spiritual sense, for the disquiet of minde, and trouble of Conscience, arising possibly from the sense of sin, or from the distrust of God's favour, in this his sickness; to which the deliverance with its improvement hath reference. Hezekiah's minde as well as body was fore; and the Bile was not so much, it should seem, in his side, as 'twas in's very heart. He had stitches and pains of Con­science; and his inner man was more afflicted, then the outward; and his spirit labour'd under no less distempers then his flesh did. And this is sure a very afflictive condition; when not only the Cisterns of earthly comfort are filled with wa­ters of Marah; but even the spring of consolati­ons from within, I mean a good conscience, runs in troubled streams of Meribah: when a godly man's thoughts work, and boyl, and, as the wic­ked man is compar'd by the Isa. 57. 20 Prophet, he becomes like the troubled Sea, which casts up mire and dirt. And yet thus God deals sometime with his own; to take their peace from them, to leave them as it were in a state of desertion to themselves; that so they may put a higher estimate upon his favour, and walk humbly and carefully in the sense of it. A troubled conscience, then is not alwayes an evil con­science. Obs. [Page 19] The best of Saints are sometimes put upon these conflicts, to struggle under the burden of their sins, and the apprehension of wrath due to them: when God loosens and slacks their confi­dences, blots and obscures their evidences, staggers their assurances, fills them full of doubts, and per­plexities, and jealousies of their own estate; and so pursues them with legal terrors, that he drives them to fly before the face of the avenger, even un­to their City of Refuge, the Merits of Christ: and likely sickness is God's time of Visiting iniquity in this manner; and then sins come thick to remem­brance. The wicked and the godly may in this respect little differ in their outward Symptoms, as to the trouble and quiet of Conscience: but in the grounds of either there is a vast difference. The ungodly man, when his Conscience is awak'd with some rouzing judgement, is possest with the frightful foresights of unavoidable vengeance: the godly are troubled at God's displeasure, at the withdrawings of his favour, and the hidings of his countenance. The one has no Sanctuary to be­take himself to; his troubles immerse him into the gulph of despair: the other when he is seiz'd with the arrests of the Law, can by Faith lay hold upon the terms of Evangelical mercy, and has a powerful advocate to plead for him, and a suffici­ent bail to fetch him off, even Christ Jesus, the [Page 20] Mediator of the Covenant. Nor again does their calm and tranquility of minde proceed from the same principle, or tend to the same practice; the wicked man's quiet proceeds from his carnal secu­rity; his conscience is cast into a dead sleep, and becomes insensible, by a kinde of spiritual lethar­gy, that 'tis not so much want of trouble as want of sense; wherefore he still runs on securely in his sinful course: whereas the in ward peace, which a godly man enjoyes, arises from the assu­rances of pardon, and the sense of God's favour; and this puts him upon a careful walking with God, that he may not tempt him to remove his peace. And this his confidence in God, and reso­lution of his own integrity bears him up even in the midst of his dejections and disquiets; that, when he goes mourning all the day, when he feeds himself with his tears, and in great anxiety and distress pours out his soul within him, he can say with the Psalmist, Psal. XLII. and XLIII. Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope in God, for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance and my God. For he knows that however, when God has taken and pursu'd all his advantages against him, when he has laid load upon him, he is sure at last to give him a good issue out of the temptation, and, be his affliction what it will, [Page 21] to procure him in the end a merciful Deliverance, which is our next Theme to treat of.

And this a two-fold Deliverance, according to his two-fold distemper, Bodily, and Ghostly.

His temporal affliction, his sickness, is cur'd by the temporal mercy of his recovery, that God has deliver'd his soul, i. e. his life, from the pit of corru­ption, from the Grave: and his spiritual malady or trouble of conscience by that spiritual mercy, the pardon of his sins, that God had cast all his sins behinde his back.

First, Here's the removal of his sickness, and the return of health; and then, to improve that, here's the removal of his sins, and the restitution of his peace.

Behold, for peace I had great bitterness.

But thou hast in love to my soul deliver'd it from the pit of corruption.

For thou hast cast all my sins behinde thy back.

Thou. 'twas Thou deliveredst me. He imputes his Recovery here wholly to God. Hence we learn, that God is the sole Author of all our deliverances. His Obs. sickness might have come by some casualty, might proceed from natural causes in the general way of a permissive providence: but to be sure, God had a special hand in the restauration. That was the effect, and a peculiar disposition of a particular [Page 22] providence, and came with a Mandamus from heaven. I will not deny, but means may, and must be, and were here used; but then 'tis God's blessing that puts vertue into those means, and gives them an effectual operation. Practicioners of Physick will tell us, that a lump of Figs bruised and made up into a Plaister may be no unfit Cata­plasm to be applied toa plague sore, to help to ripen and break the Bile? yet here in this case 'twas God himself by his Prophet gave the Receipt, and in all cases virtuates and succeeds the means. Where­fore the Syriack Interpreter transposes the two last Verses of this Chapter, setting the 22. verse before the 21. and that very appositely to the close of the Song in the 20th. verse, where he sayes he will Sing Songs to the tuned instruments all the dayes of his life in the house of the Lord. Now, as the Syriack brings it in, Hezekiah had said, What is the sign, that I shall go to the house of the Lord? That I shall go abroad again, and wait upon God in his Temple. And Isaias gave this answer, sayes he, Let them take a lump of Figs, and spread it upon the Bile. (Which verses in the common order they stand in, seem to be a [...], out of their due place.) So that the Lump of Figs should according to this In­terpreter, be appointed here by God for a sign as well as a Plaister, nor only for a medicinal expedi­ent, but also for a Symbolical token. Thus it is in [Page 23] all our troubles and afflictions, that befall us, be it what it will, or who it will, the malice of man or the Devil, Chance or Nature, our own negli­gence or indiscretion, that leads us on; 'tis God that brings us off; and as we pray, that he will not Lead us into temptation, (which he does but very rarely, and that only by way of permission) so we must pray to him alone to deliver us from all evil. And yet this is not intended to lessen our gratitude to too men, whose skill or care has af­forded us any help in our distress, as being instru­ments under God for our good. And so the Pro­phet here no question was concern'd in the good King's acknowledgements, and the very Recipe of Figs is fil'd up in the Records of Scripture.

Further, besides the subordination, that men act as instruments, in what they do for us; God is the sole principal Agent: there is usually this difference too; that men, what kindeness or good office they may do us, they may do it for their own sake as well as ours; not out of love to our person so much, as for some by-respect and self­end. The Physician proportions his attendance to his fee; and scarce any the best friend we have will do ought for us for God-a-mercy. Some perhaps may by the sense of former obligations; but most by the expectation of a future reward are excited and mov'd to serve us. But all God's mercies pro­ceed [Page 24] from pure love; out of love thou hast deliver'd me. I say, Divine mercy is gratuitous; it flows as Obs. free, as the light from the Sun, as the stream from the Spring. For alas! if we look into our selves, and consider how vile we are by nature, how more vile by sin; what can we finde in our selves, that may any way deserve the kinde respects, and af­fectionate regards of an infinite and glorious Ma­jesty? what, that may be lookt upon, as a fit object of Divine Love? Have not we just reason, the very best of us, with the Psalmist, to hold up our hands in admiration, and bless our selves, saying, Psal. 8. 4. What is man that thou art mindeful of him, or takest any knowledge of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him, that thou makest any account of him? He doth not want us, nor is our goodness any thing to him: neither can our welfare adde ought to his infinite glories, nor our miscarriage substract ought from them. It is our duty and our happiness to boot, to serve him; nor is he a whit obliged to us: when we have done all we ought to do, we are to him still unprofitable Servants. If we are good, we are good to our selves; and if we are otherwise, we shall have the worst on't, And yet to see, how all his thoughts and cares run upon us, how he has made man the darling of heaven, and the charge of Angels; what blessings he daily dispenses among us, and what uncon­ceivable [Page 25] good things he has prepar'd for us, if we will but fit our selves for them; how his provi­dence waits upon us at our up-rising, and our down-lying, and in all our wayes constantly at­tends us, and takes that particular care of us, that he has the very hairs of his head in numerato; will abundantly convince us of his undeserved love to us, and of that love we owe to him again. O may those passionate concernments, he has for us, move us at least to be concern'd for our selves! The Apostle to justifie this Allegorical exposition of that Text in the old Law, Deut. 25. 4. Thou shalt not muzzle the ox, which treadeth out the corn; out of which he argues the maintenance of Gospel-Ministers; seems to ask a strange question, to shew that those words could not well be taken literally, Doth God, 1 Cor. 9. 9. sayes he, take care of Oxen? Why, learned Apo­stle, does not God take care of Oxen? I sure, and of all his other creatures too: His meaning is, that God's thoughts and designs are so much bu­sied and taken up about man, that He seems to be the only object of his care; insomuch that this very Law of mercy towards the labouring Beast, (witness (to go no further) the very Deut. 5 14. fourth Commandment, where the poor Ass as well as the Ox, comes in for his share in the priviledge of Sabbath-rest) was by the Apostle's argument primarily and ultimately intended for the temporal [Page 26] support and incouragement of such men, as are set aside for spiritual ministrations, to labour in the word. Oves & boves & pecora campi, Psal. 8. 7. Sheep and Oxen and all Beasts of the Field he has so abso­lutely put under man's feet, as if he took no fur­ther care of them, then as they may be for his use and service. If God so freely love us, how ought we to love one another, and to help one another with all kinde of courtesie and assistance? but above all, in a due imitation of Divine Charity, not to let it be a carnal affection, or express it only in ser­vice to the outward man; but to improve it spiri­tually, that it may be a love from the soul, and a love to the soul of one another.

In love to my soul. This, Soul-love is the best of loves. This is to oblige a man into the other world Obs. with an immortal benefit, to do his soul any good, to serve him any way in that. 'Tis the Christian complement, which the great preacher of love St. John uses in his Epistle to his friend Gaius; 3 John v. 2. Beloved, I wish above things, that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul pros­pereth. Let worldlings think what they will; our health and prosperity is, as our soul prospers and does well: All our worldly enjoyments, unless we have the art to spiritualize them, and can by grace make them serviceable to our souls, are but dry chips, and can afford no true real comfort. The [Page 27] very Breasts of providence, from whence our peace, plenty, liberty, and all outward blessings flow, without this are but Winde-bags, and those that draw them most, will finde they get nothing but vanity and emptiness, fill themselves with vexati­on, and distemper; if God by his Grace do not sanctifie his providences to the good of their souls. This is that, which makes blessings to be blessings indeed. And indeed God does design all his tem­poral mercies to our spiritual advantage, if we would but comply with his designs. And thus it was here with Hezekiah, whose soul was repriev'd from the Grave at once, and preserv'd from Hell; for the pit of corruption in Scripture-style signifies both; from the Grave by his recovery, and from Hell by his pardon.

To take the words in either of those senses, or in both; what a mercy of God is it to us all, to every one of us, that are here this day, that we are yet on this side Hell, yet on this side the Grave? and what care are we oblig'd to in our walking, when we con­sider that All our life-time we walk upon the pit-brink? Obs. We say, that those that are at Sea, are but so many inches remov'd from death; but the Ps. 39. 5. Psalmist tells us, that upon Land too, or whereever we are at the furthest distance, there is but the breadth of a span betwixt it and us. Now what a madness were it for any one to dance and frolick about the [Page 28] mouth of such a dangerous pit, where 'tis so easie falling in, and impossible to get out again? And yet, O desperate folly! most people of the world are thus mad, pursuing the seeming sweets of a momentany life to the hazard of an eternal ruine, and the irreparable loss of their immortal souls. I have heard a story, and I suppose many of you have heard it too, of a man, that travelling late, and being in drink, rode over a narrow foot­Bridge, where there was a great deep water un­derneath, that the least trip of the Horses foot would have posted the rider to his long home: next morning, when he was come to himself, be­ing askt which way he came, and brought to the place, the apprehension of his last nights adven­ture did so surprize and astonish his sober thoughts, that he fell down dead in the very place at the sight on't. And when we look back upon the follies and vanities of our past lives, how can we but be justly startled, when almost every step we have trod, has been upon the pit's brink of destructi­on? Those especially, whose desires seem to be as bottomless as this pit is, who cry, Give, give, and never think they have enough, and are immode­rate in heaping up this world's goods; may look upon this pit as a stop in their career: when they sit down and consider, that within a score or two of years hence, very likely in less time, all their [Page 29] toil and gain will come to no account: Go they must one time or other, and pack up they know not how soon, and yet carry nothing along with them of all that they have. Beauty, strength, ri­ches, honour, profits, pleasures, will all be lost and spoil'd, and prove at last but care and refuse in this pit of corruption: this [...] ad f [...] mam [...] unde [...] ap. J [...] 38. 11. 12 veterament [...] Ang. old ca [...] cloats and rotten rags [...], the Ward­robe of our old cast cloaths, and the store-hole of our worm-eaten Lumber. We are all journeying straight onward to the Grave, and sooner or later, every one in his appointed time, must arrive there: but happy, thrice happy those, who when they are laid down to rest in the Grave, are deliver'd from Hell, that other pit of corruption. And this He­zekiah was assur'd of, that God had deliver'd his soul from this pit; because his sins were for­given.

And this is our third stage, the Assurance of God's love to him, and the Improvement of this bodily mercy: for thou hast cast all my sins behinde thy back.

From whence we may make several Observs; Obs. as first, that God uses to accumulate mercy; to deal with us, as he commands us to deal with one an­other, to give us S. Luke 6. 38. good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over into our bosom. Here upon Hezekiah's prayer, God gives more [Page 30] then is ask'd; lengthens his life, secures him and his Kingdom from the Assyrians, recovers him from his sickness, and pardons his sins. Thus mercies grow like clusters in the vineyards of En­gaddi, A great incouragement for prayer, which makes such ample returns. The best Husbandry we can use, to improve our selves, by praying of­ten. A great comfort this too, to any good man upon the bed of sickness; that God will both re­cover and pardon him, both restore him to health and accept him to favour. Thus our Saviour in those Miracles of Mercy he shew'd upon the bodies of men, was wont to regard their souls too, and wrought cures both upon the outward and inward man: as he did to the Paralytick, say­ing first, *Thy sins are forgiven thee; then, Rise, S. Mark 2. 9. take up thy bed, and walk. Thus easing him first of the heavy load of his sins, and then inabling him to bear the lighter burthen of his couch.

2. Pardon of sins is the complement and perfection of mercy. His recovery without this would have Obs. done him little good, and the renewing of his Lease have serv'd only for an opportunity of run­ning farther on the score, and so of making his condition much worse then it had been. O infi­nitely happy that man, even in this life, whose sins are forgiven him! all his enjoyments must needs have a pleasant relish; whereas to the wicked [Page 31] this Coloquintida, the rank Hogo, which unpardon'd sin gives them, spoils all their comforts, and makes their condition, be it never so spangled and glorious, never so gay and jaunty to the out­ward shew, troublesome and vexatious within; like the Emperour's Ermin-Cap, richly lin'd with pricking cares, and cutting fears: of which our good King had now clear'd both his Head and Crown; for he had God's promise that neither the Assyrian should assault his Kingdom, nor Satan his soul.

3. He, whose sins are forgiven, needs not fear hell or the grave. Hezekiah here is assured, that God Obs. had deliver'd his soul from the pit of corruption, because he had cast all his sins behinde his back. The righteous man, say the Prov. 28. 1▪ Proverbs, i. e. he that is justified by faith, and has his sins pardon'd, is as bold as a Lion, fearless, and undaunted: for indeed, what need such an one fear? Let the De­vil go about like a roaring Lion; he has the Lion of the tribe of Judah to defend him: and for death, now the sting is pluck'd out, he plays with it as a harmless Snake; and to take off even the natu­ral apprehensions of it, makes it familiar to him by his daily meditation.

Lastly, God's pardons are universal and absolute. Obs. They are all his sins; and all cast behinde God's back, never more to be remembred. God pardons [Page 32] totally and finally, not by halves or half way, but wholly and out-right; he forgives and forgets. We are too too apt to throw our sins behinde our own back, and to take no notice of them; our great concern is to get them cast behinde God's back. O let us prize this pardoning Grace of God's; endeavour to obtain it by confessing and forsaking our sins; and especially in the time of sickness, or any other affliction, when God's hand lies upon us, to make our humble and ear­nest supplications then to the blessed Spirit, to bring home to our soul this comfort; to renew our repentance, and to re-inforce our resolutions; and having obtain'd forgiveness, never by any fresh wilful acts of sin to forfeit the comfort of such an assurance.

Thus have we seen Hezekiah Afflicted, Reco­ver'd, Pardon'd: we are now in the last place come to his Thanksgiving, and Acknowledgement, and that, as I noted before, set down.

1. Negatively, that, if he had miscarried in this his sickness, then he could not possibly have per­form'd this duty of praise.

2. Positively, that being now recover'd, and in a state of life and health, he will make it his busi­ness, as he sayes in the 20. verse, All the dayes of his life to sing his songs in the house of the Lord.

[Page 33] For the Grave cannot praise thee, &c. which words will help us to several useful observations.

In the first place, that The only Return which Obs. God expects for his mercies is Praise. This is given here as the reason of this his deliverance; FOR the Grave cannot praise thee; the living shall. God the Jehovah being an Infinite Being, and conse­quently, in his Essence and Actions, independent of any other being, can have no Principle or End of his Actions without him. As in a Circle, the whole round being in it self compleat, the begin­ning and end meet but in an imaginary point, and admit not of a real distinction. And such a Circle is God, which comprehends all things, and is it self not comprehended. Wherefore he can have no other principle, but himself; no other end, but himself, in all that he does or designs. He is the Alpha and Omega; Rom. 11. 36. From him and to him are all things. He acts all freely from his own will, and wisely to his own glory: and in this manner we his creatures are to act, if we will act regularly, from him and to him. He is, as the supreme cause which excites and impowers all subordinate agents to act; so the Chiefest Good too, in which all their actions should terminate. And in this subordina­tion all other creatures, in their several spheres of activity, comply with the rule and method of their Creator: man only to his shame stands out, who [Page 34] has most reason to be, and to act like his God, wearing his Image. Good and pious men how­ever do endeavour after this, which is their per­fection; to live by the power to the praise of God, that is, to act by his Grace to his Glory. Should God require any greater matter of us, as 2 Kings 5. 13. Naa­man's servants tell him, when we lie on the bed of sickness, when we are incompass'd with distresses, would not we have done it? and when for our de­liverance all, that he looks for at our hands, is praise only; he must be of an extraordinary dis­ingenuous impiety, that should refuse to testifie his thanks in so cheap a Sacrifice. This civility we de­ny not to men; 'tis a Physician's reputation, when his patient recovers; and we usually, besides his Salary, allow him our good word. Let not us grudge God the honour of a poor acknowledge­ment.

Again, praising and celebrating God, and hoping for his truth, (his mercy, say the LXX; his Salva­tion, the Chaldee Paraphrast) are here made Syno­nyma's, to mean the same thing. If so, then a generous trust in God's mercy is the right celebra­tion of it. To trust in God is to praise him. I have Obs. been afflicted; God has deliver'd me; I praise him for it: how? by trusting that he will still deliver me. I have been exercised with grievous sickness; God has visited me with his loving kindeness: I come to [Page 35] return him due praise for his goodness: how? by entertaining and professing a just confidence in God, that he will never fail me, never leave me de­stitute. And this, as 'tis a comfortable, so 'tis a ra­tional and a natural duty. We ordinarily do it to men: when we have had tryals of their fidelity in matters of any moment, we stick not to trust them farther, and by so doing recommend their honest just dealing to the world. Shall we not much more do so to God? whose mercy and faithfulness we have so often experimented, when no one could help us out but He He that distrusts God, scandalizes his goodness, and calls his truth in question. David is not asham'd to make one of the first and earliest acts of God's common provi­dence towards him, when he was an infant, an argument of his trusting God his whole life after. Psal. 71. 6. Thou art he, that tookest me out of my Mothers Bowels. What then? my praise shall be alwayes of thee. A little after upon the strength of this confi­dence, he prayes, Ver. 9. Cast me not off in the time of old age; forsake me not, when my strength faileth.

Further, in that the Grave cannot praise God, nor they that go down into the pit hope for his truth; it appears, that Death is a silent and a hope­less state. The Grave indeed opens a wide mouth; Obs. but 'tis to swallow the man, not to praise God with. And how can Divine Praises be celebrated [Page 36] by death, which puts all the Organs and Instru­ments of Speech out of tune? when, as the Prea­cher phrases it, all the daughters of musick are Eccl. 12. 4. brought low: and then for those that go down into the pit, they together with their lives quit their hopes, and are lodg'd now in a remediless conditi­on. No hope to be met with at the bottom of that pit, because the pit it self is bottomless: for so the Septuagint have it, [...], Those that are in hell; they that are in Gehenna, says the Arabick; and by the Targum the pit is interpreted [...] the lake of perdi­tion. Hope is a vertue peculiar to life; and when the man dies, hope fetches its last gasp, and dyes with him. After death there's no recovery. Faith and repentance can now no longer exercise any vi­tal acts. If thou dye in thy sins, thou will lie and rot in thy sins, and rise again in thy sins. No imbalm­ing can preserve thy soul, or take from thee the stench of thy sins, in that pit of corruption. Death concludes thee to an unalterable condition. Here thou mayest manage thy resolutions, and shape thy course, to please thy self; and, if thou wilt, to please thy God, if thou wilt let his grace pilot thy vessel: but when thou art once put into harbour, the ship then is laid up, and there's no mending the mis­carriages of thy past voyage. Be sure then to live godly, if thou wouldst dye comfortably; and then thy grave will prove a bed of spices, and thy [Page 37] dust be preserv'd, as the Phoenix [...]ashes in hopes of a joyful resurrection.

To draw to a conclusion, a 4th. Note may be this, that Life it self is a blessing to be spent in the Obs. giver's praise. From these words, The living, the li­ving, he shall praise thee. The word is twice repea­ted, to shew we should do it with chearfulness, with a life; and with constancy, through our whole life If we had a hundred lives, they would be all well spent in God's service. It will be the busi­ness and imploy of our eternity to praise him; and we must aforehand acquaint our selves with it, and so practice this lesson here, that we may be found worthy to wait upon the Lamb, and sing Hallelujahs in heaven. But then if we would praise God to the life, we must live to his praise, by doing things praise-worthy. Further, consider what this life of ours is; 'tis but a breath We must begin this task then out of hand, presently. There's nothing of our life ours, but the present, the Nunc instans, this very instant of time. For all, that's past of our lives, was indeed ours once, but now is not; nor can we recal what's gone for improve­ment or amendment: and what is to come, is not ours yet, and we know not whether it will be in our power, or no; and therefore the great duty & in­terest of life is the right husbanding of our present time. Upon this moment hangs our eternity; and [Page 38] this infinite advantage our short-liv'd service has, that he, that lives to God's glory here, shall hereaf­ter be made partaker of it.

Thus have I as well as I could gather'd a posie of Observations, as they grew in this fragrant piece of Scripture: and if some Rue and Wormwood be found amongst the sweeter herbs, their wholesome­ness will make amends for their bitterness. Myrrh and Aloes, as they are bitter drugs, so they are rich perfumes; in either notion, great preservatives they are against corruption. The Psalmist tells us, Psal. XLV that Ver. 8. All the Churches garments smell of them, 'Tis not amiss, if we have pounded and mix'd somewhat of them with the Frankincense of this days Thanksgiving. Which brings us to the close of all, the Exemplification; as I do this day.

And that will yield us a considerable remark, to make an end with; that signal mercies require so­lemn Obs. thanksgiving. So Hezekiah is eager to go up to the house of the Lord, and closes this Ode of his with a resolution there to sing his songs all the days of his life. And this on purpose to draw in others by his example to partake in the duty. Thus David after such a deliverance, Psal. XXXIV. invites others; O magnifie the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together, In the 6th. verse as it were pointing to himself, This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

[Page 39] Let us then shut up all with a Form of Praise, wherein we may all joyn, and every one of us bear a part: and I am sure there is not any one of this whole Congregation, that will not be particularly and personally concern'd.

WE praise thee, O God; we acknowledge thee to be the Lord. All the world doth worship thee, the Father Everlasting. Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.

Thou dost whatsoever thou pleasest, both in heaven and in earth: and yet dost by thy Providence order all events, as to thy own glory, so to the good and advantage of the children of men. Thou madest all things for the use of man, and man him­self for thine own service.

We bless thee for thy works of Creation. O Lord, how mani­fold are thy works? in great wisdom and out of great goodness hast thou made them all. The heavens declare thy glory, and the earth is full of thy goodness.

We stand obliged, as we are thy creatures and the work of thy hands, to do thee homage, and to pay thee the tribute of Praise; together with all thy works, which bless thee in all places of thy dominion.

Especially man is bound to praise thee for the dignity of his creation, being made little lower then the Angels. Thou hast crown'd him with honour and majesty, and hast put all things under his feet.

We bless thee, that thou hast made us Men and Women, after thine own image, in thy likeness; and hast breath'd into us the breath of life. We will sing unto thee therefore, as long as we live; we will sing praises unto our God, while we have a being.

That thou hast given us an immortal soul, capable of eter­nal felicity, and of a blessed communion with thy self: faculties of reason, to contemplate the glories of our Maker; and of speech, to express and set forth thy praises.

All our members were writ down in thy book, when as yet there was none of them: thou art our God, even from our Mo­thers [Page 40] womb: when we yet hung at the breast, thou tookest care of us: we have lived at thy charge, and been maintain'd by thy providence, ever since we were born. Oh, let us praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.

Thou hast all along sent forth thy sun, and powr'd down thy rain, to provide us our food in due season; and all thy steps to­wards us have dropt fatness. Thou hast satisfied our mouth with good things, and hast surrounded us with loving kindness and tender mercies.

Nor have thy preservations over us been less; or less constant, then thy provisions for us. Thou securest us from the casualties of the day, and from the terrors of the night.

Thou art at our uprising and our downlying; who keepest us both sleeping and waking, and yet thy self neither slumbrest nor sleepest. Thou understandest and guardest all our way. Day by day we magnifie thee for these thy daily favours.

We bless thee for preserving us from the perils of our infancy, and from the miscariages of our riper years.

Then, when we were not able to help our selves, thou tookest us up, setst thy Angel-guardians about us, who continually be­hold thy face; and didst graciously preserve us from those in­conveniencies, which either the negligence of those about us, or our own infirmity, or the condition of humane nature, might have expos'd us to.

Since, when we were grown up to discretion, and were apt enough by our intemperances & indiscretions to do our selves mischief; 'twas thou alone hast kept us from the injuries of weather, from the rage of merciless elements, from all ill chances and sad accidents, from the power of Devils, and from the malice of men, and from the calamities of ill times; and hast often delivered us from the dangers and ill consequents of our own folly, even when by presumptuous sins we have put our selves out of thy protection.

O the unspeakable mercies of a good God, which either we [Page 41] have forgot, or were never sensible of! What is man, that thou art so mindful of him? or the son of man that thou shouldst so regard us? who scarce ever mind or regard thee, and those infi­nite obligations thou hast from time to time laid upon us.

We thank thee for those early advantages of our Christian education, that we were born within the pale of the Church, under the sound of the Gospel, and not amidst Turks and Hea­then people, which know not thy name; and were betimes by holy Baptism ingrafted into Christ's mystical body.

O inestimable benefit, and that which can never sufficiently be valued! though such is our unthankful carriage for this pe­culiar favour, which thou hast denyed to millions of men, that deserve it better then we do; that we loath thy Word, slight thy Ordinances, and scoff at thy Ministers; and in effect, through our peevish ingratitude, shew our selves as arrant Turks and In­fidels, as any of the Turks and Infidels themselves are.

Further, we bless thee for the love of Friends, and the care of Tutors, which put us upon good courses; for the vigour of parts, and the integrity of limbs and senses; for our health and strength; for our peace and plenty; for blessings, both publick and private, personal and national, temporal and spiritual.

For giving us further time and space of repentance; that thou hast not cut us off in the strength of our years, and the height of our lusts; that we are yet on this side hell and the grave, yet in a possibility of Salvation, and are yet alive to praise thee, as we do this day, and to speak well of thy name.

We bless thee for all those opportunities and advantages, thou hast so liberally afforded us, of serving thee, and of saving our own souls; that, if we miscarry either in this world or the next, 'tis not thou by thy grace or thy providence hast been wanting to us, but we have been wanting both to thee and to our selves.

Finally, we return thee our hearty thanks, and praise thy name, for all those afflictions, thou hast at any time laid upon us, and for thy merciful deliverances out of them.

That, when thou hast visited our iniquities, and [Page 42] chastn'd us for sin, thou hast not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities, but hast remembred mercy in the midst of judgment, and hast pitied us like as a father pitieth his children; (for thou knowest our frame, thou remem­brest that we are but dust.)

That thou hast laid no more upon us at any time, then we were inabled by thee well to bear, and by thy grace hast supported us in our sufferings; and that, when thou hast seen fit to put any bitterness into our cup, thou hast design'd it for our soul's health, and to a spiritual advantage; and lastly, that together with the temptation thou hast given a gracious and happy issue out of it.

And here we humbly intreat thee, O Father of mercies, to accept the thanksgiving of every particular person in this Con­gregation, for all thy favours and merciful deliverances vouch­safed them through the course of their whole lives; and more especially be graciously pleased to accept the thanks of that thy servant, who being by thy gracious providence recover'd of a grievous and dangerous sickness, this day in thy house presents his offering of praise.

Grant, that both he and all of us may have that his sickness and all our afflictions so sanctified, and this his recovery and all our deliverances so improv'd to him and to us, that we may ill be fully assur'd, that out of love to our souls thou hast deliver'd them from the pit of corruption, and that thou hast cast all our sins behind thy back.

Thus shall our meditation of thee be sweet; we will be glad in the Lord, and rejoyce in thy salvation, who forgivest all our iniquities, and healest all our diseases, and redeemest our life from destruction.

Who hidest not thy face from us in the day of trouble, but re­gardest the prayer of the destitute: who lookest down from the height of thy sanctuary, to hear the groaning of those that are confin'd, and to deliver them that are appointed unto death.

To declare the name of the Lord in his temple, and his praise [Page 43] in the great assembly, when the people are gather'd together to serve the Lord.

Let us give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: Let us bring our offerings, and come into his courts: Let us sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving, and declare his works with re­joycing.

The Lord hath chasten'd us sore, but he hath not given us over unto death. We shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. Thou art our God, and we will praise thee: thou art our God, and we will exalt thee. Let us give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

The voice of rejoycing and salvasion is in the tabernacles of the righteous. The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him; in those that hope in his mercy. O Lord, our hope is in thee; Let us never be confounded.


Glory be to thee, O God.


PAge 4. line 4. read understand. p. 9 l. 24 r. our carnal. p. 17. l. 19. r. a little. p. 18. l. 9 r. sore. p 21. l. 27. sor disposition, r. dispensation. p. 25. l. 6. r. of our head. l. 11. f. this r. his. l. 19. before His meaning put in line 24, 25, 26, 27. (witness—Sabbath-rest) p. 26. l. 21. r. all things. p. 29. l. 6. for care, r. tare.

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