A SERMON Preached at the FUNERAL OF MR. FRANCIS MITCHEL, Who Dyed the 19th. and was Buried the 24th. of Iuly, 1671.

The Memory of the Iust is Blessed, Prov. 10. 7.

LONDON, Printed by Thomas Milbourn, for Thomas Iohnson, 1671.

A SERMON PREACHED At the Funeral of Mr. F. M.

PSAL. 37. 37.

Mark the perfect Man, and behold the upright, for the End of that M'an is Peace.

THis whole Psalm was designed, saies the Syriack- Translation, for the resolving of that Question, which hath often troubled good men, and somtimes David himself, as he [Page 2] confesseth, Psal. 73. 2, &c. Why God, the Almighty and most Just God, doth not speedily in this Life, take Vengeance of ungodly and wick­ed men. Whereas, on the other hand, it is often-times seen, that good men are punisht, and chastend, and plagued, as David complain'd that him­self was, Psal. 73.14.. And his son Solomon observed it in his time, Eccl. 8.14.. There be Iust men (saith he) to whom it happens according to the work of the Wicked. Again, There be Wicked men, to whom it happens accor­ding to the work of the Righteous, this is Vanity, saith the Epicurean, whom So­lomon there personates; 'tis Vanity to make any distinction, or to trouble ones head with it, or to do any thing else, than to eat and drink and be merry, and let things go which way they will.

[Page 3]But saies Solomon of himself in the last verse of the chapter, I beheld the work of God in it, who orders things as he pleases; and what he doth we ought to submit to it, and why he doth it, is past our finding out.

Nor doth David pretend to say, why God doth thus or thus; we shall know that most distinctly and particularly hereafter. 'Tis at present sufficient to know, that He doth it, who is a God of Infinite, Unspeakable, Incompre­hensible Wisdom, who is most Just in those things where He seems most Remiss; Who is most Merciful, e­ven then when He seems most Severe, and most Rigorous; Who, as St. Austin saies, is so Good, that He would not suffer any evil to be done, but that he is also so Wise, that he can turn that evil to a greater Good. If [Page 4] any man be unsatisfied with this rea­son of Gods doings, it is because he himself is unreasonable, as David confesseth he had been when time was, Psal. 73.22. So Foolish was I and Ig­norant, I was as a Beast before thee. 'Tis unreasonable to expect that every thing must be set right within a few years, or else to conclude it will never be. Our few years are but as a Mo­ment before God. To Him a Thou­sand years are but as one day; Yea, they are as nothing in respect of Eter­nity. We shall be wiser if we go in­to the Sanctuary of God, that is, if we consult with Divine Revelation; Then we shall know what the End of every thing is, and it is a wise mans Rule, not to judge of any thing till the End. He that judgeth by a part of any thing, shall often see himself [Page 5] confuted by the End of it.

Therefore David so much insists upon this, as if he had expresly said; Tell not me of any ones beginning, Tell not me how he thrives and prospers in the World, or what Crosses he hath in the course of this Life. There is no judging of a tree but by his Fruit, nor of a Ship till you see it in the Haven, nor of a man till you have seen his End. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the End of that man is peace. But the transgressors shall be destroyed together, the End of the wicked shall be cut off. Half this will serve me at this time, for my business is only with the perfect and upright man.

I shall shew you who he is, and how we are to observe him, and what we shall find by him; all this in the words of my Text:

[Page 6] First, who he is that David speaks of, The Perfect and the Upright Man.

I shall speak of these words severally, & then bring them together; for they signifie one and the same thing; They are the description of a faithful ser­vant of God.

He is exprest by two names, to an­swer those two words, Observe and, Be­hold, which as Kimchi conceives, are to be taken Distributively. As if Da­Vid had said, Mark every individual servant of God.

First Observe one, Then look up­on another, and so throughout the whole number; you shall find that their End is happy.

There is not one of them, but what­soever his Life was, he is happy in his Death, The End of that man is peace.

It is the opinion of others, that, by [Page 7] thus Doubling his words, David meant we should Double our care in the ob­servation. As if he had said, Mark the just man, and keep a good Eye up­on him; You may lose him in a cloud of affliction; and then you may con­clude, that he is gone, That God hath cast him out of his sight, and that he will remember him no more; But it is no such thing; If you keep your eye upon him, If you follow him home to the mark, you shall surely find, and you cannot but observe, that the End of that man is peace.

The End, may signifie the last part of ones life, or it may signifie another life after death. Of one, or both these it is promised, that it shall be Peace to the righteous; [...] not only Peace, but the perfection of happiness.

This was promised to the righteous [Page 8] in this life, according to the Letter of the Jews law; but under that was con­tained a Mystical sence, on which they rather depended.

They were not so confident of any thing in this world, as they were of a happy and blessed immortality. Much less should we Christians, to whom God hath much more clearly revealed it, as St. Paul saith (2 Tim. 1. 10.) He hath brought Life and Immortality to light by the Gospel.

I having thus designed the Method of my discourse, I shall now consider each part in it's order.

We are to speak of the Perfect and of the Upright man, by which words the Iews meant him that lived according to their Law. Him they called [...] that is, Perfect, wanting nothing to make him a holy or a righteous man. [Page 9] For their Law was perfect, converting Souls; that is, making them like it, which lived according to the Rules of it.

And therefore, of those Gems which the Priest wore in his Breast-plate, and were called Urim and Thummim; that is, Lights and Perfections: As that which was called Urim, or Lights, was a pledge from God of his Illumination, for the resolving of Questions concern­ing Civil Affairs, while they were a Theocracy, under the government of God; so the other Stone was called Thummim, that is, Perfections, in token of his perfect Knowledge of the Law of God; which (as St. Paul said long after that Token had ceast, but perhaps alluding to it, 2 Tim. 3. ver. ult.) was enough to make the man of God, Perfect, throughly furnisht to every good work.

[Page 10]The word Upright in my Text, is [...] Straight in the Hebrew. Now, that is Straight which is according to the Rule. So that the Law of God being considered as the Rule of our Life, he that Walks by this Rule, is called [...] a straight, or an upright man. Thus all Israel was called [...] Deut. 33. 5. and in other places; to signifie not so much what they were, as what they should be; how they ought to be Straight, according to that Rule which God had given them. Thus Balaam speaking by the Spirit of God, called that Na­tion [...] Numb. 23.10. Insomuch that this Title in my Text, is the very same in effect that our Saviour gave to Nathanael, John 1. 47. Behold (sayes he) an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile.

Both these words, according to this [Page 11] interpretation, signifie one and the same thing. He is a Perfect man, and he is an Upright man, that yields a hearty, constant, and uniform obedi­ence to all the known Commande­ments of God. Fear God, and keep his Commandements, says Solomon; this is [...] the whole Duty of Man, as it is in our translation, Eccl.12.13. Nay, according to the Hebrew, it is the Whole Man; so the Septuagint ren­ders it, [...]; so the Vulgar La­tine, this is Omnis homo. This is all that a man Is to any purpose; This is the substance and solidity, and life of him; This is it that makes him a Perfect man in Holiness here, and in Happiness hereafter.

This was plainly the sense of these Hebrew words in my Text: But how these words are to be Applied to a [Page 12] Christian, I cannot easily shew you, without going higher, and spreading farther, through the whole use of the word Perfection in Scripture.

There is an Absolute Perfection, which is onely the perfection of God. There is Perfection in suo Genere, which belongs to every one of his Creatures. Every creature is said to have per­fection of Parts, when it hath all things that are necessary and essential to its kind. And yet that which is perfect as to its Parts, may be imper­fect in Degrees, in comparison with others of the same kind.

To Apply this to the Moral and Religious sense. In this sense, he is said to be a Perfect Man, that in all respects conforms himself to the Will of God. He is in all points such a Man as God made, and such as God would have all Men to be.

[Page 13]Thus Adam was Perfect before the Fall; He was then free from Sin; He was Perfectly such as God made him. But having Contracted Sin upon himself, and his Posterity, there was need of a second Adam, to ob­tain Pardon for Sin; and that Second Adam was our Lord Iesus Christ. By Vertue of whose Death, which He was to Suffer, in the Fulness of time, there was prepared for us, even from the beginning of the World, a new Way to Perfection; not by living without Sin, but by the Pardon of Sin to all them that conform them­selves not exactly, but sincerely, and constantly, as far as they are able, to the Reveal'd will of God.

But the Will of God was Re­veal'd by several Degrees, to them that lived in several Ages and Dispensati­ons. [Page 14] And Perfection was still an Uni­form obedience to that Will of God that was known to them in their Age, and under their Dispensation.

It was thus in the Patriarchical Church, for above Two Thousand Years before the Law was given. They had then little else (that we know of) besides Oral Tradition. But what­soever they had, they that lived accor­ding to it; they were said to be Per­fect Men; that is, they were such as God required Men to be under that Dispensation. Thus it is said of Noah, Gen. 6.9. that he was Perfect in his Generation: That is, he Observed both the Natural Law of God, and the Di­vine Institutions that then were, though he had not all that was Known when the Books of Moses were Writ­ten. He lived Carefully, according to [Page 15] those Rules of life in his Time, and therefore is said to have been Perfect in his Generation.

When God afterwards made his spe­cial Covenant with Abraham, and bound it upon him with the Seal of Circumcision, He prefaced it thus, Gen. 17. 1. I am the Almighty God, walk before me, and be thou Perfect. From thence forward no man could be said to be Perfect, I say none that descended out of Abrahams Loins could be Perfect, without the Seal of Circumcision.

For the Iewes, when they had once received the Written Law of God; Then, (besides their Obligation to the Natural Religion, beside those Posi­tive Laws to Adam, and to Noah, and to Abraham; I say, besides all these Obligations) it was required of them, [Page 16] that they should be Conformable to the Laws of Moses. Deut. 18.13. sayes Moses, Thou shalt be Perfect with the Lord thy God. 'Tis [...] with a great Letter; which the Iewes say, is an extraordinary thing, there were but Ten such before it in the Five Books of Moses.

Which implyed, that there was more required to Perfection in them, than in the Nations from whom they were Separated by that Law.

But, What shall we say to that place in Heb. 7. 19. That the Law made nothing Perfect?

It means, as I have shewed you, Perfect without Sin, and this Per­fection was never attained by the Law. It can be attain'd no otherwise by Fallen Man, but by Christ, who is Reveal'd to us in the Gospel And for [Page 17] us, to whom this Gospel is Reveal'd, we are then said to be perfect, if we live according to the Will of God, which is reveal'd to us in the Gospel. That is in plain termes, if we are good Christians, such as live accor­ding to our Profession.

So Theophylact observes, that Per­fection in the Gospel-sense, is no o­ther than Christianity it self. And Iustin Martyr interprets [...] to be a Christian; that is, to conform our selves to the Gospel. Which is that acceptable, and that perfect Will of God, Rom. 12.2. Which is called that perfect law of liberty, James 1. 25. Which is able to make us perfect unto every good work, Heb. 13.21.

Under each of these Dispensations, there have been some that have been more Perfect than others. And those [Page 18] which have been perfect in the main, Those which had enough to bring them to Heaven, yet are said to be Imperfect in respect of some Others that have Ex­celled them in the knowledge of God, and in the practice of Religion & Ver­tue. This particularly appears in some instances of the Gospel, where compari­son is made between the [...] and the [...], between those that were new­ly Converted, and those that were Adult, well grounded and confirmed in Religion. The first in each of these kinds being in comparison of the other as Children in Comparison of Men: You know Children, which are per­fect in their kind, having all things es­sential to a Man, are yet Imperfect in comparison of them which are at mans estate. 'Tis the Apostle to the He­brews that makes this comparison [Page 19] chap. 5. 2. last verses, and in chap. 6. 1. Even so, the Children of God are some much inferiour to others, in that imper­fect perfection of which we are capable here upon Earth.

And yet the highest Degree of which we are capable upon Earth, is Imperfection in comparison of the bles­sed Saints in Heaven. There is no per­fect Perfection but in Heaven. What we have upon Earth, is but a tendency towards it. It begins with a sence of Imperfection, It grows somthing with an endeavour after Perfection, It grows up to an earnest expectancy, which is the most that St. Paul himself did pre­tend; though he reckon'd himself a­mong the Perfect, as men are in this world; yet Perfection in this world must be with some allowance, as he shews you in the 12th. verse of the 3d. [Page 20] chapter to the Philippians. Not as though I (sayes he) had already obtain­ed, or were already made Perfect, but I follow after, &c.

If St. Paul were affraid to say he was Perfect, who shall dare to say or think it of himself? sayes Chrysostom. Which of us can be Perfect as St. Paul was? sayes St. Austin. Yet he sayes, Bre­thren, I do not think my self to be al­ready Perfect; Only, I would be so, I do what I can that I may be so; I fol­low after, in hope that I may overtake it, That I may attain to it, That I may be Perfect at last, which cannot be here, but in Heaven. It cannot be in this life, sayes the Apostle; For here we know but in Part, 1 Cor. 13. 9. and verse 10. When that which is Per­fect is come, then that which is in Part shall be done away.

[Page 21]Here we are perfect in Christ, sayes the Apostle, Col. 1. 28. We are so in the imputation of his Righteousness, and in Gods Gracious Acceptation through him. But in our selves we are not Perfect, but Perfecting; 2 Cor. 7. 1. Perfecting holiness in the fear of God; Cleansing our selves from all filthi­ness of Flesh and Spirit; Striving a­gainst every lust, and being careful not to come under the Dominion of any; Warring against the Devil, the world, and the Flesh; Applying our selves to every duty of Religion and Vertue; Working daily to repair the decaies of the Divine Image, and to make up in our selves the Lineaments and Resem­blances of God. This is called the Per­fecting of the Saints, Eph. 4. 12. Yet we are but [...]; When we come where the Original is, When we know [Page 22] as we are known, when we see as we are seen, Then we shall be [...] made Perfect, Heb. 12. 23. Happy they, who are thus imperfectly perfect upon Earth, For, they shall be made perfectly Perfect in Heaven.

Their End shall be Peace, sayes the Psalmist. Their End here is in the Hebrew [...], which signifies properly somthing to come After; whether in this life or in the future, That is al­wayes to be understood by the con­nexion. Gen. 49. 1. Iacob tels his Sons what shall happen [...] in the last part of the age of that Nation; There it signifies plainly the last part of this life. It elsewhere plainly signifies the estate of the future life. Numb. 23. 10. There says Balaam [...] Let my soul go out of this world as the Righ­teous doth, [...] and let my latter [Page 23] end be like his. I should rather inter­pret it thus; What is to come after death, may it be with me as it is with him. This seems to me the most lite­ral interpretation. And yet with a Iew I should not contend about it. For, though the Iews say they had no promises in their Law which were ex­presly of the things of a future life; Yet they freely acknowledg, that even the promises of this life were to be under­stood as Types and Shadows of the fu­ture. In the promise they say there is [...] and [...]; a plain sence belonging to things of This life, and a Mystical sence for the things of a Future life. To judge how this is to be applyed to the promise in my Text, we must first consider the thing that is here promised. 'Tis [...] which signifies, both per­fection and peace, and every thing that [Page 24] is good. It signifies every thing that belongs to the perfection of ones being, every thing that belongs to his happi­ness and well being.

Among the Hebrews their Questi­on was, when they asked how one did; [...] is all well? Their Blessing at meeting was, [...] peace be to thee. Their Blessing at parting, [...] go in peace. There is nothing that can be wish'd one for his good, which is not comprehended in the blessing of peace.

The first import of it is of corporeal things, because those are first consider­ed in all Languages.

True it is, that God hath promi­sed his Children the enjoyment of all temporal blessings that are sutable to their condition. These temporal bles­sings are almost wholly insisted upon in the Old Testament, they are mention­ed [Page 25] likewise in the New-Testa­ment in many places; But still with a condition, that is sometimes exprest, but always understood, for the Per­forming of these promises to us. That is, God will give us these Temporal blessings, as far as they may consist with our Spiritual welfare. And if he give not these Temporal things, he will cer­tainly make it up to us, in those better things which are Spiritual and Eter­nal.

Thus the Servant of God hath a Promise, that his days shall be long upon Earth, in the Fourth Commandement. That he shall die in Peace, that is, in his Bed; a quiet and natural death: That he shall see his Childrens Children, and peace upon Israel. These things and many more are comprehended in the blessing of Peace. And were so [Page 26] Literally fulfilled to many servants of God in the Old Testament.

David saw it plainly fulfilled, in the Examples of Ioseph, and Iob, which were Recorded in those Scrip­tures that were Extant in his age. And David himself was one more Example, according to the Literal sense of this Promise. But it was not so with the Son of David, our Lord Jesus Christ; With respect to whom, if for no o­ther cause, we are obliged to lay hold on this promise in the Spiritual sense.

For we know that one may have the blessing of Peace, that wants ma­ny, or even all of these Temporal things; and it shall be never the worse for him that they are wanting. Nay, if things seem quite Contrary to this Promise; yet God will not be worse than his word.

[Page 27]It is the Lord that hath spoken it, and he will make it good, to the Per­fect and to the Upright, that the End of that man shall be Peace.

And now, suppose any thing to be­fal that can happen; we are armed a­gainst all cross accidents in the world. Ye cannot say nor suppose any thing too hard for Gods Power; and if it be in Gods power, he will surely make good his Promise.

What if one be snatch't away in the prime of his years? what if he be cut off in the Field of Battel? what if he leaves a miserable widow and children? what if he leaves an Embroil'd estate behind him? what if he sees the Church of God tottering, and ready to fall after him? Yet, if this be no fault of his, if it be the will and plea­sure of God, thus to deal with the Per­fect [Page 28] and Upright man to whom God made this promise in my Text; what­soever Circumstances he dies in, it is certain, that the End of that Man is Peace.

There is one Text that proves this, and there needs not a second; 'tis in 2 Chron. 34. 28. where God promises Iosiah, Behold, I will gather thee to they Fathers, and thou shalt be gathered to thy Grave in Peace.

This God promised Iosiah, you see, not only in the General words of my Text, but also in an Express and Particular Revelation from Heaven. And yet will you see how God perfor­med with him? It lies before you in the History of Iosias; he Dyed in all those sad circumstances that I mention­ed. He was cropt off in the prime, and flower of his age; He dyed a [Page 29] bloody death in the field of Battel; He left a desolate Widow, and poor Infants behind him; And a bleeding State, a Tottering Church, a ruining Kingdom; What can be said more? Only this; that if God said true, Io­siah dyed in Peace.

But we are sure God is true. There­fore to die in peace, we are sure, is somthing else than what the world would imagine.

When God sayes, the End of that Man is Peace; he means not that he shall die in his Bed, He means not that he shall dye in a good Old age, He means not that he shall have his Wife and Children about him, He means not that he shall leave Sion in Peace, and Ierusalem in Prosperity. He means none of those things which be­long to this world; But God means, [Page 30] he shall have that peace which the world cannot give.

It is so. For this world is only for Temporal things, but the peace of the Perfect and Upright Man is Spiri­tual and Eternal.

First, there is a Spiritual Peace, that is made for him in this Life. Wheresoever there is Grace, there is Peace. You know Grace and Peace go together in the Gospel. But the Perfect and Upright Man being in the covenant of grace, he is therefore in the covenant of Peace; he is reconciled to God in the blood of Christ, which is the only effectual sufficient peace-of­fering of all them that are true and li­ving Members of his body the Church; Eph. 2. 14, 15, 16, 18.

Now this peace being Made for us, it is necessary we should Plead it, that [Page 31] we should depend wholly upon it, that we should look on this, as our on­ly way to God, the only means of Pardon and Mercy, of grace and glo­ry.

It is necessary withal, that we should observe those Terms that our Peace-Maker hath made for us. That is, not only to believe in him, but to be­lieve him; to keep his Commande­ments, to repent and be converted, that our Sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.

And he that doth thus, is sure also of another peace, in the Heavenly Ie­rusalem, which is the Eternal Vision of peace. It is that rest which was Typi­fied in the Earthly Canaan, and which is the Substance of all those promises of entring into Gods Rest.

[Page 32]That perfect Peace of the Perfect Man, Who is able to express it, but he that hath already attained it? If the peace of God in this world passes all understanding, How much more doth that peace of God in Heaven pass all our expression?

We cannot say what it is, but we can say what it is not. And therefore do commonly express it by Negatives; by Abstracting from all the Cares, and Sorrows, and Fears, and Troubles, and Miseries of this Life. We say first, there is no Sin in Heaven; and then to be sure there is no Evil what­soever There is no sorrow nor afflicti­on, There is no fear nor danger, There is no strife nor division, There is no enmity nor Enemy.

There is only God; and whatso­ever is like him in goodness and Cha­rity; [Page 33] in Joy, and Peace; in Holiness, and all manner of Perfection.

Which if any one desires to know more distinctly, let him first practise these things which he knows upon Earth; and let him have Patience, and Persevere in well-doing; and when God sees his time, he shall depart, in that Spiritual peace which I before described, into that Eternal Peace which is here promised, in these words, The End of that man is Peace.

I have done with my Text, beyond which I cannot pretend to Revelation. And therefore, in what followeth (as in all such cases) I desire not to impose upon your Faith; But according to the measures of Discretion and Chari­ty, to say my thoughts upon long and intimate Knowledge of the Person [Page 34] who hath been the sad occasion of our meeting this day. I cannot but say, that I have thought of him all this while, as being, according to the Lan­guage of my Text, to my thinking, a truly Perfect and an Upright Man. He was eminently such; for he was Per­fect in that Calling which of all other is most apt to shew mens Imperfections. It was a saying of Bias, that Magistra­cy shews what a man is. I think next to Magistracy, it ought to be said of this Profession, because of the great op­portunities th [...]t it gives men to be dis­honest, if they please. However I may be understood, I am sure I mean this no otherwise but to the honour of the profession. The Law is the glory and support of any Nation; a good Practitioner is an ornament to the Law; and such he was, I am sure, if I [Page 35] knew any. Among the men of his rank, few more throughly understood it. None more punctually observed it. None more heartily loved the known Laws of the Nation.

And yet he loved not to set men at Law. He did not need it, much less did he affect it. It was his way to com­pose suits, rather then to make them; especially if he saw they were Unjust or Unnecessary: And I verily believe, in this kind he hath prevented more Suits than many an Honest man was ever retain'd in.

As he was not greedy to undertake, so he was most diligent to give a good dispatch. He used his Client, as if he had been his Guardian, contriving onely how to leave him as rich in purse, and as much at peace, as it was possible.

[Page 36]And yet this I have known of him, that he was not more frugal of his Cli­ents cost, then he was Liberal of his own. All that God blest him with, was like a Stock put in his hands for Good Uses; out of which he both gave and lent freely while he lived, and left the rest to be distributed by his Will. Of which, some I suppose will redound to the good of this Place.

What I have said of him in respect of his Calling, was only because in that he was most known; If I should speak of him in other respects, as a Vertuous man, as a Just dealer, as a Faithful Friend, as a Loyal Subject, as an Humble Devout Christian, I am sure there are those present that could Testifie all that I have said.

And after all this, Why may not I say my Text over his Corps? Why [Page 37] may not I call him by these good Names in it? Why may not I say, His End is Peace? Only because I have not this from God. 'Tis known to God alone, who is Perfect, and who is Vp­right, and whose Soul is in Peace.

In the most known sence of the words, I am sure he was a Perfect and Upright Man; if one may Judge by twenty Years trial: For so long I have known him, and in all that time I ne­ver knew him blemisht; I never heard from him an Obscene or Indecent Word; I never saw by him an Un­just or Uncharitable Action.

If any have known worse then I have observed of him; I desire them to re­member, there is no perfection with­out some imperfection in this World. And I am sure, he that knows more then I know, or can imagine, knows [Page] much less by him then all know of the [...]ommon rate of Christians. If such a one, as he was, should miscarry and perish; God help us, in this Age How Few are they that shall be Saved? And if the Righteous scarcely be Saved, where shall the Sinner and the Vngodly ap­pear?

The Lord give us Grace to avoid all evil Examples; and to give Ex­ample, or to follow it, in all things that are good: That coming to that Per­fection which God hath required in this life, we may attain to that Peace which he hath promised in the Life to Come.

FINIS.

This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.